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Writing The Business Plan: Section 5

Part 4: Advertising & Promotion


Business Plan

Business Plan

Image (c) Susan Ward

Advertising And Promotion Plan

Essentially the Advertising and Promotion section of the marketing plan describes how you're going to deliver your Unique Selling Proposition to your prospective customers. While there are literally thousands of different promotion avenues available to you, what distinguishes a successful plan from an unsuccessful one is focus - and that's what your Unique Selling Proposition provides.

So think first of the message that you want to send to your targeted audience. Then look at these promotion possibilities and decide which to emphasize in your marketing plan:

Advertising - The best approach to advertising is to think of it in terms of media and which media will be most effective in reaching your target market. Then you can make decisions about how much of your annual advertising budget you're going to spend on each medium.

What percentage of your annual advertising budget will you invest in each of the following:

  • the Internet
  • television
  • radio
  • newspapers
  • magazines
  • telephone books/directories
  • billboards
  • bench/bus/subway ads
  • direct mail
  • cooperative advertising with wholesalers, retailers or other businesses?

Include not only the cost of the advertising but your projections about how much business the advertising will bring in. For small business advertising tips see Small Business Advertising and 17 Advertising Ideas for Small Businesses.

Sales Promotion - If it's appropriate to your business, you may want to incorporate sales promotion activities into your advertising and promotion plan, such as:

  • offering free samples
  • coupons
  • point of purchase displays
  • product demonstrations

Marketing Materials - Every business will include some of these in their promotion plans. The most common marketing material is the business card, but brochures, pamphlets and service sheets are also common.

Publicity - Another avenue of promotion that every business should use. Describe how you plan to generate publicity. While press releases spring to mind, that's only one way to get people spreading the word about your business. Consider:

  • product launches
  • special events, including community involvement
  • writing articles
  • getting and using testimonials

For more about publicity, see Getting Publicity For Your Business.

Your Business' Web Site - If your business has or will have a Web site, describe how your Web site fits into your advertising and promotion plan.

Tradeshows - Tradeshows can be incredibly effective promotion and sales opportunities - if you pick the right ones and go equipped to put your promotion plan into action. My article Trade Show Tips explains how to choose appropriate trade shows and gives display tips to make the most of your trade show experience. Read more about trade shows in the Trade Show Library.

Other Promotion Activities

Your promotion activities are truly limited only by your imagination. If you plan to teach a course, sponsor a community event, or conduct an email campaign, you'll want to include it in your advertising and promotion plan. Remember, sporadic unconnected attempts to promote your product or service are bound to fail; your goal is to plan and carry out a sequence of focused promotion activities that will communicate with your potential customers.

While small businesses often have miniscule (or non-existent) promotion budgets, that doesn't mean that small businesses can't design and implement effective promotion plans. Visit the Business Promotion Library for a host of inexpensive ideas to get your plan off the ground.

No business is too small to have a marketing plan. After all, no business is too small for customers or clients. And if you have these, you need to communicate with them about your products and/or services.

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