Crafting a Winning Marketing and Sales Plan
Develop a compelling marketing plan that convinces potential customers to buy your products or services. Determine the payment methods you will accept when customers make a purchase.
Building a Strong Marketing Plan
Creating a successful marketing plan requires time, effort, and resources. To ensure you stay on track and within budget, it’s essential to develop a comprehensive marketing plan that outlines your strategies for attracting and converting leads into customers.
Your business plan should incorporate the key elements of your marketing strategy, while your marketing plan translates your strategy into actionable steps.
Incorporating Critical Sections into Your Marketing Plan
Most marketing plans cover a range of topics, but it’s essential to tailor yours to suit your business’s unique needs.
Defining Your Target Market
Provide a detailed description of your target audience, including their demographics, preferences, and buying habits. Analyze market size, trends, and any other factors that impact your business’s demand.
Identifying Your Competitive Edge
Highlight the distinctive advantages your products or services have over your competitors. This could be better quality, lower prices, exceptional customer service, or environmental certifications that appeal to customers.
Creating a Sales Strategy
Outline how you will sell your products or services to customers. Specify the sales channels you will use, such as online stores, retail, or wholesale, and describe the purchasing process from start to finish.
Setting Marketing and Sales Goals
Define your marketing and sales objectives for the upcoming year. Common goals include increasing email subscribers, expanding market share, or achieving a specific sales target.
Crafting a Marketing Action Plan
Detail how you will achieve your marketing and sales goals, including the marketing channels you will use, such as online advertising, billboards, or radio ads. Discuss your pricing strategy, promotional activities, and post-sale customer support. Ensure your advertising complies with federal regulations.
Estimating Your Marketing Budget
Provide a complete cost breakdown of your marketing plan, including all expenses. Be as precise as possible, and track your expenses once you start implementing your plan.
Evaluate and Enhance Your Strategy
Ensure that you are earning a positive return on investment by comparing your marketing and sales costs with their outcomes.
Some methods are tough to gauge, such as print advertising or word of mouth initiatives. Be imaginative and heed the guidance of others while maintaining a methodical approach to measuring the efficiency of your marketing endeavors.
You should review your marketing plan on a yearly basis to ensure that it is operating correctly, and ROI measurement will assist you in determining which parts of your plan require updating.
Operations Must Not Be Overlooked
While not everyone agrees on the specific distinctions between marketing and sales, it is commonly agreed that they are intertwined. However, the impact that operations have on marketing and sales is frequently disregarded.
Even the most basic operational components, such as employee uniforms, the location where the product is made, or the product return process, all play a role in shaping the customer experience. This experience has the potential to either create lifelong loyalists or dissuade customers from recommending your business to others.
Payment Acceptance Strategy
The payment methods you select can have an impact on both your marketing and sales results. Choose payment methods that are cost-effective, secure, and provide a positive customer experience.
It is essential to have a business bank account, regardless of the payment options you choose.
Credit Card Acceptance
To accept credit and debit cards, you will require a merchant bank account or an account with an independent payment processing firm.
For each credit or debit card transaction, you will be charged a small processing fee, as well as the expense of installing any necessary equipment.
Accepting credit and debit cards exposes your business to the risk of fraud, but most providers provide some level of protection. It is recommended that you use an EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip reader, which will limit fraud and your liability.
To accept checks, you simply need a business bank account.
To prevent accepting bad or fraudulent checks, you should establish a check acceptance policy. This may include only accepting checks from well-known banks or from the same state, or requiring that checks fully cover the exact amount charged. You might also engage an external service to verify the check’s validity.
If a check bounces, the actions you must take to obtain final payment will differ depending on your location. Some states may require businesses to send a registered letter and wait a certain period before taking further action. To collect payment for a bounced check, you may need to file a lawsuit or use a recovery agency.
Many small businesses operate as “cash only” establishments because it is quick, easy, and inexpensive.
If you accept cash, keep in mind that large sums of money can lengthen accounting time and increase security risks. A secure means of storing cash, such as a cash register and a safe, is essential.
Reporting cash transactions has unique requirements. The IRS mandates that if your business receives more than $10,000 in cash or cash equivalents from a single transaction or two or more linked transactions, you must report it.
Online Payment Acceptance
If you sell products or services online, you may be able to accept payments through your website using an online payment service.
Online payment services frequently accept credit and debit cards, as well as other popular electronic money transfer services. You will be charged fees for accepting payments online, just as you would for accepting credit cards at a physical location.
Online payment service providers employ a virtual shopping cart to compute the total, tax, and shipping costs for an order, as well as collect customer account and shipping information. Some providers may offer businesses free shopping cart services.