Read the previous lesson 07 article here.
In today’s day and age, your business is not going to go anywhere without any marketing. The proper way to establish marketing for your business is by creating a marketing plan. Personally I’ve known dozens of businesses that have been successful that have not even thought about building a marketing plan. They either create a small budget and see what works and what does not work or they copy what their competitors are doing. Regardless of their success or misfortune, I felt that it was proper to at least describe what is involved with creating a marketing plan so that you can make the decision on whether or not you wanted to do one for your online business. Some aspects of a marketing plan will be adopted from what we discussed in lesson 07 with building a business plan, which is great because we can do a little Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V action to fill in the blanks.
As with many aspects of starting and running a business, there are more than one way to write a marketing plan. In my life, I only created one. This was when I created one for my Print Shop back in my Marketing class when I was obtaining my MBA. Even then, the guidelines that were used in class were a little different than what is below, which I have found to be what is typical. For shits and giggles, if you wanted to view my marketing plan that was created for the MBA 520 class, see below.
Download Print Donkey’s Marketing Plan created in my MBA program
The main point that you want to accomplish is to create, like a business plan, a roadmap of where you see and expect your marketing to be for your white label business. So let’s get to the point of this lesson.
The main sections of a marketing plan can be found below which will be followed by a brief description of what each section is:
- Executive Summary
- Target Market
- Products and Services
- Distribution & Promotional Channels
- Your Competitive Profile
- Pricing Strategy
- Financial Projections
- Action Plans
Like the business plans that were found at SBA and SCORE from lesson 7, we start the marketing plan with the Executive Summary. This is the part that we do not want to focus on at first. In fact, we write this part at the very end of completing our marketing plan. Why? Because it summarizes everything that you will have stated below. What an Executive Summary will do is allow for whomever is reading the marketing plan to get a quick snapshot of your business, where you anticipate it going, and why you are going in that direction. So if you are thinking that you will need to obtain some funding, this is what those peeps will be reading first.
After an Executive Summary, you have the option of creating a Mission Statement. Some suggest that you include a Mission Statement and some say that having one will only limit you with what you can do. In my opinion, does it really matter? Go ahead, create one, and if you feel you need to change it, then go ahead. Later, when you have employees and you see the need for changing the Mission Statement, you can do it then.
There are many sites out there that provide tips and suggestions for generating a Mission Statement. Forbes Magazine has a great article that asks 4 simple questions to get a great Mission Statement. You can read that Forbes article here.
Here, we again take from what we came up with in the business plan. What is our target market? This would be who our potential customers will be. For a mobile app development company, our potential customers are those who want to reach people with smartphones. This includes businesses, sole proprietors, entrepreneurs, service providers, educational fields, you name it. We then need to break it down with what the average demographic is (their gender, age, education, income level, etc.). So we have some options here. We can cast a wide net to get as many customers as possible, or we can pinpoint who we feel would produce the most traffic to our business. The great thing is we always have options. If one doesn’t work, then try the next option.
We use this information to pinpoint our potential paying customers’ needs and interests because we will use it later in our marketing plan with how to reach them. We need to know how they currently view information in order to market to them, so we must ask ourselves a few questions. Like, do they read Wall Street Journal? Do they read Better Homes & Garden? Are they active on social media? Do they only know of Myspace? If they are active on social media, what social media sites? We now understand that reaching the demographic on Facebook is a lot different than reaching the younger generation on Snapchat.
Products and Services
Here we describe what our products or services are. For a mobile app development business, we must ask ourselves how we will fulfill our customer needs. Besides offering them a mobile app at a low monthly cost, what other value will we add to those who are already doing this type of business? Will we be above par on customer service? Will we throw in an added benefit like a free domain name? Think about that. If we say, sign up with our business and we will give you a free domain name, that’s only a $10/year out-of-pocket expense. Would you invest $10 to attract and win over a customer who may shell out over $500 per year? Um, yes! I would definitely. This is where we must think outside of the box and brainstorm. The most crazy the idea, the better!
Distribution & Promotional Channels
Distribution will be a no brainer for our mobile app development business, but I wanted to include this in case those of the Biz Army are not starting a mobile app dev biz. We must list all the current and potential sales routes. This may include using the internet like we will be using, retail for those other types of businesses, using distributors and/or sales reps, have resellers sell our stuff, or even direct sales. Keep in mind that we do not want to only list what we plan to immediately do for our business, but also what we can anticipate what we will do in the future.
For Promotional Channels, we must consider what will be the most effective means to share our business to persuade our targeted demographic with our product or service. This is where a great story will help. Everyone loves a great story and having one will go a long way. We will then distribute our story via print, broadcast, online and social media ads, trade shows, press releases, and even with joint marketing with other complimentary businesses.
Your Competitive Profile
Here’s where we bring something else from our business plan. We must first think about who our competitors are and what their strengths and weaknesses are. We then must consider what our Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is. Remember USP from the last lesson? This is where we find what makes us different from what everyone else is doing. Read the last lesson here.
A great way to find our USP is to create a SWOT Analysis. Have you heard of this before? I have a sample of one in my Print Donkey Marketing Plan I created for my MBA class. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You can also read about SWOT Analysis on MindTools website here.
Now that we understand our products and services, our distribution & promotional channels, and our competitive profile, let’s discuss pricing. The main objective with starting this online business, or to start a biz in general, is to make money on what service we are providing or what product we are selling. Without making money, then we cannot continue with our business. So we must ask ourselves some basic questions.
Some of these questions that come to mind after seeing what our competitors are selling and what they are offering at that price point is, is there a market for our projected price point? Is the price that we are setting something that will push potential customers to come to us? Or what if we just want to get a lot of customers. Are we willing to sacrifice profit in order to get a greater return of the market share? Pricing for a product or service boils down to lots and lots of questions that we must answer. To read more about Pricing Strategy, Quickbooks has a great article that shows us 6 different pricing strategies so we can figure out which one is right for our online white label business. To read this article, click here.
Knowing what pricing we are going to be setting for our product or service, we must now determine what our Financial Projections are. We do this so we not only fully understand what pricing we should follow, but also to keep us in check. To establish a Financial Projection, we must determine the cost to produce the product or service along with establishing a realistic budget that we can follow to keep us afloat. To determine our project sales, we must factor in the cost that is involved with implementing this marketing plan.
We must determine what our existing cash flow is and where it is currently coming from and then make smart projections with where the cash flow will be coming from in the future. Knowing this bit of information, we are able to formulate a desired profit that we want to make on our projected sales. This will result in us finding the return on investment, or ROI for short. SCORE has a free downloadable financial projections template that will help us with this. Feel free to download the Financial Projections Template here.
We’ve spent all this time finding out who our competitors are, how to do a SWOT analysis, and even how to draft some financial projections. Now comes the action part. What actions do we need to set in place for use to achieve our goals with our white label business? To do so, we start by listing specific steps that are needed to perform and by whom. Next to each step, we come up with a deadline to complete each step. To make it easy on us in the future, and since this information is fresh on our mind, list the resources that are necessary to achieve each step.
Knowing that we will run into issues that are unexpected, let’s start to think of what types of matters will we need to address when they are encountered. This is where a mentor can be of tremendous help! Not only have they more than likely been where you are, but they have one solution with how to remove this roadblock from your path to financial profitability! To read more about Action Plans for your online business, the SBA has an article on their blog that discusses creating a marketing action plan. To read the SBA blog post, click here.
The next post that you will see will be inside the Planning for Success with Your White Label Business—Chapter 3 Session: Set your monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals and your exit plan – Lesson 09.
Till next time Biz Army…
Expenses: This lesson did not have any expenses that were needed other than our time to do a marketing plan if we chose to do so.
What’s In My MP3: During the writing of this lesson, we’ve had some VERY HOT temperatures here in Arizona. A few days ago we hit 120 degrees, so with that, there was not much trail running taking place. But I was able to start some Spanish audio by Pimsleur. I have a goal to learn Spanish by my next birthday and to at least be conversational at it. You can checkout Pimsleur Spanish Conversational Course by clicking here.
Click here to check out Audible by Amazon.