Anyone interested in buying your business needs to know that it will continue without YOU.
Most importantly they need to be able to see that it will GROW without you, so you need to demonstrate how the marketing and sales will carry on whether you're there or not.
A big part of growth for any businesses is generating interest - i.e.e generating leads you can sell to. That's the job of your marketing activity, and your marketing plan will ensure that your marketing happens AND that it works well.
What does a marketing plan look like?
Any marketing plan should come in three parts:
A calendar of activity
What needs to happen, and when. The promotions you're going to run each month and which channels (email, direct mail, ppc etc) you will be using for each promotion.
A financial plan
The targets each month's activity should hit. Ideally showing the breakdown of costs and results for each marketing channel.
A written plan
A document that outlines how you came up with the plan, and explains it - the objectives and why you believe it will work. This is the document you could give to a new marketing manager and they'd get what they needed to do.
Objectives could be sales, website traffic, leads, repeat buyers, average sales per customer
Most businesses have some form of the first two, but almost none have the third or have all three tied together. It's that which will convince a buyer your marketing plans are going to deliver the goods.
How to build your marketing plan
First you need to understand where you are right now. What customers do you have and how do they behave? What marketing are you doing, and what's working? What's happening in the marketplace - what are your competitors doing? What marketing methods are available?
Once the research is complete the second stage is to set your objectives - what do you need to achieve, what do you want to achieve? Objectives could be sales, website traffic, leads, repeat buyers, average sales per customer.
So now you know where you are now, and where you want to be. So the next stage is working out how to get there...
There are two ways to get there. Do more of what you're already doing, or try out some new marketing activity. Your plan will be a mixture of these.
First, put what you're already doing into your marketing plans, then add in new marketing opportunities to hit your objectives. Detail all of this (including the research) in the three parts of the plan outlined above.
Finally - stage four is to kick it off.
For a business looking to sell - that means not just telling someone to get on with it, but also putting in place the structure to prove it will keep happening. That means reports being regularly reviewed, and the activity happening like clockwork - part of business as usual.
And also automating the activity where possible.
If you pull all this together, then you can easily prove that your business has a strong marketing set up, that will continue to drive sales from existing and new customers long after you've sold it.
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