What exactly is a promotional plan, I hear you ask? Well, in its simplest form, a promotional plan should work hand-in-hand with your overarching marketing plan to set out the promotional strategies, tools, tactics and resources that you need to accomplish your goals. The main point of difference is that a promotional plan focuses on the promotional activities (like giveaways, advertising and events) that you intend to implement. A marketing plan is much broader and includes elements such as pricing, positioning and distribution channels.
A promotional plan is a vital tool for business owners and managers in planning a successful product launch or expansion into new, emerging markets. It helps make your vision a reality. Take it from us; if you spend a little bit of time planning your approach to promotions, then your results will be tenfold. To give you a leg up, we’ve put together a sample promotional plan template of sorts.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Step 1 – Work out who it is you’re targeting
Identify exactly who your intended customers are. Do you want to target existing customers, or similar customers in a new city, or a new group of customers in the same city? Make sure your market segments are precise. It’s far too difficult to target everyone, so narrow the field. If this step is proving challenging, try working through a SWOT analysis. The main reason for identifying your target market is that it’s much easier to design a promotion for a specific audience.
Step 2 – Set your objectives
Possibly the most important step. It’s also the most difficult. Work out exactly what it is you want to achieve for each of the target markets identified in step one of our sample promotional plan template. Make your objectives brief and measurable. That way you can evaluate them once your promotional plan is implemented. A strong objective would be ‘Increase sales from existing customers by 10% over 12 months’. Going with something like, ‘get more market share’, not so strong.
Step 3 – Identify the tactics you need to implement to achieve your objectives
Tactics are really just a fancy name for the promotional activities you intend to implement. Tactics might include e-marketing campaigns, special offers, free postage, social media stunts, affiliate programs, radio and television advertisements, launch events and giveaways.
Step 4 – Implementation
Get those promotional tactics (and sales) cranking! Do whatever it is you have decided will yield the best results, will achieve your objectives, will crush your competitors. This is usually the most time consuming part of the promotional plan.
Step 5 – Evaluate
There is absolutely no point in implementing a whizz-bang promotional plan with all the bells and whistles, if you don’t know whether it worked. Do the sums. Have you increased sales by 10%? Follow up with customers. Are they happy? Implement a customer satisfaction survey. If you’ve driven sales through an AdWords campaign, then work out the click through and conversion rates. You need to understand which elements worked and which didn’t. That way, you can improve upon problem areas next time.
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