Advertising Plan Activities for Your Business

One of the main difficulties faced by any entrepreneur is that advertising has changed and evolved over the last few years. It now includes audio, visual and electronic media. Website programming of all sorts allows you to interact with your customers.

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 Advertising and Promotion Plan from an unsuccessful one is focus - and that's what your Unique Selling Proposition provides.

The Internet has made unbelievable amounts of information accessible, but it has also contributed to information overload. An effective advertising/marketing campaign is not about being everything to everyone, but is about having a conversation with your ideal customer and measuring those results through sales and/or feedback.

Advertising is an attempt to influence the buying behavior of your customers or clients by providing a persuasive selling message about your products and/or services. Technically, advertising in only one way of promoting your business, and you will want to be sure that whatever form of advertising you choose fits in with your marketing plan, strategy and budget.

Write your first step in these subsections:

The executive summary is the most important part of your business plan, and is typically pulled together after you have completed writing your plan. Don't assume people will read your plan cover-to-cover. Succinctly state what your business is about and why it was successful.

1. Describe your business concept. Be sure to include what industry sector you will be operating in, the market you serve and your competitive advantage.

2. How will you differentiate your product or service from competitors? Are you entering a new or mature market?

3. What is the legal structure of your company? Do you hold special/required licenses of operation and insurance for your particular business? Does the business, or its principals, belong to any associations?

4. Is your company already in operation or in start-up mode? If it is operational, give a brief overview of your progress and achievements to date: patents, prototypes, contracts, and market research indicating that the business is viable.

5. Who is your ownership/management? Briefly describe your management, include marketing/advertising team's experience and credentials.

6. How much money are you seeking (if any) and for what purpose?

7. How much money has the founder(s) invested to date? How was this money spent?

8. Summarize your projected financial performance. Include gross revenues and net profits in the year of business (three year actuals, if available, for existing businesses plus projections), and at least one year projected for start-up business.

9. Research analysis

a. Political Factors
The political arena has an influence upon the regulation of business, and the spending power of consumers and other businesses. Consider the following issues in light of your business proposal:
> How stable is the political environment (home and host)?
> Will government policy influence laws that regulate or tax your business?
> What is the government's position on marketing ethics or consumer protection?
> What is the government's policy on the industry sector?

b. Economic Factors
Businesses and their marketing departments need to consider the state of the trading economy in the short and long-terms. You will need to look at:
> Interest rates
> The level of inflation
> Employment level per capita
> Housing starts/real estate prices
> Financial institution restraints/constraints on various industry sectors

c. Sociocultural Factors
For your target market and the region in which you will distibute your product consider the following questions:
> What is the dominant religion?
> What are attitudes toward foreign products and services?
> Does language impact the diffusion of products into the marketplace?
> How much time do consumers have for leisure?
> What are the roles of men and women within society?
> How are children treated in the society, i.e. impoverished, educated, part of the labour force, etc.
> How long does the population live? Are the older generations wealthy?
> Is the region multi-cultural?

d. Technological Factors
Technology is vital for global competitive advantage, and is a major driver of globalization - falling price and increase efficiency of communication and technology. Consider the following research points:
> Technology drives creation of new industries and challenges the mature industry - how are you poised to take advantage of this fact?
> Technology is a key to withstanding competitive threats.
> How does the uptake/change in technology affect your relationships and communications with suppliers, customers, networks, communities, media, governments and stakeholders?

Marketing Planning

1. Update or create a marketing plan for your business.
2. Revisit or start your market research.
3. Conduct a focus group.
4. Write a unique selling proposition (USP).
5. Refine your target audience and niche.
6. Expand your product and service offerings.

Marketing Materials

7. Update your business cards.
8. Make your business card stand out from the rest.
9. Create or update your brochure.
10. Create a digital version of your brochure for your website.
11. Explore a website redesign.
12. Get creative with promotional products and give them away at the next networking event you attend.

In-Person Networking

13. Write an elevator pitch.
14. Register for a conference.
15. Introduce yourself to other local business owners.
16. Plan a local business workshop.
17. Join your local chamber of commerce.
18. Rent a booth at a trade show.

Direct Mail

19. Launch a multi-piece direct mail campaign.
20. Create multiple approaches, and split test your mailings to measure impact.
21. Include a clear and enticing call to action on every direct mail piece.
22. Use tear cards, inserts, props and attention-getting envelopes to make an impact with your mailings.
23. Send past customers free samples and other incentives to regain their business.


24. Advertise on the radio.
25. Advertise in the Yellow Pages.
26. Advertise on a billboard.
27. Use stickers or magnets to advertise on your car.
28. Take out an ad in your local newspaper.
29. Advertise on a local cable TV station.
30. Advertise on Facebook.
31. Advertise on LinkedIn.
32. Buy ad space on a relevant website.
33. Use a sidewalk sign to promote your specials.

Social Media Marketing

34. Get started with social media for business.
35. Create a Facebook page.
36. Get a vanity URL or username for your Facebook page.
37. Create a Twitter account.
38. Reply or retweet someone else on Twitter.
39. Setup a Foursquare account for your business.
40. List your business on Google Places.
41. Start a business blog.
42. Write blog posts on a regular basis.
43. Start social bookmarking your online content.
44. Create a Groupon.

Internet Marketing

45. Start a Google Adwords pay-per-click campaign.
46. Start a Microsoft adCenter pay-per-click campaign.
47. Comment on a blog post.
48. Record a video blog post.
49. Upload a video to YouTube.
50. Check your online directory listings and get listed in desirable directories.
51. Set up Google Analytics on your website and blog.
52. Review and measure your Google Analytics statistics.
53. Register a new domain name for a marketing campaign or a new product or service.
54. Learn more about local search marketing.
55. Track your online reputation.
56. Sign up for the Help a Reporter Out (HARO) email list.

Email Marketing

57. Create an email opt-in on your website or blog.
58. Offer a free download or free gift to make people willing to add their email address to your list.
59. Send regular emails to your list.
60. Start a free monthly email newsletter.
61. Use A/B testing to measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns.
62. Perfect your email signature.
63. Add audio, video and social sharing functionality to your emails.

Contests, Coupons and Incentives

64. Start a contest.
65. Create a coupon.
66. Create a "frequent buyer" rewards program.
67. Start a client appreciation program.
68. Create a customer of the month program.
69. Give away a free sample.
70. Start an affiliate program.

Relationship Building

71. Send out a customer satisfaction survey.
72. Ask for referrals.
73. Make a referral.
74. Help promote or volunteer your time for a charity event.
75. Sponsor a local sports team.
76. Cross-promote your products and services with other local businesses.
77. Join a professional organization.
78. Plan your next holiday promotion.
79. Plan holiday gifts for your best customers.
80. Send birthday cards to your clients.
81. Approach a colleague about a collaboration.
82. Donate branded prizes for local fundraisers.
83. Become a mentor.

Marketing with Content

84. Plan a free teleconference or webinar.
85. Record a podcast.
86. Write a press release.
87. Submit your press release to various distribution channels.
88. Rewrite your sales copy with a storytelling spin.
89. Start writing a book.

Marketing Help

90. Hire a marketing consultant.
91. Hire a public relations professional.
92. Hire a professional copywriter.
93. Hire a search engine marketing firm.
94. Hire an intern to help with daily marketing tasks.
95. Hire a sales coach or salesperson.

Unique Marketing Ideas

96. Get a branded tattoo.
97. Create a business mascot to help promote your brand.
98. Take a controversial stance on a hot industry topic.
99. Pay for wearable advertising.
100. Get a full-body branded paint job done on your company vehicle.
101. Sign up for online business training to revamp, expand and fine tune all of your marketable skills.