Perform a SWOT Analysis
Determine your company's strengths. Strengths are things your company does well or positive traits about your organization. Convenient store locations and a knowledgeable sales staff are strengths.
Determine your company's weaknesses. Weaknesses are things your company does poorly and may include other deficiencies. A lousy website, a bad reputation and unfriendly sales staff are examples of weaknesses.
Identify opportunities. Opportunities are social or financial trends happening outside the company that could prove to be beneficial. For example high unemployment rates create opportunities for resume writers. View your weaknesses as opportunities for improvement.
Identify threats. Threats are outside trends affecting all competitors in the market. Growing unemployment rates threaten day care centers. Laid-off parents may not have the money to pay for services and they are available to tend to children themselves.
Develop a Detailed Plan
Identify potentially lucrative customers. Target individuals that will be attracted to your strengths while you downplay weaknesses. Be specific. Large and broad target groups are harder to reach effectively. Define your market using any appropriate traits. Income, stage of life, ethnicity and personality traits are common identifiers.
Research your target market. Learn what magazines they read, what they do in their spare time, where they live and what they like. Find out how many individuals are in your target market. Ensure the group is large enough to be profitable and small enough to reach easily.
Develop an advertising campaign to reach your target. Use your research to select cost-effective marketing channels. Consider specialty publications, billboards, internet marketing, e-mail blasts, direct mailers, radio and television.
Create a marketing time line. Decide when to run ads and conduct other promotion efforts so your marketing campaign has the most impact.
Create an evaluation system for your plan. This ensures you don't waste time, effort and money on tactics that do not work. Response rates, resulting sales and returning customer rates are all examples of evaluation standards.
Enrich your plan with other sales techniques. Consider incentive programs for your sales staff, point-of-purchase demonstrations, pricing strategies and loyalty programs.
Modify your plan. Adjust your sales and marketing plan constantly. Always be open to developing new strategies and eliminating plan elements that fall flat.