In this series of articles, we take a comprehensive look at the various sections you need to include in your marketing plan template. We explore each section in-depth to help you understand exactly what you need to research and write so that you can create a marketing plan that will help your business succeed.
A good marketing plan is like a map. It plots each step you need to take to reach your business goals. As well as helping you know exactly how to drive your product forward, your marketing template is also something that you can present to investors who will be able to evaluate your business and provide you with capital. The more comprehensive your plan is, the easier it is to attract investors.
In the previous article, we explored “Distribution”, in this article, we look at “Offers”.
What Are Offers?
Offers are the use of incentives to encourage your existing customers and potential customers to buy your products or services. Here, you need to ask yourself how you can add value to your product to make it more attractive to buyers. Offers should be unique and should set you apart from your competition.
Therefore, you must spend some time researching your competitors to understand what sort of offers they give their customers and think of ways that you can match their offers with a unique twist.
What Are Some Examples of Offers?
With offers, you are limited only by your imagination. However, there are some standard offers that many businesses use. These include:
- Discount offers: e.g., 10% off the first purchase.
- Free delivery: e.g., free delivery if they spend more than a fixed amount.
- Loyalty cards: e.g., offering points for mulitple purchases that your customer can redeem against future purchases.
- Specialist discounts: e.g., offering discounts to pensioners or students.
- Free trial: e.g., if you are offering a service you can give customers a free 10-day trial so they can try your product before they buy it.
How Do You Choose Your Offers?
There are two key things to consider when choosing your offers:
- Target Audience
Cost is particularly relevant if you are a start-up or are launching a new product on very little capital. Offers can eat into your profits, and with some, such as a free trial, you may not see profits for a few weeks. To address this problem, you need to understand a few things.
First, although you will be sacrificing some profit initially, offers will attract a larger number of customers, meaning that you should sell your product in greater volumes (Obviously, this depends on the viability of the product too). So offers boost overall revenue. If the initial outlay of the offer is too much, consider using a scheme that only costs you money after your customers have bought the product, e.g. loyalty cards.
Secondly, you need to tailor the offer to the target audience. For example, if your customers are likely to be young, you won’t attract them by offering a pensioner’s discount. So, at this stage of your offer creation, make sure that you understand your audience properly and conduct research to discover the types of offering to which your demographic responds. Here, you can try interviewing people or asking them to complete questionnaires. The better you know the audience, and the more you ask for their input, the more likely you are to land on a type of offer that will attract a large volume of customers.
The Importance of Testing and Measuring
Once you have researched your target audience, you should select two or three offers to test and measure. You are looking to establish which ones attract the highest sales volume. You should run multiple adverts with the different options to find out which one is more successful.
Consider factors such as sale volumes, but also whether offers are shared online/offline. For example, people sharing your offers on social media is a good thing – regardless of sales – because it means your brand is getting greater exposure.
Are They Essential?
Because of the issue with capital, you might be pleased to know that offers are not essential to your marketing plan. Unlike the other sections in this series of articles, you do not have to include it in your plan. They can help you boost exposure and sales, but exposure and sales are not dependent on them.
While offers are a non-essential part of your marketing plan, they are worth including because the do – when implemented properly – boost revenue. If cash is a problem, choose an offer that costs money only after the initial purchase or that provides value to the customer in a different way. The most important thing to take away here is that a good offer gives your customer ADDED VALUE. Therefore, you must spend time understanding your audience and how you can give them added value.