Besides a business plan, an effective property investor also needs to put together a formal plan for marketing and sales. This detailed plan will describe your customers and the specific marketing strategies you will employ to reach them. You will also detail the types of media outlets you’ll use, the ways you’ll make public relations work to your advantage, and how your sales processes will be completed.
From this detailed plan you will create a summary of your marketing and sales approach that you can place in your business plan. Ensure that your summary clearly demonstrates that you know your customers, your products, and your market, and that you are prepared to capitalise on opportunities that present themselves as well as aggressively pursue new ones.
How detailed do you need to be?
If you are starting out with your property business then you may just want to create a basic marketing plan that is short and to the point, but sufficient for your needs. On the other hand, if your marketing plan is going to be used to influence someone to invest in your business or become your joint venture partner, you will probably need a more detailed and formal document.
If a simpler, more basic plan is right for you, you can start with an executive summary and follow it with this information:
- What are the specific objectives or strategies of your marketing plan? What is your reasoning behind them? In other words, what does the plan seek to accomplish and why?
- Who are your target customers?
- What is your positioning statement(s)? What customer needs are you trying to fill?
- What are the key opportunities and threats facing you?
- What action steps will you take and in what time frame?
- What is the budget for reaching your goals?
If you require a more comprehensive plan to help you define your sales and marketing strategy, you will need to answer questions such as the following:
- Who are your existing and potential customers? Who are your best customers? What kind of people are they? Where do they live? What do they do? What do they have in common? How will you get through to them? The goal is to ensure you genuinely understand your customer and therefore know how, when, and with what message you will reach them.
- What form of advertising, sales promotions, or publicity will you use to get their attention? For example, how will motivated sellers know that you are in the market to offer solutions to their property problems?
- What will this cost? For example, how much will it cost to run goldmine ads, and/or hire billboards? What will be the expected return on investment?
- How often will you need to reach your customers to help ensure your message gets across?
- If your products and services fit your customers’ needs, how will they know? How can you make sure they know?
- Can they afford your products and services?
- Are your prices in line with what the market will bear?
- Are your products and services accessible to them? Can you make them more accessible?
- Do you give your customers reasons to deal with you rather than your competitors?
- How will you adapt to your customers’ changing needs?
- What retention strategies will you employ to keep them loyal?
- What kind of image do you want to put forth? Affordable and decent quality? High-end and exclusive? How do you want the public to perceive your business?
- Which media do you plan to use to advertise your business?
- Direct mail
- What sales strategies will you employ?
- How will you attract customers?
- How will you attract repeat business?
A marketing plan is beneficial in many ways, but like the business plan, its true value lies in what you get out of actually writing it. That is because it helps you filter your ideas down to the marketing strategies, objectives, and programmes that have the greatest potential for success. And the research compiled along the way can open the door to opportunities you may otherwise have overlooked.
Recognise that you could need more than one plan. For example, you might have an overall marketing plan that coincides with your business plan. It answers how you will achieve the goals outlined in the business plan for gaining market share, attracting motivated vendors, buyers and tenants, improving sales, etc.
You may also develop a separate marketing plan for a specific purpose, such as when you are seeking financial support, expanding into a new market, or addressing a current marketing concern such as sudden loss of market share. It may be that a single marketing objective is so big it needs its own plan.
So why not get started writing yours!