Building Your Business Plan: Part 12 – Advertising Plans

11 mins read

This article is written to provide you with the tools required to assist with developing your Business Plan as it applies to Advertising Strategies.

In part 11 of this series, we discussed Distribution and Sales. Now it is time to switch gears and get creative! More specifically, let’s discuss planning to advertise or market your business to the public. It is important when completing this section to always consider the message you want to send to the target audience.

Section 13 – Advertising Strategy

Advertising is a form of marketing that uses a specific message to reach customers which, if successful, will sell an idea, product, or service to the target audience that is consistent to your business! To find out more about branding, we suggest you read our article series on Branding, Colour Theory, and others found in the Marketing section of the BIG website.

When developing your advertising strategy, it is vital to the success of this project that you carry out a model strategy that speaks true to your business and what you want to accomplish, and fits within your budget.

A. What form of advertising are you preparing to use?

To answer this question, it would be helpful to revisit Part 4 where you defined who your target audience is and Part 5 when you conducted market research, as these sections of your business plan will support you in deciding which form of advertising will be most effective.

Pro Tip: Think outside of box! It might be worth the effort to reach the attention of those outside of your target audience, as they might be a valuable source of free advertising through word of mouth or gifting.

The B!G 4 Advertising Channels:

      • Print: Flyers, billboards, direct mail, pamphlets, catalogs, newspapers, and magazines are the traditional and most common approaches to reach the attention of potential customers typically in a geographical location or pre-determined market audience.
      • Email: Subscription or direct emails have the potential to reach a large audience, however, the average open rate is fairly low, depending on how engaged people are.
      • Broadcasting: TV, radio, and podcasts are an approach to grab the attention of a vast group of potential customers at once.
      • Digital: Blogs, Video Channels, and Social Media are the preferred and most effective channels to reach the newer generations as they are more connected to the online world and digital advertising is fairly inexpensive and more efficient.

As you have become aware throughout this series, preparation and knowledge are key! Before you make a decision on which channel to use, just remember that this can either make or break your advertising campaign. To have a successful campaign, you need to reach as many customers as possible and generate revenue, and this starts with selecting the correct advertising channel. To guide you further in this development, visit websites like the American Psychological Association, Corporate Finance Institute, Yelp for Business for general advertising advice, or Shortlist where you can receive advice on the best advertising agencies or channels in Saskatchewan.

B. How will you advertise? What are the costs of the forms of advertising you are considering?

This question is supplementary to the previous one. Once you have determined which advertising method you will use for your campaign, the next step is to understand the costs that would be incurred and if that fits within your budget. Questions to ask yourself include:

      • Which forms of advertising are going to be most effective for your target audience?
      • What is the estimated cost of each form of advertising you are considering?
      • Which are going to be least effective, and how much do those cost?
      • Can you afford the forms of advertising you plan on using?

Asking yourself questions like these is intended to make you think critically about your advertising campaign and its effectiveness. To assist you further with advertising and costs, you may want to visit websites like Shopify, Oberlo, TopDraw, Fit Small Business, Staples, or Little Dragon. We recommend reading our article on online providers and local companies to expand on your knowledge to assist you in making the right decision.

Always remember that there is no definite final answer. You may need to come back to the drawing board down the road, which is why it is important to consider all the options rather than thinking only inside the box.

C. What message to you want to send?

Developing an effective advertising strategy must incorporate your business’s brand and model. This guarantees that the potential customers are exposed to and receive consistent messaging. Whatever message you rollout to the public, you will want to make sure that it is the right message, and how you want your business viewed. One critical thought to consider is that once an advertisement is made public, there is no going back. The wrong advertising message could be a major impact on the success of your business.

Six messaging strategies you can use in advertising include: Emotional, Unique Selling Proposition, Generic, Positioning, Brand Image, and Pre-emptive. A good messaging strategy can also help position your brand for scalability and big wins. The ideal marketing message should do the following:

        • Explain your core offering to the people in a manner that’s easily digestible and memorable
        • Resonate with your audience and make them feel like that their concerns matter
        • Give them a clear idea about what problem you solve, how you are different, what you stand for, etc.
        • Establish trust in your product or service, so that they don’t hesitate to buy and refer your product or service to others

It would be unfortunate if you put your time and effort into an advertising plan, only for it to fail because it did not align with your business’s brand and customers were expecting something different. Once you have determined what message strategy you would like to use to reach your customers and gain attraction during your advertising campaign, you will be able to answer this question.

D. Will your advertisement campaign differ from your competition’s? How?

Throughout this process, you will become familiar with reflecting on your competition’s strategies; while you continue with the plan development, we suggest keeping an eye out on your competition’s advertisement and look for areas of opportunity that you could make your strategy and campaign “better.”

Document your findings here and be honest with what you found. Be sure to include how your campaign will differ from your competition. The more details you provide, the better. When you outline every difference in strategy, you allow room for your mind to see what is happening and potentially provide yourself the capacity to improve on your advertisement strategy.

E. Will you use other businesses to promote your business’s products/services? Do you have any firm/committed contracts in place?

To answer this question, you may want to reflect on the similar question from the previous part of this series, but instead of promoting your products or service; this question is intended to be geared towards your business concept itself. Here is where you will list out the details and provide any letters of intent.

Now that you have an understanding of what Advertising Plans are, you will be able to begin developing an advertisement campaign for your business. Please stay tuned for part 13 of this series when we discuss financial statements.

Download the Building Your Business Plan: Part 12 – Advertising Plans Reference & Guide (zip).

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Visit our Resource Library for all available downloads.

If you require assistance with any of the guides, forms or templates, please contact a BIG representative.

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