Marketing plans are documents that help organize and plan a company's marketing efforts. According to the book "Marketing Plans for Service Businesses" by Malcolm McDonald and Adrien Payne, marketing planning should be a top priority for service businesses. There are several important components to include in a marketing plan for a service business.
The executive summary section is standard for all marketing plans, for both product and service businesses. This is where you communicate the mission statement for your company, which is a brief description of why you are in business. For example, "We deliver the highest level service in the health consulting industry." Next, describe your marketing objectives. For a service business, an example might be, "Gain five new clients for our health care consulting services division by June 2011."
A traditional marketing plan for a product business outlines the "four P's" of marketing in the situation analysis section. However, there are some differences for a service business. The four P's are "product," "price," "place" and "promotion." Start by describing the types of services you offer. Then, communicate what you charge for your services. Next, identify where your business is located, as well as where you provide these services to customers. Finally, outline the promotional tactics you will use to market your services.
While a marketing plan for a product business contains a SWOT analysis in the situation analysis section, there are some subtle differences for a service business. First, SWOT stands for "strengths," "weaknesses," "opportunities" and "threats." This means you should begin this section by describing the strengths of your services, such as, "Most experienced experts in the financial services industry in Michigan." Next, describe your company's weaknesses, such as, "Lack of marketing budget for our services." Then, describe opportunities for growth for your service business, and wrap up by communicating any market threats to your business.
The final section of a marketing plan for your service business describes in detail the tactics you'll use to market your services. Start by describing the marketing budget for your business. Then, describe your tactics one-by-one and communicate a budget and time line for each tactic. There are various ways to market your service business. Send a direct mail campaign to all past clients telling them about a new service or update to your existing services. Launch a paid search campaign, and bid on key words related to your service. For example, if you offer financial services in Michigan, bid on the key words "financial services in Michigan" and write an ad to appear when consumers use these search terms. Attend conferences and networking events is another way to market your services by walking around and meeting people.