Building Your Business Becoming an Owner Business Plans Marketing & Sales Section in Your Home Business Plan How To Write the Marketing Section of Your Business Plan By Randy Duermyer Randy Duermyer Twitter Randy Duermyer is a home-based business owner with experience in digital marketing. He opened The Web Go-To Guy in 2003 and assists clients with SEO, social media, paid search marketing, copywriting, technical writing, blogging, and more. He also has experience in digital marketing, working for Market It Write and The Tree Geek. learn about our editorial policies Updated on September 13, 2022 Fact checked by Yasmin Ghahremani Fact checked by Yasmin Ghahremani Twitter Yasmin Ghahremani has over two decades of journalism experience and is an expert on personal finance topics, including credit cards, insurance, and loans. As an Associate Editorial Director she sets The Balance’s standards for evaluating financial services, which includes assigning, editing, and fact-checking articles. learn about our editorial policies Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article Why You Need a Business Plan What To Include in the Marketing & Sales Section The 5 P's of Marketing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: Prasit photo / Getty Images Before starting your home business, it's important to outline all the details in a business plan. Creating the plan not only forces you take a good look at all aspects of your business, but it also becomes the roadmap for your success. One of the most important sections of a business plan is the Marketing and Sales Strategies section, which outlines your plan for reaching and selling to your target market. While you want to have a wonderful product or provide stellar service, it's all for nothing if you don't have customers or clients. Your marketing plan is the key to effectively and affordably finding your buyers, and is crucial for potential investors and lenders. Key Takeaways A marketing plan is an essential part of a business plan.Business plans and marketing plans are important even if you're not seeking funding.A marketing plan can be built around the 5 P's: product, price, place, promotion, and people.You should set up metrics to measure how your marketing plan is working. Why You Need a Business Plan for a Home Business There is some debate regarding the need for home business owners to have a formal business plan, especially if you're not asking for startup funding. However, a business plan isn't only about appealing to banks and investors. The truth is, every business, regardless of size, needs a business plan. A business plan helps you: Make smart decisions: A business plan helps you focus your ideas and forces you to spell out strategies for everything from human resources, to technology, to marketing. Identify potential weaknesses: As you go through the work of creating a business plan, you may spot pitfalls in your ideas. It's also a good idea to share the plan with experts who can give you advice and tell you what they think won't work. Convince people to give you money: If you do need startup funding, investors and lenders will definitely want to see a detailed business plan so that they can assess how likely you are to be successful with your business. Communicate your ideas with other stakeholders: You can share your plan with people you want to recruit to work with you, suppliers you need to ask for credit, and potential clients. What To Include in the Marketing & Sales Section The basics of the marketing and sales section have to do with knowing your market and competition, and designing your product messaging, pricing, and other marketing strategies to maximize sales. It involves the 5 P's of marketing, as well as figuring out how you'll measure your marketing mix's success. The 5 P's of Marketing The 5 P's started out as 4 P's, a construct developed by E. Jerome McCarthy more than 50 years ago. The 4 P's include basic elements of marketing, which are product, price, place, and promotion. In later years, people or personnel was added by some marketers to become the fifth P. Product Describe the product or service offered to the customer by your home business, including the physical attributes of your products or services, what they do, how they differ from your competitors', and what benefits they provide to your potential customers. Price Outline pricing strategies that will help you reach your target profit margin. How you will price your product or service so that the price remains competitive while still allowing you to make a good profit? When calculating price, make sure you take into consideration both fixed expenses (those that don't change) and variable expenses (costs that aren't set), as well as your time and expertise, to insure you're charging enough to make a profit. Also discuss if your price will be lower or higher than your competition, and how you can justify the difference (i.e. what do buyers get by paying more for your product?). Place (Distribution) Indicate where your business will sell its products or services, and how it will get those products or services to consumers. For example, will you sell online? Will you consign your products into local stores? Note When you know what outlets your product and services will be available in, indicate how much you expect to sell in each location. For example, will 65% of your sales be done online and 35% through face-to-face appointments? Also include any delivery terms and costs, and how those expenses will be covered (e.g., added to the sale of the item). Indicate if there are any shipping or labeling requirements that need to be considered and how you will meet those requirements. Finally, outline the transaction process and your return policies. Promotion What methods of promotion will you use to communicate the features and benefits of your products or services to your target customers? Will you advertise? If so, where? What percentage of advertising will be handled by each advertising option? How much business do you anticipate each form of advertising will result in? How much is this all going to cost? Also indicate if you plan to offer coupons or other incentives to get customers in the door. People Decide on the people who will the provide sales and service that will be used in marketing your products or services to the customer. Who are the people or sales team that will be selling or providing customer service, and what kind of training will they receive? Do you plan to offer any incentives to your customer service representatives and how do you plan to measure customer satisfaction? Essentially, the 5 P's of marketing forms the basis of your marketing plan. If you want to make your marketing plan a standalone document, you'll also want to include the information you prepared in the Market Analysis section for your business plan. Note Some marketers consider the 4 P's or 5 P's to be too focused on the producer and have instead adopted the 4 C's, which look at marketing from the customer's point of view. So, "place" becomes "convenience," "price" becomes "cost to the user," "promotion" becomes "communication," and "product" becomes "customer needs and wants." Evaluating Marketing Effectiveness As you make your marketing decisions, consider how you'll know what strategies are working and those that aren't. There's no sense in wasting time or money on promotional tactics that don't work. If you use social media to promote your business, you'll want to measure changes in your social media analytics. Consider using A/B testing techniques to make sure you're using marketing messages or materials that customers respond to best. Whatever form of marketing you use, find a way to quantify results so you can know whether it's worth your time and money to continue to use it. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) What is a marketing plan in a business plan? A marketing plan is a strategic document outlining the steps you intend to take to achieve your marketing objectives. It helps you define your product or service, identify customers and competitors, think about how you'll attract customers, and how you'll react to marketplace changes. It's an important component of a business plan, which also includes strategies for other parts of the business. How can I promote my home-based business? You'll want to start with some free or low-cost ways to get the word out about your business. Some to consider: setting up a blog, using social media (either to post information on your personal or business page, or to buy ads), pitching media outlets that are a good fit for your business, and offering deals through sites like Goupon that can help you attract new customers fast. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Small Business Development Center, Duquesne University. "Do You Really Need a Business Plan?" University of Maryland Extension. "Marketing Mix." University of Florida, IFAS Extension. "Eight Steps To Developing a Simple Marketing Plan."