As we are building new marketing plans for clients, I always simplify the marketing plan to several basic questions and actionable steps.

There are many people teaching different tips and tricks for marketing a business: funnel building, SEO, SEM, pay-per-lead advertising, direct marketing, copywriting, and the list goes on.

Don’t misunderstand me here. As a professional marketer, I study SEO, I read sales letters for fun, I listen to webinars. My team regularly creates content around the technical terms we use to help our readers and potential customers learn more about what we do.

But for most small business owners, all that technical knowledge is fluff.

Why?

A small business marketing plan simply asks who are your people, how can you better serve them, and sets up a couple of action steps do that.

Here’s how you can prepare your small business marketing plan.

It’s called a niche, or an ideal customer avatar, or your tribe, or… The point of this is when you think about who are the people who love your business, it gives you the foundation for understanding where to find them and how to communicate with them.

Find your people.

This has helped with many of my customers, to think through the question “Who are my people?” This isn’t about picking the right size of market or making sure your market demographics match what your marketing is. Those are valuable things to research as a marketer. As a business owner, just name your 3 highest value customers and look at what they share in common.

You are starting to discover your people. As your business grows, “your people” can change and grow too. That is ok, for the purposes of getting started all you need is the small group size of people you have actually served.

What if you don’t have any customers yet?

Go find some. Seriously. If a man selling a belt without holes can go door-to-door selling it before he shows up to a Shark Tank interview, you can go find some customers for your business.

Identify Where Your People Get Information

18 to 20-year-olds are not really filling up my Facebook newsfeed these days. Instagram, yes; Facebook, no. I was in a local business group to Charlotte and some scammer posted a too good to be true job offer and asked people to Whatsapp the account. This scammer obviously had not done the research to discover where we get information. Americans don’t use Whatsapp, generally.

If you want to market small engine repair to local communities, Nextdoor can be a great place to be. If you’re a baker who wants to sell recipes online, you have GOT to be on Pinterest. Know your people and where they are.

For some people, you need to be doing physical marketing more than any online or digital. It really just depends on your people.

Create the content in those places.

How do you know someone loves you if they never tell you?

You don’t. Same thing with marketing. If you are never telling people about your business, people won’t know your business exists. Create content for each area where you have identified your niche.

Promote the content in those places.

The final step of your marketing plan is to do common sense promotions to increase the amounts of people who see your business.

For many small businesses, this amount should not be more than 10% of the marketing budget. I know that many other marketers will say that you should find an ad that works to bring ROI and pour as much money as you can. This is a good idea when you have an online business that is selling information because more customers do not increase the costs of goods or services and do not increase your workload.

Buying ads is expensive and you can never be certain that what worked today will work tomorrow. If you build a relationship of trust through the right content delivered to the right people via the best method, then your advertising revenue becomes a simple step up to the next level.

So that is it, your four steps to create a marketing plan are to identify your people, to find where your people get information, create content in those places, and promote it.