You mentioned: "many times clients have already done this work.  Ask them for copies of their market research reports when you start a project.  It will save you a ton of time and effort!"  We do this with most of our clients, like you said we have found that around 75% of the have some kind of Market research done, that saves you a lot of time and helps setting up the right SEO Strategy. 
Social media marketing is not as difficult as it sounds, especially when you rely on tools like Hootsuite. With this particular tool, you can schedule and manage social media profiles for more than 30 platforms. Imagine doing this by hand, without a central dashboard to guide you. It would be enough to frustrate even the most experienced entrepreneur, let alone a new business owner. Let Hootsuite operate like the social media marketing manager it is.
Dedicate some time to brainstorm all the different ways you can attract inbound links to your website. Start small –- maybe share your links with other local businesses in exchange for links to their sites. Write a few blog posts and share them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Consider approaching other bloggers for guest blogging opportunities through which you can link back to your website.
Your tip about CTA’s really hit the spot. I’ve been noticing that some of our competitors are using wordy yet highly specific buttons like ‘Get My Free Consultation Now!’ or ‘See Other Works From ____’. I was skeptic at first, but reading your logic behind it, it makes sense. I’m looking forward to implementing this on my own sites. Thank you, Brian.
Traditionally, defining a target audience involves determining their age, sex, geographic locations, and especially their needs (aka pain points). Check out usability.gov’s description of personas and how to do task analysis & scenarios for more details, or better yet, read Vanessa Fox’s upcoming book about personas related to search and conversion.
Offline events like trade shows are highly anticipated growth opportunities for professionals in your industry. Demo your latest product at an appropriate conference and collect signups in-person. Once you're back at the office, import these signups into your contact database. Be sure to send these contacts a welcome email that confirms their opt-in to your list. (See #8 in this blog post for tips on sending welcome emails.)

Let’s look at another example. Maybe you wrote an long-form guide all about Instagram Marketing called “Top Instagram Marketing Strategies.” You’re mainly targeting the search phrase: “Instagram Marketing Strategy”. Even just a couple of years ago this content would likely rank highly for a vast spread of related queries - now, not so much. Instead of trying to rank for everything with one large guide, you could break out parts of it into smaller, individual blog posts to help rank for more granular queries that come with differing intent. 
Offer a reward for customers who buy something from you and show that they checked in at your business on Foursquare using their mobile device. When they do this, they’re telling everyone in their network that they’ve done business with you. Each month, reward the person who gave you the greatest exposure by offering a discount, and asking for their email address.
Specifics: Be as specific as you can with your recommendations. For example if you’re suggesting partnering with meal home delivery sites, find out which ones are going to provide the most relevant info, at what cost if possible, and what the ideal partnership would look like for content and SEO purposes. Even provide contact information if you can.
Before you start obsessing over keyword rankings, try to get a solid technical foundation in place. The foundation of SEO lies in three distinct stages: crawling, indexing, and ranking. When your site is not optimized for crawling, search engines can’t access (and eventually index) your content. If you don’t do this part right, nothing else matters. So in this respect, ranking is often the least important stage.

Internet Marketing Ninjas is a full-service SEO company that offers everything you need to succeed online, all in one place. We provide a comprehensive collection of tools to help elevate your website to unprecedented success in all areas of Internet marketing. Check out some of our publicly available tools here, then find out more about our wide variety of Internet marketing services and how we can produce results that can make your business stronger and more profitable.
You might be doing all the right things to generate leads -- landing pages, gated content, contests, and more. The problem might be that the design or copy itself isn't driving the engagement you need. A/B test (also known as "split test") different aspects of your list-building campaigns with different versions of the same content. This includes the call-to-action text, the color of the gated offer, the time of day you're posting to social media, and even where on your website these signup forms are placed. Sometimes a small change can drive hundreds more conversions.
Why not? When you skimp on tools, you hinder your marketing from getting better. So, regardless of whether you choose these specific tools or not, make it your goal to find tools that you use regularly. Better tools are equivalent to better marketing. Whatever the tool you choose, make sure that you understand it well and that it makes a measurable improvement on your marketing efforts.
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I completely agree that defintion of a target audience isa great first step, but would ask if adding in competitors to the analysis (mentioned here as a later step) helps draw out who your target audience would be via comparisons, i.e. showing who you are an who you are not - would be very interested to hear opinions on how this tactic can be used within the overall step in coordination with targeted keyword discovery.
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