Ideation [ahy-dee-ey-shuh n] : The creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas, where an idea is understood as a basic element of thought that can be either visual, concrete, or abstract.

Strategizing inbound marketing programs for our clients is something that we do #OnTheRegular. With each client, we go through a step-by-step workshop of the many digital marketing possibilities (similar to a “marketing buffet”) where we do some light education on tactics that focus on #GrowthHacking your digital playscape and zone-in on the best yellow-brick road for your business or side hustle.

Inbound marketing demands us to be jack-of-all-trades in the world of digital communication and invest the time to professionally develop dozens of skills – content development, search engine optimization, website design, UX/UI, lead conversion, trends, email blasts, social media, pay-per-click advertising and more.

When you’re a new business, understanding your capabilities, what you are comfortable doing in house, limitations and how each channel feeds your lead generation is essential. It is literally the difference between treading water every month and gaining obtainable growth.

So as a small business owner, where do we start our journey together? This two part series will go over just a small portion of how we collaborate with each client, what you can do to help clarify your marketing agenda and some basic topics to get ideas flowing.


Visualize Who Your Buyers Are

If I sit you down and ask you what your ideal client is, your first reaction is likely to be a pretty broad range of people (males and females, with or without children, who either own, rent or mooch(squat), ages 16 to 65). And my first reaction is going to be “okay – let’s dig deeper.”

Your buyer persona is the foundation of your inbound marketing plan. This creative process allows you to understand exactly whom you are talking to, how they communicate and what makes them tick. Crafting written and visual content specifically for your buyer resonates higher with your ideal clients; in turn helping you maintain a consistent voice and develop content around topics that attract those personas.


Important Questions to Answer:

What does your target market look like, financially? Example: Local entrepreneurs located in Berkeley County that are doing between $100,000 and $500,000 in revenue annually.
What does a quality lead look like? Do you need a specific amount of web leads per month or are you dependent on generating high foot traffic?
• What pains, problems or questions does your audience need answers for?


Profile Your Marketing Prompts

So you know who your clients are, what makes their world go round, their favorite shade of pink and how they take their coffees (because, who drinks just one coffee). Now we need to concentrate on the marketing triggers that lead them to you. What causes them to search? What problems are they trying to solve? Are they self-educating on the web before they reach out to you or are they coming in blind for a consult with an actual professional from the get-go?

Trigger-based marketing focuses on interacting with potential clients during their time of need, being reactive and targeted to them, versus broadcasting messages to large audiences.

Important Steps to Take:

Find out where your audience lives online.
Define your business model : B2C or B2B?
Browse social media, websites and blogs for your target audience.
Create a master list with links to these places and use them to fuel your research and development phase. Don’t skimp on this stage – truly invest the time to locate your audience and see what is available.


Create a List of Keywords

Content marketing is ALL about figuring out the problems your clients have and providing answers. Focusing on keywords and micro-moments that are relevant to your business, products and services is a great kickstart to mapping out how you can meet those demands.

As the rules of Search Engine Optimization change every day, less and less importance is put on actual keywords (by comparison to how the game was played a few years ago). Does that mean that you should abandon this step, and forgo putting the effort in keyword development? Absolutely not.

SEO has moved in the direction of being more humanized. Keywords that are used in active links and social-signals are gaining higher traction than traditional tactics like metadata and H1 tags. When planning your keyword strategy, be mindful of HOW people are searching and what those indicators look like on a localized level.


Important Questions to Answer:
• How do you search on Google?
• What problems or questions do your clients have, and how can you help?
• Is your audience local, regional, national or broader?
• Is there a keyword presence on social media?


Check back in next week as I highlight key steps in maximizing your customer experience and setting attainable growth goals in part two of our Cultivating a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy Series.