DIY Your Digital Strategy in 30 Minutes Per Day (The Complete Guide).
If you’re just getting started and looking for digital marketing help, it’s easy to feel intimidated by all of the great information out there. I know it’s hard to believe that you could take focused action and see results in just half an hour a day, but I know firsthand it can be done.
I’m here to help cut through the noise and make you a believer. In this guide, I’ll show you exactly how to DIY your digital strategy in just 30 minutes a day.
This is our complete guide to doing your own digital strategy, crafted based on lessons I’ve learned working with 100+ micro-and small-businesses. This resource will walk you through budgetary considerations, components of your DIY digital strategy, and how to be consistent over time with your efforts.
Though your DIY digital strategy will require ongoing work and attention, don’t be overwhelmed. I’ll cover each step with you, and I’ll even give you a downloadable checklist you can use to get started.
First up: let’s discuss your website—or, as I like to call it, the vehicle that will move your business forward.
Think of your website less like home and more as a vehicle.
It’s common for people to refer to your website as your home on the web. I’d argue that your website is much more like a car, however—it’s a functional, moving thing that needs to be checked on and maintained if you want it to run properly.
You’d never expect to buy a car and then never think about it again, but you’d be surprised how many people do this with their websites.
You have to regularly maintain and tune up your website over time; there is no “set it and forget it” here.
Like a car, your website requires fuel, maintenance, and upgrading in order to serve you well.
Just like you put gas in your car to keep it running, your website uses regular, fresh content. Content can include copy, photos, videos, and more. We’ll cover more of this as we get further in the guide.
Your car will also need regular maintenance like oil changes; likewise, your website will undergo updates and structural maintenance. You’ll want to check often to make sure there aren’t any hidden issues. Your website should be evaluated at regular intervals for optimizations and updates.
And eventually, your car will wear out or you’ll be in the market for a new model—same with your website. Your site will likely need to be overhauled around the three-year mark. Technology changes fast these days, and you’ll need to keep up.
If you’re a brand new business, think of yourself like a teenager getting your first car.
The first car I ever bought for myself was a little red Cavalier. It wasn’t fancy, but I loved it. It got me where I needed to go, and it taught me how to take care of a vehicle. I can’t imagine having gone out at that age and looking for a fully-loaded Mercedes. I wasn’t ready for that responsibility yet, and I couldn’t have maintained it.
This applies to our businesses, too.
If you’re a brand new business, your car is going to be more like a used Cavalier—or a Pinto in some cases, let’s be honest—than a top-of-the-line model. With this first model, you will learn what it takes to maintain and care for it, and there will be a learning curve at first.
Your first website probably won’t have all the bells and whistles you see on big companies’ sites—and that’s perfectly fine.
You don’t need a big fancy website yet. The amount of money you’d have to pay for a site like that isn’t worth it for you right now; there are far better ways to use your budget.
In 2021, expect to spend at least $5-10K to outsource your website build. If that’s outside of your budget, then you should be on Squarespace or WordPress creating your own website. You can pocket the money saved and invest it in other areas of your business. Then when you’re more established a few years down the line, you can look to improve your website to get more reliable lead flows or provide a better user experience.
Your first site is your workhorse, and you may even discover after using it for a while that you want to stick with it, even if your budget increases.
Some businesses never upgrade their websites because the ones they have are functional, and that’s fine too. You don’t have to be the flashiest site on the web to attract business.
If you’re just starting out but don’t want to do it all yourself, consider outsourcing images or copy.
There’s nothing wrong with having a limited budget; most of us have been there in the early days of our businesses. However, a common mistake in this situation is to spend the money you do have on a web designer and then take photos and write the content yourself.
We recommend doing the opposite. If you have less than $2K to spend total, you can best use that money to buy quality images or hire a copywriter. This will add impactful copy or photography to the website you’re building. We know that words and images resonate with customers, making this a great place to invest your dollars.
One note: when you’re starting out, it’s okay to hire someone for digital who’s also new to the field.
You’ll save money and help someone get experience, which are both great things. You will, however, have to temper your expectations. You won’t get the same level of output as someone with more experience—but that’s okay. Depending on your business, this could be a great way to outsource on a budget.
This guide reflects our commitment to Do Better Digital™
I’ve been working with women who take their businesses very personally for a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of things. Many of them didn’t sit well with me. A lot of marketing companies are predatory. They want your money in exchange for their services and information, and they won’t offer anything outside of that.
I don’t think that’s fair. I think you’re better off saving the money you can, especially when you’re just starting out until you grow to a place where you really need help and can afford it.
A lot of companies make the same mistakes over and over, and I want to help steer you in the right direction. I am confident that if you do the things listed in this guide, you can absolutely grow your business.
Here’s how to use this guide to DIY your digital strategy.
We suggest you go through the Stage Building and Search Foundations sections first, before you look at the other material. I’ve laid it out that way for a reason. These are the things that most people skip, and they’re very important.
You need to understand your audience, keywords, what your current site does—and doesn’t do—well, as well as how to set up things like your Google Business Profile before you move on.
Most people go straight into setting up their social media accounts and posting away, and that’s understandable. You’re excited about your business, and you want to spread the word and connect with folks. However, it’s much easier to start correctly than to clean up mistakes.
And if you’ve already started and made some mistakes, don’t worry. This guide will still help you. Take a pause from your current activities, read over the sections in the order I recommend, and then go back to your strategy armed with new knowledge on how to proceed.
What you spend your 30 minutes each day working on will be different, depending on where you’re at with your business.
I believe in values-driven digital marketing, which means how you spend your time looks different for every business. It’s all dependent on what phase you’re in and what your values are. There’s no one-size-fits-all advice here.
If your business is newer, you’ll probably be looking to get the biggest bang for your dollar. Just like a teenager might wash their own car or change their own oil to save money, you’ll be looking to maximize your return on what you do choose to spend money on.
If you’re more established and have a regular cash flow, you’ll probably be looking to grow your product line or customer base. You’ll spend your time differently because you’ve likely outsourced some of your marketing functions and don’t have to DIY those tasks as much anymore.
Stage Building + Strategy Design
You may be tempted to jump right in but you have some systems to put in place first. You always want to build the stage before you put on the production, right? The staging and design phase is where you get prepared. Here you’ll be gathering information and putting a plan in place before moving forward with specific tactics.
This phase consists of looking at:
Personas (aka Raving Fans)
Personas are the first step in building your digital strategy. Identifying your personas are how you meet your raving fans—the people who appreciate your business and want to connect with you in genuine ways. Your raving fans are who everything you do is centered around.
Keywords are an often overlooked component of your digital strategy foundation. Before you create any content, you need to do basic keyword research. This will help you find words your site can rank for, which translates to more people being able to find you on the web.
If you already have a website, you’ll want to take stock of what you’ve done well and where you can improve. Auditing your website consists of reviewing your content and formatting, evaluating your design and functionality, and checking everything for search engine optimization.
Content and Production Plans
Creating content and production plans helps you to see how all of the pieces fit together and how customers move through their journey with your business.
Now that you have your persona descriptions, keywords you want to target, and actionable items to improve on, you can create a brief one-page plan to move forward. Why do I want you to keep it brief? It’s more important to get focused on a few small areas than to think of every single thing you might want to do with your marketing.
Search engine optimization (SEO) can do a lot for your business. This is how you get free, organic traffic to your website and how new people find out about you. While your raving fans—who you met during persona development—are always your first priority, SEO is also a valuable tool to connect with new people and grow your audience.
Local Search & Google My Business
Imagine there’s a woman looking for what you offer just a couple miles away from you. She’s typing in a search on her phone and reviewing the results that pop up. Google will deliver her tailored results based on her location and keep it to a nearby radius.
We know that people are likely to visit the top search result given to them within 1-2 days. That means that if you’re the top result, a new customer may be in touch with you very soon!
The way to rank in searches like these is to optimize your Google My Business profile. If you take the time to work on your profile, you will start seeing results.
Google Data & Monitoring Tools
To understand how people are finding your site, what the trends in search are, and how well you are performing both against your own goals and against your competitors, utilizing Google’s data and monitoring tools is essential. Luckily, you don’t have to be a data scientist to use today’s tools! To get started, you’ll need three completely free Google tools set up for your site beyond the Google My Business Profile mentioned above. They are:
User Experience Monitoring
In addition to basic Google tools, it’s essential that a site meant to be your primary business driver has deep user experience monitoring. Our favorite monitoring tool for beginners is HotJar. This tool uses heatmaps and interaction recording to help you understand how users experience your site pages, your menus, and more.
Practice and Growth
Now that you’ve done the work to evaluate your website, get to know your raving fans, and optimize your local SEO, it’s time to move on to the next phase: Practice and Growth.
The good news is that most of the heavy lifting is out of the way now, and we’ve arrived at the fun part! I often refer to this phase as the dance party, so put on your party hat and grab your streamers. Practice and Growth is the phase where you get to play around a little.
Facebook and/or Instagram Daily 5
The “Daily 5” on Facebook and Instagram is a digital marketing strategy that allows you to interact with the people you already know, like, and trust. It’s just like going to a party with all of your oldest and best friends. What could be better?
The Daily 5 is fast, efficient, and rewarding and will allow you to reap the rewards of social media without falling into a rabbit hole of lost time.
LinkedIn is one of our favorite underutilized tools. It’s specifically intended to help you foster business relationships and it tends to be more organically driven; both of those reasons make it a great place to spend some time as you grow your business.
The “3x3” strategy asks just a few minutes of you, a few times a week, in order to engage your VIPs and generate some new business.
Your VIP Scorecard is a way to measure and track how much business you can expect to get, based on the activities you’re doing. This can help you assess the time and energy investment you’re putting into various tasks.
The scorecard assigns a point value to different actions, and you’ll work toward different point goals per week, depending on where you are with your business.
Creating and Engaging
The party continues! Creating content that will catch people’s attention and make your customers want to interact with you is the focus of our next phase. How and what you create is largely up to you, and there are pros and cons to each format.
Great copy is pure magic. It’s the easiest way to emotionally engage people. It really captivates your audience, and you don’t need a large advertising budget or fancy writing techniques to pull it off. All you need is an understanding of your raving fans (from the personas step) and the ability to convey empathy to that audience.
Good design is not always the one that looks the prettiest. What’s more important than form is function; you want design that works. You want your design to be user-friendly, accessible, and engaging. Great design prioritizes user experience, fits into your larger brand design, and, yes, it also looks nice.
We know, we know...Some digital marketing expert has been telling you that video is a must do for everyone. We strongly disagree. Video can be an important asset if done properly. However, choosing the style, format, and level of production that is right and sustainable for you is essential to getting started. And, not everyone’s business needs video. We will say it yet again, don’t ever fall for the “musts”.
Don't forget to Optimize.
As I talked about with the car analogy, digital strategy is never a “set it and forget it” deal.
You need constant tuning and upkeep if you want to be able to keep your car in working condition.
Be prepared to look under the hood regularly and tinker with things as needed.
Schedule regular reviews so that you don’t miss the small things.
I recommend sitting down once a month with our checklist to look everything over. This way, you’ll catch the small things, like changing out CTAs or adding new links to blog posts. It won’t feel overwhelming if you do it this way because you’re doing it in small batches.
Make sure your Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics are both working. These are the most insightful out of any of the data tools out there, and they’re totally free. They’ll let you know if you’re gaining traction with your efforts.
There is a lot of data you can find using these but you don’t have to dive deep right off the bat. Just check in regularly on general metrics: Are your conversions going up? Is your traffic rising? Are people leaving the website faster than expected?
Too many people in today’s digital-crazed world discount traditional marketing, but not us. The biggest online brands still make a significant amount of revenue from traditional methods of networking like word of mouth, or mediums like print, TV commercials, etc. Depending on where you are with your business, there may be some traditional strategies that make sense for you.
Consistency is king. Here’s how to make sure your DIY digital strategy actually happens.
It’s better for you to take just a few minutes each day to work on these things than to sit down for a few hours once a month. It doesn’t matter how great your content is if you aren’t regularly interacting with people and updating your content—and monthly won’t cut it.
Carve out the time in your calendar each day. Create expectations with your audience that you’ll be back tomorrow. Set a timer on your phone and work on these things for five minutes at a time. Don’t be afraid to create boundaries in this way; many people are scared to work on any of this because they think they’ll end up losing track of time, but setting a timer will knock you out of the zone and remind you to move on.
Finally, celebrate your wins. All of them.
I see a lot of people get down on themselves when they feel they only have a few followers or not enough traffic. Something I learned from Tara McMullin that has always stuck with us is the “Living Room Strategy.”
Basically, it’s easier and more rewarding to fill a living room than a huge venue. If you’ve got a handful of people interacting with you, imagine those people in your living room. Now that doesn’t seem like such a small number, right? It seems like a pretty good gathering and a cause for celebration.
Take time to notice every single small win you have along the way. A digital strategy is never really done, which can be hard to understand at first. If you’re looking for an endpoint, you’ll always be frustrated and eventually burn out. The way to build a sustainable business is to celebrate as you go.
Pat yourself on the back when you get ten new followers on social media. Show your best friend the blog you spent half a day creating. Engaging in these little moments of joy will help you stay motivated.
Remember: When you grow past a certain point, it’s time to think about hiring out.
When you reach the point you can reasonably spend $2K a month or more, it’s probably a good time to start looking for outside help.
Consistent income in those ranges usually means you’re making headway with your digital strategy, and your own time will be better spent focusing on higher-impact activities.
Until you reach that $2K mark, keep plugging away with your DIY digital strategy tasks and iterating until you get there—and you will get there.
Get help with every step of your DIY Journey, on-Demand Now.
You did it! You made it to the end of our DIY Digital Strategy Guide. I know this is a lot to take in, but I also know that you can do this.
If you’ve followed the guide the way I’ve laid it out, I am confident that you’ll build a foundation from which to grow your business. And if you decide you ever want to dive deeper, our Local Rock Star DIY program is always available to provide even more support.