Bake it till you Make it

Like any good cake or cookie, all things are comprised of basic ingredients. Almost any recipe you find will call for the use of things like eggs, flour and sugar as the basic ingredients, but as you get into more complex and flavorful recipes (which are often the most delicious and well-received) you’ll need to use more ingredients. The same can be said for digital advertising strategy – although I wouldn’t recommend putting the wet ingredients near your computer!

A good digital strategy needs to feature the same ‘ingredients’ in some way or another to be successful and all of the additional ingredients are there to make the materials all the more impactful and successful. So, don your favorite apron and preheat the oven because we’re going to make a digital advertising layer-cake.


(Note the quantities are satire and in no way reflect the value of each ingredient)

1 cup Audience Profile

2 tbsp Call-to-Action

1 stick Design

½ cup Email Marketing

3 cups Social Media

¼ tsp Online Ads/SEO



Audience Profile

This is so important in a digital strategy because online it is often difficult to know who your ads are touching. Even with the fine-tuned targeting strategies that are available you need to get into the nitty-gritty of your target audience. Start by answering a few questions. Say your company sells cookbooks, you would ask things like;

  • What is the age range we are targeting? Will they be looking online for recipes, or purchasing books?
  • What kind of dietary restrictions do they have? Are they counting macros or eating with their heart?
  • Will they be cooking for one person or a family?
  • What kind of website are they looking at? Are they using social media channels to find recipes?

You get the idea. Look into the possibilities of your audience and segment as far as you can so that when programming your ads online you can say ‘Men and women ages 22-31, in Fairfield County, who find recipes on Pinterest and mostly cook meals that include a protein, vegetable and grain’.

Call-to-Action (CTA)

Another important one, but then again all of these are, or I wouldn’t be listing them, right? Having a strong call-to-action can make or break your ad. The average user sees 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day which is a whole lot!! It gets to a point where we might not even notice them, unless it catches our eye or has a strong CTA. Tell people what you want them to do and where they should go from here. Whether that’s ‘Download the Digital Cookbook Here’ or ‘Win a Lifetime Supply of Cookies – Enter Here’ (this would get you, don’t lie) the CTA needs to be actionable in order to be effective. This leads us to the third ingredient.


As aforementioned, a good ad needs to catch our eye amongst the sea of content we are exposed to every day. That’s where an effective design comes into play! Think outside of the box and make sure to accompany text with visuals – whether that’s images, video or even an infographic. This will help grab the reader’s attention without overloading them with copy. The best kind of design is something that makes the reader say ‘wow that’s amazing’ or ‘cool’ or even shocking, and makes them want to share it with more people. Bonus points if you make the design interactive!

Email Marketing

This is where a larger strategy comes into play, and we expose more people to the advertising than we can organically through digital banner ads or SEO. Email marketing campaigns are great for driving new leads, that are typically pre-qualified and interested in the topic you’re presenting. It can also inspire referrals from people that may not be interested but know someone who is. The great part about email marketing is that you can get into the inbox of your target market and hit them with more information than a Facebook post or leaderboard on a website ever could. Plus, you’ll get fully qualified lead information and trackable analytics to validate any KPIs (key performance indicators) set ahead of time.

Social Media

My favorite part, and an ever-growing part of this recipe. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and even Pinterest, YouTube and so-on and so-forth are instrumental in reaching your target audience. Not only will your content be seen by people beyond your target market, but the audience you are trying to hit will be able to share any content and act on CTAs with ease.  You can also use social media to join chatrooms, join virtual conversations and get instantaneous feedback.  It’s not only good customer service and presents a personable brand identity, social media allows you to do some R&D on a relatively large scale for a fairly small price.

Online Ads/SEO

Likewise, online ads like banner or wallpaper placements on media site or within influencer blogs, etc. allow you to reach a new targeted audience. They are an excellent place to post content and direct people back to your website, because paid ads reach customers who are already searching for your product or something similar. You can target these people pretty closely, down to their spending habits and interests. A great thing to try with online ads is A/B split testing to see which image or messaging is the most effective. On the same wavelength with online ads and targeting people already on the prowl, SEO (search engine optimization) optimizes search engines [WOW big shock!] to help customers find your business in the results before your competitors. Ideally, you want your website to be on the first page of hits on the search engine to get the largest amount of traffic through SEO, and can help make that happen organically with keywords and refreshing your content regularly.

So, there you have it, a recipe for a great digital advertising campaign.  When all these ingredients are mixed correctly, you’ll have an effective strategy on your hands.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!