How To Sell Plum Cake To Donut Lovers

Digital marketing is all about offering memorable yet meaningful customer experience. That is why Google placed so much emphasis on relevancy and redefined the concept of marketing itself.

Reach the right audience with the right message and take them to the right webpage.

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So, how can you sell a plum cake to someone who is looking for a donut? Isn’t it against the Google’s mantra?

Yes, but there will be times where you would need to disrupt the status quo and gamble against the odds. Especially, when your product is one-of-a-kind.

Plum Cake in the World of Donuts

With Google Adwords, it’s very easy to reach donut lovers and all you have to do is bid for few keywords related to donuts (e.g. “donuts”, “order donuts”), craft a catchy message to display, and a webpage to take them. You’re all set!

Here, the key is the message. What sort of message should you display? It’s the first interaction with your customer, and this will define the way they perceive your brand.

Now, you have two options to choose from. You can either follow the most-used ‘persuasive and informative messaging’ strategy or try something adventurous like negative messaging. Which messaging strategy will work? What impact will it have on user experience? Or, should you create a new messaging strategy?

Persuasive Messaging

  1. World’s Best Plum Cake - Order Online
  2. 50% off on Plum Cakes - Free Home Delivery
  3. Delicious Plum Cakes - Buy 2 Get 1 Free

Does these sound familiar? These are the typical ad copy messages used by marketers. Will these give a better user experience for a person who is searching for donuts? How would they react?

The first impression will obviously be, ‘why on earth do they show me plum cake adverts when I’m looking for donuts’. While these message variations are effective when displayed to users who are searching for plum cakes, it is completely irrelevant to a person who is on a ‘donut hunt’.

The other way is, you can just lay a bait with misleading information. Pretend to sell donuts.

  1. Chocolate-Frosted Donuts - Flat 50% Off
  2. Delicious Glazed Donuts - Free Home Delivery
  3. 50% Off on Donuts - Order Online Now

The users may fall into your trap successfully. They may click your ad, but once they view your webpage, will they order a plum cake? Probably not. You are just paying for clicks that don’t result in a sale. Also, spamming users will leave a negative impact on your brand.

Negative Messaging

  1. Eating Donuts Leads To Diabetes
  2. Donuts Cause Weight Gain
  3. Stop Eating Donuts, Stay Healthy

Negative Messaging Strategy is always tricky/risky and marketers use this technique rarely. One misstep can make it backfire. However, if executed properly, it has the potential to go viral.

Now, it will be evident that the usual messaging strategies won’t be helpful in your mission of selling plum cakes to donut lovers. You need a new messaging strategy, that gives the user a better searching and buying experience.

Here is a new approach : Counter Copy

Counter Messaging is displaying adverts that force users to self-select rather than luring them to click or buy. The message here is quite explicit. You offer the users an alternative to what they’re looking for.

  1. Bored of Donuts? - Try Delicious Plum Cake
  2. Tired of Donuts? - How about Plum Cake
  3. Rich Plum Cake - Yummy Alternative to Donuts

You are still targeting the larger ‘Donut segment’ through keywords. However, instead of luring or misleading them, you offer them an alternative, and give the users an option to self-select. If your user isn’t interested, he/she will never click the advert. If a user clicks on it, they have self-selected to try an alternative, and so, they won’t be surprised or confused when they land on your webpage that displays a collection of plum cakes.

This strategy not only increases the probability of a sale, but also gives your users a better buying experience.


With digital marketing, it’s not about persuading customers at every touch point to click or buy but, giving them a good brand experience.

Does your messaging strategy do that?

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