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How to DIY Ads and Digital Assets When You're not a Graphic Designer

Good creative and design is important, especially online. But not everyone can afford a graphic designer or has access to one in a time crunch.

Enter Canva. As a one woman marketing team I’ve used Canva to create ads, social posts, blog images, and print collateral, and the possibilities are virtually endless. You can start with templates, or create from scratch with your own, use their fonts or upload your own—you get the picture. I’d recommend getting your fonts, brand colors and logos uploaded into Canva (Note: you may have to pay for this. There is a free version and a paid version, and I use the paid version).

I've used Canva to make banners and ads for a number of different assets—display/remarketing ads, email banners, and website banners. Typically I create the ad, and then just replicate it, resize it and adjust the fonts/graphics/CTAs for each new ad to make sure they fit the new dimensions and looked good.

🤓 Google Ads Tip: If making traditional display ads isn’t for you, you can also make responsive ads. Old fashioned display ads (like what I proposed) are good for when you want control over every part of the ad and the testing process.

Whether you make responsive or traditional display ads there will be several main components you need in the ad itself.

Standard Ad Components.

  1. Logo – First things first, your ads must be branded to you!

  2. Headline: This is the first thing someone will read, so it needs to grab attention (ex: Black Friday Sales).

  3. Offer 1: Now that you have their attention, explain why they should care (ex: X% off).

  4. Offer 2 (optional, depending on ad size): Give them one more good reason to click your ad (ex: Free Shipping).

  5. CTA Button: Visually explain, without words, that someone should click with a button—try out different colors that pop against the rest of your ad (ex: Shop now >).

  6. Picture: A picture is worth 1000 words—so of course you want to fit all of those words into your tiny ad (I like using product pictures, when it makes sense).

How to Get Started

I recommend making a different ad style for each promotion, and in some cases, more than one ad to keep it fresh (or do some A/B testing). I also create separate remarketing display ads, so those visitors weren’t seeing the same ads they had already seen.

The more targeted and focused you can be with your audience segmentation and ad copy, the more successful you will be. Depending on where and how you will be running the ad, you may need to make the same ad in all of the sizes below (remember, Canva makes it pretty easy to replicate and resize!). If you're going to pay to run an advertisement, you definitely want to make sure you're using the correct ad sizes.

Standard Ad Sizes

  • Google Display Ad Dimensions

  • Both: 300x250, 250x250, 200x200

  • Mobile: 320x50, 320x100

  • Desktop: 336x280, 728x90, 300x600, 160x600, 970x90

  • Facebook: 1200x628 (recommended).

  • Instagram: 1200x628 (recommended)

  • Email Banner: 600x200

Once you've made all of the ads, it's time to start building them! Look out for another blog post on that, coming soon, or feel free to contact me with questions.


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