Who knew how much of a time saver Canva templates could be? As a side hustler, I don’t have a ton of time to work on marketing which is why I needed to come up with a system to make the process quick and easy but efficient. This is where I use my secret weapon; the amazing templates for Canva from my friend, Basil & Bark.
How I Met the Brain Behind Basil & Bark
Quick story. I met Alysha, the brilliant entrepreneur from Basil & Bark in a Facebook group. It was Tyler McCall’s Instagram group and she had pasted a link to her landing page where she was giving away templates for Canva for Instagram highlights. This was when highlights were brand new and a hot topic. I immediately signed up to get my freebies and took a peek at Alysha’s Facebook profile and saw she was also in Kelowna, like me! I connected with her on Facebook, invited her to our TuesdaysTogether meeting and we have been friends ever since. She took a mini vacation with us to a cabin on Shuswap lake and my daughter and her have a weird love for cat games on iPhones. I just wanted to share that little story because it’s funny how people come into your life.
Anyways, as my friendship with Alysha grew, I loved watching her talent blossom too. She is a gifted graphic designer and super intuitive when it comes to her audience, she listens and pays close attention to how they use her products so she can continuously improve her offerings. She has an excellent understanding of digital marketing and has developed some amazing templates to help regular folks like us to achieve the same amazing results she has through email funnels, Pinterest marketing and social media. The best part (and smartest, in my opinion) is that most of these templates are made for Canva - my favourite free drag and drop style graphic design software. She also makes most of her templates in Photoshop (PS) format or InDesign (ID) which are also easy to use but require the specific software. Take your pick.
Templates Save Time
Templates are a must have in every side hustler’s tool box because they speed up the design process because you don’t have to design from scratch. They help keep your brand consistent across all social and marketing platforms and they look very professional. We can’t all be talented designers and you really don’t need to be with Alysha’s templates. What I love about her templates is that they are designed in a simple way that is effective and easy to manipulate and customize to my brand. It takes me literally 30 seconds to create a beautiful Pinterest graphic using her templates. Just like the one in this blog post. 30 seconds. No need to second guess myself wondering if my design will attract the right people. And when I have a mental block, her templates sometimes help me come up with new ideas for freebies. I enjoy designing but it is a time consuming task. A smart side hustler works efficiently and these templates are designed to help you do exactly that.
Let me show you a few of her templates she sells and how I have used them.
These templates are brilliant because Instagram users use stories more and more every day. Instagram Stories have 400 million daily users now, which is a 100 million jump in less than two years. (Via Iconosquare)
It’s a no brainer to want to create a consistent brand image in your IG stories too. I have used Alysha’s Instagram Story templates to make special announcements, quick tips, new blog posts etc. I love that they are all on one file for Canva and make it really easy to customize with my brand colours that I have saved in Canva. Alysha’s templates aren’t only pretty, they work as a guide to tell you what you should be putting in the graphic such as your website URL, title and subtitle. She sends a PDF file that has the link to the Canva shared file, you click, save a copy to your own Canva dashboard and you’re ready to edit. Canva is a free account and has tons of great free options for graphics, fonts and features.
In addition to the simple Instagram stories templates, there are also some amazing sharable Instagram stories templates. I’m sure you have all seen these floating around and they sometimes go viral. It’s a great way to link back to your account. Post a screen shot of your blank template and ask users to do the same and then share their answers. A super fun way to engage with your audience and now even easier than ever before. Just make sure you have your Instagram name at the bottom of the graphic!
This might just be my favourite because not only is it a template, it actually sparks inspiration for so many great ideas for lead magnets. I haven’t seen anything else like it out there. I use this template for almost all of my freebies and for clients I have worked with too. All I do is change up the style and colours and add my own content and spin on it. The result is a professionally designed workbook or free download that is valuable and attracts the right people to sign up for my newsletters.
Why is this lead magnet template super valuable? Because one thing you should be doing if you are blogging or growing your email list is content upgrades. Content upgrades are a lead magnet that draws readers in by offering them more value than what they just read on your blog by signing up for your newsletter. In exchange for their email, you give them a beautifully designed resource using Basil & Bark’s Canva template. Again, using a template will help you keep your brand consistent across the board which indicates professionalism. It is really easy to set up with your email marketing platform. You can achieve this with Mailchimp or I use Mailerlite. Before you click buy - read on because the Pinterest Marketing Toolkit contains the Ultimate Lead Magnet Builder and a few other helpful templates all in one bundle.
For an example of the outcome, download my Ideal Client Workbook. :) Alysha has since updated the lead magnet builder with additional worksheets! It keeps getting better…
Quick Tips on How to Maintain a Consistent Brand Using Templates
Select photos that are similar in style and colour scheme. You can purchase beautiful stock image collections that are all similar in style that match your brand. I suggest checking out Creative Market for a huge selection of beautiful and inexpensive stock images.
Choose 1 or 2 font styles and stick to it. Bonus if they match or compliment your website fonts. Canva has lots to choose from or you can upgrade to be able to upload custom fonts. Be sure to be aware of spacing between letters as that can really change the look and feel of your brand.
Know your HEX colour codes. You know the #letternumber combo that identifies every specific colour. In Canva, you can type in the codes and it will come up the exact same tone every time. Guessing is not enough, colours need to be exact to be consistent.
Don’t mess with your logo. Make sure you don’t stretch your logo in a way that obscures it. Ensure you have a PNG file with transparent background so it looks cleaner when added to graphics. A white version of your logo might also come in handy for darker backgrounds.
Create a brand board. This is a blueprint for your brand, create it, use it and share it when working with other designers or marketers so that you can keep everything on brand and consistent. Basil & Bark’s brand board template is perfect.
Pinterest has become a central focus of my marketing strategy so it’s imperative to have high quality graphics that are Pinterest optimized. That means it is the correct size and format for Pinterest. I’ve noticed as a user of Pinterest that you begin to recognize who the pinner is when they have a consistent style of pin graphics. Again, this goes back to brand consistency. Using the same colour schemes and style but with a few layout variations really helps you to stand out amongst the millions of pins out there. Also, if it’s attractive for your target audience and easy to pin from your blog, you can be assured you will get those re-pins. I suggest at least two pin styles for each blog so pinners can have their choice.
Grab some Pinterest templates from Basil & Bark’s shop and it will no-doubt elevate your branding level. Although these are templates, once you tailor them to your brand, they are custom. I can’t tell you how often I see the generic Canva templates that everyone uses. Make your brand stand out, use Basil & Bark templates.
This last one is simple but so important. A strong call-to-action on your blog is important if you want to get people to click. These beautifully designed opt-in button templates make this step so easy and effortless. I use them in my blog posts and love how I can use Canva to just drag in the screen shots of my download and change a few colours and texts and I drop them into my blog post ready to go. These button will look really sharp and “beg to be clicked” in your blog posts. You can find this in her Creative Market shop or on her website in the Pinterest Marketing Toolkit. This toolkit actually has all the templates I use the most including Pinterest templates, workbooks and opt-in buttons. If you want to try just one template - this is the one!
Canva Organization Tip: As soon as I click on the link to my Basil & Bark templates, I make a copy so I don’t accidentally overwrite the original and cause a huge headache for Alysha and other customers. I then go to “All My Designs”, find my new template copy, click on the three dots in top right corner then select “Add to Folder” and select my “Templates” folder. I have a folder just for templates where I keep all the original copies. When I need to use them for a new project, I simply make another copy, rename it and get to work.
My Template Wishlist
I have not had the opportunity to try them all and Alysha keeps pumping out more than I can keep up with. Here is the my Basil & Bark Template Wishlist.
The Pinterest Marketing Toolkit - Includes Pinterest graphics (regular and extra tall), opt-in buttons and worksheet templates. Everything you need to set up a Pinterest funnel to grow your email list.
Webinar Slide Deck - Alysha’s marketing knowledge shines through here. If you are a planning to use a webinar to sell a product or service, this template outlines the whole process. Yes, please!
Roadmap Lead Magnet - Again, Alysha shares her model for high-level framework which is an amazing freebie for your audience.
Services & Pricing Guide - Man, I wish I had this when I first started my freelancing marketing business!
Pinterest Gift Guide - I think every blogger needs to give this a try. I might use this next holiday season to showcase my gift guide for side-hustlers!
Podcast Promotional Graphics - I don’t have a podcast, but if I did, I would use these for sure.
Head over to Basil & Bark’s online shop or Creative Market shop to check out her other products. She has several style variations and layouts that will suit any blogger, influencer, marketer or entrepreneur.
What templates would you find helpful in your business? What are you always designing on repeat? Let me know in the comments.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission from any sales made through these links.