How to create Black Friday banner ads and graphics for free

November 7, 2019

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If you put on a Black Friday sale, but nobody hears about it... will you actually reach your sale goals?

Probably not.

That's why you need to let as many people know about your promotions as possible with professional looking marketing content, that includes attention-grabbing banners, social ads, and emails!

The goal of your marketing content is to tease your Black Friday deals and build shoppers’ anticipation.

When the clock strikes midnight, you want your website to be the first one they go to!

Graphic design: make your marketing pretty and professional on your own

In this post, we're going to go over how to create graphics for free with Canva, but there are other free great resources for entrepreneurs who want to save money by doing their own design work.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Adobe Spark
    • Adobe Spark comes from the same company who brought us Photoshop. Create social ads, newsletters, presentations, posters, restaurant menus, and more — all for free!
  • Stencil
    • Create all kinds of visual content with Stencil's generous free tier. A cool feature is previewing how posts will look natively on social platforms, and this handy guide to image sizing for social
  • Burst
    • This is Shopify's stock image site. It has thousands of great photographs, and you can download and use any of them for free!
  • Creative Market
    • Every week they release six free high quality design "goods" you can download free! If you do a bit of digging, you can find more free fonts and miscellany that aren't part of the weekly giveaway. It also has thousands of other affordable design assets. 
  • Mailchimp
    • It started out strictly as an email marketing platform, but now it can now do so much more. Mailchimp's free tier gives you the ability to design and publish professional looking social ads, landing pages, and even postcards directly from the platform.

But just because you can, should you?

It's free and easy, but that doesn't mean you have to do design yourself.

Sometimes, time is your most valuable asset. You might actually save money by farming out work to people with experience so you can focus on other things.

If creating your own graphics seems too overwhelming, there are affordable ways to get great graphics from professionals, like Fiverr or Upwork. These services let you hire pros to make everything from graphics to blog posts for as little as five dollars!

How to create Black Friday banner ads and graphics using Canva

Okay, so now that we're done with the preamble, let's get down to business.

For those who aren’t familiar with Canva, it’s a drag and drop tool that allows you to create all sorts of marketing materials from thousands of templates.

Founder and CEO, Melanie Perkins, created Canva to make "graphic design amazingly simple for everyone."

It’s easy and intuitive, even for complete beginners with no design background!

The best part?

Canva is 100% free to use and there’s virtually no learning curve.

Already know how to use it? Then go straight to the great examples of BFCM ads we've picked out to inspire you.

 

Step 1: Decide on your offer

Now, before you learn how to create Black Friday banner ads, you have to decide on your offer(s).

If all your competitors are slashing their prices by half, and you’re offering just 10% off, you’re not going to get much business. Be strategic and offer the best deal, but also make sure your sales will be profitable.

So look back at the discounts your competitors have offered in the last few years, and take that into consideration when coming up with your promotion. 

You might also want to take a look at your previous Black Friday performance.

Can you identify any trends and patterns?

Is there a year where you did exceptionally well? If so, can you pinpoint why?

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to get creative with your offer.

Say your margins are low and you can’t afford to decrease your prices too much. Instead of a discount, for example, it might make more sense to offer a free gift with every purchase instead, product bundles, or a buy one get one a percentage off.

Here are some more ideas for promotions you could run this Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

It's also important to plan your Black Friday Cyber Monday deals in a way that sets you up for more sales during the holidays. You want to keep the momentum going for December!

This include things like a loyalty program, bounce back coupons, and dropping new collections that will help get BFCM customers back to your store!

Step 2: Decide on your Call To Action (CTA)

Now that you’ve decided on your offer, it’s time to think about how to word it. If works makes sense with the placement (a banner ad or email graphic), you should format it like a button to entice people to click through.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Shop now
  • Buy now
  • Shop the sale
  • Claim my 50% off
  • Claim my exclusive deal
  • Special deals here
  • Discover more
  • Learn more
  • Start shopping
  • Start saving
  • Access crazy deals
  • Massive savings inside
  • Insane deals inside

You can also get a little creative or cheeky if it works for your brand!

  • I want that deal. Now.
  • Gimme!
  • Sounds epic.
  • I need those savings
  • Hand it over
  • Shut up and take my money!
  • Sounds too good be to true...

How else do you make your CTAs more effective? Use these tips:

First, make sure your CTA stands out from the background. A good rule of thumb is to use the color opposite on the color wheel of your current primary color. You can use ColorHexa to find the complimentary (and opposite) colors of your primary color using your color code.

Don’t know your color code? Get Colorzilla’s browser extension to easily find it.

Next, make sure your CTA is easily understandable. Clarity is key!

Last but not least, use first-person pronouns in your CTA. “Claim my 50% off” will get you more conversions than “Claim your 50% off.”

Step 3: Sign up for a Canva account

Now that you’re done with your offer and CTA, the next step is to head to Canva.com and sign up for a free account.

how-to-use-canva-sign-in

Canva will then prompt you to choose a business type. I chose small business. It will then ask you what kind of design you'd like to make.

Home - Canva 2019-11-07 14-18-54



Step 4: Choose your ad format

Scroll down to check out all the different formats available, then take your pick. There are options for:

  • Instagram posts
  • Facebook posts
  • Facebook covers
  • Facebook event covers
  • Pinterest graphics
  • Twitter posts
  • Facebook ads
  • Leaderboard ads

And plenty more.

For the purposes of this walkthrough, let’s go with a standard Facebook cover. This is a great banner ad size for your website, despite it being called a “Facebook cover” template.

Step 5: Choose your layout

Once you’ve chosen your format, you’ll see a drop-down menu of layouts on your left, and a blank canvas on your right.

5-how-to-use-canva-editor


Scroll through the layouts and choose one that you like.

There are a ton of options to choose from — just make sure you avoid the ones which come with a “$” sign at the bottom if you don’t want to pay for your graphic.

6-choosing-layouts-canva


That said, every image is only $1. So don’t be afraid to pick up a premium image if you really love it — it won’t break the bank! Just keep in mind that it only lasts 48 hours before you have to re-purchase it, so if you want to make changes after that, you’ll have to buy it again.

Step 6: Customize your layout

Here’s the fun part… customizing your layout!

If you want to upload your own images to use, click on “Uploads” in the left-hand panel, then follow the instructions. Drag your image to the editor on the right, then drag to resize it if necessary.

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You can also add elements, text, and backgrounds using the other menu options from the left-hand panel.

There are plenty of cool text options, so make sure you look those over. Once you’ve added your text, you can even customize its letter spacing and line height to achieve the look and feel you’re going for.

8-creating-canva-banner-ad-black-friday-2

Check it out — increasing your letter spacing makes your text stretch out…

9-canva-banner-ad-for-black-friday
 
And by manipulating the line height, you can compress or stretch your text out vertically...
 
10-how-to-use-canva-to-create-black-friday-banners
 

Text aside, once you’ve selected an element (a shape, picture, or background) in the editor, you can do any number of things to it, including:

  • Filter it
  • Crop it
  • Flip it
  • Arrange it to layer on top or below of your other images
  • Edit its opacity

If you want to change the color of an element, click on the color panel at the top.

11-canva-black-friday-banner-tutorial

You can choose from your “Document colors,” which are the colors you’re already using in your graphic, or use any one of the default colors.

Finally, if you decide that you don’t like your layout, and you want to start over, simply click on “Layouts” in the left-hand panel, and choose a new layout.

Pretty simple, right?

Step 7: Creating multiple graphics

Now, say you want to create multiple graphics for your Black Friday campaign.

If you need to create graphics with different formats (E.g. One Twitter banner and one Facebook ad graphic), then you’ll need to save and export the project you’re working on before going onto the next one.

But if you’re creating multiple graphics in the same format, then you can simply duplicate your existing graphic and edit it on the spot.

Go ahead and click on this icon on the right of your editor…

12-canva-black-friday-banner-ad

And ta-dah, you’ve just duplicated your graphic!

This function is great for eCommerce store owners who want to A/B test their banners or graphics.

Using the function, you can easily create multiple graphics and switch up one element at a time. For example, if you want to test your CTA, you could do something along the lines of:

13-making-black-friday-banner-ads-on-canva

Step 8: Exporting your graphics

Once you’re done customizing your graphics, click on the “Download” button on the top panel to export them.

14-creating-black-friday-ads-using-canva

You get a choice of exporting them in JPG, PNG, or PDF — it’s pretty standard. For web use, I recommend using the PNG format, as this has the best quality and colors.

And you’re done!

As you can see, Canva is really intuitive and easy to use.

But if there’s something you can’t quite figure out, you can check out their knowledge base, or get in touch with their support staff.

5 Black Friday banner ad examples for inspiration

Need some inspiration? Here are the best Black Friday (and Cyber Monday!) banner ad examples we’ve found so far...

1. This “big reveal” banner ad

This simple banner ad won’t take you five minutes to put together, but it does the trick.

15-black-friday-banner-ads-example

Image from BannerSnack.com.

The choice of words (“Big Reveal”) helps to build anticipation, and we like how their CTA (“Open”) entices you to reveal your discounts.

2. This minimalist banner ad

Like the previous example, this banner ad is simple but effective.

 16-best-black-friday-banner-ads

Image from Pinimg.com.

This one doesn’t tease the details of the sale as much as the first example, but it does a great job of creating urgency.

Pro Tip: If you’re using your banner on an email newsletter (instead of a Facebook ad), you can even incorporate a countdown timer to give your subscribers more FOMO (fear of missing out).

3. This JackThreads banner ad

This banner ad is pretty straightforward, and it’s the accompanying caption — “Hurry… the greatest stuff’ll go FAST”— really does the trick.

17-black-friday-facebook-ads-example

Image from AdEspressoInc.net.

Again, it all comes down to encouraging your audience to act quickly, and this ad does an excellent job of doing just that!

4. This monochrome banner ad

This ad is stylish and visually appealing, but it also draws us in with its powerful copywriting.

18-black-friday-banner-ads-inspiration

Image from BannerSnack.com.

“Massive price falls” sounds so much more compelling than “Black Friday promotion” or “Exclusive discounts,” doesn’t it?

5. This “It’s here!” ad

This ad is cute, it’s quirky, and it’ll definitely stand out among all the other product image ads on your audience's newsfeed.

19-ideas-for-black-friday-banner-ads

Image from AdEspressoInc.com.

Target uses white space and shadowing to make the dog look like it’s popping out of the screen on your Facebook news feed. Pretty cool, right?

A final word on how to create Black Friday banner ads

Cool beans! You now know how to create Black Friday banner ads.

Once your graphics are ready, don't forget to push them out with some social ads or a good old email blast, and come up with a customer service strategy as well.

Alright, time to go forth and kill it this Black Friday!

If you found this article useful, please take a second to share it with your other eCommerce friends who are also preparing for Black Friday!

Bill Widmer

Written by Bill Widmer

Bill is an eCommerce content marketing and SEO consultant. He's run several stores and worked with many well-known brands including A Better Lemonade Stand, SaleHoo, and Lifehack.

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