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How to Sell Digital Downloads On Etsy – Simple Guide to Profits

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Key Takeaways

  • The niche you choose determines the revenue potential.
  • Create digital downloads that already have a market.
  • Use the Etsy search bar to find profitable niches.
  • Most Etsy sellers use Etsy market research tools like Sale Samurai to improve their opportunities to make sales.
  • Be prepared to use money for Etsy ads, even $1/day will make a difference.
  • You can start with a few products but don’t expect to get visibility without spending money on ads.
  • Having a catalog of a few hundred products increases your chances of getting noticed but won’t guarantee sales.

My Experience

Etsy is a crowded marketplace with over 7.5M active sellers on its platform, serving roughly 96M buyers. Just listing products won’t make your sales grow. You need to promote your products, and you need to understand your niche to make sales. At a minimum, you must have professional-looking listings, SEO-optimized titles, descriptions, and tags. Don’t forget to use ads to pump up your shop’s visibility. Consistency, perseverance, and quality products are the best way to go.


Choose a Niche

The first step is to choose the niche you will specialize in. Many categories of digital downloads are available, and all have learning curves of varying difficulties.

Some of the main niches include:

Skills vs. niche

You have to create each of your listings on your own. This step can be easier if you already have relevant skills you can use.

For example, if you’re a writer, you already have the skill to write a book. All you need next is to learn how to put a book together so you can publish it. Or, if you have an eye for graphics, you can list and sell Lightroom presets, worksheets, or printable artwork (AI-generated art, digital art, etc.).

Understand the Niche

The expression “understand the niche” doesn’t just mean reading about it or learning how to do it. Countless digital content creators on Etsy create amazing content but fail to sell their products because they don’t fully understand their market.

Learn everything you can from your target market (niche), learn how your audience speaks, see themselves, what kind of jobs they tend to have, what kind of aesthetics speak to them, their income level, etc.

Dive deep into your niche, as it will help you price your digital download correctly. Digital planners, worksheets, and printable wall art are all priced differently and work differently for different audiences.

When you understand your niche, you know what to sell to them, you know the pricing of your competitors, you know what kind of product fits best to your audience, you understand how to make your digital products look professional and how to differentiate yourself from the rest of the market.

Types of Digital Downloads to Sell on Etsy

  • Wedding Planners
  • Digital Stickers And Clip Art
  • Digital Wallpapers
  • Party Invitations
  • Gift Tags
  • Printable Calendars
  • Meal Plan Templates
  • Printable Coloring Pages And Books
  • Learning Materials For Children
  • Budget Planners
  • Logos
  • Customized Invoice Templates
  • Printable Wall Art
  • Resume Templates
  • Digital Art Prints
  • Ebooks
  • Digital Art Brushes
  • Pantry Organizer Templates
  • Sewing Patterns
  • Custom Portraits
  • Custom AI Art (How to sell AI art on Etsy)
  • Printable AI art
  • TV Frame Art
  • Product Labels
  • Productivity Trackers
  • Sleep Trackers
  • Class Schedule Templates
  • Website Templates and Themes
  • Social Media Templates
  • Printable Cake and Party Decorations
  • Business Cards
  • Virtual Backgrounds

Create Your Digital Download

Most digital downloads on Etsy are graphics-related content. One way to create digital downloads is by using Adobe Creative Cloud software. All Adobe products (especially Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator) are designed for graphic design professionals who want to create professional-looking products and product mockups (you can get the best ones from Placeit).

Adobe products tend to have a steep learning curve, so a great option is to use a service like Canva.

Canva has a built-in project designer that can help you create fantastic artwork, worksheets, digital planners, etc., to sell in no time.

It even has default templates for planners, workout schedules, banner covers, business cards, and a lot more. You may try it for free as long as you like and then upgrade to the pro version to access all tools.

canva-templates-categories

Canva offers both a free and a paid version. To unlock premium graphics and specific file types, such as PNG, you will need a Canva Pro account.

Benefits of Canva Pro:

  • 100M+ premium photos, videos, and elements.
  • Magic resize, Background remover, and premium animations.
  • Brand kit, content planner, and 1TB storage.
  • Canvas AI Magic write and Magic eraser tools.

Creating your first design

canva-welcoming-screen
When you sign up for Canva, it will give you options to choose what you will be using Canva for.

Once you create an account and sign in, click “Create Design” in the top right corner of the screen. You’ll be greeted with a drop-down list with pre-set dimensions of various products like logos, posters, infographics, etc.

You may also create your work using your own custom size project or import a file from your computer. 

You’ll be then directed to the designer page that offers you various elements you can use to create content.

You may see many tools you don’t understand and consider them another steep learning curve. However, various YouTube tutorials on Canva’s YouTube channel can help you learn how to use different tools in Canva.

Hire someone to create the digital download for you

If you already have a busy life or lack the needed skills in a niche, you may hire someone to do the work for you. Look for freelancing websites like Fiverr, Upwork, or Freelancer.com. Fiverr is the one I’ve used, and I see it as an easy way to get work done.

canva-fiverr-work
Example of Fiverr freelancers offering to do with and for Canva.

Set Up an Etsy Shop

etsy_shop_homepage

Once you create an Etsy account, click on your profile and select “sell on Etsy” from the dropdown list.

1. Set up your shop preferences

The first step is to decide the language you want your shop to have. Be careful here; you can’t change the language once you set it up.

You must also choose the shop country and currency (USD and U.S. is the biggest market), but you can change those anytime. 

2. Name your shop

Ensure to choose a name that will reflect your brand well. But you shouldn’t worry too much about it as you can change it later. 

However, you may spend more time than expected on this page, as you’ll find that most names you think are “unique” can somehow be already taken.

Remember that your shop’s name should resonate with your ideal audience.

Example:

Digital DownloadShop name
Digital plannerDPlannerCo
Printable Wall ArtToneofTint
TV Frame ArtTOPtvART
Example of digital downloads and the shop name associated with the product.

3. Stock up your shop

Etsy recommends a minimum of 10 listings to start your shop, but you can start with only one product if that’s all you have. 

You’ll have to fill in various details about those products, such as who made them and whether they are physical or digital.

Remember what digital products you can and can’t sell on Etsy. Products that violate the terms of service on Etsy can get your account suspended.

4. Decide how you want to be paid

There are many ways to get paid on Etsy. You can select Visa or Master cards, Google or Apple Pay, Paypal, and more. Pick what suits you best.

5. Set up your billing

Once you select a payment method, this is the page where you add its detailed information.

6. Set up shop security

With the constant increase in online theft and account stealing, Etsy added two-factor authentication to improve account safety. 

Once you set up your added security, your Etsy shop is ready.

Optimizing Your Etsy Listing

Listing optimization and Etsy SEO can decide the difference between a successful shop and a stagnant one.

Optimizing your listing means giving it the appropriate keywords to show up to people when they search for it.

For example, if you list a printable wall art without using “wall art” somewhere in the description, tags, or listing name, the chances of your product being found will be close to zero. 

There are two ways to optimize your Etsy listing. One is free but requires some effort, while the other is paid but is as easy as it gets.

Browse and research

etsy-search-bar-example
Use the Etsy search bar to find your competitor’s products and see keywords and titles they’ve used to sell their products.

Take the “broad” keyword of your listing and search it on Etsy. For instance, if you’re making digital planners, search for “digital planner” and see what products pop up at the top (notice the ones that use advertising to get higher rankings and visibility).

Open their listings and look at how they title their listings and the keywords they use to rank high up.

You’ll notice a pattern of keywords that the high-ranking listings use. Take note of those, write them down, and take inspiration from them in your listing optimization.

Optimize the following aspects of your digital download listing:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Product images (best mockups from Placeit)
  • Price
  • Offering
  • Branding
  • Colors and aesthetics
  • Font
  • Perceived value

Use paid Etsy optimization tools

Sale Samurai is an Etsy keyword tool optimizer that helps you rank higher on search queries. For example, if you add “digital planner” to your listing description, Sale Samurai will tell you how much “competition” that keyword has.

If too many people use the same keyword, you must select a more “specific” keyword to rank higher.

Most Etsy sellers have one or more Etsy market research tools to ensure they have the best possible chances of making sales, staying relevant, and seeing coming and going market trends.

Promote Your Digital Downloads

Even if you have all the keywords set up correctly, you still have to market your listings on Etsy to get the maximum possible exposure. 

Don’t worry; you won’t have to set aside a massive budget. You can spend as low as $1 daily to keep your ads running.

The harsh reality is that no one will see your products if you don’t market them. Etsy SEO is the minimum you need to do, and if you want to make sales today, get those Etsy ads up and running.

Customer reviews, feedback, and sales figures

how-to-sell-ai-art-on-etsy-store-example
Image showing an example store with rave reviews, huge sales, and how it all creates a higher perceived value for your store. Image credits.

Customer reviews and sales figures show other potential customers that your store’s product selection is good for some, so they might also be good for them.

If possible, try to get customer feedback to study what you could do better. With feedback, you can improve your products and thus make more sales.

The more sales your store has, the more enticing it is for the customer to buy specifically from you.

Social Media

Social media tends to be the place to market your Etsy store and products. Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are some of the best platforms for promotion.

If you don’t already have an account on those platforms, consider creating one, especially on Pinterest, and remember that creating content consistently is the key to building an audience on any platform.

Don’t forget to align the content you create with the products you sell.

Website

If you have a website, you can embed Etsy products on your website or link directly to your Etsy store. You need a lot of traffic to sell digital downloads on your website, and the best way to get that is through Google SEO (search engine optimization).

Etsy Ads

When selling low-ticket items (should you choose that path), relying solely on paid ads may not always yield immediate profitability. However, using Etsy ads aims to acquire initial customers, garner valuable feedback, and accumulate reviews. Even with a modest daily budget of $1-5, this investment can substantially impact your sales and enhance the perceived value of your store.

Discounts

To celebrate your new store launch (if that’s the stage you are at), you can create a limited-time store launch offer for all of your products, for example, offering -60% off store-wide. The idea is to get sales, reviews, and feedback. Holidays are also an excellent time to offer discounts and promote your store.

Examples of holidays and events when it’s a good time to use discounts:

  • Black Friday
  • 4th of July
  • Spring, summer, fall, and winter sale
  • Thanksgiving sale
  • Beginning and end of school sale
  • Christmas sale
  • Cyber Monday
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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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