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How to Sell Digital Prints on Etsy – A Complete Guide

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Conduct Market Research

Before creating and trying to sell prints on Etsy, you need to make sure there’s a market for what you are selling. In contrast, it’s tempting to sell your own artwork, AI art that you bought or generated, or designs you generally like. If there’s no market for your prints, sales won’t happen.

As your first step, you need to do market research for digital prints.

Best ways to do market research for digital prints:

  • Search prints that are currently bestsellers on other marketplaces than Etsy, like Fine Art America, Inprnt, Society6, Redbubble, etc.
  • Get a paid Etsy market research tool (Sale Samurai, for example) and study what prints sell the most on Etsy.
  • Use Google Trends to find trending topics that could be turned into prints.
  • In Etsy: analyze what your competitors are selling, how they sell, and to whom they are selling.
  • In Etsy: analyze the bestseller products, star seller stores, and try to find Etsy’s pick badges from products (Sale Samurai saves you a massive amount of time doing this).

Check out: How to do market research on Etsy

Niche down to lessen the competition

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Etsy search example for niching down and lessening the competition while still bringing sales in.

When using Etsy’s search bar to do market research, you will quickly find that there are roughly 13,000,000 listings for just wall art alone and another 6,000,000+ for digital print.

Getting to the top of the list will be hard (without a hefty advertising budget).

Instead, you can use more defined searches/niches, such as blue wall art, sage green wall art, or Buddha wall art.

These types of searches are more defined and yield significantly fewer Etsy listings (less competition). To further define the product offering, you can search for something like a Buddha wall art printable.

When you’ve done the research, look at the digital prints’ style and the way it’s being sold. Is the print style boho, abstract, minimalistic, vintage, realistic, black & white, etc.? And is the digital print sold as one piece or a set (set of three or four, for example)?

When using Etsy’s search bar, filter the results by Digital downloads and then Sort by Top Customer Reviews. Look at the best-selling stores and offerings and see how to enter the market.

Competition Research

You can study your competitors by visiting websites that primarily sell digital prints. Good sites are Fine Art America, Redbubble, Society6, Artstation, DeviantArt, and any other marketplace you can think of that fits what you are selling.

Things to note when doing competitor research:

  • How many sales has the competitor made?
  • When was the business or store established?
  • Product images, videos, and overall branding.
  • Product title and product description.
  • Product pricing.
  • Product design and layout, including color choices, font choice, vibe, and tone of voice.
  • File delivery, including format, sizes, and features.
  • Customer service.
  • Customer feedback.
  • Who do they sell digital prints to (business, consumer)?

Create Your Digital Print

You can either create and design your print by hand or use an AI art generator to generate the print for you.

Best way to create digital prints by hand:

Best ways to create digital prints with AI:

Pro tip for AI artists! During market research, the other sellers have used specific keywords or famous painters’ names to define their offering. Add them to your prompt to get similar results from the AI art generators.

Remember to use only professional mockups to create the product images (get the best ones from Placeit or Creative Fabrica) and to increase the perceived value of your product.

Save the digital print as a PNG file and the product images (resolution 3000×3000 and 1:1 image ratio) as PNG, as it’s a lossless image format.

Check out: File formats to use when saving digital art for printing

Types of digital prints you can create and sell on Etsy

  • Posters
  • Wall art
  • Patterns
  • Stickers
  • Sublimation designs and sublimation tumbler designs
  • Portrait art
  • Custom art and prints
  • Wall collage

It’s suggested that you create many products (40+) for your store to make it look professional, give customers options, and make it look like you’ve been a seller for a while already.

Set Up Your Etsy Store

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Etsy will give you a step-by-step guide on how to set up a store on Etsy.

Go to Etsy to set up your store. You will get step-by-step guidance to set up your store, but before you set up your store, ensure you have your product ready and a credit card in hand.

One way to make your store stand out is to name your store according to what you are mainly selling. If you specialize in selling only digital prints, call your store according to that specialty (it will create a better product store connection).

You can always change the store name later on if you want to pivot and sell other than digital prints in your store.

In the final stages of setting up your store, you’ll create a new listing, costing $0.20. Additionally, you’ll configure payments and billing, enabling Etsy to charge for the listings generated during the setup process.

Optimize your listings

Optimize your Etsy listings to stay ahead of the competition or at least on the same level. By optimizing your listings, you are essentially doing Etsy SEO (search engine optimization) to get organic traffic to your Etsy store.

Optimize the following aspects of your digital print listing:

  • Product title
  • Product description
  • Product images (best mockups from Placeit or Creative Fabrica)
  • Colors and aesthetics
  • Font used
  • Perceived value
  • Relevant tags
  • Price
  • Offering
  • Branding

Delivering the digital print files

As you will most likely have a lot of images and files, Etsy’s 20MB digital download file size limit won’t be enough. You need to use something like Dropbox or Google Drive to deliver the file to the customer.

You can create a PDF file with the link to the digital print download, so the customer is essentially buying a link to the digital product.

Check out: How to deliver digital products

Etsy store fees

To sell on Etsy, you need to pay fees. Below are all the fees associated with your store. Take these fees into consideration when pricing your product and/or when planning an advertising campaign.

  • $0.20 listing fee for each product (when you place a product for sale)
  • 6.5% transaction fee for each sale you make
  • 3% + $0.25 payment processing fee (US) for each sale you make
  • 2.5% currency conversion fee (if you have set your Etsy Payments in a different currency than your product listings)
  • Regulatory operating fee (only select countries selling digital items)
  • Optional:
    • Etsy ads fees ($1-$25/day)
    • Offsite ads fees (12%)
  • VAT, GST, HST taxes
  • Total expenses (minimum): $0.45 + 9.5% + VAT for each sale

Price Your Product

You can align your product’s price with the market average, set it below the market average, or set the price significantly higher than your competitors.

When charging a premium (10x higher prices than your competitors), you increase perceived value, you become an outlier, you increase profits, and you can run ads (Etsy ads, offsite ads, social media ads, etc.) profitably as your product isn’t a low-ticket item anymore.

Ways you can price your templates:

  • Value-Based Pricing Strategy (recommended)
  • Competition-Based Pricing Strategy
  • Cost-Based Pricing Strategy
  • Brand-Based Pricing Strategy (recommended)
  • Offer-Based Pricing Strategy
  • Option-Based Pricing Strategy

Check out: How to price digital downloads

Promote Your Etsy Store

Promoting your Etsy store is crucial for kickstarting your sales, generating reviews, and gathering valuable product feedback. Leveraging Etsy ads, harnessing the power of social media, optimizing your website, and nurturing your email list are all effective strategies to boost your store’s visibility, in addition to doing professional Etsy SEO.

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.

Check out: How to sell digital products on Pinterest

Etsy Ads

While selling low-ticket items (if you go that route) with paid ads is rarely profitable, when using Etsy ads, the goal might not be profitable but to get initial customers, feedback, and reviews. You can spend as little as $1/day to get increased exposure for your Etsy store.

The bigger keywords you go for, the more ad budget you need. Wall art search term requires a higher ad budget than sage green wall art printable.

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.

If you have a store and want to pivot into digital prints, create a promotion celebrating a new product category launch.

Holidays are also an excellent time to offer discounts and promote your store.

Examples of holidays and events when it’s an excellent 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

Scarcity, Urgency, Guarantees, Bonuses

  • Scarcity: You sell your product in limited quantities. Only 100 are available.
  • Urgency: You sell your product for a limited time. Seasonal offers, for example.
  • Guarantees: 30-day money back, no question asked. Creates a sense of safety inside the customer.
  • Bonuses: What more can you offer on top of the digital prints? Stickers, a guide on how to create prints by themselves, etc.

Customer reviews, feedback, and sales figures

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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 numbers serve as powerful indicators, showcasing to potential customers that your store’s product selection has been satisfying for some individuals, making it likely to meet their needs as well.

Whenever possible, try to get customer feedback to gain insights into areas for improvement. Incorporating this feedback into your product development process can enhance your offerings and boost sales.

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).

Tips on How to Increase Template Sales on Etsy

To increase your digital print sales on Etsy, you have a couple of strategies at your disposal. You can consider raising the price of your product or aim to earn multiple status badges and sales-boosting accolades from Etsy.

Star seller badge

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A star seller badge will be given to you automatically if you get 5-star reviews consistently, quickly reply to customers, etc.

Star Sellers maintain an exceptional record for delivering exceptional customer experiences, consistently garnering 5-star reviews (over 95% of all the reviews have to be 5 stars), ensuring on-time order shipments, and responding promptly to all incoming messages.

The star seller badge acts as a guarantee for the customer as they can somewhat trust you as a seller when they see you have such a badge.

Etsy’s Pick

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Image showing what Etsy’s pick badge looks like. Image credits.

If you can get the “Selected by Etsy’s style and trend editors.” notification icon for your product, it can also make your product stand out and increase your sales and the overall perception of your store.

Bestseller badge

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Image showing the bestseller badge given to an item that has had high sales volume over the past 6 months. Image credits.

A bestseller badge is given when your item has had a high sales volume over the past six months. If your products get high sales figures within a specific category compared to other sellers, Etsy will automatically award your listing with a “Bestseller” badge. Getting the best seller badge can increase your Etsy sales significantly.

A Bestseller badge signals potential customers that a product is highly desired, which creates a sense of ‘want’ in the customer.

A Bestseller badge also signals to you that this type of print is selling well, and you might want to create something similar to the marketplace.

Increase value, increase price, and make a better offer

By increasing your product’s price, make sure you increase the value of the product at the same time. The price is only limited to the value you provide. Your product must be worth the price you are asking, but there’s no limit to what price you ask.

Example:

  • Seller #1: Sells a set of three digital prints for $9.99
  • Seller #2: Sells a set of two digital prints, a one-off custom print design, a guide on how to create any design by themselves, a discount coupon for the next purchase, and a printing guide to get the best possible print results for $69

It’s all about your offer, what you can offer, and what others are unwilling to offer or can’t offer. Increasing the pricing by 5-10x the average market price increases your product’s perceived and actual value and automatically differentiates your offer from the rest in the marketplace.

It’s a matter of effort, time, and work you put into your product.

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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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