A 5-Step Guide On How To Sell Digital Downloads On Etsy

How To Sell Digital Downloads On Etsy

Let’s be honest. Everyone has probably thought about running an online store and raking in tons of (passive) cash at least once in their lives.

But the roadblock that most of them face is this: you need to invest a significant amount of time scouring for the items you want to sell, managing inventory, and shipping. At this point, it’s no longer a passive business, but an active one.

Wanna know a secret, though? Instead of selling physical items, you can sell digital downloads on Etsy to pad your wallet with some passive cash. Let’s explore everything about it!

What are digital downloads? And is selling digital items on Etsy worth it?

Digital products are intangible items that exist only digitally, like the photos taken from your phone camera. Once you create a product listing for digital items on Etsy, your customers will be able to download and use them. No inventory management or shipping required.

It’s worth noting that not all digital items are the same as Etsy printables. The latter is meant to be downloaded, printed, and then used, while the former is meant to be used only digitally.

Now, for the important question: is selling digital downloads on Etsy even worth it? Yes, it is, and here’s why:

  • No inventory, shipping, or recurring costs of raw materials
  • Create once and sell forever
  • A great way to earn passive income
  • Easy to create
  • No limits as to buyers’ locations

Best-selling digital products on Etsy

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here’s a list of the best-selling digital items:

  • Planners (of all kinds)Etsy Digital Products Search
  • Online courses and guides
  • Digital designs and logos
  • Templates
  • Printables
  • Tools (like software)
  • Checklists
  • Lightroom presets
  • Icon packs
  • Wallpapers
  • Crochet, knitting, and embroidery patterns
  • Clip arts and stickers
  • Fonts
  • Procreate brushes
  • Comics and manga

How to sell digital downloads on Etsy in 5 steps

Now that we have got the basics out of the way, it’s time to see how you can get started with the actual selling part.

Step 1: choose a niche

The world of digital downloads is a vast ocean. Trying to catch all types of fish at once would just give you zero results. What you need to succeed is to focus: on one type of product or a single type of customer (also known as choosing a niche).

The key is to choose something within your area of expertise so that you won’t have to spend days creating your digital assets. For example, if you’re an artist, it makes sense to choose to sell logos, digital artwork, stickers, or Procreate brushes.

Since the market is also highly competitive, you’re also going to want to think about how you can differentiate yourself. This could be in the form of anything, such as using a unique font, color palette, or art style.

Step 2: create your first digital product

Now that you have decided what you want to sell (and to whom), it’s time to start creating your digital product. You can use websites and software like Canva, Adobe Photoshop/ Illustrator, Inkscape, or GIMP to create your products.

Websites like Canva, in particular, can be easily used by newbies as well because they have customizable templates.

Just go to Canva and type in the kind of product you want to create. Let’s say, digital planners.

Digital Planner Template Canva

You’ll find lots of ready-made templates available. Note that some of these can only be accessed with a Pro subscription. Pick a template that catches your eye and start customizing it to your liking.

Canva Editor

You’ll notice that every single detail can be changed – right from the text to the icons. Once you’re done making these products truly yours, you’re ready to start selling!

Alternatively, you can also hire a professional to design your products for you. But, since you plan on using them commercially, you may have to pay a large upfront cost or give them a portion of your royalties.

Step 3: price your digital products

Next up is pricing your products. You need to strike a delicate balance between making a profit, keeping things affordable, and pricing your products on par with what your competitors are charging.

Browse similar products on Etsy to get a feel of what others are charging and set your prices accordingly. If you set your prices way higher than that of your rivals, you need to ensure that your products offer some additional value that can’t be found anywhere else. You can also offer discounts for bundles or coupon codes for past customers.

You also need to factor Etsy’s fees into your selling price. Here’s what the platform charges sellers:

  • A listing fee of $0.20 per listing
  • A 6.5% transaction fee (calculated as a total of the selling price)
  • A $0.25 + 3% payment processing fee

Hate doing math? No worries, we’ve got you! Simply use Crosslist’s Etsy Seller Fee Calculator.

You should price your digital downloads in such a way that you still walk away with a profit even after Etsy collects its fees.

Step 4: create your first Etsy listing

If you don’t already have an Etsy account, create one. Here’s a guide to help you come up with some unique names for your Etsy store. Fill in all your details, such as country, currency, and billing and payment options.

Etsy Shop Preferences

Once you complete all the steps, go ahead and create your first Etsy listing:

  • Head to Shop Manager from the top right corner.
  • Select the Listings option.
  • Click on Add a listing.
  • Fill in all the details, including a title, a product description, photo mockups of the digital downloads, price, quantity, tags, and categories. Don’t forget to upload your digital products as well. You can upload up to 5 files of 20 Mb each. The total file size should not exceed 100 Mb.
  • Make sure that you turn on the Automatic Listing Renewal option so that your products don’t appear as “out of stock” after a purchase.
  • Hit the Publish button, and your listing will go live!

Alternatively, you can also use an online listing tool (like Crosslist) to create your Etsy product listings easily.

Note: Digital downloads on Etsy are not eligible for returns so you can’t set a return policy for these product listings. But, if a customer has a problem with the files, you can resolve it with them directly.

Step 5: market your Etsy store

Your digital assets have been created, your prices have been decided, and your product listings are live. Your selling journey has already begun!

But sitting back and waiting for the sales to start rolling isn’t going to get you anywhere. Why? Because nobody knows your store exists.

The solution to this lies in marketing yourself. Tell your friends and family and promote your store on social media pages.

Create a separate niche website and integrate your Etsy store with it. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, you can use online store development services.

Bottom line? Get the word out there as much as possible. It may take some time, but you’ll start seeing some results soon!

Tips on making a profit by selling digital downloads on Etsy

Here are some expert tips and tricks to make your Etsy store truly stand out!

  • Optimize your shop for maximum visibility. The best way to do it is by finding the keywords relevant to your niche and including them strategically in your title, description, and tags. The goal is for your store to show up in the results when someone searches for your niche keywords, thereby maximizing your sales.
  • Ensure that your mockup photographs are relevant to the customers. You can upload pictures of how your products would look on computers or even showcase how you use your products. For example, uploading a filled in digital planner.
  • Offer good customer service by responding to queries and fixing any mistakes immediately, including nice notes or freebies along with your products, and being kind in general.
  • Kindly prompt your customers to leave you an Etsy review.

Want to hear another secret? You don’t have to limit yourself to Etsy. Use a cross listing platform (like Crosslist) to create product listings on various marketplaces such as eBay and Whatnot, and expand your reach!

Questions or just say hello!

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