Wondering how to sell digital downloads on Etsy?
If you are looking for ways to make extra money or find passive income, did you know you can sell digital downloads on Etsy as a side hustle?
The best part is that you can go on Etsy, sell digital downloads all from the comfort of your home!
Selling digital products on Etsy is relatively easy.
You don’t need to have any prior design skills, and once you upload it onto Etsy you don’t have to do anything else. You just sit back and watch the money come in!
If you’re a complete newbie to this – no need to worry.
This quick and easy 6-step guide will show you the complete steps of how to sell digital downloads on Etsy and some digital selling tips. At a glance, here they are:
- Do Your Market Research
- Create Your Product
- Set Up Your Etsy Shop
- List Your Product
- Market Your Product
- Get Reviews And Improve From Feedback
I will also go into other important information you will need to know if you want to know how to sell downloads on Etsy:
- What Are Etsy Digital Downloads?
- Why Should I Sell Digital Downloads On Etsy?
- How Much Can I Make Selling Digital Downloads On Etsy?
- What Types of Digital Downloads Sell Best On Etsy?
- Tips For Selling Digital Downloads On Etsy
Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.
Both will step up your Etsy game and help you start earning within 3 months!
Alternatively, you can also check out this free Etsy Ebook that will share a list of best-selling products by month and teach you how to capitalize on seasonal trends to skyrocket your Etsy sales.
How To Start Selling Digital Downloads On Etsy
1. Do Market Research
Market research is key before starting any business. And it’s great you’re starting it right now by searching how do I sell digital downloads on Etsy and landing right here!
The good news about doing market research on Etsy is that you can do it all from your laptop (as you would know!).
After you’ve brainstormed digital product ideas to sell on Etsy, have a look at other stores on Etsy that are selling similar Etsy instant download products.
These are your competitors, and it’s worth taking some time to understand what they’re doing.
Here are some things you should be looking out for:
- What are people buying? How much are they willing to pay?
- What are the product descriptions like?
- Read the reviews! What are customers asking for? What do customers like?
- Speak to friends and family about what they want
It’s also important for you to understand your product itself:
- Who is the target market?
- Is it an evergreen product or seasonal? Examples of seasonal products are Christmas decor, Valentine cards, etc
- Is it something that people might buy on a recurring basis?
- What would make your product stand out?
One way to conduct in-depth market research is by using specialized Etsy tools like Sale Samurai.
This is a super cool tool that provides Etsy SEO insights and analytics, which can help you understand what customers are looking for, and what your competitors are doing.
You can find the EXACT search volume for the product, what your competitors are selling it for, and for how much. Cool eh?!
Note- You can use my discount code ‘outandbeyond’, to get 20% off Sale Samurai!
2. Create Your Product
The good thing about selling digital downloads on Etsy is that you can create your products relatively quickly and cheaply.
Sure, you can go ahead and use expensive design software if you want to. But we’re here to save money and be efficient!
Here’s a little secret: Many of Etsy top-selling digital downloads are made using free or affordable software tools!
You want to make sure you make cheap digital downloads and sell them at higher prices to earn!
Here are a few to check out:
- Canva (Free)
- Microsoft Word and Powerpoint (Free if you already have MS Office)
- Google Sheets, Documents and Slides (Free with a Gmail account)
- Inkscape (Free)
- Gimp (Free)
- PicMonkey ($7.99)
- Procreate ($9.99)
Don’t worry if you’re no Picasso – many of these tools come with templates and guides and are very intuitive to use.
If you want a better understanding on how to use these software tools to create digital downloads, you should check out this course.
There are step-by-step tutorials on how to create digital downloads via Canva and Powerpoint, and also includes free templates to get you started!
3. Set Up Your Etsy Shop
Once you’ve created your first products, it’s time to set up your Etsy shop in the next step on how to sell a digital download on Etsy.
And it couldn’t be easier!
All you have to do is go on to Etsy and click “Open Your Shop”.
You’ll have to think of a shop name, but they even have a name generator to help you.
Do take some time to complete your profile because the more people know about you and your products, the more they may be keen to buy.
4. List Your Product
Now, you’ll want to start listing your instant digital downloads on Etsy.
Write out detailed descriptions so that people know what they’re buying.
Fill out the pricing information, return/exchange policy, or anything else that you think customers would want to know.
Also, be sure to upload clear photographs that can attract customers.
When pricing your items, be mindful of competition and what the average price for your product is.
However, you also want to make sure you’re not underpricing yourself.
Factor in your labor cost and the listing and transaction fees that may be incurred.
Here’s a handy little calculator for pricing your items on Etsy!
5. Market Your Product
Ok so you’ve got your Etsy shop up and running, and you’ve uploaded all your products. Now what?
Well, if you want to be among the best-selling Etsy digital downloads, you’ll have to market your product.
There are so many sellers on Etsy, you can’t assume that people will just organically find you.
Here are some ways to market your product:
- Use EtsyRank to find the best SEO keywords for your product descriptions. Low competition and high search keywords are more likely to drive traffic to your shop.
- Use Pinterest to market your product. Pinterest is particularly great to market digital downloads like templates, organiser, wedding invites and stickers.
- If you already have a blog or e-mail list, reach out to your existing network and let them know about your products!
- Similarly, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are great ways to build an audience. You can set up dedicated accounts just for your shop.
6. Get Reviews And Improve From Feedback
Once you’ve gotten some sales, remind your customers to leave reviews and don’t be afraid to drop them a message to guide them on how to download files from Etsy after their purchase.
It’s a great follow-up move when you’re selling digital downloads on Etsy.
Good reviews and high ratings will help build your reputation, and attract other customers.
To get good reviews, make sure that you provide excellent customer service. Respond to any queries promptly and politely.
At that same time, be sure to take in any constructive feedback you may get and improve from there.
That’s it! Now you can just repeat the process and continue listing other products and growing your business!
What Are Etsy Digital Downloads?
Let’s start with the basics: Digital downloads are digital products on Etsy that customers can download for their own use without receiving a physical copy.
Some of the top-selling digital downloads on Etsy include planners, templates, invites, spreadsheets, art prints, party favors… and so much more.
Customers love digital downloads on Etsy because they’re cheaper and hassle-free. And sellers are more than happy to sell digital files on Etsy due to the low costs involved.
There is no need to worry about shipping, you get your product immediately, AND you save money.
That’s a win-win in my books!
Some digital downloads may be printables (where buyers can print them out for their own use), but some can be purely digital.
For example, I bought a digital planner on Etsy that I downloaded to use on my iPad.
I’ve never looked back since then, because I don’t have to carry around a bulky paper planner with me.
I also love that it’s more sustainable – no unnecessary paper wastage!
There is increasing demand for digital downloads, which is why selling digital files on Etsy makes great business sense.
Why Should I Sell Digital Downloads On Etsy?
Do you need any more convincing as to why selling digital downloads on Etsy is a good idea?
Let’s break it down:
- You Don’t Need To Worry About Shipping Or Inventory
Unlike physical products, selling downloads on Etsy means you don’t have to worry about managing stock inventory.
You also don’t need to manage the headache of shipping your products all across the world. Instead, with digital downloads on Etsy, your customers click a button and they get their product immediately!
- You Only Need To Make Something Once
After creating digital downloads to sell on Etsy for the first time, you upload it and then you can forget about it.
No need to find extra time in your busy day for your side hustle.
This is why selling digital downloads on Etsy is a perfect way to make extra money if you have a full-time job, or are a busy parent.
- Source Of Passive Income
This leads me to the next point – you only need to put in the effort in the beginning, and then you can keep making money off it.
This is called passive income, where money can keep trickling in even if you’re taking a nap or if you go on vacation.
What a great return on investment!
- Cheap And Easy To Get Started
The cost to start an Etsy shop is pretty low. It only costs $0.20 per listing, with a 5% transaction fee.
Further, you can create some of the top-selling digital products on Etsy using free tools like Canva. Compare this to other businesses that require upfront costs for materials, tools, or packaging.
- Vast Market With Built-in Traffic
Did you know that Etsy has 90.7 million active buyers?
If you set up a store selling the most popular digital products on Etsy, you’ll have a ready market as Etsy automatically attracts vast traffic.
Imagine owning a store in a busy mall, with 90 million people walking past every day! Even if you only attract 0.01% of that traffic, that’s already 9000 people.
- Easier Customer Service
Imagine you are an artist.
If you were selling physical art, you’ll need to package the art print carefully in bubble wrap, drive to the post office, and then sort out logistics.
And if the package gets delayed or lost, imagine having to handle irate customers who demand to know where the parcel is that they paid good money for.
You’re now caught in between angry customers and the shipping company. This whole situation is terribly stressful, and none of it is your fault.
Now imagine an alternative scenario: you are selling digital art on Etsy.
Your customer chooses their artwork, presses download, and gets their art print, which they bring themselves to a printer of their choice.
While this is happening, you’re enjoying a cup of tea, getting a massage, or watching TV.
Which one would you choose?
- You Get Help
Etsy is known for having great support for its sellers. You can find the Etsy Seller Handbook online, with guides and best practices.
Etsy Community forums are also a great way to connect with fellow sellers and share experiences.
- You Help Others
Etsy helps you… and you get to help others.
People go on Etsy to find solutions to their problems. Perhaps they need a digital meal planner to plan healthier meals, or they’re looking for an online resume template so that they can get a new job.
When you sell digital downloads on Etsy, you’re helping provide solutions for people’s problems.
In fact, you could even use some of the problems you face in everyday life to inspire you to come up with some Etsy digital download ideas.
How Much Can I Make Selling Digital Downloads On Etsy?
There are people making six figures from selling digital downloads on Etsy!
Some students who attended this course have now made five figures. If they can do it, it means that you can too!
If you’re just starting out, $500-$1000 a month is a completely realistic goal.
How much you make depends on the product you’re selling, your price point, and how well you market your product. You will obviously be able to make more money if you sell some of the most popular digital downloads on Etsy.
For example, the store PlannerKate that sells stickers has some of the best-selling digital downloads on Etsy, with more than 1.6 million transactions so far!
What Types of Digital Downloads Sell Best On Etsy?
Are you trying to figure out what digital items to sell on Etsy?
Here are some of the best-selling Etsy digital downloads:
- Digital Planners
Everyone needs a little bit of help organizing their lives, and that’s why planners are among the best digital downloads to sell on Etsy.
Digital planners include:
- Monthly or weekly calendars
- Daily Schedules
- Wedding Planner
- Meal Planners
- Fitness Trackers
- Habit Trackers
- Printable Stickers
Printable stickers are some of the best-selling digital products on Etsy. They include stickers for planners, for children, or for party and wedding favors.
Selling custom digital files on Etsy include editable templates for:
- Cover letters
- Powerpoint slides
- Budget Spreadsheets
Personal finance and budgeting spreadsheets are always in demand as people want to save and manage their money better.
- Art Prints or Clipart
If you’re good at drawing or graphic design, selling digital prints on Etsy is a good idea.
You can also opt to sell smaller clipart or logo downloads.
- Sewing Patterns
Since Etsy is such a crafty community, patterns for sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery are among the top selling downloads on Etsy.
You can easily create and sell invites for parties, weddings, and birthdays.
You can provide customizable options where you fill in details for the buyer, or just sell templates that they’ll have to fill in themselves.
- E-books Or Guides
Etsy is actually a great place to market downloadable e-books.
You can consider creating e-books for any area of your expertise, such as fitness, travel, DIY, beauty, or even marketing tips.
- Recipe Cards
As home cooking becomes increasingly popular, there is greater demand for recipe cards that home cooks can download and print out.
- Educational Material
Some of the top digital downloads on Etsy are for products aimed at children.
Busy working parents are always looking for worksheets, activity pages, flash cards and other educational material for their kids.
Tips For Selling Digital Downloads On Etsy
- Provide Discounts Or Coupon Codes
When you’re first starting out, you want to focus on acquiring new customers.
Even if it’s just a small discount, providing discounts or coupon codes will attract new buyers on Etsy and sell digital downloads.
- Consider Bundling Your Products
If you have multiple products in your shop, consider selling them in “bundles” with a slight discount.
This way, you’ll be able to get buyers to spend a bit more per transaction.
- Be Mindful About Copyright
Etsy has very strict guidelines on intellectual property. Breaches of these guidelines may result in your store getting shut or banned.
Make sure that any images, graphics or templates you’re using fall within the guidelines.
- Consider Taking A Course
If you want to upskill yourself further, consider investing in an Etsy course.
These courses will guide you step-by-step through the entire process, and some even provide free templates to get you started.
Here is the best Etsy course on the market:
- Get Inspiration From Others
It’s easy to get deflated on this journey, especially if you’re not seeing results in the beginning.
Keep yourself motivated by listening to podcasts, watching Youtube videos, and reading blogs with inspirational Etsy seller stories.
FAQs On How To Sell Digital Downloads On Etsy
Best Selling Digital Products on Etsy
These are the best-selling digital products on Etsy:
- Budget Planners
- Business Cards
- Cafe And Restaurant Printables
- Canva Templates
- Class Schedule Templates
- Clip Arts
- Coloring Pages
- Cosmetic Labels
- Customized Invoice Templates
- Custom Portraits
- Digital Art Prints
- Digital Bookmarks
- Digital Papers
- Digital Planners
- Digital Stickers
- Email Templates
- Etsy Shop Assets
- Event Printables
- Excel Templates
- Gift Tags
- Learning Materials For Children
- Meal Plan Templates
- Pantry Organizer Templates
- Party Invitations
- Pinterest Templates
- Printable Cake and Party Decorations
- Printable Planners
- Product Labels
- Productivity Trackers
- Purchase Order Templates
- Recipe Cards
- Resume Templates
- Self-Improvement Printables
- Sewing Patterns
- Sleep Trackers
- Social Media Templates
- Thank You Cards
- Wall Art
- Wedding Planners
- Wedding Printables
- Website Templates and Themes
- Wrapping Paper Patterns
- Zoom Backgrounds
How To Be Successful Selling Digital Downloads On Etsy
You can be successful selling digital downloads on Etsy as long as you follow these steps to a T:
- Research and pick a profitable niche
- Create an in-demand digital product
- Set up your shop on Etsy
- List your product on Etsy and price it competitively
- Market your product and make sure you follow Etsy’s SEO best practices while doing this
- Have good customer follow-up and get reviews
How To Sell Digital Products On Etsy?
You just need to follow these six simple steps to sell digital products on Etsy:
- Conduct market research
- Design and create your product for sale
- Set up your shop on Etsy
- List your product on Etsy
- Market your product to your friends and on social media
- Get reviews, do customer follow-up, and improve if there’s feedback
If you’re still stumped, take a course to fast-track your learning on how to sell downloadable files on Etsy!
Do Digital Downloads Sell Well On Etsy?
Digital downloads do extremely well on Etsy and selling digital downloads can be a very profitable side hustle or even a main hustle.
Etsy is known as a marketplace for arts and crafts but if you were to sell digital downloads, you cut down your overheads significantly.
With digital downloads you also do not need to maintain an inventory, freeing up your time to do marketing, client servicing or just creating new products.
How Hard Is It To Sell Digital Downloads On Etsy?
It is not that hard to sell digital downloads on Etsy, but you should minimally have knowledge of design software and a good attitude toward learning how to use platforms like Etsy.
Etsy is not difficult to use for a first-time seller, but there is a learning curve.
Don’t give up if you don’t succeed in selling your first download after a few days.
Persevere, ask your loved ones for their feedback, and market yourself.
If you really want to know how to start earning from Etsy quickly with digital downloads, I took a very helpful Etsy course that really helped me get there quickly.
- How To Report A Seller On Etsy?+ What Happens After? 
- How To Make Money Selling Prints On Etsy
- 30 Unique Ways To Increase Your Etsy Sales Right Now
- How To Get Reviews On Etsy? 11 Best Tips For Your Etsy Store!
How To Sell On Etsy Successfully?
There are no secrets on how to sell on Etsy successfully, but here are the steps I took to get my first sale on Etsy:
- Strong market research – I researched what people needed and asked my friends for advice on what problems they needed to solve
- All-out marketing – Once I got my shop up, I shouted to the mountaintops about my new Etsy shop. Tell all your friends and your family!
- Etsy SEO – Yes, there’s also SEO for Etsy. Use tools like Sale Samurai (use my code ‘outandbeyond for a discount) to find what are people searching for on Etsy
It will take time, but hang in there and keep at it because Etsy is truly one of the best ways to sell digital downloads. I’ll know – I managed to do it myself!
How To Download Digital Files From Etsy?
If you want to know how to download digital files from Etsy, first check if your download is an instant download or a made-to-order download.
For instant downloads, you should be able to receive your download link in your inbox within a few minutes of making payment.
If you don’t receive it, you can also go to Etsy and head to Purchases and Reviews, and click Download Files for your digital files.
Still stumped? Read this guide on Etsy: How To Download Digital Files.
How Much Does It Cost To Sell Digital Downloads On Etsy?
Etsy charges $0.20 per product listing for your Etsy shop and a 6.5% transaction fee, 3% payment processing fee (and $0.25) thereafter.
While it is not expensive, it does make sense to list your top-selling products first to generate sales instead of just listing everything you want to sell to avoid incurring too many costs.
Having a Canva subscription could also add to your costs if you want to sell digital downloads. So remember to factor that in!
It’s not difficult to sell digital downloads on Etsy as you can see from my guide on how do digital downloads work on Etsy.
Once you get the ball rolling in the beginning, it’s a great source of passive income once you figure out how to sell digital files on Etsy/
Don’t be afraid to take that first step and try out a new side hustle.
Who knows, one day you might be one of the top-selling digital downloads on Etsy!
How To Sell Digital Downloads On Etsy: An Easy 6-Step Guide
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