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How to Sell Printables on Etsy: a step by step guide (2023)

How to sell Printables on Etsy in 5 steps.

How to Sell Printables on Etsy:

Selling printables on Etsy is one of the easiest ways to earn a passive income for many creatives and artists online. Not only do they get to practice their creativity and harness their skills; starting a printable shop is cost-effective, compared to other creative businesses.

If you’re a budding digital artist, you’re probably wondering how to get in on this side hustle. In this guide, we’ll teach you everything there is to know about Etsy printables: what they are and how to produce them, how to sell them, and what the most popular printables or digital downloads are in recent years.

 

What are printables?

 

Printables are files that you can either digitally download to print yourself or buy and receive already in print. Some prime examples of printables are stationery designs, stickers, journals, calendars, templates, and more. Printables or digital downloads sold on Etsy can be printed at home or through a professional third party that does printing services.

Etsy sellers typically upload their digital printables for sale to their shop in PDF, SVG, or JPEG formats. Most upload their designs in the most in-demand formats and sell them in a compressed format to give buyers the option to choose however they want to print them. Some Etsy sellers may also give buyers the freedom to edit or modify their designs however they see fit, as long as their modifications follow the seller’s policies.

 

How to sell Printables on Etsy in 5 steps

 

Selling printables is a smart way to jumpstart an artist or designer’s entrepreneurial career. Follow these steps to start your printables business on Etsy.

 

1. Make a printable to sell on Etsy

 

Experienced digital artist or not, you can easily make printables to sell on Etsy. If you’ve made digital art in other capacities before, you can easily use tools you’re familiar with like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. If you’re only transitioning to digital art and need some creative assistance, below are two ways for you to get started.

 

Use pre-made resources from Creative Fabrica

 

You can also choose to sell digital assets from platforms like Creative Fabrica, which hosts millions of unique designs that you can use for your projects and legally sell on Etsy. This is possible because with every download you make on Creative Fabrica, a commercial license is included, so you are free to sell printable designs on Etsy however you want. Get the All-Access Subscription Plan so you can enjoy unlimited downloads of our fonts and graphics and use them on your printables.

 

Use these 5 tools for making printables to sell on Etsy

 

If you’d like to try your hand at making your own printables, there are many tools and websites you can use. Some of them are free to use, while others may require you to purchase:

 

1. CF Spark

If you can’t find the assets you need, create your own original design with some help from CF Spark, our suite of AI generator tools. CF Spark Art is great for experimenting with ideas you can’t find an exact match for online. CF Spark Patterns lets you create repeatable patterns in seconds, which are great as backgrounds for digital files and printables. 

2. Canva

Canva is an easy-to-use design platform that allows you to design different assets, even if you don’t have any digital design know-how. They have a wide range of free digital assets, which you can supplement with graphics you create and download from third-party websites.

One important thing to note about Canva is that if you’re using their templates, you can’t sell the designs as is. You have to modify it and use elements that are commercially licensed. Read their terms of use to determine if you’re legally allowed to sell your designs.

 

3. Figma

Figma is mostly known as a free design tool for prototyping and wireframing websites and mobile apps, but it can also be used for designing printables. You can use vector images on Figma which means you can resize your images without worrying about print quality.

 

4. Coolors

You can use color palettes as inspiration if you want to create minimalist or trendy printables. Coolors.co is a good color palette generator that lets you generate your own palette, or explore other popular color palettes. If you want to know which palettes are currently popular, check their Trending page.

 

5. PDFEscape

Some buyers prefer digital downloads that they can use both on their computers and printed. To give them this flexibility, you can offer fillable PDFs as part of your printable download bundle. Create fillable PDFs for your buyers by running your digital file through PDFEscape.

 

2. Open your Shop or add listings to your existing one

 

If you don’t have an Etsy shop yet, here’s how you can open one:

  1. Log into your Etsy account. On the upper-right-hand corner, hover over ‘Your account’, then click ‘Sell on Etsy’.
  2. On the new page, scroll to the bottom and click ’Open your Etsy Shop’. 
  3. You will be redirected to a number of pages where you’ll need to fill in some important information like your Etsy shop name, product listings, payment information, etc.
  4. Once you’ve completed all your required data, Etsy will give you a link to your shop which you can use to promote yourself on social networks or your website.  

 

If you already have an Etsy shop, here’s how you can add a listing:

  1. On your Etsy account, click ‘Shop Manager’.
  2. Click ‘Listings’ or ‘Your shop’ for new Etsy sellers. Then, click ‘Add a listing’
  3. Upload photos of your printable.
  4. Add listing details such as product description, inventory, price, etc.
  5. Once done, click ‘Save’. Repeat this process for other listings for printables.

 

create a listing on etsy

Get all the information you need to open an Etsy shop with our guide on How to Start an Etsy Shop.

 

3. Research your competition

 

One step that many inexperienced Etsy sellers skip is researching their competition. In fact, this step can give you the edge you need to stand out. This is your chance to assess your competitors’ strategy, learn from their best practices, and find out the gap they can’t fill in your niche.

To focus your research, here are some questions you can ask when doing market and competitor researching:

  • What kind of printables are they not selling?
  • How can I make product listings better than theirs?
  • What makes my competitors’ products different from mine?
  • What’s their pricing strategy?

 

4. Check all legal aspects

 

When selling products that involve creative or intellectual property, you need to make sure that you have the copyright or commercial license to sell them.

Resources you purchase or download with your All Access Subscription Plan from Creative Fabrica includes a commercial license, allowing you to sell your designs as long as you’re subscribed. Some sites like Canva have other licensing policies. So before using their elements or templates on your printables, make sure you’re legally allowed to sell your designs.

Although Etsy doesn’t require sellers to have a business license to start an Etsy shop, you still need to make sure that you are safe from any legal issues you may face when selling printables, so better check with a professional or local government before adding products to your listings.

 

5. Make your printables stand out

 

Once you’ve created listings for all your printables to your Etsy shop, it’s time to promote them! Here are ways you can market your Etsy printables:

 

Optimize your listings for SEO

 

Make sure your Etsy shop, product listing titles and descriptions are SEO-friendly so that you can rank high on search engines. Ranking high on search engines allows more buyers to find you.

Remember to also use all 13 tags in your product listings to help you get your printables out there!

Be sure to use unique keywords related to your category. But be careful about overstuffing your posts with keywords as that may get you flagged. Learn How To Write an Etsy Product Description with our nifty guide.

If you still need help crafting product listings, use our Etsy Product Description Generator which helps you draft descriptions in seconds.

 

Promote on social media

 

Some social networks that you can try include Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, and facebook. The good thing about this is that these platforms let you promote your products in various ways, either with your own content, or with the help of content creators in your niche, or through paid ads. 

 

Other promotional strategies

 

The digital space allows for sellers to promote their products and brand in different ways. One of the most effective and trendy marketing strategies these days is blogging or vlogging.

Having a blog or YouTube channel dedicated to your design expertise is a good way to establish your name in the field. It also allows you to give your followers other valuable and free content, which can easily earn their trust. To gain more SEO juice and followers, consider collaborating with other bloggers through guest posts. 

To encourage buyers to make return purchases and eventually become loyal customers, build an email list and send high-quality newsletters. Send relevant missives and aim to engage and not just sell. To incentive email list subscribers, give them exclusive offers and updates every once in a while.

Most professionals check their emails more than social media so this is another smart way to reach a new audience and retain them in the long run.

 

What are the most popular types of printables currently selling well on Etsy?

 

We’ve listed down some best-selling printable and digital downloads on Etsy. As a bonus, we’ve also included links to these products that can be found on Creative Fabrica in case you want to see other design inspirations or resources to grow your printable listings.

 

Planners on creative fabrica

Aesthetically pleasing planners are all the rage online. Top design ideas include minimalist bullet journals, themed weekly planners, and to-do lists with witty quotes. To make your planners even more eye-catching, use our sans serif fonts for a contemporary look. Want to be more unique? Generate patterns using our CF Spark Patterns generator so you can come up with different pattern variations in seconds.

 

Habit trackers are a verified top seller during New Year, so make sure to prepare different variations before the holidays to meet the demand. Use our icons and illustrations to make your trackers stand out. 

 

Help educators and homeschooling parents craft their lesson plans and modules with readable teaching materials and worksheets. Giving sticker templates that teachers can print on their own and give out during lessons is a nice touch.

 

 

Coloring books are a great stress reliever and boredom buster. Creative Fabrica has coloring book designs for both kids and adults.

 

Top 3 common mistakes when listing printables on Etsy

 

Printables are an easy sell online for digital artists and designers. But because of this, many sellers are prone to committing these common mistakes when listing Etsy printables, leading to low or zero sales for their otherwise good products.

Know what these common mistakes are so you can avoid them on your own store:

 

1. Not optimizing for SEO 

 

While word-of-mouth marketing is still the best way to gain traction, you need to be found by your target audience first. The best way you can do this is by optimizing your listings with relevant keywords to your niche.

 

2. Not taking advantage of trends and seasonality

 

Creatives love to march to the beat of their own drum, but if you want to make more money with your creativity, you have to listen to demands of the market as well.

Pay more attention to trends and pop culture so you can take advantage of moment marketing. You don’t need to jump on every trend – find one that resonates with you so you can create a good product inspired by it authentically.

You should also create products for seasonal holidays like Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Superbowl, and others. Put your own spin on these holidays so your design doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

Top tip: Generate an attractive product listing title incorporating relevant keywords to your trend or seasonal offering. Use our Etsy Product Listing Title Generator to churn out great ideas in a flash.

 

3. Not having a solid pricing strategy 

 

Changing prices often confuses the customer. Before opening your Etsy shop, you must have a solid pricing strategy in plan.

This should take into account the current market price for your niche, your costs, selling price, and expected profit margin.

 

 

Frequently asked questions

 

Got more questions? Here are some answers on how to make printables to sell.

 

1. Should I copyright my printables?

Yes, you should definitely copyright your original printables to protect yourself from copyright infringement issues and avoid other people plagiarizing your work. Before uploading your custom printables to your Etsy shop, it’s best to consult with your local government or a professional first and file any paperwork if required.

 

2. What program is best for making printables?

The best program for printables depends on the artist or designer. While there are lots of options available, most of these programs have the same functionality.

So, it is totally up to you to see which one fits your skills and preferences best. Pros love the Adobe suite of design software like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. If you’re a beginner, Canva and Figma are good free tools you can use to create your first designs.

Beginners and experts alike will enjoy Creative Fabrica’s range of creative digital assets like fonts, graphics, and illustrations which include a Commercial License. This means designers can sell the printables created with our creative assets.

Additionally, the AI generator tools under the CF Spark family are likewise excellent creator tools for brainstorming new ideas, experimenting with and remixing concepts, and getting inspiration.

 

3. Do I need a business license to sell printables on Etsy?

Technically, you don’t need a business license to sell printables on Etsy. But you may need to inquire about getting a business license from your local government for tax purposes.

It’s always a good idea to check with your municipality about legalities first before forming a business.

 

4. How much do people make selling printables on Etsy?

People make an average of $50/week to $1,000/month selling printables on Etsy.

However, this figure may change depending on whether you’re a new seller or not, your pricing strategy, and seasonality. It also depends on your marketing efforts.

 

5. Is it still worth it to sell printables on Etsy?

Yes, it is still worth it to sell printables on Etsy. Not only is it a good source of passive income, but it’s also a way for artists and designers to showcase their creativity.

If you’re a newbie entrepreneur, this can be your launching pad to other creative product lines.

 

6. Do I have good alternatives to Etsy to sell my printables?

Other good alternatives for selling printables aside from Etsy include reputable online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Creative Fabrica which is a great marketplace where you can target crafters in need of unique design elements.

When considering alternatives, you should take into account platform fees, requirements, ideal market, and other legal aspects, if applicable.

 

Discover ways to make your online business a success with our Ultimate Etsy Guide

 

Need more help with your Etsy seller journey? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Our Ultimate Etsy Guide contains everything you need to be a thriving Etsy seller.

If you’re nervous about opening your online shop, read our step-by-step guide on How to start a shop on Etsy so you can start on the right foot. 

Still on the fence about what products to offer? Check out What to sell on Etsy where you’ll learn about the site’s top sellers plus tips on how to sell better on the platform.

Learn how to write product descriptions that appeal to potential customers while ranking high on search engines, too!

Not satisfied with your current store name? Get formulas and inspiration from our guide on How to Choose Your Etsy Store Name.

 

Jumpstart your Etsy seller journey with printables

 

Selling printables on Etsy is one of the easiest and smartest ways to generate income, especially for graphic artists and designers. Aside from having full control of your creative output, you also have lots of flexibility when creating printables to sell on your Etsy shop.

So, even if you don’t have any entrepreneurial experience, take the leap and start your own Etsy shop. 

For more similar reads like this, check out our Ultimate Guide on Etsy.

 

 

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