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1. What are printables?

Selling printables on Etsy: A complete guide to making money

What empowers creatives to make money on their designs but also eliminates the need to repeatedly hand-create each order? Selling printables on Etsy. The Etsy marketplace is the ideal platform to sell designs in digital form. And with millions of active buyers, selling printables on Etsy can fast-track a stream of passive income into a full-fledged side (or even full-time) hustle.

However, to unlock the full money-making capabilities of Etsy, there are a few crucial steps independent creators and ecommerce entrepreneurs must take. From signing up for an Etsy shop and selecting a print on demand (POD) provider to creating and marketing your own custom designs, the following best practices can help you make money selling printables in no time.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Etsy printables are digital products your customers can buy, download and print at home. 

  • To successfully sell printables, choose a specific product niche, create original and useful designs, and price your product competitively.

  • You can turn your digital designs into physical products by leveraging the print on demand (POD) business model to offer a wide range of products with your design without holding any inventory.

What are printables?

Printables, often called digital downloads, are popular digital products on the Etsy marketplace that customers can purchase, download, and print at home. There are countless printable digital products available across Etsy storefronts, including but not limited to wall art, gift tags, daily planners and planner templates, greeting cards, and other stationery.

While many Etsy printables are sold as is, there are also quite a few Etsy sellers who create printables that customers can edit themselves or have the seller edit for them. Editable printables, such as wedding and birthday invitations, are frequently sold in a template form to allow each customer to personalize their purchase with specific text, photography, and graphics. 

Other Etsy sellers choose to fulfill printable orders through a print on demand (POD) service. By integrating a POD service with an Etsy shop, customers can purchase their digital download printed onto various merchandise, from premium paper to apparel. POD providers like Gelato have millions of readily available printables for Etsy creators to customize and sell.

Can you make money selling printables on Etsy?

print on demand service

Selling printables on Etsy can be a fantastic source of income — and not just any income, but passive income that requires minimal effort to drive maximum profit. Those just getting started selling printables on Etsy can make upwards of $400 per month, whereas those who have an established Etsy storefront can earn more than $4,000 per month, all from digital printables.

Of course, the amount of money you make selling printables on Etsy will vary based on factors like your niche, digital marketing efforts, and general consumer demand. Likewise, the price point for your printables can influence your profit margins. Etsy sellers with print on demand functionality can set higher prices for premium items, whereas pure digital downloads are often cheaper in price.

How to start selling printables on Etsy in five steps

Design, download, and print: It can’t be too hard to sell printables on Etsy, right? Well, while the aspect of selling printables on Etsy may seem pretty straightforward, there are a few steps independent creators and ecommerce entrepreneurs must take to start making money. Follow these six crucial steps when looking to start selling printables through your Etsy business.

1. Choose a niche

choose niche

When looking to sell digital products on Etsy, the first step you’ll need to take is choosing your niche. A niche is just a fancy way of referring to your specific market segment. A simple ‘printables’ search in the Etsy marketplace will populate well over 5,000,000 products, demonstrating just how many niches exist for the vast printable market. A few digital product and niche examples to consider are:

  • Home decor and Airbnb printables, including photographic prints and canvas prints.

  • Wedding and baby shower-related printables, including invitations and wall art.

  • Educational printables, including educational posters and worksheets.

  • Daily organization of printables, including planners and calendars.

  • Business printables, including business cards and invoice templates.

  • Seasonal printables, including holiday greeting cards and gift tags.

As you contemplate the right niche and accompanying products for your Etsy business, it’s important to consider your own personal interests. Whether your decision is based on personal graphic design capabilities or a passion for certain industries, select a niche that resonates with you personally. Then, conduct some general market research to understand your best opportunities. 

Simple Etsy searches can help sellers understand which printable product types have the highest customer ratings (and demand!) across the site. Additional keyword research tools, likeGoogle Trends, can also help sellers view current online search volumes for relevant terms, such as “educational printables,” to understand trends in the printables market. From here, assess any competitors in your printables niche to understand an appropriate price point for your items.

2. Design your printables

design printables

With a niche in mind and a quality print on demand service ready to go, now would be the time to begin diving into your printable designs. When brainstorming printable ideas, think about what you witnessed when conducting Etsy competitor research to understand what general designs, colors, and styles of printables seem to be trending the most. 

If you plan to use imagery within your designs, start by first sourcing high-quality images and graphics, as this will help support conversion rates. Using quality images and graphics within your designs helps your brand stand out from the competition while better capturing the attention of Etsy buyers. 

Font selection is also a critical component of designing profitable Etsy printables. Whether your text stands alone or will accompany imagery, fonts must be easy to read and follow visually appealing color choices. We recommend sticking to 2 to 3 general fonts and colors across your entire brand to avoid creating cluttered designs that may be viewed as poor quality by potential customers. 

Keep in mind if you are struggling to lay out your printable ideas or if design simply isn't your strong suit, consider using templates or partnering up with a graphic designer. Many graphic design experts can help you develop a few ideas and draft a few printables to help you nail down the exact printable products you desire.

(Tip: Unlock hundreds of free graphics, millions of stock images, and premium fonts to effortlessly create your own eye-catching designs with aGelato+ subscription!)

3. Set up your Etsy store

set up etsy store

Now that you’ve finalized and laid out your printable design, you must now launch your Etsy shop. After signing up for a general account, head over to etsy.com/sell and enroll in an Etsy seller account to begin this process. 

Here you will then be asked to create a shop name that should be catchy and relevant to the niche you plan to follow. With the help of a graphic designer or design tools such as Canva, you’ll then need to develop a professional logo and store banner further reflective of your brand. Lastly, sellers will need to establish shop policies, including order return, exchange, and cancellation rules.

With the foundation of your Etsy shop laid out, now is a good time to integrate your print on demand service with your storefront. According to Etsy policy, sellers will need to first list their print on demand provider as a production partner. Once completed, Etsy sellers can then migrate their storefront with their POD service provider and begin uploading printable products. 

When uploading printables to your Etsy store, start by uploading high-quality images of your printable products. Along with high-quality images, you will also need to provide consumers with high-quality product descriptions. Towrite effective product descriptions, discuss product features, materials, dimensions, and relevant product keywords to help boost discoverability.

4. Price your printables

price printables

To successfully sell printables on Etsy, you’ll need to appropriately price your products. Whether you’re selling digital products, print on demand products, or both, first consider the time, effort, and money that goes into developing each of your products. Also, consider the overall value of your printables and how unique they are compared to the total Etsy marketplace. 

If you are having difficulties setting your product prices, it may also be helpful to look at what competitors are charging for similar items. Just make sure that you charge a case cost that covers both the costs and desired profit margin without excessively surpassing your competition's product prices. 

On top of general product pricing, it’s quite common for Etsy sellers to offer discounts and promotions in the early phase of their operation to help attract customers. The Etsy platform allows sellers torun timed sales on specific items or create promo codes for a percentage off their total purchase. Etsy also allows its sellers to send targeted offers directly to shoppers who have abandoned carts, recently favorited your item, or made a previous purchase.

5. Promote your Etsy printables business

promote etsy printables

Effectively driving traffic to your Etsy printables business relies heavily on your promotion efforts. Etsy shop owners can use many paid and free tools to market their businesses, including their existing social media platforms. Sellers with existing Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok pages must make an effort to inform followers of printable product offerings.

Likewise, sellers with an existing business website and social media following can encourage users to sign up for a monthly newsletter. Building an email list is an excellent way to fill your followers in on the various things happening within your businesses and the printable products you have to offer. 

With a loyal following on hand, it’s important to show customer appreciation through special offers. This can be done by offering free printables as a preview of your products or by offering a special promo code they can use to save on their purchase. Special giveaways are also great for capturing the attention of followers while also encouraging long-term brand loyalty. 

The Etsy platform itself additionally offers paid advertisement tools likeEtsy ads for those looking to enhance their product's discoverability. With Etsy ads, sellers can advertise their products in search results or other general pages across the marketplace. Users will just need to select a budget and specific product listings they wish to promote, and Etsy handles the rest. 

Turn your digital products into physical products with Gelato

Selling printables on Etsy can become quite a streamlined and profitable process if you take the right steps to set up your business. When you are ready to get started, remember to follow the steps outlined above, including selecting a niche, signing up for an Etsy storefront, designing your printables, and promoting your business to help get your business out there.

If you’re ready to take your Etsy printables business to the next level, consider partnering with a print on demand (POD) provider to create physical printed products from your digital designs. Gelato offers an excellent selection for those selling printables on Etsy — including calendars, wall art, photo books, and stationery.

POD services are a cost-effective solution; you only pay for what you sell. When your customer places an order, Gelato will handle the entirety of the order fulfillment process, from creating the product to shipping it to customers. Even better, Gelato POD services offer simple Etsy store integration to ensure every order is quickly processed and placed into production as soon as possible. 

In addition to a vast product selection, many consumers also prefer to work with print on demand providers that follow a sustainable business model. Unlike the traditional POD model, which centralizes production and delivery, Gelato leverages a global network of production partners and entrepreneurs. This allows us to generate your products in locations closest to your customers, streamline delivery, and reduce carbon emissions on every product we produce!

To learn more about how Gelato can elevate your Etsy printable business to the next level,connect your Etsy store today and check out just how easy order fulfillment can be.

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Sell your Etsy printables with Gelato.