How To Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy: The Ultimate Guide

How to Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy

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Did you know selling digital files on Etsy is the most recent trend? People from all around the globe are jumping on this lucrative bandwagon.

With no inventory and upfront expenditures, offering digital downloads on Etsy is an easy way to earn passive income.

Want to learn how to sell digital downloads on Etsy? You’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, I’ll teach you how to make money on Etsy with digital downloads and all about this product type.

Let’s begin.

What Does Digital Download Mean on Etsy?

A digital download is a digital product people can buy online. It contains a file people can download upon satisfying a specific condition.

People often think a digital download is another term for a printable.

On Etsy, though, there are several kinds of digital downloads and digital printables.

Here are examples of digital product ideas for Etsy.

  • Digital art prints

  • Digital planners

  • Wall art

  • Fonts

  • Logos

  • Graphics

  • Custom website themes

  • Sewing patterns

  • Resumé templates

  • Ebooks

  • Stock photos

  • Printable stickers

How Do Digital Downloads Work on Etsy?

Selling digital downloads is pretty straightforward. The listing process is the same, but you have to select the appropriate product type and category.

With digital downloads, you don’t have to ship anything. The customer can instantly access their purchase after completing the payment.

Why Should You Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy?

Are you on the fence about starting a digital download Etsy shop?

Review its advantages and disadvantages to see if it’s the right venture for you and your goals.

Wide Customer ReachHigh Competition
Low Production CostsIntellectual Property Challenges
Quick and Easy DistributionCreativity and Technological Concerns
Passive Income Potential
Etsy Teams


  • Wide Customer Reach
    Etsy has a large and diverse global customer base. You can take advantage of a highly targeted audience who is ready to buy unique and creative products, including digital downloads.

    Because you don’t have to worry about shipping, you can also potentially reach every user no matter where they are.

  • Low Production Costs
    Selling digital files is a popular tactic since they are simple to make. You only need to build the product and create your Etsy listing.

    If you already have the tools and software, you can start this business at no additional cost. You only have to pay for Etsy’s fees.

  • Quick and Easy Distribution
    One of the advantages of selling Etsy digital downloads is that you don’t have to go through the hassle of sending buyers a physical product since they can just download the item upon purchase.

    For example, Etsy sellers that sell digital art prints don’t have to worry about shipping and delivery issues.

  • Passive Income Potential
    Selling digital downloads has an immensely high potential for passive income. You only need to make a product once, and you can repeatedly sell it without continuous production or inventory management.

  • Etsy Teams
    Etsy shop owners can also enjoy being part of Etsy Teams, which enables them to participate in groups of other merchants, contribute to discussion boards, and advertise their digital designs and downloads.


  • High Competition
    Digital products are highly popular on Etsy, which means competition can be intense. You must have unique offerings and effective marketing strategies to stand out. 

  • Intellectual Property Challenges
    It can be challenging to protect your digital products from unauthorized use or distribution. If you don’t watermark your photos, someone else can easily download your product without buying.

    Some customers may also sell the designs as their own without your permission. You can use safeguards like watermarking and licensing measures, but there will always be an innovative offender.

  • Creativity and Technological Concerns
    You must have a good eye for designs and an understanding of the trends to create a stand-out product.

    You must also have technological proficiency to use design software, manage digital files, and ensure compatibility.

How Much Can You Earn Selling Digital Downloads on Etsy?

The money you earn selling printables and other digital products on Etsy depends on your niche, product, and price.

Digital products generally do well on Etsy, but there’s a lot of competition. A quick Google search revealed some sellers earn thousands of dollars monthly.

The key to earning more is investing more time. The more time you give your business, the more successful you’ll be in the long run.

How To Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy in 6 Simple Steps

If you think this opportunity is right for you, here’s how to start selling digital downloads on Etsy.

1. Decide What Digital Products To Sell on Etsy.

When looking for the right product to sell, consider your skills and interests. It helps if you’re already familiar with your niche, so you can devise ideas that can cater to your audience’s needs.

Check the best-selling digital downloads on Etsy to get a few ideas. You can also draw from your experience to see what you can offer to the market.

Types of Digital Products on Etsy

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  • Templates and Patterns
    Templates are some of the best-selling digital products on the platform. They can cater to different niches, allowing you to find a market that suits you.

    You can offer wedding invitation templates, knitting patterns, spreadsheet templates, business cards, and more.

    If you want to learn how to sell templates on Etsy, check your competitors and see what formats they use for your desired product.

  • Ebooks and Digital Guides
    If you want to offer digital books or magazines, you must learn how to sell PDF on Etsy. You can dabble on various topics, such as self-help, crafting, cooking, or any subject where you can share your knowledge and expertise.

  • Photography
    When selling digital prints on Etsy, you can also use photos you took yourself. Ensure you’re not grabbing the images from other sources, as you might be infringing on intellectual property rights.

  • Digital Planners and Journals
    You can also sell downloads of digital planners, organizers, and journals. Create aesthetically pleasing to-do lists, goal trackers, calendars, and more. You can also offer custom designs.

  • Printables
    Etsy digital products don’t have to remain digital. You can sell artwork, templates, planners, and other types that buyers can download and print themselves.

    A good example is a printable wall art, which you don’t have to ship and the customer don’t have to wait for.

    When selling printables on Etsy, ensure the files retain their quality when printed.

  • Web Design Assets
    Do you have a talent for web design? You can sell website templates and graphic design elements like icons and fonts.

    You can also start selling custom digital files on Etsy for customers who prefer to have a one-of-a-kind website design.

Product Research

When you have a general idea of what you want to sell, assess its profitability and sales potential through product research.

Here are some questions you can answer in the course of your research.

  • Are individuals shopping for things similar to what they want to sell?

  • What kind of prices are they willing to settle for?

  • Is there anything you can do to set yourself apart from the other businesses in your industry?

To assess the demand, I suggest using Etsy SEO tools. You can search by keywords to see if Etsy users are searching for a particular product.

In this example below, I’m using Everbee to check the monthly searches per term.

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Market Research

Understand your target market to learn what types of products they want and what promotional strategies you can do to reach them.

Find out your potential customers’ needs, preferences, demographics, and purchasing habits. Identify their pain points and determine how you can offer a solution.

You must also assess your competition. Look at a successful Etsy shop and see if you can compete with their offerings.

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Competitive Pricing

Have you decided on the type of products you want to offer? Start making them and think about their selling price.

Factor in labor costs and Etsy fees when determining the selling price of your digital products.

Note that Etsy charges both listing and selling fees. The listing fee is 20 cents per listing, while the selling fee is 5% of the transaction price.

You can offer competitive prices to gain an edge but avoid undercutting your competitors.

2. Start Your Own Etsy Shop.

Here’s how to start a digital Etsy shop.

Create an Etsy Account.

To get started selling digital downloads, head to Etsy , scroll down, and click the Sell on Etsy button.

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Follow the prompts and step-by-step instructions, which include entering the following details:

  • Shop preferences

  • Shop name (you can change your shop name later)

  • Tax information

  • Billing information

  • Payment information

You must also draft at least one listing, but you can choose not to publish it.

Customize Your Etsy Store.

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After registering as an Etsy seller, you can now customize your Etsy store according to your brand.

  • Shop Name
    Choose a unique and memorable Etsy shop name. It should reflect your product offerings and brand personality.

  • Shop Banner and Logo
    Design a banner and logo that represents your brand identity. A visually appealing banner helps establish trust and make your shop look more professional.

  • Shop Policies
    Establish clear policies regarding returns, refunds, and shipping (if applicable). When selling PDFs on Etsy, you don’t have to ship any product.

3. Create Your Digital Products.

Once you’ve done the market research and have decided on a product, figure out what tools and software can help you make them. You want something that aligns with your goals, skill level, and budget.

Here’s how to make digital downloads for Etsy using the most popular tools.

PricingBest For
CanvaFree / Canva Pro starts at $12.99/monthBeginners
Adobe PhotoshopStarts at $19.99/monthAdvanced users
Adobe IllustratorStarts at $20.99/monthGraphic designers
Upwork or FiverrVariesShop owners without the right skills or time


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Canva is another free and easy-to-use tool to create digital products, especially if you’re an inexperienced graphic designer. It has pre-designed templates, graphics, icons, and fonts you can customize to create your own digital items.

For beginners learning how to sell digital downloads on Etsy using Canva, I recommend going for the free plan first. This lets you get a feel of the platform before you decide if it’s the right tool for you.

Adobe Photoshop

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Adobe Photoshop is a popular option for an Etsy printables business, even though the software has a high learning curve. It lets you unleash your creativity to the fullest with its suite of advanced tools.

You can edit images, create illustrations from scratch, and experiment with various features for creating digital downloads.

This powerful and professional-grade design tool is available through the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription service.

Adobe Illustrator

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Adobe Illustrator is an ideal choice for vector graphics. It is the platform of choice for graphic designers making logos, marketing elements, website graphics, and more.

Upwork or Fiverr (Freelance Designers)

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Upwork and Fiverr are platforms connecting freelancers with clients. You can find a graphic designer here who can work with your requirements and budget.

Outsourcing the design is suitable for small business owners who don’t necessarily have the skills or time to make digital products.

Other Platforms

You may also want to consider other software depending on the digital product you want to create. For example, you must have Lightroom for making Lightroom presets or Microsoft Excel for spreadsheet templates.

4. Create and Optimize Your Product Listings.

If you want to know how to sell digital products on Etsy effectively, the key is optimizing your listings to improve your visibility.

Optimizing your listings with relevant keywords and high-quality images will help you reach more customers and increase your Etsy conversion rate.

Perform Etsy Keyword Research.

Performing keyword research is essential for optimizing your listings and increasing their visibility in Etsy’s search results.

Researching keywords for Etsy SEO doesn’t have to be time-consuming. The key is to put yourself in your target customer’s shoes and consider how they would search for your products.

What would your customer type into the Etsy search bar? The terms you come up with will be your foundation for the keywords you include in your listings.

You can also use the search bar to identify popular search terms related to your keyword.

However, I highly recommend using Etsy SEO tools. There are both free and paid tools available, such as EverBee and EtsyHunt.

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With a keyword research tool, you can gain insight into the keyword’s search volume, competition, and related words or phrases.

Create a Digital Product Listing.

You can upload a listing by going to your Shop Manager and clicking Listings.

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Then, select Add a listing.

When learning how to list digital downloads on Etsy, you must keep in mind the following tips:

  • Choose the Digital File option for the product type.

  • Select the appropriate file format for your digital download.

  • Optimize the file name before uploading. You can’t change it on Etsy.

  • Specify any customization options or variations, if available.

Optimize for SEO.

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To optimize your listings for Etsy SEO, incorporate the keywords naturally into the following elements:

  • Product Title
    Include a focus keyword near the beginning of the title to improve your rankings and increase the chances of shoppers finding your listing.

  • Product Description
    Write a detailed and compelling description with complete and accurate information about your digital product. Use keywords naturally, and do not force them into your copy.

    Don’t forget to highlight that your product is a digital item. Include the format of your item in the description (PDF, PNG, etc.).

    Remember that your descriptions should answer buyers’ questions and give them reasons to buy your product.

  • Etsy Tags
    Add search terms or tags shoppers can use when looking for your product. Maximize your tags by using all 13 slots.

  • Image File Name and Alt Text
    Rename your image file using the most relevant keyword. You can also add an alternative text, which can help search engines better understand the image.

Upload High-Quality Images.

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Show your digital products in action by uploading several images. Here are some ideas on how you can showcase your work:

  • Show how social media templates would look on the actual platform.

  • For printables, do a photoshoot with a printed copy.

  • Knitting and stitching patterns would sell better if you can also show what the end product looks like.

  • For wall arts, create mock-ups to display them in different rooms.

Note: Watermark your photos to prevent unauthorized use.

Keep in mind Etsy’s listing image quality guidelines, specifically its size and resolution requirements. Doing this allows you to create a better user experience by providing images that can help their buying decision.

Upload Your Digital File.

When selling designs on Etsy, you must upload the file during the listing process. When a customer buys your product, they will automatically receive the file.

5. Market and Promote Your Etsy Shop.

Once your listings are up, it’s time to spread the word. Here are some digital marketing strategies you can try.

Provide Excellent Customer Service.

You need good reviews if you want your Etsy products to rank higher. They are a form of social proof that can also help increase your sales.

Here are some suggestions to get good reviews as a new shop.

  • Respond promptly to all customer inquiries.

  • Be proactive when fixing issues.

  • Provide incentives to customers, like a complementary item or free shipping.

Enhance the customer experience by going above and beyond expectations. Ask buyers if there’s anything else you can do for them after the purchase.

You can also ask them to leave you a review in your follow-up message.

Offer Sales and Discounts.

Most people look for deals when they shop. Put your goods on sale if you want to sell more of them.

Your Etsy shop should have sales often. Make coupon codes for your email subscribers and people who follow you on social media.

Create unique coupon codes for customers who have already bought from you as another way to get them to buy from you again.

Run Etsy Ads.

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You don’t have to use Etsy ads to promote your products, but doing so is a big step to help you increase sales or grow your existing ones.

This native advertising tool allows your listings to appear on prominent positions on the Etsy website, such as the search results page and related product pages.

Build Your Social Media Profiles.

Increase your reach by creating an account on various social media platforms. You can start with one or two out of the most popular websites for Etsy sellers:

  • Facebook: most popular social network

  • Instagram: best for visual products

  • Pinterest: for Etsy shops selling handmade products and arts

  • TikTok: for short-form videos

The right platform for you depends on which one your target audience uses.

Set Up Your Own Website.

I highly recommend building your own online store. Doing this opens more opportunities, such as the following:

  • Content marketing

  • Retargeting advertising

  • Branding and customization

An easy way to build an online store is to use ecommerce solutions like Shopify. This service lets you customize your website, add pages, and implement cart and payment gateways.

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Once you have a website, you can promote your digital downloads in other ways than what Etsy can provide.

Build an Email List.

An Etsy email marketing strategy allows you to connect directly with potential and existing customers. You can deliver updates and valuable content to promote your products and build customer relationships.

6. Monitor Your Performance.

To become a successful Etsy seller, you must constantly monitor your shop’s performance and make changes accordingly.

Review the given metrics to make data-driven decisions that can help you get more sales and grow your online business. 

Track Shop Statistics.

Etsy provides valuable shop statistics that give you insights into your shop’s performance. Monitor metrics such as:

  • Views

  • Visits

  • Favorites

  • Conversion rates

Pay attention to trends to identify what is working well and areas that may need improvement.

Analyze Sales and Revenue.

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Keep a close eye on your sales and revenue figures. Monitor which digital products are selling best and generate the most revenue.

This information can guide your decision-making about how to sell digital art, such as whether to focus on certain categories or create variations of high-performing products.

Evaluate Customer Feedback.

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Pay attention to customer feedback and reviews. Positive reviews indicate customer satisfaction, while negative feedback presents an opportunity for improvement.

Address any issues promptly and seek to resolve them to maintain a positive reputation and customer trust.

Adjust Pricing and Promotions.

Regularly assess your pricing strategy and evaluate how it affects sales and customer response. Consider adjusting prices based on market trends, competitor analysis, and customer feedback.

Additionally, analyze the impact of promotions, discounts, or bundles on your sales and revenue. Experiment with different strategies to find what works best for your shop.

Monitor Your Competition.

Keep an eye on your competitors’ Etsy shops. Analyze their listings, pricing, and promotions. Identify successful strategies they employ and consider implementing them in your own shop.

Stay updated of emerging trends or new products in your niche to stay ahead of the competition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How To Create Digital Downloads To Sell on Etsy?

  • Use design software like Canva or Adobe Photoshop.

  • Save the files in appropriate formats, like JPEG, PNG, or PDF.

  • Look for niche design ideas and profitable products.

How To Sell Downloadable Files on Etsy?

To offer digital downloads on Etsy, follow these quick steps:

  1. Sign up on Etsy.

  2. Create and optimize your listing.

  3. Choose the Digital product type.

  4. Upload your digital file.

How Does Digital Download Work on Etsy?

Once you upload your listing with the appropriate files, you don’t have to do anything else. The customer instantly receives the digital file after paying for their order. 

How Do Customers Receive Digital Downloads on Etsy?

Customers on Etsy receive digital downloads by accessing their Etsy account or using the provided download link. After purchasing a digital product, customers can download the files directly to their device. Etsy’s system ensures secure and immediate access to the purchased digital files, allowing customers to start using them right away.

What Is a Digital Download on Etsy?

A digital download on Etsy is a product that the buyer can receive electronically. It typically refers to a printable artwork, an ebook, planner, template, or other digital content.

What Is the Best File Type for Etsy Digital Download?

The best file type depends on the product you’re selling.

  • PDF Files: best for documents and ebooks

  • JPEG or PNG: suitable for images and artwork

How Much Does Etsy Charge To Sell Digital Products?

Etsy charges the same fees regardless of product type. Here’s an overview:

  • Listing fee – $0.20 per listing

  • Transaction fee – 5% of total sales price

  • Payment processing fee – varies

How To Print Etsy Digital Downloads?

Here’s how to print Etsy digital downloads:

  1. Download the digital file to your computer.

  2. Open the file using the right software.

  3. Adjust print settings.

  4. Load the paper or another material into your printer.

  5. Select the Print button.

The Bottom Line

Selling digital products involves a lot of work in the beginning.

Once you make your products, promote your Etsy shop to ensure you spread the word and encourage people to buy.

Creating digital products doesn’t require much capital, so it can be lucrative if you do your homework. Digital downloads also require much less manual labor than handmade items.

You may not earn a lot when you start selling digital products. However, with proper research, dedication, and intelligent execution, you can create a highly profitable business.

Written by: Omar Deryan

Founder of OJ Digital Solutions

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