Wondering how to create digital downloads for Etsy? Selling digital products on the Etsy platform has been the trendiest thing for the past few years. If you are curious about the process of creating digital downloads, if selling digital downloads on Etsy is worth it, and where you actually start, I’ve got you covered.
YouTube is flooded with videos showing you how to create digital products in Canva. The question is, what products should you start creating and do you need graphic design skills to really create something that will sell on the Etsy platform? In this post, I will show you step-by-step how to create digital downloads for Etsy that people want to buy!
What are digital downloads on Etsy?
Digital downloads are digital products, which means that the seller creates a digital file for the customer to download from the Etsy platform, and the customer can then use it digitally (download and edit on their computer) or print it out.
Here is an example of a digital download – this is an invoice and receipt template from our Etsy shop that the customer can download and easily customize in Canva.
An example of using the product digitally could be – a birthday invitation that the customer downloads, adds their child’s details and sends it out to the guests by email or with their phone as an image file.
Most of these digital products can also be printed out (sometimes can be called ‘Printables’) – this is where the customer can choose to print it out with their home computer or send it to a printing company that will print it for them.
How to create digital downloads with no graphic design skills
You would be happy to hear that no graphic design skills are needed. If you use user-friendly software like Canva, you will be able to create most of the digital products that are sold on Etsy. Practicing and working with the software will make the process much easier and smooth. the more you work with Canva and try new features, the easier and fastest it gets to create new digital products.
How to create Digital Downloads for Etsy the easiest way –
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create digital products for the Etsy platform, specifically tailored for people who are not graphic designers! Let’s start.
Step 1: Decide on Your Niche
The first step is to decide on the niche or the type of customer that you want to create your products for. This will help you to decide on your first product idea.
Think about what type of niche you are interested in and maybe have some knowledge in. This is not a must, of course, but if this product is something you are passionate about or even want to learn more about, this will help you create better products and make the process easier, much more enjoyable and fun.
Step 2: Validate Your Product Ideas
Start with doing keyword research using the Etsy search bar to find profitable digital products to sell on Etsy. The goal is to find products that people are searching for on the Etsy platform and that are not too saturated (very important!) so you can compete.
Start typing your idea in the search bar and see what comes up in the drop-down menu. Let’s say that you would like to create digital products for birthday parties. As you can see in the example below, when you start typing birthday invitations, you can see that Etsy shows you the keywords that are most searched on the platform for birthday invitations. Write down all these keyword ideas.
Step 3: Time to Check the Real Numbers!
Check the monthly volume and competition of the digital download you want to create.
Once you have all the keyword ideas with you, you would need to use one of the Etsy SEO tools like eRank or Sale Samurai (check the post 4 Best Etsy SEO Tools 2023 – Honest Review!) to check the monthly search volume and the competition.
You want to make sure that you pick a product that has a monthly search of at least a few hundred and is not too competitive (as you don’t want to end up on page 10 of the Etsy search and wait for customers to find you after all the work you put in).
Step 4: Decide on the Design of Your Digital Template
Be inspired by the best sellers.
Once you have decided what digital download you are going to create, go back to Etsy and do a search for this product. Look at the best sellers and see what you can learn from them.
Do not copy, just be inspired and see what elements they are using. Use this list to check the important elements –
- Is it a printable, or it’s only used digitally,
- Can the customer customize the template or only print it out?
- What are the dimensions that other sellers offer this product?
Make a note of everything you see and plan how your digital product will look like.
Step 5: Open a Free Canva Account
Canva is the most popular and user-friendly graphic design software for people who have no graphic design skills. Because Canva is so easy to use, it became so popular and the best choice to create your digital downloads with.
You don’t need a Canva Pro account to create digital downloads to sell on Etsy. Of course, there are a lot of Pro features that will save you time however, it is not a must (I’ve been using Canva Pro for more than a year now because it saves me hours of work, and I can use all their beautiful stock photos for my social media and for Etsy listing mockups).
You can also share your Canva design with your customer with a free account.
Step 6: Create your Design
It’s time we open Canva and see step by step how to create digital downloads for Etsy – using an example of a business sticker, so you can see how quick and easy this process really is.
Open Your Canva Account
If you haven’t used Canva before, click here to open a free Canva account.
Click ‘Create a design’
Click ‘Custom Size’
Change pixels to inches (2 X 2). You can do all kinds of shapes, I recommend that before starting to create your design, check the dimensions of the specific type of sticker that you want to make and see the dimensions that the best sellers use).
Click on ‘Create New Design’
Drag a Text Box to Your Design
Change the Font to a Font You Like
In this example, I used the Brittany font (which is one of Canva’s free fonts).
Use the Position Feature to Centre the Text
Add a Graphic Element
For example, a heart.
If you are using a free Canva account, check that no crown symbol is attached to your chosen graphic element.
Change the Colors of Your Design
You can change the background color if you want.
And that’s it!
Step 7: Download your Canva Design
How to download a Canva design –
If this is a printable (which means that your customer cannot customize it, only print it out as is) – you can download the file (as PNG or JPG) and upload it to your Etsy listing.
- Click on Share – Download
- From the drop-down menu, choose the file type that you want and download the file.It is better to ensure up front that the quality and resolution of your design are suitable for printing or for digital use.How do you know what type of file you need?
The best practice would be to check your competitors and see what they are selling and, according to that – choose the appropriate file format for your digital product, such as PDF or JPEG.
- Name the file with the exact keyword of your product before you upload it to your Etsy listing (for this example, we can name the file ‘Business Sticker’), this would help with your Etsy SEO. If you also like to share a link with your customer – have a look at the next step – How to Share a Canva Design.
How to Share a Canva Design with Your Customer
If you want to give your customer a link to a file that they can customize – you would need to use the ‘Template Link’ feature.
- Click on ‘Share’
- Template Link
- Click ‘Copy’ (next to the URL). Now your template link URL has been copied into your keyboard.
- Paste this link into a separate document that you will upload to Etsy. This could be a Canva document (see below how to download a Canva Design with links), or it could even be a Word document. What matters is that the link will be clickable.
How to download a Canva Design with Links
If you have links in your design, the best way to download your Canva design and make the links clickable is to download your Canva design as a PDF file.
- Click on ‘Share’
- Click on ‘Download’
- From the drop-down menu – choose the ‘PDF Standard’ option
- Test your link
Once the PDF file has been downloaded to your computer, open it and click on the link to check that it is working properly. If you want to edit this link – go to your file on Canva, edit the design and download it again as a PDF once you are done.
Step 8 – Open a New Shop on Etsy
This process will only take a few minutes, and it is a very user-friendly process. Here’s what you would need to prepare in advance before opening your Etsy shop –
Decide on Your Shop Name
This should be something clear that your customer will understand and that describes what you are selling. Your shop name can be up to 20 characters long.
Also, as you can’t have any spaces between words, it is better to capitalize the first letter of every word. For example, our shop name on Etsy is BusyMomSideHustle.
Write Your Shop Announcement
Your shop announcement is a very short welcoming introduction and description of your shop. The easiest way to come up with ideas for your shop announcement is to look at some of the successful shops on Etsy and see some good examples to be inspired by.
- Create your Etsy shop banner in Canva. You can easily create a shop banner in Canva (the dimensions should be 3360 px X 840 px). If you would like to speed up the process, you can check out our Etsy shop banner templates –
Step 9 – Create a New Listing and Upload Your Design
You must be wondering, hey shouldn’t I wait until I have like 20-30 products ready before publishing my shop? And the answer is no.
Once you are ready, even with one listing, open your shop and list your product. You can continue listing new products while your new listing is up. You might want to check the post ‘Etsy Mistakes Etsy Sellers Make That Cost a Fortune‘, to learn more about it.
Etsy Listing Checklist – What to Prepare?
- The best title and tags that are relevant to this product. Check here how to use the Etsy SEO tools to find the best tags for your listing.
- Once you have all your tags ready, you want to write your listing description and include all the tags you’ve chosen. This will help rank your listing on the Etsy search results for these tags.
- Create your listing mockups. Yes, it’s better to have 10 images ready, but if you don’t have the time for it, you can just create 2-3 images and publish your listing as soon as possible. You can always return to it later, add more listing images, and improve your listing.
Step 10 – Promote Your Digital Downloads on Social Media
One of the most deadly mistakes is waiting for the Etsy algorithm to rank your product on the first page. While it will probably give you a boost on the Etsy search results for a few hours, this would not be enough to start generating consistent sales (even if your product is perfect!).
If you don’t have social media accounts for your business yet, this is the time to start. It’s better to do some research to check where your ideal customers hang out the most. Is it on Facebook? On Pinterest? Or maybe on Tik Tik?
Keep in mind that at the beginning of your business, you don’t want to spread too thin. It’s better to choose just one social media platform and put all your efforts into building a following on that platform. Only once you have the process down and your audience is growing, if you have spare time, you can start building an audience on another platform.
Step 11 – Keep Posting New Listings
Once you have figured out how to create digital downloads for Etsy and have one listing up, you would want to keep posting new listings at least once or twice a week to get momentum with your shop on Etsy. For Etsy to start ranking your products, you would need to keep listing new products to show that you are constantly working on your shop.
Remember – with Etsy, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality!
The quality of your products will always come first. So, if it takes you more time to create great products, then it is much better then keep posting new listings that no one will buy.
Step 12 – Keep Experimenting With Your Shop
Once you have enough data on your Etsy seller’s dashboard – double down on what’s working and make changes to the listings that don’t sell. If you have one of the listings that are selling well, check how you can create new variations of the same listing – this could be:
- Different colors,
- Different styles,
- Different size
- And even different file types (should you create the template in Word, for example?).
This post was a step-by-step guide on how to create digital downloads for Etsy, and I hope it gave you an easy start for your new business. The main thing to do is to start. Start with the easiest template you can think of. Once you test the water and start to understand how Etsy works and develop your skills using Canva, you will be able to make progress and see results.
If you have been thinking about it for a long time, don’t wait until everything is perfect, Start today!