How to make and sell digital printables online

If you’re looking for a way to generate passive income by exploiting your design skills, then selling printables online is the way to go.

Now, you don’t have to be an expert in graphics to create art. As long as you have an eye for great design, you can create printables.

The best part? You don’t need to invest a lot of money upfront to start your online business. There are tons of free resources for making digital printables and affordable e-commerce platforms to sell your creations on.

In this article, we’ll go over:

1: What digital printables are

  • Types of digital printables
  • Best selling printables

2: How to create printables

  • Decide on your niche market
  • List your printable ideas
  • Design your digital printables
  • Test print your printables

3: How to start selling printables online

  • Setting up your Sellfy store
  • Marketing printables

Are you ready to jumpstart your online business? Let’s go through the basics you need to know about digital printables, how to make them, and how to sell them!

What are digital printables

Digital printables are documents that are created with the intent to be printed out and solve a problem. For example, one can look for a workout planner that would solve their problem of being disorganized with their workout schedule.

Source: Dynamic Workout Cards

Types of digital printables

Almost any passion or interest can be the inspiration for a digital printable. But before you start brainstorming ideas, picture the final product.

How can you sell your love for cats? What printables are there to create, even? To guide you through the jungle of digital printables, here’s our list of the most common ones sold online:

1: Planner printables

  • Calendars
  • Meal planners
  • Workout planners
  • Budget planners
  • Cooking planners
  • Marketing content planners

2: Decor printables

  • Quotes: inspirational, motivational, funny
  • Artwork: nursery, bathroom, kitchen, living room

3: Coloring printables

  • Coloring pages
  • Mandalas

4: Stationery printables

  • Stickers
  • Journals
  • Letter papers
Source: Snail Mail Love

5: Productivity & work printables

  • Checklists: shopping, to-dos, goals, travel
  • Worksheets
  • Spreadsheets

6: Event & party printables

  • Decorations: Halloween, baby shower, birthday
  • Invitations: wedding, themed party
  • Seating cards

Use our list as a starting point for choosing the types of printables you’re interested in creating yourself.

Best selling printables

Some types of printables that tend to sell better than others. To create a bestseller, focus on evergreen rather than seasonal downloads.

Halloween printable greeting cards are in demand for Halloween but fall short for the rest of the year. Whereas Happy Birthday greeting cards are in demand all year long (each day is a birthday for someone somewhere, right?).

Source: Salamcomics

Another thing to note with printables is the demand for them. To check what kind of printables people are interested in, use Google Trends. Just type in the search keyword you want to explore, like printable or printables, and hit Enter. Scroll down to the Related queries block and see what people are searching for in relation to your search keyword.

Here’s what we got for the search keyword printables:

As you can see, Valentine bingo, planners, Baby Shark, Toy Story, and Winnie the Pooh are the most searched. So if you’re looking to create a best selling printable, keep your eyes peeled to what people actually want to buy.

How to create printables

You already know what a printable is and how many types of them are out there, now we can go over creating your own digital goods!

Making a printable is easy and you can do that in four steps. Let’s go over them one by one.

1. Decide on your niche market

First off, what’s a niche market? It’s a part of a larger market that has its own specific needs, which differ from the larger market in a way. For example, the market for planners is huge but there are niche markets for houseplant planners and keto meal planners, which include a different type of content and visuals specific for consumer interests.

Source: Mysterium Theatre

Choose your own niche for printables as it’ll be easier to market your digital products for a narrowed-down audience. Plus, it’ll be more effortless for you to make more printables related to your niche. For example, if you focus on keto health nuts, you can make a keto diet menu planner, list of keto-friendly snacks, weight loss tracker, and more.

2. List your printable ideas

It’s good to have at least 6-8 products available in your online store when you launch. Not only will your store look fuller, but it’ll also up your chances to sell your products as there will be more to choose from.

Pro tip:

Don’t overfill your store with 50+ printables from the get go. Columbia University did an experiment to see how multiple choices impact the decision making process. The first group of people were offered a choice of 6 different jam flavors, the other group was presented with 24 flavors. Only 3% of customers were ready to make a decision between the 24 flavors of jam, in comparison to 40% of customers who were offered only 6 flavor choices.

So before you get your hands digitally dirty with designing, list at least 6 printable types you’ll focus on. This will also help you keep track of your progress!

3. Design your digital printables

Now that you already have a list of digital goods you plan on creating, think about the end result and the customer behind it.

Source: ConcertinaPress

Mind the size of the printables you’re creating. For example, if you’re designing a planner, consider the variety of sizes to fit the most common planners. Another thing to note: the quality and colors for your digital files. If you create something that needs to be printed in high resolution or requires a lot of color ink to print, you could have a harder time selling your goods.

As for the tools to design digital printables, there are plenty (and a lot of them free to use!).

The tools for creating printables depend on what you plan to create. We’ll share a list of free tools that work for creating most types of printables:

Good for making monograms, labels, and banners.

Good for making checklists and other printables that have content listed in rows or columns, like calendars and planners.

Good for making more intricate printable designs, like for prints, stickers, coloring pages.

Source: Vectr

When you’re finishing up your work and exporting your digital printables, stick to the .pdf file format. The .pdf format is easier to print and ensures that no one can make changes to your product.

Pro tip:

Brand all your printables with your logo, social media handles, and a link to your site. This makes it easier for your customers to find you and place another order for your goods!

4. Test-print your printables

This is a no-brainer—you have to test your printables before you list them for selling.

Check if your printable appears correctly on the printed page and looks nice. If you’re crafting a printable that’ll need some cutting or hole punching, make sure you’ve left enough space for them.

Nobody wants to ruin the design on their prints just because it needed adjustments.

Once you create your printables and love how they turned out, you can move on to the next step—selling printables online!

How to start selling printables online

There are two ways you can sell your printables. You can sell them on your own online store created on an ecommerce platform, like Sellfy, or an existing marketplace, like Etsy.

Source: Sellfy

Both selling on your own online store and a marketplace has its own advantages and disadvantages.

You might think that the fastest way to start selling your printables is to do it on a marketplace, but you’re wrong. You can create a beautiful store on Sellfy in 5 minutes.

Now you might be thinking that there’s a larger audience for you on a marketplace like Etsy, and you’re right. Here’s the kicker—while a marketplace usually does attract more customers, it means there’s more competition amongst sellers.

If you sell on your own store, you can freely build your brand identity and allow your printables to be in the center of attention. Still not convinced? Go over some more benefits of selling printables on Sellfy rather than marketplaces.

Setting up your Sellfy store

Deep breath everyone! Opening an online store with Sellfy is easy-peasy and here’s how to do it in 4 steps:

  1. Create an account on Sellfy and verify your email address to get started.
  2. Customize your online store with branding.
  3. Add a payment method via Store Settings > Payment Options so you can receive immediate payouts from sold printables.
  4. Upload your printables! You can add your products in a few minutes, just follow this guide to add digital products on Sellfy.

Source: Sellfy

Want to go over setting up your Sellfy store in more detail? Head over to this blog to learn everything about store setup with Sellfy.

Marketing printables

We won’t go deep into marketing because there’s a lot of ground to cover. However, we will share a few helpful tips and tricks to help you get started.

Never ever assume that you don’t need marketing even if you’re selling your printables on a popular marketplace, like Etsy. Marketing is key regardless of where you’re selling. Your customers will always have a plethora of options for buying printables.

One of our favorite sales tips from experts is to strive for urgency in product listings. This means that you need to give your customers a bold statement as to why they need your printable right away.

For example, this printable Job well done sticker set will make your child happy and keep them motivated to keep up the good work. How could someone resist buying the printable sticker set for their children after reading that description?

Pro tip:

When you’re listing your printables, give one away for free! It’ll be a good way to showcase your work and attract possible customers. Plus, add social media handles on your printable for additional promo!

Now put your creativity cap on, go create some fun printables, and then get back to launch your printables store with Sellfy! Don’t tell anyone but you’ll get a free 14-day trial to fully explore what Sellfy has to offer.

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