How to List & Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy

Marketplaces 101
How to List & Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy

Are you looking to make some passive income without the cost of inventory or overhead? In this blog, we will go over strategies for selling digital products on Etsy.


Key Points:

  • Etsy has a massive user base and community, making it a great selling platform for digital downloads.

  • Validating the demand for your product is crucial before investing time and money.

  • Niching down and targeting a specific group can help you stand out from your competitors.


There are loads of platforms out there that let you sell digital products. But here's the thing: most of these platforms don't provide sellers with a built-in audience. That means it's up to you to market your own product. Building a marketing strategy from scratch can get very expensive.


Etsy is a well-known e-commerce platform that caters to small businesses. It has a massive user base of 93.9 million active buyers and a substantial community of 7.47 million sellers as of 2022. These numbers show us just how bustling and lively the Etsy community is, making it a fantastic marketplace for selling digital downloads and other unique goodies.


We will cover everything you need to know about Etsy, including what you need to do to get started, and share valuable tips and strategies for your digital e-commerce business.


Table of Contents

  1. Identify What Product to Sell and Validate
  2. Validate Your Digital Download For Etsy
  3. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
  4. Create Variations of the Same Product
  5. Add Related Products
  6. Bonus Tip: Lookbook


Identify What Product to Sell

The first step is to create a list of products you are interested in or are passionate about selling on Etsy. If you are stuck, here are ten ideas for digital products to sell on Etsy:


  • Printable Wall Art: Customers can download and print beautiful and customizable art prints at home.

  • Digital Planners: Interactive and customizable planners that help users stay organized and productive.

  • Social Media Templates: Ready-made templates for social media posts, stories, and covers that can be edited and personalized.

  • Digital Papers: High-quality digital backgrounds and patterns that can be used for scrapbooking, stationery, and other creative projects.

  • E-books: Digital books covering a variety of topics, from fiction and non-fiction to self-help and tutorials.

  • SVG Files: Scalable vector graphics that can be used for crafts, vinyl cutting, and digital design..

  • Clip Art: Digital illustrations and graphics that can be used for various creative projects.

  • Photoshop Actions: Pre-programmed steps and effects that can be applied to photos in Adobe Photoshop.

  • Printables for Parties: Templates for invitations, decorations, and games for different occasions.

  • Digital Calendars: Customizable calendars that can be downloaded and printed, offering a practical and stylish way to plan the year.


You might also be interested in Top Selling Items On Etsy in 2023


Remember, these are just a few examples, and there are plenty of other digital products you can explore based on your niche and skills.


Validate Your Digital Download For Etsy 

The second step is finding out the demand for these products. Taking this one step and checking the demand validation for your ideas will save you weeks or even possibly even months of lost time and money.


A popular tool that Etsy sellers use is eRank to find the gap in an established market, an area where you could dominate and the demand is higher than the competition. Although eRank is free to use, I recommend purchasing their paid plan for this particular step.


Once you create your eRank account, go to "Keyword Explorer" and type in the product you want to sell. The four (4) columns to focus on are:

  • Average Searches

  • Average Clicks

  • Average CTR (click to ratio)

  • Etsy Competition




Focus on the green and yellow bars to identify keywords with lower to moderate competition.


Let's say you're selling digital planners on Etsy. Simply search for the keyword "digital planner" and prioritize those keywords that show green and yellow bars. These colors indicate that there is a manageable level of competition while still maintaining a steady demand.


Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

After you have identified your winning products you need to answer four critical questions:


  • How can I make my product better than my competitor?
  • What problem does my potential customer have?
  • What's the solution to that problem?
  • Why should they buy my product?


This is absolutely crucial! To stand out from the competition, you need a unique product selling proposition. Your prospective buyers should be able to easily recognize what sets your products apart, making it a no-brainer to choose you, no matter the price.


Pro Tip: Embrace the power of niching down! This means targeting a specific group of people, like creating a digital planner designed for adults with ADHD. By narrowing your focus, you can better cater to their unique needs and provide a valuable solution.


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Create Variations of the Same Product

Product variations refer to having one type of product with different designs, including layout, colors, fonts, and more. Creating these variations makes it easier to populate your shop and offer customers a broader range of options. This allows you to enhance the overall shopping experience and cater to different preferences.


etsy digital download templates

(Image source: Etsy)


Pro Tip: If you have the budget, I recommend running Etsy ads for 30 days before making any final decisions on your contenders. Allocate about a dollar a day to advertise your listings. Additionally, slightly lower the price of your listings to generate traction in sales.


Keep in mind that the more people engage, favor, and buy, the higher your listing quality score will be. This score directly impacts your search placement and increases your chances of becoming a best seller.



Add Related Products

Consider adding related products to your original product line to increase your sales chances. For example, if your successful product is Instagram reel covers, you could also offer a product line of Instagram story graphics with matching designs.


Also, make sure that your items look very different from other shops because even if the customer goes and shops around, they have to come back to get matching items from your store because they can't find them elsewhere.


Bonus Tip: Lookbook

A useful strategy to increase sales and customer retention is to create a lookbook that the customer receives after they purchase something from you. A lookbook is a digital catalog that displays pictures of the related product lines, and each picture has a hyperlink that takes the customer directly to that specific Etsy listing.



In the lookbook, you can also include a discount that they could access by joining your email list, so you could remarket to them at a later time if they don't happen to buy right away.


There are tons of lookbook templates in Canva that you can customize to fit your needs. Another option is to create a concise one-page PDF. This PDF can include a heartfelt thank you note and a curated list of related products they may consider purchasing.


You might also be interested in Brand Building for Resellers: Strategies to Stand Out & Attract Customers


How to Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy FAQ:


How do I upload and list my digital products on Etsy?

When creating a listing, select the "digital" option, upload your files, provide a clear description, and set a price.


How does Etsy handle the delivery of digital downloads to customers?

Customers who purchase your digital item will receive a download link immediately after payment is completed. This enables them to access the files directly from their Etsy account.


Are there any restrictions or guidelines for selling digital downloads on Etsy?

Yes, Etsy has specific rules and guidelines for selling digital products. Some important considerations include ensuring that you have the rights to sell the content, providing high-quality files, accurately representing your products, and complying with copyright and intellectual property laws.


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