Don’t you hate it sometimes, when you see people being able to sell downloads and making an absolute fortune with products that cost a few bucks?
I felt that way so I did something about it and opened a digital monthly membership site on Patreon via my crafty/creative blog for Printable planner files.
You can do it!
It’s entirely possible to sell digital PDF's and get paid monthly.
Make & Sell Downloads With Zero Graphic Design Experience Required
There are many ways that you can make money and sell sdigital products or downloads for making craft products like totes, tea towels, and bags.
My advice is that you should start a secret Pinterest board to keep all of your inspiration.
Remember that it’s okay to be inspired by others, but you should never rip off another designer.
That’s not cool. Not to mention illegal.
ARE YOU A SKIMMER? READ THIS 👇👇👇👇
- Sign up for A 30 Day Free Trial with Canva Pro
- Edit using the Canva
- Create a minimum of 10 products to give your potential customers some choice
- Then create flat lay style promotional graphics for each layout
- Do keyword research and write headings and description
- Upload to either an Gumroad Store (like mine), Creative Market store or even a Shopify store
The Ultimate Cheaters Kit:
This template bundle comes with commercial use licenses for the designs, so you can sell printables right away!
Where can I sell downloads/products?
You can open an Etsy store, a Gumroad store (like mine), using SendOwl via a website, or click here to start a 14 day free trial with Shopify and start to sell downloads and digital products.
They have loads of handy templates and really optimised to save you an unbelievable amount of time and increase conversions.
That means, getting you as many sales as possible.
Possible Platforms to Sell Downloads:
The fact that you are going to be selling digital products narrows the focus of where to sell your digital files.
It can end up becoming frustrating dealing with digital product listings etc. So sticking to one platform to start with is highly recommended to avoid overwhelm.
These are great options.
Now what? Let’s start with graphics, illustrations, and fonts aka Design Elements
Where do you get the graphics for making printables or digital files when you can’t draw?
With Font Bundles, you can save up to 94% on their bundles where you get up to 10 fonts, illustrator files and vector images. Which, is super handy for creators of digital printables.
Whereas, with Creative Market, you will be paying the designers full price + their fees. If you’re using a free online editor to create your printable downloads you will be limited by file type, so CM might be for you.
They even sell templates that you can use to create your own Printables businesses, whether using eCommerce, WordPress, or another place that allows you to sell digital products.
Recommended Programs To Design Digital Content:
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe InDesign
- Canva - 30 Day Free Trial (can be used online only & is what I now use all the time)
Online Design Resources To Sell Downloads:
- Save 50% off these Commercial Templates
- Design Bundles
- Font Bundles
- Design Cuts
- Creative Market templates
- Adobe InDesign Planner Templates
- Adobe Illustrator Planner Templates
- Craft bundles
- The hungry jpeg
- Template Monster
Graphic design learning resources to sell downloads:
What do I do once I’ve downloaded my purchased design files?
Files are typically delivered in Zip files no matter where you buy them.
You will need to Unzip the files and review what you've got. If you’ve never unzipped a file before, then you can download a program like Stuffit Expander for Mac or WinZip if you’re using a Windows computer.
Then depending on the program you will be using, upload or open in your chosen software and start designing your products.
How do you design and sell downloads and digital products, when you have no experience?
First of all, you will need to know what type of digital products you are going to offer.
- Will they be digital printable files?
- Recipe Cards?
- Planner stickers? (easy digital downloads to create)
- Wall Art
- Framed Prints
- Cutting Files (popular digital files)
- Prints to be framed and placed on a wall?
Once you have decided on the types of files you will see, you will need to choose a colour palette.
If you have no idea where to begin, a colour palette from Canva can be an infinite source of colour combinations.
Related: How To Choose Color Like A Designer [Expert Guest Post]
Think About Layouts Before You Sell Downloads
Now you know the purpose of your download, the colours, how will you lay it all out?
At this stage, grab a pencil and a piece of paper. You will have a better idea of where you want the product to go when you can see a mini thumbnail sketch.
When you see the rough draft, you will be able to figure out if there’s anything to be added or removed and adjust the design accordingly.
There's an excellent Skillshare class that teaches you how to create thumbnail sketches for creating artwork*
What can you use to make and sell downloads?
You will be limited to PNG and Jpeg Digital files when you use a program like Canva to make your digital products.
If you are serious about making a living from digital products, then you should invest in the correct software, even if it's $10 a month.
Once you have familiarized yourself with your chosen software or program, it’s time to get creating!
Top Tip: As you finish your products, be sure to save JPG files and PDF’s.
You will need the JPG files for creating ‘ads’ or promotional imagery for your listings. The PDF's will be the digital files you deliver to the customer.
How Do I Create Marketing Images For My Store To Sell Downloads?
There are two ways, number one: print out your files and take photographs using a great camera. I use a Canon M50 (due to my disabilities I needed a lighter camera than my large Canon 40D) but an intro-level Canon DSLR* (easier to use than the 40d if you aren't familiar with DSLR cameras) would be excellent.
You can even use your phone however the processors in DSLR’s are far superior to the iPhone.
Personally, I used Canva for my images because it was faster than using Photoshop at the time.
Upload the JPG files that you saved as you completed product creation and arrange them on coloured backgrounds like so:
Example of promo image style:
It's possible to purchase something called a 'Scene Creator'/Generator or Mock Up, to create your own flat lay on a desk using PNG files and Photoshop (or an app with 'multiply' as a blending option).
Don’t just trust me when it comes to selling Printables and digital products online.
When I last chatted with my friend Julie, she mentioned that she was blown away by the results she is seeing on Etsy.
Earn $5000 From Digital products/Printables Alone?!
She said she had earned over $5,000 last year with less than an hour of work per week…needless to say, I was interested.
It’s the perfect passive income product because Julie only has to make them one time, upload them to Etsy, and then thousands of customers can buy them with no further action from her.
Inside the ebook:
you’ll find 12 months of ideas for best-selling printables that you could create and sell on Etsy.
With the holidays coming up, I can definitely see how people would be shopping for seasonal printables such as gift tags, shopping checklists, greeting cards, wall art, and more!
How To Sell Downloads and Goods With Or Without A Store
Each platform will handle the digital product delivery differently but it's usually an instant delivery upon checkout and confirmation of payment.
Be sure to accept multiple payment methods (including credit card info and debit cards) so you can make as much money as possible.
The majority of methods will require a small transaction fee but that's the nature of the beast.
You will still get paid instantly and some platforms will digitally stamp buyers' information onto PDF products so they won't share illegally.
What size of promotional images should you create when you sell downloads?
If you decide to sell digital goods on Etsy, your images must be 800-1000 pixels wide maximum. For good measure, I would have both portrait and landscape images.
Having a portrait image could mean that your files get shared on Pinterest, as it’s a visual platform, it’s an excellent marketing tool for any small business.
Again, I would recommend having at least one Portrait image in there, maximum width 1024px. Because a lot of people have preferred platforms, and you want them to share it where people will be most engaged.
That means images for Facebook Twitter Youtube and Pinterest. Yes, including youtube!
How do I write a good product description to sell downloads?
You will have to do a little sleuthing and check out the keywords that your competitors use. That's the first step.
To do that, you should use the Google Keyword Planner and aim for keywords that have a search volume of at least 10k and low competition.
Then there are some other things that will require a little thought...
Who Is The Ideal Audience?
Believe it or not, knowing who you are targeting will affect the language you use in your listings, headlines, and descriptions.
Create a big list of all the features and benefits of your product.
Do this for every single file, although some may be rather interchangeable.
There's an excellent tutorial on Moz about how to write product descriptions that sell.
Whether you are selling via your blog, via your online store like Etsy or your eCommerce store, it's well worth a read.
Make sure that your listings are easily read because a lot of people (myself included) tend to skim through large blocks of text. I still skim despite having bad eyesight.
Keep in mind that people who have poor eyesight (like myself) really struggle to read large blocks of text squashed together and of course, some fonts are better than others for that.
Essentials To Include:
Be sure to include a disclaimer and refund policy. It's completely up to you, but usually, due to the nature of digital files, you don't have to issue refunds.
When you sell digital downloads, there's no way to return the item so the customer can never use it again.
Unless you show good faith and accept refunds that way. I've heard of others doing this and never having to issue a refund or maybe one or two.