After running an eBay store for two years and not being able to make any significant profits, I finally found some success with an Etsy store. My handcrafted necklaces were an instant hit on the platform and within just seven months, I made more money than I had ever made in my life. But as they say, the taste of success only spurs more ideas, some of them quite unconventional. It was out of pure curiosity that I started selling digital content on Etsy.
Oh yes, you heard that right. I had no idea what to expect or even if I would make a single sale. But hey, seven months later, I am making a steady $300 a month from my Etsy digital downloads. That’s not much but it’s a passive income that works on autopilot. Think Etsy and most people picture the dainty handcrafted stuff that the site is famous for. But very few people actually foray into digital content on the site.
Guess what? It works just as well as physical products do. And it might be a great way to add to your supplementary income on the site.
The advantages of selling digital content on Etsy
With hundreds of possible avenues to sell digital content, Etsy is often the last thing on the mind of sellers. But there are many advantages to choosing Etsy as a platform to sell your digital downloads.
- Your customers: If you are selling physical products on Etsy and your store is making money, then you already have an established customer pool to sell to. And if you can tailor your digital offerings around your physical products, you have ample opportunities to cross sell. For example if you are selling handmade photo frames, you can offer prints as digital downloads. There are sellers who are making a killing with calligraphy guides and woodworking guides.
- A ready platform: Etsy makes it extremely easy for you to list and sell digital products. You can list your digital downloads in minutes and link your Etsy account directly to your bank account.
Every time you make a sale, you will receive your profits within 48 hours. Etsy keeps just 3% of the sale price. That’s ridiculously effortless. Try selling digital downloads on your own website and you’d know about the potential problems that can occur with the technology side of things.
What can I sell as digital content on Etsy?
The next question that pops up in the minds of sellers is what type of digital content to sell on Etsy. Well, digital content does not change with the platform that you use to sell it. So, you can sell anything that you can create or own the rights to.
Like I said earlier, the closer it is to the physical products that you sell on the site, the better scope you have of cross selling. But even if it isn’t, there are a plethora of ways to promote your products.
Here are some of the digital product examples that sell on Etsy:
- Wall art
- Patterns for Quilting
- Templates for wedding invites
- Website themes
Promoting your digital products
Promoting digital products on Etsy is not very different from promoting physical items. But there are a few techniques that can enhance the exposure that your products receive on the store.
- Use Tags: Using relevant tags is a very important but an often overlooked feature of Etsy product listing. Tags can help your products show up in search results and are the easiest way for users to find your products.
- Be Specific: Make it clear in your description and the title that it’s a digital product and not a physical one. This will reduce order cancellations, potential confusions and most importantly, save you a lot of time that’d be spent answering customer queries.
- Make it appealing: There’s nothing more important than making your product as appealing as you can visually. If it’s a tutorial, include detailed images of what the customer can learn from it or how easy it makes it for them to learn. For fonts, include examples of how it would look. If its artwork, include a watermarked high resolution image.
- Price it right: The commonest mistake that sellers make while selling digital products is to price their products too high. You’d want to price it just right to ensure that it entices the customer to buy it.
- Make it accessible: The digital download must be easy to use once downloaded. Use file formats that are accepted universally and are relevant to what you sell. Artwork is sold in jpg, png formats usually while eBooks and the likes are sold in PDF.
- Help them download it: Believe it or not, people are often clueless about how to download the files after they complete the purchase. Etsy has a detailed help article that guides people on how to download the file. Include a link to this file in the automatic message that the customer receives after they complete the purchase. You can also put a request asking them to review your product if they liked it or found it to be helpful.
- Customer service: Spending a little extra time answering pre-sales customer queries and with after sales support can get you a lot more reviews and in the process, increase your chances of sales. Do not cut corners with customer service. Respond as fast as you possibly can, be clear, helpful and friendly and if possible, go beyond what’s expected by them.
If you still need some inspiration to get started with your digital downloads on Etsy, then you can start off by spying on your competition.
For example, if you plan on selling eBooks, then do some research on the best eBook sellers on Etsy. Now search for the sales link and click on it to see what they have been selling the most. That’s what your target market is most likely to purchase. There will be some trial and error involved but this is undoubtedly the easiest way to get started.
Also, despite all the success stories that you hear, patience and persistence is the key to online sales. You will eventually get there. But it may take more time than what it took to set up a store with physical products.