How to Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy Using Canva (2023)

Selling digital downloads on Etsy has become a great way for people (including myself!) to make passive income. Whether you want to sell digital prints, digital planners, social media graphics, or logo designs, Etsy is a great place to showcase and sell your digital items. The buyers are already there, you just need to provide the products!

In this blog post, I’m going to hand you everything you need to know about how to sell digital downloads on Etsy using Canva. We will begin with researching so you can create products that are actually in demand, move on to the step-by-step process of creating digital downloads with Canva, and finish with packaging and selling digital downloads on Etsy. Plus, I’ll give you some tips for marketing your Etsy products so you can actually make sales.

By following the steps in this guide, you will learn how to create and sell digital downloads that stand out and attract potential customers.

Let’s go!

Can you sell Canva designs on Etsy?

You may be wondering if you’re even allowed to sell Canva designs on Etsy, and the answer is Yes! You can absolutely sell Canva designs on Etsy. However, there are a couple of different rules that you need to be aware of.

  • You may not use Canva’s pre-made templates for your designs
  • You can create your own design using Canva’s elements as long as they are part of a bigger design (aka you’re not just selling the graphic or photo without any customizations)
  • If you want to sell your own Canva templates for people to use (aka you provide them the link to the template, and they customize it on their own), you need a Pro account to access the “share a template” link.

Basically, selling Canva designs on Etsy is totally allowed as long as you follow the rules!

Research to Find In Demand Products

Before you start designing, you’ll want to do plenty of research to discover the types of products that are selling on Etsy. Don’t get me wrong, you can totally post whatever you want on Etsy (within reason), but when it comes to trying to make sales, it’s always smart to make sure you’re selling what people actually want to buy. Because it doesn’t matter how beautiful your design is if no one is looking for it.

There are plenty of ways to get started with this and it can get a little overwhelming. I want you to kind of read this over, then choose maybe one or two methods, so you don’t get stuck in research mode.

Free Methods

If you’re ok with doing a little extra work and/or don’t have the funds for a keyword research tool, there are definitely free methods to doing research.

Just start typing and it’ll show you what people are searching for!

Use the Etsy search bar: Type in keywords related to your niche and see what comes up in the search results. This will give you an idea of what types of digital downloads are popular on Etsy and what potential buyers are searching for.

Use Google Trends: This free tool can help you identify popular search terms and discover high demand digital products in your niche. You can also see how these search terms trend over time and identify the best time to sell your digital downloads.

Check the competition: Analyze your competitors and identify their best-selling digital products. Look for unique selling points for your digital downloads that can set them apart from the competition.

Search Pinterest: Pinterest is a great place to find digital downloads that are in demand, as well as beautiful design inspiration. Doing some searches for the types of products you’re interested in doing should give you some inspiration and ideas to what kinds of products are popular.

Paid Methods (shortcuts)

If you have the funds to invest in one of these paid methods, they can really be a big help when it comes to research. These tools provide data that isn’t available with free methods and can save you a lot of time.

When you use the search bar with EverBee, it shows you how much each result is being searched!

EverBee (my pick): With EverBee, you can see how often certain keywords are being searched directly in the search bar, check how all the listings are doing for a certain search, and even click on specific products to see an estimate of how much traffic, how many sales, and how much revenue that product is getting. This REALLY helps me research products that are more likely to be successful. Click here to sign up!

Erank: Erank is another option with a cheaper plan if you’re on a super budget. With Erank, you can search different keywords to help you decide which products to sell and how to optimize them, so they show in search. In my opinion, the interface is a little harder to deal with/understand than Everbee.

Of course, there are probably others out there, but these are the two I have used. I strongly prefer EverBee‘s presentation and the fact that I can add it to my browser so I can use it while I’m searching Etsy directly. But Erank is cheap and works if you’re on a major budget, so I thought I’d include it too.

Decide What Type of Product to Sell

Once you have conducted market research either free or with a tool like EverBee, you can decide on the type of digital product you want to sell on Etsy. The research that you did above may help you narrow this down, but if not, here are some popular digital downloads types on Etsy:

  • Digital prints: These can include art prints, quote prints, or printable wall art.
  • Digital planners: These can include daily, weekly, or monthly planners, to-do lists, and goal trackers.
  • Printable planners: Planning pages either for moms, students, or general planners that help people map out their days, weeks, months, and years.
  • Social media graphics: These can include templates for Instagram posts, stories, and highlight covers.
  • Logo designs: These can include pre-made logos or custom logos for small businesses.
  • Business templates: These can include proposal templates, invoices, or checklists.

With some ideas on hand, you might be ready to jump in and start designing products to sell on Etsy. But before we start creating, you may be wondering…

Can I use Canva’s free plan or do I need to upgrade?

Canva offers both a free version and a paid version, Canva Pro. While the free version has many useful features, the paid version offers additional benefits that may be worth the cost, depending on your needs.

The free version of Canva offers access to many pre-made templates, graphics, and fonts, and you can create and download designs for free. However, there are some limitations to the free version, including:

  • Limited access to premium graphics, fonts, and templates
  • Limited storage capacity
  • Limited access to resizing and image editing tools
  • Limited access to collaboration tools

Canva Pro, on the other hand, offers additional features that can enhance your design capabilities and productivity. Here are some of the benefits of upgrading to Canva Pro:

  • Unlimited access to premium graphics, fonts, and templates
  • Access to easy resizing and image editing tools
  • Access to collaboration tools and team functionality
  • Brand kit creation and management
  • Ability to upload custom fonts and graphics

If you plan to use Canva frequently for your digital downloads or other design needs, it may be worth investing in Canva Pro for its additional features and benefits. However, if you only plan to use Canva occasionally or for simple designs, the free version may be sufficient for your needs.

In summary, both the free and paid versions of Canva offer valuable design features and tools, and the decision to upgrade ultimately depends on your specific design needs and frequency of use.

Step by Step Guide to Creating Digital Downloads with Canva

Step 1: Create Your Canva Account

To create digital downloads with Canva, you will need to create a Canva account. You can sign up for the free plan or a Canva Pro account if you want to access more features and templates. Don’t worry, if you don’t have the budget for a pro account right now, you can always start with the free plan and upgrade once you’re making some money!

Step 2: Create Your Design

Now that you have a Canva account, you can start creating your digital downloads. You can choose from hundreds of pre-made templates or create your own from scratch. Canva makes it easy to drag and drop elements, add text, edit images, etc. so if you’ve never used it before, it’s pretty easy to learn.

Take some time to figure out a style and create the design you want to sell whether it’s digital wall art, a worksheet for kids, or a planner. Play around with it and have fun!

Remember to consider what type of download it is and what size it should be. For example, things like worksheets, etc. that people will be printing on their home computer should be letter size (8.5″x11″) with proper margins.

Pro Tip: Short on time? Look for PLR templates! PLR products are pre-made digital products, such as templates, that you can purchase and rebrand as your own. This can save you a lot of time upfront since you can sell them as is, or just tweak them to your liking. You could even take one PLR design and make dozens of others by using it as a starting point.

One of my recommendations is IvoryMix. I’ve been a member for 2 years now! You pay for quarterly or yearly and it gives you access to thousands of styled stock photos as well as templates for your online business. They recently added PLR templates for Canva, including social media templates, holiday planner templates, planner sheets, ebook templates, and more. Check it out here!

Step 3: Package Your Products for Sale

Once you’ve created your design, the next step is to package it up in a digital format that can be bought and downloaded by customers. There are many different file formats you can use for digital downloads, depending on what they are.

For printables, you’ll usually want to download them and offer them as a PDF. Some people also sell Canva templates for their customers to customize, and for this, you’d need to provide a downloadable file that links them to the template.

To save your digital download in different formats, click the “share” button at the top right, then “download” and select the appropriate file type.

If you’re selling the actual template, you’ll need to go to “Share” and find the “template link” to copy and paste into a document. You can just add some simple text in a separate Canva design with some basic instructions and the link, then download that as a PDF to provide to your Etsy customers.

Section 4: Create Your Etsy Listing

To sell your digital downloads on Etsy, you need to create a listing that attracts potential customers. There are a few things you’ll need to get your Etsy listing up:

  • A product image showing your digital download
  • A title and description for your product
  • The digital download file that you will upload to Etsy for your customers to get access to as soon as they place an order

Title and Description Tips:

  • Use good keywords in your listing title and description for better Etsy SEO (here’s my favorite keyword research tool to figure out what keywords to use)
  • Highlight the selling points of your digital download
  • Use bullet points to make your listing easy to read
  • Include any details about the digital download, such as the file format and size

Listing Image Tips:

Your listing images are the first thing potential customers will see when they view your Etsy listing. Here are tips for creating quality listing images:

  • Search Etsy for similar products to see which images stand out to you and use that as a guide
  • Clean and bright images with minimal text is best. Don’t try to squeeze in too many elements or words.
  • Use Canva to create a template you can use over and over again as you create new products to list
  • Don’t just do one image. Do a clean cover image and then add additional images showing different pages, styles, etc. that are included

Pricing Tips:

Pricing your digital downloads competitively is important to sell more and stay ahead of the competition. Here are some tips for pricing your digital downloads:

  • Research the prices of similar digital downloads on Etsy as a guide
  • Don’t try to be the cheapest out there. Try a higher or competitive price so you can run sales and still make oney
  • Add additional listings that are bundles of similar items that you can price higher and link them within the products.

Customer Experience Tips:

Providing a great customer experience is essential to building a loyal customer base on Etsy and having customers come back for more! If they find your products low quality or the process confusing, they might not com eback. Here’s how to provide a great customer experience:

  • Deliver your digital downloads immediately after purchase by uploading them directly to the etsy listing
  • Offer good customer service and respond to any questions or concerns promptly.
  • Be as descriptive and helpful in your listing as possible to make sure buyers are making an informed purchase.

Hopefully, this section on creating listings, pricing your digital products, and providing a great customer experience will helped you understand how to create an optimal listing to catch the attention of potential buyers and encourage them to purchase your product.

Tips for Marketing Digital Downloads on Etsy

If we’re being honest, creating the product is the easy part. It’s getting people to buy that can be tricky. That’s why marketing your digital downloads on Etsy is essential to reach potential customers and increase sales.

In this section, I’ll share some tips for marketing your digital downloads on Etsy.

SEO Optimization

When you’re looking for something online, what do you usually do? You type it into a search bar whether it’s on google or in an e-commerce store. Your customers are doing the same thing on Etsy, so ensuring that you’re using the right keywords is so important.

Optimizing your Etsy listings helps them appear higher in Etsy search results. Here’s how to optimize your Etsy listing for SEO:

  • Use the right keywords in your listing title and description
  • Use 13 product tags Etsy provides you with
  • Pick the correct categories to help Etsy understand what your digital download is about
  • Encourage good reviews to improve your seller rating and increase the visibility of your digital downloads

Social Media Marketing

I’m sure this is at the top of mind for you because social media is so popular. Social media can be a great way to promote your digital downloads and reach potential customers! But you need to make sure you’re doing it right and spending your time where it’s going to give you the most results.

For a digital downloads shop on Etsy, my top pick for social media marketing would be Pinterest. Creating boards with your digital downloads, writing SEO optimized titles and descriptions for each post, and optimizing your pins for keywords can make all the difference. It it something that takes a while (at least a few months) to start gaining traction, so don’t panic and stick with it.

Here’s a quick article from Etsy’s seller handbook about marketing your shop on Pinterest to give you a little more information.

If you know nothing about marketing on Pinterest want a head start, my favorite Pinterest course is Pinteresting Strategies. Disclaimer: She specifically talks about pinning for blogs the most, but the same basics and strategies apply and are invaluable for your success on Pinterest.

Email Marketing

One thing most Etsy sellers don’t consider is creating an email list. Creating an email list is a great way to market your digital downloads! With the ability to pop into the inbox of past customers and potential future customers, you can email them about new products and discounts to encourage them to buy.

While you can’t just randomly add people to your email list, there are plenty of places you can add a link to join such as:

  • Include the URL to your opt in page on your Etsy profile
  • After a buyer makes a purchase, thank them and include the URL for your email list in the message.
  • Add the URL for your opt-in page in the product description
  • Promote your email list on your shop banner
  • Add a graphic advertising your list with the URL to your listing photos
  • Share the URL for your email list on all of your shop’s social media platforms

Pro tip: Provide a discount upon sign up and advertise that to give people incentive to sign up! Think about it. “Sign up for my email list” isn’t super enticing, but “Sign up for my email list for a 50% off code” is!

Free Email Marketing Platform for Etsy Shops

When it comes to choosing a platform for your email list, there are tons of options out there, but I really like MailerLite the best for small Etsy shops! Why? There is a free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers, and it has plenty of the features you’ll need. You can always upgrade later as you’re earning more, too.

Quick Start Guide to Starting an Email List on Etsy:

  1. Sign up for a free email marketing service like MailerLite
  2. Create an opt in (also called a landing page)
  3. Create a discount code for your Etsy shop (I recommend at least 20%, higher will get you more subscribers)
  4. Create an automated email in MailerLite for those who subscribe via your opt in page
  5. Add a quick blurb with your URL to your shop announcement, product pages, thank you message after order, etc.

Something quick like: “Get a 50% off code when you join my email list: (URL HERE)”

Now just make sure to send out emails regularly! I think anywhere from once a week to every other week is good, so they don’t forget about you/your shop. Let them know about new products, flash sales, surprise coupon codes, etc.

Remember: Your email list is a direct line to your customers and is a huge opportunity to make sales!

Etsy Ads

If you’ve browsed Etsy at all, you probably noticed some listings that say “Ad by Etsy seller” under them. Those sellers are paying to get their listings seen. If you have the budget for it, paid ads on Etsy can be a great way to get your digital downloads seen by potential customers. You can target specific keywords and demographics, so you know your ads are going to be reaching the right people. For more info check out this page about How to Set Up and Manage an Etsy Ads Campaign.

There you have it, a complete guide to how to sell digital downloads on Etsy using Canva. If you’re looking for passive income, this is one of the best ways to start building it!

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