How do I sell printables online?
💡 Quick Answer: You can start by using low-cost graphic design software like Canva or Visme, then design something you’d like to sell as a printable. You can technically create anything, but it’s good to start with a high-demand item that you think people will be able to use, like a budget tracker, planner pages, checklists, and the like. Then, you can list your items on Etsy, Gumroad, or other platforms. You can also set up your own site through site builders like Squarespace or Shopify and sell them that way.
Looking for a fun, creative, and rewarding side hustle? Ever heard of printables?
Maybe you’ve already tried your hand at designing something. Whether it’s a planner page, some stickers, or activity pages you’ve created for personal use or for your kids—printables are something you can sell online to a wider audience!
Here’s a fun fact. Back in the early days of the internet, people had so much fun printing out greeting cards, calendars, and even paper dolls for kids. Those were the earliest versions of today’s more aesthetic printables.
In fact, there was even a time when you had to purchase compact disks (gasp!) to access templates of printables, like letterheads, resumes, cards, gift tags, and more!
Now, buying and selling printables is much more convenient. You only need your creativity, design software, and a platform to sell your designs. Keep reading, and we’ll show you how you can get started selling printables online!
What exactly are printables?
Printables are digital products that can be downloaded and printed at home or a print shop. They can be anything from custom labels, stickers, art prints, and coloring pages to planners, journals, and diaries.
According to Podia, printables are among the most popular digital products to sell online. Printables are popular because they’re useful and well-designed and can easily be customized, which many customers like. According to Deloitte, 1 in 5 consumers are willing to pay 20% more for personalized products.
If you’re someone with a keen eye for design, printables can be a great way to monetize your creativity and earn a little extra income. This guide will take you through the basics of printables and how you can get started making and selling your own.
Creating high-demand printables
The good thing about printables is that you can create just about anything. For example, you can create a fitness tracker, password keeper, or meditation journal. The key is knowing which printables are in high demand and creating a version that appeals to your target market.
Knowing your niche and creating something unique and valuable is important, as this will drive your printable’s value up. For example, if you’re part of a fandom, that can help you create fandom-specific planners and calendars.
Here are some of the most in-demand printables in the market today:
1. Coloring pages
If you love illustrating, you could try this, as coloring pages are a hit among kids and adults. You can create themed pages with different movie and TV characters or everyday scenery and objects.
2. Wedding printables
Create printables for wedding invitations, placeholders, bachelorette party streamers, and even photo booth props! Many people DIY certain parts of their weddings, so having themed collections can make you a lot of money on sites like Etsy. Here are some additional ideas:
- Wedding favor labels
- Table numbers
- Cupcake toppers
- Thank you cards
- Menu labels
- Wedding checklist
3. Calendars, planners, and trackers
A large part of your target market will be people looking to organize and plan events and activities. You can create a one-to-two-page layout or even a thicker issue with more pages.
There’s a wide range of printables you can create under this category, such as:
- Household chore planner
- Themed monthly, weekly, or daily planners
- Mental health/therapy journal
- Bible meditation journal
- Fitness tracker for exercise, weight, and medications
- Meal planner
- Period and pill tracker
- Password keeper
- Budget tracker
- Finance planner
- Debt payment tracker
- Savings tracker
- Credit score tracker
- Daily to-do lists
- Gratitude journal
- Cleaning checklist
- Packing checklist
- Self-care tracker
- Skincare journal
- Dream journal
4. Printable art
You can turn your paintings, drawings, and digital art into printable art that people can then stick on their walls or frame and display. Think of the parts of the house where your prints can be used as home decor, as these usually perform well, especially among shoppers looking to spruce up their kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
5. Customizable event invitations
You can create party and event invitations for almost any occasion and allow customers to customize the details, such as the event date, time, and location. Programs like Corjl can also let buyers plug in their own details using your invitation design.
Design and content creation
For your printables to sell, they must be both attractive and functional. Good design and content are the main ingredients of a quality printable, so you’ll want to ensure you’re creating a valuable item that customers will like to purchase.
But that does not mean you need to be a Photoshop expert to start designing printables. You can even use something as straightforward as MS Word or Google Docs—as long as you know your way around these programs and can confidently create layouts and add interesting visual elements.
Here are some other low-cost and beginner-friendly graphic design tools that you can check out:
When creating your design, pay attention to the overall layout, which includes the size and orientation of your design when it’s printed. You’ll want to consider margins and empty spaces to ensure your customers don’t run into any issues printing your design.
Now, if you draw but are not too tech-savvy, you can also outsource the digital design process. In this case, you’ll need to brief your designer with a rough sketch of what you want translated into digital art. However, this will, of course, cost you a bit extra.
Formatting and file types
Once you’ve finished designing your printable, you will need to export it into a printable file type. Most programs will export to .PDF (Portable Document Format) by default, as it is the most common file type for compact and platform-agnostic documents. This means that regardless of the program the customer uses to open it, the design will appear and print as intended. There are also other options to choose from:
- .JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): Ideal for smaller photo image files like stickers and labels, JPG uses compression with quality losses, so it isn’t ideal for larger files.
- .GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): Ideal for images that need lossless compression and higher quality output. It can store images with up to 256 colors.
- .PNG (Portable Network Graphics): A more powerful alternative to JPG with better compression and capacity to store more than 256 colors; Allows for saving images with a transparent background.
To optimize file space and facilitate easy downloading and printing for your customers, you can also save different file types in a .ZIP folder. This compresses and bundles multiple files so users can access them later without downloading large files.
Setting up your online store
When selling printables online, your main options are using an online platform or marketplace or building your own website. Let’s look at some of the marketplaces first.
Perhaps the most popular place for creatives to sell crafts and printables, Etsy is the go-to place for many independent artists. Etsy charges $0.20 per listing, but the main advantage is that it works like a marketplace where customers can see your products once they search for similar or related items.pify
Shopify allows you to host your platform and sell digital products for a fee, with plans starting at $25 per month. While it doesn’t work like Etsy, it’s a good option if you already have a loyal following (like on Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok) that you can lead to your Shopify store as your captured market.
Also an online marketplace, Gumroad allows sellers to generate coupon codes for promotions and convert selling prices into customers’ local currencies. Many content creators sell digital products, memberships, and physical merchandise on Gumroad. The platform charges a flat fee of 10% for every sale.
4. Teachers Pay Teachers
This platform is specifically designed for educators looking to sell and purchase digital materials useful to their peers. If you’re a teacher who happens to create teaching aids and printables that you think others can use, then this platform is for you. Even if you aren’t a teacher by profession but are in the business of creating educational materials, you can use the platform for free.
Fiverr is another marketplace-type platform where people can sell their digital products and services for a fee. When selling printables on the platform, you can publish a template you can customize for people. You can create printable invitations, greeting cards, menus, gift tags, and more. Listing is free on Fiverr, but it takes a commission of 20% per sale.
Podia is a platform where people can sell all sorts of digital products, from printables to online courses, e-books, memberships, and more. Podia is free to use with an 8% commission fee per sale, but the fee is waived for plan subscriptions starting at $33 monthly.
Creating your own website
Alternatively, you can create your own website or online store with WooCommerce, Squarespace, or BigCommerce. The main advantages of doing this are as follows:
- You can list your printables for free—no commissions or fees
- You can write quality SEO blog content that will lead users from Google search to your website
- You can promote your online store through email marketing
- You’re free to apply your own branding to your store
If you’re using an eCommerce solution like BigCommerce or Squarespace, you can just sign up and start building your site from there. However, with a plugin like WooCommerce, you first have to purchase your domain and create a website with WordPress.
The specific steps may vary per platform, but here’s a step-by-step guide that you can use as a general reference when setting up your online store:
- Step 1: Create an account on your desired eCommerce platform.
- Step 2: Select a theme that fits your brand and customize it according to your preferences and needs.
- Step 3: Add product listings to your store.
- Step 4: Add descriptive copy, images of your products, and videos wherever applicable.
- Step 5: Add a domain.
- Step 6: Assign your currency and payment methods.
- Step 7: Set up shipping options.
- Step 8: Include store policies, terms, and conditions on your checkout page.
- Step 9: Preview and publish your online store.
Creating your listings
When listing your printables on a platform or website, don’t forget to define it as a digital product. On Etsy, for example, you can just upload your printable and sell digital downloads for it. This way, your customers won’t expect a physical print or get confused about what your product is.
Also, pay attention to how many files you can upload per listing and the size limit. This will save you time resizing files, especially if you plan to list by batch. Then, provide detailed descriptions for your product, add rich keywords and tags.
You should also include high-resolution photos of your products and mockups showing how they can be used once printed. For example, if you’re selling paper dolls for kids, showing them cut out and dressed up will make an excellent visual impact to supplement the digital version of your printable.
Pricing your items
Most printables cost around $2 to $10, but it’s up to you to price more substantial collections like longer journals, party kits or custom knitting patterns. Knowing your niche and creating a unique item will help you sell your printable better.
Your target audience will also factor into your pricing decisions. If, for example, your market consists mainly of students, then they might gravitate more towards affordably-priced items. If your market consists of collectors, however, and you create custom, bespoke labels or catalogs for them to use, then you can price your items and services higher.
Another tip to help you price your printables competitively is to check out your competition. Research how much they price similar items and which items their best sellers are.
Lastly, don’t neglect your production expenses, like your software, utilities, subscription, and work hours. Your pricing should still yield enough revenue to cover these, even if you’re looking to sell affordable printables.
Marketing and promotion
For your printable business to really gain some traction, you’ll need to look into marketing techniques that will help you reach a wider audience.
An active presence on social media, such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok, can help promote your online store and pique people’s interest in your printables. When posting about your items via a reel, story, or image, do your best to highlight your product’s best features and benefits.
Create entertaining and informative content that will help you highlight how customers can use your printable in their daily lives, then add a link in your bio, description, or comments to help lead interested customers to your store.
Giveaways and discounts
Offering your social media followers and new customers freebies and discounts is another great way to promote your products and increase brand loyalty. Use a sense of urgency to spur them into action, like a limited-time discount code or free download that is only accessible for a week or two. Also, choose something highly functional, aesthetic, or entertaining to give away, as this will shape customers’ impression of your products. If they like it, they’ll likely check out your other items and repurchase stuff.
Blogs and SEO
Blogging is a powerful way to lead Google users to your website. Creating high-value content featuring your products and linking them to your store allows you to take advantage of your blogs' traffic.
As for the SEO (search engine optimization) aspect, take note of keywords within your niche and try to create content featuring these keywords. Say you’re into fitness and nutrition and have created helpful printables along these lines. A quick Google search of “how to be consistent with exercise and nutrition” will reveal long-tail keywords like the following under “People Also Ask:”
- How do you stay consistent with nutrition?
- How do you stay consistent with health and fitness?
- How can I be consistent in exercising?
You can then use these exact keywords to start a blog topic, as doing so will increase your chances of ranking on Google’s search results. Make sure to add valuable tips, including using a fitness and nutrition tracker like yours.
Statistics show that 61% of customers prefer receiving weekly promotional emails. You can thus reach customers via email newsletters, especially if you’ve already gathered enough sign-ups from social media or your website. You can create a newsletter highlighting new products, discounts, and freebies and repurpose your blog posts to use via email.
Quick tips for creating compelling descriptions and visuals
Your marketing and promotion channels are a customer touchpoint you’ll want to maximize, as they present solid opportunities for conversion. Here are some tips to help you write descriptions and add visuals that sell:
- Use engaging, casual language—like you’re talking to a friend. Don’t describe items too technically; this may across as dry and boring
- Use humor wherever applicable
- Highlight your product’s benefits. Paint a picture of what your customers can achieve using your printables, like “crush your 90-day fitness goals” or “ace that exam”
- Add visuals. Add product shots, mockups, and pictures of your printables being used in the real world. If you sell art prints, for example, show them nicely framed in a cozy kitchen nook.
Customer engagement and satisfaction
Customer experience informs 73% of customers’ purchasing decisions. This means that building a loyal customer base will require you to always provide excellent customer service. Here are some tips to keep your customers happy and satisfied:
Leverage digital tools
You’ll want to stay on top of all customer inquiries, feedback, and concerns—but it can be challenging to do so across multiple channels and platforms. Using digital tools like live chat or AI chatbots with pre-programmed responses can help customers instantly get answers to frequently asked questions. Research shows customers don’t mind talking to a bot and even prefer live chat because they can get immediate support when needed.
Ensure a smooth checkout
Review your checkout process to ensure it doesn’t present difficulties to customers. Cart abandonment accounts for up to 70% of sales losses, and you want to bring that number down for your online store as much as possible! Ensure that your checkout process is safe and secure and has no additional steps that customers might find too cumbersome.
Feature customer feedback
Feature customer reviews prominently on your site or listing pages. These serve as social proof and entice other customers to purchase your product as well. Feel free to ask customers for feedback as well, as many reviews connote customer loyalty—and can drive even more revenue by encouraging loyalty in others.
Take refunds seriously
While it’s always unpleasant to get a customer complaining about your product, hear them out and find ways to improve their experience. There are no returns with digital downloads, but in certain instances, customers may complain that the product was not what they thought it was or needed. Try to be as understanding as possible in these instances and issue refunds when required, as this may earn you a loyal customer.
Legal and copyright considerations
When creating digital products for sale, you should always be wary of copyright laws, and use only licensed or original content. If you sell a digital product you don’t have the rights to, such as a sticker you didn’t illustrate, you can be charged with copyright infringement.
Here are some things to be careful of when selling digital items:
- Make sure you own the copyright of what you’re selling. For example, you can’t just download a calendar template off the internet and list it on your platform for sale.
- Don’t modify a copyrighted work to make it your own, especially if you don’t have the copyright owner’s permission. This covers altering a copyrighted image’s colors or adding text to create your own product.
- Ensure you have the commercial rights to all the images you use to create your product. This means you should use your own illustrations or elements you bought from an online provider with commercial rights.
Copyright infringement is a serious matter and can result in a lawsuit and account suspension, so pay attention to these details when creating your printables.
Protecting your printable designs from being stolen or copied is equally important. Here are some helpful reminders to help protect your work:
- Adding a watermark to your listing images can serve as a deterrent against people looking to copy your work. Choose a subtle enough design that does not detract from your product image.
- You can also password-protect your printables. This is helpful if you’re selling digital items delivered via email or a download link.
To sum up
Selling printables online can be a lucrative income source—plus, it’s a great way to nurture your creativity while making money. By following our tips in this guide, you can start your printable business in no time! You can also partner with a print-on-demand company that can print your designs on apparel and merchandise on a per-order basis. You can find suppliers like this in the SaleHoo Directory where you’ll get access to over 8,000 vetted product suppliers and over 2.5 million products. As always, if you have any eCommerce related questions, you can reach out to our customer support staff at any time.