I have been selling digital products on Etsy now for three and a half months and I feel like I am starting to get a good feel for how the marketing process works!
>> Check out my Etsy Shop, Paperly People
But before we dive in, let's step back one second and see why I have been able to ramp up the way I have so far (knowing that there is LOTS of work that still needs to be done!)
I have been doing marketing for over 15 years online. I have built websites and email lists PLUS I have clients who I can test and try things out for too, but I have never really cracked the code on how to effectively sell digital products until now!
Etsy Is A Great Place To Sell Digital Products
When I started noticing that Etsy allowed the sale of digital products I was intrigued. Hmmmm, may that would work more effectively than trying to sell them on my own website.
1. A Pool of Customers – The first thing that caught my eye was that there were already a bunch of my target customers gathered all in one place. Women who liked shopping and who owned their own businesses.
2. Etsy Has The Ecommerce System In Place – I have the ability to sell on my own website, but setting up each product, adding coupons and discounts and handling refunds and exchanges is a bit of an administrative nightmare. Etsy has all that in place so I can just focus on producing and marketing my products.
Note: There is a LOT of talk on the podcasts and Etsy forums about how you need to grow your own properties in case something changes at Etsy or your store gets shut down.YES you should build your own websites, yes you should grow your own social media traffic so you can drive buyers to your store.
But, if you are doing all the right things and not trying to hurt anyone in the process, you should focus on selling on Etsy at the start and worry about growing your own internet empire second (especially if you are a maker and not a tech genius).
Digital Deliverability – having run my own website for years, I know all the kerfuffly bits that can trip you up when selling digital products. Site logins can fail, the files can not be sent and there is a ton of technical backside that has to be maintained.
If you are a content producer, it is best to sell your content more and worry about technology less!
How Much Am I Selling
Another question you may have about my credentials is “how much am I selling right now?” Well here are my stats for the last rolling month.
As you can see I have had 50 sales this last moth and sold $342.40 worth of products.
Now, you may be thinking that making about $3-400 per month is nothing to write home about, but having a stable and consistent income is my goal, not creating huge spikes of random sales so the fact that my sales have consistently increased over the course of the last three months makes me VERY happy!
Tip #1 – Don't grow too fast
It is easy to read all the success stories out there and think that you should be selling more than you are right now. Heck, almost every day I hear about a shop that has taken off and is selling more in one day than I am in a month, but that is not the business I started.
It would take a bunch of sales to make as much money on my digital products as someone selling one painting or even a necklace, but what I focus on is that once my digital products are live, I don't have any more work. They are just sitting there like little gems, waiting to be bought.
What To Sell
I have a great post about doing market research for Etsy that dives way deeper into this topic, but functionally you will want to try and figure out the best digital items to sell on Etsy that match what you are good at making
I love the site CraftCount for this!
As you can see from this graphic, number three in sales site-wide yesterday was a digital products seller…
Grettygrafikdesign sells clip art available for digital download. One thing to note is that they are having a site-wide 80% off sale. More about this later.
Spying On Your Competition!
I am not suggesting copying by any stretch of the imagination, but there is a really cool way of seeing what your competition's best sellers are. Simply click on the “Sales” link and you can see what they have recently sold. This can give you an idea of what the marketplace is interested in purchasing.
For examples, there is an awesome shop called My Computer Is My Canvas that sells A TON of digital download printables.
Here are the last 12 items she has sold:
LDS means Latter Day Saints and most of her products are geared towards the Mormon community.
Tip #2 – Research not copying. So am I saying that you should make LDS products…heck no! You should sell products that match your likes and interests! Instead of trying to out-Mormon this lady, check and see which products are selling like her candy wrappers and kiss stickers and make them for your market.
Pricing Your Digital Products
Last but certainly not least, let's talk about how to price your digital products. Because there is no “cost” to you for them as there is when selling physical products, it can be tempting to price them cheap and sell lots of them, but I think that is a bad practice for two reasons.
People don't value what they don't pay for. If you are selling your products for rock bottom pricing there can be perceptions that they are not good or valuable. While people do like a “deal”, they don't like to spend money on something that has no value.
There is no room to discount. The other reason for keeping your prices reasonable is a purely sales-focused reason. If all of the items in your shop are under a dollar and you have a 50% off sale, there isn't much urgency for the shopper. Saving a couple of pennies is not a good incentive to buy. But if your products are priced higher, you can show a true value to “acting now” when you have a sale!
Tip #3 – Get your pricing right! Do some research into what other, similar products are priced at and just make sure you are not ridiculously high or low compared to other vendors on Etsy.
I like to use Marmalead to do this research as they have all of the data available in an easy to use format.
Say we were selling “bottle cap printables”, with this graph we can see that all of the printables are priced from $1-5 and that the majority of them are either $2 or $4.
Well there you have it! All the reasons I love selling digital products on Etsy!