How to Sell Digital Art On Etsy: Step By Step Guide

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Are you a digital artist looking to make a side income online? Maybe you’ve been wondering long enough how to sell digital art on Etsy? Here are the exact steps you should take today.

There’s so many opportunities online for a digital artist today, it seems difficult to choose. However, I always believe to go where the crowd is and one can always make a great income by offering affordable art to the masses. So, what other platform is better for this purpose other than everyone’s favorite Etsy?

Today is your lucky day! Read on as I explain the key elements you can focus on to differentiate your Etsy shop against competitors. I’ve also included down below a list of digital art you can make to sell on Etsy.

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you sign up for a program or make a purchase using my link!

How To Sell Digital Art On Etsy

1. Open an Etsy shop

Now that you’ve decided to sell digital art, your first step is to open an Etsy shop of your own. You may already have an Etsy account but to be able to sell your products, you need to open a shop within your account. To do this, Etsy will ask you to list a product. If you have a ready product you can sell, list them immediately without hesitation even if you don’t know what to write.

Read my step-by-step guide on how to list a digital product on Etsy HERE. If you don’t have any product yet, just upload a mock digital product of anything you can think of – it doesn’t matter anyway since your shop is hardly seen in the beginning.

2. Decorate your Etsy shop

Once you’ve set up a shop, it’s time to make it look good as a serious Etsy business should. You wouldn’t want customers to bounce as soon as they visit your shop because it looks incomplete. 

Few things I recommend to make changes for your Etsy shop:

  • Logo of shop (shop icon)
  • Shop title & shop location
  • Shop’s top layout banner
  • Add videos and photos to shop description
  • Add links to your shop’s social media (if you have any) e.g. Pinterest, Instagram
  • Your shop members bio and a photo of yourself
  • Announcement section to provide shop updates

You can easily make the logos and banners on Canva, export them in JPG and upload directly by going to the “Edit Shop” section.

3. Do keyword research to analyze product demand

Undeniably, a lot of people skip this step and proceed to make whatever they wish to make. But, what will set your products apart from others? Proper keyword research! If you have no idea of what to make prior to doing Etsy keyword research, you should have plenty of ideas after.

Some of the best Etsy SEO tool you can use:

  1. Marmalead
  2. eRank
  3. Alura
  4. Sales Samurai
  5. MakerWords
  6. Keyword Tool Dominator
  7. Merch Titans
  8. Crest
  9. Etsy Search Bar

Most of these Etsy keyword generators are free to sign up for and offers free trials for you to decide before making a purchase. It’ll take some skills to get a hang of the Etsy keyword tools and watching videos on YouTube will make you an Etsy keyword search genius. Significantly less headaches thinking how to sell digital art on Etsy!

4. Prepare the digital art for sales

Most digital products are sold in PDF format. This should make the file smaller and difficult for anyone else to alter. However, this is completely up to you as the digital artist and depends on the type of art you’re selling. You can view a list of digital art I’d recommend you to sell down below.

If you’re making your art on Canva, you are able to export into PDF, JPG or PNG format.

5. List the digital art and publish to your shop

Head to your dashboard and click on “Listings” on the left side column. Then click on “Add listing” at the top right corner. Etsy lets you list digital downloads in two formats, either ready for sale or made to order. If your item isn’t made to order like a custom portrait, you can follow these exact steps I’ve explained on how to list a digital product on Etsy.

If it’s a made to order or custom product, you don’t have to upload any files for customers to download. You can proceed to publish the listing without attaching anything. 

For every purchase of a digital product, Etsy lets you attach an automated note for buyers. Additionally, you can send a customized message later after the item is downloaded. This is a great opportunity for you to get in touch with buyers, ask them for a review or send them a special discount for their next purchase.

6. Include FAQs in product description

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section is where you want to share about the buying process, for buyers to easily get access to the digital files they bought. You wouldn’t want them to be confused on how to retrieve these files. Take into consideration, not everyone has purchased a digital product before – yours might be their first! They’ll trust you better if listings include FAQs as it makes your shop more credible.

Some things I recommend to include in the product description are:

  • How to download the digital art
  • What happens if there’s an issue with the purchase
  • Refund or cancellations policy for a digital product
  • Your average response time

7. Repeat the process until you have a collection

So, just having one listing isn’t enough. You’ll need a collection of them – as a start, target for 100 digital art. This increases your credibility in the eyes of the audience and Etsy will promote more of your shop. Plus, it’s completely normal that not everything will sell and you’ll never know which sells the best.

Hurry up, time to fill up your shop!

8. Promote your shop with advertisements

When you have everything in place, the only thing you need to do is get your shop seen by more people on Etsy. One of the main ways to do this is by paying for ads. The trick is to pay ads for your best selling products instead of advertising all your 100 products. Bear in mind, ads should run for at least one month to collect enough data and analyze overall effectiveness.

You can get started with an advertising budget of $1/day, which really isn’t too bad. Campaigns can be created to meet different goals including:

  • Reach new buyers for awareness
  • Bring more traffic to your Etsy shop
  • Promote new listings
  • Drive more sales to winning products

9. Share products to social media

If you’re not looking to pay for ads yet, the next best way to bring in organic traffic is by using social media. I highly recommend promoting your products on Pinterest, against any other social media.

Some tips on promoting your Etsy digital art on Pinterest:

  1. Sign up for a business Pinterest account
  2. Maintain same branding as Etsy shop with same logo and bio
  3. Use high quality photos for best experience
  4. Bright colors stands out better than dull ones
  5. Link the image directly to the product and not your shop
  6. Use professional frame mockups from Placeit to give real life look of art
  7. Describe the product as accurate as possible in pin title and description
  8. Post consistently daily or weekly basis
  9. Create a board to group products
  10. Join other boards and pin others’ pins

Sounds like a lot? Most only need to be done once and you’ll get a hang of it soon!

10. Cash out your earnings

If you go to the “Finance” section of your dashboard, you can make changes to your payment settings. I prefer a two week payment interval as it is not too frequent or takes too long a wait. Choose a payment schedule that fits your needs and wait for the sweet money to come in!

If your Etsy shop listings are sold in USD and it is not your local currency, there will be a currency fee of 2.5% on top of the market conversion rate when earnings are cashed out. 

Types Of Digital Art To Sell On Etsy

Digital art is part of the digital product category. Compared to other resources you might find online, I would like to differentiate art from other digital products such as planners or menu templates. To my best understanding, those products are not “art”.

So here’s some of the best types of digital art you can sell on Etsy:

  1. Custom portraits
  2. Wall art
  3. Posters
  4. Vector image
  5. Wrapping paper
  6. Kids room decor
  7. Custom typography
  8. Vintage art
  9. Art commission

Correct me if I’m wrong! But I love myself some graphics, not just texts and lines! If you’re looking for more ideas which isn’t digital art, check out my longer list of digital products to sell on Etsy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Is selling digital art on Etsy profitable?
Answer: Selling digital art on Etsy is a profitable business. Most digital downloads on Etsy are only made once and sold repeatedly, passively with minimal supervision and zero additional cost. It is a great side hustle for people looking to make side income while having a full-time job and busy single moms.

Question: How do I create digital downloads to sell?
Answer: Anyone can create digital downloads to sell online by using tools like Canva, PicMonkey, Fotor or Snappa. Firstly, conduct research on the type of digital product to make and understand the key elements you should have. Then, sign up to your preferred graphic designing tool to create the digital product.

Question: What is the best file type for Etsy digital downloads?
Answer: The best file types for Etsy digital downloads are JPG, PDF, PNG and ZIP. Using PNG is less advisable as it takes a larger amount of space compared to JPG/JPEG. These file types are most commonly used making it easy for everyone to download files, open, edit and print at home.

Bottom Line

So, I know it can be overwhelming as a beginner to start an online business, but here are some steps I recommend on how to sell digital art on Etsy:

  1. Open an Etsy shop
  2. Decorate your Etsy shop
  3. Do keyword research to analyze product demand
  4. Prepare the digital art for sales
  5. List the digital art and publish to your shop
  6. Include FAQs in product description
  7. Repeat the process until you have a collection
  8. Promote your shop with advertisements
  9. Share products to social media
  10. Cash out your earnings

Starting any business whether online or offline isn’t an overnight success. It takes consistency to show up and build a great business from zero. I’m sure with your spirit you can do it too!

If you thought about selling your art on merchandises, print on demand might be another side hustle you can explore. I have another article on how anyone can start print on demand on Etsy, even single moms or introverts! Unsure which merchandise to go for? My print on demand product guides below will open your eyes.

Photo by Theme Photos on Unsplash

Abby B.

Hey there! Abby here - the founder of Passive Marketeer and also the main writer on the site. My love for ecommerce and online marketing was something I found through my 9-5 sales job. It was mind boggling at first that we're able to make an income online passively in today's world! If you're still feeling that way, know that you're not alone.

That's why, I decided to help others by sharing findings through my own research on today's ecommerce world. When I'm not writing, I'm either running my online biz, traveling, cooking or gardening.

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