How to Make and Sell Printables Online
Last updated: February 9, 2022
You may have come across the term printables online without giving it a second thought. But did you know it’s a booming market that you can earn a nice passive income from?
In this guide on how to sell printables, we’ll cover…
- What exactly printables are
- Why you should consider selling them
- Which tools you need to make them
- How to make and price them
- Where to sell them online
- How to promote your printables
Warm up the presses because you’ll need them!
What Are Printables?
Printables are items you’re able to print out. They can range from simple documents, such as lists and planners, to labels that help people organize their documents.
Here are some common examples of printables:
- Coloring pages
- Food plans
Some of the best-selling printables include patterns, planners, stationery, clipart, and wedding invitations. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find success with different types of printables!
Why Sell Printables?
Despite everyone being glued to screens, there’s still a healthy demand for printables. So get in on the action while there’s still a physical world to roam around!
Here’s why you should learn how to start a printables business:
- Little technical know-how is required (learn how in the next section)
- The tools you need are cheap or free
- It could become a good passive income
- You just might discover a really enjoyable pastime!
“The number one lesson I learned from selling printables is that I should’ve started sooner,” says Tam. “It’s a joy to sell printables.”
But surely it can’t be that lucrative if it’s fast and easy to make? Actually, it’s possible to make tens of thousands of dollars by selling printables online.
Granted that was back in 2017. But a quick look at the search volume for printables reveals that printables are still a hot topic.
Worth noting: It’s a huge advantage if you already have a creative flair or a little bit of experience with design programs. That said, we’ve linked to some useful tutorials below.
What Tools Do You Need to Make Printables?
The tools you need will very much depend on the type of printable you want to produce. However, there are a few tools that can be used for several types of printables.
Here are some of the tools to make printables — click the links for tutorials:
- Design apps like Microsoft Publisher or Adobe InDesign
- Spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
- Web applications like Canva
- Word processors like Microsoft Word or Google Docs
That said, you can use any tool that allows you to insert and edit text and graphics. You may even have an app on your smartphone already!
How to Make Printables to Sell
Making printables is a creative endeavor, which means there are no hard and fast rules for the process. However, there are some basic steps you can take to ensure your success.
Here’s how to get started with making printables:
- Brainstorm ideas for printables
- Make some rough sketches
- Decide on the size and format
- Add your personal branding
- Print a few test samples
- Make any necessary adjustments
As you can see, it’s equal parts art and science. The artistic aspect relies on your own creativity, and the scientific part comes down to trial and error.
How to Price Printables
Pricing is always difficult. You don’t want to charge too much and put off any potential customers. At the same time, you don’t want to charge so little that you lose out.
There are two common pricing models: cost-based and value-based.
- Cost-based pricing involves tallying up all the expenses associated with creating your printables (such as materials and work hours) and then setting the price accordingly.
- Value-based pricing requires a more in-depth understanding of how much value your printables give your customers. Price it according to how much they think they’re worth.
That said, there’s also the competition to factor in. Neither model will work if your prices end up radically different from those of your competitors — so do some competitor analysis first!
What About Copyright?
You don’t want to steal the work of someone else. That can land you in hot water. Best case scenario? Your products will be taken down. Worst case? You’ll be taken to court.
Make sure that whatever images you use are either royalty-free or have a licensing option that you can subscribe to. It might be worth paying the license fee if you can make it back in sales.
Use these resources to find royalty-free images you can use:
Where to Sell Your Printables Online
You’ve designed some printables and you’re ready to sell! So far, so good. The question now is where to find customers willing to buy your printables.
Here are some online marketplaces you can use to sell printables:
- Creative Market
- Facebook Marketplace
Marketplaces are already established and have an audience. That’s a big advantage because you can piggy-back off of their traffic. They do take a commission and you’ll face some competition from other sellers, however.
That’s why it’s a good idea to have your own website. That way, you’re in control of the branding and you don’t have to pay anyone a huge commission (which can be as much as 40% on some sites!) on your sales.
Here are the most popular website builders if you want to go this route:
All three website builders are quite intuitive. But what if you don’t know the first thing about designing a website? Fret not, because we’re about to give you a solution that you can use whether you have a website or not.
How to Set up an Online Store for Your Printables
You could learn about web design or hire someone to do it for you. But there’s a much easier and cheaper way for you to create an online store.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to do it:
- Head over to Payhip and create an account
- Upload your printables via the dashboard
- Connect your PayPal or Stripe account
That’s it! Three simple steps and you’re good to go. You can also embed your Payhip store on your website if you chose to make one earlier. That’s also very easy to do.
Once a customer buys one of your printables, they’re automatically delivered to them and you get paid immediately.
Just a word of advice from Nancy Badillo: “Make sure you have it clearly stated in your listing description that they are buying a printable and nothing will be shipped to them,” she says. “By clearly stating this disclaimer in your listing description it will help you avoid negative feedback.”
How to Market Your Printables
Now that you’re all set up, all there’s left to do is get the word out about your new printables. How you promote your store is only limited by your imagination.
Here are a few tips to get your marketing campaign started:
- Use social media like Instagram and Pinterest to show images of your work to customers.
- Add your Payhip store link to your profile and bio on all social media so people can click through to it.
- Create coupon codes for first-time buyers so they have an incentive to try out your products.
- Offer social discounts for people who share your printables with their friends on social media.
- Give out free printables in exchange for signing up to your mailing list (see the next point below).
- Build a mailing list and send exclusive offers so you can build and nurture a relationship with buyers.
Generally, you should promote your printables on the platforms where your potential customers are.
“The key to building a successful printable shop is targeting the right people and finding a niche,” Nancy Badillo says. “Making sure you are selling printables for the right audience with a niche that resonates with what they are looking for is where you want to be,” Tam concurs.
So which platform is best to promote on?
Tam says: “If I were to choose one as a beginner it would be to upload them to Pinterest,” and Nancy Badillo agrees: “My favorite platform when it comes to marketing my printables is Pinterest.”
That should be enough to get you off to a good start. Visit our help center to learn more about the different ways you can promote your printables online.
Start the Press!
Now you know how to sell printables on your blog and how lucrative it can be. It’s time to pull up the drawing board and brainstorm some ideas for your next printable product.
Here’s what we’ve covered in this article:
- Printables are still in fashion and there’s a big demand.
- You don’t need any deep expertise to design them.
- There are many free tools you can use to make them.
- Price them based on cost, value, and competition.
- Sell them via marketplaces or your own website (with Payhip!)
- Market them on image-focused social media platforms.
All there’s left to say now is…. Start the press!