How to Format, Package and Distribute Printables for Instant Download
Offering digital printables provides a popular passive income stream for designers, artists and creatives through instant download sales. But to succeed, you must properly format, package and distribute printables optimized for user convenience across devices.
This comprehensive guide covers proven techniques for preparing printables for frictionless downloads, unlocking access, scaling distribution, preventing theft and maximizing profitability. We’ll explore:
- Sizing and formatting for optimal printing
- Packaging into ready-to-print PDFs
- Securing PDFs to prevent illegal sharing
- Automating fulfillment through digital delivery services
- Accepting payments through trusted storefronts
- Promoting through social media and digital marketplaces
- Tracking download analytics and sales metrics
- Expanding catalog variety and volume over time
Follow these best practices and your printable shop can earn recurring passive income with satisfied customers. Let’s dive in!
Formatting Your Printable Master Files
Proper sizing, resolution, fonts and colorspace setup ensure printables reproduce accurately:
Format artboards and canvases to match standard printable sizes like 8.5×11 inches for universal compatibility.
300+ DPI Resolution
Use high resolution 300+ DPI to keep images crisp when printed. Rasterize vector elements.
Convert fonts to outlines to prevent issues of missing local fonts on user devices.
CMYK Color Space
Use CMYK instead of RGB color space for accurate rendition of colors when physically printed.
Extend background graphics/colors slightly past edges to avoid white borders from printer calibration.
Export original high resolution masters in PDF, TIFF or PSD formats for best printed quality before PDF packaging.
Packaging into Print Ready PDFs
Optimize final PDF printables for instant purchase and use:
Size pages to avoid scaling like 8.5”x11” for inserts or square for social media graphics.
Order pages so multi-page PDFs print correctly when auto-stacked by users.
Include crop marks and bleed areas but omit other printer-specific color bars and calibration marks.
File Size Compression
Use Acrobat tools to compress PDFs for quick downloading while retaining quality.
Final Font Embedding
Re-embed fonts as final step in packaged PDF to avoid glitches or substitutions.
Enable print access only to prevent tampering but avoid full disablement complicating legitimate printing.
Securing PDFs Against Sharing
Deter piracy by controlling PDF access:
Set document open passwords requiring user entry to access content.
Allow viewing on-screen but disable printing and local saving options.
Digitally sign PDFs so alterations invalidate signature to protect integrity.
Low Resolution Previews
Embed lower resolution preview images users see before purchasing high resolution for printing.
Overlay light watermarks across entire pages only removed in purchased file.
Scrub identifying metadata like creator name and software used for added security.
Selling Through Digital Marketplaces
Reach buyers already searching digital asset stores:
Etsy Digital Listings
Popular handmade marketplace with built-in digital delivery.
Leading creative digital asset and printables marketplace.
Specializes in template, graphic and printable collections.
Global digital asset store with large printable categories.
Dedicated printable marketplaces like PrintableCrush, Printables.com etc.
Simple marketplace for selling digital downloads directly from your website.
Automated Instant Digital Delivery
Streamline fulfilling purchases with automation:
Tools like SendOwl, FetchApp and Gumroad handle automatically delivering protected files upon payment.
Email Download Links
Send download links directly to customer inboxes after purchase along with optional thank you page redirect.
Online Account Access
Let customers access purchases in online account dashboards for repeat downloads.
Connect fulfillment to ecommerce platforms like Shopify through API integrations. New orders automatically deliver.
Impose limits on number of times customers can download to discourage excessive unpaid sharing.
Make links expire after a period if you prefer one-time access only.
Promoting Through Social Media
Encourage organic sharing and tag potential customers:
Highlight New Releases
Share previews of new products launching to generate buzz.
Gift free products in exchange for tag, likes and follows to increase reach.
Tag products in posts so users can easily click to purchase right from social apps.
UGC and Reviews
Repost great examples of customers using your products. Request reviews.
Paid Social Ads
Run targeted ads promoting products aligned to buyer demographics and interests.
Ideas and Inspiration
Post ideas and inspiration showcasing creative ways to use products.
Tracking Sales and Download Metrics
Key data for optimizing offerings:
Monitor daily, monthly and total sales levels across products and bundles. Look at trends.
Identify most popular items with highest purchase rates to expand similarly.
Analyze traffic and sales referred from social media, collaborations, promotions etc.
Review how often purchasers actually download products to determine true utility.
Understand whether users access through original links, online account or repeat purchases.
Segment analytics by geography, demographics etc to refine audience targeting.
Check marketplace review ratings and sentiment toward your brand and products.
Expanding Your Catalog Over Time
Grow income through additional offerings:
Offer bundles with dozens of designs around themes maximizing perceived value.
Expand into designing for untapped printable uses like calendars, clothing, decals etc.
Licensing and Resale
Approach resellers interested in licensing rights for wider third party distribution.
Co-design specialty packs with influencers, brands and content collaborators.
Offer personalized custom printables through commissioned illustration and design.
Branch out into shipped products like apparel, homegoods, paper products featuring original designs.
Broaden into selling other digital assets like website themes, graphic templates leveraging existing skills.
Selling instantly downloadable printables represents a promising creative business model. By focusing on properly formatting for printing, security, automated fulfillment to customers, and promoting across channels, your printable shop can build a passive revenue stream over time. Listen to user feedback and keep expanding your offerings. With these best practices, your printables marketplace can thrive.
- 1 How to Format, Package and Distribute Printables for Instant Download
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Formatting Your Printable Master Files
- 1.3 Packaging into Print Ready PDFs
- 1.4 Securing PDFs Against Sharing
- 1.5 Selling Through Digital Marketplaces
- 1.6 Automated Instant Digital Delivery
- 1.7 Promoting Through Social Media
- 1.8 Tracking Sales and Download Metrics
- 1.9 Expanding Your Catalog Over Time
- 1.10 Conclusion