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Selling Templates on Etsy: Best Practices for Handmade Sellers

With the rise of online marketplaces, selling handmade products has never been easier. One platform that has gained immense popularity among artists, crafters, and designers is Etsy. Whether you want to sell printable templates or digital products, Etsy provides a unique opportunity to reach potential customers around the world. In this article, we will discuss the best practices for handmade sellers on Etsy, from opening your shop to scaling your business for greater profit. 

Etsy has become one of the top destinations for creative entrepreneurs and handmade sellers looking to turn their craft into a business. The site provides an incredible opportunity to reach a massive audience of buyers who are specifically looking for unique, handmade, and vintage items.

While Etsy started out focused on physical products like jewelry, apparel, home decor, and more, digital products like printable templates have exploded in popularity on the platform in recent years. Selling templates can be extremely lucrative for creative sellers, with low overhead costs and the ability to earn passive income. However, succeeding with template sales on Etsy takes the right strategies and optimization.

This comprehensive guide will walk handmade sellers through the ins and outs of selling templates successfully on Etsy. It covers everything from choosing the right template niche to marketing your listings effectively and legally protecting your work. Follow these best practices and tips to create a profitable template shop on Etsy.

Choosing the Right Niche for Etsy Template Sales

One of the most important decisions when starting a template shop on Etsy is choosing the right niche. With so much competition, you need to focus on a specific template category that has buyer demand but isn’t overly saturated with sellers. Here are some of the most popular and profitable template niches to consider on Etsy:

Party and Event Templates

From birthdays to weddings, parties and events are always happening. Sellers have found big success creating party invitations, signs, labels, menus, games, and more. Try narrowing in on a specific event type like baby showers or bridal showers.

Planners and Organizers

Planner templates have become a major trend, and buyers love creative and stylish calendars, goal trackers, budget spreadsheets, meal planners, and more. Focus on a specific planning purpose like social media planning or wedding planning.

Craft and DIY Templates

Capitalize on the DIY movement by selling templates for crafts like sewing patterns, crochet patterns, Vinyl cutting files, and SVG files for Cricut and other cutting machines. Target a specific craft like knitting patterns.

Educational Templates

Create learning resources like alphabet tracing pages, math and science worksheets, printable flashcards, lined paper, and more. Teachers and parents are always seeking engaging educational printables.

Business Templates

Entrepreneurs need resources like business plan templates, expense trackers, social media calendars, presentation slides, newsletter templates, and more. Offer templates tailored to different types of businesses.

Blogging and Social Media Templates

Bloggers and influencers are hungry for templates like blog site banners, Pinterest pin graphics, Instagram story frames, YouTube banners, thumbnail templates, and more. Cater to this audience with visual templates for content creation.

Resumes and Letter Templates

Help job seekers by creating professional resume templates, cover letters, follow-up letters, reference sheets, and more. Offer templates tailored to different careers and industries.

The key is to get very targeted with both your template type and your intended audience. The more specific you get, the better you can optimize your titles, tags, and descriptions accordingly. Avoid overly broad template categories that have too much competition.

Crafting Quality Templates That Sell

Once you’ve settled on a template niche, the next step is actually creating templates that will catch buyer’s attention and convert to sales. Follow these tips for crafting templates:

  • Make templates visually appealing: Well-designed templates tend to sell better than basic ones. Use colors, illustrations, creative layouts, quality photos, and eye-catching fonts.
  • Focus on usability and functionality: Make sure your templates are user-friendly and serve a valuable purpose for buyers. They should fill a need or solve a problem to get sales.
  • Offer multiple file formats: Buyers will appreciate having a template available as an instant download in multiple formats like PDF, PNG, JPEG, SVG, DOC. List the file types in the title.
  • Include editable versions: Providing both “printable” and fully editable versions gives buyers flexibility. They can print your design as-is or customize it to their needs.
  • Bundle templates: Bundling multiple templates together into a set provides more value. For example, bundle party invitation templates with matching decor templates.
  • Provide instructions: Especially for complex templates, include a text file with instructions to help buyers use the template successfully. This improves buyer experience.
  • Check quality before listing: Carefully review your template files before listing them to check for errors. Preview printable files to ensure proper formatting.

Following template trends and using free resources like creative fonts can help inspire your designs. But focus on creating original templates that align with your brand style, rather than copying existing designs.

How to Write SEO Optimized Etsy Titles and Tags

Keyword optimization is crucial for getting your Etsy template listings found. You need compelling titles and targeted tags that convince buyers your template is exactly what they’re looking for. Here are some tips for optimizing Etsy titles and tags:

For titles:

  • Include your most important keywords right at the beginning of the title
  • Mention the template type, occasion/purpose, and file format if applicable
  • Keep titles short, around 50-60 characters so they don’t get cut off in search
  • Use conversational language and emotional keywords to create interest


Black and Gold Monogram Bridal Shower Invitation Template – Editable PDF Printable Digital File

Personalized Bunny Birthday Party Favor Tags – Baby Shower Thank You Notes – Boy & Girl Editable PDF Printables

Purple Floral Budget Planner and Monthly Expense Tracker – Printable Digital Bullet Journal Template

For tags:

  • Include keywords that describe your template type, design style, colors, occasion/use case etc.
  • Mix broad terms like “baby shower printable” with more specific long tail keywords like “twin baby shower invitation template”
  • Max out your 13 tag allotment per listing to increase findability
  • Create tag groupings around occasions like “wedding”, target buyers like “mom”, or popular Etsy searches like “printable wall art”


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Put extra effort into keyword research to determine what terms potential buyers are actually searching for. Use Etsy’s Sell on Etsy app to look up popular searches and see tag ideas. Targeting the right keywords will directly translate to more listing visibility.

How to Write an SEO Optimized Etsy Listing Description

Your template listing description is where you can really sell the benefits of your template to buyers and persuade them to purchase. Optimizing your descriptions for keywords and selling points is key. Follow these SEO tips:

  • Introduce your template: Open with a brief intro paragraph that describes your template type, design style, and what occasion or purpose it’s made for. Include keywords.
  • Highlight benefits: Explain why your template is valuable for the buyer. Mention quality, customization options, ease of use, etc. Help them visualize the end result.
  • Add keywords naturally: Work relevant keywords from your title and tags into the description smoothly. Don’t overstuff. Include keywords in bullet points, text sections, alt text etc.
  • Encourage customization: For editable templates, emphasize that the buyer can personalize the template with their own text, images, logos etc. to increase perceived value.
  • Explain what’s included: List everything the buyer will receive with the template files. Include file formats, any bonus files, digital items only disclaimer etc.
  • Add visual appeal: Break up text with section headers, lists, bullet points, emojis, and images of your templates. Images also help with SEO.
  • Close with a call to action: End your description by urging the buyer to purchase the template for their specific occasion or purpose. Add value by mentioning your total number of sales and 5-star reviews.

Additionally, your shop policies, processing times, and FAQs sections are also opportunities to work in relevant keywords and sell customers on why your Etsy shop is the best choice. Approach your entire Etsy listing as a sales pitch to convince searchers that your template is the perfect solution.

How Much to Price and Charge for Etsy Templates

Determining the right pricing strategy for your Etsy templates takes some careful consideration. Price too low and you miss out on potential earnings. Price too high and you risk losing sales to competitors. Follow these tips to optimize your pricing:

  • Research competitor prices: Browse similar templates in your niche and price accordingly. Undercutting the competition too much devalues your work.
  • Factor in your costs: Determine your costs for template design software, graphic assets, your hourly time invested, and Etsy fees.Price to make a reasonable profit above costs.
  • Consider perceived value: Buyers are willing to pay more for templates they consider high-quality, unique, and highly usable for their specific purpose.
  • Charge more for bundles: You can price template bundles or sets at a discounted rate compared to individual templates while still making a higher profit.
  • Offer limited sales: Use sales and limited-time discounts sparingly. This allows you to experiment with pricing promotions without undervaluing your templates long term.
  • Watch your margins: When pricing low, be aware of Etsy transaction fees eating into your margins. Price just slightly above major cutoff points like $10 or $15.
  • Reassess regularly: Monitor your sales data and review your prices frequently based on performance. Increase prices for consistent top sellers.

A good starting point is looking at the $10-$30 range for creatively designed, multi-file templates. Selling printable PDFs allows you to price higher than individual PNG or JPEG graphic files. Offer a compelling reason for buyers to pay your prices, whether it’s exclusive designs, licensing rights, or exceptional quality.

Steps for Legally Protecting and Licensing Your Work

Selling templates online requires taking steps to legally protect your intellectual property and prevent unauthorized use of your designs. Here are key actions to take:

  • Register your copyright: File for an official copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office as soon as you complete a template. This timestamps your ownership.
  • Include copyright notices: Place a copyright watermark visibly on your template images. Also add a copyright notice in the digital metadata and file descriptions.
  • Limit licensing: By default, only grant buyers a single, personal use, non-transferrable license when purchasing. Offer extended licenses for commercial use at a higher price.
  • Draft a license agreement: Include terms and conditions that outline exactly what buyers can and can’t legally do with the files. Require buyers to agree to this license upon purchase.
  • Block downloads: Prevent buyers from redistributing your files on other sites by disabling the ability to download listings. This limits sharing.
  • Use a digital asset management platform: Services like ZippyPixels allow you to protect images with digital watermarking and instantly revoke access to stolen files if needed.
  • Issue takedown notices: If your work does get shared without permission, issue DMCA takedown notices through sites like Pixsy that will get your images removed.

While no protective steps are foolproof, using a combination of preventative measures and active enforcement deters copyright infringement. Be vigilant about monitoring your designs and don’t be afraid to speak up if your work is used improperly. Protecting your work maintains the value.

Marketing Your Etsy Template Shop

Designing great templates is only the first step to Etsy sales success. You need to market your Etsy shop effectively to drive traffic to your listings. Here are some top marketing strategies:

Utilize Etsy Search

Carefully optimize your titles, tags, descriptions, and images to maximize visibility in Etsy’s internal search results. Target keywords and phrases shoppers are actually searching so your listings appear in search.

Promote on Social Media

Leverage platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to showcase your templates and highlight your Etsy shop link. Posting templates as shareable images and reels helps gain new followers.

Run Etsy Ads

Invest in Etsy advertising to promote your listings to buyers searching for related keywords. Target high-intent keywords and keep a close eye on your cost-per-click and return on ad spend.

Send Email Newsletters

Use email marketing services like MailerLite to set up autoresponder sequences introducing buyers to your shop. Offer coupon codes or sales to incentivize sign-ups and purchases.

Collaborate with Influencers

Find relevant bloggers or social media influencers in your niche and collaborate on giveaways or template reviews to expose your designs to new audiences.

List on Other Marketplaces

In addition to Etsy, list your templates on other handmade marketplaces like ArtFire and Dawanda to expand your reach. However, make sure you aren’t violating exclusivity policies.

Analyze Performance

Use Etsy’s Sell on Etsy app along with Google Analytics for Etsy to study traffic sources and listing metrics. Identify your bestselling templates and double down on what works.

Dedicate time consistently not just to creating templates, but also getting them in front of buyers. A multi-channel marketing strategy takes commitment but maximizes the visibility of your Etsy shop.

Providing Excellent Customer Service

Delivering an amazing customer experience helps template sellers stand out from the competition and earn loyal repeat buyers. Make customer service a priority with:

  • Fast shipping: Send template files quickly after purchase through instant download. Avoid production delays.
  • Proactive communication: Reach out proactively with order confirmations, shipping notifications, and occasional promotions or deals.
  • Helpful instructions: Include a user-friendly readme file with each template purchase detailing exactly how to use, print, and customize the files.
  • Prompt replies: Respond to convos and questions within 24 hours or less. Being readily available builds trust.
  • Fair policies: Craft shop policies like returns, exchanges, and licensing that balance both buyer and seller protection.
  • Resolution focus: If issues arise, focus on reaching a satisfactory resolution for the buyer. Refund or replace orders that are wrong or defective.
  • Ongoing surveys: Ask for buyer feedback through occasional surveys. Listen to their template needs and make improvements based on user suggestions.
  • Sincere gratitude: Express genuine appreciation for each order and positive review. Share exciting shop updates and milestone achievements.

Building relationships with buyers keeps your Etsy shop at the top of their mind for future template needs. Provide exceptional service that exceeds expectations at every step.

Scaling Your Etsy Template Shop for Passive Income

One of the most appealing aspects of selling templates on Etsy is the potential for your shop to bring in passive recurring income over time with less ongoing effort required. Here are tips for scaling up:

  • Build a strong foundation: Invest significant time upfront designing quality templates, nailing SEO, attracting your first sales, and refining your processes before trying to scale up.
  • Automate where possible: Streamline operations by using automation tools for order processing, inventory management, branding, email sequences, and accounting.
  • Hire help selectively: Consider outsourcing tedious tasks like customer service, social media, or administrative work to virtual assistants. But keep template design in-house.
  • Design in batches: Block out time consistently to create multiple new templates at once. Stocking your shop with fresh designs keeps buyers engaged.
  • Diversify carefully: Only expand your offerings or create new template bundles once you have strong sales in your core bestsellers. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
  • Monitor data closely: Review detailed sales metrics to double down on your winners. Discontinue templates that underperform after testing.
  • Reinvest profits: Funnel earnings back into growing your shop through tools, advertising, staff, or design assets instead of withdrawing earnings.
  • Stay focused: Limit taking on other projects like wholesale orders or custom client work that distract you from your Etsy shop’s growth.

With the right strategies, an Etsy template shop can eventually tick along mostly hands-off, earning thousands per month. But stay patient, focused, and committed in the scaling process.

How to Start Selling on Etsy

Step-by-Step Guide to Open an Etsy Shop

If you’re new to Etsy, the first step is to open a shop. It’s a straightforward process that involves signing up for an Etsy account and providing some basic information about your shop. You’ll also need to decide on a shop name that reflects your brand and the products you’ll be selling. Once your shop is set up, you can start listing your products and reaching potential customers.

Cost to Sell on Etsy – Understanding Fees and Expenses

While setting up a shop on Etsy is relatively easy, it’s important to understand the costs involved. Etsy charges listing fees, transaction fees, and payment processing fees for each sale. It’s essential to factor these expenses into your pricing strategy to ensure you’re making a profit. Additionally, you may incur expenses for packaging, shipping materials, and marketing your shop.

Tips and Tricks to Set Up Your Etsy Shop

To stand out on Etsy, you need to invest time and effort into setting up your shop properly. This includes creating visually appealing product listings, writing compelling descriptions, and optimizing your shop for search engines. It’s also crucial to establish a strong brand identity that resonates with your target audience. By following these tips and tricks, you can increase your chances of success on Etsy.

Choosing the Right Products to Sell on Etsy

Printables: A Lucrative Niche on Etsy

Printables are digital creations that shoppers can download and print at home. They cover a wide range of categories, including planners, wall art, stationery, and more. The demand for printables on Etsy has been steadily increasing, making it a lucrative niche for sellers. If you have graphic design skills or can create templates that provide value to customers, selling printables on Etsy can be a profitable venture.

How to Sell Printables on Etsy Successfully

Selling printables successfully on Etsy requires a strategic approach. Start by researching the market to identify popular themes and keywords. This will help you target the right audience and optimize your product listings for Etsy search. Additionally, focus on showcasing your printables through appealing visuals and well-written descriptions. By offering high-quality products and excellent customer service, you can build a loyal customer base on Etsy.

Creating Digital Products: Templates and Designs that Sell

In addition to printables, Etsy allows sellers to offer a wide range of digital products, including templates and designs. These can include website templates, social media graphics, digital art, and more. When creating digital products, it’s crucial to understand the needs and preferences of your target market. By providing high-quality templates and designs that help customers achieve their goals, you can establish yourself as a reputable seller on Etsy.

Optimizing Your Etsy Shop for Success

Etsy SEO: Maximizing Your Shop’s Visibility

One of the key factors that determine the success of your Etsy shop is visibility in search results. To improve your shop’s visibility, you need to optimize it for Etsy SEO. This involves conducting keyword research and strategically incorporating relevant keywords into your product listings and shop description. Additionally, factors such as customer reviews, sales history, and shop activity play a role in Etsy’s search algorithm.

Enhancing Your Etsy Shop’s Appeal with Stunning Visuals

When it comes to online shopping, visuals play a crucial role in attracting and engaging potential customers. Take the time to create high-quality product photos that showcase your templates in the best light possible. Consider using lifestyle images or mockups to demonstrate the practical use of your designs. By investing in visually appealing visuals, you can make your Etsy shop more appealing to shoppers.

Writing Compelling Product Descriptions that Drive Sales

Product descriptions provide an opportunity to communicate the value and features of your templates to potential customers. Use persuasive language and highlight the benefits they will gain from using your products. Be sure to provide accurate measurements, file formats, and any other relevant details to give shoppers confidence in their purchase. By writing compelling product descriptions, you can increase the chances of conversion and drive more sales on Etsy.

Marketing and Promoting Your Etsy Shop

Utilizing Etsy Ads to Boost Your Sales

Etsy Ads is a paid advertising feature that allows you to promote your products to a targeted audience on Etsy. By choosing the right keywords and setting an appropriate budget, you can increase the visibility of your shop and drive more traffic to your listings. It’s important to monitor the performance of your ads and adjust your strategy accordingly to maximize your return on investment.

Building an Email List for Long-Term Success on Etsy

Building an email list is an effective way to nurture customer relationships and drive repeat sales on Etsy. Offer an incentive, such as a discount or exclusive content, to encourage visitors to sign up for your newsletter. Regularly send useful content and promotions to your email subscribers to stay top-of-mind and encourage them to return to your shop.

Using Pinterest to Drive Traffic to Your Etsy Shop

Pinterest is a visual search engine and social media platform that can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to your Etsy shop. Create visually appealing pins that showcase your templates and link them back to your Etsy shop. Use keyword-rich descriptions and relevant hashtags to increase the discoverability of your pins. By consistently sharing high-quality content on Pinterest, you can attract potential customers and grow your Etsy business.

Best Practices for Handmade Sellers on Etsy

Establishing a Strong Brand Identity on Etsy

A strong brand identity helps differentiate your shop from competitors and creates a memorable impression on shoppers. Choose a cohesive color palette, design a beautiful shop banner, and create a logo that reflects your brand’s personality. Consistently apply these elements across your product listings, packaging, and social media channels to convey professionalism and build brand recognition.

Providing Excellent Customer Service on Etsy

Good customer service is essential for the success of any business, including handmade sellers on Etsy. Respond promptly to customer inquiries and address any issues or concerns they may have. Consider offering free shipping or other incentives to provide exceptional value to your customers. Positive customer experiences can lead to repeat purchases, positive reviews, and recommendations to others.

Managing Your Inventory and Fulfillment Process on Etsy

As your Etsy business grows, it’s crucial to have efficient inventory management and fulfillment processes in place. Keep track of your stock levels and regularly update your listings to reflect accurate availability. Determine the most cost-effective and reliable shipping methods for your products and package them securely to ensure safe delivery. By managing your inventory and fulfillment effectively, you can provide a seamless experience for your customers.

Scaling Your Etsy Business for Greater Profit

Expanding Your Product Line and Targeting New Markets

Once you have established a successful presence on Etsy, consider expanding your product line to attract new customers and increase sales. Research market trends and identify new niches that align with your brand and target audience. By diversifying your offerings, you can tap into different markets and maximize your earning potential on Etsy.

Reinvesting in Your Etsy Shop: Strategies for Growth

As your Etsy business generates revenue, consider reinvesting some of the profits back into your shop. This can involve upgrading your equipment, investing in marketing and advertising, or expanding your team. By strategically reinvesting in your Etsy shop, you can fuel its growth and increase its overall profitability.

Tips for Achieving Passive Income through Etsy

Passive income refers to revenue that is generated with minimal ongoing effort. While achieving complete passive income on Etsy can be challenging, there are strategies you can implement to increase passive earnings. This includes creating evergreen digital products that can be sold repeatedly, automating certain aspects of your business, and optimizing your shop for search engines to attract organic traffic. By implementing these tips, you can start generating passive income through your Etsy shop.


Selling professionally designed templates on Etsy can become a very successful handmade ecommerce business for creative entrepreneurs. By zeroing in on a profitable template niche, crafting quality designs, optimizing your listings for search, marketing extensively, delivering great service, and methodically scaling up your shop over time, you can build a passive income stream from template sales on Etsy.

Use this comprehensive guide to implement proven best practices as you start and grow your own Etsy template shop. Carefully tailor your templates and brand to your target audience. With persistence and consistency, you can establish yourself as a top template seller that buyers return to again and again.


By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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