Canva has earned the reputation of being the design tool for non-designers. With it, you can quickly and easily create outstanding graphics and templates. If you can point, click and drag images, you can create beautiful graphics with Canva using either the free or pro version.
While it is easy to create graphics from scratch with this popular design tool, many users would rather start with a template. Canva has an impressive collection of templates, but they’ll never have enough to suit every person’s requirements or taste. That’s where this online business opportunity begins, and it’s proving to be very profitable.
The Market for Canva Templates
Canva is wildly popular for both business and personal use. There is a free version which has encouraged a large, loyal following. That, in turn, has created an impressive demand for compatible templates in both B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer) markets.
If an entrepreneur isn’t into designing things from scratch, a template is the perfect solution. Businesses of all sizes use templates for efficiency and a professional design, but the biggest opportunity comes from small and micro businesses. They don’t need (and often can’t afford) to have designer on staff, but they still require professional graphics and documents.
The internet has made it possible for anyone to easily start and run their own business. That has resulted in a growing B2B market targeting solopreneurs, home business owners, and the self-employed. They need the same things as larger businesses do, but on a smaller scale and with a very limited budget. They are constantly seeking affordable options so they can remain competitive and profitable.
Small businesses often save money by contracting (such as a VA) or by using templates that allow them to perform tasks themselves. In fact, their entire business can be built using templates, from their website, to marketing materials, to product mockups, to invoices, to infinity.
The great thing about design is the market can appear saturated but it’s art, so everyone has different taste. There’s always plenty of room for unique options. That said, the best way to ensure profitability is to find a good balance between demand and competition. For B2B, that can be achieved by entering a somewhat saturated market and finding an underserved specialty.
For example, you could target specific types of small businesses or solopreneurs, such as virtual assistants. Then, create a bundle of VA-themed digital marketing assets, such as banner ads in standard sizes, social media posts & business page banners, and a media kit for pitching clients.
Creating things for the B2C market can be a lot of fun and the possibilities are truly unlimited. There are plenty of things people would like to be able to personalize, from invitations to party decorations to framed birth announcements. You can design templates that make it easy for them to do so.
Templates can be accompanied by services. For example, you can offer to customize graphics for the client if they don’t want to do it themselves. You can also grow your digital empire with other digital products. Please read How to Create Your Own Online Learning Products for guidance.
We’re focusing on templates in this tutorial, but you can sell all kinds of printables that don’t have to be customized as well. Party packages and wall art are popular examples, but the choices are virtually endless. You’ll find many examples to inspire you on creative marketplaces, such as Creative Market.
What Do I Need?
Canva Pro: In order to get the link to your template so you can sell it, you’ll have to purchase the Canva Pro package. Luckily, it’s very reasonably priced and tax deductible. Canva facilitates template sales by providing a link to your template to give to your buyer. Then the buyer can go to the template and edit it with their own copy of Canva (free or pro).
Stock Images: Canva comes with a huge library of stock images, but I often go to Deposit Photos to come up with something truly unique. Deposit Photos is also reasonably priced at about a dollar/image, but you may have to pay a little more to obtain the proper rights for use & resale.
Sales Platform: You can sell on marketplaces like Creative Market, as well as your own website/ecommerce platform to facilitate the sale and marketing of digital downloads. Please refer to the Top 6 Ecommerce Platforms for Digital Product Downloads for further info.
Niche Research Tools: Analyze the market and relate it to what you want to do. What do they need? Can you niche it down? Is there a gap? The most effective way to research this particular market, in my experience, is by using Sale Samurai to determine which digital templates are most successful on Etsy (based on keywords). Additionally, if you use Google Chrome you can add the EverBee extension to view and copy detailed information about the product, seller or tags on Etsy.
Expert Tips for Designing Canva Templates
If you’re new to Canva, you can check out their tutorials before getting started. If you have some experience with design programs, you’ll probably be able to start playing with it and learn as you go.
Begin with a blank canvas. Canva prohibits the use of their templates in the creation of user templates for sale. You must create each template from scratch. NEVER copy any design and try to claim it as your own. Stealing designs/templates from their original creators, even if you edit them to some degree, is a violation of copyright and unethical.
Make sure you only use free features & elements in your design (paid options are marked with a little gold crown). Many people use the free version of Canva and won’t be able to access elements, fonts, graphics, and so on if they’re not available to them.
When you’re creating spaces for text or custom graphics (such as a logo), select Frame and place it where you want it. Add text instructing the user, such as Your Logo or Your Text Here so the buyer knows what it’s for. The buyer will delete the text for customization, but the frame will stay in place so they can drag in an image or enter their own text.
When the design is finished, go to Share This Design and select Template Link to generate a link.
Then, create a .pdf document that will be sent to your buyer when they purchase. You can use a Canva template for this part or create your own. Use the same colour scheme and design as the template you’re selling. Create a page with the template or bundle title, along with the access link provided by Canva. For example, “Thank you for choosing _________ template, please click here to access it.”
You’ll also use this document to upload and represent your template on digital marketplaces, so include a screenshot or graphic representation of the bundle you’re selling. Include any instructions or terms & conditions with the package, such as copyright information and “not for resale”.
Canva templates are so easy to create and sell, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner! If you need some inspiration, check out online marketplaces like Creative Market.
What kind of digital downloads will you design to sell? Please let us know in the comments below or start a conversation in the Online Business Canada Facebook group.
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.