How to Create a Digital Planner to Sell
If you’re a blog or website owner, you’ve probably been bombarded with advice for monetizing your writing. From pay-per-click ads to ebooks, there are tons of posts and articles outlining what you can do to earn money. There’s one digital product that almost everyone needs, and can keep your visitors coming back for more — a planner. There’s only one problem: What if you don’t know how to create a digital planner to sell?
Fortunately, if you’ve ever used a planner, you can probably create one. While it might seem daunting, you can break it down into easy, manageable steps following the guide below.
This collects all of the best advice and resources to help you create a planner to sell, in one easy place. This is how the pros do it and will ensure that you produce a flawless finished product — even if you have absolutely no idea how to design a planner to sell.
Draft your idea
You might have a vague idea for a planner for a specific purpose, or one that fits a certain aesthetic. Now’s the time to jump into how to create a digital planner to sell and start a rough draft of your ideas.
Pick a niche
It helps to have something that sets you apart. Choose a niche that fits your interests, a need you’ve recognized, or your website or blog’s theme. Like:
School planners aren’t just for teachers. With more and more families educating children at home, and more and more kids enrolled in extra-curricular activities, anyone with kids can benefit from a school planner.
Business planners are helpful for scheduling meetings and deadlines. “Business” is a pretty broad niche, too — if you’re a blogger, you might want to offer your readers a planner with an editorial calendar template.
These can help users deal with the chaos of coordinating a party, as well as offer reminders, quotes, checklists, and other relevant content.
A lot of hobbies are seasonal. Gardening, for example, relies on sowing seeds at just the right time, fertilizing regularly, and harvesting. Even those that don’t benefit from a themed planner with hints, tips, and project suggestions.
Outline the pages
Now we bridge the gap between figuring out how to create a digital planner to sell, and making a usable product. It’s time to take the ideas you’ve drafted and start turning them into reality.
What do you want to include?
If you’re making a planner for gardening or cooking, it might make sense to include a section for recipes — for a business planner, not so much. As you create a planner to sell, always consider what your end users are likely to find useful.
Calendars or no calendars
Calendars seem integral to a good planner, but part of understanding how to design a planner to sell means knowing when to break the mold. Do you want to include calendars? If you do, will you have the dates already filled in, or leave them blank? How will you lay them out? Peek at different calendar layouts for ideas.
Blank pages are helpful for memos, recipes, or anything else that doesn’t fit neatly elsewhere. You can decorate the borders of blank pages with illustrations to help keep the planner’s branding and image consistent.
Order of pages
What order makes the most sense for users of your organizer? Consider what part of your own planner you tend to turn to first, and try putting that upfront.
Look at your favorite planners, as well as the most popular designs already on the market. What do they include? How well will this work with your idea?
Look for inspiration
Is there another planner that you like? Maybe there’s one with an aesthetic that you feel drawn to or one with a unique layout. Take notes!
What don’t you see?
When you’re figuring out how to create a digital planner to sell, you need to pay attention to what other planners leave out. This tells you what yours can offer that nobody else’s does, and also lets you know what you might want to cut.
What can you improve?
Is there something that your planner can improve over your competition? Part of learning how to create a digital planner to sell is market research. Look at reviews of other planners, and figure out how you might do even better.
Sketching the pages
It’s time to visualize what the finished pages will look like. This can include layout, illustrations, or any other unique content you want to include.
Draw by hand
Drawing by hand gives you the most freedom, but is challenging to convert into a digital format. If you include hand-drawn illustrations, you’ll have to scan and edit them so they fit the rest of the content.
Digital sketch program
A digital sketch program allows you to erase and rearrange elements as needed. It also makes collaborating with others easier. If you’re just learning how to make a planner to sell, it may be easier to start on a digital sketch app.
Pick a design program that works for you
Design programs allow you to turn your sketches into an actual planner.
Many free and paid programs
There are loads of both free and paid programs available:
Keynote is a free program from Apple designed to help create polished presentations of all types. Users can start with a professionally created layout, then go from there to add charts, tables, images, text, and more.
While PowerPoint might not be the first program to come to mind when you’re learning how to create a digital planner to sell, it’s great for creating multi-page files. You can easily add pages, change the order, and play with the layout.
This free program is similar to PowerPoint, and especially helpful if you’re collaborating with other designers or artists. You can easily share and edit the same files.
Adobe InDesign is a program for creating print media. Even if you’re not wondering how to create a planner to sell and are strictly going for a digital product, it’s great for layout and page design. There’s a free trial available, as well as monthly plans starting from $20.99.
Canva is a free service that allows you to design any print or digital document you can imagine. There’s a library of free art you can use, and space for you to upload your own. If you’re struggling with how to make digital paper to sell, Canva has a premade layout and outline for you.
Adobe Illustrator is great for making your planner unique with everything from simple logos to complex illustrations. Start with a seven-day free trial, or subscribe for $20.00 per month. You can also subscribe to Illustrator, InDesign, and the rest of their creative suite for $54.99 monthly.
Sketch - and many more
Sketch has a host of designers’ tools and facilitates collaboration with other creators. A standard subscription will run $9.99 per editor per month, or a flat $99 per year.
Platforms to sell your planner
Now that you’ve figured out how to create a planner to sell, it’s time for the next step: selling. Fortunately, there are plenty of avenues you can pursue here.
Etsy is known as a “handmade marketplace,” and has loads of tools for sellers to promote their work, as well as a robust search engine for directing buyers to you. It’s worth calculating how their listing and processing fees stack up against the other services out there.
Amazon isn’t limited to handmade goods and gets a lot more traffic than Etsy. On the other hand, it also charges higher fees. It’s up to you to decide which might be a better fit for your product.
Shopify is a very useful selling platform, but, unlike Amazon and Etsy, requires you to do your own advertising. If you already have a built-in audience for your planner, this might be the best option for you.
DesignCuts is predominantly for design assets. You may be able to open a storefront with them, but your digital planner will have to pass some scrutiny to make sure that it’s a good fit for their user base.
Creative Market - and more
Creative Market allows you to open a shop selling digital design resources, including planner layouts and bundles.
If you have a blog, your content platform may allow you to offer digital products to sell right through your existing website — a huge bonus for people who already have a dedicated readership.
Get the word out
You’ve designed, created, and uploaded your digital planner. At this point, you could probably write novels on how to make a planner to sell! Now there’s just one last step: promoting it online.
Share your link on your social media
You have followers on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or maybe even TikTok. Leverage that exposure by sharing the link to your digital planner across all of your social media platforms!
Share the story of why you created your planner
A lot of blog and site owners seem to post planners just as a way to monetize their platforms. Distinguish yourself by telling your viewers why you created your product. What drove you to share your idea with the world?
Behind the scenes video clip
It’s a good idea to share a short clip of the brainstorming and design process. It’ll get viewers curious about your finished product.
Explain how your planner is different from others
People will naturally want to know what makes your planner unique — was there an unexplored niche in the market? Did your old organizer lack something you thought was important? Tell your planner’s story.
Learning how to create a digital planner to sell might seem complicated, but it really isn’t. You come up with ideas, translate those ideas into a rough draft, then fine-tune it until it matches your creative vision. At that point, it’s just a matter of making your planner available and letting your audience know where and why they should buy it. Even if you don’t have a dedicated fanbase ready and waiting to buy your product, shopping platforms and social media can make selling planners a breeze.
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