Packaging up your knowledge into a professional digital product is a great way to expand your business online. Although there is no sure-fire way to create a digital product that sells, we’ve rounded up some of the best tips and questions to ask yourself to teach you how to sell digital products. You also will learn some of the top digital products sold around the world and why you may want to consider one for your business. Last, but not least, we’ll cover a few pros and cons as you start to sell digital products. Let’s get started!
What are digital products?
Digital products are best described as any item that is stored, delivered, and consumed in an electronic format. Digital products include ebooks, music files, font files, graphic design files, coupons, e-tickets to an event, printable music pages, worksheets, webinars, guides, and tutorials.
Types of digital products to create and sell
Depending on your audience and how you teach best will determine the type of digital product to create. Here are some of the items we see most on Selz:
- eBooks and guides: Offer your ebook as a PDF, epub, or .mobi file. Add PDF stamping for extra security and set your download limits.
- Films and Video tutorials: offer your video tutorial as an MP4 and allow your buyers to stream your tutorial.
- Photography: Offer your photo files as JPG for easy viewing on any device.
- Music files and albums: Offer your music files as MP3s for easy listening on any device.
If you already have a physical book, consider creating an ebook version or even an audio version of your book. If you typically teach workshops in person, you could easily package up that information and sell it as an online course or webinar. There are so many options when selling digital products, so you’re bound to find the digital format that works best for you.
Regardless of what type of product you choose to sell, make sure it’s high quality and professionally created. There’s nothing worse than watching a tutorial with terrible audio or an eBook with grammatical errors on every page.
Want to sell digital products? Here’s where to start.
Ask yourself some questions:
- What do I know really well and can also easily teach others? Before you can start selling any kind of product, you want to make sure you have the expertise to do so. If you already have an existing nutrition consulting business, creating a downloadable Whole Foods guide or seasonal recipe eBook is a great idea for a digital product that’s both on brand and makes sense for your clients. If you don’t have a business yet, but want to sell a digital product, look at your hobbies and figure out a way that what you know can be packaged into a digital product.
- Is there a market demand for it? Just because you like to crochet mini hats for your hamsters doesn’t mean that other people are willing to pay you to find out how to do it, too. Look at your hobbies and see if there’s something there, with value, that you can offer. What do you tend to do in your free time that you truly enjoy? Selling a Gardening 101 ebook or a Getting Started With Growing Dahlias are two great ideas if your favorite hobby is gardening.
- Does the product you want to sell simply a trend, or something that will last? Before you go gung-ho spending all your extra energy and money into creating a digital product, ask yourself if it’s a trend or something that will last.
- How do you best teach? Are you better behind a camera? Do you enjoy putting words to (digital) paper? Is audio more your thing? Look at your strengths and use those to create your next digital product.
Selling Direct Vs. Marketplace Sales
Now that you’ve chosen and created your digital product to sell, you need to figure out where you want to sell it. We think selling direct is better than marketplace selling. Why? When you sell directly, you’re not competing with the pages and pages of products for sale in a marketplace. Additionally, the customers from a marketplace are not yours: you simply receive a commission for your product without ever knowing who bought your product.
With Selz, you can sell directly to your already existing audience. You also have control over how your products are handled, where they are advertised, how you choose to sell them, and how much you want to sell them for! You also have complete control over your customer relationship, which is key if you want to continue selling directly to them.
We also provide analytics about where your buyers come from in the world, when they buy, and from which platform they placed their order from. Direct? Facebook? Twitter? Hungary? US? UK? You have all the details:
If you sell in a marketplace, you miss out on all this information. This is quite a bummer if you wish to continue selling your products to readers, clients, and customers for years to come. Additionally, selling your digital product yourself means more hard-earned money stays in your pocket: where it belongs.
How to market your digital product
Besides choosing where you want to sell your digital product, you’ll also want to consider ways to tell your ideal buyers about your product so they can buy it. Here are a few things to consider:
- Product launch: Consider launching your product on a specific date and creating a content marketing strategy around it. Add details about your product coming out to your email marketing campaigns and show some behind-the-scenes on your Insta account. Build some excitement around your product release. You can also provide discount codes for your existing and new email subscribers.
- Host an online event: With any product launch comes a party. Consider throwing an online event for your new product. Are you releasing a new recipe ebook? If so, consider having a live webinar a few days beforehand and offer everyone who attends a discount for preordering your book. Providing extra value for those who show up for you before the crowds do works wonders for both your buyers and your business.
- Workshop: Is your new ecourse something that you could also teach in-person? Do you also have physical books that you sell, or do you want to start working with people in a group setting? Hosting a workshop, or multiple workshops, before, during, and after your digital product launch is a great way to garner a larger audience and inspire more people to snag your newest digital product.
- Blogging: It’s a no-brainer that blogging is one of the best tools there is at marketing your digital product. Because you own the content about your digital product, you truly have a platform to make it shine in all its glory. As always, be accurate in your copywriting and express exactly what your buyers receive when they purchase your digital product.
- Interviews and Guest Posting: Good on camera? Consider interviewing with different bloggers and authority sites. Interviews aren’t always recorded: if words are more your thing, ask around in your network if anyone is open for guest posts.
The Pros and Cons When You Sell Digital Products
First, the pros of selling digital products:
- Unlimited stock: You don’t need to have an extra room filled with your inventory. Instead, your eBook can be uploaded once, then sold an unlimited amount of times. More space for you to write more ebooks and work with your clients.
- No shipping: Forget going to the post office! On Selz, digital products are digitally delivered either within a customer’s browser and straight to their inbox.
- Low costs: Since there’s no physical inventory or shipping responsibilities, your business overhead when selling digital products is much smaller than it would be with a physical product. Yay! More time for you to travel the world while still making money.
- Customers Around The World: No longer are you limited by your physical proximity. Your customers can be your friends, but it can also be Nina in Argentina, Scott in Denmark, and Anna in South Africa. More customers = more reach = more sales for you.
- Electronic systems do the hard work for you: When selling digital products online, you typically use a platform that digitally delivers your products for you. For example, when using Selz, your digital products are uploaded to your store. Once a customer purchases your digital product from your store, we digitally deliver it for you. Your customer then consumes the product in an electronic way, like reading your eBook on their laptop, or watching a tutorial with their computer’s media viewer. There’s no work for you to do except uploading your book once: we do all the heavy lifting, like taking payment, aggregating analytics, sending your customer email addresses to Mailchimp, and delivering their digital product to them.
The cons of selling digital products:
- People may copy your work: Finding that someone’s copied your work, or downloaded your product and is selling it as their own is not a fun experience. Especially when you’ve worked super hard on a new guide, it can feel pretty lousy to see someone pass your work off as their own. Selz offers license keys to protect you from this situation.
- Technical errors can happen: Your customer’s browser may crash while downloading one of your biggest digital products. Or, your customer may lose a download link to your product, causing them to lose the item they purchased for you. Luckily, download limits can always be reset and new download emails sent on Selz.
- Digital files can be easily shared: We’ve talked about file sharing before: when selling digital products, there is always a chance a buyer will share the product with someone else. Although most online selling platforms, including Selz, give a seller a way to limit downloads and sharing, the reality is that once a buyer downloads a digital file to their computer, it’s like any other file, which is easily shareable. If you are selling ebooks, our nifty PDF stamping at least prevents sharing while download limits give you control over how your digital product is consumed.
Despite the small list of cons, the benefits of selling online certainly outweigh the possible risk.
As you can see, the process to sell digital products is a bit more complex than simply writing a few paragraphs in a PDF and uploading it to your online store. It not only requires savvy into your target market but also integrity, professionalism to create digital products. Now that you have the basics for selling digital products, give us a shout in the comments to let us know what you’re working on next.