14 min read
Ready to open up a new revenue stream for your business?
Digital products mark a sea-change in the business world. Adapting and changing with the times is key to surviving and thriving in a competitive market.
There’s a lot of content out there about digital product ideas for startups, but what does that look like for established businesses?
We’ve put together a list of forty small business ideas for digital products your business can use to increase revenues and draw in new customers.
40 Small Business Ideas for Digital Products to Diversify Your Business Income
1. Web elements
Web developers are in a particularly great place to benefit from the rise of digital products, because you can repurpose all of the assets you’re creating into new tools. With minor tweaking, the web themes you create custom for one client can be super useful for a whole range of consumers.
2. Video elements
Production companies know that there’s a lot more to video than what happens in-camera. Package and sell stock imagery, text and sound to hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts who want to expand their toolset. These are also great small business ideas for companies looking to create videos internally on the cheap.
3. Custom fonts
We spend so much time on computers these days that consumers are more likely than ever to recognize fonts they’ve seen before. For example, this Saturday Night Live clip about Papyrus. If your business uses a unique, stylish font on its website or in its materials, consider selling it as a downloadable font package.
Selling fonts might not sound glamorous, but funk band Vulfpeck actually sells a unique typeface as a way to support the band alongside their music, merch, and the other usual channels- so the cool kids are doing it too.
4. Music production tools
Speaking of Vulfpeck, the band also helped to create the Vulfcompressor, a powerful production tool that adds a unique tonality to a track. Beat packs and other electronic music elements are other popular small business ideas for digital products in the music world.
5. Clothing patterns
Digital product ideas can be a gamechanger for clothing businesses because they open up a whole new audience for your brand. Connecting to DIY fans with patterns and sewing and knitting templates can be a great way to upsell at checkout.
It’s not just clothing stores that can benefit from selling patterns and templates. DIY-oriented blogs, toy stores, and more can expand with this exciting small business idea.
6. Game walkthroughs
The internet is full of game walkthroughs and other content, so to succeed in this niche your business needs to go above and beyond what’s on offer for free elsewhere. Covering a range of bases and remaining current are key here. Include lots of high-quality images and videos, plus annotated maps and boss guides to stand out from the competition.
DLC (downloadable content) means that many games go through a range of iterations over time. Stay up-to-date with the latest changes. For games-oriented media outlets, guides can be a steady source of income.
While we’re on the subject, mobile gaming has never been more popular. An addictive game or app can build up serious revenue over time. Whether you choose to sell it on the app store or offer it for free with in-app purchases (i.e. freemium), there’s a large audience out there looking for something to pass the time while they ride the bus or wait in line.
Once you create a valuable digital product, you’ll want to think about securing your digital downloads. Learn about your options here.
8. Lightroom and Photoshop presets
Professional photography businesses put a ton of work into the post-production process. The tools that you use to make your images look top-notch can be helpful for a range of other businesses and consumers.
Consider adding a new tab to the navigation at the top/bottom of your page to showcase your digital product line, and use image-heavy social media like Instagram and Pinterest to promote it.
9. Business templates
Small business owners wear a lot of hats, and, as you know, anything that can streamline your processes is worth the price tag. Professional emails, grant proposal templates, business plan resources and other useful templates are all digital product ideas that can make it easier to deal with the day-to-day work of running a business.
Ask yourself: what would have been helpful for my business when we were first starting? Create from that place, then connect to business owners and managers in a similar position with your small business ideas.
You’ll probably want to focus particular effort into marketing on LinkedIn. The professional emphasis of this platform makes it a go-to in the business world.
10. Custom business materials
More small business ideas for digital products include creating logos, letterheads, and business cards as a digital service. Consider offering both the individual services and a package deal that combines each into a small business starter pack.
11. Custom email campaigns
Email is a marketing tool that takes a lot of time and effort to master. Many businesses can’t spare the manpower to use this channel to its full potential.
Your business can step in to build a sales funnel and become the first place to turn for questions, updates, and new campaigns. To show the value of your offer, start by offering an email template for free, then ramp up your offer.
12. Stock music
Smaller businesses generally can’t afford to license big name music. This opens up a world of opportunities for the musically-inclined.
Whether for commercials, podcast openings, or social media, build up a library of stock music and offer custom creation at a higher premium. This small business idea can be a great revenue-driving digital product for agencies.
13. Job search tools
Job hunting is an incredibly frustrating process, and many searchers (young people, in particular) can really use some help getting started. Resume and cover letter templates, for example, can be helpful for nailing that first job out of college.
Areas for expansion include one-on-one digital consultations and professional writing and editing.
14. Meditation and mindfulness programs
Since 2012, the number of people practicing meditation has tripled, creating a large market (set to hit $2 billion in 2020) clamoring for helpful, well-crafted materials. Sell guided meditation audio tracks and videos. You can also add calming sounds alongside yoga pants, mats, and other physical products. For tips on how to sell digital and physical products on the same online store, read this article.
Mindfulness for kids is another growing market. As a great tool for encouraging sleep and creativity, this can be a smart area for expansion with a similar but distinct digital product line.
15. Boardgame printouts
Board games are an ever-popular pastime and printable games are a growing market. Consider adding app support to build a broader play experience. For example, One Night Ultimate Werewolf uses a phone application for added narration in the gameplay experience.
16. Financial worksheets
Accounting businesses already help clients with a huge range of business and personal questions. Selling planning tools can add another stream of income. This digital product idea is the equivalent of teaching a man to fish, with added opportunities to drive traffic to your site around tax season.
There are a lot of resources out there, so your accounting business will need to work hard to find the best presentation method. Consider creating a package that includes worksheets, a guide, and a one-on-one consultation for a bigger payday.
17. Diet courses
It’s more difficult to maintain the same bodyweight today than it was thirty years ago, and new approaches to weight loss are in high demand. Delivery box companies, coaches, nutritionists, and more can benefit from selling diet courses.
These small business ideas rely heavily (no pun intended) on the brand selling them.
Your business will need a strong social presence to connect to customers and move them all the way to the checkout line. Consider offering an excerpt as a lead magnet, then marketing the full version with gusto.
18. Custom meal planning
In the same vein as diet courses, custom meal planning is a helpful tool for our busy modern lives. Your business can take some of the stress away from eating well. Great digital product ideas include shopping lists, prep guides and tasty recipes, alongside one-on-one consultations.
19. Travel guides
Is your business deeply tied to the location where it operates? Hotels and bed and breakfasts, for example, can drive traffic to their sites with valuable content, then use a travel guide as a lead magnet or an upsell at checkout.
Think broadly for small business ideas in travel- not just the town or city where your business is, but the region as a whole. Consider breaking down the different attractions based on travel time from your location.
20. Voiceover services
There are a huge number of marketing agencies and individual creatives out there looking for crisp, clear voiceover work for their projects.
Recording equipment has never been cheaper. A mid-range microphone and a quiet space in your office are really all it takes to add a new income stream.
You may not have sold these products online before, so look for an ecommerce platform that is great for digital products.
This one’s a win-win. Running a podcast grows brand awareness for your business and the ad revenue can be a fantastic new income stream.
It takes real effort to grow a podcast, so your business will need to find its niche in the broader market. You’ll also want to partner with organizations in similar industries for interviews and marketing.
22. Animated assets
You may know some businesses looking to liven up presentations, or YouTubers building an audience. Small business ideas creating custom animated assets can be a great revenue driver. This digital product offers a ton of room for growth as your team takes on bigger projects and more clients over time.
23. Pay-Per-Click advertising templates and creation guides
Does your business have a strong handle on the workings of pay-per-click advertising? Monetize that toolset even further with a digital product!
A quick guide to creating and targeting PPC ads across the major platforms is a great digital product idea. Follow up with a range of useful templates and some visual elements, and this idea can go a long way.
Courses are distinct from guides, templates and workbooks because they tend to include a broader range of tools. Courses focus on the learning process. The best courses gradually offer the tools and information necessary to build an understanding of a topic.
SAT or GRE, language learning, coding, and more- a course can take the different resources your business creates and upcycle them into a new digital product for your online store.
Bakeries, restaurants, and food order services can all benefit by creating cookbooks that share their flavors with the world. Include menu items and some of your team’s favorite dishes to make buying a cookbook well worth the cost of entry.
26. Workout plans
Workout plans are a huge market in the influencer world, but established businesses also find small business ideas in fitness to be a great source of passive income.
Gyms, for example, can create custom plans based around their equipment, events, and personal trainers.
27. Legal tools
Small business ideas for law can cover anything from tax law to know-your-rights ebooks. The goal for digital product ideas like these is to take a confusing, difficult topic and explore it in a way that is engaging, easy-to-follow, and helpful.
Use license keys to protect your original digital tools from being copied or shared without permission.
28. Content audits
Web content is one of the most important tools in a marketer’s belt, but without a focused approach, it can be costly and ineffective. Help demystify this marketing technique. Build a solid content plan as a premium digital service with a ton of room for growth.
29. Brand audit
A brand audit can also be an incredibly valuable service for many businesses. Imagine it from the perspective of your business: getting an outside expert to comb through your site, your online store, and your materials, and compare it to your competitors and your stated goals.
30. Start an e-zine
As more and more publications move online to reduce costs, e-zines are becoming common. These publications require readers to subscribe after accessing a specific number of articles per month.
The New York Times and the Washington Post have both adopted this model, and it can be a lucrative one for businesses with content in high demand.
The trick to starting a successful e-zine is creating content of a high enough quality (and quantity) that readers are willing to pay a premium for access.
Whether your business starts an arts and culture magazine, a home and garden guide, or simply becomes an authority with premium content for subscribers, an e-zine can monetize your content machine.
31. Custom travel planning
A great high-ticket item for many businesses, custom travel planning makes it easier for busy people to focus on their vacations, rather than adding another stressor to the process.
32. Printable coloring book
Mindfulness stores can sell beautiful coloring pages for adults looking for relaxation. Online clothing stores (particularly ones aimed at moms) may find that a printable coloring book for kids is a low-cost addition at checkout. Art supply retailers looking for small business ideas can even get in on the action, with coloring books designed for a range of mediums.
For brands that already exude fun and attitude, creating a webcomic can be a great way to build your audience and drive traffic. Collect the various strips into a larger downloadable anthology and you’ve got a hot digital item for your online store.
34. Wedding planning
Weddings are a huge event, and many couples look for any tools possible to streamline the event planning. Digital product ideas like save the date designs or guides to help pick out the perfect color scheme can be a gamechanger.
This can take a ton of different forms- after all, your business is curating for your unique audience. A digital subscription could look like an e-zine, as mentioned above, or it could be a collection of seasonal recipes.
Many of the small business ideas we’ve explored can work as subscriptions. The trick is finding a way to differentiate your subscription packages from your usual offerings.
For example, the record label Joyful Noise Recordings recently launched an Artist Enabler Club. Subscribers pay a monthly premium to receive rarities and exclusive recordings, all while supporting artists they love.
To make this work, create an exclusive, curated experience that consistently delivers great stuff.
36. Design files for 3D printers
3D printing has huge implications for how we make products, but it also has a burgeoning hobbyist market. If your team already does wireframing and design work, expanding into the world of 3D printing can be both exciting and lucrative.
37. Tax resources
Tax season is a stressful time for both individuals and businesses.
Small business ideas to expand your accounting biz include tools to help microbusinesses at tax time or to help businesses with accurate classification. Guides to maximize deductions are also incredibly valuable.
These tools can be a great seller for customers looking for something less expensive than the software options on the market.
38. Digital sheet music
There’s a ton of music in the public domain. Helpful resources like sheet music can reach a broad audience and play an important role in the learning process.
Consider combining your sheet music with helpful hints, reminders and chord charts. You can market your blend of musical learning resources to individuals and both private and classroom teachers.
A lot of the resources out there are for piano. Consider adding some variety to your online store by building products specifically for guitar, bass, and ukulele as well.
39. Custom infographics
One of the best ways for a business to upcycle their content is to convert blog posts and videos into infographics. If your business has a strong designer on staff, creating custom infographics can be a great addition to your revenue.
40. Tech tutorials
Tech literacy is vital to success in today’s workforce, and many jobs require an understanding of niche tools.
Consider using your team’s understanding of coding, design software or content management platforms to create helpful resources to sell as digital products.
Regardless of the tutorials you choose to make, you’ll need to find a clear way to showcase the information you’re sharing.
Video is probably the best medium here as you can screencap the process and add an engaging voiceover without too many added steps.
Ready to start selling with these small business ideas?
Do you sell one of the small business ideas on the list? We’d love to hear how it’s going! Let us know in the comments.