What is the best way to get started selling digital products online? What do you need to sell? And how can you be confident that your idea will succeed before you devote all of your time and effort to it?
If selling digital products is your thing, we’ve got you covered. All you need to get started are a computer, a Wi-Fi connection, and the 25 profitable digital product ideas in this post.
However, jumping in without a good plan is sure to fail. Because creating digital products can take a lot of time and effort. In other words, it would be a bummer if you spent weeks creating the “perfect” digital product only to have it fail to sell, right?
Let’s figure it out. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll create the benefits and pros of selling digital products, the various types of digital products available, and how to sell them online.
What Is a Digital Product?
What exactly is a digital product?
Digital products make for intangible assets or media sold online without sourcing or managing physical stock. These products are frequently available as PDFs, MP3s, videos, software, or templates that can be downloaded or streamed.
The Upsides of Selling Digital Products
- Save time: When you sell digital products, you don’t have to find or manage inventory. You also don’t have to worry about shipping or logistics.
- Save money: It costs money to find, store, and ship physical products, and it also costs money to keep track of inventory. You can altogether avoid these costs by using digital products.
- Scalable: Digital products can be made larger or smaller indefinitely. There isn’t much difference between delivering 10 units per day and delivering 10,000 units per day. (However, as your business expands, you’ll need to hire more customer service representatives and update your website to handle the increased traffic.)
- Better profit margins: Because you don’t have to buy and manage physical stock, the profit margins on digital products are much higher.
- Automation Potential: It is easy to automate digital product delivery, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
- Flexibility: You can create new products or change the way you sell your existing products at any time. For example, you could give away a digital product in exchange for people signing up for your email list or sell a monthly subscription that allows people to access multiple products.
- Opportunity: Before COVID-19, e-learning was rapidly expanding, and now more people than ever are working and learning from home. As a result, experts estimate that the e-learning industry will be worth $374 billion by 2026.
Still, not everything is flawless…
The Downsides with selling digital products
- Competition: Competition can be fierce because it is relatively easy to start selling digital products. Furthermore, whatever you intend to sell, you will almost certainly compete with people who provide similar content for free.
- Piracy: It’s easy for thieves to steal digital products and sell them, so you need to be cautious.
The 25 Digital Product Ideas to Sell Online & Make Money
You may be wondering, “What digital products can I sell online?” If so, here are 25 digital product ideas to sell online:
- Written templates (scripts, resumes, emails, etc.)
- Research (Look into statistics, reports, etc.)
- Online tools
- Digital magazines
- Membership sites
- Graphic templates
- Editing presets (for images, videos, or audio)
- Digital art
- Audio (music, samples, loops, podcasts, etc.)
Let’s take a closer look.
Digital Products to Sell Online
There are four types of digital products that you can sell online in general:
- Educational digital products
- Digital tools and templates
- Licensed digital products
Let’s look at some real-life examples of each of the four types.
1. Educational Digital Products
Everyone wants to learn something, whether it’s how to market on Twitter, remember things, or draw safari animals.
So, if you’re really into something, why not use digital products to teach others about it?
A Book Apart, for example, sells ebooks that are “detailed and carefully edited” and cover essential subjects for designers, writers, and coders.
2. Digital Tools and Templates
There are various types of digital tools & templates that you can sell online to people and help save time or do things that they can’t do themselves. Here are some examples:
- Graphic design templates for printed materials, websites, or even the social media posts
- Plugins, presets, overlays, & filters for video and image editing software
- Resume scripts and email templates
Consider RetroSupply Co., which sells digital assets to designers.
3. Licensed Digital Products
Many small business owners sell licensed digital products frequently used in other works. Some examples include:
- Music loops
- Sound effects
- Stock videos and photos
- Legal contract templates
The Loop Loft, for example, sells professionally recorded music loops and samples for musicians, producers, and DJs to use in their music.
Many entrepreneurs sell ongoing memberships that provide customers with online access to various digital products and services, such as private online groups, coaching, and courses.
Gauge Girl Training, for example, offers three membership options that include fitness and nutrition training, resources, and coaching.
Selling Digital Products Online
How do you get started now that you know what types of digital products you can sell online? Here’s an eight-step plan for making digital products and selling them online.
1. Come up with ideas and research them.
The first step is to grab a pen and paper and jot down every idea you have for a digital product.
Don’t overthink or criticize your ideas. A “bad” idea can always be turned into a good one. Remember that you don’t have to be an expert to create a digital product. All you have to do is provide something of value.
Here are some questions to help you brainstorm:
- What do you teach, what skills do you have, or what experiences can you share with others?
- What are your interests or passions, and what can you talk passionately about all day long?
- If you already run a business, can you create digital products to supplement your physical products? For example, if you sell skateboards, you could improve an online course that teaches people how to skateboard better.
- What are your values? Can you outline how to put these ideas into action? For example, if you are concerned about the environment, can you teach others how to live more sustainably?
After you’ve exhausted your brainstorming ideas, conduct some research.
Start with your ideas and look at what other people are selling on the Internet. Look for information on Google and social media sites. Examine industry forums, Facebook groups, and subreddits.
Sift through each idea to see if there are alternative approaches or other ideas you can add to your list.
2. Identify a distressing problem to solve.
Once you have a long list of ideas, it’s time to shift gears and start how good each one is. Then, as you go through this process, consider the problem that each idea addresses.
For example, if you wanted to teach people how to exercise at home without using any equipment, you would be assisting them:
- Make their health better
- Give them more faith in themselves
- Spend less time and money on a gym or trainer
Here’s the thing: if your digital product solves a sticking, painful problem, it will be easier to market and sell.
So, once you know what problems each of your ideas solves, rank them from worst to best. Then, choose an idea that addresses one of the most vexing issues.
3. Find a niche and define your target market.
“The riches are in the niches,” as the saying goes among entrepreneurs.
Why? Setting your goals for a specific target market allows you to:
- Tailor your digital products to the needs of your niche to make them more exciting and valuable.
- Tailor your marketing messages to your target market’s needs, wants, and even language. This will make your message more powerful.
- Become the go-to expert in a very defined small niche, which will help you build authority and beat the competition.
So, find a niche.
Instead of teaching people how to get in shape, you could teach people who have been injured how to exercise safely.
Perhaps you could teach moms how to get in shape and boost their energy by doing workouts at home with their children.
Be very specific.
4. Validate your idea
You don’t want to put your heart and soul into creating digital products that don’t sell. So, before making your first digital product, it’s best to validate your idea.
Start with some basic research:
- Use Google’s Keyword Planner to see how many people are searching for words related to your idea.
- Make Google Trends to see if interest in your idea is increasing or staying the same.
- Reach out to the target market on social media, then ask them what they think of your idea; you could even create a survey or poll.
Then, create a “minimum viable product,” or “MVP,” to test your idea in the real world.
Instead of creating an 8-week video course on how to get in shape, start by providing online fitness coaching. As a result, you can test your product-market fit without devoting too much time.
5. Create your digital product to sell online
Once you’ve determined a good idea, it’s time to create your digital product. If you haven’t already, choose a format.
Start with a simple format if possible. As you learn more about what your customers want and need, you can continually improve your digital products.
To continue with our previous example, if you want to create a video course with downloadable resources, you may want to continue offering coaching calls while creating the downloadable resources first.
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6. Set Up an Online Store
Not sure where to sell your digital products? Shopify is the best online store for selling digital products, and it only costs $29 per month.
This ecommerce website builder comes with over 100 website themes that you can use to make the look of your store. In addition, the Shopify app store contains a plethora of apps that can be used to customize your website.
Sign up on Shopify 14 days free Trial
Here are ten apps to keep in mind if you want to sell digital products:
- Single Music
- Recurring Order & Subscription
- Photo lock
- Digital Downloads
- Bold Memberships
Hack: If you use Shopify to sell digital products, you must disable the shipping option.
7. Get people to your store
Drive Traffic Once everything is in place, it’s time to start selling. Here are seven different types of Internet marketing that you can use to make sales:
- Social media marketing: Use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to share and interact with your target market.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Make your website and content optimized to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) to attract more qualified web traffic.
- Paid advertising: To promote your business, use Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
- Influencer marketing: collaborate with influential people to get your products in front of their followers.
- Email marketing: Gather contact information from potential customers and turn them into paying customers.
- Content marketing: create and share engaging content to capture people’s attention and turn them into customers.
- Affiliate marketing: Pay other marketers a fee or a commission to promote your products or offers.
Start Selling Digital Products Online
Because you don’t have to find, store, or physically ship products, selling digital products is exceptionally scalable.
You can also sell various digital products online, such as ebooks, video courses, stock footage, and graphic design templates.
To learn how to create digital products for online sale, follow these steps:
- Come up with and research digital product ideas.
- Identify a painful problem to solve.
- Identify a niche and a target market
Once you’ve got a good idea, here’s how to sell digital products online:
- Validate or test your idea to ensure its viability.
- Create your digital product.
- Set up an online store where you can sell digital products.
- Use digital marketing to increase traffic.
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