If you're thinking about selling digital products, you're in luck — all you need to get started is a computer, WiFi connection, and some elbow grease.
However, diving in without a solid strategy is a recipe for disaster.
Creating digital products can take a lot of time and effort — in other words, it would suck if you spent weeks creating the 'perfect' digital product only for it not to sell, right? As the founding father Benjamin Franklin once said, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!"
So, what should you sell? And how can you make sure your idea is a hit before investing all your time and energy into it?
In short, how can you start selling digital products?!
Let's find out. In this beginner's guide, we'll explore the pros and cons of selling digital products, the types of digital products you can create, and how to sell digital products online.
Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Hire yourself and start calling the shots.
Digital products are intangible assets or media that can be distributed online without the need to source or manage physical inventory. These products are often delivered in downloadable or streamable formats, such as PDFs, MP3s, videos, software, or templates.
That being said, it's not all roses…
Wondering, "what digital products can I sell online?" If so, here's a quick rundown of 25 digital product ideas to sell online:
Now, let's take a closer look.
Broadly speaking, there are 4 main types of digital products that you can sell online:
Let's explore each of the 4 types with some real-life examples for inspiration.
So, if you're passionate about something, why not teach it to others through digital products?
For instance, A Book Apart sells "detailed, meticulously edited" ebooks that shed light on essential topics for designers, writers, and coders.
In another example, the rock guitarist Nita Strauss sells an online video course teaching people how to play guitar.
There are many different types of digital tools and templates that you can sell online to help people save time or do things that they can't do themselves. Here are a few examples:
Take RetroSupply Co., which sells digital assets for designers.
In another example, Jenniffer — a digital artist — sells planners on her blog, Life is Messy and Brilliant.
Many entrepreneurs sell licensed digital products, which are often incorporated into other works. Common examples include:
Case in point, The Loop Loft sells professionally recorded music loops and samples for musicians, producers, and DJs to use in their music.
Similarly, EditStock sells professional video footage to allow aspiring editors to hone their skills and create an editing demo reel to land work.
Many entrepreneurs sell ongoing memberships that provide access to a range of digital products and services online, such as exclusive online groups, coaching, and courses.
For example, Gauge Girl Training offers 3 membership options for fitness and nutrition training, resources, and coaching.
Now that you understand the types of digital products you can sell online, how can you get started? Here's an 8-step process that you can follow to create and sell digital products online.
First things first: Grab a pen and paper and write down every digital product idea you can think of.
Don't overthink your ideas or be too critical — you can always develop a 'bad' idea into a good one. And remember, you don't have to be an expert to create a digital product — you just have to offer value in some way.
Here are some questions that may help you come up with ideas:
Once you've finished brainstorming, do some research.
Start with your current ideas and see what other people are selling online. Search on Google and social media platforms. Check out Facebook groups, Reddit subreddits, and industry forums.
Thoroughly explore each idea to see if there are variations or additional ideas that you can add to your list.
Once you have a big list of ideas, it's time to switch gears and start evaluating them. During this process, think carefully about the problem that each idea solves.
For example, if you plan to teach people how to get fit at home with no equipment, you would be helping people:
Here's the thing: The more significant and painful the problem your digital product solves, the easier it will be to market and sell.
So, once you've identified the problems each of your ideas solves, rank them from most painful to least painful. Then, choose an idea that solves one of the more painful problems.
Entrepreneurs have a saying: "The riches are in the niches."
Here's why: Setting your targets on a defined target market allows you to:
So, niche down.
For instance, instead of teaching people how to get fit, perhaps you could teach injured people how to workout safely. Or maybe you could show moms how to get fit and increase their energy with home workouts they can do with their kids.
Get crazy specific.
You don't want to pour 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:
Then, create a minimal viable product or 'MVP' to test your idea in the real world.
For example, instead of building an 8-week video course on how to get fit, start by offering online fitness coaching. This way, you can test your product-market fit without investing too much time.
Once you've validated a winning idea, it's time to create your digital product. If you haven't already, you'll need to choose a format.
If possible, choose a simple format at first — you can always improve your digital products as you learn more about your customer's needs and desires.
To continue with our example above, if you plan on creating a video course with downloadable resources, perhaps continue to offer coaching calls and start making the downloadable resources first.
Wondering where to sell digital products? Let's cut to the chase: Shopify is the best platform to sell digital products online — and it only costs $29 per month.
This ecommerce website builder comes with more than 100 website themes that you can use to customize your store. Plus, the Shopify app store has countless apps that allow you to tailor your website's functionality to your specific needs. Here are 10 apps to consider when selling digital products:
Top tip: When selling digital products with Shopify, you'll need to disable the shipping option.
Once you're all set up, it's time to drive sales. Here are 7 types of internet marketing that you can use to generate sales:
Selling digital products is highly scalable as they allow you to sidestep having to source, store, and ship physical products.
Plus, there are many types of digital products that you can sell online, from ebooks and video courses to stock footage and graphic design templates.
If you want to know how to create digital products to sell online, follow these steps:
Once you have a great idea, here's how to sell digital products online:
What type of digital product are you thinking about selling? Let us know in the comments below!