10 Best Digital Products & How To Sell Them
Apr 7, 2023
Graphic design software, ebooks, and online courses: They're all digital products. They're intangible yet essential components of our daily lives that hold the same value as physical goods.
Given their pervasiveness, offering digital products can prove to be a lucrative venture for your business, offering distinct advantages such as low overhead costs and no inventory storage concerns. This makes selling digital products an attractive proposition for a range of professionals, from artists and educators to writers and freelancers.
Top 10 Digital Products
A wide range of services are in demand, such as graphic design, web design, copywriting, translation, social media management, legal advice, and more. These types of services can be categorized as "productized services," which are services that are marketed and sold like products.
For instance, purchasing a pre-designed template for a business card is considered a product, while paying a graphic designer to create a custom business card for you is a productized service.
Offering productized services based on your skills can help grow your business and attract more clients. By packaging your services as products, you can simplify the process for potential customers and establish a more predictable revenue stream.
The pursuit of knowledge is a lifelong journey, and online courses are only gaining momentum. In fact, online education revenue is projected to surpass $166.60 billion in 2023. Online courses cater to a vast array of subjects, from coding, cooking, finance, language learning to web design, and beyond, serving everyone from high school students to professionals.
If you're an expert in a particular field, creating and selling online courses is an excellent way to share your expertise with others. These courses can take many forms, such as video series, text-based learning, interactive material, or a combination of all three.
Templates can simplify the process of creating resumes, cover letters, business cards, presentations, and more. With professionally designed templates, individuals can save time and effort while ensuring a polished and customizable look. Moreover, templates can be reused across various projects.
Designers can also offer brand kits to download, providing clients with a cohesive set of design elements for their brand. These brand kits typically include logos, color palettes, fonts, and other design assets, which can be used across multiple platforms and materials to establish a strong brand identity.
Podcasts offer endless possibilities when it comes to topics and formats. Regardless of the theme you choose, there is likely to be an audience out there waiting to tune in. As of February 2023, global podcast listeners reached a staggering 464.7 million, according to Statista.
The top genres are typically in comedy, TV and film, arts, and education. For example, The Lonely Palette is an art history podcast that takes listeners on a journey through the stories behind paintings, sculptures, and more.
Ebooks refer to electronic books that can be read on devices such as computers, smartphones, or ereaders. They are increasingly popular among readers, with the ebook market expected to hit $14.21 billion by 2023, outpacing the ereader market. This surge in popularity is largely due to the convenience of ebooks.
Readers can carry an entire library on a single device, making ebooks an ideal option for traveling or reading on-the-go without the hassle of lugging around physical books. You don't have to be a seasoned author to publish an ebook, as there are various genres to explore, with educational topics being particularly sought after. Moreover, ebooks can be short and sweet, such as how-to-guides, short stories, or blueprints.
Subscriptions can provide a valuable opportunity to offer exclusive content and offerings to your audience. For instance, newsletters subscriptions like Substack allow writers to provide exclusive content to their subscribers. A great example is Garbage Day, a Substack newsletter run by journalist Ryan Broderick, which dissects web culture.
On Patreon, subscribers can gain access to exclusive perks from their favorite artists, such as bonus content, merchandise, and behind-the-scenes access. This platform provides a unique opportunity for artists to engage with their audience and monetize their work in a sustainable way.
Music and Audio
Selling music and audio can take many forms, including recorded lectures, audiobooks, lessons, and more. While streaming is also an option, it's important to keep in mind that it can be challenging to make a significant profit from streaming services since most pay only a fraction of a cent per stream.
Artists can now sell their work digitally, whether it's original artwork, patterns, vectors, or photography. Digital patterns, such as sewing patterns or vector patterns for web or graphic design, can be downloaded by customers who can then create their own works of art or designs.
While photography may be a competitive market, it remains in high demand for bloggers and website managers. With the increasing need for visuals in online content, photographers can still thrive by creating high-quality and unique photographs.
In 2022, there were a staggering 255 billion mobile app downloads worldwide. With the increasing popularity of mobile apps, developing one can be a lucrative move for your business. Many businesses are already app-based, such as those in the fitness, language learning, and task management industries.
When creating a mobile app, it's crucial to allocate sufficient time for designing, building, and testing. A well-designed and user-friendly app can attract more downloads, positive reviews, and customer loyalty, leading to higher engagement and revenue for your business.
Selling software such as plugins, themes, and web-based apps (SaaS) may require a more specialized skill set than other products on this list, but the potential rewards are significant. Website plugins for CMS (content management systems) like WordPress can greatly enhance website functionality and improve the user experience. Themes allow individuals to customize their website according to their brand's identity.
How to Sell Digital Products
1. Whiteboard Ideas for Digital Products
To start selling digital products, you need to determine what type of products you want to offer and create a preliminary catalog. From there, you can narrow down your options to a lead product and some backups, then use market research to validate your choice.
Successful product developers and business owners often start by identifying pain points or opportunities within their industry and developing digital products that solve them. For those who already have a business, they can consider digital products or services that address the pain points or gaps their customers consistently face.
2. Get Involved in Market Research
To ensure that your product ideas are viable, it's essential to conduct market research, which involves gathering data through surveys, focus groups, and interviews. While market research may seem intimidating, expensive, or time-consuming, there are affordable strategies you can use, such as leveraging social listening tools to analyze public social media commentary or distributing free surveys to your industry connections. These tactics can help you identify potential product opportunities that will generate significant returns on investment.
3. Determine Your Target Audience and Buyer Personas.
Defining your target audience is crucial when marketing your digital products. As you conduct market research, you can gather insights to determine your target audience and buyer personas (as shown in the image below).
Your target audience is a group of customers defined by characteristics and demographics. Determining your target audience is a key pillar that influences a business's decision-making. Meanwhile, a buyer persona is a detailed, semi-fictional representation of your target customer informed by qualitative and quantitative data about existing customers and market research.
Starting with figuring out your target audience and constructing a buyer persona may seem daunting, but asking these questions can help:
• How many buyer personas and target audiences should I start with?
• What will identifying the target audience or buyer persona help me with?
The responses to these inquiries will provide you with a better understanding of the people you will engage with.
4. Build a Marketing Plan
When developing your site and online store, it's essential to consider how you'll promote your digital product. You should determine the marketing channels you'll use, such as social media, website, and newsletters. Building a following and launching campaigns before releasing your product could be beneficial.
To increase traffic and convert visitors, you'll need to identify which marketing tools to add to your arsenal, such as email marketing and landing pages.
5. Figure Out Your Sales Plan
A sales plan is a strategic document that outlines your sales goals and the steps you'll take to achieve them. It's important to have a sales plan because it helps you stay focused on your objectives, track your progress, and make adjustments as needed.
By understanding your prospects and what motivates them to buy, you can tailor your sales approach to better meet their needs and increase your chances of success. Your sales plan should include information about your target audience, your competition, your unique selling proposition (USP), your pricing strategy, and your sales process. By developing a comprehensive sales plan, you'll be better equipped to generate more leads, close more sales, and grow your business.
6. Create an Online Store
Having a website or marketplace page is crucial for your digital products and business to function as a central hub. Not only can you use this page to sell products, but it can also serve as a means to increase brand awareness from individuals who discover you through search or other online channels.
For budding entrepreneurs or traditional business owners who are new to selling digital products, the easiest starting point could be an online store or marketplace like Shopify or Etsy. Many of these marketplaces already have an established audience, since people often go to such sites to search for products. Additionally, you can construct your storefront and product listings around user-friendly templates.
Ultimately, it would be ideal to expand to your own website. Fortunately, advancements in technology have made it more accessible for people with limited technical know-how to create websites that incorporate purchasing pages.