Digital platforms and content are taking over our lives! We consume it at an astonishing rate. It was only a matter of time before the average Joe could start selling their own digital products online to become rich and famous.
The big brands and content leaders just couldn’t create enough of it. Think about it, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook create 0 content but are some of the biggest content archives in the world.
Nowadays, you don’t need much to start your digital journey. If you ever considered profiting from digital goods, now’s probably the best time to do it.
So, let’s learn everything to get you started.
First Off, what is a Digital Product?
A digital product is a product that you create, market, distribute, and sell only digitally. It mainly exists in the digital landscape, and you can’t touch it or feel it “in the flesh.”
For example, you can buy your favorite ebook and read it from cover to cover. But you can’t hold it, smell it, or turn the pages. Still, it exists – and it sells!
You don’t need anything besides your laptop and a few pieces of software and gadgets to start in theory.
Some examples of digital products are;
- Courses, training, video tutorials
- eBooks, PDF’s guides
- Membership sites
- Website plugins, apps, or extensions
- Photoshop templates or extensions
- Design packs (fonts, images, etc.)
- Digital art, graphics, video
- Photography, stock photos
- Audio files, music, audiobooks
- Documents (manuals, guides, industry reports, research, studies)
- Anything else you can produce digitally and distribute
Hence why this is becoming an appealing prospect to various aspiring entrepreneurs. Who wouldn’t want to produce something with so many upsides?
Why Start a Digital Product Business?
- Limitless Quantities: You can scale your business to infinity and beyond! There’s no limit on how much you can sell, and you never run out of stock!
- No Logistical Concerns: Overhead costs, production costs, storage, shipping costs/time/accidents, and all other stuff that bothers physical product sellers go out of the window.
- High-Profit Margins: Create your digital product once, and there are no recurring manufacturing costs. This means that the highest chunk of sales profits goes straight into your pocket.
- Low Entry Barrier: Compared to physical products, digital products require a lot less money upfront. Save for tools, and your time, there aren’t any manufacturing costs of goods or investing in the stock.
Of course, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. As digital products' demand gets bigger, the pressure for high-quality content and top-notch marketing will rise.
In fact, if you try to sell a digital product today, you would already compete with tons of free content in the same niche. Other minor issues may keep you on your toes as well, such as possible piracy or theft.
However, as long as you make it desirable, high quality, and valuable, you may attract a foundation of loyal customers and increase it over time.
That's why it's not only important to sell digital products online. It's important to know exactly what you'll invest your time and effort in.
Types of Digital Products You Can Create
This is an exciting time for people that have unique passions and hobbies. It was never easy for you to reach an audience of like-minded people and profit from your content.
The quick, smooth transaction of digital goods opened up a new world of opportunities. And If you’re willing to invest yourself in building a valuable product, you can join this rising trend.
Here are just some digital product ideas you can create and sell online.
You enjoy writing, and you can turn words into value? It’s about time you find a platform to monetize it.
Exclusive articles and ebooks are still the most popular digital products. Creators love them as it’s the easiest digital product to produce (you only need a few tools and images).
On the other hand, customers can get a bunch of value conveniently and relatively cheap. Thanks to various smart devices, you can read written digital content anywhere at any time!
Thus, various creators opt for written content – fiction and non-fiction writers, entrepreneurs, coaches, etc., shifted from printed media to digital content.
For example, Digiday is a news hub for all things involving the blend of technology and marketing. They offer three free articles per month. If you want to read more, you need to subscribe.
When it comes to individuals, writers also benefit from membership websites and subscriptions.
N.K. Jemisin, a sci-fi and fiction writer and a frequent Hugo awards nominee, quit her regular job in 2016 thanks to membership subscriptions and started focusing solely on writing.
Things are looking similar in the news industry as well.
In 2019, Boston Globe became the first local wallpaper to have fewer print subscribers than digital subscribers.
Websites like Wired and The Athletic keep the majority of their articles behind a paywall as well.
Video and Image
Audio and video formats are becoming increasingly popular online sources of information.
Out of all formats, digital consumers enjoy watching a video. Moreover, science confirms it’s the most popular out of all formats.
Thanks to the combination of strong visuals, audio, and text, it can keep the audience engaged at all times. For that reason, many users opt for video as their main digital product.
Influencers are getting increasingly reliant on paid video content as well. Instagram influencers especially take advantage of paywalls. Just recently, they’ve started charging for exclusive content on the platform.
Also, the head-spinning rise of the OnlyFans platform just sets this business model in stone for time to come.
However, audio products are also in-demand. Stuff like podcasts, lessons in foreign languages, or audiobooks can accompany users during their day and sometimes even in their sleep.
It’s no coincidence that Spotify splashed so much cash recently to acquire the Joe Rogan Experience. The deal worth over $100 million just proves how valuable these products can be in a digital age.
Spotify is essentially a gated community for music. You pay $14/m to access all their music and podcasts.
Web Apps and Other Elements
When it comes to digital products, SaaS and software apps take the cake.
Creators opt to sell their web-based applications online, and the user can navigate them via their web browser.
For instance, business automation tools are the most popular digital products. Project managers, email marketing services, file storage, office management all fall into this category.
However, IT and digital tech products go beyond business SaaS tools.
Website themes, plugins, browser extensions, code snippet templates, and even fonts can all be lucrative products as well. Also, pretty much anything in ThemeForest or other online software marketplaces.
So if you know how to code and you got an interesting idea, don’t hesitate to bring it to market!
According to recent trends, e-learning is the future.
It’s easy to deliver, valuable, and extremely scalable. You may have noticed all the course builder tools popping up over the last few years.
The global pandemic was a catalyst for a trend that was already growing, and it’s safe to say that people will look for education, coaching, and mentorship online.
Creators from a wide range of professions jumped at the opportunity to build and sell their courses and establish their authority in the niche.
And the best part – there’s no limit to the knowledge you can offer. As long as you know that there’s a relevant audience willing to pay for that knowledge.
Don’t start sulking and thinking that your potential course wouldn’t have a target audience. Some of the most profitable courses fall into a very narrow category!
Parker Walbeck [insert link to Hyax article] fought off the naysayers and built his six-figure empire thanks to a photography course.
Or take a look at Pianu, an interactive piano lesson website. Are you planning to start a beekeeping business? Grab a course at HoneyFlow. Are you an adrenaline junkie? Maybe a popular paragliding course would interest you?
Believe it – there’s an audience for everything. The digital age turned the entire world into your potential customers!
Users often confuse courses and membership websites. However, they are not quite the same.
Yes, membership websites can involve courses, but there’s much more to it. Your membership website consists of various on-demand content that sits behind a paywall.
Once your customers pay the subscription fee (monthly/weekly/lifetime), they will also gain access to the content.
The content can be anything from articles and courses to videos, podcasts, and downloadable software.
More often than not, it’s accompanied by membership groups on social platforms.
Members use these groups to exchange ideas, give advice, and share the experience. It’s not unusual for the owner to jump into the discussion as well.
Due to recurring subscriptions, membership websites are a great way to generate regular income.
However, there’s also a need for regular, fresh, and valuable content.
Otherwise, members won’t be inclined to pay.
For example, Chris Ducker’s Youpreneur.com provides various membership-only content (podcasts, blogs, courses, community) that should help you kick off your entrepreneurial career.
Thanks to the internet, your best-selling digital product can be no other than yourself. Or, to be precise, a professional service that you offer.
Consultants, trainers, accountants, translators, and designers are moving their services to digital platforms as well.
Like with traditional service fees, you settle a price for your client in exchange for the time it takes to solve a particular problem. Only this time, you’ll probably do the entire thing online via a Zoom call.
In recent years, entire agencies providing a specific service migrated online using specific website builders.
For instance, Hyax’s creator Jack Paxton powered his personal website with his website builder.
Lynx & Co and Beeple are a great example of a graphic design agency that uses a good website design to sell their digital product/service.
These Digital Products are Earning Six Figures
If you need any more motivation to start, here are some digital products that crushed the previous year.
Lady Boss – A Full-Stack Membership Website
Kaelin Tuell Poulin’s Lady Boss challenge is one of the top-earning fitness membership websites.
What makes it stand out?
It’s not only a membership. It’s a challenge. You pay, get everything on your plate to get started, and everything else is up to you.
LadyBoss is a perfect example of a membership website. It’s not only a course – the entire website is stacked with a wide range of content.
Discount offers on weight-loss products, accessories, a smartphone app to keep track of your progress, blog articles and recipes for your diet, and countless other stuff.
And the best part is that it works! That allows her to attract more loyal members (which equals higher recurring revenue)
Parker Walbeck – Filmmaking Course Earning Millions
After making his name as part of the crew of famous YouTube filmmaker DevonSupertramp, Parker Walbeck decided to build his brand (Examples & Case Study).
He used his experience and exposure to gain traction on his YouTube channel quickly.
Then, he researched his audience’s significant struggles when it comes to filmmaking.
Afterward, he launched Full Time Filmmaker. A thorough course where he explained it all.
What do you think happened next? It blew up and is the highest-earning course in the niche. Parker is currently sitting on a six-figure empire.
And that’s not everything – he also launched another course. About selling courses. Pretty meta, right?
My Favorite Murder – Podcast That Skyrocketed
Karen Ligariff and Georgia Hardstark met at a Halloween party in 2014.
Five years later, they’ve recorded $15 million from their popular murder mystery podcast.
My Favorite Murder launched in 2016 and immediately gathered a cult following.
The unexpected rising popularity earned them a piece from renowned media outlets such as Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed.
This astonishing success proves that you just need a creative idea, a platform, and decent marketing to kick off your digital product.
How to Build an Audience for Your Digital Product?
As easy it could be to create a digital product, putting it out in the market can prove challenging for many.
Digital products need to touch particular pain points and desires of a specific type of people. For that reason, social validation and proper marketing will go a long way.
Therefore, it’s good to build a good marketing strategy and attract a core audience before you decide to monetize your content.
Many “influencers” in their niche invested plenty of time and effort to appeal to the perfect consumer.
In other words, they’ve monetized their content only after they did the heavy legwork.
Here are some tips that can help you get started:
1. Create and Distribute Free Content
When selling digital products, it’s key to remember that you’re competing with free content.
So, why would anyone pay for something that they can access for free with a few simple clicks? Simply, because yours is better.
But how can anyone know it’s better?
Because you’ll build a loyal audience by producing free, valuable, and compelling content.
Every premium content creator in their niche started by distributing free stuff. Blog posts, guides, podcasts, and YouTube videos are all great places to start.
Also, create your brand profile on all social channels and use it to promote the fresh content as well.
Engage with your audience and build authority in your niche.
Note that free content is crucial for your SEO ranking as well. Search engines are yet to find a way to crawl paywalled pages, but they’ll easily register everything else that’s accessible.
Once you start monetizing your digital product, free content will still be your important asset. Free trials, demos, and articles will warm up your prospects and give them the taste of your juicy product.
2. Promote Your Brand with Digital Marketing Tricks
Once the audience starts growing, you should start scaling your brand as well. Similar to e-commerce, your digital product will become inseparable from your brand.
Therefore, the key is to put your brand out there to as many potential customers as possible. The only difference being, your narrow niche will require advanced marketing strategies.
One of those is scaling the brand via paid ads: you created all that free content. It’s time to show it around.
By using proper targeting and creating scroll-stopping ads, you’re extremely likely to attract potential members/buyers.
For example, if your digital product is a dog training course, you’ll target dog lovers. That way, you’re likely to capture a couple of people willing to see your content and later subscribe.
In this particular process, it’s crucial to boost your social proof. If your posts have plenty of engagements, shares, and comments, it will attract others to take a look as well.
Another way that digital content creators increase their social validation is by hosting viral giveaways and prized contests. They encourage users to participate by offering hefty prizes. That encourages users to engage in their posts, which exposes the brand to even more people.
If you want to learn more about this, see how this SaaS product managed to scale exponentially thanks to a referral contest. As you see, there’s plenty of tools online that can help you promote your content in the best way possible.
3. Build Communities
When you acquire a core group of people, invest some time in building a community around it.
Facebook groups, Discord, Slack, and other platforms could be a great way to start. This is a perfect way to "research the market" on your niche's frequent pain points. In fact, that's how a lot of influencers make their first courses.
Also, communities help members feel like they're part of something bigger. Engaging in those communities, discussing problems and solutions can go a long way.
When you already have a dedicated base, it will be much easier to sell them valuable content. They already know what to expect. Also, they're likely to bring other people into the fray as well.
Selling Your Digital Product to an Audience
Okay, you’ve produced plenty of content, and you know how to market it to build an audience. The question is – how to create a digital product and how to sell it?
Of course, there’s one thing needed for any digital product that we’ve mentioned – a website. Furthermore, you’d need tools to integrate payments, build courses and sales funnels, membership website plugins, etc.
Thus, you’d need to navigate between a bunch of different tools that need to have proper integrations. And if some aren’t working, your entire website can go bust for a while.
This can turn your enthusiasm into an unpleasant and frustrating experience.
What’s the Solution?
New website builders are in town! Now you don’t need to think or worry about all the issues above, nor you need any coding knowledge.
If you want to make a course – you can find a course builder. If you need an online store with awesome payment integrations, there’s plenty. Looking for a sales funnel builder? It’s there, of course.
But what if you can have it all in one. No integrations, no third-party apps, and intuitive user experience for beginners and seasoned digital creators?
Meet Hyax. 👋
With Hyax, digital product creation becomes a piece of cake.
You can build membership sites, courses, landing pages, stores all in one platform. Furthermore, a wide range of customization options lets you add a unique touch.
On top of that, you can add post-purchase upsells, store offers, and connect payment options with just a few clicks. Awesome!
How to sell a digital product on Hyax? Easy! Head over to the Hyax website, create your account, and choose from a wide range of options for your next digital project. Your creativity is the only limit!
In a nutshell, the question shouldn’t be – Why start a digital product business? But more – When to start a digital product business.
The demand for user-generated content is growing every second. And if you have a digital product to launch, there will not be a better time.
Especially today, when you have so many awesome tools for digital product creation. So no more procrastination – roll up your sleeve and put some effort into a digital product that will crush the internet.