Popular among creators and educators, selling digital products is a low-effort way to generate streams of passive income. Ranging from templates to online courses, these intangible e-goods can be sold repeatedly online once they’re created. Despite the low overhead costs, digital products can produce higher profit margins than physical products, making them appealing and lucrative to sell.
For those looking to create and earn money from digital products, this guide covers examples of the most profitable and easy-to-set-up digital products, as well as how and where you can start selling them.
What are digital products?
Digital products are virtual assets, downloadable content, or pieces of media that can be sold repeatedly online. They only exist in an intangible form, and don’t require inventory replenishment. These products can be ebooks, PDFs, audio files, videos, or templates.
Why sell digital products?
Digital products can be a fairly low-cost, low-hassle means to develop new revenue streams. They offer a great opportunity to leverage your expertise and creativity, and to translate them into passive income.
There are various applications and software programs that can help you easily create your own digital products. And if there are tasks you can’t do by yourself, you can always seek the help of third-party service providers.
If you need more convincing, here are a few other advantages of selling digital products:
Creating and selling digital products require relatively little investment, as online tools are more affordable than renting a brick-and-mortar location or maintaining a physical inventory.
High profit margins
Since you don’t need to spend more money producing more units, you can expect higher returns than selling physical goods, with a profit margin that improves over time.
Supply chain and logistical issues are eliminated
Most digital products can be downloaded or accessed online instantly upon purchase. With automated delivery, there is no need to have an inventory, warehouse, or shipping procedure. In short, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to conceive, create, and sell your digital products.
Full control over your content
Most importantly, selling digital products gives you autonomy — free from the restrictions of specific social media platforms and their ever-changing algorithms. With digital products, creators can have full control over their content, own the relationship with their audience, and be able to decide how they monetize their work.
6 best types of digital products to sell
There are numerous types of digital products you can sell online. To help narrow down your options, here are the six top categories to explore:
If you’re an expert in your field, or you simply have knowledge that you want to share, consider creating your own educational products. You may build an online course to help others acquire a skill or learn about a topic, or write an ebook that contains essential information on a subject.
Let’s say you are a meditation coach. You can create an online course about mastering mindfulness, and support it with an ebook featuring a step-by-step guide.
Licenses to use your digital products
A common way for creatives to make an income is to offer licenses and charge for the use of your digital assets. You may sell licenses for others to use your photos, music, sound effects, and more. These can be sold under different licensing criteria, such as single-use, common-use, or exclusive rights to use the image.
Membership sites refer to paid subscriptions where your community of loyal fans can access exclusive, premium content and interact with each other. They are ideal especially for those who offer group mentorship, coaching, or elaborate online courses.
Revisiting the earlier example, a meditation coach may provide group mindfulness training and a gated library of meditation resources on their membership site.
Templates and tools
From Excel spreadsheets and resume samples, to pre-designed wedding invitations and Lightroom presets, there are different kinds of templates you can sell as digital solutions for others.
For example, if you are skilled at developing WordPress themes, consider selling them as there is a huge market for professionally designed website templates. ThemeForest is a great marketplace to sell them.
Entertainment and art
If you are artistically inclined, there’s an opportunity to put your talent to use and earn money online. You can sell printable art, fonts, sheet music, or even knitting patterns. The possibilities are endless.
If you have a valuable skill, you can sell access to it as a package deal with your digital products. Let’s say you’re a website designer, you can create and sell website templates. You can also offer those templates along with one-on-one consultations as a bundle for customers who want more technical support.
5 best platforms to sell digital products
If you’re wondering where you can sell digital products online, here are a few popular platforms that can help you get started:
Amazon is a great marketplace to sell your ebooks. If you have an EPUB version of your ebook, people can also read it on their Kindle devices.
Most people may think of Etsy as a place to purchase handmade physical products. However, it is also an excellent avenue to sell digital products such as patterns, templates, premade logos, ebooks, and even online services.
For creators and educators looking to monetize their expertise, Thinkific is the ideal platform. It offers tools for building and selling your online courses, with a pro plan that comes with enterprise-grade support for scaling your business.
If you plan to set up an online storefront to sell your digital products, Shopify can be a good starting point. However, you should consider using this platform only if you have many digital products to market.
Gumroad is an easy-to-use e-commerce platform where you can sell virtually anything, whether that’s monthly subscriptions, tutorials, or video lessons.
How to create and sell digital products
Wondering how to effectively make money by selling digital products? Here are a few pointers:
Create a digital product you are comfortable with
Choose the digital product type that fits best with your niche and strengths. As you brainstorm and do your research, take our list of examples above as inspiration. Your first product can truly be anything from a short graphic design tutorial, a cover letter template, or an ebook on a topic you’re passionate about.
Set up an online store
Next, create a web store or list on an e-commerce platform where people can find and purchase your digital product. If you’re looking to sell online courses, for example, consider using Thinkific. There are various online marketplaces to deliver your digital products to your customers.
Implement organic digital marketing
What’s also important to consider is how to market your digital product. You can advertise your expertise organically by sharing your knowledge on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also write blogs and share them on your social channels to establish authority in your field.
Try paid advertising
Paid advertising on Google Ads and different social media platforms can also be an effective way to make your digital products be seen and heard. You can start investing in them to redirect people from your ads to a landing page. Make sure you design the landing page in a way that compels your web visitors to purchase your digital product, or at least share their contact details so that you can nurture them into customers.
Nurture your prospects and customers
Whether someone has already purchased your digital product or is still in your sales funnel, you must engage with them on an ongoing basis. Sharing valuable content regularly is a great way to stay in touch with prospects. As for converted customers, offering proper after-sales support will help keep the conversation going with your audience.
Refresh and update your digital products regularly
Whether you have created an online course or released an ebook, updating it regularly with new information is essential. As the world around us changes quickly, your digital products must always reflect that.
Start making money online today
Selling digital products can be a lucrative way to earn money, and you can explore different products and service options to unlock this revenue stream.
The best way to get started is to plan and conceive your digital product idea. You already know what you’re good at. Now, you just need to lay the groundwork for monetizing your expertise. Build what you can, and outsource tasks that you can’t personally handle. It’s that simple — so put in the initial investment and watch the cash roll in.
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