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Have you ever thought about what difference digital products could have made in your business? Imagine a collection of products that could have sold again and again on pure automaticity, without your direct involvement more than during the actual creation process? For those who have tried selling physical products in a web shop, where each product needs to be packed and shipped, it sounds undeniably enticing!
Today, when everything goes so fast and our attention quickly shifts from one thing to another, it can be valuable to have a way to convert visitors to customers already at the first contact. We know that customers prefer to shop where they’ve shopped before, so it’s of the utmost importance to get a conversion as soon as possible, when interest on their part is still hot. An attractive, relevant and properly priced digital product can achieve that for you.
But what kind of product do you think of when I say digital product? Many spontaneously think of online courses, but digital courses are only a very small part of the large segment that we can call digital products. Anything that can be delivered digitally, i.e. without sending any product physically by post, can be classified as a digital product. Simple digital products rarely need any involvement from the seller outside of the automated delivery. Digital products are therefore very suitable for setting up as automated, passive income streams.
The advantage of this type of product is that once the product is created and put up for sale, the job is done. It can then sit there passively generating income month after month and even year after year. You can innovate your marketing, your packaging and your selling over time, but the product can often survive for a long time with only small updates and adjustments. In addition, it requires minimal support. It is delivered automatically and digitally and for the most part requires no support whatsoever beyond that to customers. Maybe an occasional email to answer from time to time only.
Digital products are thus advantageous in that they are very controllable and the work done pays off time and time again, giving high margins if done correctly. But even though it sounds simple and easy, finding products that sell can still be a bit tricky. Many people put a lot of work into, for example, creating large, digital courses for which there is no demand. It’s work that gets completely undone. It can also be experienced as a challenge to get to the automated flows, before cracking the code.
So for that reason, it’s better to start small. Try creating a smaller digital product and see if you can set up an automated delivery and get the sales rolling. The most difficult and time-consuming part is setting up a sales page and payment solution. But when you’ve succeeded in that and start to get rolling on your digital product, it’s just a matter of continuing and scaling up.
All types of knowledge banks, files, templates or documents that you yourself have at some point benefited from in your everyday life or in your work are suitable for selling. The fact that someone has sold something similar before is absolutely no obstacle, but perhaps rather the opposite. Competition usually means that there is a larger market.
Here are five tips on digital products that you can start creating and selling today, and all of which are great to get started with before you invest everything in creating a large online course. It may come later.
Something that sells like crazy on the web right now is design templates of all kinds. Here, the customer pays to avoid doing the work of designing, but can focus solely on delivering content. Examples of common design templates can be; Canva templates for stylish Instagram posts, presets for photo editing in Lightroom, brand board templates in Illustrator or Photoshop for brand profiling, etc.
There’s a reason they sell so well. Instead of everyone individually spending a lot of time creating nice presentations and eye-pleasing visuals, you can offer something that helps those who want to focus solely on subject knowledge and get down to business with the content right away. With a few good purchases, people can avoid expensive consulting costs, which can be crucial in a newly started or smaller business.
Regardless of the area of operations or business model, there is a great need for attractive design and graphic material, not least because much of the marketing today takes place via social, digital channels. It needs to maintain a certain level to stand out and feel professional. This is why, for example, image agencies do so well. All serious businesses need pictures, but few in-house photographers maintain a sufficiently high standard as photographers.
The same applies to presentation material and graphic material for social media. Most people need that type of material in their business, but few can create high quality graphic material themselves. And this is where templates come in. If you have an eye for design and master the design programs that are most common on the market, you have a golden egg here. Use your own original designs for the type of product you want to sell, make it more generic if needed and package it into a downloadable product in the correct format.
Books as a product have changed a lot over the years. What used to be mostly delivered as thick printed hardcover writings, written over a lifetime, later became easy digestible audiobooks which then became digital files that can be written or generated in days. Now the meaning of the term book is very flexible and fluid.
If you spontaneously think that a book must contain 100 pages to be classified as worthy by the reader, then you are completely wrong. In fact, most of the e-books sold online are relatively short works of 30-50 pages. An e-book that is niche, to the point, easy to read and applicable sells brilliantly as a digital product online. So if you have a solid knowledge of a subject that you are passionate about, or have a special twist/solution to a specific problem, consider whether it is not worth distilling your knowledge into a shorter e-book.
An eBook is a great way for your potential clients to get to know you and your methods better. And it is a perfect product for those who prefer to find solutions to problems themselves rather than hiring or consulting expertise directly. Find your impactful title and you’ll have a digital product that you can sell for years to come.
A mini-course or a workshop is a product that you can put together in an afternoon but still charge a reasonable price for. Here, the customer pays to quickly gain access to your expertise in a short and concentrated form. If you have relevant knowledge in a specific subject, all you have to do is structure your mini-course and press the record button.
A mini-course can be delivered in several ways. In the form of a video recording with or without presentation material. As a number of live broadcasts that you record and make available. Or maybe as a live webinar that you record and automate. Formulate your course around a particular problem and deliver the solution as an easily accessible 2-4 step method. There you have your course.
This format works well on extremely niche material, but can also solve a broader problem with a general approach. If you record, you are welcome to provide extra material in the form of worksheets, checklists or excel sheets. Be careful not to overdo this type of product. Short and to the point is best! Keep your recording at the same level as if you were giving a lecture. It’s usually somewhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
A workbook is a short compilation of sheets structuring the solution to a specific problem. It could be a review of the work year for the self-employed. Or a booklet with questions to reflect on before you start your own business. Or perhaps a guide in how you treat the customer as a photographer throughout the entire customer journey. The product should be a simplification of a workflow that you have put a structure on. Your structure can then facilitate the workflow for someone else and point out things they hadn’t thought of themselves.
A workbook is most easily delivered as a downloadable pdf file and can be graphically pleasing to the eye. It is these types of products that are often used as freebies. (A freebie is something that is given out free of charge in exchange for potential customers’ e-mail addresses.) But if you have a solid and well-designed method or put a little more work into producing a really good product, you should definitely charge for the value it provides. This is a great digital product to offer your customers.
Have you ever created a worksheet to help organize your work or activities? Well, then it is guaranteed to be a valuable template for other people as well. It could be an excel sheet to keep track of your budget. Or a checklist for organizing your travel packing. A worksheet for planning a launch. Or structured calculations to calculate margins on the products in your webshop. Other valuable document templates can be contracts, quotations, checklists or process descriptions. In short, if you have had a problem that has been solved by a structured setup, you can be sure that it can also be valuable to someone else. Many are happy to pay to get help with structure and to avoid doing that type of work themselves.
This type of file often works well as educational material in e.g. online courses, if you are thinking of creating one. But as a separate product, you can try out the demand before you tackle the bigger job of developing an entire course. However, remember to provide proper instructions in case it’s a more complicated file. Also, don’t forget to charge properly for your work. A well-crafted Excel file that solves a specific problem that many people have is considered hard currency.
You can sell digital products via your website, in a web shop or through a completely separate sales funnel. In this article you can read more about how a sales funnel works. If you want help with creating and selling your own digital product, I have a resource that can help you along the way. Check out my free checklist – How to create and sell a digital product in 5 steps and get started right away.