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Digital products can’t be held, tasted, or touched, however, everybody consumes them—from music to videos, ebooks to online courses, and more.
Many entrepreneurs build entire businesses around these intangible goods, due to their popularity and ease of distribution, or launch digital product lines to complement the physical items or services they provide.
What makes digital products particularly interesting, nevertheless, is they are often created once and sold repeatedly to completely different customers without having to replenish stock, making them ideal for creatives, artists, educators, and freelancers searching for new revenue streams that require much less effort to keep.
What are digital products?
A digital product is an intangible asset or piece of media that may be offered and distributed repeatedly on-line without the necessity to replenish stock. These products usually come within the form of downloadable or streamable information, corresponding to MP3s, PDFs, movies, plug-ins, and templates.
The benefits of creating digital products
Digital products have many advantages that make them uniquely attractive to sell:
- Low overhead costs. You don’t have to maintain inventory or incur any shipping charges.
- Extremely high-profit margins. There’s no recurring cost of goods, so you keep the majority of your gross sales in profits.
- Potential to automate. Orders could be delivered immediately, letting you be relatively hands-off with fulfillment.
- Flexible products. You can supply free products to build your email list, month-to-month paid subscriptions for access to exclusive digital content material, or licenses to use your digital products. You have a lot of options as to how you incorporate digital products into your business.
- E-learning is the future of education. You have a massive opportunity to expand your business and impact with e-learning, an industry expected to be worth $331 billion by 2025.
But digital products also come with particular challenges you’ll need to watch out for:
- You’re competing with free content material. With digital items, consumers can probably discover free alternatives to what you’re selling. You’ll have to think carefully about the niche you target and your product descriptions, offer premium value with your products, and know-how to build your brand in order to compete.
- You’re susceptible to piracy/theft. You need to take precautions and reduce these risks by employing the correct tools to protect your products.
- There are some restrictions on how you sell. For instance, you must sell physical products through the Facebook and Instagram sales channel, according to their commerce policy
Most of those challenges could be overcome, however, if you employ the correct tools when designing your digital product enterprise.
7 apps for selling digital products
If you’re building a digital product store or are looking for methods to add digital products to your existing store, there are a number of tools you’ll need to consider, depending on your needs:
- Digital Downloads. This free app by Shopify gives a simple method to sell digital products in your store. Upon purchase, customers can download their files instantly and receive a link in their email.
- Sendowl. For more complex digital product businesses, Sendowl comes with a wide range of options and helpful automation, like expiring links and auto-generated license keys, to power your products.
- Single Music. If you’re a musician selling music, Single was made with you in mind. Not solely does it bridge the hole between bodily and digital music gross sales, it also helps you to simply include clips in your product page for customers to sample.
- Thinkific. This app allows you to monetize your expertise and grow your audience by adding online courses to your Shopify store. You can upload and drag and drop content material to create a course curriculum. A free plan is available allowing you to create up to three courses.
- FetchApp. FetchApp is another digital download delivery app that offers fewer features than Sendowl but has a free plan available (5 MB of storage) and gives you the ability to attach multiple files to a single product.
- Sky Pilot or Bold Memberships. These apps are ideal for building a membership program. You can sell files and exclusive video streams to customers. Customers can then access all of their previously purchased files by their own customer accounts.
- BookThatApp, Tipo, or Sesami. These three apps are excellent for businesses that offer one-to-one or small group interactions and need an appointment booking solution to schedule consultations or coaching sessions with customers. All three apps have a free plan available.
Beyond these digital product supply systems, there are other Shopify apps to power and protect your digital items, such as:
- Recurring Order & Subscription. This is an app for weekly or monthly subscriptions. Use it to automate recurring orders, invoices, and digital subscriptions for online memberships or programs.
- Photolock. If you want further protection for visible products like stock photos, this app gives many of the safety measures you might want, from watermarks to source code protection.
- Disable Right-Click. When your content material is your product, this app helps you defend it from theft. You can lock photos and textual content to allow them to be saved or copied without your permission.
Depending on your needs, these apps and more can be used together to help you incorporate digital products into your Shopify store and execute any of the digital product ideas below.
Note: When creating digital products in Shopify, be sure to uncheck “This is a physical product”
6 digital products you can sell online
1. Sell educational products like ebooks or courses
Online courses are best suited for in-depth content. They require some effort upfront, from creating a presentation to recording a video walk-through. When creating courses, start with learner outcomes: what do you want the learner to know or have the ability to do at the end of your course?
You can include quizzes, knowledge checks, and interactive activities inside your courses to assist break-up in studying content material and make your e-course more engaging. Consider learning and implementing an instructing model like ADDIE
How to Cake It sells ebooks as an alternative for its physical cookbooks.
If you consider your self an expert on a particular topic, digital products are an effective way to bundle that information and sell it to others looking to learn.
If there’s an abundance of free blog posts or tutorials on YouTube about what you’d like to teach, you possibly can compete by delivering the content that promises not education but transformation. In other words, don’t sell the product—sell the customer’s own potential after buying your product.
You can leverage current reputation as an expert to garner attention to your products, or in case you’re starting from scratch, you possibly can create and give away free content material to generate interest and leads for your paid digital products.
2. Sell licenses to use your digital assets
From stock photos to video footage to music and sound effects, there’s a global ecosystem of licensable digital assets uploaded by creatives for other creatives to use in their work.
By offering licenses to people and companies, you possibly can charge for the usage of your photos, videos, music, software, and more in your own store and by online marketplaces, such as stock photo sites. In exchange for exposure, a few of these marketplaces can take up to 50% in commission for every sale, however. If you need to build your own destination for digital assets, you should utilize Sendowl to power this type of business with unique auto-generated license keys.
When coming up with assets to create, it helps to work backward from the needs of your intended audience. Start by thinking about what kind of assets they’d want to use in order to create products that are actually in demand (and thus easier to sell).
Also, be sure to protect your digital products with watermarks and other security measures, especially in case you’re selling photos.
3. Sell membership for access to exclusive digital products
Snowboard Addiction gives a subscription for premium educational content material to complement its physical products for snowboarders.
Instead of selling particular person digital products, you can bundle them together and lock them behind a paid subscription to generate recurring revenue.
This method is right if you plan to maintain a growing library of premium content material and nurture a community of passionate members. In some cases, paid digital subscriptions can even create an opportunity to directly monetize your existing content material marketing efforts.
Since this content material is behind a gate that only paying subscribers can access through their customer account, you can also host exclusive content material that can be streamed rather than downloaded.
4. Sell digital templates and tools
Retro Supply Co. sells digital tools and assets for designers.
Digital products can also come in the form of intangible tools that equip professionals to do tasks that either fall outside of their skillset or take up a lot of time. You can sell digital solutions to the common pain points and needs of a specific audience.
Some examples include:
- Product mockup files for entrepreneurs
- Resume templates for job-seekers
- Software for businesses
- Adobe After Effects plugins for video editors
- Icons, fonts, or UX Kits for internet designers
If you already have a freelance business, it may be value considering how you can turn your expertise and services into digital products to create passive streams of revenue.
5. Sell music or art
If you’re a musician or an artist, chances are you’ve explored methods you can monetize your skills or the audience you’re building. While t-shirts or prints are always an option, there are also loads of possibilities in digital downloads.
A musician can sell ringtones of their best songs alongside their merch. Or a cartoonist might flip their artwork into purchasable phone wallpapers. Since you don’t have to hold any inventory, you possibly can experiment with completely different codecs to see what your viewers need without much threat.
6. Sell your expertise or services
Services have a tendency to pair well with digital products because services are primarily their reverse—with services, your “inventory” is limited to the variety of working hours you can accommodate.
Plus, customers often receive digital products as part of their “purchase” with many services. A designer will deliver logos. A personal coach might deliver a workout plan. Leaning into this, you can place certain services as packages containing valuable digital products.
For example, you would supply a consultation for a fee, along with a customized report or Excel spreadsheet, and then upsell your customers on your other services or products. Or you would supply a free downloadable product to generate leads for your email list, a tactic that many on-line companies make use of in the present day.
If there are common tasks you complete as a part of your service business which can be easy for you however valuable to your customer, you can consider productizing them to create revenue streams that require less of your time and effort to maintain.
How to find digital product ideas that promote
While it’s easy to get caught waiting around for a eureka second, finding a good business idea is more of a process. It’s nice to have a concept that excites you, but if you want an idea that sells, you’ll need to observe a strategy of brainstorming, research, and validation
Generate concepts, to begin with, and write all of them down. Don’t be too vital. Bad concepts can lead to good concepts and vice versa. The key to brainstorming is to keep away from over considering issues.
If you’re looking for a spark, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Can you teach customers how to use your products? For instance, in case you sell knitting merchandise, you would supply appointments to teach superior knitting strategies.
- Are there issues you possibly can assist your clients with associated to your total business? For instance, in case you promote surfboards, you would create an exercise program to assist your clients to stay in surf form at home.
- Think about the values you’ve built your business on. What are the topics related to that? For instance, in case you promote sustainable attire, you would create a course instructing your clients how to stay an extra sustainable life.
- In what methods might you carry your group of consumers collectively? For instance, in case you promote kitchen provides, you could run a digital guided wine tasting occasion.
- What are you good at? For instance, in case you’re actually nice at product images, you would train different folks on how to get higher at product photography too.
Do some analysis to add to your list of ideas. Look for pain points your customers have associated with your product, business, or values, in addition to subjects they love or get enthusiastic about. Both current nice opportunities to present value in the form of an educational product.
Here are some good places to get started doing research:
- Facebook groups. There are Facebook teams dedicated to each area of interest and audience imaginable, making them a great place to learn what your potential customers care about.
- Industry forums. Forums dedicated to hobbies and communities in your business may help you be taught extra about what folks need and want in your broader business.
- Product critiques. Read each the critiques to your merchandise and rivals’ merchandise to get concepts. These might come from the critiques on product pages in addition to stand-alone critiques on blogs and different web sites.
- Blog posts and comments. Read the blog content material your community might be reading, in addition to the feedback, to get many more concepts. For instance, in case you promote auto components, dig round on automotive blogs.
- Emails from clients. Finally, don’t neglect to return and reread any emails or messages you will have gotten from clients through the years. The individuals who took the time to contact you with ideas and considerations are normally “high intent” clients and they could have shared some actually helpful insights.
Before committing too much time to an idea, you need to validate it and make sure your idea is solid before you spend time building it. The very last thing you need to do is make investments a whole lot of time or cash in a brand new enterprise without understanding will probably be profitable.
There are a few ways to validate your idea:
- Keyword research. Use a keyword tool to see how many individuals are trying to find your subjects. This will provide you with an idea of the chance dimension of every one.
- Google Trends. Search your subjects on Google Trends. Look for subjects that can be rising in curiosity. This means the chance dimension will continue to grow.
- Ask for suggestions. Contact your clients immediately, both by email or social media. A ballot or survey is an effective way to gather buyer feedback.
- Start small and iterate. Sometimes, the simplest means to validate an idea is to experiment with a smaller model of the thought with room for progress. The aim is to get one thing out into the world as quickly as attainable so you possibly can put your thought to the check and enhance it from there.
No matter what business you’re in, you will have distinctive strengths and information that will be worthwhile to your clients.
Get creative with your own digital products
Without the necessity to maintain stock or the overhead related to promoting physical products, companies primarily based on digital products could be launched and examined with little threat.
There are numerous methods you possibly can create your individual digital products and incorporate them into your business. With a bit of ingenuity and upfront investment of time, you can serve up irresistible worth that can greater than pay for itself over time.