Selling digital products is a powerful way to grow your income as a business owner. To help you get started with selling digital products online, pick one of the following five strategies outlined below. Use the examples to inspire your approach as you develop product ideas.
Product Strategy 1: Sell educational products like ebooks or courses
Selling digital courses and educational ebooks is one of the best established digital product business opportunities.
Sell digital educational products directly
Selling educational products and ebooks directly to customers is an excellent strategy. You don’t have to pay considerable fees to a third party like Amazon. You also own the customer relationship. That is important because it means that you can follow up
Carrie French: Freelancer Copywriter Offers Digital Products
Carrie French, a freelance copywriter, uses Peach Pay to sell digital products directly to customers. For example, she offers a Complete 20-Step Freelancing Guide. In addition, French offers free digital products for download, such as Work-Life Balance Posters. Offering a small digital product for free can help establish trust with potential customers.
Nick Disabato: Designer Offers Consulting and Digital Products
Based in Chicago, Nick Disabato offers design, UX, and interaction design services to clients. In addition, Disabato offers several digital products directly through his website. He offers printed like Value-Based Design and digital courses through his website, such as Ecommerce Email Mastery.
Sell educational products through a platform
The first option is best when you already have an online audience. What if you are just getting started in the online business world? In that case, uploading your digital educational product on a platform can be helpful. That said, there are downsides to consider. First, most platforms will take a significant cut of your revenue. Second, platforms tend to own the customer relationship – that means you usually do not get the email addresses and contact details of people who buy the course. As a result, it can be more challenging to build a following.
As the world’s largest online bookseller, Amazon is a great place to sell educational books. Unlike a traditional book store, there are many specialized educational book categories on Amazon. Discover how the following authors use Amazon and other platforms to sell their books.
Based in the UK, Joanna Penn has built a career as a successful fiction author. In addition, she has published non-fiction books for authors such as “Successful Self-Publishing” and “How To Make A Living With Your Writing. Penn offers her books through multiple platforms, including Apple Books, Amazon, Nook, Kono, Google Play, Scribd, iTunes, and Audible. Finally, Penn also offers some of her books directly through her website.
The Habits Expert Earns $45,000+ Per Month Selling Books
Steve Scott has built a thriving career as a successful author of educational books. Scott’s education books include “Habit Stacking: 127 Small Actions That Take Five Minutes or Less” and “How to Stop Procrastinating: A Simple Guide to Mastering Difficult Tasks and Breaking the Procrastination Habit.” According to an interview on the Smart Passive Income podcast, Scott averages earning about $45,000 per month from digital book sales.
While Amazon is the largest seller of digital books, it is far from the only option. You can also sell digital books directly through your website using CheckYa. In addition, you can use other online bookstore platforms like Kobo, Apple Books, and Nook to sell books.
For more guidance on writing an ebook and selling it online, see our post: How To Sell Your Ebooks Online As A Beginner.
Platforms to sell educational courses
You may also want to consider using third-party platforms to sell your courses. Remember that each platform has its rules and fees, affecting how much you can earn. These platforms emphasize video courses, so you will need the skills or resources to create videos to leverage these platforms.
Udemy has an extensive library of video courses on different subjects. For example, entrepreneur Scott Britton has created multiple business courses on Udemy, such as “Business Development for Startups and Tech Companies” and “Crack Cold Emailing To Increase Sales And Grow Your Business.”
In addition to business and technology courses, there are other successful instructors on Udemy. Math teacher Krista King has published nine math courses to Udemy, which have helped over 100,000 students. Her top math courses include “Become A Probability & Statistics Master” and “Become A Calculus 1 Master.”
Skillshare has a different emphasis from Udemy. Skillshare may be a good bet if you want to offer a course on graphic design, photography, and other similar skills. In addition, many Skillshare courses are 1 hour or less in duration. If you are interested in creating a short course, Skillshare may be a good bet.
Thomas Frank, a productivity YouTuber and author, has created several Skillshare courses on productivity topics such as “Mastering Productivity: Create a Custom System that Works” and “Real Productivity: How to Build Habits That Last.”
Product Strategy 2: Sell digital templates and tools
What if you could offer people a shortcut to get more done in less time? That is precisely what you offer when you sell digital templates and tools. As a starting point, let’s take a look at email. Most business owners spend significant time on email every week. Using email templates can help you save time and achieve your goals.
Email Template Library
Marketing expert KJai Davis has worked with Shopify store owners and consultants for years. In that time, he has written many emails to manage clients and make progress on his business goals. His email template library gives you 23 pre-written email templates so you can quickly send emails with a bit of customization. The template library includes email templates to follow up on a proposal, decline a request, and ask for a testimonial.
Digital Tools For Excel
Digital tools, unlike templates, equip people with new skills and capabilities. Creating a brand new tool can become more complex such as creating a brand new piece of software. For example, Grammarly has created an advanced grammar and writing improvement software tool. Creating a brand new piece of software and selling it online is an excellent option if you have the coding skills.
What if you are not a software developer? There’s good news. There are still ways you can create digital tools and sell them online. Consider the case of software you know deeply. For example, an accountant might know Microsoft Excel inside out from years of work. Millions of professionals use Excel every day. What if you could sell a digital tool to make life easier for Excel users?
That’s precisely what Supermetrics offers! The company created an Excel add-on that makes it easier to copy, paste and manage digital marketing data in Excel. Specifically, the Excel add-in automatically downloads marketing data from the Internet so that you don’t have to waste time pasting data or importing CSV files.
For more inspiration, take a look at the Ablebits Ultimate Suite for Excel. This Excel add-in helps you manage complex workbooks, merge data easier, eliminate duplicate data, and much more. Ablebits is a relatively complex product. If you are an Excel power user, you could start with something simpler like creating Excel macros (i.e., scripts that automate tasks in Excel).
Not interested in Excel? No problem. Find a different popular software package and look for opportunities to help people use the software more effectively. Generally speaking, it is best to focus your digital tools and templates on business software. Business professionals often have a budget to buy tools that will help them succeed in their work.
Product Strategy 3: Selling your music and art as digital products
There are multiple ways to sell your art online. As with ebooks, there are two broad options. You can sell products directly from your website using a tool like CheckYa. In addition, you can also use online marketplaces to sell your art, music, video digitally.
Austin Zhang: Selling Digital Music Online
Austin Zhang offers free and paid digital music products for sale online. For example, you can buy “10 Brave Sound Concerts” for $50, including nearly 10 hours of improvised jazz music from top performers in New York. Zhang also offers free digital music resources to help musicians grow their careers, like “Building Online Careers for Modern Musicians.” The online careers resource is an audio recording where Zhang explains strategies for musicians to earn a living from their art online.
In addition, there are multiple online platforms like TuneCore (music) and Superrare (NFT art marketplace) where you can list your art and design for download. Before listing on these websites, make sure you understand how the platform works. For example, clarify how much you will earn after fees are paid.
Product Strategy 4: Sell licenses to use your digital assets
Selling digital assets through a license is how actors, recording artists, and other creative people make a living. Thanks to the rise of new licenses like the Creative Commons, you now have many more options to sell your work. For example, you might set one price for a commercial use license and a different price for non-profit usage.
Linotype: Offering Hundreds of Quality Fonts For Sale
Publishers, advertisers, and other companies are always looking for ways to set themselves apart from the competition. Using unique fonts from designers like Linotype is one way to create a unique look. Linotype has created more than 900 font families, including bestsellers like Univers and Neue Haas Grotesk.
Creative Market: A Leading Digital Art and Design Marketplace
Creative Market is a popular marketplace for selling digital design and art products like photos, templates, fonts, and graphics. For example, Wumi Studio offers a Daily & Weekly Planner for download with several licenses. This is a great strategy for creatives and artists for selling digital products.
Product Strategy 5: Sell a digital membership
The above strategies to sell digital products all have their merits. However, there is one major disadvantage: one-time revenue. In most cases, selling a digital product online generates income from that customer once. Selling a digital membership offers the potential to earn monthly recurring income from members.
The potential for a more consistent income is the main attraction of creating a digital membership offering. There is a downside, however. Members will expect new content and experiences to be added over time, or they may decide to cancel their membership.
BTMS Insiders: A Digital Membership for Copywriters
Created by copywriter Roy Furr, the BTMS Insiders program is a membership program that offers consulting calls and video training courses. BTMS, short for Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, is priced at $97 per month. The membership includes video training courses on email marketing, business strategy, copywriting, and business skills.
Exceptionally Easy Digital Centers: A Digital Membership for Kindergarten Teachers
Priced at $6.99 per month, Amy Murray has created a digital membership to help kindergarten teachers save time. The membership is aimed at teachers who use the Seesaw platform, a popular educational platform. Teachers can download pre-made resources for math, language instruction, and other educational needs.
Note that the price of your membership program needs to align with your target audience. Roy Furr’s program is aimed at copywriters (i.e. business professionals) so it makes sense to charge a relatively high price of $99 per month. In contrast, Murray offers a membership for kindergarten teachers so the membership price (i.e. $6.99) has to be acceptable to that market.
TED Member: A Community To Share Ideas
TED is famous for creating interesting conferences and compelling presentations. However, attending a TED conference is not always convenient or affordable. The TED membership is a digital experience with a few benefits. You get the opportunity to interact directly with TED speakers, network with other members and attend exclusive events. TED suggests an annual contribution of $50 for a membership.
The One Tool You Need To Sell Digital Products
Once you decide to sell a digital product, there is one tool you must have to earn money: a payment platform. Use CheckYa to accept payments from customers around the world. By using CheckYa, you stay in complete control of the customer relationship. That means you can easily follow up with customers to help them succeed. Further, working with CheckYa means you can email customers to offer them other products without any limits. To sign up with CheckYa, click here. We wish you luck with selling digital products in the year 2022!