How To Create Digital Products To Sell Online
You may have heard people raving about digital products. How easy it is, how you can make huge bucks, etc. True. But is it as easy as it sounds? If your goal is only to create a digital product – Yes. But a digital product that sells and generates income, takes some work. Invest that initial time and effort smartly, you will have an asset for a lifetime. So, if you have ever wondered how to create digital products, this step-by-step guide will take you from a complete beginner to a successful digital publisher.
What is a Digital Product?
Instead of jumping directly to how to create digital products, let us start from the basics. A digital product is a product that does not have a physical form or is intangible, that is created, delivered, and accessed online. We interact with digital products daily.
The online courses we purchase on Platforms like Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, etc, e-books we read on Kindle or Google, e-mail newsletters received in our inbox, and the podcasts we enjoy are digital products. Broadly, digital products can be in written, audio, or video formats.
E-books, email newsletters, blogs, templates, and worksheets are examples of digital products in written form. If you are not comfortable putting yourself out there or just want to test the waters of digital publishing, this is a perfect choice. It requires no equipment other than a computer/laptop and an internet connection.
The only investment is your time and knowledge (or research). Podcasts, music, audio lectures, and audiobooks are examples of audio digital products. This format is becoming increasingly popular. If you are uncomfortable facing a camera but still wish to get your personality out there, this is a suitable choice.
You would require a decent-quality microphone and audio software for editing. Even experienced audio publishers work with free software such as Audacity which is enough for most cases. Video lectures, Online courses, Presentations, and any subscription-based video content are video formats.
We are all familiar with YouTube and Netflix. This may feel a bit intimidating as compared to the other 2 formats. But with almost everyone having a YouTube channel, you know that it’s not as difficult as you may feel.
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What Are the Advantages of a Digital Product?
Before understanding how to create digital products, you should understand why to create a digital product.
- Low Cost of Creation – Since there is no physical component, the only investments are your time and a few optional equipment/software.
- Easy Distribution – Since the purchase and delivery happen online, the delivery and distribution are instant. No supply chain is required.
- No Inventory/Logistics Required – Since there is no physical product, inventory, storage and shipping are not needed
- Geography Independence – Since digital products are sold, delivered, and accessed via the Internet, your reach is unlimited. You can sell your product to anyone, anywhere who has an internet connection.
- Scalability – Once you have a digital product ready, the only requirement for scalability is intelligent marketing
- Complete Ownership – You have complete ownership of your product
- High-Profit Margin – Since you have complete ownership and there is no need for inventory, storage, logistics, or any other overhead costs, the profit margin is high
- Flexibility – Easy to test the market, incorporate customer feedback, and update the product without accumulating costs or wasting products
- Passive Income – Once created and sales automated, you can make money while you sleep
What Are Some of the Most Popular Digital Products?
If you are interested to know how to create digital products, you must wonder what are the popular digital products. Below are a few.
- Online Courses
- Audio Files and music
- Stock photography
- Membership sites
- Downloadable Templates
- Digital Art
How to Create Digital Products?
If creating digital products seems scary to you or you are confused about how to begin. The below 8-step process is all you need. We have developed an ultimate step-by-step guide on how to create digital products, starting from the very basic process of ideation.
1. Brainstorm Digital Product Ideas
If you already know what product to create on what topic or you have shortlisted 2-5 viable options, you can jump ahead to step 2 directly. If you are someone who has no idea where to start or how to create digital products, you may belong to any one of the below categories.
Case 1: You are an absolute beginner in the digital field, with no experience. You do not have a website or audience.
Let’s Start by Asking Yourselves a Few Questions.
- Do you have any specific area(s) of expertise?
- Is there any specific field or topic, where you have better knowledge or skills than an average person?
- What are your interests or hobbies?
- How do you spend your free time?
You may have one or multiple fields or topics after answering the above questions. These are your niche options. If there are many areas of expertise/interests, reflect and prioritize 1-3 options. For each of the topics you have shortlisted, write down the below answers. These are just sample questions to get you started on how to think. If you wish, add more questions.
- What are the existing problems in that niche? What can I do to solve them?
- Can I create something that can help people or improve their lives in some way? If yes, what?
- Can I simplify any information or process?
- Can I add anything to complement the existing process?
- Is there anything I can do to save the time and/or effort of people?
If you do not have ready answers, do a bit of research. Now, you should have a handful of ideas in one or more niches to work with. In case you came up with multiple niches at the beginning, this step hopefully helped you cancel out some niche options where you did not find anything to offer.
Case 2: You have some experience in the digital area. You have a website or blog, with a decent audience.
In this case, you may either wish to create a digital product within the niche of your blog or you may wish to go with a new niche. If it’s a completely new niche or you are not aware of what niche to go ahead with, follow the steps in Case 1.
If the product idea is within the field of your blog or a sub-field, you can utilize your existing audience to brainstorm digital product ideas. You may ask tactful, exploratory, or open-ended questions, surveys, and polls to understand the existing problems, what solutions they expect, if the solutions are viable and what can you do to solve them.
Since you are directly interacting with a subset of your potential customers, this exercise would help to gain valuable insights on how you can create a quality product. Make a list of the general or popular problems that a majority of your subscribers face. Prioritize and shortlist 3-6 options.
Case 3: You are a business owner who is planning to create a digital product to complement or improve your business or sales
In this case, you already have a niche, which is your field of business. Most probably, you already have a website with a sizable audience. In case you don’t, we recommend that you start there since any business needs a digital presence before a digital product can have an impact on your business.
Then, similar to Case 2, make use of your existing customers and subscribers to understand the issues and viable solutions which you may be able to offer as digital products.
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2. Research The Market
The 2nd step on how to create digital products is market research. The reason we came up with a shortlist in Step 1 is that when we research the market, we will find that some topics simply don’t sell. You must do proper market research before setting out to implement your product.
First, we need to understand how big the market is. If it is too big and crowded, your product may get lost in the hundreds and thousands of existing products. If the market is too small, there may not be enough customers interested to buy. So, make sure you find a balance.
There should be enough people who face the problem and are willing to pay for the solution/value-add you plan to create. You can make use of tools like Google Trends and Google Keywords to understand the popularity of a keyword (your problem/solution). A high-demand low-competition keyword is a great bet. Ensure you have the resources to provide quality content for the money the customers are willing to pay.
Analyze the Competition
- Who are the existing players in the market?
- What are the products they offer?
- What is/are the format(s) of their products?
- How are the products priced?
- What is the quality of their products?
- What is the response of the customers?
- What are the complaints or feedback from the customers?
Research the above questions. Make sure you can exceed or at least match the quality provided by competitors. By now, you should have finalized your product idea. If you still have multiple options, reflect on the demand and competition. Figure out the option where you can match or deliver better quality products than completion. Finalize a product idea.
3. Decide On a Format
The third step on how to create digital products is to decide on a format. What kind of digital product would be the most suitable for the chosen topic? This would be based on 2 factors – the effectiveness of a format for that topic and your comfort level.
For the same topic, you can create multiple formats of digital products. For example, if my topic is gluten-free cooking I can either make videos of me cooking gluten-free food or consolidate my recipes into an e-book or start an email course with a recipe a day.
If I am an expert in android development, I can either create an online video course or create an audio course or audiobook or write an e-book. There is no hardcore rule when it comes to deciding a format. Figure out what would be the most effective way of delivery.
Think from the consumers’ perspective. If you were buying this product, what format would you prefer so that you get the most value out of the product? In some cases, there will be a clear winner. In other cases, the format may not matter much. Choose any format you prefer.
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4. Decide How to Build Your Product
Once you decided on the format, it is time to think about how to develop the product.
You Have a Couple of Options.
- If you are an expert in the field, you are all set.
- If you do not have enough knowledge on the topic, you can outsource the work to people in the industry.
- There are a lot of great platforms like Upwork and Fivver, where freelancers who are experts in their fields offer their services at reasonable rates.
- This will cost you money, but save you a lot of time and effort.
- Make sure you choose a freelancer who is suitable for your budget and go through their portfolio to verify their works.
- Give a detailed description of the product; Interact, explain, discuss and set the expectations before hiring a freelancer.
You can also avail the services of freelancers post-development of your product. For example, even if you are writing an e-book yourself, you can hire an expert to proofread and edit your book before publishing.
You can decide to partner with someone who is an industry expert. You may have to pay for their time but the partnership ensures that the information is legit and of the best quality. This is a crucial step when you go about how to create digital products. It can make or break your product. Make a decision based on your expertise, requirements, and type of product.
5. Build Your Product
If you reached this step, great work! Now you are ready to build the product. This is the most difficult step and most important step on how to create digital products. You may feel intimidated and the goal may seem unattainable if you do not have a proper plan. Plan and try to stick to the plan.
Divide the creation process into tasks and subtasks. Set daily, weekly and monthly goals. Set aside 1-2 hours a week to revise your goals and ensure accountability. Put in your best efforts and come up with a great product. Keep in mind the below key points.
- Product quality should match or at least exceed the competitor’s product quality
- Product pricing should be competitive.
- Analyze customer response, feedback, and complaints of competitors. This gives you an idea of where you can go wrong. Ensure you accommodate their feedback (if applicable) and do not make the same mistakes as your competitors.
6. Get Feedback
Once you have a version of your product, the next step is to get customer feedback. Before publishing the product, you need to ensure whether the product delivers what you had set out to do. The best way to do this is to get a small subset of your target customers to use your product and request feedback. You can offer the preliminary version of your product to them for free in return for their insights. This is called beta testing.
Craft Your Questions So That You Get an Accurate Idea of the Below Points:
- What is their overall experience in using the product?
- Were you able to meet customer expectations?
- How helpful do they find the product?
- Is the product easy to use?
- Are there any areas for improvement?
- Is it lacking in any details?
- Is it delivering the value for the price
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7. Incorporate Feedback and Revise the Product
Next up on how to create digital products is to revise your product. The feedback from beta testers is extremely valuable. Since feedbacks are subjective, it is impossible and impractical to incorporate every single feedback you have received. Analyze the feedback to understand the general patterns.
Identify the improvement areas and issues. Update your product to accommodate feedback to maximize customer experience and value delivered.
8. Launch Your Product
The final step on how to create digital products is to publish the product. Once you are happy with the product and confident that your customers will be satisfied, it is time to launch your product. You can launch your product on your website, community, social media, or email list if you already have an audience. And/or you can choose a suitable platform depending on the type of digital product. Research the best platforms to sell your product and choose a reliable one that matches your requirements.
Congratulations! Your product is out there in the market.
1. Why should you create a Digital Product?
Passive income stream, low start-up cost, scalability, and flexibility are some of the reasons why more and more people are getting involved in the creation of digital products.
2. What are the key activities involved in creating a digital product?
Ideation, Research & Plan, Design & Development, and Marketing are the key activities involved in creating a digital product.
3. What are some examples of a digital product?
E-books, audiobooks, music, podcasts, downloadable templates and worksheets, membership sites, email newsletters, online courses, webinars, software, mobile applications, PDF files, NFTs, stock photography, games, graphic art, printables, etc are all examples of digital products.
4. What are some platforms to sell digital products?
Shopify, Big Commerce, Podia, Gumroad, Sellfy, Thinkific, Teachable, Etsy, Amazon, Skillshare, Udemy, MemberPress, Squarespace, etc are all great platforms that allow you to sell your digital products. The right platform for you primarily depends on what type of product you are selling.
Conclusion – What Comes After the Product Launch?
Awesome work on your digital product! We hope you enjoyed our guide on creating digital products. You should monitor your customer response and update your product accordingly. The best thing about digital products is that they are easier to update and publish in comparison to their physical counterparts. This means that you would be able to publish improved and updated versions of your product faster. Once your product is out there, you would have to start thinking about marketing your product to improve your revenue and sales.
You should try to automate your sales to generate a passive income stream. You must work on building an audience and your community. You must expand your network, and partner up with experts, influencers, and bloggers. You should work out ways to scale your product. But these are the topics for another article altogether. Be assured that you have completed the most important part. You have created a valuable digital product,