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The complete guide to selling digital products online in 2020

A person is studying digital products using his MacBook on a brown wooden table while having an espresso.
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Nowadays, the internet has opened up a wide range of business opportunities for everybody. Whether you’re a writer, artist, cook, engineer, IT expert, interior designer – you can utilize the internet to help with your career or business. It paved the way for the rise of digital products online.

Most businesses are transitioning to produce digital content for their clients and customers.

If you’re looking to earn money or potentially build a business, you can try selling digital content online.

Keep on reading to find out more about selling a digital product online in 2020.

What is a digital product?

A digital product is a product you only use on an electronic device.

These are not tangible products such as a book or a DVD.

Instead, they are digital files accessible or usable through various devices like laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc.

These products are sold repetitively online without the need of replenishing inventories.

Furthermore, these digital products are accessible solely through digital downloads.

In most cases, digital products require zero capital.

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The products’ design is entirely made on the computer or other devices.

If you’re still unsure what digital products are, here are some digital products example.

  • Audio – Songs, instrumentals, background music, sound effects, ringtones, voice-overs
  • Video – movies, stock videos, short films, documentaries
  • Electronic Books or eBook – fiction, non-fiction, recipe cookbooks, magazines
  • Word template – calendar, planner, formal letters
  • Design – website themes, wallpaper, card designs, calling cards, logo, animations, posters
  • Apps – games, productivity, personal finance, utilities
  • Software – games, data processing, etc
  • Printables – calendar, to-do lists, stickers

Why are digital products better than physical products?

Both products are good to sell online.

Take a look at Amazon – they both sell physical and digital products.

However, there are certainly quite a lot of differences between these two.

Depending on your preferences, one may be a more superior choice than the other.

Here are some of the reasons why digital products are better than physical products.

1. You won’t have problems with inventory ever.

If you’re selling physical products such as books, food items, or gadgets, you need to replenish your inventory once in a while.

Furthermore, from time to time, you might need to check your inventory to make sure you have enough stored.

Meanwhile, with a digital product, you won’t have to deal with inventories.

You can simply store it in a database and forget it exists.

You can sell them to millions of clients without replicating them.

Overall, it’s more convenient to sell them.

With digital items, you don’t have to deal with an inventory.

If you have a good online platform to sell, the system will do everything for you.

Once you create that content, all you have to do is wait for buyers.

2. No need to find a space to store products.

On top of inventories, you also won’t have to think about storage for your inventory.

Physical products take up a lot of space, especially if the product is large or bulky.

Thus, it also costs you more because you need to find a place for storage.

Most sellers end up renting dedicated storage for their physical products.

This just cuts a huge chunk from your profits.

However, with digital items, you don’t have to deal with any of that.

Since your product is digital, it’s not tangible and doesn’t take up physical space.

It only takes up space in the cloud, and most of the time, it doesn’t take much.

For instance, eBooks are typically 0-5 megabytes.

Other products like video and photos may take up larger space, but a cloud is an infinite place.

3. You can sell them as many times as you want.

The best thing about digital products is that you can sell them to as many people as you want – without creating them again.

It’s unlike any kind of physical product.

Thus, one great digital product can potentially earn you lots of money.

It doesn’t require additional labor or capital.

Once you create your product, you can store it as long as you want.

You can sell it to anyone in a matter of seconds.

You can even sell it while you’re sleeping.

4. No shipping required.

For most digital products, they typically sent to the clients’ emails for download.

Thus, there is no need for packaging or shipping.

It eliminates lots of shipping costs for both parties.

Therefore, it cuts costs and generates higher revenue for you.

5. You can sell licenses to use your digital products.

With most digital products such as video or music, you get paid for licenses to use your products.

Thus, it’s a good additional income on top of the digital products themselves.

It applies to various digital products like instrumental music, photos, videos, and many other forms of media.

6. They are cheap to produce.

Creating digital products typically don’t cost much.

For instance, eBooks won’t cost you anything if you’re writing them personally.

It might cost a little bit if you hire a ghostwriter.

Meanwhile, creating online courses don’t require much either.

Compared to physical products, you don’t need a capital to begin selling.

Other digital content might require a few types of equipment, but these are only minimal in costs.

7. You can sell online from the comfort of your home easily and quickly.

If you sell online, you know how convenient it is to have a physical store.

You just need a laptop or a phone to advertise and reach customers.

Everything is digitally, and no need to rent out expensive commercial spaces.

Disadvantages of selling digital products:

Digital items surely come with their disadvantages, too.

While it’s appealing to many sellers and businesses to sell digitally, it’s worth noting that they are not fool-proof products to sell.

Here are some disadvantages you should consider.

1. The digital product market is highly competitive.

There is lots of free content on the internet.

Thus, many people are not instantly willing to pay for digital products.

Why would someone pay you for something they can get for free elsewhere?

Furthermore, nowadays, the market is too saturated already.

It doesn’t mean you won’t succeed; you will.

However, you need to set your product apart.

You need to come up with a digital product that truly brings high value to customers.

Thus, mediocre or poorly created products won’t cut it.

2. Digital products highly devalued.

As previously mentioned, the internet offers millions of free content.

Thus, not a lot of people are willing to pay unless it’s something unique and useful.

Furthermore, because these products are intangible, people tend not to see their value.

Thus, you might have to work harder to show your product’s value to your customers.

You need to get creative and set yourself apart from millions of other similar content.

Otherwise, your content will drown and get lost in the sea of online products currently available.

3. Digital products are frequently pirated or stolen.

Piracy is one of the major concerns of digital content creators.

eBooks, for instance, are too easy to replicate and distribute without the owner’s consent.

Just mere searching on Google could allow people to download pirated content.

Thus, it means reduced revenue for the creators.

This is a risk to consider when you’re planning to sell digitally.

Unlike physical products, digital ones are easy to steal.

It just requires a few clicks to distribute your products illegally.

How to create digital products?

There are different types of digital products you can make.

Some are easier to create than others.

Meanwhile, there are ones that can take up a lot of time.

In creating digital content, you have to take your time to ensure the highest quality possible.

If you wish to find out how you can create these products yourself, keep on reading.

Online courses

Online courses are media content that educates people.

This could be an online course on writing, improving self-confidence, selling eBooks, relationship advice, and many other topics.

The key is to create an online course about something you’re an expert in.

Otherwise, you will just come up with poor content, and clients won’t be satisfied and probably leave you a bad review.

Creating mediocre content just won’t cut it with online courses.

Remember, there are lots of instructional videos on Youtube that are available to stream for free.

You have to offer something new and useful to justify charging for it.

That’s just how it works online these days.

Otherwise, no one will avail of your online course.

You also have to make sure clients will be satisfied with the content.

You don’t want to get negative reviews.

This will repel any future clients you might have.

Online courses are typically a combination of video, audio, and eBook content.

Some just come with videos, while some come with a variety of resource materials.

It all depends on what you think clients will find valuable.

For the video content, you will need a good quality video camera.

Moreover, you will need decent lighting and background for the videos.

If it’s mostly talking content, you won’t need a lot of props.

However, if it’s something instructional like a cooking video, you will need to set them up.

Remember that you’re selling an online course.

Thus, poorly lit videos won’t do.

Make sure they look as professional as possible.

Furthermore, you will also need an external microphone.

You might get away without one, just make sure your audio is clear and free from background noise.

You can process the audio on your computer later on to eliminate the noise.

eBooks

eBooks encompasses a wide range of written content.

Typically, these are works of fiction, such as novels, poems, and short stories.

However, there is also a large market for non-fiction written content.

This includes self-help books, motivation books, cookbooks, instructional books, and so many others.

Much like online courses, you need to write something that people will enjoy and find useful.

With eBooks, you won’t need a lot to create them.

Just a word processing software such as Microsoft Word, Pages, or Google Docs are enough to work on.

If you’re not personally going to write an eBook, you might want to hire a good ghostwriter.

You will find them mostly on online freelancing websites.

You have to be careful in choosing the writer.

Make sure the content is well-written, well-structured, and free from spelling and grammatical errors.

Audio

You can sell different types of audio.

This includes songs with singing, instrumentals, background music, voice-overs, and audiobooks.

For this digital content, you will need audio editing software.

You also need a good performing microphone to record your audio or musical instruments you need to produce the content.

Furthermore, you might also need condenser microphones for better sound quality.

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If you’re unfamiliar with the equipment, you should research it a bit more.

You don’t need to purchase expensive audio equipment.

There is plenty of cheap but effective audio equipment and gadgets online.

Because you are selling audio, you have to make sure the quality is superb.

It should be flawlessly recorded or created.

Otherwise, it’s poor content already.

Those who are looking to buy audio expect the highest quality.

How to sell digital products?

As you would expect, digital products sold purely online.

These digital products are typically files that your customers get value from.

Thus, you sell these products through digital downloads.

This means you upload the files in your system and send it to your customers and clients.

With digital products, you’re also selling licenses to use them.

For instance, if you’re a music producer, someone would need to buy licenses for your music so they can use it legally.

It’s almost similar to how song royalties work for singers, composers, etc.

Digital product creators sell online.

Most create an eCommerce website where they can showcase, promote, and sell their digital products.

Note that for some digital products such as music, you may also separately sell licenses to use them.

Thus, that’s another price on top of the actual digital product.

For instance, the personal use of music you create may sell for $20.

However, if your client decides to use it for a vlog or podcast, that client will need to pay you licenses to use them in public.

That’s something most creators tend to forget and end up costing them money.

How to market digital products?

Marketing is highly important when selling these products.

You might have amazing digital content, but if people don’t know it exists, they won’t buy it.

Marketing is as important as creating valuable content.

You need to attract buyers so you can make a sale.

It’s not enough to create a good product, and you have to advertise it, too!

Social media is one of the excellent places to market your products.

Almost everyone has Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

Create a special Facebook page to share with family and friends.

Some creators give out free copies of their products to people.

This is to get initial reviews and potentially promote the product.

Most buyers don’t buy anything online without seeing any reviews.

Thus, it would be easier to sell them if your products already have existing reviews, especially if they are positive.

Word-of-mouth advertising might also work in getting your products out there.

The more traffic you get on your site or page, the higher chances of generating sales.

Where to sell digital products?

Digital product creators solely sell online.

However, it might be tricky to find the best place to sell your products.

You need to set up an online payment system.

Furthermore, you need to instantly deliver your content to your client – something you can’t do yourself.

You need to create an online system for this.

If you’re wondering where to sell your content online, here are some popular and safe places.

Shopify is a leading eCommerce website to sell virtually anything.

They set up everything for you – from payment solutions, delivering content to your buyer, and handling returns, and other concerns.

If you are unaware of how to make a site from scratch, it’s a good start.

Furthermore, they also offer a free trial to get a feel of the website for yourself.

Selfy, Gumroad, ClickBank, SendOwl are some of the other websites you can try out.

Etsy is also a highly popular platform to sell online content.

Their interface and dashboard are also quite easy to explore.

Furthermore, it’s already a well-known place.

Thus, you have higher chances of selling your content.

If you’re selling eBooks, Amazon Kindle is a no-brainer place to go to.

They are the biggest seller of eBooks in the world.

You simply can’t go wrong with their platform.

However, it’s also possible to sell them outside of Amazon.

You can set up your website to sell your eBooks.

This would probably give you more control over your digital content.

For website design, you can sell them on GraphicRiver, Theme Forest, and other similar places.

Meanwhile, for music, you can go to TuneCore, Supreme Tracks, Reverb Nation, and Distrokid.

You can sell online courses on uDemy, Podia, SkillShare, and many other online course services.

What is the best digital product to sell?

Now that you understand how digital products work and how you can sell them, you might be wondering what is the best among these digital products?

This all depends on your expertise and skills.

What may be the best digital product for someone else may not be the best for you.

Thus, you also need to take into account your skills and abilities.

For instance, if you are a writer, you may be better off selling eBooks instead of selling audio in the same way that an interior designer is better off selling the online interior design to clients instead of selling music.

Selling online courses is perhaps the most applicable to many people.

Anyone can virtually create online courses.

It all depends on your field of expertise and what value you can bring to customers.

For instance, if you are a good public speaker, you can sell online courses to become a better public speaker.

Meanwhile, if your field is in graphic design, you can sell an online course on how to use Photoshop or tips on design cards, banners, etc.

You get the gist.

On another note, eBooks are quite popular digital products.

Most sellers don’t write the content themselves.

Instead, they hire competent ghostwriters.

Then, they would own the book’s rights and be able to sell them for a profit.

However, if you choose to write the eBook yourself, you can certainly do so.

You can just hire an editor and proofreader to make some modifications if you’re not used to writing.

How to boost sales of digital products?

We already talked about how marketing plays a huge role in generating sales.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll go into great detail on how exactly you can boost your sales.

1. Provide free content.

You might think that providing free content to people is counterintuitive.

Of course, you want to make money!

Why would you even think about giving things for free?

However, giving away free content is a highly effective money-making strategy.

Think about a salesperson giving away free candies at the supermarket.

It works just like that. It allows them to get a taste of what you have to offer.

Thus, grabbing their attention and leaving them waiting for more content from you.

You can also offer free content in exchange for valuable information such as email or contact number.

This helps make your email list (which will be discussed next).

However, it’s important to know which content you should give away for free and which content you should charge for.

Make sure you’re reserving the most important and valuable bits for your paid content.

2. Generate an email list.

An email list is a list of customers or clients’ emails.

This alerts them whenever deals or discounts are available or whether new products are up for sale.

You can build an email list by enabling it on your online store or website.

Have a banner pop up to ask your visitor for their email every time they visit your site.

Many online marketers heavily promote making email lists.

These are highly effective in driving traffic to your online store.

Thus, you get higher chances of making a sale.

It doesn’t differ much from physical stores.

If you run a toy business, you want kids to come inside your store.

Otherwise, how else are you going to show your products to your customers?

The same is true for selling online.

You need to get your products out there.

Let people know they exist.

Then, you have a higher chance of getting them sold.

Furthermore, an email list allows you to maintain your relationship with past and future customers.

Note that customer retention is highly essential in a successful online business.

Thus, you want to keep in touch with them regularly.

3. Know your audience.

When marketing your product, it’s easy to randomly target people who might be interested in buying your product.

However, it’s not as effective as targeting your main audience.

For instance, if you are selling Young Adult eBooks, you don’t want to advertise them to adults.

This would be like shooting a target with a blindfold.

Your main target audience is kids, teens, and young women.

Thus, you should focus your efforts on them.

For instance, if your market is mothers, you might want to advertise your product to a Facebook page with mothers as a majority of members.

This increases your chances of generating sales tremendously.

If you’re unsure what your market is, conduct research.

4. Create bundles.

Creating digital content bundles is one of the most frequently used strategies online creators use.

This means you will sell your products in a set, much like a Buy 1 Get 1 model.

You can modify the strategy depending on what you think will work best.

People like it when they feel like they’re getting a good deal with their purchases.

Thus, people tend to purchase something that gives them more for their buck.

For instance, each eBook you sell is $5.

However, you can give your customers an option to purchase all of your 10 books for $40.

That way, they get a $10 discount.

They are more likely to purchase the set instead of buying them individually.

Conclusion

When it comes to digital products, there’s no such thing as the best.

It all depends on your abilities and skills.

Furthermore, your success depends on your content as well as your marketing.

Thus, you don’t only need to be a good content creator, and you also need to be a good marketer as well.

It might seem daunting at first.

However, with extensive research and trial-and-error, you have the chance to make it in this field.

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