Are you interested in selling digital products online but aren’t sure what to sell and how?
I’ve been there. In my last business, we experimented heavily with selling everything from digital courses to Ebooks, to action planners, to SaaS software.
I have had multiple failed product launches and wasted a ton of time and money creating resources that nobody ever purchased (but we did give them away eventually!). But in the end, we were able to add massive revenue to our bottom line, both recurring and one-time, by figuring out a few things.
If you’ve ever wanted to create a payment link and sell a digital product like an Ebook, graphic design template, or digital course then you’re going to love today’s post. It may be tempting to jump in right away and start creating digital products to sell in your small business or side-hustle, but there are a few things you should consider first.
Today, I want to show you the easiest way to start selling your digital products in less than five minutes, without worrying about security or payment forms.
Ebooks were the first digital product to dominate the market. Today, they still provide one of the best ways to easily create and sell a digital product online without spending a ton of money. Self-publishing is easier than ever with devices like Kindle, Kobo, and the like, with the opportunity to get instant sales from platforms like Amazon. Here are some of the most popular and profitable ebook niches today:
Pro Tip: See what is currently trending and selling well on Amazon, this will give you some great ideas about popular topics, questions asked by users, and examples of successful businesses.
E-learning is the latest and greatest trend that we’ve seen pop up in the world of online sales. The rise of course creation platforms like Teachable and Podia has created massive opportunities for those looking to share their skills in video format.
Video can be a much better medium for learning things like coding, web design, sales, image editing, gardening, and other technical skills. All of this is made possible by using a course platform that will take care of user management, hosting your videos, creating a sales page, and more.
Video courses might even be easier to sell than Ebooks when you consider how much easier it is to make a great impression, promote trust, and demonstrate skills over video compared to writing. If you’re highly technical and have a ton of information to share with your target audience, a video course might be the right product for you.
Software as a service refers to web applications that commonly charge a monthly subscription for access to a tool. While business to consumer definitely exists, the majority of SaaS businesses focus on targeting another business (B2B). This makes sense since businesses are the more likely of the two to have tough problems that they are willing to spend money to solve.
Creating software to sell has almost unlimited potential if you can find product-market fit. Your pricing and your feature sets can be small or large depending on your goals. It’s worth noting that SaaS businesses have the highest upfront investment of time and money to execute.
Pro SaaS Tip: Focus on one amazing core feature that your audience will find immediately valuable and important. Avoid the pitfall of being “feature happy” and spending excessive time and money working on features that may or may not be important to your target audience.
I added these all into one category for easy reading, but this category could fill an entire room. When you have a large enough audience in a specific enough niche, you’ll constantly find new ideas for digital products that would help your audience.
This could be as simple as a spreadsheet that helps your customers forecast their expenses, to custom-designed artwork or other digital media creation. The main point I’m trying to make is that you’re not confined to selling ebooks or video courses - you can create something amazing that will provide value for your audience doing something you already know and love. And if the thing you create is truly valuable, you should have little difficulty getting an engaged audience to pay for it.
What started out as a very small segment of the market, has today grown to be one of the most profitable spaces to launch and grow a business. Online shopping is the fastest growing force in the global online marketplace with the market size predicted to hit 4 trillion this year. In the US alone, we’re anticipating 300 million online shoppers by the end of 2023. That’s nearly 91% of the entire population!
Now, we’re not exclusively talking about digital sales here, but it’s important to realize the significance and opportunity of starting an online business today. There is unlimited potential to reach new customers, and make competitive offerings cheaper than ever before.
There are some major pros and cons when it comes to selling digital products. The most obvious benefits of choosing to sell a digital product involve costs. When you sell a digital product, worrying about things like shipping, storing your products, and managing inventory are virtually nonexistent. This is very attractive when getting started due to lower barriers to entry, meaning you can get started with as little as a PDF you made on your Mac.
On the other hand, selling physical products offers instant value to your customers. For example, when you purchase a new hammer on Amazon - as long as it arrives in good condition (as promised) your customer is likely to be satisfied with their purchase. With a digital product, you need a little more finesse to create value for your customers. This has everything to do with HOW you market your product, and what VALUE you’re delivering inside.
The reason I bring this up is not to deter you from selling your digital product, but to make you aware of the potential trade-offs involved with creating and selling your product online. It does take quite a bit of work to create something helpful and unique, but in my opinion, the benefits often outweigh the cons.
There are many ways to go about selling your product on your website. Whether you're building a full fledged store with a shopping cart or a high converting checkout page, below were going to cover some of the most important things you need to focus on to make your sales process on your website a success.
Validation is probably the most overlooked step when it comes to creating a product/service that you plan to sell online. It’s easy to get overly excited about our new and fantastic product idea. You’ll notice the immediate compulsion to start creating/writing/designing the cover etc. My advice? Avoid this temptation!
Validation is the art of figuring out whether or not someone actually wants to buy something that you are trying to sell. This sounds so simple but can save you a great deal of time/money/effort spent creating a product that people don’t actually want.
When you’re getting started you may mention your digital product idea to friends and family, and this is completely normal - but what you don’t often notice is that your friends and family care about you and want you to feel good about your business, which leads to rarely giving negative feedback. They’ll tell you that your idea is great, and they’ll tell you that you’re on the right track. However, they most likely will not purchase your product.
See how big of a problem this is?
When you take advice from non-target customers, you’re wasting your time with data that doesn’t matter. A better alternative is to instead find REAL target customers, and approach them to see what they think. Even better? Find them and see if they’ll purchase the first iteration of your product for a steep discount. Keep in mind, if someone who is interested in the problem you’re trying to solve won’t pay $10 for your product, it will be very hard to find a large number to pay $50. Validate early and listen careful to the feedback your audience is giving you.
After your product is validated, and you’re certain that you can provide value to your target customers before you start creating your dream digital product, it’s important to make sure that you have a traffic generation strategy in place.
This means you have a reliable way to attract and interact with new potential customers each day. If you already have a website with significant traffic - good news, you can skip this section! However, if you don’t currently have a website, or you have very low traffic - you’re going to want to work on your lead generation strategy.
You might be thinking to yourself, “what the heck is a lead magnet?”, and that’s ok. A lead magnet is an internet marketing lead generation concept where you offer a free resource that is related to the product you’re selling in exchange for an email address. A good example of this is when an author allows you to download the first 2 chapters of their book in exchange for an email.
When you set up your marketing this way, a few amazing things happen. The most important being that you can now grow a list of people who might be interested in purchasing your real product. Even better? You have a list of people that you gave something valuable away for free to, which makes them know, like, and trust you more. This reduces friction when it comes time to sell, and allows you to have followup resources to help assist your customer on their buying journey.
When just getting started I would encourage you to avoid PPC advertising for driving sales (unless that is your forte), and instead, experiment with PPC for testing your landing pages and funnels. With cost-per-click being as high as $125 in some markets like real estate and roofing, pay per click ads can be very expensive to run consistently. However, they can be highly effective for getting quick feedback, split-testing offers, and more.
Once you have revenue coming into your business, and people are purchasing your digital product from your website, then it might be a good time to try experimenting with PPC for sales. You should create a clear goal (ie. 8 leads for $100) and monitor your conversion rate to sale of these leads. A tactic that I’ve personally used with great success is to run ads to a lead magnet instead of a sales page. This lowers the commitment needed from the website visitor (they only need to give their email) and will produce many slightly less qualified leads.
Both physical and digital products have a common need: to efficiently scale. When you’re first starting out, it makes sense to avoid automation and to instead handle everything like sending receipts, follow-up emails, review requests, etc by hand. In fact, it will lead to better results in the longterm if you take the time to focus on this process. You’ll know the exact questions your customers want to ask, you’ll have successful emails that get responses, and after a while, everything will be a tightly knit process.
When you’re starting to get some solid traction with your digital product and know the “ins-and-outs” of selling to your audience, it may be a good time to start thinking about marketing automation. That is, automating any part of your process that you can for higher efficiency, higher conversions, and quicker response times.
Marketing automation is all about what happens after someone gives you their email address on your website.
When you create a neatly organized user flow in your business, you unlock the ability to sell more by doing less every day. You begin to work on creating the system, instead of worrying about one-off events. By doing this repeatedly, you can work at improving smaller parts of your sales funnel by measuring data like clicks, opens, and conversion to sale.
Getting started selling your digital product online is about more than just creating your product. If you can develop and grow an audience that resonates with you and your brand's messaging you'll have much better chances of making a product that will successfully get sales.
SecuraCart was designed to help make selling your digital products as easy as possible. From connecting to your payment processor, to creating a beautiful high converting landing page, to securely delivering your digital assets - we take care of all the heavy lifting!
Whether you're selling graphics, ebooks, or audio files - we make it simple for you to focus on getting sales instead of worrying about your website. Embed our forms directly on your website, or share a link to your secure cloud-hosted payment portal.
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