The internet gives you access to an extremely large audience. If you’re savvy, you can use that access to earn revenue selling various digital products. This, however, might seem easier said than done, especially when you don’t know what it is you can sell.
The good news is you probably don’t have to look far out of your own comfort zone to come up with digital products to sell online.
The great benefit of a digital product is that you create it once and then sell it infinitely. They’re also cheaper to produce than physical products, and they don’t take up space.
In 2020, more than 2 billion people across the world purchased products and services online, spending over 4 trillion dollars. It’s expected that the number will grow to six trillion by 2024, so the time of trying to start something on your own couldn’t be better.
You already have a unique skillset and know-how to offer to the world, but you just need to understand how to monetize. We’ve listed out 20 digital products that might spark the idea that gets you to create an ecommerce website.
What is a digital product?
A digital product is a product that you can sell online that doesn’t have a physical or tangible form. Basically, digital products are goods you can exchange without touching. A hardcover you buy at your local bookstore is a physical product, while and eBook you download is a digital product.
Why sell digital products?
If you didn’t know already, the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a massive change in how most people shop for goods and services. More people shop online than ever before and that trend will continue into the future long after the pandemic.
According to Statista, ecommerce accounted for 4.28 trillion dollars of sales in 2020 and that number is only expected to increase as time goes on. The barrier to entry for ecommerce is relatively low. You probably already know a lot more about how to create digital products than you think. By honing your skills in marketing an ecommerce site, you can sell your digital product and get a piece of that gigantic pie.
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20 digital products to sell: inspiration and ideas
You may want to break into ecommerce and sell digital goods, but you find yourself a little stumped on what to offer. Take a look at these digital products to get a better idea of what you could sell online.
1. Online courses
Online courses continue to be one of the hottest digital products to sell for several reasons.
First, demand for online courses never seems to fade. In fact, with more people spending more time at home, and less time commuting, there could be more demand than ever before. People are constantly looking to hone their skills, or even learn new ones as they look to move up in the world in one way or another.
The second big reason online courses are so big involves the potential for passive income. You can create a relatively evergreen course and keep reaping the benefits of people buying it as time passes on.
Not too far removed from online courses, tutorials can potentially be an excellent digital product you can sell. People constantly try to figure out how to get things done by themselves. Think of all the times you’ve typed in a web search query starting with “how to.”
You might run into a problem of there being an overabundance over free tutorials on the web. However, you can counter that by going into more depth than the average tutorial on your chosen subject. Or you might be able to package a string of tutorials together that come close to resembling an entire online course.
Much like with courses and tutorials, a membership-based site can offer a built-in source of continuing revenue. You can lock in members by leveraging your expertise to give them new content on a regular basis, or even by facilitating a community based around a certain subject matter.
You could write an eBook, put it on the market, and keep making money off it without having to write it again. When looking for the subject matter for your eBook, just think about the areas in your life that you already have expert-level knowledge in, you might be surprised to find that you have a vast amount of valuable experience and know-how to expound upon.
Keep in mind that eBooks run the risk of becoming outdated after a time, so it may be worth updating them every so often with more current information and insights.
There is a very wide array of templates you can create to sell. So many people are always looking for ways to make life just a bit easier. Oftentimes, a template can provide just the ease they seek. All they have to do is essentially fill in the blanks.
Some examples of popular templates:
- Cover letters
- Business planning
- Design (web, graphics, etc.)
Like with many other digital products to sell, this has a great potential for passive income.
People love to eat. That’s not changing any time soon.
There’s certainly no shortage of recipes online, but oftentimes it can be hard to know who those recipes are coming from, and they can feel pretty generic. You can sell your recipes online in an eBook, by adding your own personal flare. You’ll, of course, especially have a heads up if you are a chef or professionally trained cook.
Photography seems to never stop growing as a hobby. You can take that hobby and start making money from it. There are several ways you can sell digital photography online. One of the main ways is by selling stock photography. With all the countless publishing websites on the internet, there extremely high demand for stock photos to help add visual elements to the articles, blog posts, landing pages, and more being posted every minute of every day.
8. Stock videos
While we are on the subject of stock imagery, you can also consider selling stock video online.
Content creators are crafting new videos more than ever and often need stock video to supplement shots they might not be able to easily take. You can take your fancy drone set up and film some stunning landscapes and skyline views and sell those clips on various marketplaces or directly on your website.
Again, content creators are using video and audio mediums all the time and they love to feature engaging music that will not get them in copyright infringement problems. You might not be aware that stock music is a niche, but it certainly is. Use your musical talents to create this highly coveted digital product.
10. Stock audio
Perhaps, you aren’t exactly musical, but you do have a strong grasp on recording sound. Invest in some audio equipment and record stock sounds that content creators can use in their audio and video content. Background noises, sound effects, and nature sounds are example of popular stock audio.
11. Website themes
This one is kind of an offshoot of templates. Essentially, you can create themes as a digital product to sell that remove a bulk of the work involved in building a website. Your theme will have the basic structure and design built right into it. Anybody can take your theme and insert in their own content.
For example, you could create and sell some of the best Woocommerce themes available on the web to help other brands get their ecommerce stores off the ground.
As we step into some of the more technical digital products to sell, we’ll start off with software. If you are a developer, you don’t necessarily have to make the next gigantic program to earn revenue from your work. Consider identifying a niche you’re familiar with and building software that helps solve common problems within it.
13. Mobile apps
Gone are the days when desktop traffic dominated the internet. Mobile is king and while the cliché that “there’s an app for that” seems truer now than ever before, the fact remains that there is still plenty of room in the mobile world for even more apps. Again, with competition being so fierce, try to identify a niche and build your app to serve its specific audience.
Podcasts are typically associated with being free, with any revenue typically coming from ad support. However, it’s not entirely unheard of to sell podcasts. Business-related and industry-specific podcasts featuring industry experts can serve as a sort of masterclass and tend to do better as digital products for sale than a standard lifestyle podcast.
15. Meditation audio
The benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices are becoming more commonly accepted these days. Productivity, mood, and overall health can be enhanced through meditation. If you are entrenched in the world of life coaching and wellness, you can create audio recordings of guided meditations and sell them a la carte or in packages.
16. Graphic designs
Unlike good fresh food at a popular restaurant, graphic design does not have to be created to order. You can make graphic design to sell to people who need visual elements in things like websites, presentations, marketing materials, brandings, videos, and more. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even create whole packages of graphic design to sell your work in bulk.
17. Patterns and prints
Just because you’re selling products in digital formats doesn’t mean they can’t become physical. If you’re in the crafting world, you can sell patterns that customers can use for knitting, sewing, and more.
You can also sell printable artwork that can become posters, framed pictures, greetings cards, and more. Even 3D-printable products are in demand.
18. Articles and blogs
As stated earlier, there is a plethora of online publishers out on the web, and they are always on the lookout for more articles and blogs to publish. If you are a writer, you might tend to wait for an assignment to write, but you can also write articles on spec and put them up for sale on either your own website or one of several writing marketplaces.
19. Guides and checklists
Between hobbies and businesses, there are plenty of people out there wanting to start something new. While they might not need you to hold their hand during the process, they’d likely appreciate a guiding light along the way. Use your expertise to craft up checklists and or guides that your customers can use to help them ensure that they remain focused and on the right path as they venture out to new pastures.
This is definitely not in the same passive income category as practically all of the other items on our list, but you can sell your services online to perform remotely/virtually. Some examples of digital services you can offer include:
What you need to start selling
How do you sell digital products? Before starting, consider the product itself, marketing strategy, and the website.
Digital products have woven themselves into different parts of our daily lives. Here are some of the categories of the most profitable digital products:
- Online courses
- Membership sites
- Coaching and consulting
There are different platforms where you can sell your digital products.
- WooCommerce — A free WordPress plugin and one of the best ecommerce platforms in the world. It’s excellent for selling both physical and digital products.
- Magento — Excellent and one of the most popular ecommerce development platforms. It’s not limited to selling physical products only but digital and downloadable services and products too.
- Podia — A widely popular ecommerce platform for selling digital products, such as webinars, courses, downloads, membership subscriptions, etc.
- LearnDash — A good option for selling online courses.
- MemberPress — A WordPress membership plugin where you can sell digital products and paid memberships without sharing a cut of your products.
A digital marketing strategy is a general plan that outlines how you’ll achieve the marketing goals of your business via online channels. It’s mostly going to summarize which digital marketing tactics and channels you’ll use, plus how much you’ll invest.
Some examples include:
- Social media campaigns: You can, for instance, aim for partnerships with influencers or paid ads intended for your target audience
- Content marketing strategy: This is an approach focused on creating and sharing relevant, consistent, and helpful content that attracts a clearly defined audience and provides them with valuable information.
- Growth marketing strategy: Traditional marketing might include things like an online ad or a TV commercial. Growth marketing, on the other hand, focuses on the whole customer funnel, not just the top of it. They constantly experiment within a toolkit of growth tactics, such as affiliate marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay-per-click) ads, email marketing, etc.
How to effectively sell digital products
How do you make money selling digital products? There are multiple elements you need to consider here.
Identify a problem your product needs to solve
If you’re not sure which products you want to focus your time, money, and effort on, put all your ideas on paper, evaluate them, and carefully think about the issue they can solve. For instance, if you want to teach people how to get fit at home without using any equipment, you would be helping them to:
- Increase their confidence.
- Get healthier.
- Save money and time they'd usually spend on a personal trainer or a gym.
The thing is, the more important and painful the issue your digital product wants to solve, the better you’ll be at creating and selling digital products.
Conduct product feasibility studies
A feasibility study considers different factors, including technical, economic, legal, and scheduling, to help you determine if your plan will succeed.
As part of such a study, project managers must check if they have enough financial resources, people to perform the job, and the appropriate technology. Also, they can get familiar with potential issues that could arise along the way and prepare solutions.
Check forums and Facebook groups
You can start your own or explore existing forum topics, Facebook groups, and other online places where your target audience is. These are all types of digital communities where people share helpful information, useful tips, and generally the same passions as you do.
Learn about your target market
To sell digital products, you have to know who your customers are. That doesn’t mean everyone who buys your services or products would fit the same profile. However, analyzing your core customer base — or, in other words, target market — can help you understand your buyers better as well as figure out their motivations and needs.
Demographics like gender, age, occupation, education level, and family situation can also help you determine what your target audience needs, and what they’re willing to spend their money on.
Set the pricing strategy
Pricing strategy is the approach businesses take to determine what the cost of their services and products should be. There is no pricing strategy that fits everyone on the market the same, but there are elements that can help you set your own.
Before you start selling digital products, check out your competitors’ prices. If your price ends up being too low compared to your competition, you can easily devalue your project and lead your potential buyers to believe the quality isn’t as good. Pricing your products higher, on the other hand, shows them you bring something more to the table. Don’t be afraid to stand out in the crowd, but also think about things that make your offer different from your competitors.
The most important thing about your digital product is to provide a user with value. For instance, offer a software plugin that is vital to someone’s online store that provides immense value to a customer, such as a payment gateway. They literally wouldn’t be able to run a store without making payments on their site.
Fees and expenses
The excitement of making your first sale can quickly fade when you put all your costs on paper. When setting prices for your products, think long-term. Analyze your pricing strategy all the time. Someday, as your website grows and your offer levels up, you’ll likely have to raise your prices due to higher expenses too.
Types of pricing
Think about what type of pricing makes the most sense. Is it better for you to opt for a subscription/recurring fee or make it a one-time purchase for your customers?
Analyze your competitors
It’s important to identify your competition. Your competitor is a business with a similar product and targets the same market segments as you do. There are three types of competitors:
- Direct competition: They offer the same services and products to the same clients within the same territory as you do.
- Indirect (secondary) competition: Their offer is just slightly different than yours, or they target a different audience within the same territory.
- Substitute competition: They offer different products to the same customers in the same territory.
To create a unique offer and really stand out, you need to find out who your competitors are, and what value they are bringing to the market.
Gather information about your competition
For example, you can focus on information about their:
- Products/services. Evaluate their offer and compare them to what you have. Purchase their products and try them out. What are the pros and cons? What do you think about the quality? Does it respond to users’ needs and preferences?
- Branding. Visit your competitors at trade shows and follow them on social media to understand their unique selling proposition (USP) better. USP is the factor that makes your business stand out compared to the competitors. Analyze their websites, brochures, product documents, and catalogs.
- Reputation in the market. Talk to clients, distributors, and suppliers to get their perspectives. What are their opinions about the marketing strategies, products, and customer service of your competitors?
As you’ve seen in our list, there are plenty of avenues you can take if you’re looking to get into selling digital products. We’ve barely even scratched the surface.
When deciding what digital products to sell or thinking up other ideas for your online business, consider the skills you already have. Chances are, you can use what you already know to create and sell products that people will want to buy.
Start selling digital products today
Once you hone in on that perfect digital product take a look at our guide to starting your ecommerce business to help as you get ready to launch.
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This blog was originally published in March 2022. It has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.