You may be struggling to make ends meet with your current small business, or perhaps you want to start a new venture that has a low initial investment. In either case, digital products are a great option for giving you a source of passive income. But what are digital products?
Put simply, a digital product is anything you create once and then sell multiple copies of online. It’s common for entrepreneurs to create digital products that are related to their main business, but you can also build a new company around your digital product ideas.
Is Creating Profitable Digital Products Possible?
This business model can definitely be profitable: you just need to come up with the right digital product ideas and then develop a strategy to market them.
In addition, digital products have major advantages over physical products. For instance:
- You can sell each product an unlimited number of times without ever needing to hold any inventory.
- There’s no shipping necessary. In fact, you can even automate the delivery of orders, sending the digital product at the moment the buyer pays.
- The most profitable digital products have high profit margins.
- You can use digital products as marketing tools to promote your main business at the same time as generating income.
Digital Product Ideas in 2020
A quick search will show you that entrepreneurs are already experimenting with a huge number of digital product ideas. To pick the right type for you, think about how you can utilize your skills, expertise, and knowledge. Also consider how much time you’d be willing to invest — some digital products take a few hours to create, whereas others will require up to months of your time.
Selling ebooks could be your gateway to becoming a published writer. The great thing about ebooks is they can be any length — write anything from just a few pages to a comprehensive guide or entire novel. All you’ll need to know is how to write compelling content. There’s no need to worry about design skills, as you can use a template.
Another benefit of ebooks is you can use them to generate more revenue than just what you receive for the sale. For instance, you can include affiliate links, use them to promote your business by subtly showing customers why they’d benefit from your products or services, or just to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
2. Stock Photos
Generic photos are unlikely to make you any profit, but there’s a large market for original stock photos. For instance, small and midsize businesses are often looking to buy styled stock photos to create a better aesthetic for their brand.
Could other professionals benefit from your business expertise? Or do you have some other type of expert knowledge to share? Consider hosting an online workshop and sell tickets to the live event. Afterward, turn the workshop into a digital project by uploading the video online and allowing uses to pay to access the recording.
If the subject is interesting enough, just a video of you speaking could be enough. However, it’s never a bad idea to go a step further and prepare a presentation to make your workshop more engaging.
4. Online Courses
You may have too much information to fit into a single workshop. If this is the case, consider creating a longer course.
At its simplest, this could be a paid email course where you send content to users containing tips and activities. If you’re able to make a larger commitment, you may like to create an elearning course with videos, readings, audio extracts, quizzes, and interactive activities.
You can run your course continuously or at various start dates. The latter is a good option if you want the users on your course to interact with each other and to create a fear of missing out.
Be aware that whatever you do will consume much more of your time than creating a workshop. However, it may be possible to split your course into shorter tutorials, rather than launching the whole thing at once. This may be a more manageable project.
4. Web Elements
If you’re a web developer, consider repurposing the elements you’ve created for clients’ sites. Tweak your templates, themes, plugins, and code snippets to make them more generic and applicable for a wider range of users.
5. Audio Samples and Tools
Musicians today struggle to sell entire songs. Therefore, if you have music production knowledge, a better option could be to monetize audio samples. Create a great drum beat, jingle, sound effect, or loop that others can use in their music, add to videos, or include in podcasts.
In addition, you may be able to sell your music production tools. Sell them alongside your audio samples to help users adapt sounds to make them unique and better fit your brand.
6. Video Elements
If your skills extend beyond music into video production, you could offer full packages for video. Include stock images, text, and sound clips. Such packages are often appealing to businesses that want to use video marketing but find the cost of production prohibitive.
Creating printables can be a lucrative digital product idea for those with a background in graphic design. Your options are almost endless: design calendars, games, to-do lists — get as creative as you can. Over the summer, in particular, parents will be looking for activities to keep their kids occupied. When school starts back up, teachers will need similar resources. Design just a worksheet or an entire workbook.
Similar to printables are templates. If you create templates for your own business activities, this is your opportunity to adapt them to fit other companies’ needs. Many business owners find templates a necessity to create a professional appearance for a presentation or when sending a document to a client.
Plus, templates are not just limited to business — they’re useful for almost any activity you can think of. People are often happy to pay for templates because of the amount of time it saves them.
8. Content Scripts
Back when you were at college, you may have used an essay builder for help structuring essays. Content scripts use the same concept, except you can create them for any type of content. If you’re an expert at writing email newsletters, cover letters for jobs, or even movie scripts, design a content script to help others.
9. Apps and Mobile Games
Use your mobile developer skills to create a simple game that users will love or an app that solves a common problem. If this will be your first app, encourage downloads by setting the price to free and including in-app purchases or by making a paid version that removes ads.
If you’re an ultra-organized person, the likelihood is you’re always using spreadsheets to keep on track with your objectives. Selling trackers and spreadsheets may sound like too simple an idea, but you need to remember that many people have no idea where to even begin. There’s a big audience of people who are struggling to reach their goals. Use your understanding of something like business planning, fitness, or healthy eating to help customers move in the right direction.
11. Graphic Elements
Many types of digital products fall under the category of graphic elements. You have textures, Photoshop brushes, illustrations, and much more. Be aware that some of these areas are highly competitive, meaning you’ll have to do a great job to stand out. In particular, Lightroom presets and fonts are already saturated markets.
Many people are stuck at home, looking for ways to spend their time away from a screen. Launch a business around unique patterns for knitting, sewing, crochet, or another craft.
How and Where to Sell Digital Products
To be successful in your venture, you first need to figure out the best digital product ideas to sell. This means being objective when you think about your skills. You may know how to produce a certain type of digital product, but you’re unlikely to make much (if anything) if your skills are low.
Next, think about what customers actually want. It’s no use creating a product you love if no one’s interested in paying for it. Look for gaps in the market and talk to customers about what they’d like, including what they’d be willing to pay. Avoid anything customers can already find for free, unless you’re able to offer superior quality and this higher quality is worthwhile to customers.
Once you’ve figured all this out, you’ll need to decide where to sell your digital products. As some platforms only allow you to sell physical products, it’s important to read commerce policies. Furthermore, it’s useful to choose a platform that has tools to protect you from piracy.
Some top places to sell digital products include:
- FastSpring — Sell to customers around the world in a secure way, thanks to 15-factor fraud detection.
- Sellwire — Receive a link for each individual digital product you upload and share the link on your website or social media profiles.
- Selz — Market and sell digital products. There’s even a limited-time streaming feature just for video tutorials.
- Sellfy — This e-commerce platform now supports digital products and subscriptions. Add an entire store to your website or just the “buy now” buttons and product widgets.
Alternatively, you could sell your products in your existing e-commerce store. Many tools help you add products to your store, but some of the best are:
- Digital Downloads — Add digital products to your Shopify store for free.
- Photolock — Gain protection for your stock photos and other visual products.
- Thinkific — Create a course curriculum and sell online courses through your Shopify store.
Digital products can be a hugely profitable business idea that requires minimal capital to start. To actually sell the products, though, requires a good understanding of your target audience. Make sure you spend enough time researching before jumping in to create your products. Then, once you’ve developed your digital products, dedicate time to marketing them to ensure customers do find them!