The term “digital product” might sound like an oxymoron. After all, a product is something you can hold in your hands, right?
In fact, digital sales trump physical sales in several industries. Music, for instance, has shifted from tapes and CDs to digital files. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, 50 percent of the recording industry’s sales in 2016 came from digital revenues. Only 34 percent came from physical format sales.
But entrepreneurs are selling a lot more than music online. If you don’t think you can sell digital products and make money from home, you might be surprised by the possibilities.
Furthermore, you can take your brick-and-mortar success online. If you’ve already had success with physical products, diversify your income streams with digital products as well.
What Is a Digital Product?
A digital product is any item that can be sold from one party to another through digital means, such as electronic files or website access. It usually offers some sort of benefit, whether it’s entertainment, information, or a process that the end user can apply for his or her own needs.
Common digital products include several items you might already buy and use.
- Online courses
- Stock photography
- Digital graphics
- Fonts and letterforms
None of these items have any physical properties, yet they each provide value to the consumer.
A digital product is also a piece of intellectual property. It belongs to you, the creator, until you sell it to someone else. You can sell some digital products, such as a custom video, and assign full rights to the buyer. However, you can also license the same digital products over and over again to generate passive income.
In other words, digital products are a lot more versatile than physical products. If you want to make money from home, you might achieve faster and better success with digital products instead of physical items.
Is Selling Digital Products Right for You?
Have you ever tried to build a physical product? You need cash, infrastructure, endless partners, and plenty of gumption. Digital products remove most of those barriers.
You don’t need a manufacturing plant or a logistics partner. In fact, you only need yourself.
What many people don’t realize is that they have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with others. More importantly, they can monetize those skills in the form of digital products.
If you’re a photographer, for instance, you can sell your work on stock photography websites to build a following and earn licensing fees. At the same time, you can continue to offer your services as a wedding, portrait, or nature photographer. Digital products allow you to diversify your income streams.
Similarly, you can teach online courses so that others can benefit from your wisdom. Whether your super power is cooking homemade meals, building tough fitness routines, starting businesses, creating design assets, or embarking upon self-improvement projects, you can teach others to do the same thing.
Is selling digital products right for you? Yes, if you have a marketable skill that you can translate into a digital product.
5 Benefits of a Digital Product Business Model
Still on the fence? Maybe you’ll want to sell digital products online when you’re more familiar with the potential benefits of this increasingly popular business model.
1. Reduce Your Overhead
As mentioned above, you don’t need nearly as much liquid capital for a digital product business model as you do when you sell physical products. Most digital product creators need to spend money on just a few essentials.
- A platform from which to sell their products, such as a website.
- Advertising and marketing
- Supplies needed to create the product, such as building materials if you’re teaching a DIY course
- Any software or cloud-hosted solutions that help business growth
- Equipment needed to produce digital products, such as your computer
Other than those bare necessities, the only investment you make in your product is your time.
After you start to generate income through your digital product business, you can inject more money back into the business. You might want to ramp up your paid social advertising, for instance, or hire other professionals to help you create your products.
The point, though, is that it’s all discretionary spending. If you don’t have the cash—or if you’d rather keep your money in your pocket—you can continue to generate revenue.
2. Sell the Same Product Multiple Times
As mentioned above, digital products typically represent a form of passive income. In other words, once you create the product, you can sell it to as many people as you want without any further effort on your part.
It’s like the music example we used earlier. If you’re a recording artist, you only have to put together your album once. Then you can sell it to anyone who wants to listen to your music.
The same goes for online courses. Once you create the material, it’s available for anyone who wants to learn the subject you’re teaching. When you’re a successful entrepreneur in the digital sphere, you don’t have to keep funneling more money into manufacturing, transportation, or logistics.
Additionally, you can build on past products to create new ones. Many of the entrepreneurs with whom we’ve worked have leveraged online courses to create new courses. They might label them as “Part Two” and “Part Three,” for instance, or create similar course material, for beginners, intermediate learners, and advanced consumers.
It all depends on how you set up your digital product business model. No matter what, though, you can rely on passive income to help you secure your financial future.
3. Measure Any Metric You Want
You can measure metrics with physical products, but digital products are even easier to track. You can use free and inexpensive online tools to track sales, revenue, conversion rates, bounce rates, and anything else you think might help you generate more income.
If you use an all-in-one platform like Kajabi, you can even measure your success from your dashboard. Keep track of the courses you’ve sold, your email marketing metrics, and other analytics that help you understand your business model better.
As an online entrepreneur, you’ll quickly learn that metrics drive revenues. If you know your numbers, you can make adjustments on the fly. In the physical world, such changes can take weeks, months, or even years to implement.
Why wait when you can implement changes in seconds? You don’t have to wait for anyone else’s approval or action, and you can watch your metrics in real time as your digital products fly off virtual shelves.
4. Collaborate With Other Creatives
The Internet has created an ideal platform for collaboration. You can work with anyone, no matter where they live, and when you partner with other brands and professionals, you gain access to new audiences.
For instance, let’s say you create an online fitness course that helps people lose weight through resistance training. Awesome! You finish the course, put it up for sale, and watch people benefit from your hard work as they sweat off the pounds.
Now you’re ready to grow as an entrepreneur, but how do you leverage the success of your first digital product?
You could create a similar online course that targets a slightly different audience or that builds upon the first course. In fact, you should probably do that.
However, you could also partner with an expert in nutrition and collaborate on a course that combines healthy eating with weight training to achieve better results.
Now you both have access to each other’s audiences, which increases your revenue potential. Plus, you only have to put in half the work on your next digital product.
5. Diversify Revenue Streams
Many of our #KajabiHeroes don’t just sell online courses. They’re also entrepreneurs in other ways. They might be photographers, chefs, personal trainers, marketing executives, or life coaches.
As an online entrepreneur, you can’t diversify enough. As you build more revenue streams, you create more stability for your online business, and you can reach more people.
More importantly, you can reach consumers who might not express interest in your other business models. Let’s say, for example, that you’re a photographer. You probably won’t get hired to shoot the wedding for a customer who lives 3,000 miles away. However, that same person might buy your fine art photographs to hang in her home with her new hubby.
You can also diversify your revenue streams through multiple digital products. Maybe you could create and sell stock photography, for instance, and prepare an online course that teaches new shutterbugs how to work their fancy new cameras.
Leverage your skills in new ways as an online entrepreneur. Digital products offer almost limitless opportunities to market your skills and talents.
Selling Physical Versus Digital Products Online
Ecommerce entrepreneurs often sell physical products online. They set up their own storefronts or use established platforms to sell their wares. Popular ecommerce sites like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon let people unload unwanted items or produce their own products.
However, selling physical products online requires significantly more work on the seller’s part.
- Sourcing the merchandise
- Maintaining inventory
- Packaging products for shipment
- Keeping customers apprised of shipping progress
- Dealing with returns and exchanges
- Storing excess inventory
Digital products don’t involve any of those headaches. You don’t have any inventory other than the files stored on your computer, and you don’t have to physically send your customers anything.
If you run an ecommerce business out of your own home, you might discover that every room in the house becomes overrun with cardboard cartons, merchandise, shipping labels, and other detritus. Furthermore, if you receive too many orders, you might get backed up and disappoint customers.
When you decide to become an online entrepreneur, you have to consider the risks as well as the opportunities. Digital products offer less of the former and more of the latter.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about tracking SKUs, switching vendors, or approaching venture capitalists. As your online business grows, you can hire more staff or keep doing the work yourself. It’s infinitely scaleable, but you can also keep it manageable, depending on your specific goals.
Is it Possible to Make Money Selling Digital Products Online?
Inc. contributing editor Jeff Haden calls digital products “the most attractive online business” model. He cites a case study in which one online entrepreneur generated $220,000 on his first online course.
Can you make money selling digital products online? Absolutely. As long as you follow a few essential strategies, you can start generating income almost immediately.
- Find your audience. Don’t wait for people to come to you. Get active on social media, start blogging about your area of expertise, and contribute guest blogs to other publications. Get your name and your digital products in front of as many people as possible.
- Go for quality over quantity. You might remember when people earned thousands of dollars per month writing short blog posts and filling their blogs with advertising. Now they can’t make enough to live on. These days, online consumers expect quality digital products. Take your time and create the best possible version of your product before you unveil it to your audience.
- Set your prices reasonably. If you try to sell your digital products for too much money, you’ll outprice your consumers and wind up with little income. However, don’t swing the pendulum too far in the other direction. Undervaluing your digital products will send the message that you don’t think highly of them and that the consumer can expect subpar work. Use a price tracking tool to help you monitor product prices of competing products for marketing research.
- Keep in touch with your customers. Use email marketing, SMS marketing, and social media to keep in contact with people who buy from you. Respond to their comments on your blog and listen to their feedback carefully. If you maintain relationships with your customers, they’ll keep coming back with their wallets wide open.
5 Most Profitable Digital Products to Sell Online
If you’re looking for a way to make money online, you can focus on digital products that sell extremely well. While there are hundreds of digital product options, the following are among the most profitable.
Videos and Courses
If you haven’t noticed, we’ve become a society of learners.
What do you do when your refrigerator suddenly stops running? You run a search on Google to find out if there’s an easy fix.
What do you do when you open a new software program? You search the manufacturer’s website for the user manual and tutorial section.
Everyone loves to learn, so why not give the people what they want?
These days, people expect to find information online, but they’re looking for high-quality information that’s concentrated in one place. They don’t want to spend hours scouring Google for tidbits of data and instruction.
Videos and courses allow you to share your knowledge with the world—for a price. You can create a video tutorial, written course, or illustrated course, then offer it for a single price to anyone who wants to buy it. Cover any topic on which you’re knowledgeable.
If you decide to create an educational video, don’t just slap it on YouTube and let people watch for free. Instead, monetize your hard work and incorporate it in an online course.
An ebook allows people to read information you’ve created in digital format. They might read it on their desktop or laptop computers, but they can also load it onto their e-readers, tablets, and even smartphones.
We don’t think it’d be much fun to read an ebook on a smartwatch, but it’s possible!
These days, self-publishing has become the new norm. While plenty of people still seek traditional publishing, such as through the Big Six publishing houses, many others prefer to retain creative control as well as all the profits.
You can sell your ebook on Amazon, BN.com, and other Internet book retailers as well as from your own website. Additionally, you could break up the content and present it as an online course. In other words, you’ve done all the work and created two distinct products.
(If you take this route, be transparent about it. You don’t want the same customer to buy both versions and feel cheated.)
While ebooks are an easy way to make money online, they’re not always as profitable as online courses. Many people price their online courses at $100 or more, while self-published authors frequently let their books go for $0.99 on Amazon. Think carefully about your revenue-stream options before you decide how to present your educational material.
Stock photography websites continue to proliferate. People don’t have time to set up, light, and shoot their own professional photos, so they buy stock photos to use over and over again.
If you’re a professional photographer, consider selling your best work online. You could submit your work to stock photography websites, sell them from your own site as fine art, partner with a printer or greeting card manufacturer, or find a completely different way to sell them.
Additionally, you could use your photographs in your online courses to make them more engaging and actionable. Many photographers have created their own online courses to teach their post-production, composition, or lighting methods. Find some aspect of your photography skill set that others might want to learn, then teach it.
You don’t need a record deal or a spotlight on “The Voice” to sell music anymore. People just like you are making excellent money producing and selling their own music using desktop and mobile software.
Before you know it, customers will be streaming your songs through their iPods and recommend your name to their friends.
You could also teach people how to make their own music. As an online entrepreneur, your authority and expertise could translate into more passive income, and you’ll help the next generation of musicians get on their feet.
Graphic Web Elements
From icons and mockups to corporate packaging and logos, businesses are hungry for graphic web elements. They don’t want to design their own, so they either hire graphic designers or purchase media kits online.
Consider creating your own web assets to sell. You might select a theme, such as health care, and create hundreds of digital assets around that theme. Doctors, hospitals, health care bloggers, and other people in the industry can download and use them—for a fee, of course.
After you start creating digital assets for sale, you can teach people how to do the same thing with their graphic design skills. Many artists want to learn how to sell their own graphic web elements, so construct a course that teaches them exactly how you did it.
Alternatively, use a course to teach aspiring artists the finer details of a specific software program, such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. The options are almost limitless.
Digital Product Examples You Might Want to Try
If you’re not convinced that you can make money online using digital products, let’s look to some of our #KajabiHeroes for inspiration.
All of our #KajabiHeroes have generated a minimum of $1,000 with their online courses. Many of them have exceeded that benchmark by thousands of dollars, and often in a short timespan.
For instance, Tiffany Bymaster of LightsCameraBranding.com is a videographer extraordinaire as well as an accomplished educator. She’s become an entrepreneur in more ways than one, and her online courses help people learn to shoot their own videos.
She’s one of our favorite success stories; Tiffany reports that, within the first three days of launching her first online course, she earned seven times the amount of cash she would have brought home from her day job in an entire year.
Our other #KajabiHeroes have launched digital products of their own.
- Elissa Weinzimmer, a vocal health educator, teaches courses that help voice-over artists and other professionals maintain their pipes without damage.
- Kevin Wallace uses his Cisco certification to teach online courses in technology.
- Andy Arguez teaches supernatural mentorship in multiple languages, thus diversifying his income potential even further.
As you can see, digital product entrepreneurs come from all walks of life. They all have different experiences, education levels, and interests.
They share one thing in common, though: They’re not afraid to become online entrepreneurs.
If you don’t want to take on the risks that physical products bring, digital products might offer the ideal solution.
How to Sell Digital Products Using Kajabi
Once you’re ready to start selling digital products online, you’ll need a platform and a way to connect with your audience. Using Kajabi’s all-in-one system, you can get your online business up and running right away.
With Kajabi, you don’t need to learn how to code or figure out which plugins you need to make a digital product ecommerce shop work. Instead, you let us do the heavy lifting while you focus on your digital products.
Here’s a rundown of the steps you can take to make your digital products more successful on Kajabi.
- Sign up for Kajabi. It’s fast and easy, and you get a free trial to test the waters.
Build your first product. Use the intuitive interface to name your first product and begin creating it in the Kajabi environment. Add text, images, videos, and more to make your product as engaging as possible.
- Select a theme. Kajabi offers several beautiful themes, which you can easily customize based on your brand. Use themes to give your online products more visibility and an improved user experience. Over time, your customers will recognize your branding and know they can trust your work.
- Price your product. Select a price point that reflects the product’s quality, complexity, and depth.
- Launch a video. Create a video to go with your online course, then upload it into Kajabi and deliver it directly to your customers.
- Build a community. Communicate with your customers on-on-one or in a group session. Relationship building can foster brand loyalty and make your digital products more engaging and appealing.
- Drip your content. Release your course modules slowly so students can build anticipation for the next section of the course.
- Market your products. Use Kajabi and third-party services to build your email list, attract social media followers, blog about your topic, and otherwise spread your message.
After you create your first online course, start the process all over again. Retaining existing customers can give you an automatic revenue channel as consumers impatiently await your next release.
Digital products can provide a steady stream of income for entrepreneurs who don’t want the hassle of physical products. Plus, if your skills automatically lend themselves to digital products, you’re already ahead of the game.
We believe that anyone should have the opportunity to leave their mark as entrepreneurs, and digital products provide that opportunity. You take less risk, assume no debt, and retain all creative control. It’s that simple.
Now all you have to do is get to work. Decide what type(s) of digital products you’d like to create, then make the magic happen. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.
Have you created digital products for sale? What worked? What didn’t? How can Kajabi help?
And if you're ready to get started on selling digital products on Kajabi now, hit the button below to grab your 14 day free trial!
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