INCREASE ONLINE SALES
How to Build Digital Products Quickly &
Easily for Long-term Profits
Pol Cousineau, CPA (Quebec)
President of The Digital Navigator
Digital market is growing at a rapid face and you can even create digital products quickly and easily for long-term profits. Imagine yourself creating products and sell them from and to anywhere in the world.
Wondering if you should become a digital products creator to create additional streams of passive income and to further capitalize on your knowledge?
That’s a great idea!
There’s never been a better time in history to jump in the business of selling digital products.
Did you know the Global E-Learning Market is accounted for $165.21 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $275.10 billion by 2022 growing at a CAGR of 7.5% during the forecast period - according to Stratistics MRC? (1)
Demand projections for digital transformation product are $431.71 billion by 2021 (Zion Market Research) and for the global e-learning market, $331 billion by 2025, according to Accuray Research LLP. (2)
Bottom line, the future of online education and web-based information product creation looks star-bright.
The popularity of digital downloads has made it easier than ever to create and sell your own. Odds are you can use your know-how and subject matter expertise to create a solid digital product that will be valuable to some audience out there.
You likely have enough intellectual property (IP) currently being utilized in your business that can be formatted, produced, launched and sold - thereby potentially doubling your income…or more.
Just imagine how incredible it will feel to generate six figures and even multiple six figures in the next 12 to 18 months from creating and publishing just one amazing digital product.
And as you know, success breeds success, so if your product starts selling in the first year, more than likely it will sell more in the second year, third year, and beyond.
It feels like alchemy to take information you know like the back of your hand, or information you just learned from doing a little research, packaging all of that up into some video, audio and document files and making 6 to 7 figures from it per year.
Still, it’s happening everyday for a fast-growing number of information experts jumping into the game of selling digital products. If your content, coaching or consulting business is already thriving, this is a no-brainer business opportunity.
The Ultimate Digital Products Creation Guide For Every Stage
Our team has taken care to write the ultimate, most complete, and implementable guide to creating high-value Digital Products the quick and easy way.
This guide will benefit you no matter what stage of development your online business is currently in.
You should read every single word of this guide and refer back to it as a playbook if you are one of the following…
- Launching your business – at this beginning stage most people want to learn how they can make money selling their ideas. Creating a high-quality digital product is a perfect way to start off. This guide will prove to be invaluable to you in the coming days, weeks, and months of launching your successful content creation, coaching, or consulting business.
- At the $100k to $300k level – this level is the most challenging time for many because you’re really busy serving the needs of clients, which exposes the lack of systems you have in place to meet the demands of a growing customer base.
At this stage, we usually see online content, coaching and consulting business owners start using more automation tools, advanced marketing strategies and developing a roadmap for future growth.
This guide will give you tons of ideas for developing Digital Products that could be far more scalable than one-on-one coaching services or consultative services, which you may currently offer.
- At the $351K+ level – at this more advanced stage of business, we see people focused on optimizing their systems and processes, sales and marketing strategies, decreasing cost per lead, getting a stronger handle on analytics, and more.
This guide will help you refine your current business model to include Digital Products that are well-crafted so you can grow even faster than ever before. It is also meant to assist you in optimizing your current offering and repackaging your existing products and services to expand your business.
What Are Digital Products?
To get started, let's take a look at what exactly Digital Products are.
When we talk about digital products, we’re talking about tools that are created, published, stored and distributed online. The beauty of these is that you can create them once and sell it forever, benefit from infinite inventory and usually pay minimal costs for storage.
Digital Products are also called online products, information products, content products, etc. People in the business of selling information are called ‘information marketers’ by some.
Real estate investing coaches, yoga instructors, business operations consultants, thought leaders, fitness trainers and everyone else who has specialized knowledge that some audience segment wants to consume has the potential to easily make additional income by selling their own digital product.
Digital Products does include online courses, membership subscriptions and e-books. It also includes stock trading apps and more.
We usually see content creators, coaches, authors, speakers, subject matter experts, and consultants transitioning to creating digital products to add scalability to their businesses.
Why Sell Digital Products
There are many reasons why you should be in the business of selling Digital Products as your side hustle, full-time business, or additional revenue stream to your existing business. Below is a partial list of great reasons…
- Online Learning – E-learning is growing and if you look back at history, those who were early adopters of growing industries prospered. Many people enjoy online events, workshops and trainings that don’t require time and money associated with travelling.
- Create a Second Income – with the job market being more unstable than ever in American history, everyone is essentially their own boss. So even if you have a full-time job, you can't depend on it to last forever. If you run a successful business, would you say no to an extra revenue line on your income statement?
- Capitalize on Your Knowledge – you certainly have skills and knowledge that other people will want to know.
- Leverage Existing Investments – you paid to train your team and develop a world class product or service. Now you can double dip by packaging and selling your know-how while continuing to elevate your market position as the defacto #1 expert.
- Low Cost – production costs tend to be low in comparison to launching other types of new products and services. This makes them an ideal candidate for top returns on investments.
- Semi-Passive Business – lets you create a product all you have to do is focus on marketing and providing any level of customer support you choose. So this business can be semi-passive are highly active, depending on your personal preferences and goals.
- Work from Home – the overwhelming majority of people operate their digital product selling businesses from home and with remote teams that minimize overhead costs.
- Ultimate Lifestyle Business Model – selling Digital Products for a living is as close to pulling money out of the air as one can get. You can create your products and sell them from and to anywhere in the world. There are people operating their business selling Digital Products from wheelchairs, hospital beds and there's at least one highly successful quadriplegic digital product entrepreneur.
- Affiliate Sales – distribution costs pennies which gives you plenty of room to compensate highly motivated affiliate partners
Types of Digital Products
The first and most widely used and understood types of Digital Products, or information products was e-books. Quickly, online businesses started adding pre-recorded workshops, audio and video courses and paid email newsletters to the list. Many business owners aspire to generate recurring revenue with a membership subscription product.
Information products typically consists of an eBook, pre-recorded course, workshops and photography – one of the fastest growing segments.
Although you could provide only an audio course today’s consumer expect both video and audio content when making a purchase. Keep this in mind while planning production as it will influence the market price you can command.
The second quick look at a partial list of the various types of Digital Products online entrepreneurs are creating today:
- Multimedia (video, audio, document, forum, members’ area, etc.) courses
- Paid webinars, masterclasses and training
- Virtual Summits and conferences
- Group coaching (live or recorded)
- Certification programs
- Continued education self-study programs (webinars, video lessons, quizzes, exams)
- Online memberships
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
- Paid newsletter
- Regular office hours, ask anything and featured expert sessions
- Execution plans
- Audio recordings (training, meditation recording, paid private podcast)
- Memberships (Ongoing or a course delivered on drip such as 52-week course)
- 6-week course (or other time period)
- Whitelabel existing solutions and training
- Affiliate products such as Clickbank or value-added reseller software
- Specialized lists and directories
- Infographics and cheat sheets
- User generated content and private communities
- Recording in person workshops and events to sell digital or make a course – be sure to get consent if other people are in the recording
- Zoom or videoconference live program recordings sold as is or repurposed as a bonus to increase sales of your other products and services
This is not an exhaustive list of digital marketing content types with your options only being limited by your imagination… or business strategist!
Anatomy of a Great Digital Product
When it comes to making sure you create a blazing hot Digital Product everyone recommends to their friends instead of asking for a refund, you should include the following elements.
Always remember the three Es to digital product creation.
Educate – teach people what you promise to teach them. If in your promotions and marketing efforts you say you're going teach them if how to train dogs to do tricks, then deliver just that. It's important for you to define the scope of what you will teach and communicate this in your sales efforts. You don't want people to think you're going teach them A-Z if you only delivered A-B.
Entertain – equally important to educating people, you must entertain them. Think about who your favorite teachers were in school – it was the ones who didn't take themselves seriously. Yes, your information is important to learn, but you won't win lifelong fans by being a drill sergeant and being as tasteless as chewing cardboard.
Lighten up, have fun, be quirky, be silly, be yourself. However, if the real you is dry, dull and boring…don't be yourself. Pretend to be the fun and lighthearted version of you.
Encourage – this means inspire and motivate people. This is tremendously important to remember. If people buy your products, learn your information but don't feel like they can implement what you teach and do it themselves to get the results promised, you will have more returns and less testimonials, rave reviews and word-of-mouth marketing working for you.
You need to let people know throughout your modules, sections or chapters of your digital product that they can do it and be successful in implementing what you teach. One way to achieve this is by breaking your content into smaller chunks of 5 to 15 minutes each.
Quick Start guide –you should add a QuickStart guide that tells people how to get up and running quickly with your information material – particularly if you have a multi-hour-long Digital Product. If you're selling a five-page recipe guide this is not necessary.
On the other hand, if you're selling a multimedia course that takes five hours or more to complete, you should consider including a QuickStart guide that helps people find their way through your product and/or use the short version to get up and running fast.
Create Interest for Your Information Products with the Perfect Entry-Point Offer
Information products can be more easily sold once you’ve gained a small commitment from your potential buyers. The easiest way to do this is with an Entry-Point Offer. We’ve outlined a full strategy on how to do this in our article walking you through Sales Funnel Stages.
Online offerings also make fantastic Entry-Point-Offers for your more profitable offerings. Regardless of where you place them in your sales and marketing cycle you will benefit from adding a digital offering to your business model.
Who Succeeds Selling Digital Products
- Industry and Career History – people of every industry type, career path, down to highly specialized micro niches find success selling Digital Products. So you should definitely be confident that whatever type of knowledge you have you can make money selling it.
- Authors and Speakers – leverage the visibility and credibility of your book, or being featured speaker to attract customers. It is often possible to use your existing material as the outline for a deep dive course which will be a natural progression for your fans. Review our article on Sales Funnel Stages to find out how to execute this strategy.
- Coaches and Consultants – as you work with clients take notes of patterns as to the types of problems you solve. Use this to create group programs, on demand courses, ebooks, paid webinars, and memberships to serve more people with a lower time commitment from you.
- Personality Types – if introverted people may feel like extroverted people have better luck selling Digital Products. After all, they are more likely to be entertaining, right? Wrong! Introverted, extroverted, feeling, thinking, intuitive, sensing… No matter what your particular personality makeup, you can be successful selling Digital Products. You can choose a media type that suits your personality. When using video and audio you can have other people from your team do the recording.
- Other Factors – other factors including age, race, religion, political background, negative past experiences, or anything else are not factors that will keep you from being successful as a Digital Products creator but are factors that can be leveraged to attract niched audiences.
Stages to Creating Digital Products
Just like the development of any finished product, there is a typical process to building Digital Products.
If you have a good picture of what's expected of you to do in every stage of the creation of your digital product then any fear or procrastination can be minimize. After all, there's more fear in the unknown.
Right off the bat, it's important to remember that you should always aim for the highest quality production within your budget.
The great news is that though you have six, multiple six and even seven figure potential with some digital product types, it may only cost a few hundred dollars, and certainly less than $1,000 for you to create a professional-grade digital product. This includes the cost of all the tools you'll need. Pretty amazing night?
First let's look at the steps and stages involved with creating your Digital Products and then we'll take a look at the tools you need to get the job done well.
We recommend following the steps:
Brainstorming - this is a very fine stage of any endeavor, right? This is where you get to let your mind run far and wide as it possibly can. This is the stage where you get to imagine your business and product to be anything you desire.
The key is to avoid judgment or self-censorship as it will stifle creativity. Get your team or peers involved for better results.
When brainstorming about your Digital Products think about the lifestyle you want, how much money want to make and what your most marketable knowledge base is.
In other words, ask yourself, “What knowledge do I have that people will pay me the most money for? What is an urgent problem that I can solve?”
If you feel like you have great inspiration and direction for what Digital Products you want to create it's time to move on to the next step.
Research – at this phase you want to scour books, magazines, websites, industry reports and any other source of information you can find that will give you insight into your target audience as it relates to the solution your product offers.
You have to look at your target audience, the challenge or problem they face and how your information product or digital product solves their problem, relieves their pain and makes their life better.
This also means spying on the competition. You don’t want to create an exact duplicate of another Digital Products selling out their to your same audience, particularly if they are the market leader.
This is no problem because there are endless ways that you can differentiate your product from the competition and provide something they are not providing even if it's just one thing.
We’ve used the Ask MethodTM developed by Ryan Levesque for The Digital Navigator and clients with great success at this stage. It involves a survey structure to discover the #1 challenge of your target market to adapt your product, offer, messaging, and communication style to use your market’s language. Contact us to learn more.
Planning – the notes that you take in the research phase will start to give shape to your digital product. There are several things you want to consider in the planning phase of your product creation project.
- What is the best format to deliver this transformation product in (ebook, course, workshop, including Q&A calls, etc?)
- Create a valuable product that fills a market need - in order to sell your product you need to be able to make a big bold promise, which means the product needs to actually fill a real market need. You need to provide a transformation process and end goal that your target audience really wants.
- Program length: length of your program is a big consideration. This is another reason why looking at the competition is a good idea in the research phase.
If you know how long the other top selling programs are, you don't need to deviate from that in your product. You want customers to consume digital product and making it too long can prevent this.
But length is also very relative. We don't consider the tens of thousands of hours one needs to put in to study to become a heart surgeon to be "too long." On the other hand, it should not take tens of thousands of hours to teach someone how to make cilantro chicken fajitas with homemade salsa.
Don’t be afraid to create multiple shorter products each with their own objective. You will also be able to use them for creating Entry-Point-Offers and a sales funnel; find out how in our Sales Funnel Stages article.
As a general rule of thumb just remember to ask yourself, “What is the shortest amount of time required to give measurable results to your customers?” Trim down the fat.
Outlining – as it is for any kind of course, book, screenplay, song or other creative production, great Digital Products are built on the foundation of a well-constructed outline. You can also use this outline to produce your quick-start guide mentioned earlier.
- Your outline should include all the lessons, parts and topics of your product. So if you were selling a video course that included 10 modules, the modules will be lessons, each teaching in those lessons would be pars, and points you need to make in each part would be your topics. We recommend the same organization structure of the popular Learning Management System (LMS) LearnDash which is a plugin for WordPress.
- Be sure to include all of the necessary assets you will need to gather so you can place them in the appropriate spots that align with the content being presented. This includes PDFs, checklists, quizzes, audio files and videos.
- By outlining your product you have the opportunity to ensure that your content logically and seamlessly flows from one topic to the next – ultimately presenting a complete process throughout. This will in turn increase your success rate and motivation of your participants.
Producing – once you have a rock-solid outline it's time to produce. If you have a multimedia product that you are creating, it means you need to film in your videos, write your written content and put the pieces together.
You may have content that you need to curate, get approval to use and/or create. All of your filming, writing, recording, curating and the like happens during this phase.
Editing – in this stage of the process you'll edit your rock-solid content so it is user ready, proofread, and formatted well.
Designing – at this stage of creating your digital product you need to have artwork created to display your product. Whenever selling products that feel intangible you will get a boost in sales by making the product feel more concrete. You can do this using several tactics, including the use of a product box image.
Fulfillment System – once you have artwork and organized edited files you need to then plug them into a fulfillment or delivery platform. For instance, if you are simply publishing an e-book you can upload and publish it through Kindle, as an Adobe PDF document or using another marketplace such as Clickbank.
Publishing – once everything is loaded it's finally time to publish your product so you can start promoting and cashing checks. Many of our clients deliver their products directly on their WordPress website using a content protection and membership plugin such as ActiveMember360.
Tools Used to Create Digital Products
The type of digital or information product you create will dictate the equipment and specific approach to packaging it for sale.
Every product is one or a combination of audio, video, written and/or other materials; and live streaming. We’ll cover the aspects of producing each of these to cut down on your research time.
Equipment and Software for Digital Product Creation
- Video editing software – there are many options for video editing purposes. These options come in different price ranges and a variety of features that make your video editing experience uniquely your own. For instance, one classic video editing software is Camtasia studio by Techsmith which offers a 30 day free trial at the time of publishing this article.
- Audacity – this is a long standing, highly popular audio editing software that can be use for free.
- Snagit – this is a great screen capture tool also published by Techsmith. It is great for how-to tutorials, software demonstrations or adding visual snippets to your content.
- VoiceMeeter – this is a software that is a virtual mixer to improve sound quality. This is especially useful if you do interviews as it allows you to control their volume level to match it with yours. It is a donationware available at https://www.vb-audio.com/Voicemeeter.
- RIOT Radical Image Optimization Tool – tool for compressing image quality which you can download free at http://luci.criosweb.ro/riot/. This PC only tool will reduce the image size of your content to improve the download time of your materials and speed up your webpages.
- WordPress – for building courses and membership sites. There are some great plugins you can use in order to add membership and content protection features, and Learning Management System (LMS) features to your WordPress site.
- LearnDash – this is the course an Learning Management System plugin we recommend for its ease of use and proven track record.
- ActiveMember360 – for ActiveCampaign users to sync your data between your website and your email system while controlling content access to enable membership and content protection functionalities.
- iMember360 – for Infusionsoft users which serves the same purpose as ActiveMember360.
- Other Membership Plugins – such as WishList Member, MemberPress, Paid Memberships Pro, WishList Member and a myriad of other options to suit your preferences.
- Checkout System – collect payments from your clients while providing instant access. We prefer WooCommerce due to its flexibility, integration with WordPress and fast performance when properly configured. Other popular options and worthy contenders are ThriveCart and SamCart. For a barebone setup you can use Paypal with payment buttons but you will have to manually provide access to your content when sales are made.
- Webinar and Video Conferencing Software
- Zoom – host real-time video conferences, webinars and group programs while taking advantage of a simple recording feature. You can even record a solo meeting to record course content!
- EasyWebinar – preferred over WebinarJam and EverWebinar due to recent upgrades which makes it the industry leading real-time webinar system as of the publishing date of this article.You can switch between live and pre-recorded (evergreen) webinars at the click of a button. It integrates with most email marketing systems and is our top pick for a webinar platform.
- Customer Support – as you start to get more traffic to your website, you may want to add LiveChat, Intercom or a similar tool to boost customer satisfaction while adding a new channel for sales conversations. You can use these software as a ticket system in addition to its chat functionality.
- Microphone – Audio-technica ATR2100-USB, Blue Yeti, Lapel Mic, Rode Mic and more are all great options. Check out this list for the latest great options: https://www.thepodcasthost.com/equipment/the-best-podcasting-microphones-on-the-market/.
- Mixer – Xenyx Q802USB or Xenyx Q302USB by Behringer. You plug your mic in it and hook-up your mixer to your computer. This gives you more granular control of your audio settings.
- Camera – Logitech C920 Pro for computer recordings, DSLR camera by Canon, Nikon, or Sony are all great options to start looking at for more elaborate production needs.
- Backup storage – External hard drive, iDrive Cloud Storage, OneDrive Cloud Storage, and Google Drive with Google Vault are all worthy contenders to safeguard your work.
- Lighting – Neewer Photography Dimmable LED Light and Abeststudio Photography Studio Softbox Lighting Kit Backdrop Umbrella Background Light Stand Set are good budget setups. You can do an Amazon.com and Ebay.com search for lighting kits to find the best options.
Believe it or not, you can have all high-quality tools for right at or just under 1000 bucks if you shop well and look for the best deals on this studio equipment.
How to Create Digital Products Fast
Creating digital products can be time consuming but it doesn’t have to be that way. Consider doing lower priced products and beta launches of rougher versions of your final product to confirm market demand. This means starting out with a minimum viable product.
Some product ideas:
- Get consent from live training participants to sell the recordings
- Record workshops, conference speakers and other local events hosted
- Special beta pricing for an early program and provide the full release program at no extra cost
- Video course without all the branding elements and minimal editing
- Paid podcast audio series or teleseminar
Some types of digital products can also be produced in their final format without incurring heavy expenses and post-production editing.
Some of the products that are known to have low post production editing include:
- Live streaming in-person conferences
- Interview style virtual summits
- Live classes, coaching calls and consulting sessions through video-conferencing
What Are the Best-Selling Online Courses
E-books – that's right, e-books was one of the first and most popular digital products online, and they still are today. According to one article self-published books now represent 31% of total e-book sales on Amazon's Kindle store. (3)
Online Information Courses – creating these kinds of courses are incredibly profitable because a fast-growing number of people are adopting e-learning courses and you can charge anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for your course.
Online Coaching Programs – these bridge the gap between do-it-yourself (DIY) online courses that have higher student drop-out rates and 1-on-1 personalized coaching and consulting which is time consuming. Either do group coaching calls which include recordings for people that can't make it to a live session or mix pre-recorded training content mixed up with live Q&A sessions.
Membership Sites – membership sites are always growing in popularity among content creators. They are a vital piece of the puzzle for some information experts because they provide monthly continuity income.
Strategies for Selling Digital Products
After you have created your Digital Products and published it, the final job you must do for the money start pouring in, is to promote it. Marketing and selling your product will be the primary ongoing effort you will make in order to build income and business of your dreams, or grow a new revenue stream for your business.
There are several ways we can lend a hand in increasing your sales and traffic.
For a detailed game plan to marketing your Digital Products effectively check out our step-by-step ultimate guide to building a sales funnel machine.
Take your reach, and ultimately, your sales up an entire new level through a simple system that you can learn in a FREE 5-day course – Blueprint included! It’s called the Digital Content Sales System.
You can also request a 73-Point Review to identify the best way to double your sales without being overwhelmed by juggling a gazillion marketings initiatives at https://thedigitalnavigator.com/double-your-sales/.
Lastly, if you are ready to hit the ground running let’s get to work providing you with a clear pathway for improving your profitability. This is an opportunity to shed analysis by paralysis, steer clear of the confusion induced by technology and for you to have a well-oiled machine that will net you a horde of loyal clients. Reserve your Marketing Makeover Intensive at https://thedigitalnavigator.com/marketing-makeover/.
In order to maximize sales of digital products here are a few things you can do:
Make it tangible – the very nature of digital product feels intangible. You can't touch it, feel it, smell it or taste it… Hey, you never know what it takes for some people to buy. So, we want to make it as tangible as possible and you can do this by adding good product visuals as discussed earlier.
Mailing hard copy documents or including a physical widget in your offer are also known to improve your sales conversion rates.
Reduce risk with strong guarantees – when selling things through any sort of media, whether magazine, radio, television or the Internet, since a person can't use all of their senses to investigate product being sold it is a great practice to provide strong money back and risk-free guarantees.
Big-box retailers do this now even though you can investigate items with your five senses. At Walmart you can bring items back and get a store gift card, at least, even if you don't have a receipt.
This risk-free atmosphere only encourages people to spend more money. It has been said that offering a strong guarantee can increase sales by 50% and only increase returns by 5% – roughly. If this is true, you have more to lose by not offering a money back guarantee that by offering one.
When you have a quality product that you can stand behind the risk of returns is minimal while the increase of sales may double. So, it would be throwing money down the drain if you did not offer an industry leading warranty.
Lifetime access whenever appropriate – if you can offer a lifetime access to product without costing you too much money in storage or hosting fees and do so. Lifetime access it so powerful that is sometimes sold as an upsell. For example, if an online course this offered with one full year of access then you might offer a lifetime access for 10 or 15% more.
Sell the benefits not the features – the purpose of the features is to deliver a desired end result. Never forget this.
When writing your sales message lead with the benefits and support them with the features. The transformational language is so important that we always nail down the before and after transformation when working with new clients in our Marketing Makeover Intensive.
Activities to consider when planning your marketing:
- Host Webinars
- Social Media
- Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
- Live Events
- Guest Podcasting
- Guest Blogging
The Future of Online Learning
The future of online learning is bright which is why Digital Products are on the rise. Jumping in the game of creating Digital Products for sale offers the opportunity of a lifetime.
You can create a great income, sharing information you're passionate about which affords you the life of your dreams. It can also stimulate rapid growth in your existing business.
You can make a difference in the lives of others and your own. What career path or additional revenue source beats all this? None!
I’d love to hear you best idea for building digital products that sell. Share this article and share your ideas here.
- Doiron, Alicia. The 5 Most Profitable Digital Products To Sell Online. The link has been removed as they have unpublished this resource.
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