Online shopping has never been more popular. With huge marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy blowing up, people are taking their shopping online. This has also opened up more opportunities for people to create and sell digital products online. With so many different types of digital products on so many platforms, just because your product is out there doesn’t mean that it will sell. Don’t worry, in this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how you can create and sell digital products successfully.
Lesson 1: What are digital products?
Let’s talk a little bit about what digital products are and how to go about creating one to sell.
Digital products are classified as anything that contains information which is compiled in a way that is meant to inform, teach or entertain the consumer. The most common types come in the form of articles, reports, ebooks, videos as well as websites, graphic packages, audio files and more.
Creating a digital product can be an exciting and profitable venture but it can also be confusing, especially if you don’t know how to get started.
Lesson 2: How to create my own digital products?
When it comes to creating your own product, the first thing you’ll want to consider is what type of skills and information you have to share and how you can transform that information into something that people will buy.
Everyone (yes, you) has information that they know that can be written down or recorded in a way that can easily be shared with and sold to others.
When it comes to deciding on a topic to create your product around you can make the process easier by making a list of topics that you are knowledgeable about or have a strong interest in.
after you have compiled your list, it’s time to start investigating those topics to find out if people are searching for information related to them. This will help narrow down your niche so you can focus on a particular market and begin creating your product.
1. Do your research
Market research is a vital part of the decision-making process. If there is no one interested in the topic you’ve chosen for your product, it will not sell and there’s nothing more depressing than creating a product that no one will buy.
When you begin researching a good place to start is by looking for problems or questions related to the topic. You’ll want to look for a market that is full of people asking questions, expressing concerns or saying they want something in particular. This will help you find out if there is a large target audience for the product you are planning to create.
It’s also a good idea to look for a market that already has established digital products for sale, this way you can be sure that there is a high demand as well as buyers available when your product is finished.
2. Choose a format
After you have completed your research it’s time to decide on a format for your new digital product. The most common format is an ebook, which can be created in Microsoft Word or Open Office, and saved as a (PDF) Portable Document Format for distribution. However, you can also create the product in audio or video depending on preference, level of skill, and what type of product your target audience is most likely to purchase.
Whichever format you choose can also be repurposed into different formats as well. As a matter of fact, many people create digital products in multiple formats to increase sales. For instance; you could create a short report or ebook that you can sell on the front end, then produce it in audio or video format as an upsell.
3. Create your product
When it comes to creating the product there are many options that you can choose from. For instance; you can write yourself or hire someone (a ghostwriter) to do for you. You can also use prewritten content that can be purchased with private label rights (PLR) which means you can edit it to suit your needs and then claim authorship of it. PLR is a great shortcut, especially when it comes to creating your first product because it provides you with a big head start.
Another important part of creating a digital product is your packaging. Keep in mind that consumers shop for products online just like they shop at their local retail store. Image is important, so you will need to create or have someone else create some type of cover graphic to make your new product look appealing.
Lesson 3: Planning your product launch
One of the biggest obstacles to creating a digital product is the quest for perfection. This quest often leads to frustration, procrastination, as well as an incomplete project. While the ultimate goal is to create a professional product that provides value to your buyers, it’s not important that it is 100% perfect. Instead, it’s more important that you get it done and get it out on the market.
Let’s go over a few techniques that you can use to help keep you on track when it comes to creating your own digital product.
Set a specific launch date
Even before you begin creating your digital product, it is a good idea to set a launch date. There are many reasons why this would be a good idea, but two of the most compelling are:
A specific date will help keep you motivated, so that you get the product done in a timely manner.
It will also allow you to begin a pre-launch marketing campaign that will help build excitement (buzz) within your target market and have them eagerly awaiting its release with open wallets.
Create a plan and stick to it
Once you have chosen your launch date you can create a timetable for everything that need to be completed before you can actually launch your product. This includes; researching, compiling, writing, formatting, webpages, marketing etc. So get out a calendar, a whiteboard or use your computer to list all of the tasks that must be accomplished on a daily basis in order for you to launch your product by the date you set.
Complete your research
Remember, thorough research is vital to the success of your digital product, so make you block out plenty of time for finding and compiling all of the facts and information you need to begin creating your product. Creating a working file on your computer where you can save all your research can be a big time-saver, especially for easy access. Just be sure to back it up – either on removable storage, like a USB drive, or online. You can find an online backup service by doing a web search for “free online storage”.
Create an outline
Creating an outline for a digital product isn’t that much different from the ones you made for class assignments in high school or college. Whether or not you will be creating the product yourself or hiring someone else for you, having a good outline will make the creation process much faster and easier. It will also help provide direction, create structure, as well as motivation.
If you get stuck for ideas when creating your product outline just do a simple search online and you will find plenty of samples that you can use for inspiration.
Just start writing
Instead of worrying about how your finished product will look at the very beginning, concentrate on creating the bulk of the content first. If you’ve taken the time to craft a solid outline, all you have to do is fill in the blanks to get the first rough draft completed. If you decided to have someone else create your content for you, then you can pass that outline to a ghostwriter and they can take it from there.
Make it look good
After all of the content is complete, and has been proofread and edited, it’s time to make it look good by formatting it properly. For an ebook or short report, you can simply turn it into a secure PDF file, also known as a Portable Document Format, which allows for easy distribution, printing and viewing on many different types of devices without affecting the layout or design of your product.
Don’t forget that you will also need professional-looking cover and web graphics so that your product looks good and can attract the attention it deserves. Creating graphics is an entirely different topic for another course, but I will say that there are many affordable designers available for hire and you can find a reliable one by doing a little research online.
As for creating your products in other formats, such as audio or video, there will be different methods and software that you can use in order to create a finished product that is ready to sell.
But don’t let that slow you down. The important thing to keep in mind when it comes to creating digital products is that every part of the process can be outsourced, so if you ever get stuck, you can look for qualified professionals to hire on websites like OnlineJobs.Ph, Fiverr or Freelancer.com.
Lesson 4: Creating Buzz for your product launch
When it comes to successfully launching a new product the pre-launch phase is often overlooked, but it can be a very important factor in whether or not your product will be profitable. Pre-launch is usually started sometime during the creation of your product, around 2 to 4 weeks before the official launch day.
During this phase, what you are doing is warming up your target market so that they will be excited and predisposed to buy your product as soon as it is ready for purchase. When done correctly the pre-launch phase can literally create a buying frenzy on launch day.
When it comes to creating a good pre-launch buzz there are several things you can do; for instance, you can set up a pre-launch webpage. On this page, you can and should offer some type of a free report that acts like a teaser and helps you capture leads for your upcoming product launch.
These leads will be a list of potential customers as well as affiliates that can help you make more sales.
Now, let’s go over a few more quick tips you can use to help create a powerful pre-launch buzz.
Leak sneak peeks to the public, by mentioning certain aspects about your new digital product where appropriate on message boards, social networking sites and other places. Be sure to include a link back to your pre-launch webpage. You can also offer them a sneak peek at the unfinished product as well. By giving them just a taste of what is to come, you can easily presell them.
Participate in social networks every day. Don’t constantly only promote your product, let your signature line do that, instead answer questions about your topic. This can establish yourself as an expert so that by the time you launch people will be begging for what you have to offer.
Ask the movers and shakers within your target market to look at the product prior to launch. Give them a free copy to review in exchange for their testimonial.
Webinars are hot right now, so host one prior to launch. You can use a slide show and a Webinar service like EasyWebinar and briefly go over what’s in your product and what it can do to help the people who purchase it. This is a good time to offer a discount to people who act fast. It’s also a good place to get affiliates.
Movies have trailers and so can your digital product. You can use a video camera, a webcam, or screen recording software like Camtasia to create a preview of your product. Then place it on YouTube, your blog, and any place else you can think of so that you can to get the word out about your launch date and your product.
Create a slide show and place on SlideShare.net giving an outline about your information then at the end mention your launch date for the entire digital product.
When the product is finished don’t launch it yet, instead have a pre-launch. Here you can offer it at a very low price to a select few. Include a file in the launch inviting them to talk about what they think about the product via a response video to the trailer that you placed on YouTube.
Run a contest for your affiliates, making it more worthwhile for them to heavily promote your product. Offer them the chance to win cool prizes and increased commissions. This will inspire them to work hard for you.
These are only of few things you can do to help create a good pre-launch buzz for your new digital product, but when done correctly they can have a big impact on sales when you finally launch.
Lesson 5: Deliver your product
Once your brand new digital product is complete it’s time to get out in the market place and ready for delivery, but before that can happen you have to choose the proper distribution method and set up a reliable payment gateway.
When it comes to delivering digital products to your customers, traditional shipping methods often do not apply, unless you decide to create a physically shipped product by putting it on a CD, DVD or USB drive. However, we’re going to focus mainly on digitally delivered products.
One of the best things about creating digital products is that they can be delivered digitally as well. This means you can set up your payment and delivery system one time and it will automatically accept payments and deliver products to consumers on autopilot. All you really need are a couple of webpages and an autoresponder to create a seamless buying experience for your customer.
There are a variety of different platforms that you can use to set up your sales funnel so that it will automatically accept payments and deliver products. Let’s quickly go over three of the most popular payment gateways used to accept payments and deliver digital products:
Clickbank is a payment gateway that makes it easy for people to sell their digital products online. Additionally, selling your digital product on Clickbank allows other people (affiliates) to promote your product as well. Once your product is added to the ClickBank marketplace it will literally be visible to thousands of potential customers and affiliates, making it a very good option.
The ClickBank platform works like an online shopping cart and payment processor that takes care of delivery, provides tracking, sales reporting. It also manages your affiliate program and automatically pays out commissions, so you don’t have to.
When you first sign up to sell your own products there is a one-time fee of $49.95 plus a 7% sales commission on every product you sell. The one-time fee is good for life and allows you to sell an unlimited number of products in multiple categories.
They provide complete setup directions. However, you’ll need to set up a sales page, download page, and a thank you page to host your products on. You can find out more about selling on ClickBank here.
PayPal is possibly one of the most popular and widely used online payment processing services on the internet today. They make it incredibly easy to set up and accept credit cards wherever you do business. They provide everything you need to accept sales online including invoicing and your customers don’t even need a PayPal account to make a purchase with their, bank account, credit or debit card.
When you are ready to set up your product in PayPal you simply login and go to the Merchant Services area. From there you can quickly create a payment button to add to your sales page as well as a link that you can use in your e-mail campaign. Whenever a customer clicks on that button they will be prompted to complete their order and then PayPal will automatically direct them to the download page that you specified while creating your payment link.
PayPal integrates nicely with the most popular shopping carts, including E- Junkie, Pinnaclecart, Eventbrite and more, giving you plenty of flexibility when it comes to selling your products.
NOTE: While both of these services make it possible for you to accept payments and deliver your digital product to your customer, you will still need to set up a sales page and download page on your own website, so that your customer will experience a smooth ordering process.
Is a fairly new platform that allows you to sell digital products online. They also make it easy for you to run an affiliate program and pay your affiliates. Much like the ClickBank, when you and your products to JVzoo they will be included in the marketplace where they will be exposed to thousands of people looking to buy and sell products online.
What makes JVzoo a little bit different from PayPal and ClickBank is that they allow you to upload and host your products directly on their platform.
They also give you the ability to create instant sales pages, thereby eliminating the necessity for creating a sales page and download page on your own website, however, I do strongly recommend that you create them as well, just for safety’s sake!
With JVzoo there are no out of pocket costs to become a seller. You can add as many products as you want into the marketplace and create as many buy buttons as you need without worrying about extra fees. As I mentioned above JVzoo is still a fairly new platform and they are constantly adding new features to make the selling process extremely functional and easy for digital marketers making it a great option for selling your new digital product.
You can find out more about selling with JVzoo here.
Please keep in mind that these are only three of the many reliable online payment processors available that can be used to sell and deliver digital products. There are many more and you can find them by performing a simple search online for “online payment processor”. When it comes to choosing the right online payment processor for your venture it really depends on what type of features matter most to you.
Just be sure to do your research before making your final decision, so that you can be confident that your sales process will be smooth and painless for your customers.
Lesson 6: Marketing your product
There are many ways that you can go about marketing your new product. Some are free, some don’t cost much and others can be quite costly. Today we’re going to focus on some of the free and low-cost methods that you can use to get the word out about the launch of your new product.
One of the most important things about marketing your digital product is to create a solid marketing plan and stick to it. You’ll want to focus your efforts on reaching your target audience as quickly and effectively as possible. To do that you need to concentrate your efforts on niche-specific channels where your target audience can be found.
Here are a few good places to start.
When it comes to promoting your product via social networks, direct promotion is not always the best option. It’s better to participate in the community by providing helpful information. However, you can and should promote the content from your blogs and websites on social networks and use it to pre-sell your readers and lead them into your sales funnel.
One of the most beneficial reasons for using social networks as a marketing platform is that your information is often shared, which can have a viral effect on your marketing campaign.
Think sending out press releases is old fashioned? Well, it’s not, they are still one of the most effective advertising methods available for product launches. You can create an online and offline press release. You should do both for every product that you release because, due to the nature of a press release, sometimes the newspapers will not print your story, but they will often make it available for online outlets.
Ask friends, associates and people with authority in your target niche to write a review of your digital product for you. While this may not be as easy as it sounds it can be an extremely effective way to get a large amount of traffic to your offer.
One way to get people to review your product for you is by offering them a free copy along with other enticements in exchange for their time. One such enticement could be offering their customers a nice discount or free sneak peek of your product, which will be a win-win proposition for both of you.
Popular Content Sites
There is no doubt that articles are an excellent marketing tool. Publishing articles that are specifically written to showcase the benefits of your product on popular content sites and article directories allow you to develop a nice stream of targeted traffic into your sales funnel almost effortlessly.
While writing and publishing articles requires a lot of time and effort, it’s well worth it, simply because once your article is published it will continue to work for you over a long period of time without any further attention from you.
High Traffic Blogs
While it’s extremely important to blog about your new digital product on your own blog, it’s even more important to post comments on other high-traffic blogs closely related to your target market. Some people take blog comments for granted but they can actually be a great source of incoming traffic for your sales funnel. This is because every comment you make can and should include a link back to your product offer.
Even better than comment posting, if you can become a guest blogger for high traffic blogs in your market you will be able to quickly establish yourself as an authority in the marketplace, and when it comes to attracting more targeted leads for your new product, there is no better place to be.
One of the best ways to promote your digital product is to have an army of affiliates promoting it for you. As we briefly discussed in your last lesson, you can use one of the many payment gateways available to set up an affiliate program for your new product. Be sure to provide your affiliates with plenty of promotional tools, such as graphics, emails, newsletter information, and offer a good commission.
You can also offer affiliate contests. By offering incentives and prizes for affiliates who make a high number of sales you can attract super-affiliates and inspire them to work hard for you.
When it comes to paid advertising, pay per click networks like Google, and Facebook can be a great option for promoting your new digital product, allowing you to get up and start making sales almost immediately. A pay per click campaign can be very successful even on a tight budget, depending on what market you’re trying to target.
If you’ve never run a pay-per-click ad before you will definitely want to spend some time learning how to run a successful campaign. But whilst pay-per-click advertising has a bit of a learning curve, it can still be very profitable when utilized properly.
You can probably tell by now that when it comes to marketing your new digital product, there are many options available and it all boils down to finding the method that works best for you.
There are many different types of Digital Products you can sell online and choosing the right one for you and deciding on which platform to go with might take some time. Don’t let all the steps stop you or delay you. Take everything and every lesson here one step at a time and get started on creating and selling your digital products!