make money selling digital products

Why sell digital products?  

Your content management system (CMS) should facilitate the sale of downloadable digital products. With zero overheads and high profit margins, you should consider selling downloadable products that are relevant to your business.

What are the advantages of selling digital products?

The advantage of having a digital product is that you need only create or purchase one version. As you do not have to hold physical stock, you do not have to worry about postage and shipping costs.

You can find digital products to sell with “resell rights” online, or better still create your own unique product to cut out the competition.

If you want to sell different types of digital products on one website, you will make more money from a membership model as opposed to selling the digital products individually. Ask members to sign up to unlock access to your products, depending on the membership level you set, i.e. bronze, gold, platinum.

What can I sell?

eBooks

eBooks are becoming increasingly popular. There are many platforms for you to publish eBooks. Amazon is the most popular because it drives the highest traffic in comparison with other online booksellers.

In the back of your eBook, provide a link to your website. You should also advertise your eBook on your website.

You can sell your eBook for as little as $2.99. You will need to join Amazon KDP Check their website for details.

eBooks are not the only digital products that sell well. You can also sell royalty free digital products, such as videos, audio narrative, music, templates, graphics, photos, and web apps.

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Software

Software lies at the other end of the spectrum compared with eBooks.

Unlike eBooks, software is not ‘easy’ to create and will generally require at least a fair amount of technical knowledge. There are ‘app building’ programs out there but none of them will give you the control you need to build something really unique, powerful and functional.

On the other hand, though, creating software means fulfilling a specific function that people will be looking for. And if you come up with something new and fulfill a need/niche in the market, you can potentially be the first to market with something new and thus have no competition. You’ll also find it’s easier to generate buzz and media coverage for software versus yet another eBook.

The drawback with software is that it tends to involve a bit more work on your part. Other than the initial challenge of coming up with an idea and actually creating the code, you’ll then have to provide ongoing support for those with technical issues as well as creating regular updates to keep up with the competition.

Software can broadly be split into lots of categories – from desktop software, to apps, to computer games.

Courses and video tutorials

In between software and eBooks are courses and video tutorials. These basically fulfill the same function as eBooks but in a slightly different way. Selling a digital course can mean lots of different things. It will often mean an email sequence that teaches lessons to the recipients on a regular basis.

Alternatively, though it could be a series of videos that can be downloaded or it can be a large package containing lots of types of media. Some courses include videos, documents, eBooks, graphics, software and more which all combine to provide a multimedia experience.

These sorts of courses take longer to create but provide more value, meaning that you can sell them for more. That higher price tag will be a little off-putting for some people though, so you’ll need to have established some authority already in your niche and you’ll need a high-quality website that is capable of really selling you as a consummate professional.

Of course, there are many more different types of product out there to create and sell, but these three categories will cover the majority of options that beginners would be interested in. This is a great place to start and especially for your first product.

Just in case though, here are a few other examples of digital products you can sell:

  • Graphics, website templates and pictures
  • Films
  • Music
  • Web apps
  • Subscriptions
  • Private memberships
  • WordPress plugins
  • Artwork

A quick checkout

Consumers want a quick checkout for digital products. If you are unable to offer this, you will get little or no sales. Select a CMS that allows buyers to bypass the shipping information and registration process because, while many popular content management systems cater for the sale of downloadable products, buyers are still required to provide their shipping address and, in some cases, register for an account. Virtual products do not require a physical billing address, they require, at most, an email address.

Sign up to a digital eStore like Payhip, or add the Easy Digital Download plugin, if you’re using WordPress.

Legal requirements for the sale of digital products

If the product is faulty, you must give the customer 30 days to notify you of this. You must offer a replacement or refund. Place this information in the Shipping and Returns section of your website.

VAT for the sale of downloadable products

As of 2015, if you are selling downloadable electronic goods, you will have to use the local VAT of the countries and not your local VAT rate.

Think about storage space

Some content management systems require additional configuration to accommodate file sizes larger than 20 MB. Video files are typically more than 100 MB. Therefore, do not opt for a lower subscription plan if you intend to sell more than just eBooks.

State the file size in your product description

If you are selling software, the consumer needs to know they have the space on their hard drive to complete the download.

Some useful tips for selling downloadable products

  • Consider selling the downloadable material in a bundle rather than standalone.
  • Upload multiple products in a zip file.
  • Do not forget to add a section in your website’s footer explaining how and where the customer can download their product after purchase.
  • Consider offering some free digital products to retain existing customers and bring in new ones.
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