Looking for ways to diversify your income outside of client work?
Creating a digital product is one of the simplest, smartest, and most viable ways you can bring additional value to your audience—and start building a more reliable, steady income from multiple revenue streams.
But what exactly is a digital product? And why should you consider selling digital products over physical ones?
Simply put, a digital product is a product you sell online that doesn’t exist in physical form. Compared to physical versions, digital products allow for relatively easy creation, flexible upgrades, and a simplified delivery process.
Let’s say you sell to other businesses. The purpose of your digital product could be anything from streamlining team workflows to jumpstarting your team’s productivity.
Realistically speaking, what you create will depend on the specific pain points of your audience and the solutions you’re equipped to bring to the table. Developing any type of product is a great opportunity to be fun, creative, take a chance with out-of-the-box ideas, and really connect with your audience.
But before we jump into the creation part, let’s explore why selling a digital product is beneficial to you and your business.
Benefits of selling digital products:
1. It’s significantly less hassle: Once you’ve developed a product, created the necessary marketing funnels, and identified the selling channels, selling a digital product is significantly simpler than a physical product. You’ll never run “out of stock” because your inventory will be unlimited and mostly maintenance-free.
You’re also looking at a potential source of passive income, which is less effort-intensive than freelancing or being a service provider. While a digital product isn’t a viable source of income in isolation, it’s still a possible way to make some kind of profit in your sleep!
If you ever consider upgrading or serializing your product, you can streamline the subsequent versions according to the feedback you’ve received. That’ll not only help you shorten your future funnels, but also build trust with your customers.
2. Minimal investment, maximum returns: A digital product will employ your intellectual resources, but it’s far less capital-intensive than a physical product. A lot of costs (everything including production, marketing, maintenance, and so on) are cut down significantly. Done right, your returns will most likely surpass the financial investment involved!
3. It’s essentially market research: Creating and selling a digital product involves stepping into the shoes of your audience, understanding their problems, and brainstorming potential solutions.
But even after the product creation part is done, you still have the data and insights from your initial research. This could help you in future product development, or even rethinking your offers as a service provider. And if you’re bringing in any profit from your product, you’re essentially getting paid for a comprehensive research effort!
Good Digital Products vs. Great Ones
There’s no dearth of digital product ideas online, regardless of whether you’re a business owner, freelancer, or service provider. And with no-code tools and accessible marketing data, there’s even more working room for innovation and building complex products like courses and apps (even if you’re not a developer).
But the difference between a good product and a great one is how well it solves your buyers’ problems.
In other words, great products are made to cater to a specific need.
The first step to creating a strong, intentional digital product is to be aware of your audience’s deepest needs. This is important because your product will only prove worthy if it’s useful. And it’ll only be useful when there’s a gap it’s filling up or a real problem it is solving.
So, a smart question to ask yourself when you’re brainstorming the ideal product is: What do I want my product to do for my audience?
Depending on your answer, here are some possibilities to explore:
“I want my product to educate“
If you want to channel your expertise into a product and give your audience a solid learning experience, you can look at creating a knowledge-based product. Examples include courses, ebooks, instructional PDFS, How-To videos, and so on.
“I want my product to assist“
If you’re looking to provide a sharp and direct solution to a problem that your target-demographic faces, you can look at creating a plug-and-play tool, a template for deliverables, fonts, themes, web hosting resources, or something along the same lines.
“I want my product to engage”
If you’re looking to build a community, you can work on digital products like apps, online activities, challenges, private communities, virtual retreats, challenges, buddy activities, and other resources that encourage users to participate and grow together.
“I want my product to stimulate”
If you’re trying to cater to a more creative or artistic audience who might not just be stimulated but even entertained by what you have to offer, you can try your hand at products like original music, creativity or wellness exercises, printable posters, emoji sets or something more on the fun and innovative side!
For example, let’s say you’re a health and mindset coach, and your audience is specifically composed of people interested in postpartum fitness and nutrition. What are the needs of your audience?
Just imagine. They’re in a phase of their lives where they probably feel stressed, lonely, and maybe even lost. They may benefit from empathy, a group of people who understand their specific hardships, and expert guidance.
Great, you’ve identified the problem. Now let’s talk about the solution. What do you want your product to do for your audience?
Let’s say you want your product to engage your audience. You want to give them a feeling of connection, community, and extend a helping hand.
You could create a paid closed community where women in postpartum can discuss and share their experiences, resources, meal plans, work-outs, and more. Such a product might give people belonging to that community a warm and safe space to interact and learn from one another.
With such a product, not only are you connecting with your audience on a deep level, but you’re also building something that could make a real difference in their lives.
And at its heart, that’s what creating the best product should be all about.
Creating The Right Digital Product For Your Audience
We’ve already talked about creating a product depending on what you want your product to do, but now, we’re going to talk about working on the right product — depending on who you’re making it for.
You could have a notebook full of creative viable product ideas, but the trick to knowing what works is to look at things from a matchmaker’s lens.
For example, if you’re a wellness coach, an ebook on self-paced mindfulness activities or wellness tracker will work better with your audience than a downloadable motivational poster. It’s more useful, it’s more on-brand, and your existing audience is already primed for this kind of content from you.
On the other hand, if you’re a digital artist and you’re known for your signature style of artwork, a set of downloadable wallpapers or printable posters might be just the thing your clients want from you!
It’s all about knowing who you’re making your product for and understanding what would be a good fit!
Let’s take a look at some general audiences and possible products that might work well in those circles:
Freelancers are always looking for ways to improve their skills and create better-flowing systems to save time, escalate productivity, and maintain the quality of their deliverables.
So, resources like plug-and-play templates, easy-to-set-up tools and integrations, and video courses can add a lot of utility to their work. On the other hand, products like automation tools and presets can build on their productivity and smoothen their processes.
Online Business Owners
Online business owners make a great audience for products that help them scale and stay on top of the several roles and responsibilities that they juggle at a time. Marketing handbooks, strategy-building guides, and vouchers for online services like copywriting might work well.
Online business owners might also want to grow their skills while being strapped for time and mental bandwidth, so you may want to try bite-sized resources like 30-day email courses or slow-paced masterminds.
Productivity-building products like trackers, schedulers, and accountability communities might also help them work better!
There is always scope for industry-specific tools and resources, and these could evolve into effective and actionable digital products depending on the audience you serve. There are several thought-starters available on the internet, but let’s take a look at some examples below:
- Tech: Stress-busting games or activities, code snippets, integrations, web-hosting resources
- Writing: Printable plot planners, writing logs, productivity trackers, closed community for accountability, assessment tools,
- Health and Wellness: health-tracking applications, curated workout music, audio guides for meditation, group fitness challenges
- Social Media: Instagram presets, caption generator, sticker sets for stories, social media courses
Best Practices For Bestselling Digital Products
1. Do your research: This might sound obvious, but it’s incredibly important to take a deep dive into the problems of your client base to understand what the possible solutions could be.
A great practice is to really get your hands dirty with past data and research, so you have a strong foundation and thought process behind the solution you ultimately come up with.
2. Don’t create something that you don’t care about: Chances are if you’re deciding to move forward with a product solely because of commercial viability and not because it excites you, you’re not going to have the best time developing and marketing it. And if that happens, the idea might never reach its full potential.
Remember, while digital products are relatively less investment, they still take up time, energy, and mental resources. So don’t waste them on something that isn’t interesting to you, because it’s more likely to be half-baked or burn you out than hit it off with your audience.
3. Ask your audience: While online product research can give you great ideas, one of the best ways to understand the problems of your audience is to, well, communicate directly with them.
Don’t be afraid to pass on the microphone and engage with them through social media, emails, or scheduled interviews and calls. Ask about their needs, their roadblocks, and what they’d like to see next from you.
4. Don’t be afraid to be creative: Creating a digital product can be intimidating. To put in your money and energy into building (and marketing) something that might be a miss with your audience is a thought that no one wants haunting them.
It can be tempting to follow blindly in the footsteps of your contemporaries or create something just because it feels safe.
While it’s true that there is no handbook for the perfect (or even profitable) product, that’s all the more reason to follow your hunches, experiment, and get innovative. Your solutions might change the way your audience approaches their problems, and that’s a shot worth taking!
Don’t be afraid to test and compare results till you get it right. And if you’re wrong, you always have some great, reliable data to work off of.
Typically, a big motivator for creating a digital product is a running source of passive revenue. But remember to always keep your audience at the center while you’re working on your idea — never lose sight of the value that you’re trying to add to your clients’ lives at the end of the day!
And while creating a product is no easy task, we hope this was a good place to help you kickstart that long-overdue brainstorming session.