Ecommerce, which includes selling digital products, has exploded in recent times.
In fact, selling digital products can be a fantastic source of income that doesn’t necessarily require a lot of start-up capital.
Whether you’re looking to sell digital downloads or other digital products, you’ve come to the right place, as this article will provide you with a definitive guide to selling digital products.
You’ll then be able to confidently enter this space and start boosting your earning potential!
What are digital products?
Remember buying songs on iTunes? Well, maybe you don’t, depending on your age, as Spotify and streaming have overtaken the music world in the past five years.
Anytime you stream something, however, you’re still consuming a digital product. It might be on a subscriber basis—think Spotify, Netflix, Audible, etc—but it remains a digital product.
That said, these are the major players in the digital media game, which research projects to hit $332 billion by 2022—yes, 332 billion!
So, even if you aren’t a Netflix or Spotify you can still get your own piece of the pie when it comes to selling digital products, and even make it a job that pays over 200k a year.
You simply need to take advantage of your own skills and knowledge to create digital products that people will be clamoring to buy.
Are digital products worth selling?
Are digital products worth selling? In general, the answer is a definite yes!
They typically don’t require a ton of start-up capital, and the learning curve isn’t nearly as steep as you might expect given all the helpful resources available online and through platforms like Shopify or Etsy.
It’s even gotten more accessible to make money in the metaverse as more resources become available.
Plus, this is a rapidly growing space and leveraging your creativity could mean that you end up developing an entirely new niche of digital products!
Now, let’s take a look at some of the major pros and cons of selling digital products.
Trend on the Rise
One of the fastest growing trends in digital products are eBooks and audiobooks. Countless people have leveraged their brand and/or knowledge to sell eBooks and generate a nice stream of passive income. As part of the overall hyper growth e-commerce trend, eBooks and other digital products will only continue to grow in 2022 and beyond.
Types of Digital Products
There’s a huge variety of digital products that are now being sold as either a side hustle or as a main career.
Digital Product Examples:
- eBooks – Simply a digital version of a book, the eBook has grown rapidly in recent years and is appreciated for its convenience. eBooks can be on anything and everything!
- Online Courses – It can take years to properly develop them, but a well-made online course can pay massive dividends. An example would be a course on selling digital products!
- Memberships – Membership sites such as Patreon allow people to pay for exclusive content. These sites are used by authors, musicians, influencers, etc.
- Graphic Design Work – Logos, fonts, album covers—there’s a ton of graphic design work behind almost everything we look at online, creating many ways to make money with digital art.
- Music and Audio – Custom audio branding, samples for electronic music, plugins for audio engineering—there’s all kinds of audio to be made and sold as digital products.
- Photography – Many photographers sell the rights of their photos online. By getting these rights, people can turn around and use the prints however they like, including by selling prints.
Let’s take a closer look now at a few of the more popular and lucrative digital products that people are selling online in 2022.
Yes, eBooks can be—and often are—novels, but self-help books and other more “practical” books are becoming huge sellers and thus significant revenue streams for many.
Do you have deep knowledge in a specific area? Are you passionate about a given topic?
While writing your own book will be a significant investment in time, it can pay dividends down the road as an alternative (or even primary) source of income, and is an easy business to start from home.
Tactic for Success
Readers are increasingly preferring digital reading due to the light footprint and instant access. If you have a physical book, you can convert it easily to an eBook and sell it through a popular online bookseller like Amazon. Or, you can start by simply selling an eBook and branching out to physical copies if there’s sufficient demand.
Education is fundamental to success and personal growth, and many people are realizing that online courses and other alternative education methods can be a fun and effective way to learn that don’t require the commitment of higher education.
Whether you can teach yoga or how to sing or how to do DIY work around the house, you just need one area of expertise that you can create an online course for.
People love the flexibility of being able to learn while at home or on the go, and online courses are generally asynchronous, meaning people can go through them at their own convenience and their own pace.
One of the leading digital products for a while now has been graphic design. And if you have graphic design skills, then you already have everything you need to create your own digital products to sell.
In fact, there’s a huge target audience for graphic design.
There are people who want cool posters that they can download and print themselves, there are tattoo artists who may want a certain font, there are even other designers who look to purchase striking elements that they can use for their own work.
Etsy is one platform where top graphic designers are having a lot of success, but there are other possibilities as well, including sites such as creativemarket.com.
Music and Audio
Similar to designers paying to use work by other designers, there are tons of musicians and beat makers out there who are looking for samples to make the next big hit.
If you are a skilled audio engineer, you could also develop music software plugins that can be used by musicians and other audio engineers to shape and enhance their music during the mixing and mastering process.
This is a top way to make money on SoundCloud.
Trend on the Rise
A fast-growing trend on YouTube and social media is audio branding. But who makes that little custom audio snippet that starts or ends certain creators’ videos? That would be digital freelancers who craft tailor-made audio and music.
Where to Sell Your Digital Products
These are digital products, so it only makes sense that you’ll be selling them online. But where exactly? It’s not like the internet is a small thing.
You have two main options. You can either sell through your own site—and use an ecommerce platform such as Shopify to do so—or sell through a major online marketplace such as Amazon or Etsy.
Using your own site gives you more control, but you need to find a way to drive potential customers to it. This could mean using online ads, social media, etc.
Using a large platform like Etsy or Amazon can help make it much easier to find customers, but the drawback is that you have less control and you will pay a fair amount in fees to the platform.
Promoting Your Digital Products
Once you have a digital product and a way to sell it, it’s time to promote it! There are many ways to do this nowadays thanks to the internet.
Here are some of the best ways that you can promote your very own digital product(s).
How to Promote Your Digital Products:
- Leverage Social Media – Quite simply, social media is where people are. If you’re able to gain a following on social media—or already have one—then you can work on converting these people to customers.
- Network – Even if you don’t have a big social media following, you can always network and do cross-promoting. This will only become more beneficial as you grow with time.
- Lead with Free – A tried-and-true method of marketing is to lead with some type of free (or inexpensive) content and hope to then turn that person into a long-term customer.
- Run Ads – You can use Facebook Ads or Google Ads, for example, to promote your product.
Tactic for Success
Social media has become a total game changer for entrepreneurs and digital product sellers. If you aren’t already on social media, the best time to start was yesterday! Be personable and work on developing a fun niche around your digital product and you’ll accrue followers that you can convert into customers over time.
If you want to get in on this action, selling digital products can be a highly lucrative business model.
Jack is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in a wide variety of niches: the environment, mental health, personal finance, and the gig economy. He's also a graduate student currently completing his PhD in Literature.