I have spent a lot of time talking about dropshipping and launching an eCommerce store selling physical products on Vault50, I thought it was about time to cover another great way of making money online; digital products.
I am a big fan of the digital product business model. There are real benefits to the fact that the hard work is very much front-loaded.
Once you have created a digital product (whether it be an ebook, online course, music, or even video content), you set up the sales funnel and as long as you have an audience you can start making money.
Furthermore, the same digital product can be sold repeatedly to different customers, with no need to replenish stock. This makes them easy to distribute and once the “ball is rolling” sales can be completed on autopilot.
For these reasons, selling digital products online has become a very popular enterprise for online entrepreneurs, (by 2022 it is expected to cross 240 billion USD).
I have mostly sold ebooks and courses and have achieved this to a level of success I am very pleased with. They are not my main bread and butter, but digital products supplement my online income nicely. I urge you to give it a try too.
Anyway, with the preamble out of the way, let’s look at 5 digital product ideas you might want to focus on in 2021.
5 digital product ideas to sell online
Ebooks are the most sold digital product online. The barrier of entry is low and an ebook is a great way for entrepreneurs to test the waters of the business model.
This is because an ebook can easily supplement all manner of online ventures.
If you run a blog with an established audience, you could sell an ebook right from your website.
This of course should be on the subject you are known for, and provide valuable content that isn’t freely available on the site.
An eCommerce store owner can also sell an ebook. If you sell camping gear, for example, you could create a camping manual. As long as it provides value, you can sell it.
Amazon is clearly a major platform for selling ebooks online (at the time of writing, the Amazon store accounts for 80% of ebook sales across English-language countries). Any budding writer can leverage the eCommerce behemoth to make their first sales.
Ebooks will continue to provide huge opportunities for making money online. The competition is fierce, but if you can carve yourself an audience, you will make sales.
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2. Online Courses
Online courses are also a popular means of selling digital products.
The barrier of entry is a bit more difficult here as the content will require a lot of time and effort on the front end.
Online courses like those sold on Udemy and produced with a high level of professionalism. They normally include tuition videos, downloadable materials, test questions, and other activities.
However, once you have created the courses, the same product can be sold thousands of times on these online education platforms.
(The Covid19 lockdown saw a huge increase in online learning, with successful, well-made courses selling like the proverbial hotcake).
Again, if you have an established audience that engages with your content (blogger, YouTuber, Instagrammer), you could leverage your knowledge and reputation as an expert into an e-course and begin selling this to that audience.
Online courses are a very rewarding way to make money online.
3. A Membership Site or Paywall Content
A membership area of your website (or premium content hidden behind a paywall) is another great way if you have an established audience.
This differs from selling individual digital products in that you can bundle them together and make them accessible to paying subscribers.
The subscriber business model can provide a fantastic online income stream for entrepreneurs, as it generates regular monthly (or annual depending on the setup) payments.
Obviously, this content needs to be worthy of the price you charge for it. However, if you spend time creating this premium content, customers will sign up.
In order to make the subscriber model work, you will need to keep adding and updating your library of premium content.
The Charge Rabbit Shopify app is a great service for easily billing your customers a recurring subscription. Sky Pilot can also be used as your digital content delivery and access service within the Shopify store.
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4. Digital Templates; Blueprints, Schematics, Themes & Plugins
On the face of it, selling digital products of this type may seem difficult. You need a set of specific skills in order to make money this way.
While this is true, (it would be an uphill task selling WordPress themes and plugins if you don’t know how to code for example), there are ways that you can leverage your existing skillset in ways you may not have thought of.
Digital templates can mean anything from business plans to sample resumes to accounting spreadsheets.
It also covers the area of digital art and graphic design, (brochure and flyer templates, or Photoshop plugins, filters, and fonts).
Expert at woodwork? You could maybe sell digital blueprints to your creations. Or do you love to sew, are your patterns worth something?
Essentially, if you are able to create digital assets that can provide solutions to the needs of an audience, you have a way to make money online.
5. Photography, Music, and Video Licenses
If you are a creator in areas of photography, music, video, and art you can license your creations and sell them via relevant platforms.
Stock photos, video footage, and sound effects are all highly sought after by online content creators in 2021. Good money can be made by selling the rights to use these digital assets.
There is also an abundance of market platforms that for a small cut of the proceeds will sell your wares to those that need it.
It is also possible to sell access to your digital creations via services such as SendOwl. I have used this recently and have been very impressed with the auto-generated license key function.
This prevents piracy and ensures that the purchaser of your asset does not redistribute the content beyond the terms of the sale.
Similarly, watermarks and other security measures can be added to your images if you make these available for sale.
Pros and Cons of Selling Digital Products Online
There are many advantages to selling digital products:
- Overhead costs are low, with little to no cost after the product has been made and no inventory or shipping costs
- 100% profit margin once the cost of original creation has been covered.
- Can fully automate sales. Once the sales pipeline is created orders can be delivered instantly and without intervention from you.
- A wide range of product opportunities
- Existing skills can be leveraged in many ways to create digital products
- E-learning is growing and is very much the future of education
Disadvantages of selling digital products:
- Competition is fierce with a lot of premium quality content being available for free
- Your products have to very good to stand out and make money
- Digital products can be easily pirated if you do not take the necessary precautions
- You generally need an established audience in order to make sales
So there you have it, 5 digital product ideas with a look at the pros and cons of the business model.
There are a lot of opportunities out there. Build quality products and spend time growing your audience and I am confident you will succeed.