Create and Sell a DIGITAL PRODUCT (7 easy steps)
The number one thing that holds people back from creating digital products is intimidation – the process can feel overwhelming and complicated when getting started.
But it doesn’t have to be!
Digital products can create flexibility and huge potential for profit. Physical products or services are great, but the disadvantages to those are how actively you need to be involved in the process from sales to delivery.
The first product I ever sold was an ebook that I wrote on my own, had someone else edit, and published on Amazon. I earned a few thousand dollars right away and continue to earn around $200 each month. I did it imperfectly and simply, but I continue to draw a revenue stream from a product I created years ago.
Since then, I’ve created and sold dozens of other digital products, courses, and even a membership. Some of them are more complicated than others, but all of them have served my audience and my business goals well.
The process CAN be simple, and in this article, I want to share with you exactly what you need to do to create your first digital product.
Part One – create your product
The first thing you need to do is to simply decide what your product will be. What will your product actually do or teach people? What is the substance that your product will have?
Step 1 – determine what you’ll teach and who you’ll teach it to
Most digital products are informative or teaching-centric. They help others do or learn something specific that includes a tangible result they can walk away with.
Here are two questions to ask yourself as you decide on the WHO and WHAT:
- What are you going to teach people or help people do?
- Who are those people specifically?
Step 2 – decide on the product type
Now that you know what you want to share and whom you want to share it with, it’s time to determine what type of product you want to create.
Here are 8 popular options:
- Create Canva templates
- Design photo presets
- Create art printables
- Create system or software templates
- Create and sell printables
- Create and sell workbooks
- Create and sell a planner
- Teach a workshop or class
If you want to learn more about each of these 8 ideas, you can read about them here: 8 Digital Products that Earn at Least $100/day
Of course, you can also create a larger course or membership, but – at least in the beginning – I recommend going with a more prototype product so you can test your idea before diving into a full-blown project.
- Rather than writing an entire book upfront, maybe create a short guide and export it as a PDF to sell as a smaller digital product.
- Rather than spending hours creating a full-blown course, teach a live workshop via Zoom and sell the recording as a 30-90 minute workshop, or split it up into sections to create a mini course.
Once you find success with the MVP (minimal viable product), you can build out a larger version to sell at a higher price point.
I did this with Creator Fast Track, one of the most successful courses I sell today that helps you gain 1,000 subscribers and get monetized in 30 days on YouTube.
This premium course started out as a live 60-minute workshop that I eventually broke down into smaller sections in order to create a miniature course. Now that this product idea has been tested and validated, I have created a big, burly program to walk my students step-by-step through the YouTube processes.
FREE DOWNLOAD: 100 Digital Product Ideas
Step 3 – create the content
Now it’s time for the fun part – actually creating the content!
How you create your content will most likely be different than how someone else would because it’s all riding on which product type you choose to create and what you choose to teach with that product.
- Create your templates.
- Write your guide.
- Plan your workshop.
- Film your course videos.
In the beginning, I encourage you to keep the format simple. The less complicated, the easier it is for you to finish and begin making money.
Step 4 – edit your product
You want your product to be as clean and professional as possible, and that can only be done by editing and refining your draft. It is essential to tidy up as much as you can so you're delivering a quality product to your customers.
If you’re creating a short guide, worksheet, or workshop, you can probably do the editing portion on your own, but if you’re creating a larger product – such as a book or course – it may be well worth your investment to outsource the editing to ensure your product is free of mistakes, is clean, and ready to sell. If you can invest up front, you’ll save time and money in the long run.
Step 5 – design and fine-tune
Now that you have your product created, you’ll need to decide on what type of graphics or formatting you need.
- Does your book need a cover?
- Do you need to format your digital product?
- Do you need slides for your workshop?
- Do you need thumbnails for your course video?
- Do you need to create any branded PDFs to go alongside your course?
What do you need to do to make your product visually appealing to your target customer?
Part two – sell your product
There are two parts to selling your product – the upfront work of hosting your product on a selling platform and marketing it to your target audience.
Step 6- decide where you’ll sell your product
You may not get paid for the upfront work of setting your product up for sale, but it’s an important first step. You have two main options for where to sell it:
#1 – You can sell your product on a third-party website such as Etsy, Amazon, or Creative Market.
Here are some benefits to third-party selling platforms:
- You’ll have built-in, instant traffic
- It’s a way to gain visibility for you and your product
- It won't take as much effort to find potential customers
- The third party takes care of the selling process.
The main disadvantages to selling on a third-party platform are that you most likely will be selling your product at a lower cost to keep up with your competitors, and you won’t actively be building your business brand.
#2 – You can sell your product on your own website.
Here are some benefits to selling on your own site:
- You can build your personal business brand at the same time
- Your products can sell for higher prices
- You won’t be competing with similar products that are already on the market
- You can actively grow your email list
The two cons to selling on your own website are that there’s more technology knowledge required for initial cart set up, and you are the main traffic generator, actively getting people to your website so they can find your product.
What do I recommend?
Use both a third-party site as well as your own website when first getting started.
List your product on your website first because there is power in brand building, and you can sell it at a higher price directly. Once that’s complete, also put your product for sale on a third-party platform, which can drive more traffic initially for you.
The ultimate goal is for the person on the third-party platform to be interested enough in you and your product that they head to your website to learn more about how you can directly help them.
Step 7 – market your product
The last step is ongoing and long-term. In order to sell your product, you need people actively finding it every single day. Your main goal once all systems are set up is to gain visibility and drive traffic to your website.
Once they’re there, you need a way to actively engage with them until they are ready to buy – and even after! It’s time to build that relationship so they know, like, and trust you with their time and money.
Offer free content
Think about what kind of free content you can create that adds value to your potential customers' life and makes them to see that you CAN solve their #1 problem.
- Create long-form, evergreen content through YouTube videos, blog posts, or podcast episodes.
- Create a free digital product (or an opt-in offer) that will give your audience a taste of what your products are like and start a transactional relationship with them. If you ask for their email in exchange for the freebie, then you can nurture that connection and sale through email marketing.
RELATED: How to Plan an Insanely Profitable Sales Funnel (with your freebie offer)
Sell your product at a lower price point
It takes a fairly large audience to make money on more expensive products because less people will choose to buy them. If you go for the easier yes by testing out your product idea around the $5-50 mark, more of your smaller audience will say yes. Then, as your audience grows, you can invest more time to make a bigger, better digital product that you can sell at a more signature price point.
Part 3 – getting started
Many people get stuck on the first step of deciding what product to actually create, and you can’t move through the other six steps until this one is finalized.
This is the main reason I recommend NOT starting with online courses or memberships. They have too many moving parts that can be overwhelming and keep you from finishing. Memberships are a great option, but until you grow your audience large enough, it can be difficult to have enough members to make them run smoothly.
I recommend you start with one of two products because these are the easiest to create:
- Create a short written guide – you can create this guide in Google Docs or Canva and sell on your website alongside other third-party platforms. Eventually, you can turn the guide into a book or course.
- Host a live workshop – you can host a 30-90 minute workshop live or even record it ahead of time with the plan to not really need to edit it. Eventually, you can turn the live workshop into a larger course or program.
I hope this article helps you with some simple steps to get started creating digital products and takes the complication and overwhelm out of the picture!