Okay, I know exactly what you’re thinking:
Creating your own products is far too advanced for you.
You need to have a 10,000 person mailing list, or a few millions hits on your site before you even think about it.
And, it’s easier to sell affiliate products anyway, right?
So why even bother.
Well here’s the thing about that:
You can create your own digital product right now and make money from it.
Potentially more money than from affiliate sales.
No matter how long you’ve been in the game.
No matter how large your audience is.
Regardless of what any Guru tells you.
Digital products are one of the best ways to boost your income – and your authority – in your niche.
So, if you’re ready to take the plunge and start creating your own digital products, this article is for you…
What You’ll Learn
- The 60 Second Guide To Digital Products (And If You Should Sell Them)
- Why Most Digital Products Fail
- Your 2 Biggest Problems And What To Do About Them
- A Simple Checklist For Creating Magnetic Products
Ready? Let’s go…
“It’s perfectly possible to create a digital product in your spare time. Sure it may take a few months to complete, but you can work at your own pace and launch when you’re ready.”
(P.S. If you’d like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)
The 60 Second Guide To Digital Products
If you’re not sure what a digital product is (or if you even need to sell them) this section is for you.
Digital products only exist online.
While you may be able to see, hear and experience them, you can’t touch or feel them. They’re forever trapped behind your computer, phone or tablet screen.
That means this couple makes $600,000 a year on Shopify selling products that don’t really exist in the world real.
And, while that may sound absurd, there’s a lot of benefits to it.
But here’s the main benefit you really need to know about:
You can sell as much as you want.
You can’t run out of stock.
And, you don’t have to work yourself into the ground to try and meet demand. Instead your product is always readily available.
For example if you’re selling music samples through your niche site, you will never run out of those samples.
They will always be there for people to buy and use once they’ve been created.
Digital products can come in a lot of forms, too:
- eBooks: On any topic in your niche. From travel guides, to in-depth tutorials and books of quotations. If you can write it, you can turn it into an eBook.
- Courses: You just have to look at the success of sites like Udemy to see how popular these are. If your niche has a tricky element to it, like learning to play the guitar or sewing, these can be highly profitable.
- Pictures & Photographs: Stock images and photographs all count as digital products.
- Music: From iTunes to Spotify, to selling beats and samples, the music industry is a niche full of digital products.
- Artwork: DeviantArt have built a whole community and industry based on selling digital art to people, from illustrations to photoshop brush downloads, and everything in between.
- Audio Products: A little different from music; products like SpanishPod101 teach you a language using targeted podcast episodes that can accessed from your computer, phone or tablet.
You can be creative and combine any of these to create bulk packages, individual products or one monster digital product that people will be dying to buy.
Okay, so that’s what digital products are. But, now for the elephant in the room…
Are Digital Products For You?
Let me explain…
If you run an online business – no matter the niche or the audience – there is a digital product you can create.
Even if you had a site dedicated completely to your favorite bus stops in China, you could still sell an eBook about what elements make up a good Chinese bus stop.
I find the problem here is never if digital products are right for your business, it’s about creating the right digital product for your audience.
Why You Should Start Creating Your Own Products
You’ve probably only thought about creating a niche site that’s built around affiliate products.
And that is a great business model when you’re just starting out.
It’s a model you can always use to fuel your business, too.
For example, since starting NicheHacks, Stuart has made most of his income through affiliate sales.
But he’s also made tens of thousands from his own digital products, too.
With those products he gets to:
- Keep 100% of the profits
- Set his own prices
- Hire his own affiliates (if he wants)
- Have complete control over the content
The benefits extend far beyond profit, too.
By having your own products you create a feeling of authority around your niche site, and your own content.
Because if you’re smart to build your own product, you must be someone who knows what they’re talking about.
It doesn’t take much more time than you would spend building your niche site anyway.
You’re already going to have a mailing list, SEO traffic and content marketing strategies in place.
Which makes it a great strategy for you to follow and add to your business.
“Making Digital Products that sell like crazy is not as hard as you’d think!” – Jawad Khan
Two Common Problems You Need To Face
Before we get into how you come up with a good idea, I want to talk about two issues that marketers struggle with a lot:
- Relative perfection
- Creating the product you want (not them)
What The Hell Is Relative Perfection?
Okay, I just made it up. But it’s a real thing.
You can drive yourself insane trying to create the perfect product.
Trying to get every single aspect of your product to a perfect level.
And, the truth is, it doesn’t exist. There is no perfect product.
For example, if you’re in the travel niche and you want to create the perfect travel guide to Iceland, that is an impossible task.
Because people have different:
- Landmarks they want to see
- Ideas of fun
- Preferences for accommodation
If you tried to cover all of these topics, you’d end up creating a guide that nobody wants because it’s too broad.
However if you were to create a guide that was super-specific, such as:
- Budget of $20-30 a day
- Who are interested in Art and Architecture
- That enjoy nightlife and eating out
- And enjoy staying in hostels
That book wouldn’t be perfect for everyone.
But, it would be perfect for someone. And that, my friend, is relative perfection.
When someone can look at your product and say, “Oh wow, that’s perfect for me!”.
The Wrong Approach To Creating Products
The second problem you’ll face as an online marketer is that you’ll want to create the products that you want to see in the world.
And, you’re probably wondering why the hell that’s a problem.
And, in one way, it’s not. Steve Jobs never paid attention to his customers when it came to creating ideas, and he turned out okay.
Those ideas though are true innovations.
Ideas of that kind push the boundaries of what is, and isn’t, possible.
They’re at the forefront of their industry.
If you truly have an idea like that, then run with it.
Just bare in mind that not every idea like this can be a winner, either.
Because you can end up like this guy who invented Bulletball:
He lost everything for a pretty shitty idea that never worked.
Putting the products you’d like to see out into the world becomes a problem then, because, if you’re anything like the rest of us reading (or writing) this post, you’re not a unique mind at the forefront of your industry.
So a lot of the ideas you create will be pretty sucky.
And that’s okay, because that’s part of the process.
Which means that you need to start to listen to your audience and create the products that they want to see.
The ones that are going to make their life better, more interested and create a better version of themselves.
Let’s explore how you can do that then, shall we?
How To Create A Digital Product That Can’t Fail
Every good digital product should:
- Answer a major question in your niche
- Fit your audience
- Give the user a better version of themselves
And that applies to any product in any niche. (Learn how to measure your niche success)
For example, the travel guide I mentioned before would:
- Answer the question, “How do I get around Iceland on a $30 a day budget?”
- Fit an audience of travelers on a small budget
- Provide ways to make your cash go further
- Give them a better trip than they thought possible
Now your niche and product are a little beyond the scope of my knowledge right now. I mean, I’m good. But I’m not that good.
Instead I’m going to show you how you can tick off each of those boxes, no matter what you’re doing.
“If I started over again, I would sell digital products. They’re the easiest to create and the cheapest to produce.” – Income Diary
Answering The Major Questions For Maximum Sales
Your entire business is built on answering questions about how you can do, achieve or reach something. Here’s a few examples to show you what I mean:
- GoPro Cameras: “How can I capture the most amazing moments in my life on video?”
- Spotify: “How do I listen to all the music I love without spending a fortune on CD’s?”
- Buffer: “How can I be more productive with my Social Media feeds?”
- Casio: “How can I wear a stylish watch without breaking the bank?”
This is because when people come looking for a product they’re normally looking for a solution to a problem.
And the way we get answers to problems is by asking questions. It’s simple psychology at the heart of it.
So you need to find what the biggest questions in your niche are and answer them in order to create a product that people will want to buy.
There are a few ways you can do that…
Quora is one of the best content marketing tools at your disposal.
And, because it’s a place people actually go to ask questions, you can normally find some brilliant product ideas here:
Forums, again, are a great place to do some research.
People are actively asking questions and seeking answers.
Answers that would come well in the form of your next product, eh?
These are an underrated tool, but they’re full of nuggets of gold.
If you’re not sure what an AMA is, it’s an Ask Me Anything.
They are normally on Reddit, Facebook or Forums and are often hosted by people who are authorities in their niche.
For example, if you head to the SubReddit /IAmA/ you can find AMA’s about any niche, from lots of authorities.
Simple delve through the comments and find what people are talking about, the questions they’re asking these authorities, and create your own solutions.
Then, you can charge for them.
How To Be 100% Sure If Your Products Fit Your Audience
Okay, this stage is going to blow your mind:
Are you ready?
Last chance to turn back?
I know, I know…It’s a little out there; but it damn sure works.
You can ask your audience – or someone else’s if you don’t have one yet – and see what the response is to the product you’re thinking of making.
Asking them questions like:
- “What’s your biggest problem with…”
- “If someone was to create a course about x, would your rather it focused on y or z?”
- “In your opinion would you rather I talked about A or B when referring to C?”
He asked his audience what he should write about. And, well, he wrote about it. And asked them questions as he went along too.
If you have a product created already, you could also get them to test your product and report back about it too.
You can ask them these questions on your mailing list (learn what tools are best for email marketing), through blog posts, forums and Facebook groups.
The more you know, the better your product will be.
The Real Reason People Buy Products From You
I’ve said this a few times throughout this article, and I’m going to say it again:
People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.
That is to say, people don’t buy the digital product you’ve created.
They buy what it can do for them. How it makes them feel. What they become once they own it.
This graphic illustrates it perfectly:
Now, you might think this applies more to sales.
And, it is a sales frame of mind. But that’s the frame of mind you need to be looking through when you’re creating your product.
Think about this:
- How does the product you’re creating improve a customer’s life?
- What can they do once they buy it that they can’t do right now?
For example if you were selling stock photography, you aren’t selling HD resolution or beautiful imagery.
You’re selling the ability to decorate your blog, to drive more traffic to your posts, to create visual content that goes viral.
You don’t just want to think about the little improvements either.
You want to create a product that lets them do 10x more than they can do now.
I recently bought Benny Lewis’s Why Spanish Is Easy course for my trip to Peru.
Because it would allow me to speak 10x more Spanish than I spoke at the time of buying it (which was zero).
Spotify allows you to have 10x more songs than you could ever afford to buy.
SERPed allows you to do 10x more research on one app than you could ever do before.
The NicheHacks products give you 10x more research tools and skills than you would ever have had before.
“Five years later and I still make a couple hundred bucks per year from the [digital product] videos while doing zero upkeep work.” – The Write Life
The Quick-Start Guide To Building Your Digital Products
This section could be a whole article in itself (and if you’d like to see that, let me know in the comments).
But, I don’t want to leave you completely unawares of how to build your own digital product, so here are a few simple ways to get going:
- Word to PDF: Creating an eBook or written course? Simply create a Word Document and turn it into a PDF file. Hey presto, you’ve got an easy download in a matter of minutes.
- Mobile Apps: Want to create a mobile app? Here’s a full list of app creation tools from Mashable.
- Video Courses: The simplest way to create a video course is simply buying a camera and creating an account over at Udemy.
Creating your very own products to market and sell online is as you can imagine a BIG project. I’m talking about creating your own ebooks, audio courses and video trainings. How to protect your paid content so sneaky people can’t access your valued content for free. Choosing where to host videos for seamless delivery. Which shopping cart to use in order to accept payments from your customers. And more! So to make things easier for you I’ve created a comprehensive list of my favorite product creation tools to guide you along the way.
EasyDigitalDownloads.com – Pretty much the fastest and easiest way to sell your products through WordPress. All you need to do is enter your payment information and add your products. You get built-in statistics with graphs showing exactly how many sales you’ve make over time. Integrates seamlessly with either PayPal and Stripe.
They also offer add-ons for integrating with PayPal Pro, Authorize.net, Clickbank, JVZoo, Braintree, Dwolla, and many others.
Digital Product Delivery – This is another plug-and-play option that will allow you to just upload your products and enter your payment gateway. The difference here though is that it works outside of WordPress.
DLGuard – Your probably wondering how to protect your paid content, right? Well, DLGaurd allows you to secure your digital products quickly and easily. It integrates seamlessly with PayPal, Clickbank, Authorize.net, and many others.
I personally like to put most of my one-time products inside a membership site using Wichlist. I would strongly suggest that you put your one-time products into a membership site as well. This will allow you to easily deliver updates of your product, send out unannounced bonuses, drip-feed new content and increase the overall value.
WebSupportTeam.com – Need help with the tech side of your business? You can easily get access to a team of experts who will help you get it done. They can help setup your email marketing, your shopping cart, payment processor, online video, and social media. They can also install softwares and scripts for you.
Plus, they also can set up squeeze pages, sales pages, order pages, download pages, and so much more!
Coc2PDF.net – Convert any Microsoft Word document into a PDF.
Below are a few design resources that will allow you to quickly and easily create professional Powerpoints, video intros, intuitive product navigation and lots more…
OptimizePress 2.0 – This is my very favorite tool for creating my product download areas inside WordPress. It allows you to create membership portals and protect your content inside a really cool dashboard.
GraphicsRiver.net – You will find cool graphics you can use with any type project. This is where I get most of my graphics found inside my product download areas and within my membership sites. They also have awesome Powerpoint Templates that will immediately make your videos look sharp and professional.
Splasheo.com – Create professional video intros in record time. This is a fun, simple way to dramatically increase the perceived value of your product.
VideoHive.net – Want to make your videos look amazing? VideoHive has hundreds of wicked video intros and templates for you to use inside your videos. You can have someone quickly customize the video template for you at iMotionVideo.com
Audactity – Free software you can use to record audio for your products.
Audio Acrobat – Easily create and broadcast on-demand audio and video.
FreeConferenceCall.com – Record phone calls or teleconferencing calls for free. You can easily get on the phone with an associate in the industry and bang out some content which you can deliver to your subscribers and/or members.
MusicBakery.com – Awesome place to find video intro music.
Camtasia Studio – This is my favorite software tool for creating and editing screen-capture videos. You can easily record your screen. I use this one tool for 99% of my training videos.
Screenflow (Mac) – Screen-capture software for the Mac.
YouTube – This is where I store and publish all of my videos. Using YouTube you’ll never have to worry about running into bandwidth problems.
GoToWebinar.com – The top pick when it comes to webinars. Engaging your customers and subscribers on a LIVE webinar is priceless.
WebinarsOnAir.com – Google Hangouts are quickly becoming a viable alternative to GoToWebinar.
MeetingBurner– A alternative to GoToWebinar if GTW is a bit pricey for you).
If you need to create on-screen video’s for you content or product, here are the best cameras on the market…
FlipCam Ultra HD – Allows you to create videos fast and easy.
Kodak Playtouch – Has an audio input to ensure REALLY good sound quality.
Logitech Headset – This is by far my favorite headset for recording my screencast videos and live webinars.
Sales Letter Templates:
Lead Pages – Create really good squeeze pages. The point-and-click dashboard allows you to create new pages in under 10 minutes. Lead pages allows you to create a very professional-looking sales letter in just a few minutes. Obviously your sales copy will take a bit more time, but once it’s just a copy and paste away from snazzy!
InstantSalesLetters.com – This will actually help you create your sales copy with it’s fill-in-the-blank templates.
Optimize Press 2.0 – This is my very favorite tool for creating squeeze pages, launch pages, sales pages, membership sites, and more. Very professional and offers amazing step-by-step video tutorials to walk you through everything. OP2.0 offers more flexibility than Lead Pages.
Custom PDF Design:
Tracy Yates – Tracy is one of the best when it comes to designing the INSIDE of your ebook. You can make your ebook look very professional with her services. Tracy can be found over at the Warrior Forum.
Microlancer.com – Another really good option for getting the internal layout of you ebook looking sweet.