How to Sell Digital Products in 2023: A Complete Guide for Entrepreneurs

sell digital products
sell digital products

Table of Contents

Selling digital products has become an incredibly profitable business opportunity for many entrepreneurs. Digital products offer an exciting path to dive into the world of e-commerce without the hassle of physical inventory.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of how to sell digital products, from understanding what they are to creating and marketing them effectively. You’ll walk away with actionable insights, ready to start selling digital products. So, let’s dive in!

What is Digital Products?

Digital products involve a wide range of intangible goods that include ebooks, online courses, downloadable templates, software, graphics, and music, among many others. They can be downloaded or accessed online and exist in various formats, such as PDFs, videos, audio files, images, spreadsheets, and more.

Unlike physical products, digital products can be replicated and distributed at a minimal cost, making them a highly scalable business opportunity.

Is it Profitable to Sell Digital Products?

Digital products have become increasingly popular in recent years. This is because they are one of many low-cost business ideas with high-profit margins. In fact, digital products have no shipping costs, inventory management, or production expenses, making them a low-risk and high-reward business model.

Overall, entrepreneurs can benefit in several ways from selling digital products:

  • Low production costs. Unlike traditional businesses that require physical manufacturing, storage, and shipping, digital products can be created once and sold repeatedly with minimal ongoing expenses.
  • High-profit margins. Since digital products have close to zero production costs, entrepreneurs can keep a higher percentage of the revenue.
  • Easy distribution. Digital products can be distributed instantly and globally, making them accessible to customers in different parts of the world without any geographical limitations.
  • Passive income opportunities. Once a digital product is created, it can generate passive income for years to come!
  • Automation opportunities. Digital product sales have a game-changer automation potential. This is because once the product is set up for sale, automated systems can handle aspects like payment processing and product delivery.

Ideas for Digital Products to Sell Online

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of digital products, let’s explore some digital product examples. These ideas span various niches and apply to different target audiences, so I’m sure you’ll find one that resonates with you!

Here are five of the most profitable digital products:

1. Online Courses

One of the best digital products to sell is online courses. They continue to be a hot commodity in the digital world: no matter what you’re an expert in, you can package your knowledge into a well-structured course that makes you money.

2. Templates and Printables

If you’re a designer, you can create beautiful printable items like daily planners, goal trackers, budgeting sheets, printable calendars, and more.

On the other hand, you can also sell templates of all types, depending on what niche you’re in. For example, there are people selling Notion templates, website templates, SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) templates, spreadsheets, and resume templates, among many others.

3. Digital Art and Graphics

Another example of digital products for artists to monetize their creativity is digital art and graphics. These could range from illustrations and posters to vectors and social media graphics.

Music is also a digital product that can get you royalties. On the other hand, photographers can leverage their talent by selling their photos as digital products. The most common route for photographers is to sell their photos on stock sites.

4. Software Tools

Developing a software tool to address a specific problem can be incredibly rewarding for developers. Whether it’s a task automation tool, a design software plugin, or a mobile app, providing a solution that simplifies your customers’ lives can lead to substantial sales.

Additionally, you don’t necessarily have to be a great developer to create a software tool, since nowadays there are excellent no-code tools out there.

5. Ebooks and Guides

Crafting in-depth ebooks and guides on topics that resonate with your target audience can position you as an authority in your niche. You can share cooking recipes, business insights, fitness routines, or travel guides. Overall, books and guides are a great option for you to share your expertise while making money.

Where to Sell Digital Products?

Now that you have some exciting digital product ideas, let’s explore where to showcase them for you to start selling digital products to a global audience.

However, keep in mind that there’s no best platform to sell digital products: it will depend on the product you’re selling and your target audience. With that said, these are the most common platforms people are using:

1. Sell Digital Products on Etsy

Etsy isn’t just for handmade crafts and vintage items; it’s also a great platform for selling digital products. Some of the most popular digital products people are selling on the platform include Etsy printables and Etsy digital downloads:

digital products to sell on etsy
Digital downloads, templates, and printables are very common examples of digital products to sell on Etsy.

Overall, Etsy it’s a great platform for reaching a niche audience and a community of creative buyers seeking unique digital items. However, keep in mind that it costs you $0.20 for each item you list for sale, and then you’ll also be charged 6.5% of the price of anything you sell.

2. Sell Online Courses on Podia

For those looking to sell online courses or membership-based digital products, Podia is an excellent option!

It offers a comprehensive platform for course creators, including features for hosting content, processing payments, and engaging with students. With Podia, you’ll be able to create your own landing page to offer your content.

CSS Demystified is only one of many examples of what you can build with Podia.

Other great platforms for course creators include Udemy, Teachable, Skillshare, and Thinkific. Hosting your courses on online course marketplaces like these provides you with immediate access to an existing audience, built-in marketing, payment processing systems, credibility, and a simplified technical setup.

3. Sell Digital Products on Amazon

Wondering how to sell digital products on Amazon?

There are three types of digital products you can sell on the world’s largest online marketplace:

  • Books: Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing enables you to publish and sell your ebooks or guides to a vast audience of Kindle users.
  • Music: Through TuneCore, you can directly upload songs and make them available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, and another 150+ stores.
  • Art: Amazon Merch allows you to sell your art in physical products, such as t-shirts. While this is not a digital product, it doesn’t require you to have your own inventory, since Amazon itself handles the creation and distribution of the product.
sell digital products on amazon
KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) allows authors to sell their ebooks to a global audience.

4. Become a Creator on Gumroad

Gumroad is an e-commerce platform designed for content creators to sell products directly to their audience. Whether you’re selling ebooks, software, art, or courses, Gumroad provides tools to set up your storefront, handle payments, and deliver digital products seamlessly.

sell digital products on gumroad
On Gumroad, people sell courses, tutorials, guides, templates, webinars, and several other resources.

5. Build Your Own Website

Having your own website gives you complete control over your brand and product offerings. Popular website-building platforms like WordPress, and other options like Shopify or Squarespace make it relatively easy to set up an online store for your digital products.

You don’t even need to build an entire website since you can create a landing page with no-code tools like Carrd.

With your own website, you get to keep all revenue to yourself (you’ll avoid platform fees, but keep in mind that you still need to pay for hosting or no-code platform subscriptions unless you use a free option).

However, it’s significantly more difficult to reach a wider audience with your own website than by using some of the other platforms we outlined above, since you’ll need to take care of all aspects of marketing and sales.

How to Create Digital Products Step-by-Step

Creating digital products requires a strategic approach to ensure that your offerings resonate with your target audience and provide real value. Here’s a basic roadmap to create and sell digital products:

Step 1: Identify Your Niche and Target Audience

Start by identifying a specific niche that aligns with your expertise and interests. Make sure to choose a topic that you’re passionate about but that also has a market demand.

But, how do you know if a specific topic has a market demand?

To start the process, it’s a good idea to search for the best-selling digital products on some of the platforms we’ve presented before. Search for products within your niche, read the reviews, and see how many sales they have. Is it a saturated market? What can you offer that’s different and that’s better?

The best news is you can do the entire business research process from the comfort of your own computer. Here’s our guide to validate a business idea using SEO.

After you have chosen the niche you want to pursue, it’s time to research your audience. Understanding your target audience’s pain points, needs, and preferences will guide the type of digital product you create: you need to offer them something that solves an existing problem.

target audience
A key step in researching your audience involves defining it by segments. (Source)

Step 2: Choose the Right Format and Platform

Based on your niche and audience, the next step is to determine the best format for your digital product. Will it be an ebook, an online course, downloadable templates, or something else entirely? The format should complement the content and deliver value effectively.

Now you’ve defined your product type, niche, and target audience: the next step is to choose where to sell your digital products.

If you’re a creator seeking to reach a global audience, platforms like Etsy, Amazon, or Gumroad might be ideal. On the other hand, for those focused on specialized courses or memberships, platforms like Podia or self-hosted options (like having your own website) offer more control.

To choose the best platform to sell your digital products, consider factors like ease of use, transaction fees, customization options, and marketing tools. Ultimately, the platform should align with your product’s nature and your business goals.

Step 3: Craft High-Quality Content

Whatever format you choose, ensure that the content you create is high-quality, different from what’s already there, and really valuable for your target audience. Your digital product should be well-researched, engaging, and actionable.

Creating the content for your digital product requires extensive market research to see what your competitors are doing. Additionally, the specific process you’ll follow will depend on the type of product you’re creating.

Step 4: Design an Appealing Cover and Branding

The role of captivating design and branding cannot be overstated. They serve as the bridge between your product and your audience, creating an instant and long-lasting impression.

A well-crafted design not only captures attention but also communicates professionalism and credibility. Additionally, consistent brand identity cultivates trust and recognition, making your products stand out in a crowded digital landscape.

The visual language you choose to use for your digital products speaks volumes about their quality and value, influencing purchasing decisions. Indeed, investing in good design and branding isn’t just about aesthetics: an appealing and professional design can significantly impact the perceived value of your product.

Step 5: Set Up a Sales System

The main advantage of choosing one of the platforms we’ve outlined above for selling your digital product is that they already include a user-friendly sales system. However, if you’re setting up your own website, you need to keep some things in mind.

First and foremost, you should know that a sales system includes creating product listings, setting prices, integrating payment gateways, and ensuring a smooth checkout process. For creating a user-friendly sales system, you need to streamline the user experience – from browsing to checkout – ensuring it’s intuitive and seamless.

sales funnel
The four stages of any sales funnel. (Source)

Additionally, transparency is key: clearly communicate product details, pricing, and any terms of use. Also, implement secure payment gateways to foster trust and protect customer information.

On the other hand, automation can become your ally. By setting up automatic delivery mechanisms, it’s easy to provide instant access to purchased products. Furthermore, be sure to leverage analytics to gather insights into customer behavior and optimize your sales funnel.

Lastly, stay engaged: implement follow-up emails, pay attention to customer experience and support, and gather feedback to nurture relationships and refine your sales process. In essence, a well-crafted sales system doesn’t just sell products, but it also nurtures customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Step 6: Define a Marketing Strategy

Marketing digital products demand a strategic, multi-channel approach.

An important element of digital product marketing includes crafting compelling product descriptions that showcase benefits and features. You can even include some keywords after SEO research (but be very careful to avoid keyword stuffing and other bad SEO practices).

Additionally, you can leverage social media platforms and content marketing to create a buzz and establish authority in your niche. There are many free content distribution platforms out there for you to share your content and expand your reach.

Other suggestions include collaborating with influencers or bloggers, using email marketing to nurture leads, employing paid advertising to reach a broader audience, and more.

On the other hand, be sure to gather as many customer reviews and testimonials as possible, since they help tremendously to build trust in potential customers’ minds. You can also leverage limited-time offers or discounts to drive urgency.

Lastly, remember that the virtual marketplace thrives on creativity and engagement, so infuse your marketing strategy with authentic storytelling and consistent branding to make your digital products stand out.

Selling digital products can be a fulfilling and profitable venture for entrepreneurs willing to put in the effort to create valuable offerings and effectively market them. Now, keep inspiring yourself with these 25 side hustle ideas to start from home!

Picture of Paola Baselica

Paola Baselica

Hey there! I'm Paola, and I like to call myself a word wizard. Since 2018, I've been writing content for diverse places across the web. Now I'm rocking it with Unita's copywriting crew, where I get to explore, write, and polish up the coolest communities you'll ever find on the web. It's been a wild ride, and I'm here to make every word count and every story pop 🎨✨📚