If you look at the most successful bloggers, you’ll notice that almost all of them, from Jon Morrow to Pat Flynn, sell digital products. It’s far more popular and far more lucrative than selling physical products or advertising space, or using affiliate marketing.
To share just one example, John Lee Dumas’s Entrepreneurs on Fire brand has been averaging nearly $169,000 in revenues per month since January, with over $33,000 (20% of his monthly income) coming in the form of online course subscription fees.
As one of the world’s most successful bloggers and podcasters, Dumas’s case is certainly an outlier, but it definitely serves to demonstrate that the opportunity is huge and it’s there for the taking.
Let’s take a deeper look at why top bloggers all sell digital products, and how you can join them.
Why Do Digital Products Sell So Well?
It’s a complicated question with more than one answer, but here are some of the things that make digital products so popular:
- Blog visitors want to learn. With tuition costs rising in the US, college isn’t always realistic for people who want to improve their employability or learn more skills in order to launch their own businesses. Institutions of higher learning also don’t necessarily offer the same quality of up-to-date, actionable classes that the web does. Your digital products are more affordable, take up less of their time, and they’re available on demand.
- Blog visitors want to feel part of the club. Plenty of digital products promise to share inside secrets, reveal more advanced tips, or add you to an exclusive email list. Premium subscription communities also offer audiences the opportunity to rub elbows with like-minded tribespeople.
- Blog visitors don’t want to have to wait. Digital products are easy to access and available on demand. In our era of instant gratification and the value of “experiences,” digital products are far more satisfying than physical ones.
- Blog visitors value something more when they pay for it. Strange but true. Although you could (and might already) share the same information for free on your blog, when you collect that information into a themed, beautifully designed eBook and charge a fee for access to it, your visitors appreciate the content far more.
Why Are Digital Products the Key to Success for Bloggers?
They Don’t Run Out of Stock
One of the biggest advantages of digital products is that you can sell an infinite number of them. You’ll never run out of eBooks or sell out of podcasts. If you offer an online course, you won’t have to close the doors at 50 customers because the classroom is full.
Other popular monetization methods for bloggers do involve inventory limitations. If you’re selling advertising or using affiliate marketing links, there’s a cap on the amount of money you can make. You can only sell a certain amount of advertising on your website or promote a certain number of products on your social media channels before you dilute your value too far.
If you come off as being too commercial, your audience could lose trust in you and your ability to drive conversions could evaporate.
They Bring in Passive Income
The dream of every blogger is to achieve sustainable levels of passive income. This refers to money that you earn without having to work for it. Your online course, for example, is passive income, because you are not in a classroom teaching your students.
The truth is that passive income doesn’t come from nothing. You have to put in the work creating your online course (or other digital product), as well as building and optimizing a sales funnel to draw in customers.
But you need to do the bulk of that work just once, and then you can enjoy the profits again and again.
Production and Operating Costs are Relatively Low
Digital products usually incur relatively low costs to create.
For example, publishing an eBook will run you a fraction of the expenses associated with publishing a hard copy of the same book. Plus, with an eBook, order fulfillment can be fully automated.
Offline courses need a physical location, electricity to heat and light the room, etc, whereas an online course might run you some platform fees but doesn’t have anywhere near the same operating expenses.
How Can You Succeed at Selling Digital Products?
Earning thousands of dollars from digital products every month might seem like a pipe dream, but it’s within reach.
You aren’t likely to jump straight to earning $100,000 in your first month, but if you build your brand and keep creating high-value content, you may be startled to see how profitable your digital products can be.
Here are the most important things to consider when selling digital products.
1. Validate Your Product
You may be sure that everyone wants to learn how to take the best portrait photographs, but you might have misjudged your audience. It could be that they really want guidance on how to take the best portrait photos with their phones specifically, or it could be that they’re interested but only willing to part with $50 for this guidance. Take the time to run pre-launch experiments and get feedback on your digital product before you jump in.
2. Choose the Right Platform
Different online selling platforms have different tools to help your digital product succeed, so weigh up your options before you commit. For example, you might prefer to make an eBook with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publisher rather than with Apple’s iBooks, or to create your online course on Kajabi instead of Teachable.
3. Set up Your Marketing Funnel
Your marketing strategy needs almost as much attention as your digital product itself, if not more. Begin raising interest in your digital product, building a landing page, and creating your marketing funnel even before you get started on production. Once you’ve launched your digital product, keep an eye on your marketing analytics so that you can finetune your funnel for optimal income.
4. Keep Your Digital Product Relevant
You can keep on selling digital products almost indefinitely, as long as you keep them relevant. Revisit your online course or eBook every year or so to look for areas that might be out of date. It’s also a good idea to add extra content every so often so that you can relaunch it and raise the price.
You Too Can Succeed at Selling Digital Products
Selling digital products is the key to financial success for every blogger. Once you’ve validated your product, chosen the right online selling platform, and set up your marketing funnel, you can join top bloggers by making a sizeable income from digital products.