A few months ago I published an article titled How to make a full-time income by adding a storefront to your blog. It gives a general overview of monetizing your blog by adding a storefront.
Today, I’ll explain how to start selling digital products specifically and make a full-time income through it.
The best thing about creating a digital product is that it is easier than creating physical ones. In fact, even if you’re not a tech-savvy person, you could start creating and selling digital products like ebooks with ease.
After all, you don’t necessarily need to have a massive following, in order to build a solid income if you’re selling a product online.
In this post, I’ll show you how to start making a full-time income by selling digital goods online in two ways- selling on marketplaces and selling on your own blog.
Sell on marketplaces
If you’ve ever sold a product online, you might have known that selling is a tedious task; especially finding potential buyers and putting your digital products before them. This is especially true if you’re a newbie seller and not a well-known face in your niche.
For that reason, many sellers prefer selling on marketplaces to selling on their blog.
As thousands of potential buyers are there on marketplaces, the main benefit is that the product visibility will be high. Moreover, you can sell it to people who are not actually your blog readers.
For instance, if you’re an ebook publisher, marketplaces like Amazon.com, Lulu.com and BarnesandNobles.com could be the right choice for you.
If you’re a WordPress theme developer you may use marketplaces like Themeforest.net, MojoThemes.com and WPEden.com etc.
So the basic idea is to find the right marketplaces to sell your products.
How to sell?
If you’re looking for an inspiration to get started as a digital publisher, let’s take a look at the success story of a Kindle bestseller, Rachel Abbott and learn how she successfully leveraged marketplaces to sell her digital goods. Though this case study is about making a full-time income by selling ebooks, the same strategy is applicable to selling any digital goods on marketplaces whether it is a WordPress plugin, software, stock photos, etc.
Lesson #1: Always get the basics right
Create a product with a strong concept. Get a professional looking cover if you’re releasing an ebook. For other digital products like themes, software or plugins, you may need to display screenshots and other graphics that easily grabs the attention of your potential customers.
Make people want to buy it by writing a great description while listing it on marketplaces.
Lesson #2: Create a marketing plan and stick to it
No matter how good your products are, none of your products sell themselves even if you’re using a popular platform like Amazon. However, with the right marketing strategies, you could succeed in selling.
Rachel uses Twitter as her primary marketing channel. She used to engage with like-minded people on Twitter by using tools like Twitter Adder and Triberr. This helped her to spread the word out about her products, which in turn increase the visibility of her listings.
With that said, you shouldn’t necessarily focus solely on Twitter for getting exposure especially if you’re not a regular Twitter user.
For example, publishers like Joanna Penn used to use her blogs to increase exposure of her products listing. Instead of reaching out to like-minded people on Twitter, she used to conduct interviews with popular self-published authors. And because there is a good chance that those authors would tweet about the interview or offer a backlink to it as well as products listing, this is a nice strategy to build some exposure to products listings.
Instead of blindly following others technique, make sure to stick to your marketing plans. Though it is OK to make mistakes when you’re selling a product for the first time, take those mistakes as lessons while creating your future marketing strategies.
Lesson #3: Get some great reviews quickly
One of the main reasons for the success of Rachel is that she got some great reviews quickly in the early days of her product release.
Identify potential blogs in your niche and ask them politely to review your product. While you couldn’t expect everyone you outreach to write a review, this strategy can be very effective to get some reviews and increase exposure for your listing in the early days.
Needless to say, in order to bring in sales, you’ll need to prepare yourself to work hard.
Turn your website into a digital store
One of the best things about creating a digital store is that you get the full control of what you’re selling.
For instance, if you’re selling products on marketplaces, you’ll need to adhere to their guidelines and they’ll take a significant profit share from what you make.
And if you carefully analyze the strategy of most of the best sellers out there, you’ll identify that in order to make a full-time income, you may need to produce multiple products for low prices. It’s because high priced products are harder to sell especially if you’re new to the market, which in turn forces you to create many products.
On the other hand, if you’re selling your digital goods on your own store, you don’t necessarily need to sell them for a cheaper price. Because you’ve full control over what you do, all you need to do is to grow a loyal following base and start selling your products to them.
Let’s take a look at how to make a full-time income by selling self-hosted digital goods.
How to sell?
While creating and selling an ebook is one of the easiest ways to get started with selling a digital good especially for a non-tech savvy person, your choices are not limited to selling ebooks as long as you can build a following and sell your products to them.
Create a digital store: If you’re already running an established WordPress blog, all you need to do is to add a digital storefront on your blog. For this, simply install a free plugin Easy Digital Downloads on your blog.
Choose a theme: If your current theme doesn’t support EDD plugin, you may need to install a new EDD supported theme. However, if you’re really fond of your current theme, chances are you might not want to change the theme. If that’s the case, try adding a new subdomain, install WordPress on it and an Easy Digital Downloads theme like Olam that lets you create a digital storefront with ease.
In fact, Olam is specifically built for creating a digital marketplace, so it’s very likely that you’ll find almost everything you need to build a digital storefront in it.
Build an email list: One of the biggest mistakes most publishers commits is that they undervalue the importance of building an email list. Try creating a landing page and start building an email list before you start creating your product. This will help you build a momentum about your products amongst your potential buyers.
Drive traffic to your landing page and start growing a massive follower base: There are many ways to build huge traffic to your blog as well as your landing page. If you’re looking for some inspirations, read one of my articles that explain how to drive huge traffic overnight to your blog.
Start selling: Once you build a massive follower base, it’s the time to start selling your products. List the products on your storefront and direct traffic from your email list.
Over to you
Have you ever sold digital goods? What would you prefer- selling products on marketplaces or selling it on your own blog?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
About the author: Shahzad Saeed specializes in content marketing for startups and small businesses. He writes on marketing, CRO, ecommerce and design. You can hire him for your next writing project.