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How To Quickly Start an Easy Digital Products Business

by | Jul 18, 2018 | Business

16 min read

So you want to create digital products. Perhaps you want to start a business and create a full-time business out of it, perhaps you just want some extra money. Whatever it is we have to covered! This guide will show you how to go step by step through creating digital products, deciding how to create them, the tools you need, and even some long-term strategies that will help you grow it into a full-time business if that’s what you’re looking to do.

To start selling a digital products business, first you’ll need to pick a niche, and do some market research. Then, you’ll need to identify your customer so you can create products just for them. Then you will create a brand image surrounding your products. After that you’ll brainstorm product ideas, choose a platform to sell on and choose your pricing. Lastly you’ll create your products, upload them to sell and market them for success!

You’ll be able to figure out how to design products, where to go, and you’ll be well on your way to starting a digital products business full time with this guide!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This goes to help support me and The Success Mountain website – which I am so thankful for!

Ready to make passive income with selling digital printables online? Go through this step-by-step checklist of how to start a digital products business online today! #printables #digitalprintables #digitalproducts #digitalcommerce #ecommerce #ecommerceproducts #digitalentrepreneur #digitalnomad #planners #howto #tutorial #entrepreneur
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1 | Pick a niche

Identify strengths and weaknesses

First you will need to pick a niche and do some research and decide what your skills and strengths are. You don’t want to start a sewing pattern business if you don’t have the skills and you’ve never sewed a quilt before. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What area do you excel at that you could answer questions that your customers have, or what area of expertise do you have that you could talk for hours in?

Do some market research

You want to look to see what the current market is doing in that digital product niche. A few great places to start looking for this is Sendowl, Teachers Pay Teachers, Etsy, and Gumroad.

Some of the things that you will need to think about:

  • What are your competitors currently selling
  • What do the designs look like
  • What can you do better
  • How are they pricing their products
  • What’s the lowest price and the highest price
  • How are you going to stand out from the competitors?

Another great question that you should be thinking about when you’re doing your market research is what is missing that you think should be offered?

Identify what resources you have available to you

Some things you will want to think about is how much money do you want to spend on startup?

Determine exactly how many dollars do you have allocated to do these things:

  • Putting up a website
  • Purchasing listings like on Etsy or fees for your chosen platform
  • Creating branding images
  • Purchase and graphics for your digital printables
  • Or outsourcing to somebody who can create digital printables if you are not skilled in doing so

You can read my post on how to create a brand with no money over here if you would prefer to save as much money as possible on your branding which as a start-up, I recommend.

However, digital printables often come at a zero cost startup, so you may have some money that you can put towards creating some better images.

It’s up to you, you can wait until you start getting some traction and getting some dollars in that you can spend towards that, or even spending it on better products for your customers.

 

2 | Who is your customer?

So you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses. Now you should think about what kind of customer you are pinpointing to.

Are you pinpointing to busy moms who you want to create printables for to make their life easier? Or are you catering to the minimalist planner that needs some easy printable planners for her blog?

This is something you want to think about. You want to spend more time on this step to get to know your customer.

You can even expand later as your business grows, but for now just focus on one customer. Identify and get to know them and what their needs are, and then you can go back and refine later.

 

3 | Create a brand and a product image

I mentioned this above, but you can head over to my blog post on creating a brand with no money here, but the gist of creating a brand is to come up with a cohesive packaging that you will use throughout all of your marketing materials. This will include social media materials, a cohesive design that most of your printables will have, and overall it needs to be something that your customers can recognize your product by.

Here’s the action steps for creating your brand:

  • Choose a brand name
  • Choose brand colors
  • Choose or create a logo
  • Find images online that you can use for your marketing materials (we will also create some in a future step)

 

4 | Brainstorm Product Ideas

Do a brainstorming session that identifies at least five products that you can start with creating. If you plan on doing different categories of products I would do at least a couple of each category.
For example, if you plan on doing a blog post planner and also a personal finance planner, you can create a couple of options of each of those.

The goal is just to have a few options for your customers to choose from, because you don’t want to have an empty store when you’re just barely starting out. This will cause your customers to immediately click away.

So at least five products is good but if you can get up to 10 to start that would be even better!

5 | Choose a Platform

Now you want to decide which platform you want to sell on. I would focus on only one platform at a time, and then once you master that platform you can extend to others.

Each platform is different, the keywords and SEO will be different and the marketing standards will be different, so you want to only focus on one and master that until it is successful. Then you can go ahead and reach out and start growing to another platform.

Your choices are Etsy, Teachers Pay Teachers, your own website, Easy Digital Downloads, Sendowl, and Gumroad. There are more that you can read at this link, however I chose to list these because they are the most popular in their field at the moment.

You want to choose a platform that has:

  • Effective storage and delivery of your digital products
  • A good payment system and options for you and your customers to pay
  • And a clean customer experience as they check out

You will want to test these out before you choose one that works best for you.

 

6 | Pricing your products

Now that you’ve chosen the platform that you’re going to sell on, you need to figure out what to price your products at.

Some of the things you will want to think about are:

  • What the current market price is
  • If you want to offer different pricing and different packages for the same product
  • If you need to add any bonuses and how much it cost to create that bonus
  • How much it cost to sell it on that platform

Then you want to mark it up by 30 to 50% so that you can get a decent ROI (return on investment) on your digital products.

A note about pricing:

You do not want to price lower thinking that you will get more sales from an item. In fact, customers will think that the item isn’t very good or doesn’t have enough value because it’s priced so low.

Your customers actually do want to be sold to, and they do want to buy things haha! So make sure to price your items at what they’re worth and what you need to charge them for to get a great return.

 

7 | Create your digital products

The next step is to create your digital products! This is the fun part, and a lot of the times is the reason why people start selling digital products aside from the no inventory part. You get to explore, and think about what is going to sell, think about designs, buy graphics and have a good time with it by making the image in your head come to life!

First, create a draft outline

The first step to doing that is to create a draft of your products so that you can either outsource the design or create the design yourself.

  • What do you want to include in the product?
  • What do you want to have it include?
  • What instructions do your customers need to use it?
  • Any supporting documents?
  • Do you want to offer various formats such as a PDF, or jpegs to make it easier on someone who isn’t familiar with one type of document?

Then, create a mockup

So the next step will be to create a mock-up of your product. Once it’s made, you actually want to print it out if it’s going to be a printable, and just see, feel and touch it to see what it’s missing and what needs to be changed.

You can do this in the actual final document itself if you just want to create it from scratch, but I guarantee that you will end up editing at some point, so I would keep this step in and just plan on editing and having a final version of the product!

Make sure to make duplicate copies!

If you want to design them yourself…
Below are some fantastic graphics that I’ve used in one of my businesses before from Creative Market!
Another option that you can go to for graphics is DesignCuts which has fantastic tutorials!

If you need to outsource your designs…
If you need to outsource your document design, you can use Fiverr or Upwork. I have a blog post here that would help you hire a virtual assistant to help you out in your business!

If you want to design them but don’t want to pay for graphics…
You can use something like Canva and stock photos to create digital products, however I bet you will get more value out of purchasing an inexpensive graphic product to create your printables.

Tools to use to design your printables:

  • Adobe Illustrator (best for graphics)
  • Adobe Photoshop (best for photos and editing)
  • Adobe InDesign (best for planners, editorial design, etc)
  • Canva – Free but minimal function on photo editing such as clipping masks
  • PicMonkey (no longer free)
  • GIMP which is a free photo editing software – this is as close to Photoshop as you’re going to get!

 

Creative Market Designs for your Digital Products Business:

There are so many fantastic graphics that I am totally in love with – I keep trying to brainstorm ways to use all of these products!

From cutesy to glam to rustic, vintage, anything you can think of you can find amazing graphics by freelance designers on CreativeMarket.

Not just graphics, though, you can find a theme for your WordPress site, social media images, and anything else you might need to create and design your brand and products.

Here’s a few of my current favorites:

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

I personally have purchased this bundle here and I can tell you – it’s amazingly priced for the value

And THAT is why I am obsessed with CreativeMarket!

Powered by Creative Market

Here’s an idea: you can create custom portrait images using this graphic bundle by selling them on Etsy!
*Hint: everyone loves custom right now!*

Powered by Creative Market

Or you could create branding kits to sell on Etsy here!

Powered by Creative Market

After you’ve chosen some images and graphics, you will want to start designing and laying out your final design, along with your sales and social media images for your products.

If you plan on creating a lot of printable products for your digital products business, I might recommend the Creative Market Pro account which allows you to download packages of whatever graphics you want without having to purchase them individually.

 

Create Image Mockups for Lifestyle Product Images

I might recommend purchasing a mockup kit from CreativeMarket in order to position your product photos with lifestyle images. Showing your customer how to use your products as really going to up your sales numbers. The customers like to see how to use the products that they are purchasing.

Here’s a few examples of mockup kits that you can use on your products photos to make them look professional:

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

If you’re creating a stationary business, this is a great choice:

Powered by Creative Market

 

Create Product Descriptions

Next, you will want to write creative and informational product descriptions. Take a look the top selling products surrounding your niche. You can take examples from these product descriptions, but do not copy them as that is definitely plagiarism and if the shop noticed, you may be in legal trouble.

I would create a template so that you can make sure you’re including all of the information on returns, how to use the product, if they need any extra resources – anything else that you can think of that your customer might need.

Make sure to include a lot of keywords for your products such as colors, descriptions etc.

I do recommend creating that template for product description so that you can copy and paste and make it a lot easier and faster for your products. The first few sentences of your product description needs to be enticing and informative at the same time. Your customer needs to be drawn to the product, and you need to be able to tell them what it will solve.

 

8 | Upload your products

After that, what you want to do is gather all of your materials and your title descriptions, your product files, your product images, and upload your products! Make sure to pay attention to what your particular marketplace is looking for in terms of keywords and SEO.

That’s about it for this step – it will depend on your particular chosen platform, which will have instructions on how to upload your products there.

9 | Market your products & create an audience

Although ideally you want to start brainstorming your marketing plan for your products around the time that you are coming up with the ideas for them, it’s not necessary.

What you really want to do is get started on creating a hype for launching your products. Make sure to share on social media, and eventually you will want to grow your audience for your customers if you want to be a long-term business. This means creating content marketing, having a long-term content marketing strategy on social media, or a blog, or website.

Here’s a few ideas for marketing your products that you can get started with:

  • Facebook ads
  • Pinterest promoted pins
  • Videos that share how to use your product or other videos related to them that your audience is having problems with. If you are growing your audience you can dedicate more time to this.
  • Reach out to influencers and see if they want to collaborate with a contest, a giveaway or cross-promotion with their content as well. You can also ask them if they want to do a review on your product.

For a more long-term marketing plan you want to think about how much money you want to dedicate to pay for ads, and brainstorming other places that you can reach out and market to. Find out where your audience hangs out and get involved with the community and start networking with those people.

 

BONUS GROWTH TIPS:

If you want to start a long-term business with this strategy,  you can brainstorm surrounding niches or sub niches that are around your chosen niche, and try and solve those problems as well. You can start growing and curating your own product line, reaching out to other products, and overall growing your digital products business with NO inventory!

For more growth tips I recommend you create systems and processes for your business so you can optimize the amount of time it takes to create each product, as well as thinking what tools you can use to automate your business. The overall goal for digital product businesses is so that you can work less and create more, better products for your customers!

I’m so glad you read my post on how to sell digital products online, I hope you enjoyed it and if there is anything that I forgot please let me know. If you have any questions, please let me know what questions you have and I’m more than happy to answer them!

I love talking about digital products and I will admit that I spent more than I should have perusing Creative Markets graphics just for this blog post LOL!

Want to save this for later? Pin it to your favorite Pinterest board!

 

Ready to make passive income with selling digital printables online? Go through this step-by-step checklist of how to start a digital products business online today! #printables #digitalprintables #digitalproducts #digitalcommerce #ecommerce #ecommerceproducts #digitalentrepreneur #digitalnomad #planners #howto #tutorial #entrepreneur
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