Just a few short years ago publishing a digital product required a ton of marketing and technical skills. You needed to code the marketing funnel, design the artwork, and write the sales copy. You also needed to integrate the payment gateway and delivery of your products.
Today? Publishing digital products is a piece of cake in comparison. There’s a never-ending list of digital marketplaces and apps that help launch, sell, list and advertise your products.
The tech side of things used to sap 70% of your time before you even got around to harness your creative energy. With all the nifty marketing tools and digital marketing apps, tech only requires 10% of your energy these days.
But, what types of digital products exist? What options do you have?
Let’s spend some time brainstorming 3 ingenious digital product ideas that you can create and launch without fancy tools or tech.
Digital Product Ideas That Rock:
- Digital Books
- Digital Courses
# 1 – Digital Books
Digital books are one of the easiest things for you to create, launch, and share with the world. If you love to write? Then there’s never been a better time in the (known) history of earth to publish content.
If you want to become an authority in your niche, and if you already love to share your experience and skills with friends, then digital books rock.
I know that writing’s tough. You might spend your entire life writing, only to look back and acknowledge that nobody ever read your stuff. Sad, right? That’s the life of a writer. Thankfully, there have never been this many nifty opportunities to publish your written content so that people may indeed find and read your work.
The world of digital publishing is amazing these days. There’s a big selection of publishing platforms that welcome new writers of all varieties, experience levels, genres, and niches. The days of begging a publisher to help publish your book are over. You hold all the bargaining power and can publish your book wherever you wish.
Your digital publishing endeavors start with having an ideal audience in mind. What audience do you want to serve? Once you have an idea of how your book can help others, I like to consider an awesome book outline.
How To Outline Your Book With Ingenious Strategy
If you spend time creating and planning the perfect outline, then everything else becomes much easier. Your outline also serves as a tremendous sales piece. You can feature and “tease” your prospective reader about the contents of your book within your sales and marketing material.
Your book’s outline is one of the most important parts of your book. Your outline helps you to determine the flow of your book. Always keep your reader (I like to think of nonfiction readers as students) in mind as you write.
Pretend like you’re teaching a skill to one of your best friends. Or a family member. Outline your book like you’re teaching a good friend your expertise. Pretend that time is of the utmost essence.
What’s the first thing they need to know about your topic? What about the second, and third things? Et cetera.
That’s the exact process to help map your book and build the perfect book outline.
Writing Your Digital Book With Much Less Stress Than You Think
The number one tip is to remove fluff from your book.
One of the best reviews I ever received as a teacher was that I get to the point, and make my words count. I advise you to do the same; respect the time of your students and readers.
Writing your book is a piece of cake if your book outline rocks. All you need is inspiration, a desire to help others, and Microsoft Word. (Or, Libre Office).
Writing your first book takes effort, passion, grit, and hustle! Never let the butterflies hold you back! Once you publish your first book, and once your first reader emails you and THANKS YOU for writing, your life is forever changed.
The Importance Of Book Promotion
Even if you’ve written the best book in the world, that doesn’t mean that you’ll ever sell a single copy. Depressing, right?
That’s why Amazon Kindle is one of my favorite avenues for digital book promotion. You can list your book on Amazon Kindle for free. Amazon, being one of the most popular websites on the planet, is a great place to list your digital books.
Another brilliant tool for digital book publishers is Smashwords. Smashwords centralizes different digital book marketplaces so you can publish using one account.
Smashwords allows you to publish your digital books on Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, OverDrive, Baker & Taylor, and more.
How To Promote Your Digital Books With Paid Advertising
Paid advertising, as you know, is expensive. If you want to promote your book with paid advertising, then building a book funnel can help to increase your average earnings per customer. Launching a book funnel is a great idea for serious authors.
If you indeed have a marketing budget for your book, then there are a few popular paid advertising platforms for authors.
Did you know that Amazon has an advertising platform specifically for authors? You can advertise via Amazon Book Ads, which is a prominent platform for advertising your digital books.
Two other paid options are BookBub Ads and Goodreads Ads. Both of which are tremendously popular, and smart choices for paid book promotions. You can also create free public profiles on both BookBub and Goodreads, which I recommend as it’s a great way to showcase and promote your digital books.
# 2 – Audiobooks
There are a few reasons why audiobooks are massive.
Did you know that roughly 30 million (30,000,000) adults in the USA can’t read above the third-grade level? The alarming literacy rate in America is just one reason why you might want to consider producing an audio version of your book.
Face it. Nobody has the time to read a book these days. Millions of people in the USA work more than one job. Between demanding job roles, taking care of their kids, and paying their mortgage, we’re all a little strapped on time. Who has time to read? We all wish we had more time.
That’s why audiobooks rock and make genius digital products. Audiobooks are much easier to consume for those who loathe reading or don’t have the time. Audiobooks are perfect if you already have a book. If you spend the time researching and writing a book, then much of your efforts are already finished. You may as well turn that book into an audiobook.
What Tools Do You Need To Create An Audiobook?
Audiobooks are the easiest thing in the world to produce. The only thing you need to start recording is your book script and a USB microphone.
A halfway decent microphone only costs about $50 – $100 on Amazon. I use the Blue Snowball Microphone, and the Samson Go Mic. Either microphone option works great and both cost under $100. If you’ve taken any of my courses, then my audio is a product of either of those microphones.
How Can I Promote My Audiobook?
There are tons of creative ways you can leverage and promote your audiobook.
One genius option to consider is giving your audiobook away as a bonus to your digital book. If you’re trying to sell a digital book, then what better bonus could you offer? You could also use your audiobook as a lead magnet and promote your lead magnet within your written book.
Also, consider upsells for your book funnel. If you build your book funnel, you could add your digital book as a one-click upsell, or as a onetime offer.
How To Promote Your Audiobook In The Big Digital Book Marketplaces
The fastest way to launch your audiobook on Amazon, Audible, and on iTunes, is to use a service called ACX. ACX stands for the Audiobook Creation Exchange. ACX is excellent for audiobook publishing and distribution.
ACX is a dream come true for authors and narrators because they’re straightforward to use. After your book’s audio files are ready, you then upload your content to ACX. ACX helps you publish your audiobook content across different marketplaces.
I Hate My Voice! Can I Hire Someone To Narrate My Audiobook For Me?
Yes, of course! You can find professional book narrators on Fiverr or ACX for cheap money.
ACX enables you to access thousands of audio producers to work with and consider. You can choose to hire a narrator for a set fee, or you can offer a royalty sharing relationship if you wish.
May I propose to you, that you should consider narrating the book yourself? As a non-fiction author, you’re an expert! Why not narrate your book with the world, so you can grow your authority, prestige, and reputation as an artisan of your craft?
I challenge you to have the courage to narrate your book yourself! In the end, you’ll be proud of the finished product. Besides, who better than you to tell your story and methods?
# 3 – Digital Courses
I can give you three hundred and twenty-five billion reasons why you should create a digital course. The e-learning industry is on track to be worth $325 billion so if you love to create instructional content, then digital courses rule.
Why is online learning so massive? There are a couple of reasons, in my opinion. Consider how much money traditional “brick and mortar” education costs.
Why is traditional education so expensive? Between the cost of heating (or cooling) the building, electricity, and the considerable cost of faculty, it’s no wonder why the cost of education is sky-high. That’s why I’m a huge proponent of online learning and distance education. Distance education is the perfect alternative to brick and mortar education and is more affordable for students.
Do you want the ultimate “feel good” method that generates massive good karma? Then you’ll love to teach a digital course, and helping others feels amazing. The even better part is that if you already have a book, then creating an online course is elementary indeed.
The e-learning industry’s projected growth doesn’t mean that you can succeed as an online teacher, though. I recommend only to create a course if you love to share what you know. That way, your teaching efforts are never for naught.
My Biggest Secret For Teaching Digital Courses!
What’s the difference between a great course, and a great nonfiction book? There’s not much of a difference. That’s why I turn my nonfiction books into courses.
Before I even think about teaching a course, I write the script first. In other words, I write a book.
A book makes for the perfect script for a digital course. Once you have a solid nonfiction book, you then narrate the book. Take those narrations and lay them over some engaging PowerPoint slides. Voila. You have a digital course that rocks.
But first, you need to produce your course. A script (book) makes your job infinitely easier.
I’m the worst public speaker in the world. I also forget what I’m going to say. Afterward, I always think of the perfect thing that I should have said. A script saves me from rambling when recording the course lectures.
That’s why I’m a huge fan of writing scripts for every single lecture of every single course that I ever produce.
That way, I can speak with the utmost confidence when I record. I don’t have to be clever or think of the perfect thing to say at the right time. I focus on reading the perfect script that’s rehearsed and ironed out so that I know it makes sense, and so that the delivery rocks.
That’s why I love to write books. Books are the perfect digital product creation idea. You can repurpose your books into audiobooks and digital courses! You can advertise and sell these digital assets through different platforms. Or you can combine them and concoct different marketing funnel ideas. You’re only limited by your imagination.
The Only Tech Tools I Use To Teach Online Courses
If you’re worried that teaching an online course seems like astrophysics, then relax. Teaching is simple. Especially if you write your script first.
In a previous section of this blog post, I revealed that I use the Blue Snowball microphone and the Samson Go Mic. Both are affordable options and produce a professional sound.
Remember that by the time I decide to teach an online course, I already have the script written. Since I already have the script, I only need to narrate the course. Once recorded, I then create beautiful PowerPoint slides using Microsoft Office 365. All artwork and graphics that I use are from PixaBay.
I use ActivePresenter or Camtasia to record my online lectures. Both options are excellent, affordable, and ridiculously easy to use. Another option is Screencast-O-Matic, and they’re great as they work across nearly all operating systems.
My 3 Favorite Platforms For Launching Your Digital Course
Udemy is my favorite online learning platform for digital courses. Udemy allows you to send promotional messages, and they’re probably the most popular digital course marketplace on the planet.
SkillShare is another popular platform. There’s one major difference between SkillShare and Udemy. SkillShare is a subscription model course marketplace. So, instead of earning money when students buy your course, you earn money based on how many students watch your course.
SkillSuccess is another course marketplace that I love. SkillSuccess is one of the first course marketplaces that I’ve used, and my experiences are excellent. The SkillSuccess team knows how to sell courses via email marketing, and they always launch new promotions.
Keep in mind, that these three-course platforms barely scratch the surface. There’s a massive list of digital course marketplaces popping up all the time. Even massive websites like LinkedIn offer a vast assortment of digital courses.
How To Create An Affiliate Program For Your Digital Course
If you launch your course in a popular marketplace, then you may earn course traffic from the affiliates. I’ve earned many affiliate sales by listing my courses on Udemy, for example.
Another thing you should consider is launching a unique affiliate program for your course. There are a few ways you can launch an affiliate program. You can list your product in marketplaces like ClickBank, JVZoo, or WarriorPlus. Once your course gets approved, you can then provide a unique URL so you can invite joint venture partners and affiliates to help promote.
You can also use ClickFunnels Backpack to launch an affiliate program. ClickFunnels Backpack is perfect if you want to build a marketing funnel for your online course. So, if you want to create a webinar, a video sales letter, or a low front end offer to help sell your course, then ClickFunnels rocks in that regard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Check some of the most common questions related to digital product creation below.
Can I Launch A Digital Product If I’m Not The Top Expert In My Niche?
Yes, without question. One of the mistakes you might make is that you must “pretend” to be something that you’re not. My advice is, to be honest, and upfront in your digital publishing efforts! That way, you’ll attract your perfect audience.
In other words, just because you’re not one of the best or most-polished experts in your niche, doesn’t mean that your experience is useless. Take me for example. I’ve written many hundreds of thousands of words of digital content. That doesn’t mean that my grammar is any good. My grammar sucks! However, in the world of content creation and writing, I have oodles of lessons that I could teach and do teach.
The same is true for the world of online teaching. I’m not the most well known blogger in the world. Who cares? That doesn’t prevent me from telling all my readers and colleagues about the amazing world of self-publishing and blogging! I always try sharing everything I know about the topic with others.
You’re the same way. You probably have a ton of information that other people would love to know. Your experience, efforts, and knowledge are rarer and more precious than you might think.
Another angle to this question is to remember that there are a ton of newbies in your niche! Newbies who would love you if you share your knowledge with them. If you’ve studied a topic for hundreds or even thousands of hours, then you probably underestimate your knowledge. For that reason, it’s simple for you to create products for newbies and novice players in your niche. That way, you’re creating content that’s valuable and worthwhile for your clients.
What Are The Benefits Of Launching A Digital Product?
When it comes to good karma, the currency of helping others works the best. Nothing feels better than a reader or student emailing you to say how awesome your book/course made them feel. The authority, rapport, and good karma that you build as a result of helping others is the best benefit.
If your business wants to create fantastic experiences for your audience, then creating a product is a vehicle to reach your goals. Your product is an excellent way to share your best content with your customers and to help them. If you do a good job and deliver awesome results for your end-users, then they’re much more likely to seek your other services and offerings, right?
Another huge thing I love about launching a digital product is how you (may potentially) have full control of the marketing funnel. Your marketing funnels and funnel pages all present miraculous marketing and branding opportunities. You can use your download pages, confirmation pages, and membership areas to promote your offers and to brand yourself.
I Don’t Have A Big Budget. Can I Still Launch A Digital Product?
Yep. The most valuable thing an author or teacher has to offer is always time and a desire to help others.
You can launch a digital course on Udemy, SkillShare, or SkillSuccess for free. There are more digital courses and book marketplaces popping up all the time. There are digital book marketplaces like Kindle where you can launch a digital book without paying a single penny.
If you can scrape together a couple of bucks, then consider using tools like ClickFunnels or Teachable to help launch your course. You can also list your product launch in the ClickBank marketplace for cheap money for an added boost. (ClickBank has a ton of affiliates, so I think that listing your product in their affiliate marketplace may be a good idea in some situations.)
If you become successful as a digital product creator, then you might consider upgrading your tools to reflect your brand’s achievement. However, it’s okay to start with a near zero budget.
Should I Have One Digital Product Or Many Digital Products?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. However, I’d much rather have one amazing product than a collection of half-assed products!
In a perfect world, you only need one digital product. If your product is low priced, then you need to sell something else to remain viable, right? That one product may serve as an entryway into your business. Your one time offers help to upsell your customers into higher-paying programs so your business may sustain itself.
If you only have one amazing product, then you can focus on marketing that product. You can focus on updating the product and making sure that your customers are happier than heck.
Yet, there are advantages to launching different products, right? Many of the best authors write endless amounts of books! The more you publish; you may develop a good sense as to what people wish to read next. Until you split test, all you have is a big guess.
I’m Suffering From Writer’s Block! How Can I Motivate Myself To Write?
You can smash writer’s block if you’re passionate about the topics that you’re covering.
Choose the right topic to write about. If your topic excites you, then you should want to write about your topic. You should want to shout from the rooftops in your city about your awesome experiences. Also, think of how your content can go on to help countless readers, students, fans, and clients. Use the excitement of helping others to help you to relegate writer’s block to the abyss, at once!
Can A Product Launch Help To Build My Email List?
Your students, readers, and buyers are the best email subscribers you can ever have.
Imagine if your students took your course, and they think that your course rocks. Next, they want to subscribe to your email newsletter because they love your content. Can you imagine a better email subscriber? I can’t. I’d much rather have one email subscriber who’s familiar with my content rather than one hundred email subscribers who aren’t targeted in the least.
Promote your email newsletter everywhere. In the content of the course, in the footer of the books, and on any thank-you pages or download pages throughout your marketing funnels.
One of the main reasons that I love digital product creation, is that it’s dirt cheap.
Self-publishing digital products doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. If you use some of the free and cheap resources listed in this guide, then you can skate by for less than the cost of a steak dinner.
Your time, commitment, and devotion to your craft is the only extra investment that you need. Yet, if you love to help your ideal readers and students? Then you’ll likely have a ton of fun reading, writing, and self-publishing!
That’s the best advice I can give. Try to have fun when self-publishing. That way, you know you’re on the right track.
Take care, and thanks for reading!
Mike “The Digital Creation” DeVincent