Your Ultimate Guide To Digital Product Creation (And Why It's Essential For You As A Niche Site Owner)

Filed in Digital Products by on December 15, 2015

Okay, I know exactly what you're thinking:

Creating your own products is far too advanced for you.

You need to have a 10,000 person mailing list, or a few millions hits on your site before you even think about it.

And, it's easier to sell affiliate products anyway, right?

So why even bother.

Well here's the thing about that:

You're wrong.

You can create your own digital product right now and make money from it.

Potentially more money than from affiliate sales.

No matter how long you've been in the game.

No matter how large your audience is.

Regardless of what any Guru tells you.

Digital products are one of the best ways to boost your income - and your authority - in your niche.

Quickly making yours one of the go-to sites in just a matter of months.

So, if you're ready to take the plunge and start creating your own digital products, this article is for you...

 

What You’ll Learn

  • The 60 Second Guide To Digital Products (And If You Should Sell Them)
  • Why Most Digital Products Fail
  • Your 2 Biggest Problems And What To Do About Them
  • A Simple Checklist For Creating Magnetic Products

Ready? Let’s go...

 

markheath"It’s perfectly possible to create a digital product in your spare time. Sure it may take a few months to complete, but you can work at your own pace and launch when you’re ready."

- Mark Heath

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(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)

1781 niches [new]

 

 

The 60 Second Guide To Digital Products

If you’re not sure what a digital product is (or if you even need to sell them) this section is for you.

Digital products only exist online. 

While you may be able to see, hear and experience them, you can’t touch or feel them. They’re forever trapped behind your computer, phone or tablet screen.

That means this couple makes $600,000 a year on Shopify selling products that don’t really exist in the world real.

And, while that may sound absurd, there’s a lot of benefits to it.

But here’s the main benefit you really need to know about:

You can sell as much as you want.

You can’t be held up by a manufacturing problem.

You can’t run out of stock.

And, you don’t have to work yourself into the ground to try and meet demand. Instead your product is always readily available.

For example if you’re selling music samples through your niche site, you will never run out of those samples.

They will always be there for people to buy and use once they’ve been created.

Digital products can come in a lot of forms, too:

  • eBooks: On any topic in your niche. From travel guides, to in-depth tutorials and books of quotations. If you can write it, you can turn it into an eBook.
  • Courses: You just have to look at the success of sites like Udemy to see how popular these are. If your niche has a tricky element to it, like learning to play the guitar or sewing, these can be highly profitable.
  • Pictures & Photographs: Stock images and photographs all count as digital products.
  • Music: From iTunes to Spotify, to selling beats and samples, the music industry is a niche full of digital products.
  • Artwork: DeviantArt have built a whole community and industry based on selling digital art to people, from illustrations to photoshop brush downloads, and everything in between.
  • Audio Products: A little different from music; products like SpanishPod101 teach you a language using targeted podcast episodes that can accessed from your computer, phone or tablet.

You can be creative and combine any of these to create bulk packages, individual products or one monster digital product that people will be dying to buy.

Okay, so that’s what digital products are. But, now for the elephant in the room...

 

Are Digital Products For You?

Yes.

Probably.

Let me explain…

If you run an online business - no matter the niche or the audience - there is a digital product you can create.

Even if you had a site dedicated completely to your favorite bus stops in China, you could still sell an eBook about what elements make up a good Chinese bus stop.

I find the problem here is never if digital products are right for your business, it’s about creating the right digital product for your audience.

 

Why You Should Start Creating Your Own Products

You've probably only thought about creating a niche site that's built around affiliate products.

Whether that's Amazon, authorities in your niche or otherwise.

And that is a great business model when you're just starting out.

It's a model you can always use to fuel your business, too.

For example, since starting NicheHacks, Stuart has made most of his income through affiliate sales.

But he's also made tens of thousands from his own digital products, too.

With those products he gets to:

  • Keep 100% of the profits
  • Set his own prices
  • Hire his own affiliates (if he wants)
  • Have complete control over the content

The benefits extend far beyond profit, too.

By having your own products you create a feeling of authority around your niche site, and your own content.

Because if you're smart to build your own product, you must be someone who knows what they're talking about.

It doesn't take much more time than you would spend building your niche site anyway.

You're already going to have a mailing list, SEO traffic and content marketing strategies in place.

Which makes it a great strategy for you to follow and add to your business.

 

 

jawadthumb"Making Digital Products that sell like crazy is not as hard as you'd think!" - Jawad Khan 

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Two Common Problems You Need To Face

Before we get into how you come up with a good idea, I want to talk about two issues that marketers struggle with a lot:

  1. Relative perfection
  2. Creating the product you want (not them)

 

What The Hell Is Relative Perfection?

Okay, I just made it up. But it’s a real thing.

You can drive yourself insane trying to create the perfect product.

Trying to get every single aspect of your product to a perfect level.

And, the truth is, it doesn’t exist. There is no perfect product.

For example, if you’re in the travel niche and you want to create the perfect travel guide to Iceland, that is an impossible task.

Because people have different:

  • Budgets
  • Landmarks they want to see
  • Ideas of fun
  • Preferences for accommodation

If you tried to cover all of these topics, you’d end up creating a guide that nobody wants because it’s too broad.

However if you were to create a guide that was super-specific, such as:

  • Budget of $20-30 a day
  • Who are interested in Art and Architecture
  • That enjoy nightlife and eating out
  • And enjoy staying in hostels

That book wouldn’t be perfect for everyone.

But, it would be perfect for someone. And that, my friend, is relative perfection.

When someone can look at your product and say, “Oh wow, that’s perfect for me!”.

 

The Wrong Approach To Creating Products

The second problem you’ll face as an online marketer is that you’ll want to create the products that you want to see in the world.

And, you’re probably wondering why the hell that’s a problem.

And, in one way, it’s not. Steve Jobs never paid attention to his customers when it came to creating ideas, and he turned out okay.

Those ideas though are true innovations.

Ideas of that kind push the boundaries of what is, and isn’t, possible.

They’re at the forefront of their industry.

If you truly have an idea like that, then run with it.

Just bare in mind that not every idea like this can be a winner, either.

Because you can end up like this guy who invented Bulletball:

 

 

He lost everything for a pretty shitty idea that never worked.

Putting the products you’d like to see out into the world becomes a problem then, because, if you’re anything like the rest of us reading (or writing) this post, you’re not a unique mind at the forefront of your industry.

So a lot of the ideas you create will be pretty sucky.

And that’s okay, because that’s part of the process.

Which means that you need to start to listen to your audience and create the products that they want to see.

The ones that are going to make their life better, more interested and create a better version of themselves.

Let’s explore how you can do that then, shall we?

 

How To Create A Digital Product That Can’t Fail

Every good digital product should:

  • Answer a major question in your niche
  • Fit your audience
  • Give the user a better version of themselves

And that applies to any product in any niche. (Learn how to measure your niche success)

For example, the travel guide I mentioned before would:

  • Answer the question, “How do I get around Iceland on a $30 a day budget?”
  • Fit an audience of travelers on a small budget
  • Provide ways to make your cash go further
  • Give them a better trip than they thought possible

Now your niche and product are a little beyond the scope of my knowledge right now. I mean, I’m good. But I’m not that good.

Instead I’m going to show you how you can tick off each of those boxes, no matter what you’re doing.

incomediarythumb
"If I started over again, I would sell digital products. They’re the easiest to create and the cheapest to produce." - Income Diary

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Answering The Major Questions For Maximum Sales

Your entire business is built on answering questions about how you can do, achieve or reach something. Here’s a few examples to show you what I mean:

 

  • GoPro Cameras: “How can I capture the most amazing moments in my life on video?”
  • Spotify: “How do I listen to all the music I love without spending a fortune on CD’s?”
  • Buffer: “How can I be more productive with my Social Media feeds?”
  • Casio: “How can I wear a stylish watch without breaking the bank?”

This is because when people come looking for a product they’re normally looking for a solution to a problem.

And the way we get answers to problems is by asking questions. It’s simple psychology at the heart of it.

So you need to find what the biggest questions in your niche are and answer them in order to create a product that people will want to buy.

There are a few ways you can do that…

 

Quora

Quora is one of the best content marketing tools at your disposal.

And, because it’s a place people actually go to ask questions, you can normally find some brilliant product ideas here:

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 12.08.55

 

Forums

Forums, again, are a great place to do some research.

People are actively asking questions and seeking answers.

Answers that would come well in the form of your next product, eh?

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 12.17.28

 

AMA’s

These are an underrated tool, but they’re full of nuggets of gold.

If you’re not sure what an AMA is, it’s an Ask Me Anything.

They are normally on Reddit, Facebook or Forums and are often hosted by people who are authorities in their niche.

For example, if you head to the SubReddit /IAmA/ you can find AMA’s about any niche, from lots of authorities.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 12.59.29

 

Simple delve through the comments and find what people are talking about, the questions they’re asking these authorities, and create your own solutions.

Then, you can charge for them.

 

How To Be 100% Sure If Your Products Fit Your Audience

Okay, this stage is going to blow your mind:

Are you ready?

Sure?

Last chance to turn back?

Okay…

Ask them.

I know, I know...It’s a little out there; but it damn sure works.

You can ask your audience - or someone else’s if you don’t have one yet - and see what the response is to the product you’re thinking of making.

Asking them questions like:

  • “What’s your biggest problem with…”
  • “If someone was to create a course about x, would your rather it focused on y or z?”
  • “In your opinion would you rather I talked about A or B when referring to C?”

Jeff Goins recently did this with his book The Art of Work.

He asked his audience what he should write about. And, well, he wrote about it. And asked them questions as he went along too.

If you have a product created already, you could also get them to test your product and report back about it too.

You can ask them these questions on your mailing list (learn what tools are best for email marketing), through blog posts, forums and Facebook groups.

The more you know, the better your product will be.

 

 

The Real Reason People Buy Products From You

I’ve said this a few times throughout this article, and I’m going to say it again:

People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.

That is to say, people don’t buy the digital product you’ve created.

They buy what it can do for them. How it makes them feel. What they become once they own it.

This graphic illustrates it perfectly:

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 14.47.04

 

Now, you might think this applies more to sales.

And, it is a sales frame of mind. But that’s the frame of mind you need to be looking through when you’re creating your product.

Think about this:

  • How does the product you’re creating improve a customer’s life?
  • What can they do once they buy it that they can’t do right now?

For example if you were selling stock photography, you aren’t selling HD resolution or beautiful imagery.

You’re selling the ability to decorate your blog, to drive more traffic to your posts, to create visual content that goes viral.

You don’t just want to think about the little improvements either.

You want to create a product that lets them do 10x more than they can do now.

I recently bought Benny Lewis’s Why Spanish Is Easy course for my trip to Peru.

Because it would allow me to speak 10x more Spanish than I spoke at the time of buying it (which was zero).

Spotify allows you to have 10x more songs than you could ever afford to buy.

SERPed allows you to do 10x more research on one app than you could ever do before.

The NicheHacks products give you 10x more research tools and skills than you would ever have had before.

Think of everything your product should do. Then amplify it.

twlthumb"Five years later and I still make a couple hundred bucks per year from the [digital product] videos while doing zero upkeep work."  - The Write Life 

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The Quick-Start Guide To Building Your Digital Products

This section could be a whole article in itself (and if you'd like to see that, let me know in the comments).

But, I don't want to leave you completely unawares of how to build your own digital product, so here are a few simple ways to get going:

  • Word to PDF: Creating an eBook or written course? Simply create a Word Document and turn it into a PDF file. Hey presto, you've got an easy download in a matter of minutes.
  • Mobile Apps: Want to create a mobile app? Here's a full list of app creation tools from Mashable.
  • Video Courses: The simplest way to create a video course is simply buying a camera and creating an account over at Udemy.

 

 

Wrapping It All Up...

Phew, that was a lot of content, right?

Here's the highlight reel, so you don't have to wade through it all again:

  • Digital products exist only online and have no physical form. But, that doesn't make them any less valuable.
  • No matter what type of marketer you are now, you can and should start creating your own digital products.
  • Relative perfection is the only kind of perfection you need to aim for; the type of perfect that fits your ideal reader.
  • Ask your audience what they want and give it to them.
  • Give people a better version of themselves.

And there you have it, folks. Everything you need to start creating your own digital products and making huge profit.

Now tell me, where are you going to start?

 

James Johnson
James is the founder of the Freelance Writers School where he teaches normal people how to make money through freelance writing even if they failed English at school and have no idea about business.

Comments (10)

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  1. Dav says:

    Hey James, nice article. Seems like you know a lot about creating digital products..when did you create your first product and how did it go?
    Cheers.

    • Will Hustle says:

      Come on now. You know damn well most people that write "How To's" have never actually been successful with the tactics they're writing about!

      Take a look at the guy that owns this site. He's not wildly successful by any means (though he puts out good content) and this is just a guest post. It would have been a lot better if the site owner wrote it, but then again $50k in digital info product rev? That's beyond small time and this isn't an article about affiliate revenue (of which he does much better) so he passed it off.

      Look at Amy Porterfield's last launch, over $900k. Granted, she had 5 affiliates pumping her stuff, but that isn't the point - that's how you really sell info products and anything below $100k after launch isn't much of a success. A lot of podcasts out there cover the pre-launch/launch sequence + list building quite well.

      So again, the dude that wrote this never responded for the simple fact that he's paid to write. He did a great job covering the space and added some flair, but don't expect him to have actually done it successfully or you'd have been queued onto his personal site with a tripwire offer and 10 day autoresponder blast already.

      • NicheHacks says:

        That's a bold claim Will that someone who writes a how to has never had success with it, lol.

        I don't know how you define "wildly successful" but I do OK for myself. I'm location independent, debt free, got a nice chunk of money in the bank and more flowing in on auto-pilot every month. Works for me. 🙂

        This isn't a "guest post" it's a post by one of my writing team. James is part of the NicheHacks crew.

        $50K is small compared to some of the guys doing big product launches true but I don't do public / big launches. I just sell my digi products to my blog audience. No affiliates. No one but me promoting. Still manage to get product of the day and be a top 10% vendor. Can't be too bad.

        Digital Product launches are definitely not my strongest point though true. I'm much better at affiliate marketing.

        James never responded as he's travelling in Peru right now and has limited Wifi access. Not to mention there's been Hurricans etc there that made it even more difficult for him to get online.

        James is actually a very skilled online marketer. He's managed blogs for SAAS companies, has his own niche site, and is involved with many other projects.

        Like all of my writers are (have their own sites, products, worked for some of the biggest companies on the net like Fiverr.com for example).

        None of them are theory based writers. They are in the trenches doing what they write about.

        So now you've torn apart me and my team how about you tell us a little about yourself so we can evaluate your skills and knowledge? 😉

      • FBA Research says:

        Will.. I have something for you.. it has been custom made specifically for you.. using exact and absolute perfect specifications that you have provided. If you've figured it out already.. that's wonderful.. and I mean that. If not, this should do it. I'm referring to a garment. a garment that you wear every day. and you, just like everyone else.. made this garment yourself. each of us begin creating our own garment at the same but different times, Stich by Stich we create our garment and we wear the garment each and every day. Each of us see's the garment differently -- there is so much more to say, but now is not the time and here is not the place. I started this for Stuart and not for the one to whom i have replied.. and further, this was my re-write, seeing my that from my first, nothing positive or constructive could come from it.. however, given that I still have so long to go myself.. I left it in. this post is likely incoherent, but I'm pushing it through anyway, i don't have time, but still felt compelled. this is how it originally started, and how i was going to send it..

        will, could you possibly do us all a favor and hustle your a** back to where you and your comments are wanted.. your own site perhaps where you have a supportive following and lots of respect where you genuinely try to help others. It would be so simple, so easy to go further, darker and even judge more crtitically, I choose not to. what you do, that is entirely up to you. yes, it is rather obvious.. so obvious that it has to make one wonder.. how is it that so many end up wearing the garments that they end up wearing. In your comment, in its entirety .. you completely overlooked or at the very least chosen to not even what Stuart spends the majority of his time doing ( helping other people ) Instead, what muscle are you working, well, to me it looks like you are working your upper criticism quadracept. didn't you work that muscle group twice this week already? Well, if that's your thing.. nothing to be really proud of, but I'm sure there's a lot of money in it. Just so you know, I don't think that path is very appealing to most of the the people here. More of a Stuart Walker type path.. definitely.

        IMRG
        FBA Research
        ___________________________
        ___________________________

  2. Hi Jsmes and many thank for this extremely valiable share.

    As someone who only recently created my very first digital product, I just wish I had seen this post before.

    For me the key outcomes of creating my own digital product was to build authority in my niche and create for myself a list of buyers who viewed me as an "expert of sorts"

    To my pleasant surprise I achieved both goals as well as making some valuable sales revenue along the way.

    I can really relate to your post as my product was all about how to create your own digital product and why you should even consider this.

    My main take-away from your brilliant post was to always make sure "you listen to your audience" and make sure you create something they they want and need not what you think they should have.

    I have shared this far and wide as many online marketers should be made aware of your expertise James.

    Best wishes to you and your family for the festive season from an ancient Aussie blogger who lives in a remote Thai village.

    Look forward to sharing more with you in 2016.

    Peter

  3. Great tips and help. Thanks.

  4. Fantastic post Stuart. I'm working to get my first product out there and I especially loved the Mario analogy bahaha!

    Take it easy brother.

  5. I was just getting started to sell my own digital product and I found that email marketing plays a big role in it. So, firstly can I generate around 2000 leads from facebook ads, give them a free product and then promote my product to them?

    Can it be done?

    Thanks