It may not be common knowledge that alongside growing my copywriting and marketing studio, I’ve also built out an entire template shop of digital products, courses, and digital downloads. What started as an experiment, or a place to play and learn about selling different types of offers, has turned into a viable stream of revenue for my business. Beyond that experience, I’ve also helped multiple clients design, develop, and launch digital products, online courses, and entire digital shops. All this to say, I know a thing or two about selling digital products, and love to brainstorm digital product ideas for freelancers.
If you’re exploring the ideas of selling digital products, start here. It’s not the best route to scale every freelance business, but it’s a great option for some. This blog post will go through some digital product ideas for freelancers that will hopefully inspire a new idea for your own business. Ideally, you’ll know if this is the best and most scalable option for your business too.
Selling digital products is a long haul that relies primarily on traffic.
A common problem I see is that people give up too soon. They think they aren’t making enough sales to really go all in with their digital products. On a deeper look at the data, I see that their conversion rates are actually fantastic, but they don’t have enough traffic (yet) to make this a viable revenue stream.
So if you’re looking at your digital product sales and wondering what’s going wrong, consider the sales data compared to your audience size. Yes, it may be that you need to increase your conversion rates through improved messaging, a better or more aligned product offer, or another tactic. It also may just be that you need to focus on traffic—aka audience growth—and let the rest click into place.
The numbers will always give you the answers you need, including what your next steps to increase sales should be. It’s just a matter of collecting the right ones and analyzing them in a realistic way.
Selling digital products is often a great next step for freelancers who are booked and busy, and have a specific method or way of doing things that others want to learn. It’s basically selling your Intellectual Property—your unique style—in a way that others can easily implement to see similar results as if you were to do it for them.
However, selling digital products isn’t for everyone. At first glance, it might seem like a miracle business model with high profit margins and simple scalability, but that’s not always the case. It requires a dedication to marketing and sales. If you love creating content, you’re in the right place. If you don’t like being a marketing or sales person, it might not be the solution for you.
I can’t reasonably publish this blog post without saying that people promising “passive income” from digital products is a blatant lie. While yes, you don’t have to fulfill a service with most digital product offers, it’s definitely not passive to build, grow, and scale a business with this model.
Just my two cents here! 🙃
There are so many different types of digital products you can create. For the sake of this blog post, I’m going to stick to the ones that best apply to freelancers. So that means we’ll skip a lot of the SaaS opportunities and other web-based digital applications and platforms.
What are other digital product ideas that you can use to inspire your first (or next) digital product? I love brainstorming, so let’s dig into some!
For some freelancers, jumping into selling an online course makes sense. If you’re booked and busy, and people want the results that you normally provide 1:1 or done-for-you, a course or group program will help you reach more people with your current capacity. Depending on your 1:1 offers, you may have a lot of the curriculum of an online course built out already.
It does, however, require a lot of upfront work to develop the course. This makes sense because a course, unless it’s a mini course offer, is often a bigger digital product versus a simple template pack, for example. You want to make sure that people will buy your course before you spend too much time on it.
Where do you start? Choosing your topic and the transformation you promise.
If you know that you want to sell a course, but don’t know what the topic is yet, here’s some ideas of places you can look to for inspiration for your online course ideas…
Best online course ideas for freelancers
The best courses that I’ve seen or purchased from other freelancers are specific and highly actionable. Here’s some examples:
If you’re new to selling digital products, selling a digital download is a much easier starting place than going all in with an online course. It’s a good way to test your content, warm your audience, and learn about how to sell digital products before spending a lot of time and resources on developing and launching an entire course.
My first digital download product was an e-book with 8 weeks of Instagram caption templates and prompts. It was delivered via email in the form of a PDF. And it was so exciting when I made my first sale!
That digital product then became a bonus resource inside a larger course. I no longer sell this product, but I did for years in my business. If you choose the right digital product idea, it will last regardless of what year it is.
Some digital download product ideas for freelancers could include the following…
Digital graphics or graphic templates
Digital art and prints
Copywriting or content templates
Digital organization templates
I’ve seen some freelancers successfully build new digital products that are web-based applications. For example, an editing software that uses AI to edit copywriting based on their unique method and style. Anyone who uses this software will see feedback to edit their copy to look more like the preferred method.
Another example is of a copywriter who has developed a web-based application that helps other copywriters gather contact information for relevant leads.
The ideas are endless for this type of digital product. Just think of the ways that you’re currently using technology (even if in a kind of hacky way), and how you could turn this into a simple and repeatable system for others. Digital product ideas that sell are the ones that solve problems for others. If you’re solving a problem for yourself at the same time, even better.
The popularization of AI in the freelancing and marketing worlds opens up more opportunities for digital products in this area as well. For example, maybe you have a specific research process using AI that you could turn into an application.
A larger name in the online business coaching industry has developed an AI application that offers coaching advice following his methods, so it feels like you’re talking to him when you’re talking to the app.
Our favourite tech applications as freelancers and marketers all started as digital product ideas in the beginning. I love using apps like Dubsado as my 1:1 client CRM and ThriveCart to sell and host my digital products. These solve specific problems for freelancers. What specific problems do you have potential solutions for? Start there.
If you’re a techy kind of person, the SaaS, app, or tech route could be a great option for you.
I filmed a YouTube video a while back that talks about passive income ideas for copywriters specifically. This includes 1:many offers, group programs, courses, digital product ideas, and digital download product ideas. It also goes through specific examples for each.
It’s a good one to watch if you’re a copywriter!
The biggest thing to remember when deciding which digital product idea to start with is: Which one will sell?
And the answer to that question lies with your audience. What are they willing to buy? It’s always a smart business decision to validate your new offer ideas before you start building them. If you don’t know whether or not your digital product ideas will actually sell, you can ask your audience.
Beyond validating your offer, talking to your ideal customers is always the place I recommend you start with marketing and sales efforts for your digital products. I plan to share more about this in future posts, but the idea is to use customer feedback as voice of customer data to guide and shape your copywriting when you launch your digital products.
It’s normal, acceptable, and often welcomed when you take the time to ask your target customers whether or not they like your digital product ideas. The digital product ideas that sell the best will always be the ones that solve your customer’s challenges or offer unique transformations that they want to experience.
Not sure where to start? Try using polls on social media, surveying your email list, and having face-to-face conversations with your customers to validate your digital product ideas.
This is a habit you should practice regularly too! I always randomly select customers to ask for feedback, include feedback collection forms throughout the delivery of my digital products, and ask questions within the products themselves. For example, if someone emails my team with a question about their dashboard, I like to follow up with an invitation for feedback on the product they’ve purchased.
Before you’re ready to sell your digital products, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to get your new offers ready to sell.
You’ll need to create things like the following:
And a few more pieces! This can feel like a lot of work, and I don’t want it to be challenging for others. That’s why I created the Digital Product Sales Pack. It includes all of the above (and more) so you can launch and sell your first digital product without all the stress that comes with learning how to create the above. These copywriting templates are super easy to use. Learn more here.
I’m a firm believer that business can and should feel fun and easy. There’s a reason why you’re doing this work in the first place! When you’re brainstorming digital product ideas and developing your first digital product offer, try to keep it light and fun. It’s okay if it’s not immediately perfect. You’ll learn and grow from there.
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