What are all the steps involved after you create a digital product to sell? This post walks you through step-by-step of every stage of how to sell digital products, from choosing an LMS platform to getting your copy and other marketing collateral ready to launch your first digital product. If you’d prefer, you can also watch and follow along to get your digital products ready to launch.
In the video, you even get a sneak peek at the A to Z Digital Product Development Plan, which is a bonus inside one of my own digital products (how meta)!
“How to sell digital products…” ← something many freelancers have Googled when they find themselves either booked and busy with client work… Or burnout and looking to diversify their revenue. Selling digital products based on your IP—your processes, tools, or unique insights—is a great option for some.
Obviously, it’s not the best path to grow and scale a freelance or service-based business for everyone. But if you’re reading this post, chances are you know this is a viable option for you. So you start brainstorming ideas.
And you end up here, which means you’re in the right place.
I wrote an entire blog post on digital product ideas for freelancers that you can read here. This post in the digital product series is going to focus on how to setup a digital product to sell.
Creating a digital product is no small feat! If you already created yours, open the good wine because it’s time to celebrate. If you’re stuck in analysis paralysis with how to create a digital product, I got you.
The quick summary is that there are a lot of steps involves in creating a digital product to sell. But it’s totally doable if the business model makes sense to you specifically. It’s also a lot easier if you get some form of guidance through the process versus having to do it all alone.
I wrote an entire blog post about how to create a digital product that you can read here.
What about selling the digital products you make? That’s the next step in the process, obviously. There’s a few phases of work that go into selling digital products. First, there’s understanding that selling digital products is very different from selling 1:1 freelance services.
After you have that understanding, there’s the work that goes into setting up a digital product so it’s ready to sell. Creating the marketing collateral, writing all the copy, setting up the product itself. You also have to decide on the best delivery method, what tech tools to use, and more. Nobody really talks about this part. They say “it’s so easy to sell digital products!” and sure, maybe it can be easy. But you need to build the machine first, and that takes time.
This is a question I got when I asked my Instagram audience for their digital product questions. There’s a huge difference between selling 1:1 freelance services and how to sell digital products.
The biggest difference is the traffic needed to be successful. Digital products typically cost less than 1:1 or done-for-you services, which means that you need to sell more of them in order to achieve the same revenue goals. If you were to compare the same conversion rate for a done-for-you service that starts at an $1k investment with a digital product that only costs $100, you’d need to increase your traffic significantly in order to bring in the same revenue.
In order to generate the traffic needed, your marketing efforts will look different. Many freelancers don’t really market their services at all and are able to rely on channels like word of mouth, referrals, past clients, connections, and cold pitching to build a substantial business. I don’t recommend leaning on these connections alone and typically suggest setting up an inbound sales pipeline for your freelance services, but that’s advice for another day. In this case, transitioning to sell digital products may require you to revisit what you’re willing to do in terms of marketing. For example, digital products may need more marketing touchpoints in order to convert.
You may need more social proof to sell digital products. Results are of course important to sell anything to anyone, but I find that digital products need your customers to speak for you about the transformation provided because often, you’re eliminating that genuine 1:1 connection you can make over a Discovery Call on Zoom. People want to know they can trust you, and that you didn’t just whip together a digital product to make a quick buck.
You will need to revisit your customer segment. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The type of person who buys digital products differs from those who invest in your done-for-you and 1:1 services differs in more than their budget. Too often, I see people saying “my product is for anyone who can’t afford X.” But if money is the only differentiator you can find, you need to do some more digging in order to effectively sell to this customer segment. I can assure you that more than their budget makes them unique.
Trends shift fast, so it’s not 1 and done. No business is 1 and done and you always need to evolve, but I’ve noticed that trends around what types of products are selling well tend to shift faster than the 1:1 or DFY services. For example, everyone is always going to want website copy written for them. There’s always going to be a need for those copywriters. But will there always be a need for the products I sell? I’ve already retired 2 of my older Instagram-related products that both myself and the current best practices outgrew.
There are many other differences between selling digital products and other freelance services, but that’s a good start! I’ll probably do an entire blog post around specific sales tactics for digital products vs selling freelance services.
Before you even get into the selling stage, you need to get your digital product ready to sell. Creating the product is one thing, but setting it up and preparing to launch is an entirely different challenge—one that you can overcome, but still a challenge.
Inside my Digital Product Sales Pack, there’s a bonus A to Z Digital Product Development Plan. This bonus resource is essentially a guide that walks you through step-by-step of how to make a digital product to sell. It covers ideation, creation, promotion, and more.
The part of that development plan that’s relevant to you now is setting up all the tech and marketing components: Consider this your pre-launch prep of how to sell digital products.
A few things should be ready when you first publish your offer. I mentioned before that if you’re doing a pre-sale (a promotional period prior to your product being built), then you may just skip to this step. You also may not do all of this step right away. If you’re like me and want to have everything sorted out prior to launching, follow these steps in order.
I look at business as if it’s a tap that you can turn on and off as needed. Others reference businesses as the machine you build and maintain over time. Regardless of how you want to imagine it, the idea is that you build first, then your job becomes to fuel that machine. Tweaking and refining your offers ideally over having to replace it all the time.
That’s what this step is all about: Building the pieces that aren’t the product itself. We’re talking about automated delivery emails, feedback forms, sales copy, and more. There’s a lot that goes into launching a digital product! Let this be your guide to simplify, so your business can thrive.
Create the visual assets. I like to start here because there’s often a lot of different visuals that need to be created in order to get your digital product ready to sell. This includes shop mockups, video thumbnails, and other promotional graphics. I use Canva to create all these pieces of my digital product, but there are other tools out there.
Write the copy. You need a lot of copy to launch a digital product. Not just the product page or the sales page on your website, but there’s also the marketing promotions.
All of the above are resources you can find inside the Digital Product Sales Pack, but you’re definitely capable of writing these from scratch! Using a template pack just makes the process a lot easier. If you’re anything like me, you love saving time.
In this stage of how to make a digital product to sell, you’re going to need to dedicate some time to setting up your tech tools. Here’s an overview of what that could look like…
Choose a Learning Management Software (LMS). I love using ThriveCart Learn+ to host my digital products. Whether you purchase a digital template or a course, it’s all inside ThriveCart. That way, you have a single dashboard to access all the resources you purchase, which I think improves the overall customer experience. Customer experience is super important to me.
Create your customer dashboard. With any LMS, you’re typically able to customize your customer dashboard—what things look like when they log into your resources. I suggest starting here so you can see the big picture of how future offers can fit.
Add all your digital product content. In order to sell digital products, you need to set them up somewhere. Choosing LMS software is step 1, but how do you want to present your paid content? I personally follow the same structure for every single digital product I sell. Online courses have a specific format for setup, while digital products have another. Even simple templates, for example, come with how-to videos and other logistical information to improve the customer experience. I don’t just email them a link with a mish-mash of PDFs.
Set up your delivery automation. How will customers get access? This is where you make those decisions. I always recommend leveraging your email platform to create automations that deliver your product on autopilot. Then you won’t have to manually fulfill each sale.
Beyond fulfillment, you can create automations that further support your customers, recommend similar products, and ask for feedback.
If you want to know how to sell digital products online… You’re building a tap, remember? That’s what this step is all about. Building a pipeline and a way for people to purchase your digital product without your involvement at every stage.
Choose your checkout. I also use ThriveCart’s checkout for the checkout step of my marketing funnel, and have used it for years. It’s the best option out there from what I’ve seen for a few reasons:
Pick an email marketing platform. I’ve used ActiveCampaign for years and love the automation capabilities, along with the analytics functionality. All of my marketing emails, product delivery sequences, feedback requests, and more are housed in ActiveCampaign. I can even set up automations for interest tagging of contacts, so I can send relevant segmented emails to those who are interested in specific digital products.
Plan your digital product launch. Depending on your business goals, business model, and long-term plans, your digital product launch may look different.
Some questions to consider:
Your answers to these questions will dictate how you plan your digital product launch.
We just covered a lot of ground here. You might be wondering: What do I really need to sell digital products? The short answer is: Good copy to sell your products, and other marketing collateral. Plus some basic tech tools so people can purchase and access your product. But let’s wrap up with a comprehensive list so you know exactly what you need to make and sell your digital products.
Copy and marketing collateral needed:
The Digital Product Sales Pack includes all of the above if you want to save time setting up your digital product to launch, but you can create all this on your own too!
Tech tools needed to sell a digital product:
Here’s a list of all the tech tools in my business and often recommend to others.
The Digital Product Sales Pack includes a Notion guide and checklist of every single step involved in how to make a digital product to sell. From ideation to creating the offer, setting it up in your platform of choice, launching the first time, and collecting feedback to refine and sell it again. It’s a great option if you want a little more support through the process of launching your first digital product, and you can use the same templates for any future offers you build. Learn more here.
Ultimately, if you’re wondering how to sell digital products and made it this far, you’re on the right track. It all comes back to your offer, and the attention to detail you have when working through this process.
If your offer isn’t great, it’s not going to sell. If it doesn’t solve a specific problem for a unique customer segment, it’s not going to sell. And if it’s not rooted in your strengths and value, it’s not going to sell. Remember these things, and the process will be so much easier.
I hope you found this setup guide helpful and feel ready to start selling your digital product now! Please let me know in the comments if you’d like me to share more about the specific sales tactics for digital products versus freelance services. I’m happy to add that to the queue.
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