Digital Products

Digital Products: How to Get Started in 2024

Although digital products cannot be handled, tasted, or touched, they are consumed by everyone—from music to films, ebooks to online courses, and more.

Because of their popularity and ease of distribution, many entrepreneurs construct entire businesses around these intangible things, or launch digital products to sell in addition to the actual items or services they provide.

What makes learning how to sell digital products so appealing is that they can be created once and sold repeatedly to different customers without the need for inventory replenishment, making them ideal for creatives, bloggers, educators, and freelancers looking for passive ways to make money online that require less effort to maintain.

Here’s how to sell digital products online, including great digital product examples, how to design your own, and online marketing strategies.

1. Create or develop a digital product.

Find a digital product to sell, whether it’s a resale of an existing product or your own creation. Music, fonts, Photoshop presets, courses, and online services are examples of digital items.

2. Create an online store

In only a few hours, you’ll be up and running. Choose from a library of website layouts, customize with your logo, copy, and images, and you’re ready to sell.

3. Make selling easier by using an app.

Some apps make it even easier to deliver digital things. Browse the Shopify App Store for apps that can accomplish everything from hosting to payment processing.

4. Promote your digital products.

Find out where your customers are. Build an audience of designers and artists on the platforms that they use if you’re selling fonts or design templates. Think about influencer marketing, social ads, and lead magnets.

What exactly are digital products?

A digital product is an intangible asset or piece of media that may be sold and disseminated online frequently without the requirement for inventory replenishment. These items are frequently available as downloadable or streamable digital files, such as MP3s, PDFs, movies, plug-ins, and templates.

Why sell digital things rather than tangible items?

Selling digital items has several advantages that make it particularly appealing to entrepreneurs:

Low operating expenses.You are not required to keep inventory or suffer delivery costs.

Profit margins are high. Because there are no recurrent costs of products, you keep the majority of your profits. Use our free tool to calculate your profit margins ahead of time.

Automation potential. Orders may be delivered promptly, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Products that are adaptable. You may give away free items to create your email list, charge a monthly fee for access to exclusive digital material, or sell rights to utilize your digital products. There are several ways to incorporate digital items into your business.

E-learning is the educational technology of the future. With e-learning, you have a great chance to increase your business and effect, since the market is predicted to be worth $374 billion by 2026.

However, there are several drawbacks to using online digital items that you should be aware of:

You’re up against free material. When it comes to digital goods, buyers are likely to locate free alternatives to what you’re selling. You’ll need to think carefully about the niche you want to target, the things you want to offer, and how to write product descriptions. To compete, you must also provide high-quality products and understand how to grow your brand.

You are vulnerable to piracy/theft. To protect your products, you must take steps and decrease these risks by using the appropriate tools.

There are some limitations to selling digital things. For example, according to Facebook and Instagram’s commerce policies, you must sell physical things through their sales channels.

Most of these obstacles, however, may be avoided if you use the correct tools while building your digital product business.

Six of the best digital things to sell online

Explore the top sorts of digital products listed below for some inspiration when designing these products.

1. Educational materials

Online courses are best suited for comprehensive content. They necessitate some initial effort, such as producing a presentation or filming a video walk-through. Start with learner outcomes when building courses: what do you want the student to know or be able to do at the end of the course?

Quizzes, knowledge checks, and interactive exercises can be included in your courses to help break up the learning content and make your e-course more interesting. Consider learning and applying an ADDIE teaching model.

If you consider yourself an expert on a specific subject, digital products are an excellent method to bundle your knowledge and offer it to others who want to learn.

If there are a lot of free blog posts or lessons on YouTube about what you want to teach, you may compete by producing material that offers transformation rather than knowledge. In other words, instead of selling the thing, sell the customer’s potential after purchasing your product.

You can use your existing name as an expert to generate attention for your downloaded products to sell online, or you can create and distribute free material to generate interest and leads for your paid digital products if you’re beginning from zero.

2. Licenses to use your digital assets

There is a global ecosystem of licensable digital assets submitted by creatives for other creatives to use in their work, ranging from stock pictures to video footage, music and sound effects.

You can charge for the usage of your photographs, movies, music, software, and other top digital products in your own shop and through online marketplaces such as stock photo sites by giving licenses to individuals and corporations. Some of these platforms will charge up to 50% commission on every sale in exchange for publicity. However, if you want to create your own digital goods selling destination, you can utilize SendOwl to power this type of business with unique auto-generated license keys.

When creating materials, it is helpful to move backward from the demands of your intended audience. Begin by considering what assets they would like to use to make things that are in demand (and hence simpler to sell).

Also, especially if you’re selling images, make careful to safeguard your digital items with watermarks and other security measures.

3. Membership internet sites

Instead of focusing on how to sell digital things separately, consider bundling them together and locking them behind a paid membership to generate recurring revenue.

This method of selling digital products is great if you intend to keep a growing library of premium content and cultivate a community of enthusiastic users. Paid digital subscriptions may even provide an opportunity to directly monetize your existing content marketing efforts in some situations.

You can also host exclusive content that can be streamed rather than downloaded because this content is behind a gate that only paying members can access through their customer account.

4. Digital templates and tools

Digital products can also take the shape of intangible tools that enable experts to perform tasks that are either outside of their skill set or require a significant amount of time. You can market digital solutions that address a specific audience’s frequent pain points and wants.

Here are some examples of how to sell digital things online in this manner:

Entrepreneurial digital marketing strategy templates

Templates for résumés for job seekers

Business mobile applications

Graphic design templates for brochures, flyers, posters, and other printed materials.

Adobe Photoshop plugins and filters for media editors

Icons, typefaces, or user experience Web designer toolkits

If you already have a freelance business, think about how you might turn your skills and services into digital products to generate passive income.

5. Music or artwork

If you’re a musician or an artist, you’ve probably looked into ways to monetize your skills or the audience you’ve built. While print-on-demand t-shirts or bespoke prints are always an option, there are also several examples of digital products for selling art and music. 

Ringtones of a musician’s best songs can be sold alongside their merchandise. A cartoonist might also sell their work as printables, phone wallpapers, or print-on-demand items. A filmmaker’s films can be sold online. Because online digital products do not require any inventory,

6. Services

Services complement a wide range of digital items because they are essentially its inverse—with services, your “inventory” is restricted to the number of working hours you can accommodate.

Furthermore, clients frequently obtain digital products as part of their “purchase” of various services. Logos will be created by a designer. A personal trainer may provide an exercise plan. Leveraging this, you may promote certain services as bundles that include valuable digital assets.

For example, you may charge a fee for a consultation and provide a tailored report or Excel spreadsheet in exchange for an upsell on your other services or products. You may also offer a free downloaded product to attract leads for your email marketing list, which is a strategy used by many internet firms today.

If you have common tasks that you execute as part of your service business that are simple for you but useful to your customers, try productizing them to create revenue streams that take less of your time and effort to manage.

How to create digital products

While it’s tempting to get trapped waiting for a eureka moment, coming up with an excellent company idea is a process. It’s great to have a brilliant concept, but if you want it to sell, you’ll need to go through a process of brainstorming, research, and validation. What goes into making the best digital material to sell is as follows:

1. Idea generation

To begin, generate ideas and write them all down. Don’t be too critical—you don’t have to come up with the best digital products right away. Bad ideas can inspire good ones, and vice versa. The key to effective brainstorming is to avoid overthinking.

Here are some things to ask yourself if you’re seeking for inspiration for downloadable products to sell online:

Can you demonstrate how to use your products to customers? If you sell knitting supplies, for example, you could schedule sessions to teach advanced knitting methods.

Is there anything you can do for your clients that is relevant to your overall industry? If you sell surfboards, you could develop a home fitness regimen to help your consumers stay in shape.

What are your company’s core beliefs, and what issues are relevant to them? For instance, if you offer sustainable clothing, you could develop a course that teaches your consumers how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. 

How could you bring your client community together? You may host a virtual guided wine tasting session if you sell kitchen equipment.

What do you excel at? If you’re extremely good at product photography, you could educate others how to grow better at it as well.

2. Conduct research

Conduct some research to supplement your list of company ideas. The finest digital items to offer address client pain issues linked to your product, industry, or ideals, as well as topics they enjoy or are passionate about. Both offer excellent commercial prospects to add value in the form of an instructional product.

Here are some terrific areas to start looking for your top digital products:

Facebook groups. There are Facebook groups dedicated to every niche and audience imaginable, making them a great place to learn what your potential customers care about.

Industry forums. Forums dedicated to hobbies and communities in your industry can help you learn more about what people want and need in your broader industry.

Product reviews. Read both the reviews for your products and competitors’ products to get ideas. These could come from the reviews on product pages as well as stand-alone reviews on blogs and other websites.

Blog posts and comments. Read the blog content your community might be reading, as well as the comments, to get even more ideas. For example, if you sell auto parts, dig around on automotive blogs.

Emails from customers. Finally, don’t forget to go back and reread any emails or messages you have gotten from customers over the years. The people who took the time to contact you with thoughts and concerns are usually “high intent” customers and they might have shared some really useful insights. 

3. Validation

Before devoting too much work to your digital product idea, you should validate it and ensure its viability. The last thing you want to do is invest a lot of time or money in a new enterprise without knowing if it will succeed.

There are two approaches to validate your idea while learning how to sell digital products:

Keyword research. Use a keyword tool to see how many people are searching for your topics. This will give you an idea of the opportunity size of each one.

Google Trends. Search your topics on Google Trends. Look for topics that are growing in interest. This means the opportunity size will keep growing.

Ask for feedback. Contact your customers directly, either through email or social media. A poll or survey is a great way to collect customer feedback.

Start small and iterate. Sometimes, the easiest way to validate an idea is to experiment with a smaller version of the idea with room for growth. The goal is to get something out into the world as soon as possible so you can put your idea to the test and improve from it from there.

No matter what industry you’re in, you have unique strengths and knowledge that would be valuable to your customers and selling digital products. 

4. Create an online store

Once you’ve validated a digital product concept, you’ll need an ecommerce platform to sell on. This is a critical step in learning how to sell digital things online.

Shopify is the simplest and most trustworthy option to set up an online digital goods ecommerce shop. You don’t need any technical expertise or a large budget, and you can get started immediately by selecting from over 100 templates with built-in functionality. You can also utilize over 4,000 free Shopify applications to manage your store and sell more digital products online.

8 apps for selling digital products on Shopify

Digital Downloads



Single Music



Sky Pilot


There are a number of sales and marketing tools you’ll want to consider for selling digital products, depending on your needs:

Digital Downloads. This free app by Shopify offers a simple way to sell digital products on your own website. Upon purchase, customers can download their file immediately and receive a link in their email.

SendOwl. For more complex digital product businesses, SendOwl comes with a variety of features and useful automation, like expiring links and auto-generated license keys, to power your products.

Courses. This Shopify app lets you create lessons, tutorials, webinars, and manuals and sell them online. You can create beautiful online education portals, embed pre-recorded videos, and even livestream lesson content. Customers can track their progress and earn certificates for their completion.

Single Music. If you’re a musician selling music, Single was made with you in mind. Not only does it bridge the gap between physical and digital music sales, it also lets you easily include clips on your product page for customers to sample.

Thinkific. This app lets you monetize your expertise and grow your audience by adding online courses to your Shopify store. You can upload and drag and drop content to create a course curriculum. A free plan is available, allowing you to create up to three courses.

FetchApp. FetchApp is another digital download delivery app that offers fewer features than SendOwl but has a free plan available (5 MB of storage) and gives you the ability to attach multiple files to a single product.

Sky Pilot or Bold Memberships. These apps are ideal for building a membership program. You can sell files and exclusive video streams to customers. Customers can then access all of their previously purchased files through their own customer accounts.

BookThatApp, Tipo, or Sesami. These three apps are perfect for businesses that offer one-to-one or small group interactions and need an appointment booking solution to schedule consultations or coaching sessions with customers. All three apps have a free plan available.

Beyond these digital product delivery systems, there are other Shopify apps to power and protect your digital goods, such as:

Recurring Order & Subscription. This is an app for weekly or monthly subscriptions. Use it to automate recurring orders, invoices, and digital subscriptions for online memberships or programs.

Pasilobus Armor. If you want extra protection for visual products like stock photos, this app offers most of the security measures you may need, from watermarks to source code protection.

Disable Right-Click. When your content is your product, this app helps you protect it from theft. You can lock images and text so they can’t be saved or copied without your permission.

Depending on your needs, these apps and more can be used together to help you incorporate digital products into your Shopify store and execute any of the digital products examples below.

Sales and marketing tips for selling digital products

Whether you’re a brand-new business owner or adding online digital products to your existing store, keep these tips in mind:

Create a great product. The first criteria for creating digital products is to add value to your customers’ lives. Since you’re competing with free content on the web, invest in building a product people can’t find anywhere else.

Promote a lead magnet. Regardless of how much your product costs, create a light version of it for free. A free product can help you build an email list you can sell to in the future. It also opens the door for upselling and retargeting potential customers with different promotions. Free builds trust between your business and potential customers.

Start an affiliate program. Affiliates are a huge source of traffic and sales for creators selling digital products. Find influencers who are established and trusted in your industry and offer them a commission for each sale they make. You can create different percentages for different affiliates, so if someone has a massive audience, you can give them a higher commission rate to promote more and attract customers.

Collect pre-orders. A great way to get early sales is by giving a discounted “early bird” price. If you’re releasing a new digital product, you can offer a 50% discount for the first 100 buyers, then 25% for the next 100 buyers, and then release the product at full price after the 25% discount runs out. You can only launch the 50% discount to your existing audience to reward their loyalty, get feedback, and drive prelaunch sales.

Offer a money-back guarantee. If you’re hesitant about offering a warranty on your products, it makes sense. Some people could buy and use your product then ask for their money back. But it’s all a part of running an online business. The rewards of higher conversion rates outweigh the small percentage of people who may abuse the policy. A money back guarantee shows potential buyers you’re putting your money where your mouth is, and putting the risk on you, not them. 

All forms of digital products can be viable online business ideas since they do not require inventory or the overhead associated with selling physical products. 

There are numerous methods for creating the best digital material to sell and resell and include into your business. With a little creativity and an initial time investment, you can create attractive value that will more than pay for itself over time.

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