What is a digital product?

Isabel Sachs
Community Manager
Learn about digital product development.

Digital products are a type of digital media sold as an intangible product in an online store. Digital products are distinct from physical ones because they are sold only in the digital world and do not have physical goods to go along with them.

For example, imagine that instead of a physical cookbook with your most popular recipes from your TikTok cooking videos that you have printed for people to order in the mail, you package them as a downloadable PDF. Your costs are lower and there are no shipping costs or delays to contend with. Options for digital media that creators can sell are much wider than just traditional e-books and downloads, though. If you're not convinced that there's a good digital product out there for you, read on to see some of the most popular digital products and how exactly you can sell them to earn more passive income.

What are some different types of digital products?

There are many different types of digital products that content creators can sell to add passive income to their business model. Digital assets can be created specifically for the purpose of being sold as digital content, or creators can re-purpose existing content into a digital format. As creators work on digital product development, it is important to keep your specific content niche and the needs of your audience in mind, so that your digital product design meets an authentic need for your followers.

Examples of digital products

Now that you're clear on what exactly a digital product is and how it differs from physical goods like shirts, mugs, books, or other merchandise, let's look at some examples of both categories for digital goods and specific digital product ideas you can use.

Some of the most common digital product categories are:
  • downloadable PDF guides
  • online courses
  • e-books
  • stock or product photography
  • digital services (like web app development or coaching)
  • monthly membership sites
  • digital goods (like software applications sold in app stores)
Depending on your content niche, some more specific examples include:
  • weekly meal prep plans or workout routines
  • travel guides to specific locations
  • courses to learn a new skill like knitting
  • digital art like coloring pages or knitting patterns
  • weekly or monthly membership sites
  • paid communities

Why should content creators sell digital products?

There are a few good reasons to start your journey as a seller with digital product development rather than physical ones. Namely, it's faster, cheaper, and easier, meaning you can make more money, more quickly and more easily. Don't be that product manager who dreams of a side hustle and ends up with a garage full of unsold leggings or water bottles - start with digital assets that don't take up any space instead! Here are the specifics:

Digital products have a higher profit margin than physical goods.

Unless you have a screen-printer in your basement or a printing press in your garage, physical merchandise production has to be outsourced to a company that's going to charge you a wholesale cost for the creation of that product.

Source: Medium

The digital product market isn't limited by shipping or location.

When you sell physical goods, you're limited to customers who can receive shipping in a timely manner or are willing to wait a long time for their item. With instant delivery of digital goods, your market expands to anyone with an internet connection, meaning you can make more sales and earn more money!

Source: Medium

Online businesses need diversification to thrive.

Your content business needs more than one source of income to reach maximum potential. Brand deals, digital product sales, physical product sales, services like coaching calls or social media advisement,  affiliate marketing links, and even creator programs like the TikTok Creativity Fund are ALL valuable and important elements of your business income strategy.

Source: Influencer Marketing Hub

With that in mind, the benefits of digital products really can't be overstated.

What are the best digital products to sell?

The best digital products to sell are the ones your audience will actually pay for, and that provide outsize value relative to their cost. To achieve this goal, you want to be extremely specific with your offerings. There are probably a lot of guides out there about eating healthy, and when the content is generic it all starts to look the same. But if you can offer a specific guide to eating healthy that includes a budget, a grocery list, and a meal plan, you're in a better spot to convince customers it's worth that $10 fee.

What digital service can I sell?

If you're interested in expanding your offerings to include digital services, think about what expertise you can offer that your audience would be most interested in. Maybe you can teach other creators how to use trending audio to gain followers, or maybe you are a real estate expert who can offer advice to first-time homebuyers. Services require an ongoing time commitment from you so they have a lower profit margin than other digital sales, but they can still be a valuable addition to your portfolio when you're ready.

What are the most popular digital products to sell?

Some of the most popular digital products we see being sold on Beacons are:

  • Weekly meal prep menus
  • Healing foods grocery list
  • Microsoft Office budget template
  • Canva and Pinterest templates
  • Digital planner
  • Guides to college and scholarship applications
  • How to use Canva and Notion online course
  • Notion templates
Source: Influencers Club

Keep in mind that these products are already popular and there are plenty of offerings, so if you want to create something similar consider how yours will stand out from the crowd - or, think outside the box and become our help us add a new most popular product to the list!

What do I need to create and sell a digital product?

Theoretically, all you really need to sell digital goods is an internet connection, something to sell, and a place to sell it. Of course, the reality of digital product development feels a little bit more complicated than that for most creators.

Digital product design

To create a compelling digital product, your design should be attractive and consistent with your other branding and content. You can find many templates online if design isn't your strong suit, or work with a freelance designer or product manager to generate some brand imaging for your business.

Digital product creation

To create downloadable digital goods, you'll probably use a PDF designer like Canva or Adobe. For a course that includes video, you might host those on YouTube.  

Digital product marketing

To sell your product, you need to get the word out that it's for sale and explain to people through your content why they should want to buy it. More on that below!

How do I promote my digital products?

The best way to promote your digital products is via email marketing and on your social media platforms. Whatever your strongest online platforms are, whether that's TikTok or YouTube, make sure you have links to your products in your bio there and that you mention it often in your content and stories to drive those clicks and convert sales!

What is a lead magnet?

There are many popular types of digital content, but one of the most important for social media creators to understand is the lead magnet. A lead magnet is simply a digital product that you give away for free, and it's an essential part of your digital product marketing strategy.

So why would you work to create something and then just give it away?

1. To establish trust.

The customer who is most likely to make a big purchase from you is actually someone who has already made a small purchase from you. The customer who is most likely to make a small purchase from you is one who has experienced the value of your content for free. Thus, lead magnets are an essential trust-building funnel to draw in your audience and turn them into paying customers.

2. To build your email list.

A free lead magnet is the best way to gather emails from your customers. They are willing to share it because they get something of value in return, and you're willing to give them that value because then you can send them marketing emails with coupons for other products, reminders about your new digital product drops and launches, or weekly newsletter communications that cultivate an ongoing relationship and lead to more sales.

Here's one example of a free lead magnet a creator is using to build an email list:

Source: @andreyas on Beacons

How does digital product delivery work?

Digital product management

When creating a digital product to sell for passive income, it is important that the system used to sell the product is simple for business owners to automate, so that the income is truly passive. The Beacons Store is a great place to sell your digital products because of all the automation features that allow creators to truly set-and-forget their product sales experience.

Digital product sales are delivered to the purchaser automatically.

With Beacons, you don't have to worry about shipping, delivery, or keeping track of your sales. You'll be notified every time you make one, of course, and you can track your income in the Income Dashboard. But you can easily set up an automated process that sends your customer an email, delivers their product, and even asks for a review. Want to remember to send them emails later asking how they liked it, if they need a coupon for another one, or letting them know your latest updates? No need to remember: we have automations for that too!

The User Experience

From the perspective of your customer, they can't tell you aren't paying attention. Our automations make them feel like you're remembering them, addressing their needs, and including them in your community. It's win-win!

Why is Beacons the best of the ecommerce platforms for digital goods?

While there are many different online platforms that allow creators to sell digital and physical products, like the Shopify Store or Stan Store (a quick Google search would surely reveal a large list of competitors), we think Beacons is the best way for creators to build a digital market because we deliver outsize value relative to the cost of our offering. You can decide if you want to use our store for free and let us take a percentage of your sales, or pay a monthly fee and keep 100% of your profits. Our product builder makes it easy to import your products from wherever they're currently hosted, and it's intuitive and fast to set up new ones. What are you waiting for? Start selling on Beacons today!

Source: Beacons.ai

Ready for more?

Check out our video tutorial for creating a digital product to sell on Beacons.

Experience the Beacons Store for yourself: get our downloadable guide to creating your own digital product to sell.

Isabel Sachs
Isabel is the Community Manager at Beacons, the all-in-one creator business platform. She has been sharing her expertise in content and community with creators via creator economy startups since 2020, prior to which she was a mental health professional. Keep up with Isabel and access her best free resources for creators at https://beacons.ai/isabelsachs.
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Get your online store in few minutes
Sell in your creator store, build an email marketing strategy, score brand deals—all from your Beacons Link-in-Bio. Powered by AI.
Get Started - For Free!

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