Digital products are all around you—the podcast you listen to, that newsletter you subscribe to, and that Netflix series you just binged.
Because digital products are soon projected to be a trillion-dollar space , it’s never been a more exciting time to be a digital creator in the retail/ecommerce space. The number of digital products you can create is endless. Here are just a few examples:
Figuring out which digital products to create and sell can be daunting! If your business sits in a niche that has many players, you can take that as a sign that the competition will be steep. On the other hand, you can also take that as a sign that there’s high demand for products and services in your market, and that your business has the potential to outperform your competition.
If your market has few players in it, it might look like there’s not a ton of demand, but it could actually mean that there’s plenty of opportunity to create it—and dominate the market.
To figure out which digital goods your business should offer, ask yourself the questions below.
1. What does your business do often?
What are the most popular products or services your business offers? Is there a way to deliver these products or services digitally?
2. What is your business passionate about?
What aspect of your business motivates you and your team to want to get better? What do you love to do most for your customers?
When your compass is pointing in the direction of something you’re passionate about, it’s so much easier to move.
Can you create a product focused on something you know a lot about and do often but aren’t passionate about? Sure, but does that excite you? Probably not. Ideas are a dime a dozen. You want to go down the road with the least amount of resistance, especially with your first digital product.
Don’t wait until your product is “perfect.” Create something that can provide value, and get it to market. Make minor tweaks as you grow. You’re better off achieving small wins when you’re starting. That momentum creates motivation to continue.
3. What is your business great at?
Where does your business excel? Start off by identifying one thing your business is exceptional at. Many entrepreneurs try to be everything to everyone. That rarely works.
Do you have to be the best in your field to launch a product or service in your market? No. It helps to have the accolades, recognition, and certificates, but if you don’t, don’t let that stop you. If you can provide value to your customer, let that be what fuels you.
Say you’ve streamlined a difficult business process, one that you know affects other businesses as well. You could sell a digital blueprint, in the form of a PDF, showing other business owners how to make that aspect of their business simpler. You could also offer bundles that include audio, video, consulting calls, monthly memberships, etc. This creates a product ladder where each product higher up on the ladder has a higher price and provides more value.
A term that keeps rearing its ugly head among people who want to create and sell products is imposter syndrome . Imposter syndrome is when people feel like they’re incompetent at something even if that’s not the case. They might think of themselves as a fraud, even if they have tons of experience in their field.
4. What do you like or dislike about competing products?
Is there a company out there with a great presence on social media that you admire? Does company A have amazing customer service? Does that podcast you like have good content but a tone that could use some tweaking for a different audience?
You’re not looking to duplicate something. You’re looking to see what others do well. This is where your unique personality and skills can help you differentiate yourself.
The fact that Adidas had been around for years didn’t stop Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman from creating Blue Ribbon Sports—the company we know today as Nike.
This is also a great way to see where other products could improve and see what you can bring to the table.
For example, legendary digital entrepreneur, Pat Flynn, was working as an architect in San Diego in 2007. He was studying for the LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional) exam. For those who don’t know, it’s an extremely tough exam.
He took months to prepare for it. One thing that made life easier for him was organizing his notes into small, easily-digestible pieces and storing everything online.
He passed the test but was laid off in 2008. Thankfully, other people found his notes useful and told him they would pay for them. That’s when the lightbulb turned on. Flynn created the Green Exam Academy, a resource to help people pass LEEDS exams. It has generated millions in revenue to date.
5. Who do you want to serve?
It’s easy to want to create something that does everything for everyone. However, you need to define who your ideal customer is and what your goal is for this group of people.
This helps you trim the fat and focus on what people need. Many people get caught up creating something they think people want. Focus on what people need, not what you think they want. Talk to them. Ask questions in groups and online forums. They will tell you what they need.
As your brand and influence grow you can try new things, but if this is your first product, aim for something that’s crystal clear.
Here’s a template you can use to help you figure this out.
Let’s say you want to create an online course or e-book to help parents get remote work opportunities. You could frame your mission like this:
You can tinker with this as much as you want and test your marketing efforts.
Both examples are similar and different at the same time. The first example lists the benefit as spending more time with family, while in the second example, the benefit is financial. The cost of daycare is a major pain point for many parents.
Remove the obstacles in front of you
Owning a business is already challenging. The thought of creating digital products can be intimidating. You’re already busy. This is where you can make a list of things that might be in your way.
If you’ve read this far, the question shouldn’t be if you’re going to create a digital product.
It’s how. It’s when. This is not the future of business. This is where business is now.
The good news is you don’t have to do this alone. Help is available just like how we talked earlier about streamlining a difficult business process and helping other businesses do the same.
You could outsource the creation of your products and give final approval once they’re ready to go live. In essence, you’re providing ingredients and hiring people to cook the meal you’re presenting to the world. It’s similar to how authors have editors, co-writers, and ghostwriters.
Let’s use this blog post as an example. Aurelio Mitjans is the author of this article, but at least three other people have edited or made suggestions for edits. They helped create this digital product you’re reading and removed obstacles to create the best reading experience for you.
Creating digital products requires connecting dots. Each question is a dot that leads to another dot until the picture is clear.
Answer these questions before selling your digital product
Addressing these questions should help give you a better idea of which direction to head in. If you’re still not sure which product or service you should sell, keep having conversations with people. Keep asking questions. This is all part of your research. The better your research, the better chance you have for your business to find success in the creator economy.
The creator economy is booming, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Bring your unique voice to the world. Someone is waiting to hear it.