Earn a smart way – Sell digital downloads

The sudden transfer of many areas of our lives to the Internet resulted in several changes. Online schools, online stores, and online businesses in general, permanently integrated with our day-to-day reality. We shifted from going to shopping malls or coaching schools to purchasing everything from the Internet.

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New e-commerce platforms developed rapidly. Various items, physical products, and digital goods are being sold over the Internet. This article will focus on the third group – digital downloads and what makes them so unique.

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The chart shows an expectation of a significant rise in Global Eccomerce Sales over five years.

What are digital downloads and how are they different from digital items?

Digital downloads are the electronic form of acquiring digital files like audiobooks, ebooks, online courses, art, photos, music, etc. The customers usually have to click on the download link, which allows them to acquire products. So usually, when one says they are selling downloadable products, they are not, in fact, selling the item itself, but a download of the file.

After the initial effort of creating the content, selling digital downloads is nothing but an endless source of passive income. This article will familiarize you with the advantages and risks of selling digital downloads and the best platforms to sell digital downloads. With our guidance, you can become a pro at online selling business and profit from digital downloads!

What content can be sold as digital downloads?

For a content creator (blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, small artist), selling digital downloads is a very efficient and popular way of making a profit. You can sell almost everything in an available for download format pdf, epub, mp4, avi, jpg, png, jpeg, tiff, etc., for example, ebooks, tutorials, online courses, videos, audiobooks, pictures, photos, apps, animations, fonts, 3D models, games, and many, many more.

One of the most beneficial downloadable products are online courses. Many small businesses earn a fortune from linking their brand with online course business. Their loyal subscribers help them get the startup up and running, but later it is a self-perpetuating source of income. You can learn more about selling online courses from your own website in our latest article: Comprehensive Guide – How to Sell Online Courses From Your Own Website.

Finding a perfect idea for a digital product is not so easy. It requires lots of brainstorming, research, analyzing statistics, and so on. Lucky for you, we are coming to the rescue with the list of the five most beneficial digital goods ideas in 2021.

  • Online courses
  • Membership Sites
  • Ebooks
  • Music and art
  • Software as a service and plugins

The advantages and risks of selling digital downloads

Like every type of business, online marketing has its pros and cons. However, due to their rather non-physical nature, the risks are being much easier to avoid than in the case of traditional selling. Here’s the list of crucial advantages and drawbacks of online business:

Low maintenance costs

Unlike physical products, digital items can be purchased several times. Therefore, there are no extra costs for restocking and creating a new product – you cannot run out of digital downloads!

The beauty of an e-commerce business is its non-physical aspect. You do not need any type of warehouse, storage unit, packaging, delivery contracts – nothing. It saves you not only a lot of money but also your precious time. Switching to digital products is profitable both financially and in the quality of your life.

Constant and high profit

After the initial effort of creating a digital product and putting it on your website, you can just sit back and observe your bank account getting bigger and bigger. A digital product is not a physical item, so you do not have to spend money on restocking it – you simply put out one digital good and make a profit from it constantly. Digital downloads equal unlimited products. Selling digital items is a fantastic way to earn money on the side, and who knows – maybe you will be able to transition it into a whole source of income.

Automation

You are selling a digital product, so you can easily avoid all of the hassle and issues with mailing and sending the packages. Not dealing with postal offices will save up so much of your time.

Moreover, many selling platforms offer complete automation. Usually, after the customers drag and drop your digital item into the shopping cart and, of course, pay – they are able to download the file. Everything happens without the need for your involvement.

To encourage people to purchase your product, you can create landing pages with sign-up forms embedded in your website – offering free items, discount codes, etc. As a result, it will inevitably bump up your sales. Many platforms allow you to automate the workflow and deliver appropriate marketing tools for that. For instance, GroupApp provides you with the platform to sell your digital products and helps you handle the designing, marketing, and audience issues.

Flexibility

Digital items can do wonders for your small business. There are many ways to encourage people to sign up. Incentives, affiliate programs, exclusive content – they all help you with promoting your online business.

Competition with free content

Keep in mind – many people had the same idea to open an online business as you. It is essential to stand out in the crowd of similar content, or otherwise, your target audience will not even be able to find your content.

Promote your products thoughtfully and encouragingly, so people see the point of buying your items and not just download a free file. Offer better quality, unlimited file downloads, incentives, or exclusive content in other to attract customers.

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Choose a safe and legit platform to seem more trustworthy and customer-friendly. Remember the importance of engaging with your community on social media and answering their needs – the more you ‘socialize’ with people, the more willing they are to buy your product.

Piracy and theft risks

Unfortunately, some individuals will take advantage of your hard work. You can find yourself in a situation when your carefully and well-designed product has been copied and illegally distributed. There are times when even after taking appropriate precautions, you have to deal with piracy. It is essential to remind your audience where they can acquire a legit and original digital product.

However, the same as traditional stores cannot entirely prevent thefts and robberies. You will always be at risk of your work being copied or illegally distributed. It will create competition for your digital goods, but proper marketing will help you overcome that.

Selling-platforms restrictions

Choosing an adequate selling platform is crucial to your success. Many popular websites limit your freedom by not allowing you to sell specific formats, charging a transaction fee, or simply placing your offer directly next to your competition.

Pick a platform that will help promote your product and not restrain you from achieving your full selling potential.

E-learning is the future of education.

Demand for online courses is constantly rising. The problematic situation of pandemics resulted in a heightened need for e-commerce and e-learning. Many bloggers, YouTubers, and other content creators decide on delivering content and attracting new members in the form of online courses. Therefore, we can observe the net-worth of online businesses sky-rocketing – especially online course businesses. That is why it is very profitable to get into the online marketing business. You can learn more about E-learning in our article How To Start An Online School (A Comprehensive Guide For Creators)

The increasing popularity of online courses brought to life various online course creators and online course marketplaces. In times of social distancing, digital products became as saleable as physical items. The times of the pandemic put educators in a difficult situation to quickly get used to various online platforms. Sadly, a significant number of them did not take a chance to provide a better quality learning experience and stuck with reading materials off of the presentation during a group video call.

To make it easy for you, we prepared the list of the best ways for selling (and creating) digital products.

Best ways for selling digital downloads

There are multiple methods to sell digital products.

Self-host

To self-host your own website:

  • Create your own membership site – we do not recommend this option if you are not a coding pro. It will be a very tiring and lengthy process, and you don’t need additional stress.
  • Hire a professional web developer – well, a solution for no coding skill is hiring a professional. However, the major drawback of it is usually a very high cost. Self-hosting is supposed to be a low-cost option, which cancels out the point of choosing this method.
  • Use a dedicated plugin – standard WordPress plugins like LearnDash, WP Courseware, or LearnPress allow you to create your own course website. They are simply learning management systems (LMS) that will enable you to turn your material into course content. Unfortunately, designing a self-hosted WordPress site can be a very long-drawn-out process. However, your WordPress website requires a lot of backup in the shape of plugins. Acquiring every tool just to create your own website is a significant drawback and prolongs the entire process.

In addition, the self-host platform also requires purchasing a domain name, an extra checkout page linked to the safe payment processor and payment gateway. All of that leads to additional costs and a long process of creating your own online course marketplace.

Hosted platforms

Entirely on the opposite, there are online course platforms such as Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific, or Podia. Being ubiquitous media for selling tutorials and courses, they work like Amazon or eBay and offer various digital items (here: online courses) with different pricing and quality. The main advantage is them being user-friendly – very easy to use. Without more significant issues, you can create and sell your own courses.

However, you are being limited to the restrictions of the platform and lack of functionality. You need to adjust to their layout, fees, and other downsides. Another drawback is that they work as sales pages – your course is shown next to your competitors’ courses. That makes it easier for potential students to scroll past your offer and, as a result, not to sign up. You are also forced to compete with your competitors’ prices, so sometimes you will sell your own course below the average price.

To conclude, hosted platforms offer only ease in use, but in return, they strip you from your freedom to design the layout, charge high fees and compare your offer directly with your competitors.

Your own website

From our last article: How to Sell Online Courses From Your Own Website, you should know that it is the best method to profit and gain an audience.

To successfully create your own website, you need an appropriate website builder. It is a tool to design your own website, not overly complicated, but that can rank for search engine optimization (SEO). It should be entirely adjustable and customizable. An intuitive and functional page builder will result in a fantastic web design that will attract new subscribers. Landing page – It can be a significant factor in your success. On average, a landing page has a conversion rate of 9.7%. But the better-designed landing page, the more people sign up for your website. You can include referrals on your landing page to deliver some type of user proof to encourage potential members to sign up.

To sell digital downloads, you also need a secure payment processor. It would be best to find a safe and secure way to charge your members for payment plans. The perfect solutions are popular payment processing software – PayPal or payment gateway Stripe (it allows your students to pay directly with their credit card). For a minimal fee, you and your audience are guaranteed safe transactions.

Choosing the right platform for your own website is a key factor to leading a successful business. That is why we would like to introduce you to GroupApp.

At GroupApp, we provide you with all of the mentioned functions. With GroupApp, you can create an online community that you own. You will host your online courses and digital content inside your community and get paid through subscriptions and course sales. GroupApp allows you to improve the success of your online courses and enhance the learning experience by bringing your online course and community together under one platform. You can provide course participants with ongoing feedback, guidance, and community support quickly and exactly when they need it.

Your own website created with GroupApp is the best choice to maintain 100% ownership over your community and easily design, build and sell online courses. On your own doesn’t mean without our help. Focus on engaging with your members and making profits – we will take care of the rest.

To conclude, when it comes to selling online courses, there is only one choice – GroupApp.

This platform allows you to successfully sell your online courses and promote them to your audience. Multiple pricing plans, email marketing software (Mailchimp, ConvertKit), course design templates, and other marketing tools – GroupApp provides you with everything you may need to earn from your online business.

Sellfy

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Sellfy offers many tools to make it easy for you to have an online store. Their webpage advertises a wide range of features such as:

‘Drag-and-drop store builder

Choose from over 70 professional and free store themes. Customize colors, imagery, and fonts with ease. No design skills are required.

Get paid quickly and securely.

Shopify Payments allows you to accept credit cards instantly and without third-party accounts.

Designed for mobile

All Shopify themes are fully responsive, which means your customers get a consistent experience no matter how they browse your store.

Optimized for growth

Leverage tools and insightful sales information to grow your business.

Comprehensive dashboard

Get a holistic and detailed view of your business to understand better sales, orders, and audience to better tailor your products and marketing.

Marketing made simple

With Shopify’s built-in SEO features, automated marketing, and free educational material, you will always be one step ahead of the competition.

Sell more, more often.

Boost lifetime value and recurring revenue using apps built for Shopify.

Your business managed.

Focus on the things you love, and let us handle the rest

Shopify Mobile app

Stay on top of everything, even when you’re away, with the Shopify Mobile app. You have live access to orders, fulfillment, analytics, and more, all from your smartphone.

Shipping that makes sense

You can now get calculated shipping rates and print discounted USPS shipping labels from Shopify, saving you up to 40% on postage. Send customers automatic tracking updates for peace of mind.’

There are many other popular e-commerce platforms like Woocommerce, Shopify, SendOwl, or WordPress plugins like Easy Digital Downloads. All of them have the means to bump up your incomes, upsell, use incentives, etc. However, some of them charge a transaction fee. Pay attention to all the fees while choosing your selling platform.

Sell Courses & Digital Content

The online business is growing more and more each year. We hope that we encouraged you to sell digital downloads and showed the advantages of owning an online store. Be your own boss and make a profit by selling online courses and digital content.

GroupApp gives you a platform to share and sell your own course materials in the form of PDFs, Audio, and Video files. Unlike physical items, selling digital products will endlessly increase your income. Provide your community with extra content and online courses and benefit from the same item numerous times.

One of the other GroupApp’s advantages is accessibility. GroupApp offers a mobile-friendly experience for all devices, so you and your students can engage with the community from every device. It is available for all devices and platforms and both on iOS and Android. GroupApp with ConverKit can help you engage your email list through an online community, experience, sell courses and help you build a better relationship with your audience.

You also get a bunch of additional features such as:

  • Members Profile: ‘Community directory that allows members to discover and connect with each other.’
  • Activity Feed: ‘Community activity feed that allows members to share a post, leave comments, and follow topics.’
  • Posting Types: ‘Creators and members can write a post, upload photos, ask questions, and share videos.’
  • Notifications: ‘Send in-app and email notifications to your community members with a simple click of a button.’
  • Invite members: ‘Invite members to join your community with your community invite link and email invitation.’
  • Privacy Settings: ‘Share your community with the public or set your privacy setting to members only.’
  • Paid channels: ‘Share premium content in specific community channels and have members upgrade to access it.’
  • Export Data: ‘Own 100% of your member’s data and export it at any time without any restrictions. It all belongs to you.’
  • Custom Domain: ‘Maintain a consistent branding experience and drive community traffic to your website by using your custom domain with your community.’

With GroupApp, you can build a thriving online community and create a stronger relationship with your audience. With our assistance, learn how to deliver the highest quality online courses to your audience.

Sign up for GroupApp and see the quality of your email marketing sky-rocketing. Deliver top-notch content and incentives via email and watch your email list rapidly growing.