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The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide to Selling Digital Products on Your Blog (Step Two)

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Step Two Choose the Perfect Product

Yesterday, I started this “selling digital products” series with step one, about building relationships. Today, let’s get into the meat of selling digital products and actually talk about the type of product you’re going to sell.

In the past, I’ve made the mistake of just starting to create, but in actuality, it behooves you to put a little thought into determining what product will be perfect for your audience. It might not be the product you’re initially inspired to create. This is one time that you don’t want to go with your gut, at least without giving your gut’s advice a little thought.

So, the second step in selling digital products is examining your options and choosing what kind of product to sell.

Step Two: Choosing the Perfect Product for Your Blog

In thinking about the product you’re going to sell, there are two main things to consider:

  1. Topic
  2. Type of Delivery

Topic is the most important category, so let’s start there–but make sure you read to the end to learn about type of delivery as well, as this makes a difference to your bottom line too.

Your Product’s Topic: How do you choose?

If you want to make money on your blog by selling a digital product, you have to think about what your audience really wants. A poll is a great place to start, but sometimes your audience doesn’t know what they want or need.

To have a better grasp on what will sell, think about Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs. If you’re not familiar with Maslov, his hierarchy lists what people want/need in life, in order of importance to survival. At the base of the pyramid, you have things you actually need to live, like food and water, and as you move up the pyramid, you see other wants/needs in order of importance. This video explains it well:

In the video, the speaker is talking about this pyramid in relationship to helping mental health patients. But anyone who is selling a product, digital or otherwise, should access where their product falls on this pyramid as well.

What problem does your product solve for people? The lower this need, the more people who are likely to buy it. For example, if you’re selling pills someone needs to live, that’s going to be a higher priority for someone than if you’re selling jewelry or tickets to a sports game.

Now, it is possible to sell products no matter where they fall on this hierarchy. But the higher you go on the pyramid, the more money you need people to have. If someone doesn’t have a ton of disposable income, they’re going to spend their money on an ebook about financial planning before they spend their money on an ebook novel.

Of course, not everyone makes smart financial decisions, and some people spend beyond their means, going to the movies when they don’t have enough money for rent. But in general, the higher your digital product falls on the hierarchy, the higher income your average customer needs to have.

Here are some more great tidbits of advice when it comes to choosing the topic for your next digital product:

Product Delivery: What Type of Digital Product to Sell

After choosing a topic, you also have to choose a delivery method for the information. You can choose this first, but I like to think about topic initially, before I decide how to deliver the information. In my mind, topic is key!

Here are some of your options for digitial products:

Ebooks: These can be anywhere from 10 or so pages to hundreds of pages long. The digital formatting means that you don’t have to keep inventory in stock or pay for printing, so you cut your self-publishing costs significantly.

Here are arguments from people much smarter than myself about why ebooks rock:

White Papers: Like ebooks, white papers are traditionally text-based. The terms are actually used interchangeably in many cases, though a white paper delves more deeply into the topic and focuses on thought-leadership, instead of a general overview like you get with an ebook, and are extremely data-driven. White papers also often focus on explaining the specific benefits of a product, service, technique, or way or thinking. They are also usually very text-heavy, as opposed to the “hipper” highly-designed ebooks that many people are producing.

I like to compare white papers versus ebooks to scholarly articles in journals to educational articles in well-respected magazines like Time or Rolling Stone or Popular Mechanics (or whatever is comparable in your niche). Both give you great information, and often cover similar topics, but the scholarly articles are on a different level (though that doesn’t make them better…they are just written with a different goal in mind).

Courses: Sometimes, an ebook isn’t quite as organized as you want the information to be. So, instead you can offer a course with lessons. This allows you to present the content in a way that encourages more action from anyone who purchases it. Course don’t just include text, like an ebook, but also activities for the student to complete. Course can include workbooks, suggested reading lists, videos, and more.

This video from David Siteman Garland is awesome for explaining why online courses are great for packing your information:

Tutorials: Maybe you don’t need a full course on your topic of choice. Maybe you just need a tutorial (which can be text, audio, video, or a combination). Tutorials are shorter, but typically teach a highly-desired skill to learn. For example, you might sell a tutorial on you beauty blog about how to achieve a certain hair style that you’d typically have to pay to get at a salon.

Membership Sites: If you have lots of content to share, a membership site might be the right route for you. Membership sites can include virtually any kind of content – blog posts, interviews, videos, even full courses, and you can also build an “inner circle” community behind the pay gate using forums and other means for members to talk to one another. One of the great thing about membership sites is the recurring revenue stream option. While someone might pay for your ebook once and be done, with a membership site, they’ll pay you a small amount every month, and often, even people who never log in don’t take the time to cancel!

Here are a few resources about why membership sites might be a good option for digital information distribution:

Webinars: You might be able to charge $100 for consulting or coaching on your topic of expertise, but there’s a ceiling with this business model. If you work 8 hours a day, you can only make $800 max. Even if you were super human and could work every single hour of the day, never sleeping, you’re still limited to making $2400 a day. Nothing to sneeze at, for sure, but what if you could do the same work, but make ten times that amount? With paid webinars, you can. Webinars allow you to teach a class on your topic to a live audience, then open the floor for questions. You won’t make as much per person as you would if you were working with them one-on-one, but you still have a higher earning potential this way. Instead of coaching one person for $100 an hour, you can coach 50 people at once for $20 an hour each – and make ten times the amount!

This is not an exhaustive list of infoproducts you can choose to sell, of course! You can sell just about anything if you have a community of willing buyers!

The key is to match your digital product’s topic with the format that makes the most sense. If you’re teaching someone a very visual skill, like how to bake bread for example, you probably want a video tutorial or course, or at least an ebook with a ton of pictures. The answer isn’t always what is cheapest or easiest to make. You’ll sell more products if you really think about what your audience needs, because when people like your product, they tell their friends!

So take some time to brainstorm. Then come back for tomorrow’s post in this series, all about how to actually create your product!

See Other Posts in This Series:

  1. Step One: Building Relationships
  2. Step Two: Choosing the Perfect Product (this post)
  3. Step Three: Creating Your Product
  4. Step Four: Planning Your Launch
  5. Step Five: Customers Service

Image credit (altered): Bigstock

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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  • oliversmith

    Hello,

    From first i learn about how this social media works for internet marketing campaign. Do you have any posted topic which is related to twitter. if that so then please reply me.

    Thanks

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