This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.
When I first got started earning money online, I started with a side hustle that involved selling things on Ebay that I got at a garage sale. It was nice, but one major downside was that I always had to store and ship inventory. I always thought to myself, “if only I could sell without having to always buy and ship things.”
That’s when I started getting into Kindle e-book publishing, and I absolutely loved that since kindle e-books were digital products, I was able to create the product once and sell as many copies of it as I wanted to. And that was all without having to buy anything, store anything, or ship anything.
After kindle e-books, I got into selling digital information products, in the online marketing space. Since I was pretty new, my first product was just about how to set up a marketing web site. It was a simple newbie course I was selling for $7. I managed to get around 100 sales on that product.
However, to do this, it was not by any of my own traffic. At the time I didn’t have my own email list, or my own web site in that niche, or any sort of audience to promote to. So how did I do it? I had to leverage affiliates to promote for me. Once I did this, I managed to build my own list (all the leads become yours once someone buys your product), and over time built up more traffic sources as well.
The real key was not only selling the digital product, but building the digital product ecosystem.
Here’s an exact breakdown of how to launch a digital product and make profit from it (the right way).
(If you have no audience (or even if you do) you should find this incredibly valuable.)
1. Decide What You Want To Sell
In the beginning, finding something to sell could seem really hard. If you already have a niche you are passionate and know a lot about, just make sure it’s something that has good traction, you can use Buzzsumo to do some good research.
If you don’t have any sort of expertise, you can create a product that is just case studies of something you tried. You can also create interview products or find an expert in a certain field to partner with.
Personally, since I started off in marketing, as a marketing newbie, my first couple of products just helped people with the basics. As my marketing skills grew, I was able to provide more value in products. Today, my products are my expertise, and I also sometimes partner with others to launch their products.
2. Develop The Benefits And General Selling Angle
You need to have a basic understanding of three things really. What problems are you solving at a high level, and then how does that translate into features and benefits for the readers?
You can get a better idea about features and benefits here. You don’t need to be a copywriting expert, but you need to have a decent idea of how to make the page look compelling. Try to think as if you were the potential customer. What would make you buy?
Another super powerful technique is look at the sales pages of people who are competing with you. Don’t copy them- but get a good feel for how they sell, and it will make your life so much easier in this department.
3. Create the Course
You can use tools like Screencast-o-Matic to screen-record yourself talking. I also like using the Blue Snowball microphone for recording my voice, as for the price it’s definitely the best you’ll get.
I usually just write out the course outline in a Google Doc, then go down each video and record it. It sometimes takes a few takes but over time you’ll get used to it and it will go much faster. You can order a video intro on Fiverr to also make each video look more professional. Screencast-o-matic will allow you to add a video intro to each video you record quite easily.
4. Host The Course And Set Up An Affiliate Program
Once your course is ready, you will need to host the course somewhere. I personally have done some courses self hosted right on my blogs, and using a plugin like Wishlist Member to protect my content. I have also used Teachable, where I’m currently hosting my current courses.
Using a solution like Teachable has a ton of advantages. One big advantage of using Teachable is that not only does it let you upload your videos and has a built-in template to make it easy for students to follow and go through the course, but it also has a ton of other amazing features like managing students, managing employees of your programs, creating your sales pages, and even has a built in affiliate program so others can promote your programs for a commission.
Another option to have an affiliate program is to host your product on an affiliate network. The benefit here is you can potentially have affiliates who are perusing the network to randomly promote your product for you, so that you won’t have to go out and look for affiliates. Some big affiliate networks are JvZoo and Clickbank.
5. Find Affiliates
I was able to make sales by contacting people who already had audiences, marketers with email lists mostly, that had a relationship with their audience. They could mail my offer through their own affiliate link, and anyone who bought through that link, they would make a commission.
This whole process is basically about finding affiliates and influencers who already have an audience or know how to drive traffic. The beauty of having your own affiliate program is you only have to pay out if they make a sale. There’s really no risk to you.
In order to find affiliates, you can look for people with websites, blogs, Youtube channels, other social media channels in your niche. Do outreach with them, try to build relationships slowly if you can, go to events in your niche…there’s many things you can do to find affiliates.
A lot of affiliates also are vendors themselves, so sometimes they like playing a game of reciprocation…where you promote a product of theirs to your audience, and then they promote your product to their audience. This type of cross promotion can be really big for you in the long run, but if you’re just starting out, this can be a little hard to do as you don’t have an audience to promote to yet. (You can grow an audience using Pinterest and many other ways as well).
Over the last few years, I have sold over 25 digital information products and generated tens of thousands in sales. I have also built my email list up to over 17,000 buyers, which was much bigger but over time I clean my list to get rid of emails that are no longer being used.
6. Promote It Via Your Own Traffic Channels
In addition to leveraging affiliates to promote for you, you definitely want to be building your own traffic channels. Now that I have multiple blogs with constant traffic coming to them and have built up an email list of over 17,000 subscribers, growing my Pinterest accounts, Youtube accounts and other social media… I can make sales on my own and even do cross promotions with affiliates.
You will be able to leverage your own traffic channels to start getting sales on your digital products, and as your traffic channels grow, so will your sales to your digital products. Just keep growing your traffic and all the good stuff follows.
7. Grow Your Audiences, Grow Your Profits, And Repeat
In a nutshell, this is how to launch a digital product empire which actually creates a powerful ecosystem for your business, since it doesn’t only stand on one leg. Digital products are usually a huge boost to anyone’s business. You can repeat the process laid out here over and over again, and you’ll be on your way to consistent and growing online income.
If you want to create your first product, definitely consider hosting it on Teachable.
If you want to start building your own traffic channels, you definitely should start with a blog. You can check out my post on starting your own profitable blog, check out my free Primer Course, or dive into my Blogging & Traffic Masterclass. (My favorite WordPress theme for blogging is Flatsome).
If you don’t want to create the blog yourself, you can check out my Done For You Blog service.
That’s it for this post! Now go take some action 🙂