What’s an infinitely scalable way for content creators to make money with no overhead costs and that is easy to set up?
It’s not a trick question. The answer for many creators is: selling digital goods. Digital products are typically cheaper to produce than physical products and easier to fulfill. Digital products are a true way to grow passive income. You can become a business owner through creating and selling digital products right from your computer and selling them to fans and followers you’ve gained across your platforms. No need to worry about vendors, warehouses, or shipping times. Fans click to checkout and get their downloadable purchase in seconds. For these reasons and more, the digital product market has been growing rapidly.
Of course, there are a few barriers to entry—otherwise, everyone would be making bank from digital products left and right. It can be hard to answer the most basic question: what can I sell that fans will pay for? Since products are digital, you’re often competing with content that is freely shared online. It can be harder to prove value to your customers.
That’s where we come in. In this guide, we’ll help you find the best digital products to offer so you can make that first sale. By choosing the right, profitable digital products or services to offer to your fans, you can align your digital storefront with your strengths, build upon your brand, and differentiate your products on the big wide web.
What digital products can creators sell?
Luckily, there’s a wide variety of digital products that creators can sell online. Below are some digital product ideas.
Have a topic you’re passionate about? A skill? A niche you know a lot about? Want to guide other creators in starting and growing their creator careers? You can consider launching an online course to share the skills and information you have.
You can take courses one step further and consider offering a certification program in a particular skill set related to the topics you’re developing courses on.
Many of us have put together templates or other tools to help track information in our own lives. Maybe you have put together an income tracking tool, a brand deal outreach tracking template, a daily planner, or a content creation task board.
Did you know you can help other people get access to these templates and tools you’ve put together and been using yourself? Creators often do this by selling their own organizational templates, like Notion templates.
The word “book” can bring to mind a daunting image of a long text produced over years of intensive research, but not all eBooks have to be so immense and serious. If you have useful information you want to share on a skill or topic you’re knowledgeable about, consider putting together a document with that information - that’s an eBook!
It could be simple as a 10 page pamphlet in Google Docs… and unlike that essay you had to write in school, you’re allowed to make it fun and personal.
You can record yourself reading a favorite book or short story of yours that isn’t covered by the major platforms. Your fans may also find it special that you have added your own touch and personalization to the audiobook.
Beyond eBooks, you can sell digital content of any kind. It could be a poem, a short story, or a series of reviews.
Have you planned a wedding? Mastered meditation? Live in a popular city? Traveled to a popular city? Learned to invest? Decorated your home? You have something to share! Put together a guide on any of these topics, and you’re bound to see a ton of interest.
If you prefer multimedia content, consider filming and selling tutorials. Your tutorials can walk people through your process and show them how to get started with any skill you’re an expert in.
A lot of the previous ideas involve one way information sharing through content you create, but consider putting together an interactive workbook that can help people apply any knowledge you share through your eBooks, guides, and tutorials.
Digital art and digital media
Many creators sell their paintings, videos, and graphic art online. People love supporting their favorite artists, so if you produce these works of art, consider selling digital copies to your fans. They would love to have your work in their living room!
Similarly, music creators can sell or license their latest music to fans online. You can share a full song, album, or just part of a clip.
Similarly, creators often sell presets and photos as well. Presets have become more popular with the rise of social media platforms. People are looking to spruce up the photos they have and share, and often they’d like to emulate their favorite creators. If you create or can create presets, your fans will be interested!
Graphic design templates
If you’re a designer, you can create a series of graphic design templates to sell. Many people are looking for designs they can share on instagram stories, new videos, and posts.
In this same vein, you can design custom fonts that you can monetize.
You can offer all in one kits. For example, you can offer an all in one kit to design a logo or a website or kick start a new social media channel. You can include templates, tips, and examples in these kits.
If you’re a developer (or can use low code, no code tools), you can put together software applications that will delight your followers. For example, you can consider developing a game, a commerce tool, or a productivity app.
Similarly, you can put together a calculator that fans can use to calculate anything from conversion rates to price points to taxes to savings and more.
Fans are often willing to pay for access to an exclusive group of likeminded people. Consider creating a subscription based community where your fans can connect with each other. You can provide other perks to the community but the focus should be on connection.
People are always looking for assessments to determine their personality traits, compatibility, strengths, weaknesses, ideal career, and more. You can put together your own assessment and monetize these.
Have some cool data that you’d like to share? You can make and sell an infographic that displays the data in an engaging and understandable way.
If you enjoy writing, write a newsletter that you can gate. Paid newsletters are a great recurring source of income. Beacons offers an email marketing tool that you can use to get started with your newsletter.
How can creators monetize their time?
You don’t have to stick to discrete products. You can also simply monetize your time in creative ways. Below are some of the best digital ways to make money without a concrete product. These are the best ways to offer a digital service!
Meet and greet
Your fans would love to meet you! Even getting to spend 10 or 15 minutes of 1:1 time with you would mean so much to a dedicated fan. Consider adding an appointments block to your Beacons page for fans to book time with you for meet and greets.
You can even consider hosting an in person meet and greet that you can sell tickets for on your website or link in bio page.
You can take the meet and greet one step further and host a larger event for your fans. This event can feature different speakers, group gatherings, and entertainment. You can position it as a summit around a particular topic.
You can offer career or personal coaching services to your fans. Consulting (discussed below) is more function specific while coaching is more holistic and comprehensive. It covers all facets of your life and work.
Beyond sharing your knowledge via courses or books, you can also provide higher touch guidance through consulting. You can market these consulting services through the Beacons appointments block, too. Just add the appointments block to your Beacons page and your followers can quickly and easily book time with you for a 1:1 consulting session.
By providing individualized guidance, you are able to price these sessions quite a bit higher than you would price a more generalized form of advice, like an eBook.
Have a special talent? You can offer your services. This could go beyond consulting (which is typically seen as advice giving). For example, if you’re an expert event planner, you could offer to help people with event planning.
Reviews are a great blend of consulting and services. You can offer website, social media, or resume reviews. You can do these asynchronously, which makes this a more scaleable revenue source than either services or consulting.
Your super fans want content from you on an ongoing basis, and they also want to support you regularly. Consider setting up a membership program where you produce exclusive content or offer other perks (such as 1:1 time, in person meet ups, merch, or exclusive communities) to those who subscribe.
You can offer different tiers of subscription that correspond to different prices and levels of benefits. Platforms like Patreon are great for setting up membership tiers like this.
Meet and greets can be restricted to those in your area, but webinars can be scaled globally. You can host and charge for webinars where you share experiences and advice. You could also have a webinar panel with multiple guests in a specific field. Or your webinar could take on a fireside chat form where you interview one well known guest.
A workshop is a meet and greet meets webinar. The workshop can be a tactical, in person masterclass where your fans can come together to learn from you and each other and tangibly improve a piece of work or solve a problem in their lives.
You can create personalized content, such as shout outs, for fans upon request. This is a great combination of product and service. You’re delivering a piece of evergreen digital content with a layer of customization.
How to figure out what’s best for you
With so many ways to sell online, which option in the digital market is best for you? Of course, the answer is different for every creator. Here’s how to identify what is best for you.
Leverage what you already create
What type of content, services, or products do you already create as part of your social media presence and work? If there’s something you’re already doing and offering to excited fans, consider pricing for it or premium versions of it.
Similarly, understand what your strengths are. What are the skills that you have? What is something you can teach people?
Identify what your income goals are
What is your medium term income goal? You can decide what to sell based on what you want to make. Each option requires a different level of effort and yields a different result. Consider what you’re able to price your product, content, or service at and how much you think you’d be able to sell to back into your projected income and see how that aligns with your goals.
Consider what is best aligned with your follower base
What type of follower base do you have? Is it large but unengaged? Or small but engaged? What you sell should be informed by the dynamics of your follower base. For example, if you already have tons of engaged fans, offering a course may be an efficient way to grow your income. If you’re still growing your following, consulting services may be better for you because you’ll still be able to make a meaningful amount off a smaller number of clients.
Consider polling your fans through a survey to better understand what they are looking for and what would be most valuable for them.
Be strategic about the competition
Do some market research to see what other creators are offering and what the consumer demand is like. The supply and demand dynamics are different for each product and service. Don’t go into selling mode blindly. Know what else is out there and what your audience wants and needs. If there are already tons of creators selling a product, consider how your value proposition stacks up next to theres. If there doesn’t seem to be too much hype or interest in a product, consider whether you want to enter that market at all or whether you’d be able to find and capture any demand.
How to get started selling online
So you’re ready to get started selling online! Here’s what to do next:
- Pick what you’ll sell: Start with one thing so you can focus and expand from there
- Create your product: Produce whatever it is your selling (for example, if you’ve selected an eBook, write the first version of your eBook—you can always improve it later based on customer feedback)
- Build your online store: You can get set up to sell with the Beacons Store app in just a few minutes
- Market your products: You can further optimize your store through improving the product description copy, the photos of your products you share, and the checkout flow
- You can also post on your own social media, email your fans (Beacons offers Email Marketing as well), run ads, and/or post in online communities and marketplaces
If you're struggling with what to write in your product descriptions, Beacons can help - we leverage AI to write great product descriptions.
Because best selling digital products offer so much upside, it’s beneficial for every creator to think about how they can provide a digital offering to sell to their most engaged fans. It’s just one of many potential revenue streams that creators can build out to grow their business and their income.
A good way to market your store when you’re just starting out is through offering free content. Give your fans and potential customers a sample of what you’re offering. It could, for example, be an intro chapter of your eBook or one of the presets you’re selling.
Of course, you can and should market the products on your social media page and any social platforms where you have existing followers.
As you grow your digital products business business, you can consider experimenting with a different business model. For example, you could offer a bundle of products at a discount or you could offer a subscription to access premium items in your store or get early access to new product launches.