How To Make a Digital Product For Sale
Ever thought of trying to make money selling digital products? Follow this guide and template to make THE best products on the market!!
This guide has been designed to help you to get the most out of our “Digital Product Design Template”.
Each section in this guide relates to a page (or group of pages) in the template and will give you some ideas of things you might wish to include in each area.
I have been in business for over 30 years and a management consultant for over a decade and as such I naturally try to find ways to make every process simpler and more time efficient.
Because of this you will find links throughout this guide to tools and software that I use and have found to be very helpful in many of my businesses, I do hope you find them useful too!
Please note that some (but not all) of the links are affiliate links, meaning that if you use them, I may get a small commission.
I‘d like to stress however that I would never recommend anything that I have not used myself and found to be of value.
Many of my listing have a name I know them by and a more “palatable” version for this listing – I always find it useful to have the items working title at the beginning
As your product pool grows this is an invaluable identifier – especially when you have groups of products.
I tend to use a formula for my SKU’s – for example a financial spreadsheet in my business tools group with 3 variations might look like this:
Many products can be redesigned and re purposed, they can also be grouped to help a customer address a range of associated needs – this also helps when you want to make a bundle listing at a later date.
Use the free texts field here to describe your product – it’s just an idea at this point so try to b as succinct as possible.
We cannot develop solutions for our customers if we don’t spend a bit of time getting to know their problems.
- Know your customer!
- What is driving them to make a purchase?
- What problem do they need to solve?
- How old are they? Do they have a family?
- Can they easily see that your product solves their problem?
- What else do you know about your customer and how can you make your offering even better to meet their needs?
Fill this in, do some research and keep coming back to it until you are sure you’ve nailed it!
If you thought knowing your customer was important – knowing your competition might be even more so.
Very rarely does anyone have a truly original idea, for the most part anything that we can think of is already in the marketplace in some form or another. This is not always a bad thing though, as your competitors will have done a lot of the research and hard work for you.
They will have refined and tweaked their keywords and analysed the market, so looking at what they are doing right (& wrong) can be an absolute goldmine. Data is key here, and whilst there is a lot of it out there, finding just the right data that you need for your product can be exhausting.
I recently found an amazing piece of software that called “Craft Inspector” that pulls out product information, tags, shops info and keywords just for Etsy. I’d actually just spent $300 on Upwork to have someone do the leg work for me, then I found this software for a much lower one-time fee, and the data was soooo much better! I was gutted!
If you have the time and inclination though – you can get everything you need without any tools really – just spend a bit of time browsing Etsy and making notes.
Use this section and any data you may have from your keyword / traffic research tool of choice to identify the products that are your biggest competition, what you think is good or bad about those products and how much they cost.
Use the next 2 pages: notes on competition and barriers to entry to highlight the areas that you need to focus on.
- What are your competition doing that you need to do?
- What problems are they solving and what additional problems might you be able to solve with your product?
- What is your customer’s journey and how are your competition meeting their needs?
- What other products do your competitors shops produce and how do they meet the needs of these same customers?
- Brainstorm ways that you could add value to their overarching problem, not just the one that they went searching for a solution to.
All the work it takes to create a stunning product will be completely wasted if the people who need what you have built can’t find you.
Whilst showing up in the search results is dependent on Esty’s complex search engine algorithm, and is reliant on a number of factors, it is at its core driven by the keywords in your tile, tags, and description (at least in the beginning)
This is where the work that you did on your competition really comes into its own, especially if you have used the Craft Inspector tool.
List here all the relevant keywords from ALL of your competitors’ listings as well as a few more that you might think will work well.
Then jump over to Marmalead, eRank, Sales Samurai (or a similar research tool) and check out how many people search that term and how strong the overall competition is.
List these results next to your words so you can see which ones might be most profitable and which ones to leave out.
Keywords and search volumes are a notoriously inaccurate science and whilst tools like those mentioned above are an invaluable guide, they are not entirely accurate.
I personally use a range of free (or very cheap) tools to triangulate my results and I have made a list of them at the end of this guide.
You might find that you go backwards and forwards through these competitor and keyword sections – it’s an iterative process as you will need to know some primary keywords before you look at your competitors, but you will be able to add so many more after looking at what your competitors are doing.
This process will help you to decide if your product idea is worth pursuing – remember that making things just because you like them does not necessarily mean that there is a customer base for them.
Doing this part well could save you LOTS of time!
Your target market will expect certain file types, examine your market to make sure that you are providing ALL the file types that they would normally expect from a product in your niche and maybe some that you think are under-represented.
Providing variations and multiple options here can give you added value over your competition.
The template is completely editable so if you have other options to add or want to remove some, please feel free!
Just as your target market will expect certain file types, they may also want to choose from a range of colours, sizes, and currencies (to name but a few).
Examine your market to make sure that you are providing ALL the variations that they would normally expect from a product in your niche.
Quite often, multiple options here can give you added value over your competition – just be sure not to make the choice too overwhelming for the buyer – too many choices has been proven to turn buyers off!
The template is completely editable so if you have other options to add or want to remove some, please feel free. If you have a lot of options, try making multiple listings.
Tip: Pinterest has some great colour palette ideas to help you match sympathetic colours together.
Following on from your brainstorming session, fill in the key product attributes and the bundle options sheets.
This is where you can really add value to your customers overarching problem.
Make sure that you hit all the functionality and design markers that you feel your competition do (list them in the sheet).
Then look at each aspect and ask yourself how you can add value to that.
Bundling is another good way to add additional products to your shop and solve more of these peripheral problems for your customer.
Still on the track of how you can add more value, think about what might entice YOU to buy a product.
If you are on the fence comparing a number of different shops but one gives you a free eBook just for subscribing to their mailing list, you’d probably go with that one (if you like the book of course).
Once you have them on your email list you can message them every time you create a new product, or you have news about something that they might find useful – resulting in better brand recognition and more sales (hopefully!)
Be careful not to sound pushy or spammy, just write down all your ideas in the template – no matter how crazy they might sound.
affiliate links can get a bad rap – but used right they are a win – win.
All the links in this guide are to products that I would genuinely recommend to anyone, it’s just a tiny bonus that they pay me a small amount if someone chooses to buy their product.
I’d have willingly paid a hell of a lot more to know about some of these tools sooner, they would have saved me so much time and money.
I recommend using a link shortener so that if someone does decide to use your link it’s not a half mile long series of numbers and letters that looks like it might make their computer explode!
The other advantages of a link shortener is that if the affiliate link changes, you can just change it in the software and all your customers links will still work.
Keep a record on the template of all the links that you think would be valuable to your customer – you can come back and revise this list, and your product, as you learn about more.
No, not shoes – I’m referring to places to sell your products.
Think of all the work you have done to create your product for Esty and how disheartening it might be if you sell just a handful per week until your brand gets known.
Do what investors do and optimize the opportunity. Your customers don’t ONLY go to Esty, they probably go to eBay, Redbubble, GumRoad, and of course google.
Once you have created your digital product, done your keyword research, set up a site to capture their emails, linked all your affiliate products and pinned a few million success focused affirmations to your vision board, posting on multiple platforms is, in relative terms – is the easy part!
Images are key to any listing – please check this list against all your existing and future listings – it could really up your click through rate!
I personally developed this template so that I can track all my listings, so there are plenty of spaces for you to brainstorm and drop in the test for your listings.
You can even great your own master template from this and use it for all your products – this way you can keep building on the best practice from your last Item.
If you are bundling items or giving free vouchers / bonus files – this all needs tracking – it’s a good reference points when you want to come back to this at a later to date when it becomes your best seller!
When you look at something too much you can get almost blind to it, so it’s always a good idea to:
- Get it checked by friends and family (that you trust!)
- Leave it alone for a few days so that you can come back with fresh eyes
- Try to do activities that are completely unrelated to your product
When you come back to it after a break, you can create some honest answers to the questions on the final check list.
You might want to add a few of your own, these are just some ones that work for me.
Be honest and objective and use the final notes page to record anything else that you think of whilst reviewing the finished product – these might be things to look at in the future or ideas for new products that spring to mind.
Fiverr: If you are anything like me, your time is precious and in short supply so sometimes you really do just need to delegate. This digital design template & guide will enable you to lay out your product requirements in detail which makes outsourcing the product build to a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork so much easier. To be honest, this was one of the reasons I designed the template in the first place!
Currency fair : If you are based outside of the US as I am (in the UK), the fluctuating dollar rate can really have an impact on payments from some USD platforms. Currency fair allows you to keep your dollars in an account until the exchange rate gets to the one that you want (you set it in the tool) and then they automatically exchange it for you. It really does make quite a substantial difference over the year. It’s also very useful when paying people in different currencies.
Keywords Everywhere (chrome extension) – This very cheap tool uses data from google, Esty, eBay…you select which one!
Marmalead – keyword volume and demand analysis for Etsy only.
Keyword Atlas this tool automatically performs the “alphabet soup” method and generates some great keyword ideas.
Ahrefs – this is the only expensive tool on my list but if you have a site and are really serious about SEO, backlinks and building long term traffic, this is the best (I’ve tried quite a few!)
Craft Inspector: Fantastic software for only $67 one time! If you use THIS LINK, you get some money off too, or contact me if you want me to run a single report for you – see here for what that looks like.
This same developer also provides great tools for:
- Pinterest Marketers (Pin Inspector) which you might want to take a look at HERE.
- General Keyword research for multiple platforms (Keyword Atlas) see it HERE.
I love a good spreadsheet but I have to admit that I’m not the best when it comes to the visual aspect so the kind of creative assets on “Creative Fabrica” I found to be just amazing and supper cheap too! I’ve bought some lovely fonts and images for colour schemes – its definitely worth a look
PhotoBox : If you are creating digital products, it could be helpful to your customers if they can easily access a printing service. If you sign up for an affiliate program with a company like Photobox, you get paid as well as helping them out!
If you are part of any Facebook groups, I’m sure that if you search for the answer to “what image tool should I use” you will get either Canva or Adobe Illustrator. I personally use Visme & Vista Create – they both have their issues so they won’t do the job of expensive graphics software but they do have great free versions so it might be worth a look if you want an alternative.
Just to make you aware in case you didn’t know – most of the tools that are recommended by people as “the best” on You Tube and other social media are often only “BEST” because they pay the highest commissions – I only link these tools in here because they are the ones I use personally and I know that they work for me.
I am constantly working on new tools so please do come back and visit me at any of my various homes to see what else I might be able to help you with.
LinziBeeDesigns By Lindsey Briscoe (MBA)