Digital Product

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Digital Product

Digital products consist of anything that is deliverable in a digital format. They run the gamut of a variety of offerings like ebooks, online courses, audio products, templates, software, videos, etc. If your business is one in which you can make digital products solely or in addition to other products, digital products have many benefits when incorporated into your business offerings. 

From a monetary perspective, digital products are relatively low in creation costs and inherently scalable. With digital products, your investment is primarily your time and expertise. You don’t have to worry about replication, materials, or building costs. Once your digital product is created, it can be sold repeatedly and you just have to worry about capitalizing on revenue from there. Creating digital products can also be a jumping-off point for you. If your main goal is to have a much bigger operation and multiple offerings for your business but you lack monetary capital, consider creating a digital product to start bringing in revenue in order to create the funds you need to expand. 

Another advantage is the fact that digital products can be created for almost any market. If you are a designer, consider creating electronic templates. Teachers can create worksheets, lesson plans, or curriculum to be sold. Musicians can sell their music or record lessons. Even in the corporate world, there is a need and desire for digital guides and instructional videos. 

Of course, depending on how you intend to use digital products, the circumstances of your process will change. We dive more into the exact processes in other articles. For now, here are some key points to remember for every process and an introduction into the most popular types of digital products. 

Design

For digital products, the design phase is where you will spend a majority of your time within the fulfillment process. The design phase of the digital product applies in two different ways: your process and the product design. 

Your Process

Hopefully, you will be in a position to make multiple digital products. Podcasters make new episodes. Courses take multiple units. Worksheets or guides can be infinite. With this in mind, it is extremely important for you to design flow that works for you. Without a well established flow, you could be hindering your ability to be productive and holding yourself accountable to making sure your business is successful. 

In order to create your flow, think about all of the steps needed in order for a product to be complete. Then prioritize their order of importance. Are some steps dependent on being finished before another one can start? Can multiple steps be happening at the same time? Do you need other people like graphic designers or copy writers involved? Are you self producing your videos or podcasts or hiring help? Answers to the questions like the ones above determine how you can create your content in the most efficient and repeatable manner.  Once you have established your flow and dependencies, take advantage of calendars or software like Asana in which you can visually map out your process and set due dates for yourself or your team. So many great business ideas fail because processes aren’t established from the beginning. Set yourself up for success by taking time to design your workflow. 

Product Design

The other aspect of design is the design of the product itself, of course. Much like other steps in the process of building your own business, always start with research. You want to make sure there is demand and relevance for your digital product. Using tools like Google Trends can help you determine topics of interest within your field. If you can find the sweet spot of high demand for a topic but low competition, that is the best place for you to start with your digital products.

You may be in the position where you know you want to create a digital product but you don’t know which one is right for you. In this case, consider the following questions to get some ideas. Can you teach customers how to use your products? Are there things you can help your customers with related to your overall industry? Think about the values you’ve built your business on. What are topics related to that? In what ways could you bring your community of customers together? What are you good at? 

Hopefully answering these questions will help you decide which direction to go. Once you do make that decision, then it’s time to focus on the creation of the product itself. First and foremost, you want to make sure your product is visually appealing to your customer. People naturally are interested in something that catches their eye but is also functional and easy to navigate. If you are using video or audio as your digital application, your appeal and consistency will come in the design of your logo and consistency in quality of your product. If your product involves copy, make sure you are being as clear and concise with your words as possible. 

No matter which application you choose, never underestimate the power of a story and implementing that story in your work. Everything from the initial interest of the customer to delivery and follow-up should be considered in the story. Use the story to communicate how your customer’s life will benefit by having your product in it. In fact, stories are not only impactful for the customer’s buy-in, they are also extremely important for you. If you can clearly communicate the story of your product and process and that story is rooted in your value propositions, the thought and intention will be easily communicated through your material. 

Develop

In your design phase, you mapped out the idea of your product in your head. In the development phase, the focus is on creating and improving. It is extremely important to remember that your original prototype will not be the final version of your product. So, you should go into this phase with an open mind willing to receive feedback and fine tuning your product. Having this attitude doesn’t mean your first draft should be incomplete. The feedback you should be seeking is from the customer’s point of view. For this reason, you want to give them as close to a finished product as possible. 

Your goal is to meet the needs of your customers. Therefore, you should actively seek out feedback from them or from a focus group of potential customers. You want to be sure the quality, clarity, and visuals of your product are appealing to the customer because it optimizes your chances of creating revenue and builds trust with them when their feedback is heard and validated. There are many methods to feedback including interviews, A/B testing, and surveys. You will have to choose which is right for your product. 

A word of caution during this phase, though. Not all feedback will be helpful or apply to the purpose of your product. As the creator, trust your instincts and rely on your value propositions to ensure your product remains true to your goals and brand rather than getting caught up in pleasing everyone. 

Deliver

For digital products, you will obviously want to make sure the commerce side of your website is running smoothly. Not only will that involve making sure the right plug-ins are integrated in your site, but you will also want to make sure that touches like confirmation and thank you emails are set up. What you don’t want is just to send the file and be done with it. The deliver phase is also about your continued engagement with the customer and your customer service experience. 

The most common types of emails in the deliver phase are order confirmation, thank you, and feedback. All of those are extremely important to the customer experience, but also consider how you can continue to engage customers even after they have received the product. Are you sending them helpful tips, relatable articles, check-ins, updates on new products. While you will have to figure out the right balance of emails so that customers are not annoyed, you also want to keep them in the future. Do this by having the mindset that you are delivering your expertise to the customer as well as your product. 

Popular Types of Digital Products

Courses

Especially in current times, elearning opportunities are in high demand. Companies look to them for skill set growth. Students look to them for further understanding. Lifelong learners are always looking for something new. If your business has something to teach, then an online course might be a great choice for you. As far as standing out from the competition, consider making your course as interactive as possible. Interactive content makes learning more engaging for the customer. Personal touches such as integrated instructor videos and real life application also improve the quality of your content. Chances are similar products will be out there, so stand out by offering certification or using messaging that highlights the customer’s transformation and opportunity potential rather than focusing on the product. 

Podcasts

Podcasts are a great digital product to provide if you have a message to share with your niche and there is plenty of content to share within that message. The advantages  of podcasts are that they are more personal and can cover more material than courses, worksheets, or ebooks. With podcasts, you have more direct access to the power of a story. But many podcasts fail when they don’t have a set format or are too broad or narrow. Creating a podcast successfully requires you to be specific about your material, to tell an engaging story with your material, to give your audience quality sound design, and to remain consistent in your episode formatting. 

Creatives

If you are an artist, there are many ways for you to take advantage of digital products as well. Stock photos and video, background music, graphics, and sound effects are all in high demand. You can capitalize on your artform by creating licensable digital assets. The key to being successful in using your art is to make sure you still have your niche audience in mind. You will increase your chances of revenue choosing a particular audience. 

The other way to take advantage of your artform is by creating how-to videos. People are always looking to start a new hobby or hone a skill they already have. Creating how-to videos can expand your audience reach as well as lead to other products you might be offering. For example, a tutorial on knitting with a visible link to your etsy shop could turn students into buyers of your own creations. 

eBooks

If your expertise falls into the social science category or the ‘how-to’ process you want to teach is a bit lengthy for videos, you may want to consider writing an ebook. While an ebook may seem daunting to write or boring in comparison to other media types, they are actually a still sought after form of digital products. The advantage to ebooks, however, is that they are appropriate for complex subject matter and you can make them as engaging as you like. Ebooks can include exercises, challenges, links to other content, or worksheets. Just because ebooks are the long form of digital products does not mean they should be any less engaging or of less quality than other digital products. You also have the advantage of self publishing on marketplaces like Amazon to gain more exposure. 

Templates

Templates are a great means of creating digital products if you work in a field where people can benefit from a bit of organization (so all of them). Templates are great for people who are new to a skill, people who like a streamlined process, or for others who don’t have time to make one from scratch. If one of your strengths is organizing or helping people stay on track, then creating templates would be a great way for you to utilize digital products and create revenue. 

SaaS

Software as a Service (Saas) is considered a digital product to some and a digital service to others. For the purpose of this article SaaS is considered a product as it is created and then redistributed in the same form. If you have the ability to create a Saas, many companies will opt for this approach rather than hardware that has to be maintained by them. The ease of a well developed SaaS can prove to be a lucrative option as companies value the incentives of you maintaining the software and updates as well as the ease of use.

Challenges

As convenient as digital products are for replication and possible revenue, they do come with a few downsides you should have a plan to prevent. 

Competing with free content. Free products are encouraged with creating customer awareness. For this reason, consumers can probably find free alternatives to your product. To combat this challenge, focus on your target market and value propositions. You can keep consumers by going with the free materials by making it clear you are offering a premium value that is different from the competition. 

You’re susceptible to piracy/theft. Anytime a file is uploaded to the internet for public consumption, it is susceptible to piracy and theft. Take precautions by copywriting your material, password protecting it, or adding on additional security plug-ins. 

There are some restrictions on how you sell. Depending on how you are selling your digital products, there may be some restrictions as to how you sell it. Make sure you are checking rules on sites like Facebook or Instagram that require you to sell through their commerce platform.  

What's Next?

If you have decided that a digital product is right for you and you know which type you want to use, your next step is to do the market research and begin designing. Other steps in building your business depend on what you offer to customers. So, get designing! 

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Chapter 1: Getting started

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Chapter 2: Coronavirus Cyberattack Statistics

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Chapter 3: General Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 4: Phishing & Email Attack Statistics

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Chapter 5: Industry Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 6: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 7: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 8: Privacy Statistics

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