The term digital publishing is largely used to describe the process of creating ebooks, ‘reports’ and other forms of digital products. These are products that have no physical form, that are not made from physical materials and that do not need to be stored or delivered. This means that a digital product has no overheads and earns 100% profit on every single sale.
Digital products are many and varied, but some of the most popular forms include:
Creating a digital product in many cases is a simple process of coming up with an idea, writing that down and saving the document in the correct format. However, the creator will also need to consider the process of proofreading, designing a cover, marketing and selling the product.
Every aspect of the ebook or report can be potentially outsourced, from the initial writing to the cover design and the selling.
So then, selling digital products has to be one of the very best 'passive' business models and one of the most 'hands off' ways of earning money. There are no overheads associated with selling digital products and there's not even any delivery or packaging to worry about. All you need to do is set up a landing page, add an online store… and then just wait for the orders to come rolling in!
Only the slight problem is that not every digital product will attract orders quite so readily. People still prefer to spend money on real-physical goods (this is a statistical fact) and as such you'll need to be selling something pretty special in order for customers to be interested. And you'll have to be pretty good at marketing too otherwise no one is going to find your items…
So, what's the secret to success? How do you ensure your digital goods sell well? Read on for a guide to getting this passive model to really work…
The Value Proposition
With any product you sell this is the most important element. Your value proposition is essentially the 'root' purpose of your product, or the way that it's going to make life better for your buyer.
This is what will make your visitors really want your goods and it's highly important that you find an emotional hook here to get people interested.
If you're selling an ebook for instance on 'getting fit' then the obvious value is that it teaches people how to train to lose weight/build muscle. But that's not the 'value proposition' and it's not where the emotional hook lies. The 'hook' is the way in which such a book would be able to help you meet members of the opposite sex, feel more confident and improve life. That's the thing that will make people desperate for your item and it's the thing you need to emphasize in your pitch and in the initial design of the product.
Also important is to target the correct niche. This means picking the right subject and the right target demographic which is a very fine balancing act. Essentially you need to find a subject and niche that is popular enough to have a wide audience out there for your item, but that is niche enough to still have room for another competitor.
The best way to do this is to target a popular topic for digital products but to put a unique spin on that concept. Another option is to find a unique 'route to market' which means finding a channel to a very specific 'source' of potential buyers. If you have an app aimed at writers for instance and you happen to know the editor of a magazine aimed at writers… there's your idea and your route to market!
Before you put all your hopes in one business idea, it's a very good idea to first 'verify' that idea which essentially means testing it out in a real-life setting. If you're selling an ebook for instance, then you can try setting up a landing page with a buy button but then telling people the book is currently out of stock when they click buy. Keep track of how many people attempt to buy the product and then you know if there's an audience out there. If not then simply try tweaking the title, the price or the landing page and trying again.
This is one form of research, but research in general is highly important. Another way you can research your digital product is to look for other similar products on the market place and then to see how they've promoted themselves. Looking for inbound links to popular products etc. can help you to really get ahead quickly.
Finally, don't be afraid to throw a little money at your project. Hiring professionals will help you to get much more work done much more quickly and to a higher standard. Likewise spending some money on an a PPC campaign can’t hurt either. If you do all this, then congratulations – you can call yourself a digital publisher!