In this article, I want to teach you how to decide which digital products to create. I’ll show you the important factors to consider if you want to sell digital products to your audience.
There are a bazillion digital product ideas
Have you ever been to an international food market? There are choices there that you didn’t even know were considered to be foods! It is amazing, and wonderful, and overwhelming. It’s so much to take in, that you either buy one of everything, or walk out the door empty handed and dazed.
Like the market, there are so many digital product ideas – both in format and in content. (Here’s a list of types of digital products that can be scaled from lead magnets to premium courses.) Too many ideas lead to two problems:
You start out too ambitious and plan out the most elaborate, cover-all-bases digital product. You research and build and revise and build some more. Then you edit and redesign and add another worksheet. It’s too much and you never release the product. Or, you are just overwhelmed at the choices and don’t know where to start. So you don’t, and you never launch a product.
See my first 100% digital product: Find Your Best Clients, a workbook that takes you through drafting your lead qualification process.
If you build it, customers won’t automatically buy
So you’ve picked which digital product you’re going to build and you rush off and build it out. You hire a designer and it looks FABULOUS. You’ve put hours and money into your ebook and you put it up on your website for sale.
Just because you create something doesn’t mean it’s something your audience wants to buy. You have to really know who your audience is and the problems they want to solve. If you don’t get it right, you won’t have any sales.
Millions of digital products are already out there
Everyone’s creating digital products now, and no matter what problem a customer wants to solve, they have a choice of solutions to buy. You wonder if there’s even room for another product.
There is. Your voice is unlike anyone else’s. Your experience is different. There are so many people in the world who need help, and your help will resonate. The trick is matching the help you’re offering with the right group of people.
Your first product might fail to sell
And on top of everything, even if you do your research and planning, you may not get it right. In fact your first few products might not sell.
That’s because you’re still learning. And although you’re doing your research, you might get close, but not arrive at exactly what your group wants. Or, you might get the want right, but your format isn’t right.
The best way to combat this is to jump in and get started. Have you heard the saying, “Fail faster?” Put out your first product, then quickly evaluate the areas that could use improvement and try again.
So how do you know which digital products to create?
Of course you want to get as close to your audience’s ideal product as possible to start, to minimize the trials you’ll have to go through. I’ve put together some ideas to consider that I’ve used with clients to help them build digital products that appeal to their audience.
1| Everything starts with your audience.
You must know your audience well.
Not only who you want to target, but who’s actually interested in your message. I have a client who had been writing and speaking to mid-career women for more than a year. Although she did have an audience in that age range, as it turns out, the people who were really loving her message were young women at the start of their careers! Knowing that is allowing her to start focusing products and messaging to this group that wants her information the most.
Even big companies run into this. The Honda Element was originally marketed to young drivers who loved the outdoors and liked to camp and bike. And if you visit an outdoor-loving city like Chattanooga, Elements are everywhere with camping gear and bike racks. But the groups that really loved the Element were Baby Boomers because it was easy to get in and out of, and artists who could load big canvases in the back easily.
How does your audience consume content?
If you know your audience well, you probably know how they like to consume content. Do they read? Listen to audio on long commutes? Or would they prefer video?
Do they want to be told what to do? Or do they want to journal about their needs and be guided to their own conclusion? Would they actually fill out worksheets?
Nothing stops you from creating in many different formats. In fact, it makes sense to do so. But when you’re first creating, focus on one or you’ll get overwhelmed and never release anything.
What help are they asking for?
Check your emails and messages from your past clients. You will probably see common problems and questions. You can also ask them outright what problems they need solved.
The funny thing here is that what clients ask for and ask about isn’t always what they really need. Lots of times, they’re asking because they read an article, or they’ve come across a part of your process they don’t understand. You may know they don’t really need that information or that task done, but they don’t.
What help do they really need?
Make a list of the help your customers really need from you, even if your customers don’t realize it. See if there are any overlaps between what they want and what they need. If so, that’s a great place to start.
If not, are there customer wants that you could use to sell them some of their needs? For example, people might ask a dog trainer how to pick a well behaved shelter dog. The dog trainer could make a video training series on Basic Manners Ever Shelter Dog Needs to Learn. It would focus on the want – good behavior, but provide the need – training.
What are the requirements to use your core offer?
If you have a set of requirements that a customer has to meet before they’re ready to use your core offer, you can help them achieve those requirements.
For example, if you’re a dog trainer, your clients generally need a dog before they can come to you and buy your services. You could put out an ebook on How to Tell if a Shelter Dog is the Right Dog for You. The more people who adopt dogs, the bigger your pool of potential customers.
What do you feel comfortable creating?
If you are a writer, start with writing. If you’re nervous on video, then don’t plan out a whole video series. Start with a format that sounds easy to you and is within your audience’s preferences.
If you’re certain that your audience wants something you feel would be hard for you to do, you can always create the plan or script and hire someone else to deliver. If your audience lives in big cities with long commutes and loves audio learning, but you get tongue-tied when you try to record yourself, you can hire someone to read through your script and record it.
Where do you have a hole in your product suite?
Think too, where you have a hole in your product suite. Do you have products to cover most price points? Do you have a part of a process that needs more explanation?
If you’re just starting with digital products and the only product/service you offer right now is your core offer, stare with something really small. Like a lead magnet. Make sure it has a chance of appealing to your audience while also complementing your core offer. You’ll get some practice and hopefully some feedback.
Can you break off part of your core offer?
Depending on your main product or service, you may be able to pull out a small part of it to sell as a stand-alone small product. This is often called a splinter product because it splinters away from your main product.
A big benefit of the splinter product is that it clearly relates to your main offer. If someone purchases your splinter product, they would very likely be interested in your main offer.
Have you figured out which digital product you want to create first?
Just be sure you start with your audience in mind, and you’ll be ahead of so many digital product creators out there. Even if there are similar products, your audience is going to want to buy information from you, rather than from someone else. They trust you already.
So, think through the questions above and make some short lists. If you need a list of format ideas, check out my 89 lead magnet ideas post – those are just tiny digital products.
Then pick an idea and put it out there to your audience. Is there any interest? If not, then try again. If so, you have a choice – either ask for pre-sales, or jump right in and create. Both have merit in my opinion, and I’ll probably explore that idea in a post soon!
You're a business-owning mom, so you use this guide to prioritize your tasks in 2 minutes, and have 41 minutes left to knock out a task.