What makes a great digital product?

Wanna make a great digital product? Of course you do. If you’re going to the trouble of creating something from scratch, you really want to make sure it’s worth your time.

Before you can start thinking about how to make a great product, you have to think about what you mean by that. Do you mean one that sells well? Or do you mean one that is really helpful? Or one that is really beautiful?

For me, I want to build digital products that I can be proud of. I want them to be transforming and delightful. That’s a pretty tough bar, but I want to set something to reach toward. If I can actually create something that helps people and has a compelling offer, I can call it great.

You might ask me why I include a compelling offer in my definition of a great digital product. Fair enough. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have even thought about it. But as I’ve been running my own business, I’ve realized that if I can’t easily sell a product, no one is going to get its awesome benefits! 

Being easily sold is a real requirement for a great product of any kind.

Pin this to your Digital Products board so you won’t forget!

What makes a great digital product?

I’ve put together some guidelines for myself to follow as I build some great digital products for you!  

Target audience

Before you jump in and start writing or building, really think about your target audience. What market are you in? What niche within that market do you serve? What do you know about the people that make up that audience?

Keeping these people in mind will help you focus on their specific problems. I know I can get sidetracked easily if I don’t fix my attention on helping a very specific audience. It’s pretty easy to start thinking about what I want or what I would prefer. The trouble with that is that I may not be the target audience!

Validate your great digital product idea

Once you have a good handle on your target audience, you have to figure out what problem you want to solve for them. That’s why you have to know your target audience so well. You have to know what problems they have that they will pay to fix.

First, think about the clients who have bought a service from you who fit into your target audience. What did they buy from you? What problem did you solve for them? Get a little deep here – if they bought a website design from you, what problem did they really need solving? Did they need to educate their existing clients? Did they need to generate more leads? Identify the problem that they have already paid to solve and create a digital product that solves the same problem in a different way.

A second way to validate your product idea is to set up a sales page for the product and see who is interested. You can even pre-sell the product as long as you make it clear when the delivery date will be. Set an order threshold and if you meet or exceed it, go ahead with the product. If not, simply refund payments. Either way, the response you get will let you know if you’re on the right track or not. 

You can also directly ask your audience. You can get some great ideas of how to help just by asking what your audience needs. The people who are willing to answer are generally the people who are fans of you and your business. The challenge with asking or surveying is that it’s hard to know if the problems people tell you about are ones they would pay to solve.

Is your digital product scalable?

Hopefully, just by the very nature of being a digital product, your product is scalable. Your sales infrastructure must also be scalable. Can you sell and service 1000s of sales? Can everything be automated or outsourced so that you don’t have to do it? Will every customer get the same experience?

This is important for your business growth and your own sanity. You want to design this into your product from the beginning. You don’t want to be spending all your time emailing out digital files, or handling customer service, do you? Probably not. So plan the sales, delivery, returns, and customer service portions of the product during the design stage.

Check out the competition

Is anyone else selling something similar? Are they solving the same problem with different products? Are they selling a really similar product to solve a different problem? Answering these questions will help you position a great digital product. Plus, if you know what’s out there, you can make sure that your product is superior.

Think about a customer using the product

What emotions come up when a customer buys and uses your digital product? How does your customer feel before your product? What do you want them to feel as they use your product? And finally, what will they feel after using your product? You can use these emotions to craft your user experience with the product itself as well as creating the offer to sell the product.

As you’re building, include some metrics or milestones to measure success for the customer. This could be as simple as a progression bar for an online course. Or you could create a checklist of high-level steps. You could have a worksheet for your customer to fill out metrics before the product and after the product. 

Example: If you have a YouTube Success! workbook, ask your customer how many YouTube followers they have at two points in the book – once at the beginning and again at the end. 

Keep them aware of the progress they’re making or the help you’re giving. This helps your customer recognize the value that you have provided, and gives them a greater satisfaction with your product.

Periodic review and updates

A great digital product doesn’t get dusty on the shelves (well, neither do poor ones, really, but you know what I mean). If you want to continue selling your digital product, you have to freshen it up a bit here and there.

As technology changes or as people’s use of tools changes, you may have to update instructions or tutorials. Sometimes, you find even better ways of teaching something. 

You will need to review your products to make sure they’re still relevant and as helpful as you can make them.

Visual appeal?

When I’m not working on the computer, I love to create art of all kinds. One of my degrees is in studio painting. Visual appeal is important to me.

And yet, I’m not convinced that visual appeal is key to a great digital product. I think of it more as a bonus feature. 

Unless of course, your digital product is a design element or design related!

Try not to make your product ugly, but don’t fuss over the visual design so much that you never get your product out there. The user experience design is much more important than the visual appeal. The visual is very easy to update at a later time, but user experience is much harder.

Go build your great digital product!

Overall, what will make your product great is getting it out there in the hands of people who have problems and helping them solve those problems. 

Ask yourself, can my product help people? would you be proud to give this to your mentor? Your mom? If the answers are yes, get it out there in your customers’ hands!

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

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