How to Sell Digital Products Online With No Startup Cost

What is the best way to sell digital products? And how do you make money from selling digital products without a startup cost? If you’re asking these questions, chances are you have an idea for a great digital product that you want to sell.

Since digital products can be created with no startup cost, it’s the perfect business idea for entrepreneurs on a budget.

In this blog post, we will answer many questions related to selling digital products so that you know how to streamline your sales process and optimize your marketing efforts for success.

Whether your product is an eBook, an audio recording, a video course, software, or something else, this article will provide multiple ways of selling it starting at $0 cost to you.

This article contains affiliate links. If you follow them and then make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional expense to you. Thanks for reading!

What Are Digital Products?

digital marketing smartphone

A digital product is a product that can be delivered electronically. It doesn’t have to exist in a physical form, but it can have a physical version if you want (for example, an eBook and a matching physical book).

Digital products are usually information products that teach a useful skill, strategy, or tactic. Most people buy digital products because they expect it to solve a problem or help them achieve a goal.

What are the benefits of digital products?

There are a number of benefits to selling digital products that make them more profitable than physical products.

  • Digital products do not require physical warehousing
  • You can create a single digital product and then sell it infinite times
  • You can provide instant access to digital products
  • Digital products tend to have much higher profit margins

Let’s discuss the last point a bit, because “higher profit margins” has some huge implications.

If you’re selling a physical product that costs 40% of its retail value to manufacture, pack, and ship, you will only have limited funds left over for marketing. This inherently limits the growth potential of your business.

On the other hand, if you create a digital product, it often costs 5% or less of its retail value to make and deliver. This leaves you a big chunk of profits that you can dedicate to marketing efforts such as advertising and affiliate programs.

What types of digital products are there? (Examples)

As technology continues to advance, we are seeing more and more different types of digital products. A recent example that didn’t really exist 10+ years ago is the NFT (non-fungible token). NFTs use blockchain technology to establish proof of ownership.

That said, most digital products can be classified into one of the following categories:

  • Information products – These can be anything that teaches a skill or strategy such as an eBook, audio recordings, or video courses
  • Software applications – Software can be cloud-based SaaS (software as a service) or it can require a download to a local machine
  • Membership sites – Membership sites are often considered the same as online courses, and while they sometimes cross over, they’re technically different types of products. There are many platforms you can use, or you can create your own membership site
  • Virtual events – These can include online seminars, meet and greets, and masterminds
  • Templates – Many people sell Canva templates for social media or email templates for email marketing
  • Audio products such as sound effects
  • Stock photos and other digital assets

Hopefully that gives you some digital product ideas! These can be used as an easy low-cost foot in the door sales, but they can also have high premium prices and provide massive value to the buyers.

how to sell digital products for free

How to Sell Digital Products Online For Free

There are generally three components to the digital sales process; marketing, selling, and fulfillment. This does not include product creation and customer satisfaction, which should also be carefully considered.

Let’s start at the top of the funnel with how to market your content once you’ve created something worth buying.

Digital marketing for beginners

Marketing can be an intimidating term, but it doesn’t have to be.

The first step of marketing is identifying your target audience and understanding what they need. How do you figure this out? Most marketers will start by creating a customer avatar.

A customer avatar is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It includes a name, age, gender, interests and pain points. Some people prefer to use the actual demographics from their website analytics as part of their avatar information too.

For example: 

You can use my free customer avatar worksheet in order to get started on yours right away.

Once you’ve created your customer avatar, it’s time to find out where they spend time online. This is key for choosing the right advertising or marketing to reach them. You can also craft your messaging at this point, including a brand story.

Of course, ads aren’t always the answer. You may determine that your customers will be more receptive to organic marketing on social media or SEO (search engine optimization).

At the end of the day, the best means of marketing will depend on where your audience spends time and the type of communication they’re most receptive to.

how to sell digital downloads

How to sell products at any price

The trick to selling great products at premium prices is making them more than just products. Rather than thinking of each item as an individual, think of how you can put different pieces together to create an irresistible offer.

This could mean bundling items into collections, offering discounts based on quantity purchased, or even adding bonuses such as extra shipping labels or gift wrapping materials.

In addition to pricing, another important consideration when designing your offers is timing. When is the best time to make these deals available? Are there any holidays or events coming up soon? Matching special deals with events people identify with can help them become more appealing.

What is the best way to sell digital products?

There are basically two ways to sell digital products online; in a sales funnel, or in an eCommerce store.

A sales funnel focuses on fewer products, usually one main offer and then bump offers and upsells or downsells. eCommerce puts many products on display and allows the buyer to add what they want to a cart.

The best option for your digital downloads will depend on the preferences of your potential customer, as well as the price point and your preference when it comes to platforms.

If you want to sell files for download in a funnel, the easiest way to get started is with Systeme.io. Systeme has a no-pressure free-for-life first tier on their platform, giving you lots of time and space to start your business.

If you want to go the eCommerce route, I recommend either Shopify or GrooveKart by GrooveFunnels. Shopify is more expensive, but likely easier to use.

You can also sell your products on a market such as Clickbank, JVzoo, AppSumo, and others.

Fulfillment – Ensuring your customers get what they buy and love what they get

When someone buys something through your site, you need to ensure that they receive exactly what they ordered. If not, you risk losing money and potentially damaging your reputation.

To do so, you’ll need to have some sort of fulfillment process set up. Fortunately, digital products are pretty easy to deliver.

Most platforms that enable you to sell content will include either a fulfillment link generator or the ability to create private membership areas to make downloads available.

One option with smaller files is to email them as attachments. Another which works well is sending out direct download links. If you use Systeme.io or GrooveFunnels, you can get a bit fancier by creating a membership area to serve files and even include training.

Regardless of the eCommerce platform you pick, the most important aspect of fulfillment is ensuring your customers feel like their money was well spent. There are a lot of downloadable products out there, many of them are free… What will make your digital downloads worth buying?

digital products

How do you make money selling digital products

In order to actually accept payment for your content, you’ll need to integrate a payment portal such as Stripe or Paypal. Those are the two most popular in North America, but there are some other solid options such as Wise and Razorpay which are more accessible to other countries.

With that in place, you need to decide how you’ll charge for your products. The subscription model is popular for a reason; it’s great for creating reliable recurring income. 

How do I sell digital files?

If you’re on Shopify, you’ll most likely want to use a special app. If you’re on WordPress, you’ll need an appropriate plugin. If you go with Systeme or Groove, the payment processors are built right into the dashboard. All you have to do is hook things up and find some customers.

How to Sell Digital Products Without a Website

If you don’t want to manage a website or don’t feel ready for one, it’s quite possible to sell digital products anyway. That said, remember that you can get free websites from Systeme.io and GrooveFunnels. Systeme in particular makes it straightforward and easy for newbies to get started.

But if you want to use an external platform, there are a range of options. Gumroad, Etsy, AppSumo, even Facebook’s marketplace makes sense for some things. Social media marketing is a powerful tool, and it works even better when you don’t need to get people to leave the platform.

How to Sell Digital Products On Etsy, Gumroad, AppSumo or Elsewhere

The great thing about using external platforms to sell digital downloads is that they really, really want you to succeed. Since they have a vested interest in you making money, there is usually ample training to follow. I recommend following it as carefully as you can to learn, and then getting creative with your copywriting. Great copy is something that can make you stand out on almost any platform.

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About Alex

AI writing expert, digital and affiliate marketer - helping you build the business in your brain.

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