You’ve decided you want to create digital products. Great choice! Now it’s time to learn how to create digital products.
Thankfully learning how to create digital products is miles simpler than physical products. We’ve removed a lot of steps by simply moving from physical to digital. Manufacture in big complex factories with minimum order quantities and high overheads? No thank you!
In this article we’ll explore how to create digital products from the ground up.
What digital products can you sell?
Digital products come in all shapes and sizes. Wait – that may be a contradiction in terms considering they aren’t physical…
Anyway! There’s a tonne of variety in what your digital product might look like. We can define a product is any self contained unit of value. And a digital product is even wider : it’s any self contained unit of value that isn’t even constrained by being physically “real”!
That’s a pretty wide definition huh?
Generally though when discussing digital products we might be talking about eBooks, online courses, audio programmes, graphic templates, digital art, software, resources packs etc. etc. We have lots of potential digital product and service ideas in our giant guide on making money from home.
For now though we’ll focus on just a handful of potential formats of digital products: eBooks and online courses.
How to create digital products
Learning how to create digital products is a daunting task. Thankfully it gets easier once you’ve done it a few times.
I want to give you a few pointers to get your started with creating your first digital product. I’ll use eBooks and online courses as examples here but this advice can generally be expanded to any digital product.
First up: know your market.
The success of your digital product will depend on product/market fit. Yes your product needs to be good. But notice the other part of that definition : market. Whatever value you create needs to be good for a market. It’s no good writing a kickass eBook if noone else in the world cares about it.
First get to know who your market is and what needs/desires they have. This is covered in far more detail in the Business section of the BATON (Business, Audience, Tribe, Offer and Network) framework that we use here at BBO.Show.
The basic thrust though? Don’t make a product that noone wants to buy!
I see this happen far too often. Someone pour all their creative soul and business energy into a first product only to find that at launch no-one really cares! They failed to test the market out first. It’s disheartening to say the least and definitely NOT how to create products.
Second, don’t be afraid of a shitty first draft.
First time through writing your eBook move fast and make a mess. Don’t start editing yourself until the first draft is done. Harness that creative energy and push through until it’s “done”.
Will it be good? Nope! But done is better than perfect.
And more importantly once “done” you can go back and edit (or send to an editor).
Fixing up something that is done is far easier than working with nothing. Think of your work as you would a sculpture. Get the basic shape in place and then start to delicately chisel out the details.
If creating an online course one really efficient way to do this is to do the first course live. Most people will record their course bit by bit and then painstakingly edit it. This is an extremely time consuming process. Instead look into running your first course LIVE either as a one day work shop or weekly lessons. Record your live teaching sessions and viola : you have your shitty first draft!
Third, content over form.
In your products first iteration prioritise content over form. Don’t go out and spend thousands on a designer getting it looking all spiffy. If the content itself is crap then no amount of polish will save you.
Instead focus time, effort and money on the content itself. Your customers can forgive rough edges. They cannot forgive crap content.
Initially use tools like Canva.com to get your products looking “good enough” for the limelight and then ship it.
Once you’ve launched and have some money coming in then by all means loop back and get some nice design work done.
Fourth, ship the damn thing.
Don’t get stuck in the trap of perfecting before launching. Get your first version into an acceptable form for launch and then do it. THEN worry about expanding your product, adding features and growing your business.
Too many people keep their product forever “nearly ready”. Referring to the master of this, here’s Seth Godin:
Recognise this as a problem that you have?
If so Seth Godin has a (free) workbook to help you get over yourself.
Direct PDF link here (no email needed) : Ship It journal PDF
Fifth, iterate and improve.
Once your product is out of the door in the market you can get a true reflection of what the market thinks.
How do we know? Simple: are they buying?
It doesn’t matter how much market research you do before hand. How many focus groups. How much forecasting.
The only thing that matters is if the market buys your product. The rest is academic and speculative.
Once you’ve shipped you get real feedback from the market. And you can use this feedback to make adjustments as necessary. Instead of wasting time earlier “perfecting” your product in echo chamber containing only yourself you now have many voices to help shape the next iteration.
Summary: Just Do It
Definitely check out the BBO.Show archives for How-to guides on specific digital product formats. We’ve covered a large number of formats in lots of detail for you already!
Combine those guides with the general principals above and you’ll be in a good place.
However: the final word on how to create digital products? Just get on with it. Stop looking for the perfect method and instead start.
We’ll see you on the other side.