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Creative Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets For Selling Digital Products

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
craft & maker

sell digital products

Photo by Maria Elena via Flickr

Blogging in and of itself isn’t a highly lucrative pursuit for most creative entrepreneurs — instead, it’s an important part of their overall marketing and SEO strategy, which is a great reason to do it. However, if you’re very savvy and also have the potential to sell digital products, like ebooks, crafting patterns, MP3s, or other goods which can be delivered and consumed via the internet, it’s not that difficult to put your blogging skills to real work and start turning a profit.

In the lead-up to her CreativeLive class, Create Digital Products That Sell While You Sleep, blogger and creative business consultant April Bowles-Olin hosted a blog tour, wherein she asked her fellow creative bloggers to share their tips, tricks, and questions about the relatively new world of digital offerings. They were not shy about opening up.

The Female Photographer Association’s Charlie Kingsland-Barrow says that one of the best ways for photographers to increase their earnings is to rework the way they think about their income in direct relation to their time spent on the job.

“Stop trading time for money,” she says, and, instead, invest in additional money-making pursuits which sell, even while you’re not working. Often called “passive income,” this kind of earning used to be only for those lucky (or connected) enough to land an actual book deal, with an actual publisher. But the advent of digital publishing has opened up a new world of opportunities, even for those, like Charlie, who never considered themselves a writer.

“If someone had said to me a year earlier that I was going to write a book about film photography, I would have laughed,” she writes. “I am definitely not the world’s best film photographer, and I don’t know every single thing there is to know about film photography. But I am passionate about it. I knew enough.  I researched the rest.  And I added in my own personal experience to my the subject that I love.”

Passion is important, says Living Richly on a Budget‘s Fanny Seto, who explained that having an audience and executing smart marketing is also crucial for digital product success.

“There’s no such thing as easy money,” she writes. “Once you create a digital product, you have to launch and market them well or else, no one will buy them. If you don’t have an audience already, it’s harder to sell your product.”

Unlike physical products, which require physical materials, fulfillment, and shipping, digital products can be sold and delivered even without you actually putting in any time to make sure they get out the door. That doesn’t mean, though, that they don’t require some labor — they take time, and they should be worth the money purchasers spend. Knitter and crotcheter Maria Zilakou, who sells her patterns on a variety of websites, emphasizes the importance of believing in your products, and making sure that really are valuable to your clients. Regarding her best-selling item, she says, “it deserves to be liked and favourited and queued and knitted, because it was conceived, designed and knitted with love, and then got thoroughly edited and updated a few times so that it contains no typos.”

“I want my customers to respect me, so I do my best to respect them,” she says.

You can see the list of every blogger who participated in April’s blog tour here, and be sure to RSVP and tune in to her class on November 10.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.