Digital products are intangible products (meaning they can't be touched, held, or tasted) that everyone consumes. Digital products could come in music, online courses, digital images, and much more. These come in the form of downloadable or streamable digital files.
The medium of distribution could be tangible such as compact disks and DVDs. But the reach and accessibility of the internet make digital products readily available for everybody much easier than it ever was. Moreover, digital products can be distributed repeatedly without the need to replenish inventory.
Digital products have many advantages that make them attractively unique to sell, distribute, and use.
Digital products have high-profit margins, are flexible for different purposes, and have no inventory costs.
However, disadvantages are susceptibility to piracy and theft, and there is competition against free content.
The distribution and direct sales of digital products have been growing, especially recently. The sale of online courses alone will increase from $165 Billion in 2014 to more than $240 Billion by 2022. Another example is in graphic design. The total market size for graphic designers in the U.S. is worth $12.7 Billion from 2013. The share of digital platform-based graphic design categories such as computer software design, animated infographics, video editing, and online advertising is expected to grow up to 24% by 2028. Later we will be sharing how big this is right now. But these are just examples of the sales generated from digital products directly.
Digital products can also have an impact on helping generate sales through deployment in the marketing system.
As mentioned, digital products need not be sold directly. Free content such as music, stock photos, e-books, and other digital products are used by online merchants as a part of their lead generation and lead conversion strategies. These are offered initially to prospective customers in exchange for subscription or membership or a way of showing opportunities to a location on merchants' websites to conclude sales easily.
In this article, we will be discussing the different forms of digital products and how they generate sales by either directly being sold or by helping the business generate sales through lead generation or conversion.
Digital Products Sold Directly:
1. E-Books: E-books are an opportunity for aspiring writers to distribute their work without having to compete for the publisher's attention. E-book writers have been outselling established authors in the genres of romance, sci-fi, and mystery recently. With the increase in Kindle use, this industry has grown to $20 Million by 2018. By 2018, 25% of total book sales across all mediums are e-books.
2. Online Courses: The demand for learning has always been high. With digital media widely available and bandwidths generally widening, the growth in online courses has been very remarkable recently. The sale of online courses will double by next year from where it was in 2014. Classes, as varied from traditional college courses, tutorials for playing musical instruments, yoga, and even car maintenance, are among the most common courses on offer.
3. Graphic Design: Graphics design is now a $1.3 Billion industry. The median income per hour for digital graphics designers is $25. Moreover, 90% of all digital graphic artists are freelancers. Most of the products in demand from digital graphic designers are themes, wallpapers, logos, and anything related to the web.
4. Digital Images: If your passion is photography and you feel that you have taken awesome photos, there is a way to monetize your work even if you do not have your website. Shutterstock typically pays $2/image/year. Another way to earn is to be a stock illustrator. Vector images also sell but at a lesser percentage as to how stock photos sell.
5. Research and Data: Businesses and industries may not have in-house resources to conduct research and studies. Data that can help businesses can be famous. One example is market research.
6. Apps: programs for mobile applications can prove more popular than software packages. Income may come in the form of direct purchase, or it could come in a "freemium" package where in-app purchases can be offered for people who want more benefits. You don't need to be technically adept in producing apps. You may hire a freelance developer to execute your idea.
7. Software Programs: There has always been a massive market for this product. Just ask Microsoft. But if you are a computer whiz and can cure your consumer's pain point, software programs are going to be lucrative. Consumers can either pay a subscription fee to use your product for a fixed amount of time, such as anti-virus programs. Consumers may buy the license to use your product indefinitely.
8. Music: Sales from independent music producers have been rising. This is due to not producing hardware (such as C.D.s) to sell their products or using traditional channels to promote their work. The ease of distribution and sales on the internet help foster their talents. Moreover, YouTube, among others, has made this easier.
How Digital Products Help Generate Sales:
Note that between 2016 and 2017, the performance of brick and mortar (traditional over-the-counter) sales of consumer packaged goods retreated from $772 Billion to $771 Billion. But online sales increased for the same period from $56 Billion to $74 Billion.
That growth is fueled by the increase in the use of mobile devices. Now 50% of Americans say they make online purchases regularly. This could only mean that strengthening your business's site's presence is essential for generating sales. Your sales strategy to tap into this growth in online sales is to make sure you utilize digital products to help. Here is where digital content makes money.
Analog, or traditional, marketing mediums still generate sales. But the goal of digital transformation in marketing is to find more customers while spending less money. That is, digital marketing done the right way generates more quality leads and helps you get close to all of your customers.
1. Graphic Design:
Graphics design generates sales because of its effectiveness in generating more engagement over posts that are only made up of texts. Once users land on your site, you need to consider that 94% of users' first impressions of websites are related to design. For a website in general nowadays, having a good design for your website is imperative to make, at least, a good impression on the user. Facebook posts with images have a 230% higher engagement than those made of text for social media posts. This means having your call to action button should be packaged with a well-designed page to catch the user's attention.
2. Videos: Among all digital products that significantly impact sales, videos should be considered the most effective and cost-efficient. With the availability and affordability of tools and professional help in making videos for you, producing a video for promotional purposes is now more affordable than ever. Distribution channels are also primarily free through YouTube and social media channels. These are the impact of videos from 2020: Videos help businesses get 66% more qualified leads than when sites or social media posts that don't have them; 44% of people are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it; 70% of businesses surveyed say that videos boost brand awareness; and most important of all, 88% of companies using video report positive return on investment. Some of the best video forms that tend to generate more lead conversions are webinars and podcasts. Consumers tend to purchase from businesses that offer more information about their products and project an air of authority.
3. Using Data and Analytics to Help On Business Decisions: Doing surveys by foot takes a lot of time and resources to conduct. Processing and analyzing the data will also take time. Data and analytics that can be focused on your industry are readily available. They are comparatively affordable compared to the traditional way of taking data—making sound business decisions at a shorter time than before can help sales and the general bottom line. Moreover, since marketing platforms are digital-based, social media-related data can be acquired (for a price).
4. Email Marketing: According to the data provided by DMA and Litmus, the average ROI for 2019 was $42 for every dollar spent on email marketing. But of course, there are techniques to consummate these numbers. Blindly sending emails and not segmenting properly will just send your emails to the spam heap. Email is an effective way to nurture a relationship with your customers and bring back inactive users. The best avenue to generate sales from email is attempting to regain from abandoned cart transactions. Emails can help regain up to 8% of abandoned carts which translates to 4% or more of total sales, considering 70% of consumers abandon their carts without purchasing anything.
5. Content Marketing: 70% of B2B content marketers have proof of the effectiveness of their content marketing efforts in generating leads. Placing useful content (outside of videos and images) can help drive sales by allowing your website to gain more visibility and thereby help your business gain more reach. Optimized web pages, including blog posts, will make a website visible to people entering keywords associated with your products via search engines. Long-form blogs help a website gain good SEO traction. Blogs that are between 1800 and 2000 words help a website the most with its searchability. Another way content helps convert site visitors is to convince them to take that final step and make a purchase. Product reviews can convince a potential customer to hover around your product, weighing in to make a purchase. Another way to convince a potential customer is by supplying infographics with a detailed description of your product with all its specs that will help influence them to make a purchase. Case studies can be compelling for some niche markets once they get to the bottom of the sales funnel.
6. "Digital Transformation": Although not technically a "product," digital transformation refers to a change in a system where analog operations are replaced by making operations through digital channels. One classic example from the recent past is in banking. Banking transactions made through ATMs save enormous resources for the banks while providing their clients' convenience. Digital Transformation has extended through providing services to enable bank transactions to be done online. Another of these examples is businesses with sites that have easy payment options. These businesses tend to be more attractive over companies that do not have such services offered.
Digital products are increasingly becoming a commodity in recent times. Devices that have access to the internet are prevalent, and an increasing number of people are making purchases online. Not only are digital products valuable as objects offered for sale, but these products are valuable to businesses because they can help generate sales as tools to assist in marketing even for consumer packaged goods. The awareness and importance of digital products are a must for every business that aspires to grow. Exploring options through digital channels is one effective way to achieve success.