Creating and selling digital products is a super rewarding and lucrative venture for many online entrepreneurs.
Who wouldn’t want to make sales while they sleep, add a little ‘cushion’ to their monthly income and free up their time so they can actually take that vacay, stop doing 1:1 client work or grab an oat milk latte in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon without guilt? (Take it from me, it is as good as it sounds.)
All that said, it’s not uncommon for first-time digital product creators to make mistakes along the way. (We’re only human, right?)
Below, you’ll find the top 10 mistakes digital product creators make when first starting out and how you can avoid them in your own business:
1) Not Having Clarity on Their Target Audience
Who is your digital product for? It’s important to figure out not only your overarching target audience but also the audience for this specific product. For example, maybe you work with mom entrepreneurs. Fantastic! But maybe your digital product is specifically geared toward mom entrepreneurs who sell coaching services online, not mom entrepreneurs who work on Etsy, for example. It’s so important to have a clear understanding of who you’re creating your product for. Without it, it’s difficult to create a product that resonates with your audience and meets their needs. And if a product doesn’t resonate or meet their needs, well, they just won’t buy it. It’s that simple.
2) Not Choosing a High-Demand Niche
While it’s important to create a product that aligns with your passions and expertise (read: you should be ‘into’ the topic you’re creating a product about!), it’s also important to ensure there’s a market that’s hungry for your product. Make sure to do your research and choose a niche or topic that has enough demand to justify the oh-so-precious time, energy and concerted effort you’ll put into creating your product.
One way to do this is by choosing a hyper-specific niche. Niching down might sound terrifying, but please know this: Niche products sell, and sell well. For example, rather than creating an ‘online marketing’ digital product (because whew–talk about a broad topic!), create an ‘Instagram Captions Guide for Health Coaches.’ I can almost guarantee you’ll get more sales from the second option.
3) Not Validating Their Ideas
The good news? This is one mistake that’s super easy to avoid. The secret? Run a pre-sale! You can easily validate your product by running a pre-sale. If nobody buys during the pre-sale, then you don’t actually have to create the product. And if they do? Well, you’ve got a clear-cut deadline for actually getting your product done and dusted. This way, you’re only out the time it took to market your product–not the time it took to create it, too.
You can also validate your idea by giving away a freebie related to your topic. If people aren’t even signing up for the freebie, take is as a sign the topic just isn’t right for your audience (at least not at this time).
You can also test your ideas with a series of blog posts, podcast episodes or social media posts/videos on the topic as well. Is your audience responding–or not-so-much? This valuable information can help you decide whether to create a digital product on this topic or shelve it.
4) Choosing an Inappropriate Price
Sometimes it seems like online entrepreneurs are picking their prices out of thin air (and let’s be honest, some are!). But when it comes to picking the perfect price for your digital product, a little strategy can go a long way.
Of course, you want to price it high enough to make a profit (and with digital products and so many free ways to create them, this part should be pretty straightforward), but not so high that it discourages potential customers. It’s important to do market research and consider the value your product provides and what your specific market is willing to pay to determine a fair price.
5) Skipping the Sales Page
Don’t get me wrong: Not every product needs a sales page to sell. At all. But if it’s your first time releasing this product into the digital wild, a well-crafted sales page can boost your bottom line and reduce the number of people emailing you at all hours with ‘urgent’ questions and concerns about your product.
Just think about it: Your sales page is the first impression potential customers will get your product. If you’ve validated your idea, you’ve created digital products before or you’re just a darn good copywriter or designer (or have the budget to hire them), it truly can’t hurt to create a professional, well-designed page that clearly communicates the benefits and value of your product from the get-go.
6) Not Building an Email List
Your email list is a wildly valuable asset when it comes to promoting your digital products.
Make sure to start building your list well before your launch. You can do this lots of ways: Create a series of blog posts on the topic, give away free resources or create a ‘wait list’ page where they’ll receive a discount on the final product when you launch. Anything that gets people to happily give up their email address is a winner in my book.
7) Failing to Build Hype Before They Launch
You know what really helps boost product sales? Getting people excited about the product before it even drops. In addition to just getting people on your list, you’ll also want to create content that teases your upcoming launch. This might look like a series of binge-worthy emails, riveting social media posts/videos on your topic or even a dazzling 3-video marketing series. How you choose to build hype is up to you–but it’s imperative you do it if you want people to say yes easily & effortlessly come launch day.
8) Not Marketing Well–or Often–Enough
Another major issue? Most entrepreneurs simply don’t promote their products enough. If you feel like you’re repeating yourself or selling ‘too much’–you’re probably doing it just the right amount. It might feel funny at first, but with so much content vying for your audiences’ attention, you’re going to need to show up often (and well) to ensure they see, understand and feel the need to buy your product.
So, if you’re scared to send that final ‘cart close’ email, do it anyway. If you feel ‘annoying’ posting one more Reel about your topic, do it anyway. You truly never know who you might reach–and convince–with that final marketing message.
9) Skimping on Customer Service
What happens after someone buys your digital product? Honestly, one of the worst things you can do is, well, nothing. It’s important to ensure you have a nice follow-up email sequence in place. This might include ensuring your product gets delivered in a timely manner (if you deliver via email), encouraging your new customers to use their new digital product with follow-up content and instructions or simply following-up a few weeks after purchase to see if they’re satisfied and/or offer additional support or resources (or even just ask for reviews!). This can help increase customer loyalty and improve the chances of future sales.
10) Assuming a Large Audience Will Automatically = Sales
Unfortunately, having a million social media followers does not guarantee that your digital product will immediately take off. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard loads of stories are super popular influencers who launched products only to find their ‘massive’ audience didn’t really care about purchasing from them. Ouch, right?
At the end of the day, what you really need to sell your digital products isn’t numbers, it’s trust. And you can create trust simply by being consistent, showing up in their feeds and/or email inboxes (my favorite) regularly and generally being good at what you do and showcasing it (with a blog, podcast, your email list, etc.) People want to know you’re not just gonna take their hard-earned cash and run – and they want to know that the product they’re paying good money for will provide them with the information they desire.
And there you have it, lovelies! By simply avoiding the above mistakes, digital product creators can exponentially increase their chances of (mostly) passive income success.