If you are considering going into business creating and selling digital products, then you are entering an interesting marketplace. Selling things like apps, software, eBooks and digital media is unlike selling any other kind of product, and the reasons for this do, on the face of it, make it a really good idea.

For one thing, you have an unlimited quantity of units you can sell – you will never sell out of copies of your eBook even if it becomes the latest must read, and you can sell millions of your apps without any more real cost to yourself than selling ten.

For another, you don’t have to worry about storing your units, or about costs or physical processes involved with shipping them to the people who buy them. You don’t have to track shipments or manage stock, or deal with queries from customers who have placed orders that haven’t arrived yet.

All of this makes it sound like a dream, but of course, that isn’t all there is to it.

The Challenges of selling digital products

Because digital products are cheap and easy to bring to market, there is a lot of competition, and not all of it is of quality, bringing down the credibility of the market as a whole.

Also, because some people are happy to give away digital products for free, you have to really convince your target audience your product is worth parting with any money at all for, let alone the amount you might like to charge.

You may also need to sell cheap, which means you need to sell a lot of units to make your business viable in terms of the cost of actually developing the products.

All of this means that to succeed, you need great products, supported by great marketing.

Related: The Startup Marketing Handbook (Actionable Strategies for Rapid Startup Growth)

Why performance marketing is a great option for digital products

Performance marketing is one of the biggest forms of internet marketing there is. It goes without saying that if you are selling digital products, most if not all of your marketing will be done online, and by harnessing a good network and infrastructure for performance marketing you can have the right people promoting and selling your products for you.

Performance marketing is basically where affiliates sell your products through means that work for them, such as email marketing, social media, blogging, and other styles of advertising, and are paid a commission for making sales or getting you leads. This means you are only ever paying for real results.

The reason this works so well for digital products is that almost all of the money for each sale over a certain number of sales that cover your development costs is pure profit – you don’t have to buy a product to resell, you aren’t using up materials to fulfill an order, and you aren’t losing a unit of stock you could have sold later.

This means that paying a commission for a sale is a win-win in marketing digital products – you make a sale which is all profit, and the marketer can be paid an attractive proportion, motivating them to keep on selling. Working with a good performance marketing network like RevContent – a company run by John Lemp – allows you to get all the benefits of performance marketing for your own products.

Highlighting where your product adds value

Of course, how you approach marketing in terms of strategy is just one aspect – you also need to be clear on your marketing message. For a digital product, it is absolutely key to make sure that your message explains clearly and enticingly what value your product adds to your customer.

No matter how unique you believe your product is, you need to be focused on what problems it solves, what questions it answers, and why it is worth paying money for when there may be things the customer could have for free that are in the same sphere.

It is not good enough just to say your product is ‘better’ than a free alternative – people tend to assume free digital products are inferior to paid ones, and are willing to accept that for the fact they are free – you need to establish a benefit or solution that the customer simply cannot get without paying for it, and why they should want that.

With the right marketing approach incorporating performance marketing, and a strong, clear message about your product’s value, you can be in a good position to make some real sales and begin profiting from your digital products.

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