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How To Build Your First Digital Product and Make Money Online

Cover photo for How To Build Your First Digital Product

Build your digital product and make a 6-figures income with Gumroad in only seven steps.

Making money online is easy (if you know how). But if you don’t, you may miss the opportunity to build successful and profitable side hustles.

The key to financial independence is premium content. Only a few content creators realize it yet. But premium content is the only reliable way to monetize your online business.

You won’t do it with advertising or a few small clients. And if you are a content creator but don’t have anything to promote and sell, you are losing money every day of your life.

So here’s how to build your first digital product and make money with Gumroad.

Making Money Online Is Easy

Making money online is easy. Still, it takes time for new content creators to understand how to leverage their products and maximize returns.

It took me two years to get over $1000. But one single sale made me realize I could have earned much more. Perhaps even a 6-figures income.

Recently, I read How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab. And I realized my articles overlook something more significant than consistency.

They missed a final offer.

I wasn’t suggesting to my readers any premium content. I wasn’t selling any further knowledge or helping those that needed more support. But everything changed when I created my first premium content. So here is how to build your first digital product to make money online.

How To Build Your First Digital Product

Selling a digital product is the most reliable way of making money online. After creating it, you can exploit it as much as you wish. But you need to keep a grip on your audience and show them you have more value to share. And you can do it only with a good copy.

Only some of your readers will click on your promotional call to action. And only a tiny part of those who click will buy your product. But the chances of selling increase if you write a copy that triggers emotions and shows the advantages of your products. And if you also put some emotional grip on it, the chances improve even more.

Yet before selling anything, you have to create a digital product. So here are seven steps you can take to build your first digital product and make easy money (on Gumroad).

1 — Pick a Product

You may have heard this many times, but you should only create products for your niche. And not because you cannot create content for others, but because it will make things easier.

  • You may have already created free content for the same niche, so you know what people needs. You researched the topic and are aware of the problems they face every day. So you can come up with a solution that adds value to your free content.
  • Also, talking about your passions keeps you motivated for long-form premium content.

Besides the topic, you must also pick the type of content you want to create. And you have many choices here: online courses, e-books, case studies, printable schedules, plans, etc.

So study your content and try to understand what could work better:

  • Consider what other people in the same niche are doing. If somebody has already sold a product, customers will be familiar with it. So it will be easier to sell something similar.
  • Check if it is necessary to split a topic into many publications. Sometimes, you can build a series of content like mailing lists and online courses if you have enough material. Other times, a single iteration works better.
  • Start with something simple. Your first digital product will almost always suck. So even starting with a collection of reorganized free content works. Sometimes, customers will buy a pack of free content organized in better shapes and forms. So if it helps people understand and solve their problems, sell it.

2 — Build a Digital Product

Once you understand the topic and type of content you want to create, start working on it.

Usually, creating premium content changes your routines because you need to add another project to your to-do list. But if you build a strategy and schedule everything before, you will only need to stick to the plan.

So before jumping into content creation, consider the following:

  • How much time will you spend on creating premium content each day? And what impact will it have on your free time?
  • Do you have a well-detailed plan with fixed goals and milestones? Otherwise, you may procrastinate too much and lose motivation.
  • Are you motivated enoughs, you come up with complex ideas that will scare you and will lose motivation. So check your motivational levels and start with simple projects to keep going.
  • Do you have everything you need? You don’t want to make last-minute changes to your schedule because you forgot to buy the necessary software or materials. So make a checklist with everything you need, and don’t leave anything to chance.

3 — Choose the Right Price.

Choosing the right price is fundamental for the success of your digital product.

Only a few people will buy an overpriced product. So do not invest your time in something that won’t sell.

In the same way, if the price is too low, clients may perceive it as a poor value. And you will have the same result.

Thus, you must consider many things when picking the price of your product.

Cost-Based VS Value-Based Pricing

The difference between cost and value-based pricing helps you understand how much to price a product.

Cost-based strategies are the perfect fit for beginners who never sold anything. They consider:

  • The cost of production, or how much you spent to create the product.
  • The taxes percentage you need to pay to sell the product.
  • And the profit you want to make.

And if you decide to use this type of strategy, you want to be transparent about it. So share the expenses, the taxes, and the profit with your audience. They will appreciate your honesty and understand the reasons behind your price.

Value-based strategies assume you have already convinced the audience of your worth. So if you are a beginner, I won’t recommend using a value-based price. But if you already build a name for yourself, and people perceive your content as valuable, you can use it. And besides the cost-based price, you can add the value worth of your product.

Step-By-Step Pricing

So when picking a price, think about everything:

  • How much does it cost you to create the product? Did you buy any software or material? If so, add a small percentage of it to each product.
  • How many taxes do you need to pay? Besides fiscal taxes, consider the taxes the platform applies to your product. For example, Gumroad increases the price of your product with its taxing percentage. But other services may use different methods.
  • How much do you want to profit from each sale? At first, don’t focus too much on profit but increasing sales. You can add value-based pricing to your products later if you convince your clients of your worth.
  • How much is your audience willing to pay? Sometimes, profit eagerness could make your product fail. So find similar products to understand how much people are willing to pay before picking the final price. Your product may cost more and give more or less value. But you can’t set a price nobody used before.

4 — Upload the Content on Gumroad

After days or months of consistent work, you finish your digital product. So now you can upload and sell it on Gumroad.

The uploading process is simple and comprises only five steps:

A — Introduction

Before anything else, you need to pick the product name, type, and price. You will already have all this information, so you only need to fill it in the right places.

You can change the name and price later. But you can’t change the type and currency.

Creating a Gumroad product
Creating a Gumroad product

B — Product Description

You can customize the name, description, URL, and cover image in the second step.

  • Use the description to show potential buyers the benefits they will receive by buying your product. Your copy made most of the work and brought them here, but you may still lose them. So try to be convincing, specific, and transparent.
  • The URL of the product should include the keywords. And the high-quality cover image and thumbnail should convince the buyer even more. The higher the quality, the more appealing the product will be and the more you will sell. So if you don’t know how to make a great cover image, hire someone who can.
Name, description, and URL of the product
Name, description, and URL of the product
  • You can even customize the Gumroad buying button with personalized text. And if you use a short and persuasive call to action, you can convince more people to buy your product.
Further product details
Further product details
  • And beneath the buying button, you can add a summary to show people exactly what they will get. For example, my first product was a collection of 5 infographics that helped people track their habits. And I listed the names of each infographic under the buying button.
  • Lastly, you can add different versions of your product with mixed prices. So if you are selling a collection of content, for example, split them into bundles dedicated to different types of clients.
Pricing of the digital product
Pricing of the digital product

C — Product Upload

In the third step, you can upload your digital product on Gumroad. You can add as many files as you wish in any format. And you can even write a customized description for each file.

Content upload for your product
Content upload for your product

D — Discounts and Receipts

Discounting or limiting your product are good strategies to increase sales over a short period.

For example, you can set discount codes for your email subscribers to reward them for their loyalty. Or you could set limited discounted codes for the first 100 people to buy your product.

Discount codes and quantity limit
Discount codes and quantity limit

Also, customers will appreciate not feeling abandoned after they pay you. So make yourself available. Tell them they can contact you for any problem, for example. Or reach out for further information.

Sometimes, small things make the difference.

Checkout message of your digital product
Checkout message of your digital product

E — Internal Sharing, Promoting, and Publishing

Discover is a Gumroad internal service you can use to share and promote your product. So after you set a category and a few tags for your product, people will find it by searching the shop.

Gumroad Discover and distribution on the platform
Gumroad Discover and distribution on the platform

Also, Gumroad allows you to pay for more visibility with a percentual fee on your product. So you can renounce part of your profits in exchange for more visibility.

5 — Create a Landing Page to Promote your Product

The best way to promote your premium content is through good copy and an appealing landing page. And Gumroad already makes a landing page with the information you fill in the previous step. But you may want to customize your landing page or build another one from scratch.

You can find many articles on how to build the perfect landing page. Or you can use templates provided by services like ConvertKit, Hubspot, and Mailchimp.

But whatever you choose, you may want to include a few features:

  • Video demonstrations on how to use the product are the best way to show people its efficiency.
  • Gumroad provides a stylish HTML button you can include on your pages.
  • Use active-voice calls to action to convince people to buy the product.
  • And, when you sell copies, ask for reviews. This way, you can find ideas to improve future projects or use them as testimonials for your products.

6 — Build a Mailing List

Building an email list is another helpful step that can help you increase sales. Subscribers have a closer relationship with your content, so they will be more willing to buy your products.

But it takes time to build a mailing list. And you can promote your premium content only by giving a lot of free content in exchange. Otherwise, you may appear like a sellout, and your audience could become more skeptical or even unsubscribe.

For example, to promote my digital products, I usually use two techniques:

  • I insert a small call to action at the beginning of the newsletter if the topic does not relate to the product. This method works like an advertisement. So if somebody is curious, they will click the link. Otherwise, it shouldn’t bother the other recipients.
  • If the topic relates to the promoted product, I link it in the copy. This technique is more powerful because it allows you to advertise it better and convince more people. But you can’t always discuss the same topic, so you can’t use it frequently.

Gumroad and Mailing Lists

With Gumroad, you can create a cycle that drives traffic to your product and feeds your mailing list.

I already discussed how to drive traffic to your product using your mailing list. Or you can do the opposite and ask for emails when people buy your product.

Also, you can add an optional parameter for buyers who want to receive news about your products. So for every sale you make, you have a potential new subscriber.

Additional information in the Payment Form
Additional information in the Payment Form

7 — Promote your Premium Content

Unfortunately, the work doesn’t finish when you hit the Publish button. But, the challenging part of the job comes later.

As for everything online, you need to promote your product and convince people they need it. Otherwise, nobody will buy it, and most of your audience won’t even know it exists.

You can use your mailing list to leverage the first sales. But one system is never enough.

Attract constant attention if you want to be successful, especially from non-subscribers. So create more promotional streams.

  • Write valuable long-form content that solves a problem or part of it and offers the product as an all-in-one solution. If your copy is convincing, a small percentage will also buy your product. And you can iterate the process with different pieces of content, each attracting different niches.
  • Create short-form content for social media promotion and share them over Instagram, Pinterest, or even Twitter to increase the reach. Or build a Facebook Group for people using the product once you make enough sales. You could record a series of video demonstrations and publish them on YouTube or TikTok. Each platform has its own rules. But the more content you produce, the more leads you will get.

Final Thoughts

You can make easy money online in many ways. And luckily, content creation is one of those.

But most creators take a long time to realize how to make consistent money with their content. They try to sell and promote the products of other people. And although affiliate marketing and advertisement create consistent incomes, nothing compares to selling your product.

Selling something you own gives you many advantages because you are responsible for the success and failure of the product. You will deal with its promotion, but also its problems. And whether you please the client, you will be the central point of it.

Yet even if creating your digital product is the best way to make money online, dealing with all the burdens might become exhausting. But Gumroad provides every tool you need to build a passive income stream with your digital product. So you only need to deal with the creation and promotion.

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Cover photo for How To Build Your First Digital Product and Make Easy Money Online by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.