TL;DR: Check out our guide on how to sell digital downloads, with helpful tools, solutions, tips, and tricks.

By now, you’ve probably created your digital download and you’ve realized it won’t sell itself. It’s a hard truth, but creating your product is only the beginning of your journey.

The internet is filled with advice and best practices, and trying to sort through it all can feel overwhelming. But we’re here to cut through the noise and help point you in the right direction.

With this guide on your side, we’ll transform your humble downloadable into a steady stream of passive income.

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Top tips to sell your digital downloads

Creating a stellar downloadable digital product is only half the battle. The hardest part is ahead of you: sales and marketing. But don’t worry—we’ve collected our best advice to help you get your digital product the attention it deserves and the sales you want. 

For a more in-depth dive, check out our post on how to sell digital products online.

Tip #1: Know your customers

Most promising products fail because their creators didn’t understand who they were selling to and what matters most to their target buyers. Don’t make the same mistake: know your customers. It’s why the market research industry is a billion-dollar industry.

One way to gain insights is to find out where your target customers spend their time online and talk to them, or even just observe them. From blogs to social media posts and forums, all the market research you need is at your fingertips.

Try to find answers as they relate to your digital download:

  • What problems are your ideal customers facing?
  • What language do they use?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What’s painful about their current situation?
  • How can your download improve their life?
  • What do they want to achieve?
  • How will your download help them achieve that?
  • Why are they not satisfied with the existing options?
  • What could their life look like with your download in it?

Keep notes of anything you discover. This will all help you position your download as something people need, not just something they might want.

Jules Acree is an awesome example of how understanding your customers can help you tailor your products and language to appeal specifically to them:

Jules has used her knowledge of her customers to present this course with strong benefits and suitable language to appeal to an audience who yearns for an intentional and successful life and career.

Tip #2: Choose your marketing channels

There are many ways to market your digital download and increase sales: email marketing, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), paid ads, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, or even word of mouth.

In an ideal world, you would use every channel there is. But in the real world, that’s not always possible—especially if you’re a solopreneur wearing all the business hats.

Our best advice is to play to your strengths. 

  • Are you a strong writer? Maybe start a blog and tap into organic traffic through SEO.
  • Are you a social butterfly? Social media is a powerful way to generate attention for your digital download, which can lead to more sales than you can shake a fistful of cash at.
  • Can you grab attention with ease? Email marketing and paid ads could serve you well, along with social media.

As you consider your options, remember that you get out what you put in. If you’re serious about successfully selling digital downloads, invest in it by hiring an expert to help you crack into the marketing channels you’re less comfortable with.

The most successful entrepreneurs know when to hire someone to do what they can’t do themselves.

Tip #3: Be flexible

Don’t just draw a line in the sand and say, “This is my product, this is my price, like it or leave it.” Offering a cut-back version of your product for a cheaper rate can serve as an introduction that helps guide potential buyers into paying customers.

Other ways to be as flexible (and therefore, appealing) as possible include offering a free trial or guarantee.

If you’re selling ebooks, a free chapter can be just the bait someone needs to buy.

If you’re selling software downloads, consider publishing a free version with limited features or offering a free trial. Either of these tactics allows people to sell themselves on your product while reducing their exposure to the risk of buyer’s remorse.

Check out how Birdesignshop makes this strategy work for them:

As for guarantees, they won’t apply to every business, but if there’s any way you can include a guarantee then you absolutely should. It’s a powerful persuasion strategy that goes a long way toward convincing people to try your product or service.

Just think how often you were on the fence about buying something and that 14-day money-back guarantee sealed the deal.

Tip #4: Form partnerships

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Truer words were never spoken. Whether you partner directly with a well-known brand or influencer, or more indirectly through hosting your download on an online marketplace like Amazon, partnerships expose you to a world of new buyers that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

Even friends and family can be a form of partnership like this.

Many pros offer an affiliate reward to incentivize people—like their friends, colleagues, or customers—to make sales on their behalf. This is the ultimate partnership where you’re effectively creating an army of sales reps that you only “pay” when they make a sale for you. There’s a reason the affiliate marketing industry is set to reach $15.7 Billion by 2024.

Tip #5: Niche down to grow exponentially

Here’s a strange tip: reduce the number of people who might buy your digital download to increase your sales.

It sounds counterintuitive at first, but what we’re actually suggesting is catering to a highly specific need rather than a general one. 

As a species, we’re psychologically wired to find specificity appealing. For example, when a cake maker sees a product specifically designed to improve their cake decorating skills, they’re going to be far more interested in it than they would a more general artistic course.

In a similar light, an artist looking to get into drawing graphic novels isn’t going to be as receptive to a digital download designed for watercolor painters.

It’s a widely accepted truth that your ideal customer cannot be “everyone.” Get specific and find your niche. Speak to that one person and make it so compelling they have to buy.

6 solutions to sell digital downloads

Now that you’re ready to sell your digital download, the question becomes, “how?” The online landscape is stacked with ecommerce solutions fit for the task, and you’ll have to find the one that works best for you.

This list aims to cover every angle, from complete online stores to “buy now” buttons, and solutions designed for specific types of digital content.

1. Flodesk

Sales and checkout platform with integrated email marketing.

Who it works for

Flodesk Checkout is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to sell digital products or services through their branded online store. It helps you build a sales page where you display your digital download, provide a payment gateway so your customers can purchase your offer, and a delivery page so they can instantly access their purchases. That’s not all, it comes with the added bonus of an email marketing platform you can use to build an email list of loyal fans who’ll be ready to buy almost anything you’re selling.

Case in point: check out the amazing store in the image below, which Flodesk member, Wynne Elder, put together using Flodesk Checkout to sell her templates.

Features

  • Gorgeous customizable templates tailored to digital products, educational content, and online services
  • Easy drag-and-drop builder
  • Mobile-optimized store
  • Versatile checkout page
  • Fully customizable digital download delivery page
  • Direct integration with Stripe for swift payments with low fees
  • Access to Flodesk’s powerful email marketing features

Pros

  • Building your online store has never been easier
  • Flodesk’s how-to articles strip away any confusion
  • Customizable checkout pages let you capitalize on upsell opportunities and reduce the risk of cart abandonment with strategic testimonials and discount codes
  • Instant product and receipt delivery
  • No-obligation free trial available
  • Email marketing software for ecommerce is one of Flodesk’s specialties

Cons

  • Flodesk Checkout is fairly new

Pricing

For $38 per month, you get unlimited access to all the ecommerce store functionality you could ever need. Adding access to the email marketing side of our software brings the price to $64 per month.

We’ll never charge you more than that, even as you become more successful. That’s just how we do things. Although, we will charge you less if you opt for our annual plan and grab one month free per year.

Check us out with a 30-day no-obligation free trial.

Get a sales and checkout page to sell your products with ease

Monetize your content and accept payments with beautiful checkout flows. No platform fees.

2. Easy Digital Downloads

Easy plugin for WordPress websites.

Who it works for

If you’ve already got a website set up on WordPress and don’t want the hassle of starting from scratch, Easy Digital Downloads could be just the ticket for you.

This plugin is designed to work alongside any WordPress theme to give you the necessary features of an online store on your existing site.

Features

  • Flexible payment options
  • Unlimited file downloads
  • Fully functional ecommerce experience, including discount codes
  • Activity tracking
  • Integration with leading apps like AWeber, Mailchimp, Dropbox, and Stripe
  • Wishlists, product comparisons, fraud monitoring, and other advanced features available through their top-tier plans

Pros

  • Free version available
  • Works with any WordPress theme
  • Customizable to suit your business needs
  • Lets you upload and sell any type of digital file, from music to videos, PDFs, and more
  • Easily accept payments from Amazon Pay or PayPal
  • 14-day money-back guarantee.

Cons

  • Accessing the full functionality comes with a hefty price tag
  • Limited to those with a WordPress site
  • No monthly payment options

Pricing

Easy Digital Downloads has four pricing tiers: Personal, Extended, Professional, and All Access Pass. Each tier unlocks additional features, and to create the most successful online store for your digital download, you’ll likely need one of their higher tiers.

Here’s how those prices break down:

  • Personal: $199 per year
  • Extended: $399 per year
  • Professional: $599 per year
  • All Access: $999 per year

3. Sellfy

A low-cost way to create an all-in-one online store.

Who it works for

If you want a simple and quick way to set up an online store of your own, Sellfy helps you do just that. They claim that it’ll take you less than five minutes to have your ecommerce store up and running.

Not only is Sellfy famously simple to use, but it also allows you to expand comfortably into the world of print-on-demand—which is handy if you have an eye toward selling physical products one day.

Features

  • Accept payments via PayPal or card (powered by Stripe)
  • Print-on-demand features available
  • Marketing tools, including basic email marketing, cart abandonment email automation, discount codes, upsells, and pixel tracking
  • Mobile-optimized ecommerce experiences
  • Comprehensive analytics

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Sell directly through your Sellfy store or embed “Buy now” buttons on your website or blog
  • Host and sell digital downloads of up to 10GB per download
  • Offers ultimate flexibility with a “pay what you want” option
  • Customizable landing pages and custom domain connection
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No built-in CRM, so you’ll need another platform to manage your customer data and relations
  • No SEO features, which can limit your store’s reach
  • Only five native integrations
  • As you make more money, you’ll need to upgrade to a more expensive plan due to a cap on sales per year in each tier

Pricing

Sellfy has a generous free plan that will cover you for up to 10 physical products (including print-on-demand). But to sell digital products, you will need their Starter plan (at a minimum). 

Each paid plan gives you unlimited products while unlocking additional features. For ecommerce essentials like removing the Sellfy branding, product upsells, and cart abandonment, you’ll need their Business or Premium plan.

Here’s a quick overview of each plan’s pricing and limits:

  • Starter: $29 per month for up to $10k in yearly sales
  • Business: $79 per month for up to $50k in yearly sales
  • Premium: $159 per month for up to $200k in yearly sales

If you rake in more than $200k in yearly sales, you’ll need to contact Sellfy for a bespoke quote.

4. Amazon KDP

One of the easiest ways to sell downloadable ebooks globally.

Who it works for

If you’re creating an ebook as your digital download of choice, Amazon KDP is as easy as it gets.

You sell directly through the Amazon marketplace, meaning you can tap into Amazon’s billions of global customers. The downside is that you won’t be able to sell your download via your website (you’ll have to link to the Amazon page instead).

Features

  • An easy-to-navigate platform
  • Publishing can take less than five minutes
  • Easily create product sales through free downloads or timed promotional discounts
  • Enroll your ebook download in Kindle Unlimited and claim your share of a $45+ million monthly global fund
  • Grab a free ISBN for your ebook

Pros

  • Sell your digital download to a thriving Amazon marketplace
  • Control over which categories your book is sold in
  • Potential to earn the covetable “Amazon Bestseller” tag
  • Use Amazon’s free companion formatting software Kindle Create to preview and perfect your ebook
  • Sell your ebook to a global audience within 72 hours of publishing
  • Earn up to 70% royalties in most major global countries
  • Easily create and link your ebook download to a paperback or hardback print-on-demand version of your book

Cons

  • You won’t be able to sell your ebook anywhere else, including your own store

Pricing

It costs nothing to sell your ebook download through Amazon KDP. Their only fee is a 30% take from each digital download.

5. Kajabi

The best solution for creating and selling online courses for those with a healthy budget.

Who it works for

Kajabi is positioned largely for creators looking to turn their knowledge into income by selling their very own course, masterclass, podcast, coaching program, or membership.

While the platform does offer a free trial, the paid plans can be pretty pricey. Still, consider the story of Kayse Morris, a former teacher who made $30,000 in the first three hours of launching her Kajabi course. It’s true what they say: You have to spend money to make money.

Features

  • Full suite of marketing tools and templates for creating content, campaigns, and sales funnels
  • Built-in CRM
  • Pre-made templates and intuitive design tools
  • Mobile app for on-the-go access
  • Automatic digital product integration with your website, emails, offers, CRM, analytics, and marketing campaigns.

Pros

  • No transaction fee
  • Accept payments via PayPal or a credit card (powered by Stripe)
  • Unlimited landing pages and marketing emails on all plans

Cons

  • Each plan comes with a fairly steep price tag
  • You’ll need their second most expensive plan to use their advanced automation features and run affiliate programs
  • You’ll need their most expensive plan to remove Kajabi branding from your digital download

Pricing

You can get started with Kajabi on a 14-day free trial. After that, you’ll have your choice of three plans: Basic, Growth, or Pro.

Here’s how the prices for each plan break down:

  • Basic: $149 per month
  • Growth: $199 per month
  • Pro: $399 per month

6. Digital Product Delivery (DPD)

The cheapest option for selling digital downloads.

Who it works for

Digital Product Delivery (DPD) is ideal for creators looking for a cheap and effective way to sell digital downloads via a “Buy now” button.

It’s one of the easiest ways to start selling your download. Just upload your product files, copy and paste DPD’s cart button, and you’re done. The only catch is you’ll need somewhere to plant that button—a blog, your website, or even Facebook will do.

Features

  • Zero-coding simple HTML buttons and link text options to sell your digital downloads
  • Accept payments via PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and more
  • Over 500 integrations available, including everything from Convertkit to Google Analytics and Zapier
  • Easily sell downloadable products or subscription memberships
  • Mobile-responsive checkout experience
  • PDF stamping and encryption to uphold your copyright
  • Coupons and discount codes

Pros

  • You get access to all DPD’s features regardless of what you pay each month
  • You can cancel at any time
  • No per-transaction, per-store, or per-product fees—all you pay is the flat-rate listed
  • Manage multiple stores through one account
  • Checkout supports multiple languages
  • Amazing prices for small businesses and solopreneurs with limited funds

Cons

  • Monthly per-subscriber fee for subscription products
  • No native email marketing features
  • Not the greatest interface or the most comprehensive analytics
  • You need your own platform to sell from

Pricing

DPD offers a 30-day free trial to get you started. After that, they base prices on how many products you’re selling and how much space they take up.

Here’s a quick look at those prices:

  • $10 per month for up to 20 products with 1GB of total product space
  • $16 per month for up to 35 products with 2GB of total product space
  • $30 per month for up to 120 products with 6GB of total product space
  • $45 per month for up to 250 products with 12.5GB of total product space

Get a sales and checkout page to sell your products with ease

Monetize your content and accept payments with beautiful checkout flows. No platform fees.

Ready to sell?

Selling digital downloads can be highly lucrative, but it requires a lot of planning and forethought.

Having an idea is only step one. To succeed, you’ll need to commit considerable effort to understand your target customer, create a solid marketing strategy, and choose the best way to sell your digital download as it suits your business model and goals.

It’s not a question with one answer, but rather a decision you should come to carefully. Hopefully, this post has helped you narrow down your choices of how to sell your digital product.

Our best advice is to go with your gut. And if those instincts lead you to an option like Flodesk, where you can try before you buy, all the better!

FAQs

How do I start selling digital content?

  1. Decide what type of digital product you want to create.
  2. Do deep research on your target customer until you understand who they are, what they want, what they struggle with, and how your product fits into that story.
  3. Identify a niche for your digital content, and use that to position your product for a specific audience.
  4. Document the process of creating the product to help you begin marketing immediately.
  5. Choose how you’ll sell your product. Options include your ecommerce store, a “Buy now” button for your website or blog, or an online marketplace.
  6. Build hype for the day you release your download. Check out our list of product launch email templates or our “How to write a product launch email” blog for some inspiration.

How can I sell digital downloads without a website?

Look to online marketplace options like Amazon, Etsy, Flodesk Checkout, Kajabi, or Gumroad—each of these allows you to sell digital downloads without a website.

What digital downloads sell well?

The possibilities are fairly endless when it comes to profitable digital downloads. Still, there are some standout examples with higher success potential. You can’t go wrong selling digital downloads in these markets:

  1. Educational courses
  2. Ebooks
  3. Licenses for digital files
  4. Digital art
  5. Software downloads
  6. Templates, plugins, and tools

Check out our blog for more ideas for digital products.

Are digital downloads profitable?

Yes, digital downloads can be incredibly profitable if done right. A tremendous example is Justin Welsh, an online entrepreneur and angel investor, who made $1.3 million in 27 months from selling online courses as a one-man business.

How do I start a digital download business?

Begin a digital download business by following the steps we’ve outlined in this blog series. Create your first product and gain experience marketing it, then keep learning, creating new versions and products, and expanding as you do. Make this your priority, and it can swiftly become a full-time business.

Get unlimited email sends and subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing