How to actually sell digital products: strategies for success

How to actually sell digital products: strategies for success
Estimated reading time:
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Creating your online course is just the starting point. The real game begins when you sell it effectively—turning your expertise and hard work into a steady revenue stream. If you're ready to see your sales numbers climb, you've landed in the perfect spot. This guide is all about actionable strategies to elevate your sales from the ground up.

The e-learning market is on a steep upward climb, expected to hit a whopping $1 trillion by 2032, up from $200 billion in 2022, according to Global Market Insights Inc. This explosive growth encompasses the whole sphere of online education, including university programs, corporate training, and yes—online courses like yours. 

With such immense potential at stake, it's time to dive deep into the tactics that can help you tap into this thriving market. Let’s break down the process of selling your digital products into clear, actionable steps.

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What are digital products?

A digital product is any virtual or intangible item that you can purchase and sell online. Think things like online courses, software, eBooks, digital music, videos, and graphics—all available right at your fingertips through a simple download or online access. These items are particularly perfect for today's on-the-go lifestyle since they don't require shipping or physical storage.

The beauty of digital products lies in their scalability. Once you've created your product, you can sell it over and over again without the need to restock or incur traditional production costs, which means the profit margins can be impressively high. Plus, they're instant—your customers can enjoy them right away, no matter where they are in the world, making digital products a perfect fit for our fast-paced, digital-first economy.

So after you’ve created your digital product, now it’s time to get it sold. Let’s look at some strategies.

Related: 23 profitable digital products to sell online

Deeply understand your audience

When it comes to marketing your digital product, particularly an online course, knowing your audience inside and out is your first big play. 

Start by developing a detailed buyer persona that includes not just demographics but also your potential customers' interests, challenges, and online behavior. What’s their age range, where do they hang out online, what hurdles are they trying to jump with your course? Send out surveys, dig through social media insights, and analyze website traffic to get to know your audience and find out what your students are itching to get. 

This insight allows you to tailor your content to their needs and create marketing messages that hit home for them. It also helps you choose the channels that are most likely to reach them effectively. For instance, if your course is designed for busy professionals, LinkedIn might be a more appropriate platform for your marketing efforts than, say, TikTok.

Once you’ve got your audience mapped out, start segmenting them based on distinct characteristics and needs. For instance, if you’re offering a photography course, you'll likely have beginners who are just starting out as well as seasoned photographers aiming to polish their skills. By customizing your course content and promotional messages for these different groups, you'll likely see an increase in both engagement and sales, making every student feel like you’re speaking directly to them. It’s not just good teaching; it’s smart marketing that turns browsers into buyers.

Related: How to build your audience personas

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Pricing your digital product: finding the sweet spot

Setting the right price for your digital product is definitely a balancing act, because it can truly make or break your sales. 

Think about the real worth of your course—how does it stack up against the competition out there? Dive into some market research to check out what your competitors are charging, and more importantly, how your course stands out in terms of depth and results. 

This isn’t just about finding a sweet spot for pricing; it's about ensuring your price reflects the unique value you’re offering without scaring off potential customers. You might even consider using tiered pricing to cater to different levels of commitment and budget, providing various access levels or bonus content to sweeten the deal.

Don’t be afraid to shake things up with some promotional pricing, either—think discounts for early birds or special discounts for Black Friday. These strategies can boost early sales and get people excited about your offering. 

Remember, flexibility is your friend here. Keep an eye on how these prices perform and listen closely to customer feedback. If your initial price isn't hitting the mark, be ready to tweak it. It’s all about testing and refining; adjust your pricing strategy as you learn what makes your audience want to hit that “buy” button. Keep your approach dynamic and responsive to ensure you’re always offering the best value at the best price.

Related: Tips for putting a price on what you know

Choosing the right sales platform (Teachable vs. Marketplaces)

Choosing the right platform to sell your online course is like picking the perfect stage for your rock band: you need the right fit to make sure the crowd hears every note. 

On one hand, you’ve got big marketplaces where loads of students browse through a sea of courses—think of these like giant music festivals where everyone’s vying for the audience's attention. These platforms can offer lots of foot traffic… but your course might just be another act in the lineup, struggling to shine among the headliners.

Then there’s Teachable, a platform that’s more like having your own concert venue. Here, you get to control everything—from ticket prices (a.k.a. your course fees) to the posters on the wall (think branding and course design). Teachable lets you personalize your student's learning experience, keep a bigger slice of the pie, and you get tools that help you understand your audience better, like analytics and marketing features that are tailored for educators. 

If you’re tired of getting lost in the crowd and ready to take center stage with your digital products, Teachable might just be your spotlight!

Related: Selling digital products on a platform vs marketplace

Building a compelling product page that converts

A stellar product page is your best salesperson. It’s the first thing potential customers see, and it holds a lot of sway in whether they decide your course is worth their time and money. 

So make sure that it leaves a solid impression! Highlight the key benefits of your course in a way that’s easy to digest. Use engaging visuals and a clear layout to guide visitors through the content, answering common questions they might have along the way. Don’t forget to pop in some standout calls to action (CTAs) that nudge them towards signing up. Sprinkle your page with relevant keywords to boost its visibility in search engine results, making it easier for your future students to find you.

Adding a dash of social proof like testimonials, endorsements, and case studies can also spice up the trust factor of your course. When potential students see that others have not only invested in your course but have also reaped substantial benefits, they’re more likely to do the same. Keep your testimonials relatable and genuine, showcasing the real impacts your course has had on past students. 

To keep your sales page performing at its best, regularly tweak and test different headlines, images, and CTAs. This ongoing optimization keeps your page fresh and effective, continually enhancing its ability to convert visitors into customers. Treat your product page as an extension of yourself: welcoming, informative, and inviting.

Related: How to create a powerful sales page that converts

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Digital product marketing strategies

As you might’ve guessed, marketing is the engine that drives your sales. Effective marketing communicates the value of your course and persuades the right audience to buy.

When it comes to marketing, content is king but context is queen. So think of engaging marketing content that you can create that not only introduces your course but also offers real value—think free webinars, sample lessons, or insightful blog posts related to your course topic. This approach helps build trust and establishes you as an authority in your field, making potential customers more likely to take the leap and purchase your course. 

Remember, each piece of content should include a clear call to action (CTA) that guides readers toward your sales page, subscription form, or any other conversion-oriented action.

And like we said in the product page step, don’t underestimate the power of testimonials and social proof. It bears repeating: nothing convinces potential buyers better than hearing from past students who have achieved success through your course. Share these stories prominently on your sales page, in your emails, and across your social media platforms. You might also consider offering a limited-time discount or bonus content to first-time subscribers, which can create a sense of urgency and encourage immediate action. 

But above all else, we recommend that you follow the old adage of “connect first, sell second.” Marketing is about building relationships, not just pushing products. If you offer value and build the relationships with the right audience, the sales will come. 

Related: Do this to market your course before launching: Expert advice

Launch strategies that work (without a huge audience)

Launching your digital product, especially when you don't have a massive following, can feel a little like throwing a party where you're not sure anyone will show up. 😅 But don’t worry; you can still pull off a successful launch… and the main way to do it is by leveraging the power of exclusivity and urgency. 

Start by creating a buzz with a pre-launch email sequence sent out to a carefully curated list—even if it's small. Share sneak peeks, early bird specials, or access to exclusive content for those who sign up or express interest before the launch. This builds anticipation and makes your initial audience feel special, turning them into eager advocates ready to spread the word.

Next, consider partnering with influencers or other course creators who share your target audience but aren't direct competitors. Now, this can be a game-changer, giving you access to a broader audience and lending credibility to your offering. Arrange for guest posts, co-hosted webinars, or social media shoutouts in exchange for a share in the revenue, or provide them free access to your course for an honest review. Pro tip: the key is to choose partners whose audiences align with your course's niche, ensuring that the traffic they drive is likely to convert into sales.

Lastly, make good use of social proof and testimonials right from the start. Even if your audience is small, encourage the early adopters to provide feedback and share their experiences. Showcasing these testimonials during your launch can significantly boost credibility and convince fence-sitters to take the plunge. Also, run a limited-time offer or launch discount to create urgency. This tactic can push prospects who are still deciding, to act now rather than later. Keep the momentum going with regular updates and added bonuses for new sign-ups to keep the course appealing beyond the initial launch phase.

Related: About to launch your online course? Use our checklist

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The power of community & customer support

Building a thriving community around your online course can seriously amp up your sales game. Think of your community as your course’s fan club—where students gather not just to learn, but to chat, share insights, and support each other’s growth. 

This sense of belonging can turn happy students into vocal advocates for your course. Facilitating a place where students can ask questions, get extra resources, and interact directly with you not only enriches their learning experience but also boosts course completion rates. Happy students are more likely to recommend your course to others, creating a cycle of engagement and new sign-ups.

Customer support is another cornerstone of a successful online course. It’s not just about answering queries; it’s about being proactive and genuinely helpful, ensuring that all students feel supported throughout their learning journey. Quick and thoughtful responses to questions or technical issues can make a massive difference in student satisfaction.

Consider setting up a dedicated support channel, like an email helpdesk or a special section in your course community where students can get help. Regularly updating your FAQ section based on the feedback and common issues faced by students can also preemptively solve problems, reducing frustration and dropout rates.

So definitely don’t underestimate the power of going the extra mile with your support and community efforts. Regular check-ins, live Q&A sessions, and providing additional learning materials can further enrich the learning experience. Encouraging students to share their progress and successes builds a positive learning environment and motivates others. 

Ultimately, a strong community and robust customer support structure not only enhance the attractiveness and effectiveness of your course but also cement its reputation as a worthwhile investment, leading to better sales and more satisfied learners.

Related: How to build an online community

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How Teachable can help you actually sell your digital products

Selling digital products isn’t just about having a great course. It’s about creating an ecosystem where your course can truly thrive—from pricing it right and choosing the right platform to engaging with your community and continuously optimizing your tactics.

So, are you ready to roll up those sleeves and jump into the lively world of online communities? Head over to Teachable and watch your digital sales take flight! Remember, this digital selling game is all about being proactive. Keep adjusting, keep testing, and keep pushing those sales forward.

Bethany Clark

Bethany Clark is an Atlanta-based content marketer and freelance photographer. When she's not running her blog, TheCityDweller.me, she loves to bake, roller skate, and give her passport a workout every chance she gets.

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