• Writer for DDI on Medium

What Is Digital Products? What No One Is Telling You. Insights From A Web Designer.

Illustration courtesy of the author | The part of the story you might be neglecting

When you see digital products–ebooks, swipe files, workbooks etc on strategically designed service-based websites, they’re always a conscious part of a bigger plot.

I say this because it would appear as though local founders, when they think of digital products, passive income is all they attribute it to: multiple streams of income. Classic shortsightedness, since the purpose behind a digital product is to also connect you with the person who needs your help, and stands to mostly benefit from it. Remember the story of Hansel and Gretel? The children, on account of their hunger, willingly “followed a wonderful scent that grew stronger and more delicious”. The witch’s brew played a supporting role in a much bigger agenda.

Now, unless you’re selling tricks, I’m by no means calling the content you create, witchcraft, but merely using an illustration to bring out my point that digital products when used are never just a stand-alone thing, but also a miniature step in a sequence that leads to you onboarding someone as a client.

In fact, this is true for any product (physical or digital) associated with your brand. You’ve heard it many times that people consume information differently, right? Well, despite traditional marketing, a client of mine strategically sold sample packs of her specific products to new users before they became loyal customers. And it was hardly ever for the purpose of just making small money when compared to the importance of building the reputation of what she did. That, was the knee-jerk reaction! Not passive income. But I digress.

Digital products have specific circumstances surrounding how they can be considered useful.

Who May Not Need A Digital Product vs Who May

If you already have a relatively affordable but mandatory first step each ideal client starts with when working with you, then you may not need a digital product just yet. But what if you’ve reinvented a product and there are a lot of questions surrounding it? A digital product can boost interest for the bite-sized way you begin working with your ideal clients by answering any popular questions they or their customers may have about the foreign materials used in the product. Or, if the service you provide has a special guarantee achieved under specific conditions that also adds to the value your clients already experience during your mandatory first step, a digital product can be beneficial to your overall objective.

These are all case studies where I’ve personally leveraged digital products successfully, that is to say, people subscribed for them. So, feel free to use them as a spring-board to new ways you can streamline the journey to your services. But, bear in mind that there are two sides to this approach you can’t escape.

The Marathon vs The Sprint

The examples previously shared is a sprint-like journey a client could take towards working with you. But according to where you show up, logically it will be stretched out. However, it’s still marketing; the hand-holding process that draws people into your world. Therefore, be it a presentation you turned into an intro video, or specific articles you turned into a Podcast, it’s all a part of a filtration system to connect you with your ideal client, and that process is a marathon because until you know for sure what works and understand how it works to have clarity on where it fits in the journey of leading someone to you, essentially you’re just trying things. The problem is it isn’t easy to stick with anything long enough to have clarity on all that if there's no focus in the service you provide. And I believe that’s how local founders get stuck only seeing digital products as passive income.

You got a podcast? Great! Except, if you don’t know how it’s supporting someone working with you, then you have an obstacle on your road map you need to remove or rethink the position of. The same logic is also applied to written content you create that has digital downloads.

Following my presentation with Regus last year, I noticed, based on the feedback I received, that the content was also super helpful for DIYers especially when paired with the visual workbook I created. So I made it into an introduction video and positioned it to be used with the workbook, and the results were very encouraging. I kept hearing how “the video helped me approach using the workbook with the right frame of mind”. Which motivated me, to add further support to the experience with 3 relevant articles. After all that, I left an invitation for specific assistance should they have specific needs beyond the scope of the workbook.

Nothing I did was particularly new, I’m sure other people have used video as content or as support to other forms of content. But until my experience with Regus, I had no way of knowing if that was even an option for me, much less understanding where it would fit, the role it played, or why, despite having those digital products, someone using them would need my help. It took me a while to be able to answer that question since the workbook was created earlier in the year, the opportunity to present came much later, and the idea to merge them, a little while after that.

In closing, I hope this article can be instrumental in broadening your perspective on digital products for your online presence, and if it has, I would love to hear about it.

I am the Founder and Visual Brand Strategist at The BrandTUB

**Check out one of my digital product case studies here! **Sign up to receive these weekly articles in your inbox if you’re not quite ready to work with me yet. And please share my article if you liked it

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