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Sell Digital Downloads: The Complete Guide for 2023

9 min
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A digital download is an electronic form of acquiring a document, software, or file. These are digital products you can sell in simple forms that your customer can download to read or access.

Many freelancers, YouTubers, and online businesses sell digital downloads for a living or as a way to upsell and make additional profit. It’s a quick and easy way to offer a downloadable item for a fee and doesn’t require logistics, complicated setups, or high upfront investment.

Digital downloads are also popular for anyone running a membership site, as they are nice add-ons to offer their community. They are also great upsells for instructors selling online courses. Some smaller courses can be also sold as a digital download, especially if they are in the form of an ebook (pdf).

LearnWorlds can be your solution to both sell digital downloads and online courses under your own website. Try LearnWorlds with a 30-day trial today.

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So, if you are thinking of selling digital downloads or want to improve your digital downloads marketing strategy, read on.

What are you planning to sell?

What’s great about digital downloads is that you can create them once and sell them as unlimited products over and over again without any additional effort or cost in their creation.

Digital downloads have the advantage of not requiring complex logistics, distributions, and warehousing as physical products. They are ideal to supplement your business’ revenue without any big investments in money or time.

Many non-physical products are like that and you can use them as part of your business, including the following:

Type #1: PDFs

PDFs – amongst other digital file formats, are the most common digital downloads that you can offer as part of your business marketing strategy.

With the ability to sell it as a standalone product, in the e-learning industry, PDFs are useful because they can carry a handful of information for those who want to get something out of an online course or training.

PDFs can be anything from a checklist to information, a document, a whitepaper, or anything that can be considered valuable and includes both text & images.

Type #2: eBooks

Similar to PDFs, ebooks are a great source of information and constitute a very popular downloadable digital product. Their creation process and distribution are hassle-free and fit almost every business model.

Ebooks are often offered for free in the exchange of contact information – through lead capture forms – of site visitors, who give out their email addresses to join the business email list.

A free version of an ebook is often distributed to generate more leads and followers. Then, you can sell the premium version. Ebooks can be priced between 2 to 10 dollars because this is usually the standard price someone would agree to buy an ebook.

In some cases, you can sell more expensive ebooks. That would be if you have a big loyal audience, you are writing for niche expertise that is used to higher prices, or if you are considered to be an authority on the subject.

Type #3: Podcasts

Unlike ebooks, podcasts are more difficult to create because they need specific equipment, public speaking skills, connections, and time.

But, people are getting more and more interested in podcasts, especially when commuting.

Interviewing thought-leaders or sharing audio-first advice doesn’t need to be free for all podcasts, but it can be a premium digital download for a membership website.

Type #4: Photographs

Photographs and stock images are usually distributed from a business to another business – B2B. But if you are taking unique photographs, you can monetize your skill and sell them as digital products at a price.

According to Pixpa, you can set the price according to your photography specialty area like portrait photography, wedding photography, or other, and start building an income from there.

You can either get your photos to a third-party stock website like iStock, Shutterstock, Getty Images, or Flickr to start selling. Alternatively, create a uniquely themed website of your own for premium photography.

Type #5: Training Videos

Video has become a powerful tool that generates content that people consume easily. That along with the fact that there are little or initial costs involved, and taking into account the universal truth that video is an ideal vehicle of learning, makes this tool perfect for digital downloads. Video digital downloads may include video tutorials, training videos, webinars, video animations, or even short films.

Selling training videos can be done as a collection (i.e. an online course) or individual based on topics. Videos are one of the most powerful media formats and on-demand video for training is becoming more crucial for today’s businesses.

Type #6: Software

Another popular use of digital downloads is selling software. Software products may be desktop-based, web-based, a mobile app, or WordPress-specific software.

Examples include WordPress plugins or applications like PhotoShop that require a paid license to download. If you can code, selling software is your ideal money-making hobby.

To promote software or an app, you can access related forums to seek potential buyers, offer a free trial, or get third-party reviews.

Depending on its use, software usually is sold in a specialized marketplace. Having said that, you can still sell them through your own website like you would do for any other digital download.

Type #7: Templates

Templates are a great way to monetize your design ability.

Whether we are talking about email templates, website templates, or templates for specific niches like in art and design e.g. logos or fonts; in career coaching – CVs and cover letters, or any other type of artwork can be useful for someone who is actively searching for it online.

Type #8: Video Games

Video games can also be digital downloads. Out of the best and most widespread video games platforms that offer them is Steam, but there are many other options out there.

If you are ready to sell them, make sure you check out this list from WellKeptWallet to choose the best online places to do so.

Type #9: Music Tracks

Music tracks are paid with royalties and the amount of money coming to your account depends on the percentage of sales profits you get. To start getting paid through your music tracks, you simply upload your music on a music distribution site like the ones listed on SupremeTracks.

If you are also teaching music online, music tracks can be an upsell for your current students or a lead capture mechanism if you offer them for free.

Type #10: Web Services

If you are offering a service instead of a product, you can promote and sell that online too. For instance, if you are a graphic designer, a web designer, a blogger, a copywriter, a translator, a coach, a consultant, or a legal professional, you can take advantage of your professional skills as an opportunity to make extra money through the online market.

To be able to do this you will need strong personal branding and a dedicated website that tells people what you do.

To sell digital downloads or online courses, you need to use a digital content or eCommerce platform that allows you to do so.

There are many eCommerce solutions in the market that are specializing in selling digital downloads only, including Easy Digital Downloads, Sellfy, e-Junkie, Sendowl, Fetchapp, Selz, and Gumroad amongst others that can help you sell digital downloads.

Alternatively, you can connect with your website – your very own LearnWorlds, the top online course platform, which provides the eCommerce and functionality to sell digital downloads.

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Any digital product that helps you add more value to your online course or program – be it a training video, an ebook, or a PDF, you can sell directly through your LearnWorlds school.

How to sell digital downloads on your LearnWorlds website

Here’s what you need to do to get started with LearnWorlds:

Create a LearnWorlds account:

First, you will need to log in to your account or create a new account.

Prepare your home page:

Then, start editing your initial landing page (home page) through the templates that are already made for you to help you build your site.

Create a Course:

Products in LearnWorlds appear as “courses” whether you are selling a complete online course with assessment, certification, and multiple learning units or using the single activity template to sell a single digital download.

Create your first course from the “create course” button, and then, go to ‘Courses’, select the course you want to add the digital downloads in and then click on the ‘Contents’ tab.

Include the Digital Download as an attachment:

Your digital downloads can be added to your course through individual units and as attachments. You can follow this guide to help you out.

Choose the unit format you need e.g. video, ebook. PDF, YouTube link, or an audio clip. For digital downloads, we do suggest creating an “ebook” and thanking your customers for purchasing the ebook while giving instructions on how to download it.

Once you add the unit/activity you need, click on the ‘Settings’ button that is next to it.

On the tab that opens, click on the ‘Add Digital Download’ to add your file, attach your file and click ‘Save’.

Note that you can also have PDFs or videos in your online course as downloadable products or within the course.

Another option is to not allow for downloads but only digital viewing. If you are giving them out as digital viewing products, you can protect the downloads with watermarks. See how you can use LearnWorlds to protect your intellectual property.

Connect your domain:

Selling digital products from your website means you are connecting your domain with the LearnWorlds account to offer a seamless transition from one page to another as if it were your own website (removing the yourname.learnworlds.com)

To connect your domain to your online school, you first need to add a CNAME DNS to your hosting provider account.

Then you will need to let us know which is the custom domain you would like to use via the ‘Settings’ > ‘School Domain’ page.

For more information on this, check our support article on how to do it.

Connect a payment gateway:

To complete your eCommerce site, you will need to connect a payment gateway to it such as Paypal or Stripe.

payment gateways LearnWorlds

Note that while there may be transaction fees with some payment gateways like PayPal. LearnWorlds does not charge any transaction fees in the payment process. We have a 5$ standard fee on the Starter plan (lowest) which is removed on the Pro Trainer plan and above.

For more information on how to do this check out our support article on payment gateways.

Start promoting/selling digital downloads:

Decide whether you want to sell your digital products either as a single download, multiple downloads within a course, or both – through bundles – selling individual digital downloads or multiple.

Finally, start promoting your products directly from your landing page, any other page of your website, on social media or through email marketing.

Other Ways to Sell Digital Downloads

If you want to sell your products on popular online marketplaces pay attention to the following:

Start selling digital products on Etsy by building your online store and creating an account using your email address. Complete your profile and add your digital products to it. Once you are set, start promoting them through various channels.

For a more detailed guide check the Etsy guidelines on how to sell digital downloads.

eBay defines digital products as ‘digital goods’ and must be in the classified ad format. To add them to your eBay account, you need to go to the ‘Information products’ and in the ‘Everything Else’ category.

For a more detailed guide on how to do this check the Chron’s step-by-step guide.

To be able to sell digital downloads on Spotify you need to download Spotify’s digital downloads app. There you can add your product and digital files and manage the downloads effectively e.g. the limit and the orders you get.

For more information on how to do this visit the Spotify Help Center.

On Amazon, you can sell ebooks, music, apps, software, and games. Depending on which digital product you want to sell, you need to follow a different eCommerce process.

For ebooks, you need to visit Kindle Direct publishing.

For music, you have to choose a distributor that is approved by Amazon e.g. Tunecore.

For apps, software and games, you need to submit your app here.

Whichever platform you choose, make sure you read their guidelines carefully, because each has its own requirements and policies.

All you need to start making sales out of digital downloads is choosing the digital product you want to create and then the right tools that will help you promote and sell it.

If selling online courses isn’t the only thing you can do, by all means – do it, and this way you can add more value to what you do as part of your business and build more credibility as an expert in your field.

Start today by claiming your free 30-day trial with LearnWorlds!

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Content Creator at

Kyriaki is a Content Creator for the LearnWorlds team writing about marketing and e-learning, helping course creators on their journey to create, market, and sell their online courses. Equipped with a degree in Career Guidance, she has a strong background in education management and career success. In her free time, she gets crafty and musical.