Course Selling & Marketing

Sell Digital Downloads: The Complete Guide for 2024

Androniki Koumadoraki Content Writer LearnWorlds
12 min
how to sell digital downloads

Selling digital downloads and printables has become one of the most popular online business ventures for individuals and companies alike: educators, coaches, online retailers, artists, writers, YouTubers, bloggers, web developers, and graphic designers are only some examples of people selling digital downloads and printables. 

Is it any wonder? Selling digital downloadables is an easy way to generate passive income. You only have to create your product once and sell them for an infinite amount of time. 

Adding digital downloads will also enhance your existing offerings without complicated setups or high upfront investment. If you’re an online coach, for example, you can supercharge your services with downloadable planners and workbooks that will help your clients stay on track. 

If you’re considering selling digital downloads but don’t know which ones or where, read on because we’ve plenty of tips for you!

 

12 Types of Digital Downloads to Sell Online

A digital download is an electronic form of a document, software, or file. What’s great about digital downloads is that you can create them once and sell them over and over again to anyone around the globe without any additional effort or development cost

Of course, it’s best that you update your inventory with new products every now and then to add variety and more options for loyal customers, but you can do so at your own pace.

Another huge benefit of digital downloads is that they don’t require complex logistics, distribution, and warehousing like physical products. They’re ideal for boosting your income or the revenue of your online business without any significant investment in money or time.

Are you sold? If so, let’s start exploring the different types of digital products you can sell online!

Type #1: Online Course

You can choose to make your online course a digital downloadable by allowing your learners to download the learning resources you’re offering – most often videos, eBooks, PDF infographics, and workbooks. 

This option makes more sense for mini-courses, as you probably don’t want students to download and share with their friends a 20-hour course that took you weeks to build. Use it as a lead magnet to attract new clients or presell an upcoming long-form course.  

Type #2: eBooks

eBooks are a great source of information with a loyal following of visual learners and, therefore, a very popular downloadable digital product. Creating and distributing an eBook is relatively hassle-free; plus, offering one fits almost every business model.

eBooks are often offered for free in exchange for the contact information of site visitors, who give out their email addresses to download the eBook and join your email list (with their consent). Therefore, they’re not only an exceptional lead magnet but also an efficient way to expand your email list.  

Usually, eBooks cost very little, but in some cases, you can set the price high. That would be the case if you have a big loyal audience, you’re writing for niche expertise that is used to higher prices, or you’re considered to be an authority on the subject.

Type #3: Digital Art

Digital art is one of the top categories of digital downloadables. Think about 3D prints, illustrations, coloring books, and paintings.

Whether to add some beauty to their home and office or to relax with a creative activity, digital art printables are a popular choice among buyers.

Type #4: Photographs

Photographs and stock photos are usually distributed from one business to another business. But if you are taking unique photographs, you can monetize your skills 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 sell your photos via a third-party stock website like iStock, Shutterstock, Getty Images, or Flickr or via your own website.

Type #5: Printables

Printables like workbooks, planners, event checklists, and calendars basically sell themselves due to their highly practical nature.

With most people trying to follow a schedule, manage their time, and prioritize their tasks, you can’t go wrong selling these easy-to-use organization tools. 

Type #6: Podcasts

Creating a podcast can be challenging as you’ll need specialized equipment, communication skills, connections, and time. With people getting more and more interested in podcasts, it’s worth considering adding this digital offering if you fulfil the requirements above. 

Although monetizing podcasts is not common, it’s a good option if you already have a podcast show and you want to give listeners an ad-free version or offline access. 

Or, if you have a membership website, you can offer a series of podcast interviews with thought leaders and other authority figures as a premium product to incentivize those at the lowest pricing tigers to sign up for a more expensive membership.

Type #7: Audiobooks

Similar to podcasts, people love listening to audiobooks when commuting, exercising, or even doing house chores. Creating an audiobook is definitely not an easy feat, as you’ll need an interesting topic or storyline, writing skills, and upfront investment in producing the audio version of your book and then promoting it. But if it’s a dream or hobby of yours, know that there is definitely a large audience for your product out there! 

Type #8: Music Tracks

Still listening? Good, because we’re finishing the “audio category” with the most obvious representative – 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’re 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 #9: Videos

Video is one of the most easily consumable content types, often used to educate either formally or informally. That, along with the fact that there are few initial costs involved, makes this product perfect for digital downloads. 

Video digital downloads include video tutorials, training videos, webinars, video animations, documentaries, and even short films. If you want to find the perfect tools to shoot your video, read our comprehensive list of the best training video software.

Type #10: Software & Apps

Another popular category is software and apps. 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 is usually sold in specialized marketplaces. Having said that, you can still sell them through your own website like you would do with any other digital download.

Type #11: Video Games

Video games can also be digital downloads. One of the best and most widespread platforms to sell video games is Steam, but there are other options too. If you’re ready to sell, make sure you check out this list from WellKeptWallet.

Type #12: Web Design Assets

Wrapping up our list, we couldn’t leave out the popular web/graphic design assets category. WordPress themes and plugins, website templates, and design assets like icons, fonts, Photoshop brushes, and Lightroom presets sell like hot bread, as many people follow a DIY approach when it comes to website building and just need some help with the creatives. 

How to Sell Digital Downloads with LearnWorlds

Now that we’ve given you some digital product ideas, let’s see how you can sell them. One option is to use an eCommerce platform or online marketplace that allows you to sell digital content.

Alternatively, you can connect with your website – your very own LearnWorlds, the top online course platform, which provides eCommerce and marketing tools to help you build attractive sales funnels and product pages to attract potential customers and sell digital downloads.

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. LearnWorlds also has the functionalities and features to help you sell online, even if you don’t know how marketing works. 

Here’s what you need to do to start selling using our platform:

Create a LearnWorlds account

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

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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.

Create an Online Course

From the main admin dashboard, jump to the Course creation wizard by clicking on “Create course” on the top ribbon.

You will be guided to the Course Creation Wizard, a user-friendly tool that simplifies the course creation process in just a few steps. 

💡 To sell a digital download, you need to create a single activity course. This means you’ll build a course with just one learning activity.

Add the Digital Download

You can follow these steps to add a digital download:

  1. Go to Courses and locate the desired course.
  2. Find the Learning Activity to which you want to add a Digital Download. 
  3. Hover over the learning activity to which you want to add your companion file (digital download) and click on Settings.
  4. When the side form pops up, click on Add digital download, browse the file from your computer, and click on Open.
  5. Once the companion file (digital download) is successfully uploaded, you will see its title.

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)

You can always upload more files by clicking on Add digital download. If you hover over the file, you can edit its title by clicking on the edit (pencil) button.

💡 You can protect your digital downloadables with watermarks. See how you can use LearnWorlds to protect your intellectual property.

Create a landing page

Next, you need to build an attractive landing page to present your offering.

Go to Site Builder → Edit School Site.

  1. Click on Add → New Page.
  2. Click on Pages and click on the + icon.

  1. Click on Pages → Manage all pages. In the Pages Manager window, select New Page.

You will be given the option to choose either an empty page or one of our different ready-made Page Templates, with a variety of options, including the landing page template.

You can then, of course, edit the page by altering the text/images and adding new sections or widgets. You can also add details like page name, page slug, page group, etc.

You can now find your newly created page in the Pages Manager under All Pages, and under the Page Group it belongs.

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.

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.

💡 Our platform has a Shopify integration. If you’re already using it, you can connect the two to streamline the checkout process.  

Start promoting/selling digital downloads

You can sell your digital products either as a single download, multiple downloads within a course, or both – through bundles. You can offer discount codes, accept credit cards, offer payment plans and Buy Now/Pay Later options, and more to facilitate sales.

Finally, you can start promoting your products directly from your landing page or any other page of your website with popups and widgets, through social media, or email marketing. We know that email is still one of the most effective ways to attract and retain clients, so we offer integrations with top email marketing providers

More Platforms to Sell Digital Products Online 

Next, let’s see some of the best online marketplaces and eCommerce platforms where online entrepreneurs and creators can sell their digital products:

Etsy

Etsy is an online store mostly known for handmade products and craft supplies. Recently, digital products, like art prints and planners, have gained popularity among the platform users. 

If you’re selling on Etsy, your audience will most likely be seeking something creative and not mass-produced, so your best bet will be digital paintings and photography.

🙌 popular, worldwide audience, easy setup

🤔 high competition, hidden fees, can sell specific products only  

💁 For more information, check the Etsy guidelines on how to sell digital downloads.

eBay

One of the longest-standing eCommerce platforms, 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.

🙌 massive audience, potential to sell anything

🤔 high commission fees, high competition, having to follow eBay practices when it comes to refund policies, product information, etc.

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

Amazon

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.

🙌 they take care of the storage and logistics, huge audience

🤔 high competition, commission fees, hard to keep track of your stock status in real time 

For ebooks, you need to visit Kindle Direct publishing.

For music, visit the Author Publisher & Vendor Guides.

For apps, software and games, read the Pre-submission checklist.

Shopify

To be able to sell digital downloads on Shopify, you need to download Shopify’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.

Shopify is highly customizable and offers built-in sales features, integration with marketing tools, and the ability to sell on social media.  

🙌 you can sell almost anything, customization & personalization, full ownership, great customer support, multi-channel integration 

🤔 hosting fee, the site’s unique coding language makes it hard to migrate your online store to another platform  

💁 For more information on how to do this, visit the Shopify Help Center.

Envato

From web templates and WordPress themes to royalty-free music and stock images, Envato is a digital assets paradise for customers and definitely a potential place for you to sell relevant digital products.

🙌 wide audience, perks and promotion for top sellers, supportive community, trusted website (product listings are approved only if they meet Envato’s quality standards)   

🤔 very high commission if you sell on other marketplaces, limited products to sell, high competition, 

💁 For more information, read the Beginner’s Guide to Selling on Envato.

Easy Digital Downloads (EDD)

EDD is a freemium eCommerce plugin for WordPress that enables you to sell a wide variety of digital products and downloads, including eBooks, music tracks, videos, games, art, and photographs.

Even the free version supports the popular gateways Stripe and PayPal, guest checkout, and cart saving for a smoother user experience. It also offers some basic reporting and customer management.

🙌 free plan, 100+ integrations, easy to use, detailed reporting

🤔 occasional glitches, addons can be expensive, issues with customization 

💁 For more information, read the Easy Digital Downloads Beginners Guide & Recommended Add-ons

Creative Market

Creative Market is an online marketplace for design assets, like illustrations, stock images, templates, and web themes. The website has 5 million monthly visitors, so you have a good chance of getting your brand known. 

A distinctive downside of this platform is not only the hefty fee that reached 70% but also the fact that if you sell your product on another website (including your own), you can’t sell it at a price higher on Creative Market to make up for the fee. 

🙌 supportive community, free promotion, large audience 

🤔 very high commission (50-70%), the site has the right to change your pricing, restrictions on pricing

💁 For more information, read the Shop Owner Guidelines

Sellfy

Sellfy is an eCommerce platform that enables you to set up your own online store and sell from there. This means that you can sell anything you like. It’s a great option for small businesses as it’s quick to set up, even from your mobile phone. It also offers built-in marketing tools, upselling, and shopping cart abandonment features to help you boost sales.

🙌 very easy to use, full ownership, can sell anything, no transaction fees, free trial   

🤔 limited design customization, basic reporting, white labeling available only on high-tier plans 

💁 For more information, read the How to set up my Store article.

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

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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Further reading you might find interesting:

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Androniki Koumadoraki Content Writer LearnWorlds
Androniki Koumadoraki

Androniki is a Content Writer at LearnWorlds sharing Instructional Design and marketing tips. With solid experience in B2B writing and technical translation, she is passionate about learning and spreading knowledge. She is also an aspiring yogi, a book nerd, and a talented transponster.