Selling digital products online is a great way to generate nearly passive income. You create the product and then the sale and delivery is automated (depending upon what shopping cart system you are using.) I have musician clients selling mp3’s of their songs online. I know writers and experts selling digital e-books.
Generating passive income is a must for the self employed and creative people in this world. There are only so many billable hours in the day, and it is hard to make a living if you are just billing billable hours.
I decided to experiment with a digital product and adding it to my blog to see how easy the process would be.
Creating A Digital Product
E-books: If you are going to be selling any form of e-book, it is generally delivered as a pdf file. The best software to use to generate the pdf files, in my opinion, is adobe acrobat professional. However, there are free pdf writers available for creative people on a budget. Cute Pdf is an example of a free pdf writing software.
Audio Files: If you are going to be selling mp3 or audio files there are a number of great software options available for recording and generating mp3 files. One free software that I recommend to clients who want to generate vocal audio and not professional music quality is Audacity.
My Journey – bundling audio and pdf: I happened to purchase finale print music software several weeks back and spent a euphoric couple of days experimenting with writing beginner/intermediate piano scores. I was able to save these scores as pdf files by using adobe acrobat professional. Now I have a handful of piano scores suitable for the beginner/intermediate player and so thought to myself, why not bundle a score with mp3 file to sell digitally for this blog example?
First of all, I want people to be able to hear what it sounds like when played. Finale Print Music can generate a digitally produced audio mp3 file of the music score. I needed to insert the mp3 file in this blog post so that people can hear a sample of the song. Supplying a sample listen is a great idea for musicians selling mp3 files, or for experts selling audio files. If you are thinking of selling an audio file, I recommend installing the plugin below so that visitors to your site can easily listen to a sample.
WORDPRESS PLUGIN TIP: I installed the following plugin into my wordpress blog so that my audio links would be playable with an audio player.
It generates an audio player just like the one here. Click on it to listen to my Simple Song 1 for the piano.
If you want to play audio on your blog, I highly recommend wpaudioplayer.
3 Examples of Digital Delivery/E-commerce Options
- Option 1: free and the least passive:
The first option for selling digital products would be to use paypal and then manually email people the product. Setting up a business paypal account is free, and then you can sell products and services online and paypal takes a small percentage of sales. This is the least passive option as you have to manually email people the digital product, but it is free. You can use the steps that I illustrate in this tutorial on adding e-commerce to your blog: http://goffgrafix.com/blog/index.php/2009/04/adding-e-commerce-to-your-blog/ to generate the code for your buy now button and copy and paste it into your blog post. You would then have to manually email the digital product to the customer once you receive notice of the purchase.
- Option 2: e-junkie.com
With e-junkie.com you can sell up to 10 products for only $5/month, and it ties into paypal. Click here to view the complete list of features that e-junkie offers. With e-junkie the process is automated. When a customer clicks the buy now code that e-junkie supplies you, e-junkie will automatically send your customer to a page to download the product when the payment goes through. They will also email the customer a time sensitive link to the product download page.
- Option 3: 1shoppingcart.com/marketerschoice.com
1shoppingcart.com/marketerschoice.com is a robust and comprehensive shopping cart service that offers digital products options, autoresponder capabilities, recurring billing and much more. I use them for my hosting/web design business, so they were the obvious choice, for me, for selling digital products. After I upload my product, the cart generates a buy now link that I can just paste into this blog post below. Voila!
Listen to the score below:
Your Experience with selling digital products
Please share your experience with selling digital products. What e-commerce system do you use? Do you sell pdf files? audio files? Is there a software that you have found useful in generating digital products? Please comment below. I look forward to your input.