How To Create Digital Downloads That Actually Sell


If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon affiliate partner, I may earn from qualifying purchases.
Read our disclosure.

Whether you’re an artist or an entrepreneur, creating digital downloads for sale is a great way to make money online. In this blog post, we’ll look at the benefits of selling digital downloads and the types of digital downloads that sell well in the market.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the type of digital download you want to create.
  • Do market research for product demand, and after that, research your competition.
  • Gather high-quality resources to produce high-quality products.
  • Create the product with a vision of helping the customer solve their problems.

Types Of Digital Downloads To Sell Online

Before you create your digital download, you must decide the type of digital download you are creating. Here are some ideas for you:

  • Music files: Songs, tracks, and sound effects, delivered in various formats, such as MP3 or AAC.
  • eBooks: Recipes, Guides, Biographies, Coloring books, etc.
  • Video files: Online courses or stock videos delivered in various formats like MP4, AVI, MOV, etc.
  • Software: This can include apps, productivity tools, and services such as Hootsuite, Ahrefs, etc., or games.
  • Images: Stock photos, mockups, digital art files (AI, PSD, CSP), printable art, TV frame art.
  • Audio files: These can include podcasts, audiobooks, and other audio content that can be downloaded.
  • Templates: These can be downloaded and used as a starting point for various projects, such as documents, presentations, and websites.
  • Digital products: These can include items such as virtual goods in online games, printable wall art (delivered as a PDF), digital planners, digital art prints, and AI-generated digital products.

Read the Best Digital Products To Sell Online article to get an idea of the best-selling digital products, then come back to this article.

Market Research For Digital Downloads

Before you create your digital download, you should do market research and see whether there’s demand for the product that you are creating.

Google Trends is one of those tools that you can use to research whether your product has demand or not.

Google Trends product research example

In the above example, we’ve used printable wall art and compared that to a digital planner product. Both are digital products that are downloadable, but you can clearly see that digital planner has more demand than printable wall art. So from those two options, a digital planner has more potential, more money to be made, and overall bigger market demand.

Tips For Using Google Trends:

  • Select Worldwide from the dropdown menu if you are selling your products globally
  • Select the Past 5 years, as it will give you more data to work with
  • Select all categories and Web Search, as it will show you the trends from Google Search and not from YouTube search, for example.

Other good tool to use is Google Ads and the Keyword Planner.

Example research for digital planners

When you see the above-like results, you can easily conclude that digital planners are something people search for (avg. monthly searches: 10K-100K) and that advertisers want to get the top spot in Google (Top of the page bid).

With these two tools, you can already get a good sense of whether the product has demand and whether it’s worth your time to create such a product.

Research The Competition

Let’s continue with the digital planner example and search for what the competition is like. It’s still not worth creating a product that someone is already selling. You need to improve upon what is already selling or create a brand around your product that entices customers to buy from you instead of from someone else.

Typing into Google: “digital planner” will give you already a good hunch of your competition. Etsy is one of the top search results so we can start our research there.

Etsy digital planner offering, notice the 400,000+ results

By looking at the results on Etsy, you get an idea of the different designs, price points, and what is included with the digital download. The next step is to evaluate what can you offer more or better. The faulty conclusion would be to offer the same stuff but cheaper. You can offer the same and some more for a slightly higher price point, or you can make your digital planner a luxury product and ask for way higher prices than your competitors.

Tips For Product Competition Research:

  • Branding: What kind of fonts (check Creative Market), color schemes, and mockups (get the best ones from Envato Placeit) are being used
  • Product presentation: mockups being used, how many photos, what kind of photos, what features are emphasized
  • Product description: what words are being used to describe the product, what details are given about the product
  • Product title: What words are being used and in which way?
  • Price point: should you sell for more, the same, or less? What is the average price of, for example, 10 similar products
  • Offering: What is the competition offering (product + extras/bonuses?), and what can you do better or what can you offer more?
  • Reviews: If possible, read product reviews and see what customers liked, especially what they didn’t like, and think about how you can improve your product.

Niche Down With Your Digital Downloads

Continuing with the digital planner product idea. From the above screenshot, you can see that there are at least 400,000+ relevant results solely on Etsy. If you feel there’s too much competition and you feel like there’s not much to offer on that front, you can niche down and see if there’s a more specific digital download you could sell.

By clicking the Etsy search bar, you can narrow down your search or niche down with your product
Digital planner undated product research results – notice the 34,000+ results

When you are more specific about what you are about to create, less competition there is, but at the same time, less money to be made. Find a balance between specific and too general.

Finding Resources To Create The Digital Download

When you know what type of digital download you want to create and have studied the market, it’s time to create the product. Probably the best way to create your product is first to buy your competitor’s product to see how they deliver the file, what kind of content they have, and what kind of bonuses or files they have included with the download.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. What you most likely have to do is create extra wheels or better-looking and working wheels.

Use Google

When you have decided on the digital download that you are about to create, just type into Google: “how to create + (what you are creating) digital planner (for example).”

There are many resources at your disposal, so you will absolutely find what you are looking for, including step-by-step guides and video tutorials on the topic.

Acquire Needed Tools And Resources

Sometimes you might need resources that cost money, but in these cases, you usually get higher-quality materials than you might get by using free tools and resources. When it comes to design and creative work, the following marketplaces are a fantastic and affordable way to acquire resources and materials for your digital download:

  • Envato Elements: designs, fonts, graphics, icons, templates, stock videos, sound effects, etc.
  • Creative Market: graphics, add-ons, templates, fonts, photos, 3D, etc.
  • Envato Placeit: mockups for digital products of all sorts, designs, logos, etc.
  • Canva: Tool for creating digital downloads of all sorts

Creating The Digital Download

When you have found all the needed resources, have done the market research, and have seen what the competitors are selling, you have all the information you need to create your digital download.

The key is to create something that is not yet available in the market, something that will cover the pain points you read from the customer reviews (if available). In this stage, you can unleash your creativity and create a brand worth noting, create product mockups that deserve attention, and create a product worth buying.

Your product’s main point is to solve customers’ problems. If you can solve the problem faster and better than your competition, you will get the sale.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming...
  • Hardcover Book
  • Eyal Nir (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 05/26/2024 (Publication Date) - BUSINESS...

It’s beneficial to read books or listen to audiobooks that teach you how to create products that sell. Digital downloads are a wonderful way to make that passive income, but the key is to create products that help people as much as possible and with as little friction.

Key Tip!

Best product: The product solves a customer’s problem with zero to minimal friction and as fast as possible

FAQs For How To Create Digital Downloads To Sell Online

How do you make a digital product downloadable?

You have to place the digital product in a file hosting service. The service can be a marketplace like Etsy or your website, or it can be as simple as Google Drive. The service will provide a link for you, and by pasting that link into the browser, you can download the product. The link may or may not have a password, or it may or may not be behind a paywall. All of these depend on where you put the file for download.

How do I sell digital downloads online?

You first need to create a digital download (product, file) and then upload that file to a marketplace, to an eCommerce platform, or to some other solution that enables you to sell that file. Etsy, Gumroad, Shopify, Podia, Sellfy, and Payhip are only a few of the available solutions that you can use to sell digital downloads online. You can read more about the subject in the article: “Best platforms to sell digital products.”

Can I sell digital downloads on my own website?

Yes, you can sell digital downloads on your website. You will need to set up a payment system and create an online store where customers can purchase the products. You may also need to consider hosting options for your digital downloads so that they are accessible to customers after purchase (SendOwl, Gumroad, Sellfy).

How do I start selling digital prints?

The first step is to create high-quality images (digital art, photos, AI art). After that, you’ll need to decide on the size (A2, A3), format (PNG, JPEG), and resolution (300DPI) of the image. Once you have your images ready, choose an eCommerce platform (Etsy, Inprnt, Redbubble) or website builder (WordPress + Elementor Pro) to host your store and begin listing your products. Make sure that customers have multiple payment options available (Stripe, PayPal). Finally, market and promote your digital prints through social media channels and other marketing strategies (SEO, paid ads).



Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

More Posts

Thank You!

Thank you for visiting the page! If you want to build your next creative product business, I suggest you check out Kittl!