Digital products have become increasingly popular due to their large addressable markets and limitless scalability. Unfortunately, as they've become more popular, these products have become harder to market and sell. Competition tends to increase over time, consumer expectations are rising, and conventional advertising has its limits.
Let's look at a few strategies to boost digital product sales and how you can set your business apart in a crowded market.Digital products have become increasingly popular, making it harder to set your brand apart from the competition. Here are some ways to effectively boost your digital sales. Click To Tweet
#1. Know Your Customer
The best way to boost sales is to create a product that consumers love, and in order to do that, you need to know your customer.
Empathy maps help visualize customer attitudes and behaviors to develop a deeper understanding. At its core, empathy maps look at what a user says, thinks, does, and feels when completing a task. Empathy maps work best at the beginning of the product design process to understand and prioritize customer needs before building anything.
Once you have an empathy map, you can create more accurate user personas. User personas ensure that everyone is on the same page about the target customer, from the team building products to the marketing team. They also help avoid the temptation to add unnecessary components and complicate the product.
Of course, the development of empathy maps and user personas shouldn't be one-time exercises. Instead, you should use them over time to support customer-focused reasoning and define product positioning. You can also update them based on new information that you uncover through user interviews or other customer discovery techniques.
#2. Focus on Early Adopters
Early adopters should already love your product if you've achieved product-market fit, making them perfect brand ambassadors.
There are many places to find early adopters depending on the product and audience. For example, a consumer-facing product targeting mothers might leverage Facebook groups, whereas a business-facing product might seek out trade groups. If you've identified a significant pain point, you should find some people willing to try the product early on.
Many early adopters come in the form of beta users. For example, you might provide an early version of an ebook or online course to a subset of users in exchange for their feedback. They can help you better understand the market and ensure you’re on the right track. Of course, they're equally helpful after a product launch as brand ambassadors.
There are several ways to turn early adopters into advocates:
- Ask for referrals. Many early adopters will be more than willing to refer their friends and colleagues to a product they enjoy. Try placing a referral button on your website or instituting a program to "invite" other beta users pre-launch.
- Secure testimonials. Testimonials and other forms of social proof are valuable for converting potential customers that are on the fence. References can also be beneficial for expensive enterprise products targeting business users.
- Request a rating or review. Digital products sold on third-party platforms, such as ebook stores, benefit from ratings and reviews—as well as the velocity of those ratings and reviews. Requesting ratings from early adopters is an excellent way to secure favorable reviews.
#3. Build a Complementary Tool or Service
Many products have complementary tools or services that can help promote the product and boost sales over the long-term.
For example, an SEO course might create a free website analysis tool that provides a customized list of suggestions. In the report, the company might pitch the course as a way to fix the problems identified in the website report. You’re providing immediate free value to visitors with an upsell to a product that they know they might need to fix their problems.
You can also create complementary services to boost digital product sales. A common example is a curated newsletter focused on your niche market. You can use the newsletter as a way to market your product in a subtle way while simultaneously reaching potential customers on a weekly or monthly basis with content that they enjoy.
Many companies also use digital products as a stepping stone to software products. For example, the same SEO course might evolve into an SEO tool that’s available as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription. Complementary tools that you build for marketing might be repurposed as parts of these applications or help market a larger piece of software.
#4. Become a Thought Leader
Most companies create digital products to solve a problem for a customer and end up becoming somewhat of an expert in the process.
Many successful companies launch products to solve these problems, but the most successful companies become thought leaders in the space. For example, an SEO course might write educational content on improving search rankings or send a weekly newsletter. These efforts establish them as a knowledgeable presence and not just a company selling a tool.
In addition to developing in-house content, companies might offer their expertise to journalists covering a related problem area. For example, Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and other services make it easy to reach out to journalists and get quoted in relevant industry media sources. It's a great way to build credibility and expertise in a space.
The Bottom Line
There are many different ways to promote and market digital products, but it's harder than ever to set yourself apart in today's crowded market. So, in addition to understanding your customers and solving real problems (the two most essential steps), built-in marketing techniques and becoming a thought leader can go a long way in building trust.
If you're looking for help building or marketing your project, contact us to learn more about how we can help!