How to Promote Your Digital Product in a Crowded Marketplace

In the digital landscape, creating products for immediate download is one of the quickest ways to build a sustainable business. Digital products — training courses, membership sites, website themes, apps, and more — often benefit from low ongoing costs after the initial production. Profit margins will typically be greater than ecommerce products, without the risk of stock issues. While there are many benefits, low barriers to entry mean that competition can be fierce. To stand out in a crowded marketplace requires a clear strategy, allowing your product to get noticed and promoted.

Pinpoint Your Audience

When dealing with competition, having a clear understanding of who your audience is will give you a distinct advantage. Selling to a carefully targeted group of people should be easy, so spend time initially researching who will want your product. To accurately pinpoint the audience, look at the demographic data for similar products using tools like SEMRush and Alexa. Build up an avatar of your perfect customer, allowing you to craft your sales process with someone in mind.

Build a Sales Funnel

A sales funnel will allow you to maximize your profit from each sale. When every customer interaction is made to count, you can afford to pay more for advertising and overall customer acquisition. A proven sales funnel involves driving traffic to a landing page, offering a free gift in exchange for an email address, sending a series of emails that increase desire for the product, optimizing the sales page for conversions, and offering upsells after the initial purchase.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is the quickest way to bring targeted traffic to your offer. Platforms like Google and Facebook let you target precise demographics, so you can put an offer in front of your ideal customer. This initial traffic can be used to test your offer, finding any flaws you might not have anticipated. With a good conversion rate, you can then feel comfortable spending time on other traffic sources.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is an effective way to prove your knowledge and authority within a niche. By creating and distributing quality content, consumers will gradually be drawn toward you. If you can inform and engage a group of people consistently, when you make an offer they will likely accept. Content marketing might not bring immediate results, but it can be used as a long-term strategy to cultivate an audience.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is another strategy that takes time to come to fruition. However, a site ranking for a number of prime keywords can receive consistent traffic with a low maintenance cost. If you have developed your content marketing strategy effectively, many authority sites will be linking to you. These authority links, along with social media and press releases, can be enough to build strong rankings.

Approach Affiliates

Due to the often high profit margin of digital products, you can afford to pay a good commission to affiliates. Most successful affiliates will recognize a quality product and offer, but they may already be promoting an alternative. If you can provide a good commission and proof of conversion rate, though, you can often tempt them to run tests on your product. Affiliates can ramp up your sales considerably, driving a large amount of new traffic to your site. To get started, approach prominent bloggers and sites with clear details of your offer.

Understanding your audience, building a funnel, and reaching your audience is the basic blueprint for success with digital products. There are varying levels of complexity to each stage, but the fundamental process can remain fairly simple. If you can reach the right people with the right offer, the sales process can largely take care of itself.

Oversharing: The ‘Share Until it Hurts’ Culture

We all have friends on Facebook who share way too much information about their daily lives. It’s usually about something mundane and easily overlooked, but not always:

  • Pictures of their food? They’ve got ’em
  • Pictures of their kids/pets? Dozens…a day
  • Posts about their weight? OMG Yes
  • Complaints about work/school? Uh huh
  • Updates about social plans (that you may not be invited to)? Yep, that too

This is a totally made up example, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has actually happened (and try to tell me it couldn’t if it hasn’t already). Imagine this:

A teenage girl posts everything to her social media accounts; facebook, tumblr, twitter, everywhere possible, it’s all there. Pictures of her home, her family, her pets, the things she buys, the things she gets for her birthday, etc. She starts posting that she and her family are going on vacation and then continues to post blurbs about their time away. By the end of it there are literally hundreds of pictures of her time on the beach. The family returns home to find that they were robbed. When the police begin to investigate the crime they realize that the teenager’s constant sharing of her life enabled the robbers to do what they did. In the end it was a friend’s friend’s friend who is held responsible for the robbery and it turns out they got all their information about this house from the teenage girl’s posts.

This trend of telling everyone everywhere everything all the time isn’t just overbearing, it’s dangerous.

How many times have we seen news stories of people losing jobs over stupid posts? In some cases it’s not even related to work life, but still presents an image of the person making the statements that their employer finds unacceptable. Head on over to YouTube and find “People Fired Because of Social Media” on Good Mythical Morning to see a video detailing this very issue.

So, how do you avoid this problem? How do you make sure YOU don’t become ‘that person’? Well, the solution is rooted in a very simple place:

Common Sense. Here are some tips:

  1. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it online. If you find yourself upset with someone in your life, no matter who it is or what the situation is, don’t post about it on the Internet! Take a step back from the problem, calm down, and then find a way to deal with it in real life. Taking it to the Internet makes you seem passive-aggressive and ultimately will only escalate the situation.
  2. Don’t tell the world about an expensive purchase. Did you just get some crazy, incredible, high-tech gadget? Unless you are absolutely positive that only real friends and family members will see this post, don’t share. If you just have to tell people send them an email. Don’t put it all out there in a public forum.
  3. Only be friends with people you actually know. Don’t add all those acquaintances into your circles if you post private information. You don’t know your friend’s friends in real life? Then they aren’t your friends, you know nothing about them, and they have no business seeing daily pictures of your life.

Do you know someone who regularly makes the phrase “TMI” come out of your mouth? Are YOU the one who overshares? Do you have any tips to help people decide if something should be put online or not? Let everyone know in the comments—but only if it passes the common-sense test. For example, don’t name anyone involved or give too many specifics.

Bottom line? Use your heads, people!

Six Great Ways to Make Money with Your Smartphone

Admit it — you’re always looking at your smartphone. You’re texting, taking pictures or videos, playing games, checking Facebook or SnapChat and, sometimes, even talking on your phone. I am too—in fact, sometimes my wife has to sternly use my first and last name (like my parents did when I was in trouble) to get my attention: “Amin? Amin? Amin Khoury are you listening to me?” Yes, dear.

Here’s an idea for all you smartphone addicts: why not make some money while you’re at it? The truth is that you can make money using your smartphone. Here are six of the most exciting money-making opportunities you can try:

Easy Shift: Do you love to shop? If so, Easy Shift is for you. Your job, after signing up, is to check product availability at specific outlets. If the item is stocked, you check the barcodes and prices and report back. Users earn anywhere from $2 to $20 per assignment.

GymPact: Thinking about starting an exercise program? GymPact keeps you motivated by paying you to exercise. Sign up for an account, establish your goals and record each workout session to earn money. Need more motivation? If you don’t meet your goals, you’ll be fined. That should keep you on track.

Groupon Snap: You buy groceries, right? Why not get paid while you’re doing it? After downloading the app, check the “Offers” section. Buy one or more of the cashback products, take a picture of your receipt and upload it within the required time frame. After approval, the cash is deposited into your account. You can also earn by referring friends.

Receipt Hog: All you have to do is buy stuff or eat at a restaurant to earn money with Receipt Hog. The app tracks marketing and demographic information for different companies. Simply take pictures of your purchase or restaurant receipts and upload them to earn virtual coins. Once you have enough coins, you can redeem them for real money.

Screenwise Trends: How does earning money for doing absolutely nothing sound? With the Screenwise Trends app you do just that. Admittedly it’s not a lot of money and yes, you do give up some privacy rights, but if that doesn’t bother you, you can earn money. Screenwise Trends is a browser extension that tracks your Internet browsing. Designed to make Google smarter, the app sits quietly in the background. Once it’s installed, you can forget about it. Earn by simply browsing as usual or make additional money by joining discussion panels.

Instagram: You already take pictures, but with Instagram you can make money doing it. Instagram is a photo-sharing platform available to everyone from Moms and Dads to large corporations. Instagram’s brand promotion division is huge, with companies in all industries spending a combined total of from $1 billion to $1.5 billion on sponsored content. Here is where you come in. Companies pay what they call “influencers” like you to promote their products through the Instagram platform. You use pictures, captions and hashtags to promote specific brands. Compensations and requirements vary. If you don’t meet the requirements for paid promotions, you can still sign up as an unpaid brand ambassador. You don’t get paid in cash when you sign up, but companies send you freebies to promote through social media.

There you have it. You’re on your phone all of the time anyway. You may as well make a little cash while you’re doing it.



Image Attribution: jcookfisher – Creative Commons license