Digital products are one of the most effective ways to grow a website’s revenues - often by leaps and bounds.
It’s not unheard of for a site to go from $20-25 total EPMV on average and jump to $65, $75, or even higher EPMV after successfully introducing the right digital products to the site.
While digital products can grow the revenues of a site drastically, many website owners don’t understand how to monetize digital products to their full potential.
Sadly, they are leaving potentially thousands on the table by not taking advantage of a few easy wins that could multiply their number of digital product sales.
[Related: Check out our EasyWins.io review]
Selling Digital Products vs Amazon Associates vs Display Ads
The reason so many sites sell digital products is simple: they are often the most profitable form of monetization that a site can have in many niches. They also integrate into a monetization plan with both affiliate sales as well as display ads.
Display ads are one of the most basic forms of monetization, and the one that many website builders start with. Ads are put on a page, and for each person who clicks on an ad, you get a percentage of what that ad pays.
The most common starting ad provider is Google AdSense. Other popular platforms for sites with more traffic include Ezoic, MediaVine, Monumetric, and AdVine.
The amount display ads earn per thousand visitors (EPMV) varies based on niche, season, and corporate ad spends, and the ad provider. EPMV ranges for display ads can be as low as $3 EPMV up to $40+ EPMV, with the far majority falling between the $9-18 range based on years of experience from multiple niche site owners and flippers.
A deep dive in Google will reveal many different answers, but almost all of them will fall into these two ranges.
Pros of Display Ads
- Extremely easy to put on a site
- Potentially monetizes all traffic that visits the site
- Mix well with other forms
Cons of Display Ads
- Huge difference in earnings between basic ad providers like Google AdSense and premium ad providers like MediaVine or AdThrive
- Generally the lowest EPMV of all monetization methods
Amazon Associates is the most popular affiliate program in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. They are extremely easy to get into and allow affiliates to monetize with products from Amazon’s massive selection of items, and Amazon is a trusted brand name which means high conversion rates.
There’s also no guarantee that rates won’t be cut further in the future. However, high-traffic affiliates have the ability to work out additional deals directly with companies listing on Amazon, which can boost those numbers.
With or without those deals, Amazon is still one of the best options for monetizing websites.
Pros of Amazon Associates
- Very easy to get approved and set up
- Trusted name means high conversion rate
Cons of Amazon Associates
- Low commissions in most niches
- Cookies only last 24 hours or until the first sale, whichever comes first
[Related: Best Affiliate Marketing Courses]
The first thing that stands out about digital products are the potential per product earnings. If you sell a digital product for $30, you might lose 5% to processing fees, but that means you take home 95% of the revenue.
That beats 3% from Amazon or $1 from an ad click. Digital products take work to create and develop, but they also provide a very high potential revenue source.
Digital products can include a variety of products. A few examples would be a $15 custom Excel Sheet, a $30 Ebook, or a $1,000 in-depth video training course.
Digital products tend to be heavy revenue generators.
Pros of Digital Products
- Keep all the revenue instead of a percentage
- Much higher earnings per sale
- Potentially very high revenue income source
Cons of Digital Products
- Major time/effort investment to create a good digital product
Can These Monetization Methods Be Used Together?
When comparing monetization processes a general rule of thumb goes, the easier it is to implement, the less revenue it will create.
Display ads will generally bring in the least revenue, but are easy to throw up on a site and can monetize informational content well.
Amazon Affiliate links will bring in a solid amount of revenue, sometimes far more than display ads. This requires the use of affiliate links, comparison charts, images, and call to actions - but they can be very lucrative and used together with display ads.
Digital products need to be more specialized, can come in the form of ebooks or courses, and require a lot of time and effort to make. However, you keep the full revenue from these, meaning for many webmasters they are by far and away the biggest moneymaker.
Starting with display ads and Amazon affiliate links while creating a great digital product is the smart way to monetize and get the most out of traffic.
This three-pronged approach also allows us to get a high sales multiple when selling your website.
Easy Win #1: Add Exit-Intent Pop-up To Monetize Digital Products
One of the most powerful easy wins from my Easy Wins Database, pop-ups in the beginning of a visit are annoying for user experience. But they are great for catching attention on the way out of a website.
Instead of losing a visitor with no benefit, an exit pop-up featuring your best digital product could get a sale.
There are many reasons to leave a site. Maybe the introduction paragraphs weren’t interesting enough. Maybe an ad was loading incorrectly and causing a poor user experience. Maybe the visitor is just impatient.
Having the best digital product that gives an immediate solution to their problem can create an opportunity for a profitable sale.
This is also a way to push visitors who are on the fence after reading the entire article towards action instead of leaving your site to “think about it.”
A good exit-intent popup promoting your best relevant digital product can potentially cause massive growth to your revenues.
Easy Win #2: Add Scrolling Footer Sticky Promoting Your Digital Product
A scrolling footer is great because it is relatively non-invasive to the user experience while putting the offer for your digital product right there. Any visitor looking at an article on your website doesn’t have to go elsewhere to make that purchase.
The ad scrolls take up a small amount of space, and since it’s sticky at the bottom it moves as the visitor reads through the article. This is a great way to keep the big offer front and center without aggravating the reader.
Make sure that the scrolling footer is:
- Has a strong call to action
- Is big enough to be clear on mobile, but small enough it doesn’t take up too much space
- Test that the ad scrolls with the user like it is supposed to
Pro Tip: Use OptinMonster to set up the best user experience parameters like not having the ad show until the user has been on the page for at least 10-20 seconds.
Easy Win #3: CTA Should Be a Drastic Color
Colors that blend in do just that: they blend in. While it might seem like a good idea to use mild colors that fit with the theme, the truth is that a call to action needs to grab attention and break the pattern of mindless scrolling.
An example given to me by one niche website builder: green and blue callout buttons on an outdoor site he later sold made sense: blue and green are very outdoor colors. Those pages converted at 9% for Amazon sales.
When that callout button was changed to a garish bright red with white letters, the conversion rate jumped to 12.9%.
You don’t want your CTA to blend into the page. You want it to stick out and be hard to ignore. Choosing a drastic color does just that and will often provide the highest returns.
Find or Create a Digital Product
In some niches it is possible to find a digital product someone else allows affiliates to sell that digital product at a high percentage like 60% or 80%.
Clickbank is full of offers, but there’s more trash than treasure. If you go this route - make sure to pick a good digital product.
Even if you start this way, it often makes sense to still develop your own digital product. This lets you set the price, build your brand while increasing revenues, and gives you control over the full quality and creation of the product.
Which brings you to the actionable steps of creating your own product.
8 Actionable Next Steps To Create Your Own Digital Product
Don’t let creating a digital product intimidate you. Digital products are one of the best ways to radically increase your revenues for a site.
Just follow these actionable steps to get the ball rolling.
1: Create an In-Depth Outline
This allows you to create the skeleton of the whole product. Once a solid outline is in place it becomes much easier to flesh out the information to create a great digital product.
2: Decide on Format
Is this an e-book? A video course series? Some combination of the two?
Deciding on the best format for your digital product will make the specter of creating an informational product much less frightening.
Once I have this decided I know what needs to be done by myself, what I’ll need hired freelance help for, and what the next steps are.
3: Get the Skilled Providers You Need
If you have a talented writer or video person on hand, this isn’t an issue. There are also plenty of people who can make their own digital product if they are willing to put in the hours of work it will take.
Many of us prefer to have help. That in-depth outline from step one is now critical. You can flesh it out with bullet points and used that to help guide any hired professionals you may need. Fiverr and Upwork are two places to find a surprising number of talented
Posting on the Pro Blogger Job Board can also get some fairly high talent people answering your listing, however they will be on the higher end of expenses.
4: Prepare the Sale Infrastructure
Are sales going to be processed through PayPal? Clickbank? ThriveCart shopping carts?
There are plenty of options for how to sell a digital product. The niche, format, and individual situations will determine which options are best.
Figuring out how the sales funnel or sales setup will work is an important part of the process. There are many options, with step-by-step guides for how to setup each one successfully.
5: Research a Price Point
What is a good price for the digital product? Are there others in the space selling for $30 or $300? Is the niche one that is associated with high income, low income, or somewhere in the middle?
A little bit of research goes a long way towards finding a good price point that will convert.
6: Launch the Digital Product
No digital products can be sold until they actually exist and are public. Launch the finished project so it's available for sale.
7: Add the Scrolling Footer
Add the scrolling footer on-site as suggested from the Easy Wins database.
8: Add the Exit-Intent Pop-Up
Add the exit-intent pop-up as suggested from the Easy Wins database.
These three easy wins and eight actionable next steps make it easy to grow serious revenue from selling digital products on your site.
Guest post by Mushfiq S.
Mushfiq is a prolific investor that buys, grows, and sells online businesses, specializing in content websites. He has done 180 website flips to date and several have resulted in 6-figure exits. He runs a free newsletter, The Website Flip, where he discusses growth case studies, guides, and shares sites for sale that anyone can purchase.