A digital product is a product that’s completely delivered online – such as an eBook, video course or online group coaching program. Every wellpreneur can add digital products to their business, even if you provide an in-person therapy like massage, acupuncture or yoga. Digital products can be your entire business, or simply provide an additional income stream. They’re flexible, relatively quick and low-cost to create, and can be used in multiple ways in your business. For example, you could use digital products as:
- A free promotion tool to let potential customers experience your work.
- A bonus gift when purchasing another product or service.
- A supplement to your existing products and services. For example, a nutrition coach could offer a digital recipe book. A yoga studio could offer online video classes for students to use while they’re travelling.
- Your primary business, selling digital products alone or in bundles.
And digital products are easier to create than you might think! Once you understand the basic types of digital products, you can let your creativity flow to figure out the right combination and branding to fit your business!
The key to success with digital products is to start small, get feedback, and iterate.
I learned this lesson the hard way!
My first digital product was a course teaching wellpreneurs how to build a WordPress website. I noticed I was getting lots of requests to create websites, and since I didn’t want to start a web development business, I thought I’d create a course to teach people how to build a website themselves. I spent 3 months creating this course. I spent several weeks simply setting up a membership area on my own website to host the course. (Of course I did it all myself because I felt I had no money to get help.) I filmed videos and step-by-step screenshare walkthroughs. I made handouts and worksheets. I gave and gave and gave valuable information inside the course. And then I tried to sell it.
The results were underwhelming at best. I had spent so long creating the course, I had skipped the step of validating if my people actually wanted to buy a course like this. And it turned out that most of them didn’t. Yes, I did sell a handful of courses, but it didn’t compensate me for the huge amount of time and effort I had spent creating the course! In retrospect, the majority of serious wellpreneurs will pay to have a professional create their website. And the wellpreneurs who didn’t want to pay for web development also didn’t want to pay for a WordPress course! Although I got great feedback from my few customers, this experience really knocked me because I’d spent so much time, effort and a bit of money getting the course ready, and it really wasn’t right for my market.
You now know that what I should have done before creating my program was a series of market research calls with potential customers, like we discussed in the previous chapter! Then I could have created a quick and simple beta version of the course and run it live to get feedback and testimonials. THEN after I had success stories and lots of feedback, I could decide if I wanted to turn it into a nicely packaged online course.
Looking back, it seems so obvious. But at the time, I was just eager to create something and launch it to the world! So as you’re thinking about which digital products you want to create, I urge you to start simply, get feedback and iterate.
5 Digital Products for Wellness Businesses
The basic components of a digital product are text, audio and video. You can include one or more of these, it’s up to you!
- Here are some examples of what you could include in a digital product:
– Text: eBook or guide. Worksheets. PDFs. Templates, checklists, shopping lists.
– Audio: Interviews, lectures, meditations, podcasts etc.
– Video: how-to videos (exercise, cooking etc), video lectures / lessons, video interviews, tours etc.
- Sometimes digital products also include interactive elements like:
– Group or Forum: this is often a Facebook group or private forum for people who have purchased the program to connect with each other and ask questions.
– Live group or 1:1 calls: often conducted through a video conferencing service like Skype or Zoom.
You can combine these elements in numerous ways to create a digital product that fits your business. But to get started, let’s keep it simple. Here are the five most common types of digital products to use in your wellness business:
When I say “eBook” you might think about a hugely complicated effort to write a book and get it published. Not so! Many eBooks are simply downloadable PDFs, and often much shorter than a full book. You could create an eBook of recipes, a step-by-step plan, or a short guide on a specific subject. There’s no reason to wait until you can write an entire book to have an eBook on your website!
eBooks are brilliant as a first digital product because they’re inexpensive, quick to produce, easy to download and people know what they are. They also provide a low-cost entry point for customers to start to work with you.
The drawback of ebooks is that your ideal customer might forget she downloaded it and never read your great advice and tips! (Do you have any free eBooks on your computer that you’ve never read? I certainly do!) We’ll talk more about how to ensure your potential customer reads your eBook in the Nurture + Convert chapter.
A Toolkit goes beyond an eBook and provides actionable items like worksheets, checklists, templates and possibly how-to videos to help your client achieve a goal.
A Health Coach, Nutritionist or Healthy Chef could easily put together a healthy shopping toolkit including recipe guide, shopping list, resource guide of your favorite places to buy healthy foods, and a few videos demonstrating your favorite recipes or cooking techniques.
A personal trainer might create a toolkit including workout videos, resource lists for where to buy gear or supplements, fitness tracking worksheets etc.
Depending on what you include, a toolkit can have a much higher perceived value than an eBook because it is more actionable.
3. Simple Email Course
This is my favorite kind of digital product for new wellpreneurs because it’s so easy to create.
A Simple Email Course is delivered completely through email. You’ll often see this type of course positioned as a 7, 10 or 30 day program, sometimes called a “challenge.”
The basic format is that your client signs up for the course (which can be free or paid), and they’re added to a special email distribution list for that course. Then they’re sent the course materials in installments (maybe daily or weekly) by email. You might write the course material directly in the email, or more typically include it as a PDF download or a video.
I love the Simple Email Course for two reasons:
1) It breaks your content down into bite-sized pieces that are easy for the customer to consume. You’re providing the same content as an eBook, but in a more actionable format, delivered over several days or weeks.
2) Because you’re regularly delivering valuable content to your customers, it builds your relationship with them, and provides multiple points for engagement and interaction.
You can run a Simple Email Course as a paid program, or as a promotional tool to build your email list. You’ll often see wellpreneurs running this type of program as a “Free Challenge” over 7 or 10 days. We’ll talk about this more in Chapter 7 about your email opt-in gift.
4. Online Course
You’re probably familiar with Online Courses, maybe you’ve taken one yourself! My Wellpreneur Marketing Bootcamp is an example of an Online Course.
An Online Course is simply a program, class, workshop or course that’s taught online.
It can include written lessons, guides, and worksheets along with audio and video. Online Courses often include access to a protected website which hosts the course materials. And sometimes they include interactive elements like groups or forums, or live calls.
Online Courses can also be delivered Live or Evergreen:
A Live course means it starts and ends at a specific time, and a group of students go through the course together.
An Evergreen course means a student works through the material at her own pace.
You can create an online course about almost anything! You can teach yoga or fitness, cooking, healthy shopping, meditation, self-care, making DIY skincare … anything you might teach during an in-person workshop you can probably teach online!
Online Courses are a gold standard in teaching online … but I don’t recommend them for a first product because they’re a big investment of time and effort to create. You want to be sure you’re creating exactly what your target market wants, before you develop an online course.
5. Membership / Subscriptions
From monthly subscription boxes of beauty products, to a monthly emotional eating support group to a weekly subscription of healthy recipes to daily fresh workouts, membership and subscription products are really popular! Unlike an Online Course which you purchase once, a membership is a recurring revenue stream so you get paid every month for as long as a client is a member. Recurring revenue is more predictable, and makes membership products an appealing option to add to your business.
A membership or subscription can look however you want it to! You might deliver a physical or digital product at regular intervals (a box a month, or a new class every week etc.) A membership usually (but not always) includes access to a membership site or private forum for members-only. And it often includes a live element (like a group or forum) to connect and get feedback. You might also provide members-only resources or training. You’ll just want to be sure your target audience wants what you’re offering, before you agree to provide it on a recurring basis!
Digital Product Reality Check
Now, if you’re thinking: “I know what I want to do, I’ll create an online course that people will buy through my website 24/7 so I never have to work with a 1:1 client again!” let’s do a bit of a reality check.
Digital products and courses are often referred to as “evergreen” since they can be always available and require no extra work on your part to deliver. These types of digital products are often considered “passive income” (vs, “active” income like a live course or coaching.) and seem to be the Holy Grail of digital products.
My Wellpreneur Marketing Bootcamp is an evergreen course like this. But is it completely passive? No way! What the “passive income” evangelists often fail to mention is the active work that goes into marketing and selling the course. Yes, over time you can optimize paid advertising to find new prospects and then put them in an automated sales funnel to nurture and sell them on the course. That’s really smart business once it’s setup and optimized, and a great goal to aim for when creating your course. But the reality is that the first course you create won’t be your best work, and it won’t be totally passive (at least, not if you want to make consistent, or growing, sales!)
Don’t get caught up in comparison-itis looking at amazing online courses which have been created by experienced entrepreneurs with an entire team to help them. As a new wellpreneur, you have the advantage of being able to start small, iterate, and improve each time. You don’t need to create The Ultimate Product on the first attempt (and I believe you couldn’t do this even if you tried!) That’s not to say your first product won’t sell or that won’t solve your customer’s’ problems – it can and will – but it’ll be nowhere near as good as the products you’ll create a year or two from now. It’s more important to get something out into the world, get feedback from actual customers, and then improve it.
The fastest way to get to a great, and then amazing digital product is by starting small, getting it into the hands of customers, and iterating.