How to Decide on a Digital Product or Virtual Offer (Even if You Have No Clue What to Sell)

Amanda Olson - Designer behind Anchor ‹A› Digital Design Co. and the Zag Blog

Hi, there!
I’m Amanda – a designer, WordPress guru, and dreamer.

Zag is the Anchor ‹A› blog dedicated to helping you reach your biggest business goals.

If you’re ready to learn how to decide on a digital product or virtual offer, even if you have no clue what to sell, then keep reading below.

This training is Part 1 in a 4-part series about creating your next offer, promoting it, and nurturing new subscribers and buyers.

Let’s jump into how you can decide on a digital product or virtual offering for your business. Even if you don’t formally have a business, but maybe you’re thinking about starting a side hustle. Maybe you just want to bring in extra income each month or, maybe you want to keep your day job, but you just want to try out something new. 

These first two questions are for people who have in person services like your brick and mortar, or you physically have to meet with people to carry out your business. To help you figure out what would be a good product or service, virtual offer, first, what is your most popular in person offering? Write this down. 

My second question for you is, how can you translate that into a virtual offer? And I’m not saying if you can, because there’s most certainly a way that you can do it. It’s just a matter of coming with the way that you can do it there. 

It might not look exactly the same as your in person offering of course, because you’re not meeting in person. But there most definitely is a way that you can turn it into a way that you can serve people online. Right now I know this is really a very current topic for a lot of people, since everyone’s kind of stuck at home. Maybe you can’t go to work right now. I know a lot of people have had to close their doors and are working from home. So this is very relevant for those of you.

Here are a few examples of businesses who have created unique ways to still run their business online during these challenging times:

Example # 1 – Gym:

If you are a gym, you could offer your classes online. I’ve seen people do online boot camps. You’d have to figure out some tech stuff to go along with this, but it could be as simple as this: You’re not supposed to charge for having a Facebook group. But that in my mind is like the fastest simplest way to do it. So I guess I want to put the disclaimer that I’m not promoting that, but something similar. The end goal is that you want to have an online platform where you can deliver your classes.

Example # 2- Hair Salon

A hair salon is the other one that I’ve heard of. So I’ve heard of hairstylists doing Zoom coaching, helping people dye their roots at home. So that is a way that they made it work, which is awesome. 

Example # 3- Photographer

One photographer I know started doing porch photo shoots. So the photographer would still be able to social distance by standing at least six feet away and capture families on their porch or in their yard playing. This particular photographer advertised “front porch photo shoots”. 

These are just a few examples of really great ways that people have translated their physical business and made it work.

Having said that, it’s not really an online service. It’s more of focusing on a good idea, nonetheless. You just need to redshift your mindset and focus on ways you can be innovative with your business online. 

If you are already online and you want to create a new offering, here are some thoughts for you:

  • What is something that you do for your clients that they love? Perhaps you send them a guide when you start working with them. Maybe you send them worksheets that they love. How can you translate some of this into a product offering? If there are certain questions that people ask you over and over, that could be a really good idea for some sort of package that you can offer. Just start making a list or even as you go through your day, keep in mind some of those things that keep coming up that people keep asking about, or that have been really popular with your clients. Those can make really good offerings, offering ideas.
  • Educating and teaching as a category is a really popular way to bring your services, or bring your what you do online. In the past, have you done any sort of training that’s performed really well already? If you blog, is there a blog post that you’ve done that performed really, really well? Going back to what are some of the questions that people ask you often? Those can make really great topics for training courses or some like a form of education and teaching. 

Now let’s  dive into what those offers could look like, because it’s hard to imagine them in kind of like this nebulous sense.

  • Mini course
  • Full course
  • Online bootcamp
  • Masterclass – I actually joined a membership just because a lady was offering one masterclass that I really wanted to see. 
  • Audio Course -One that I purchased in the past was it’s like 21 days or 30 days of audio clips. And it’s the person teaching each day through an audio clip. So that’s a really great way, especially if you are really good at talking and verbalizing your ideas, then that could be a really good option for you.
  • Group Coaching Call -A group coaching call is another option. Voxer access has become a kind of a hot offer that I’ve heard about a lot about lately. And what this would be like is like a day or four hours or however you would structure it of Voxer access. And this was something that you can dive a lot deeper into. But basically people have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the day, you answer them, et cetera.
  • Online Summit -You could do an online summit where you would organize multiple speakers on a specific topic and then charge an entry fee for people to join.
  • Training Session -A training session or any sort of coaching session is another great way to offer education and training. 
  • One Hour Intensive – An intensive is where you’re focusing on one specific topic and then using the hour to knock out as much as you can about that topic.I actually recently did an intensive with someone to help me with a kind of a product offering of my own. And so through that hour we hopped on a Zoom call, knocked out a bunch of stuff, and then she actually offered seven days of support after which I really appreciate.
  • Memberships –Memberships are doing really well right now. I actually have signed up for a couple of them, and so you pay a monthly fee and then you get, what I’ve seen so far is you get access to a library of trainings and courses. And then also it usually includes some sort of community like a Facebook group where you can ask questions and get feedback. And it has like a monthly Q&A call, additional training inside the membership. So this could be a really good option for you as well.

If you’re thinking about online teaching, you should check out a platform like Skillshare. Skillshare is very much for tech and creative, but I know there are other platforms for other industries. You would just need to find a platform that is related to your industry, but they are surely out there. I launched one class on Skillshare, I want to say like a year and a half ago. Though it didn’t bring in a ton of money right away, I’ve seen it keep growing. Therefore I’ll add more classes and continue to see that grow. It’s just another way of adding an additional income stream in your online business.

Digital Products:

If you’re wanting to create a digital product, I have a couple questions for you to start out with:

  1. Have you created resources in your business that you can use in a digital offering? Look at some resources that you created for yourself in your business. You most certainly have some Google docs somewhere that you refer to often, and they might seem like nothing to you, but I guarantee that to someone else, they would find them to be really valuable. So some of those handy resources, some of your own cheat sheets can make really good resources as well.
  2. Have you had a lot of the same email questions come through? If so, this is a great product to create. Some of the best emails you’ve sent to people. I can think of when clients ask me questions about specific topics, I will often send back very detailed, thorough emails, which they really appreciate. These responses are some of the best content and can make really great content for digital products. They’re packed with tons of info, super helpful. A couple of examples that my clients often ask me is how to prep for a brand photo shoot, how to get really good photos, how to communicate with her photographer and this would make a really great digital product for any photographers out there.

Another question I often get asked is, how they can get testimonials and Google reviews. So I actually have turned this into a digital product. When you do this, you already have that content created. A lot of times it just looks like reformatting, putting it into a nice guide and just polishing it so it’s ready to go.

  1. Is there a marketplace in your industry? So one that I’m thinking of right now, a popular one is Etsy. This is the one I’m most familiar with. But why these are so great is if you could start here they already have a built in audience. You still want to market your products and do all the SEO stuff, but when you have a built in science, it makes it much more likely that people are actually going to find and buy your product. A lot of times people start on these platforms and then move off of them to get rid of all the fees and stuff. Because a lot of times these platforms take a pretty good cut of your payments, but when you are able to be on your own, you get to keep most. I mean, there’s always going to be some fees, but you get to keep a larger chunk of your profits.
  2. Could this digital product be part of a subscription? One of my clients actually just launched her own subscription for essential oil calendars. So each month she provides a new calendar for her subscribers, which is a really great way to put that in place. So for Creative Market, I have a few products on there now. Though Creative Market is not a huge moneymaker for me right now, it does bring in a little extra each month and this all ads up. 

One of my biggest mistakes I want to share is that I created a class on Skillshare and just kind of let it sit. I created a product on Creative Market and just let it sit. What I should have done is created multiple classes on Skillshare and let them see how they did and then created multiple products on Creative Market so there are at least a few in each place. That is what I wish I would have done if I had gone back. It’s funny, because I had even been given that advice, but I didn’t listen to it. But now I’m like, “I should’ve done that.”

This is so important because it’s all related to momentum. For example: If someone saw one of my classes on skillshare and they liked it, they’re going to be more likely to check out other classes. On Creative Market, if they like one of my products, they’re going to be more likely to check out other products. So on Creative Market, I was just depending on that one product. Though seeing sales come in here and there which is awesome and fun, I would have been able to build up more momentum if I had gotten more products up sooner.

In addition, on these platforms, you’re more likely to get highlighted or promoted if you have more things to choose from. 

When you’re deciding what you should offer, one thing you can always do is ask your audience. 

Ask your audience:

  • What are you  interested in learning? 
  • What they would love to see from you?
  • What have been their favorite things that you have shared with them so far?

Asking these questions are a great way to gauge interest to see what will be most likely to sell and help you validate your offer. 

The next thing I want to say is, what are you passionate about? 

If you are not passionate about what you’re creating, it’s going to be really hard to sell it.

So you need to be passionate. If you’re not passionate about it, it’s going to be hard to promote it. If this is something that you want to do for the long haul, it needs to be something that you can continually kind of come back to and have the energy to do so.

Going into what you need. With any digital product, you need a way for people to pay for it and a way to deliver it. For example, if you’re doing an online bootcamp for your gym, you’re going to have to figure out a way for people to view your videos. Some way to gate the access so that only people that are paying are able to view it. My advice to you would be, keep it simple.

When you’re getting started, just do what works. 

Just keep it as simple as you can. And then you can always expand after that. As far as a way for people to pay, there are a lot of really great online platforms. I’m going share three of my favorite that I’ve seen so far that work really well.

  1. Square- Square makes it super easy if you want to sell individual products, or if you want to do individual services. From what I’ve seen it breaks out into a menu, it’s super convenient and looks really nice.
  2. SamCart – Samcart is a great way to do one off sales pages, one off landing pages for products. I personally use this. You can always add a shop to your website. I think about every CMS now has the option to add a shop. I will be adding WooCommerce to my shop. Right now I’m using SamCart because it allows the option. I’m getting a little complicated right now to do upsells and order bumps. And this is something I can talk about in another blog post and live video if you’re interested. But that’s an option I chose because of those features.
  3. PayPal is another super easy one. So that’s another great option, and a ton of people have PayPal, super great way to go. 

Here’s a look at the rest of the trainings in this series:

Part 2: How to generate interest with a lead magnet

Part 3: How to promote your lead magnet and grow your email list

Part 4: How to nurture your new email subscribers

I would love to hear in the comments below what comes up for you as you read through this post. I hope you found it to be super informative. Thanks for reading.

Amanda