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What should my first digital product be?


One of the toughest questions to answer when making your first digital product is, “What should it be?” There are so many different digital product types to choose from, and you might even have several different ideas. How do you decide which to do first? In this video, I’ll take you through some strategies to answer that question and help you get started. Let’s get into it.

Welcome to “First sale to full scale,” a 10-video series that covers the journey from making your first digital product to running a full-scale online business.

Ahead, I’m going to share five strategies to help you discover a great first digital product idea that customers will be excited to buy from you. Let’s jump into the first one to help you come up with a list of ideas that you can choose from. And a quick side note. Even if you already have a list, this is a great step to help you figure out which of your ideas have the best chance at being a hit.

Talk to your people

One of the best places to start is the people who know you and care about you. Make a list of 15–20 of your closest friends and family members and schedule some time to have a quick chat with them.

You may have to explain a bit about how digital products work and what you’re trying to do, but then you can ask questions like:

What do you think I’m good at or know a lot about?

What are some ways I’ve helped you with my experience or expertise?

What problems do you hear about that make you think of me as a recommendation?

We’re not always great at sharing with others what we think they’d be great at, so you never know what hidden insights might just be waiting for you to uncover.

Likewise, you can go to your audience. Whether through your email newsletter, on social media, or in a video, ask them why they follow you and how your creative work has made a difference in their lives.

Even if you’ve already got some ideas, this can be a great way to validate the ones that will resonate the most.

Do some Reddit research

While there are lots of online forums and communities, Reddit is one of the best because it’s well moderated, there’s a huge diversity of topics, and a wealth of honest comments and questions.

Start with a search for the topic of one of your product ideas and then put in quotes a phrase like “how do you,” “I’m having trouble,” or “please help” to get a list of discussions that contain those phrases and your keyword. As you look through the discussions, notice how people describe their problems.

Are people getting fired up? Are they emotional about the problem? The more passionate people are about solving a problem, the more profitable your solution could be.

Use the passion/profit matrix

The passion/profit matrix is a tool you can use to categorize your product ideas to find a product with high earning potential that you’ll also enjoy creating. Here to explain how it works is Podia’s CMO, the master of marketing, Len Markidan: take it away, Len.

Boom! That’s the goal. You want to choose something that makes money, but that’s also not going to cause you to burn out six months down the road.

Take your list and score each idea on how profitable it is and how passionate you are about it.

Markers of a profitable product include the following:

-It’s targeted toward people who have money.

-It helps people make money.

-People get fired up when they talk about the problem it solves.

Once you’ve scored your ideas, plug them into the profit/passion matrix with low profit to high profit going from left to right, and low passion to high passion going from bottom to top. The ones in or closest to the upper right are your best bets.

Hopefully, at this point, you’ve narrowed your list down a bit. It’s time to move on to the next strategy.

Search for the product you want to make

Has someone already made a product similar to the one you want to make? That’s actually great news. If people are already buying a product, that means there’s a market for it. Not only that but looking at similar products gives you an opportunity to improve on what’s already out there and offer something unique.

Let’s say you want to teach beginner singing lessons. We can look for online singing lessons on a site like Skillshare, where people leave reviews about their experience. In the lower starred reviews, there are often clues about what that product was missing or how it fell short of the customers’ expectations.

You can take what you’ve learned from those reviews and turn them into ways to make your product even better.

Now on to our last strategy.

Choose the medium that works best for your audience

Once you’ve found a great product idea, it’s still important to choose the right medium for that product. Should it be a digital download? A video-based online course? A webinar? A membership? There are actually a lot of different mediums to choose from. Sometimes you can find the answer in the previous step. What did customers of existing products have to say about the delivery method? Would they have preferred a different medium?

Aside from that, there are two important things to consider when choosing a medium for your product:

1. Which delivery method is the best fit for your audience?

For example, if your target audience is young parents with limited free time, a short audio-based product might be a better fit than a long video-based online course.

On the other hand, if your target audience is business professionals who budget time and money for in-depth training, something long-form like a video-based online course could be a good fit.

2. Which medium do I feel the most comfortable with? Answer this question both in terms of what you feel technically capable of doing and in terms of your preferred communication style. Video-based online courses are popular, but if you feel really intimidated by filming and editing video, it might be better to start with something simpler. You might also feel more comfortable writing than speaking.

And it’s okay to start small. In many cases, a great place to start is some kind of small digital download like a pdf guide or checklist. You don’t have to come out of the gate with a 40-hour video-based online course. Doing something small means getting your product out and getting feedback on that product sooner so you can continue to tweak and improve until you’re ready to create something more in-depth.

Hopefully, these strategies have helped you identify a product idea that you’re excited about and that will make you money.

In the next video, we’ll talk about how to market your product so you can get people excited and eager to buy.

If you found this video helpful and want more content like this, click the subscribe button and hit the notification bell so you’ll be sure not to miss any future videos. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time.

About the author

Ben is a video content marketer for Podia, an all-in-one platform where online courses, digital downloads, and membership websites – alongside their creators – thrive.