Teri Marin

How to Monetize a Business Even if You Only Sell Digital Products 

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Whether you’re a coder or a musician, there’s a good chance that you’ve found it difficult to monetize your online business. Entrepreneurs in the digital age have often found that their great ideas often don’t translate into moneymaking opportunities.

No matter what kind of digital products you’re trying to sell, there’s a good chance that a strong market exists for them in the physical world. You might need to look outside of traditional channels to find it, however.

For instance, a musician could make more money licensing tracks to podcasters than they might make trying to sell songs for individual download. At one point, enterprising developers were actually able to carve out a lucrative underground market.

There’s no reason you can’t find this sort of market for your own digital products all over again.

Remember the Historic Shareware Model

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, computer users around the world heavily invested in shareware. People would download a product for free and use it for a period of time before sending in a registration fee that entitled them to a full version of the whatever they were using.

Programmers can continue to use this model today, but think about how successful it could be with other products as well. Giving away a limited version of an eBook may encourage readers to purchase the full thing. Considering that you’re competing with a great deal of free content already on the web, you’ll need to do something to catch the eye of your potential consumers.

Once they take the time to get through a free chapter or two, they’ll naturally want to read more and will therefore be far more inclined to purchase the full version. This is especially true if they find your work valuable to them.

Some businesses have even been able to leverage the idea of value enough that they can make money off otherwise free products.

Consider Selling Support for Free Products

Open source software vendors actually give all of their products away for free. Many of them don’t ever expect to make money on them anyway, and therefore they offer them as simple downloads from their sites.

You download almost any kind of software product this way, including entire operating systems. These companies need to fund their operations some way, however, so many of them sell support contracts.

Once companies have adopted their programs, they usually need help using them. Those that purchase one of these contracts are entitled to assistance whenever they need it. Considering that larger enterprises can employ countless people, these contracts can be very lucrative. Many firms will continue to sign up for these services on a continuing basis.

Others have found that they can make money helping users install their products or even sell add-ons to a free product. These payware modules were once popular for flight simulators and online games. They’ve now become commonplace in almost every industry.

Regardless of how you decide to monetize your digital operations, never forget that content is truly king. Customers will flock to your brand if you have a product that’s truly worth investing in.

 

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