How to Sell Digital Downloads

Online stores either sell physical products or digital products. With physical products,the selling process is time-consuming and requires extensive inventory management. However, these shortcomings are eliminated in the case of digital downloads.

Selling digital products can be started almost instantaneously. To sell digital downloads you require less human intervention, negligible inventory management, zero shipping costs, and these products can be quickly replicated to increase the sales. Click To TweetUnlike physical products that require a certain amount of manufacturing time and cost.

Also Read: Top 8 marketplaces to buy and sell online

There are several hosting platforms available in the market that support the quick and easy building of websites catering to digital downloads. Digital downloads are on the rise. Some of the digital products include –music albums, eBooks, games, meeting planners, software, digital printing.

A point to be noted is that the digital products are susceptible to piracy and its security needs to be considered before planning to sell digital downloads.

Here we will check how one can sell digital downloads effectively.

Ways to Sell Digital Downloads

Digital downloads are getting increasingly popular owing to the fewer efforts required in its sales. However, selling digital downloads is not completely effortless. Selling digital downloads has a list of benefits as highlighted below:

  1. Requires no inventory management
  2. No shipping required
  3. Stock can be refilled at any time
  4. Needs less time and resource to complete sales
  5. Easy to track and manage
  6. Digital products can be easily marketed across multiple geographical regions
  7. Digital downloads have less market competition
  8. Such products do not have any physical storage requirement

The benefits of selling digital downloads are enormous, but these also have some areas which need to be looked upon. Some of these are:

  1. Privacy and piracy protection for digital downloads
  2. Existing competition against free products
  3. Licensing of products
  4. Return policies
  5. Marketing the product

While it is easy to build and open a store for digital products, the challenge is in marketing these products. Unlike physical products, digital products can not be viewed or experienced physically by buyers. This is one of the biggest challenges while selling digital downloads.

Also Read: Best Websites to sell items online for free

Finding the Right Product

Digital products have limited choices that you can sell. Most popular digital downloads include:

  • Music
  • Photos
  • Printing
  • Games
  • Software
  • eBooks
  • Tutorial content
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Recipes
  • Data and research artifacts
  • Apps
  • Designs
  • Templates and Themes
  • Graphics

While these are some of the commonly sold items, there are many more. If you are starting a new business, then you can search for keywords that are most popularly searched. You can use a tool such as Keyword Planner. This will let you know which digital downloads have high demand and can cater to a specific audience.

However, in case you have a specific digital business idea or products to sell then you need not check the keyword for popularity. Alternatively, you can check geographical regions where similar products are being sold.

Target the right product in the right market. Tools such as JungleScout provide insights about best-performing products.

JungleScout provide best-performing products

Once you have found the right product to start your online store, next would be to focus on targeting customers. You can use multiple social media channels along email campaigns to attract customers.

Being associated with channels such as Redditt, Twitter or Facebook, provides better insights about customer views for a specific niche of products.

Related Article: Best Ecommerce Platforms to Sell Digital Products

Website Traffic

Once you have decided on the product, the next step will be to ensure you can drive enough traffic to your website. While SEO is the first thing that comes to our mind, this may be a long road. Using SEO, you will have to wait for some time before there is enough traffic on your website.

Alternatively, you can choose other social media platforms such as Facebook and provide Ads. You can also provide online Ads or reach out audience via blogs, influencer marketing, YouTube publicity, etc.

Based on your consumer base, choose a platform that would work best to sell digital downloads.

Below is one such Ad given by Loot Crate for their gaming segment.

Ad given by Loot Crate

Another similar Ad is as shown below for Nintendo Switch Games:

Nintendo Switch Games Ad

A simple Ad is as shown in below example:

Simple Ad

Lead Generation

As you start your business, you would need to increase your customer base and gather more customer information. This starts with encouraging more customers to sign up for your website or newsletter.

Such emails will be part of your email marketing campaign. However, unlike physical products, digital products require better techniques to gather leads. For instance, in case you are selling eBooks then you can sell shorter eBooks for free.

Also Read: Top Selling Platforms to Effectively Increase Your Sales

This will allow more people to know more about your services. This is one of the techniques used by several platforms that sell digital downloads.

Below is similar such example shown on Twitter by #startupindia, where the free online course is used to increase the number of sign-ups.

Lead Generation

Here is another example from where users can sign up and read 5 books.

Example from Free-eBooks

Provide Incentives

Incentives could be in the form of discounts, vouchers or as shown below. The below example from upGrad provides a free course for data science.

Provide incentives

While you have got your leads, the next challenge is to convert them into customers. To increase your customer base, you would have to provide first-time discounts, or some offers.

Another popular such offer is as shown below from Amazon kindle.

Amazon kindle

A lot of software provides a free trial so that users can first try their product before choosing any subscription.


Next on the list is referrals. Like physical products, digital downloads can also monetize on referrals. Once you have acquired your lead and converted a customer, the next best opportunity is to get a referral.

Encourage your customers to earn by providing referrals. One such example is as shown below from Games the shop.


Here is another such referral example for Online games.

Referral example for Online games

Referrals are more popularly used in online games as compared to other digital downloads. However, this isn’t restricted to just games. It is also used by other popular digital download platforms.

Wynkmusic also uses such incentive-based referrals over its app.



It is hard to stay alive in the market without using the right marketing techniques. This is true for physical as well as digital products. Users need to know the details of the products you sell, and this is possible only via enormous marketing.

Its easier to market digital downloads as compared to physical products. One reason being, the results of digital downloads are instantaneous. You can simply watch a marketing campaign, download the product if available on trial and get to know more about the product.

One such example is as shown below in the Smule marketing campaign

Smule marketing campaign

Another such example is the popular Salesforce video showing testimonial of its client Dunkin Donuts.

Salesforce video Dunkin Donuts

Certain tools let you quickly find influencers to build your network. Some of these are – BuzzStream, FollowWonk, Onalytica, GroupHigh, PitchBox, MuckRack, Traackr, BlogDash.

Also Read: How to Sell Online for Free – 10 Best Websites Reviewed


Blogs or content marketing is very effective when you want to sell digital downloads. Most popular digital products include a blog section. Using blog content, you can speak about various topics related to your product domain as well as it is an effective medium to appear in organic search.

For instance, Norton VPN provides blogs related to VPN as shown below:


You could also include a series of how to question-answer segment on your website. A similar question-answer segment is incorporated in the Cisco website.

Question-answer segment

Its easier to include multiple topic blogs when you are selling software or services. Here you can add more informative blogs.

However, when you sell eBooks or digital products such as music, it is challenging to find the right kind of blog topics.

In such cases, you can include stories, video blogs or vlogs. A similar example is as shown below by Jamendo Music.

Jamendo Music

For such digital products as well, you can add well-curated blog topics as shown below by Reverbnation music.

Reverbnation music

Community and Reviews

In the case of digital downloads such as software you can provide a free trial for users to try your services. This is one strategy adopted by most digital brands to increase their customer base.

However, in certain digital products such as eBooks, you would not be able to provide a free trial. The same is the case, for graphics or photography.

In such cases, community-driven support helps. Motivate your users to share over a community that can help other new users with their queries as well as market your product.The same can be extended to reviews and comments where users can share their experiences.

Also Read: 15 Best Apps to Sell Your Items Locally

A community predominately can help other users with solutions and suggestions. Here you can start a discussion on a topic and get help to troubleshoot issues. Whereas reviews and comments provide transparency to your products and services.

Community and Reviews

While you can add customer testimonials on your website, reviews and comments provide authenticity since these are based on customer satisfaction.

Capture Mobile users

This is probably true for both physical as well as digital products. However, in digital products, the challenge is, your products should be compatible with the mobile device.

For instance, if you are selling eBooks, use commonly referenced formats that can be also easily opened on a mobile device -iPhone, Android or macOS using commonly used eBook reader software.

For digital products, not only the website but also certain products such as eBooks, music, photos, graphics should support mobile rendering.

Not to forget, it’s easier to cater to mobile users, by creating a dedicated app. For instance, Smule provides a ready to download app.

Capture Mobile users

Digital Download platforms

There are certain platforms or services that are well known to develop digital e-commerce websites. These services make your complete online store experience easy and include features to seamlessly manage payments, products, branding, and others.

Some of these are paid or a freemium model and many do not charge a commission, while some charge transaction fees. Each one also varies based on the allowed storage with each plan. So, in case you are selling a digital product such as music album or videos which requires more storage, then consider looking at the storage plan as well.

Some of these platforms are:

  1. SendOwl
  2. FastSpring
  3. FetchApp
  4. Sellfy
  5. Gumroad
  6. Pulley
  7. Selz
  8. DPD
  9. Plasso
  10. E-junkie
  11. Easy Digital Downloads
  12. Pulley


Conventional methods used for selling physical products need to be revamped and re-engineered to leverage selling digital downloads.

Also Read: Top Buy and Sell Apps in 2020

Digital downloads are getting increasingly popular and there is a vast unexplored market here. Click To TweetStrategic innovation along with creative marketing can help increase your digital product sales.

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