A million digital product ideas

I want to give you lots and lots of digital product ideas. All kinds of digital products that you could make. And I will inspire you with some of the ideas that you may not have thought of for your digital product empire.

There may not be quite a million digital product ideas in here, but there is a shedload. I’ve focused on ideas for digital products which are less obvious and are likely to give you a higher Return on Effort than the standard advice you’ll see to write an e-book or creae an online course.

I’ve included a written version, a list of digital product ideas at the end and a video from the Adventures in Products YouTube channel at the end. You choose.

Who are these digital product ideas for?

This is all about how to get your expertise out of your brain and into your products and start selling differently. Especially, let’s get rid of that old model of selling your time for money and make products instead. This article is for people who want to productise their expertise, move away from the trading time for money idea and pivot to products. You’ll find some innovative digital product ideas, way beyond the perceived wisdom of “let’s make a quick e-book” or “I want a side hustle of selling notion templates.” This is where we help you to pivot to a product-based business.

Curated digital products – get started

One great way to get going with products is to curate a set of resources for your clients. And brilliantly, they don’t even need to be “your” resources. Because of your expertise, you can sort the wheat from the chaff –the good from the bad – and share only the best resources. This could be as basic as a book full of website links with expert commentary from you. Or, each week, people pay for a new set of resources delivered by email, and you’re out of the digital products starter blocks, developing a library of curated resources.

Product ecosystem

Because this kind of digital product idea is probably going to be a tripwire or small product, you’re unlikely to be able to sell this for thousands of dollars. But sold at scale, it gives you a nice addition to cash flow. It’s also something that can run and run because of its evergreen nature. Once a year, you simply update it and have a new launch for say, Version 3.5, which attracts new customers.

 A curated digital product success story

One of my clients has a library of resources that she has created, that she offers as an upsell to her bespoke coaching work. She says to her clients, “Oh, you can also have this so that when we finish, you’ll have ongoing access to the library”. Access to her library of resources is £150 per month, creating a recurring income stream for her long after she’s finished her current engagement with the client. It also handily keeps her in the client’s mind, which means they are much more likely to return to her for future coaching services.

A business-to-consumer digital product idea

If you have specialist knowledge, you could create a very niche digital guidebook. For example, you’re selling a guidebook of the best paintings and where to see them in New York, aimed at art lovers who are going to the Big Apple. You can make this business-to-consumer digital product even more niche by focusing on the best Modernist paintings in New York. An estimated 32.9 million people visit America’s capital every year. And you’re just looking at the subset of those people who are into Modernist paintings. For the right person who already has this expertise, this would be a joy to create.

niche digital product idea - ultra specialist guidebooks

While you’re selling your niche guidebook, if that’s your area and you know those museums and modernist paintings really, really well. For the right person who already has this expertise, this would be a joy to create.

Digital membership product ideas

Tapping into community and connection via digital membership products is also a great selling point. Being part of something is a deep human need, so you could offer access to a community of like-minded people. Or, going one step further, you could be creating that community from scratch, connecting people across the world.

I have a client who does this for knitters by hosting knit-along sessions online. She has built a community where a large group of people are all knitting her patterns, and it works really, really well.

How could you build your own digital membership product offering?  You could go down the membership community site route, or it could just be a bunch of emails, offering people the chance to have a drop-in now and again for a meet-up or with you holding office hours.

Case study: Ness Labs

Anne-Laure Le Cunff has created a community from her free email newsletter at Ness Labs. It was born from Anne-Laure’s original idea behind her digital product ecosystem, which was to work in public as a way of holding herself accountable for developing her own learning.

Ness Labs - digital products idea case study

She now has 80k subscribers to her delightful emails about how our brains work, productivity and mental health. And a small (but significant) subsection of her subscribers have also joined her $49-a-year community, where she invites guest speakers and hosts two online co-working sessions per week. Anne-Laure has a beautiful style of writing, and this, together with her deep thought and personal transparency, has created a lot of dedicated followers in what is often a competitive, red ocean space.

Her product ecosystem includes the free lead magnet of her emails, the community, sponsors and advertisers in her emails and recommendations of particular products for her audience.

 

Digital product idea – leverage your assets

If you have something that’s very desirable, some kind of digital asset, you can create a membership product to allow people access to those assets. If you have some resources, or some answers that other people don’t readily have, you can charge money for membership so that people can use that. One obvious example of this is my Tate Gallery membership card that allows me premium access, I can just walk in and see any of the paid exhibitions for free anytime. And I get a nice warm feeling of being part of the Tate and supporting what they’re doing.

What kind of digital assets make good product ideas?

Many of us already have checklists, spreadsheets or calculators we use in our work with clients. Or a specific methodology we use with a piece of commercial software. These digital assets are all part of your “magic”, the superpowers you’ve developed over the years. Spending a few hours making these look pretty, maybe adding some commentary or a quick video explainer of how to use your new tool based product means that you can get a new digital product up and on sale very quickly.

Top tip – outsource the prettification to someone else, such as a virtual assistant or other freelancers. I’ve worked with Pete Axtell, an Excel specialist, to make several products from my rough and ready spreadsheets.

You might have digital assets or access to particular groups of people that ordinary people wouldn’t have. Instead of just keeping these assets locked up in the cloud or on your hard drive (or in your head, waiting to be written up). How can you create a community or a membership around your assets? What have you got up your sleeve that people would pay money to go and see or pay money to spend time with?

Once you start to see your assets as something you can leverage as part of a product, lots of potential digital product ideas come out.

Digital product idea – create a movement

And can you create a community and help people to be part of something by creating a movement? This could be people who all want to take action on something; all want to be part of something to make some change in the world. Can you do something which is membership-based, based on what people want to have as part of their impact? And ideally, that would be the impact that you want to create in the world as well. This could be political, it could be something environmental, whatever it is, but that could be something that is within you to help people move forward.

Case study –  HEATED

Emily Atkin was a journalist who took the bold step of launching her own paid newsletter about climate change. Instead of being blocked by publications, she wanted to write her own journalism. HEATED is for “people who are pissed off about climate change”. Chenell Basilio, who does a deep dive reverse engineering of popular newsletter writers, estimates that Emily Atkin is now turning over 600k+ from her newsletter subscriptions alone. And at the same time, Emily is doing a great job of being part of the action on climate change by uncovering all kinds of shenanigans. Two brilliant ideas, brought together in her product.

HEATED - digital product ideas case study #2

 

 

Over-the-shoulder online courses

You’ve got all of this knowledge and expertise into your head, can you teach people how to do something, teach them some of that knowledge and expertise? Instead of your standard, video-after-video online course, you could quickly create workshops or work-along sessions where people ‘shadow’ you during a virtual session.

I’ve seen this in action on an online course that I took. One part of the course was mostly made up of what they called ‘over-the-shoulder’ lessons. Everybody got together for a live session, and we watched somebody who was an expert do something on screen. They explained the thinking behind what they were doing as they went along, and it was very powerful.

Create your own version of this digital product idea

Can you imagine if you were a great painter and you were able to explain your thinking behind how you put the oil on the brush or some other helpful technique? Surfacing that to make it conscious? This isn’t just for products for consumers to learn creative pursuits such as oil painting. It could also be somebody who’s an expert in creating sticky Facebook ads, who shows people the decisions they make and why they make those decisions, sharing the tricks of their trade.

This digital product idea could be even more powerful than a standard online course. Or it could be an introductory product that then takes people onto your course. live courses, recorded online courses, group programmes, and different ways that you could do that.

The power of power hours

I have many tricky problems that I would quite like somebody who knows how to do that thing, who is an expert in that field. And I would just love to have an hour of their time so that they show me how to do it. That would cut short my learning curve tremendously. Can I just get an hour of their time?  What can you take from your expertise and package it up so that people can get part of that for themselves in an hour of your time?

power hour - digital product idea

The Power Hour (top tip, don’t call it a power hour) is a simple product idea. You just put a form on your website for people to buy an hour of your time to help them with a specific challenge or learning point. This digital product idea is very simple to set up – you don’t even need to set up online payment at the beginning; you just need a sales page and a booking form using YouCanBook.me.

Power Hours are incredibly satisfying. Where you start seeing people being able to do something for themselves, and you see people learning, their enthusiasm and what it leads to. It’s brilliant. I’ve been doing my version of the power hour (I call them strategy sessions) for many years.

Power Hours are productised services rather than stand-alone digital products. I’m including them in this roundup of digital product ideas because they’re such a great way to get started productising.

List of digital product ideas

01
Curated list of resources
02
Niche guidebooks
03
Asset leverage – different ways for people to access your digital assets
04
Membership with access to digital assets
05
Memberships with access to you
06
Memberships with a live element
07
Paid newsletters
08
Free newsletters with sponsorships and ads
09
Workshops and workalongs
10
Over the shoulder teach alongs
11
Super niche tutorials
12
Workbooks
13
Power hours

A million digital product ideas you could make

This article came from this YouTube video over on the Adventures in Products YouTube channel. You’ll also find many videos with inspiring ideas for digital products, and how to pivot to product-based business.