There used to be a time when the only way to make a living as an author or musician was to go through publishing houses and labels that would help you create the work, package it, distribute it and sell it.
This way still exists but with the disappearance of book stores and physical music storage media like the CD, a new way of doing things is slowly emerging.
Connecting Creator & Customer
Imagine you get rid of offices filled with accountants, call-centers and marketing drones. Then, you abandon the CD factories and book printing presses. Last but not least, you throw your contract to the wind along with its deadlines.
What are you left with?
The bare minimum: An individual who creates stuff – and a world that is always hungry for awesomeness.
Since we don’t have a factory anymore, there is no physical artifice.
But this is no problem because as a writer or musician you’ll probably use computers as part of your creative process so that even before the physical product, there’s the Digital Download.
From Conception to Consumption
Now, the question is how to get the good stuff out to the people who want it.
There’s no marketing department. No advertisement budget. No sales people. You’re on your own.
And it’s not that bad, actually!
You simply have to come up with an alternative that maximizes the effect while using as little time and effort as possible.
As I’ve suggested in my recent book, blogging can be a great way to drive attention without spending a dime on ads.
But once the attention is there, how to actually sell your goods?
There are many ways. Here’s a small selection:
5 Services That Let You Sell Your Digital Goods
If you’re just looking for a quick way to sell something, tinypay is a simple solution.
There’s no need for a user account (you can collect payments by PayPal) and there are no fees (it’s free, at least for now)
Also, there is no customizable shopping cart, all customers have to go through the tinypay website.
But it’s a great way to start!
This is another minimalist approach. It’s not free (starting at $6 per month) But it comes with an embeddable “buy now” button that you can put anywhere. Your customers will never even notice that they’re going through pulleyapp. All they do is pay and get the goods delivered automatically in a customizable email.
Digital Product Delivery is a complete digital goods solution with all the bells and whistles. It starts at $5 dollars per month and it supports all major payment providers from Paypal to Google Checkout, 2checkout and AlertPay. On top of that they offer complete mailing list integration, their own WordPress Plugin and allow you to run your own affiliate system and much more. It’s one of the most comprehensive digital sales services I’ve seen, so far. To beginners, the multitude of different options and features might seem overwhelming. But if you want to go pro, DPD is a good choice.
E-junkie is another comprehensive solution, also starting at $5 dollars per month. Its user-interface isn’t as streamlined as DPD and its features are fewer but focused on the essentials. E-junkie supports all major payment services, offers coupon codes and its own affiliate and newsletter service. Where DPD might seem to have too many options, e-junkie’s user-interface is a bit confusing – but it does deliver once you’ve understood how it works. Essentially, it’s a rather minimal approach but with all the major features.
This is another allround solution starting at $9 per month, making it the most expensive in our list but also it’s the only service that doesn’t charge you if you don’t sell anything! Also, they have all the features one could wish for from subscription based access to testing your products before even creating them, PDF stamping and much much more. Personally, I think their interface is very nice and clean, organizing the many features in a way which is not too overwhelming.
What’s the best one?
It depends on a) what you are trying to do and b) willing to pay per month.
If you’re just selling one item, the first two easier solutions might save you some time and confusion.
If you are planning to build your own little digital warehouse and offer a variety of different products in different combinations with discounts and all the rest, you should pick one of the last three.
Most of them offer a free trial, so you can get acquainted with all of them before you pay for something.
NOTE: Even if you have selected one of these services, learned how to use them and integrated them into your webpage, this doesn’t mean that your products will automatically sell. You are going to need some kind of strategy to get the word out. Click here to find out what’s my favorite of doing this.
What service do you use? What were your experiences? Do you prefer simple and clean over bells & whistles? What are the most important features such a service should have? Leave a comment below!