3 Effective Marketing Strategies For Selling Digital Products Online

Selling digital goods and getting started in the online education sector has never been easier in today’s online world. According to Research and Markets, the online education industry is poised to become a $325 billion dollar industry by 2025, increasing from $187.877 billion in 2019. Here are the top three tips and marketing strategies on how you can promote and sell digital products best to achieve the highest profits possible

How to get your foot in the door of what could be a $325 billion industry.

Free Book Preview No BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing

The ultimate guide to – producing measurable, monetizable results with social media marketing.


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Selling digital goods and getting started in the online education sector has never been easier in today’s online world. According to Research and Markets, the online education industry is poised to become a $325 billion dollar industry by 2025, increasing from $187.877 billion in 2019.

Not only do we live in an instant gratification economy, where we want to have products delivered instantly to our doorstep (or even better via our email inbox), but we also demand location-independent freedom from both sides, the consumer and the business perspective. 

Consumers are purchasing more and more digital goods, for example: membership sites, ebooks, audiobooks, digital courses or live lessons and tutorials, videos, songs, design, photography, templates, apps, masterminds or worksheets. There are literally hundreds of digital product options out there that you can add to your product suite. 

Related: How to Improve Your Online Course (and Increase Student Engagement)

There are countless benefits to selling digital goods online. For instance, the entry barrier on getting started is very low, digital goods are low-maintenance in general, you have full creative freedom and digital products have huge scalability.

Here are the top three tips and marketing strategies on how you can promote and sell digital products best to achieve the highest profits possible, listed in no particular order. 

1. Online summits 

Online events and online summits have become a very popular and important marketing channel over the past few months. Many events and conferences have forcefully been cancelled, and the smartest businesses have moved their events online. 

Virtual summits run generally between one to 10 days, and attendees are able to watch expert’s interviews and presentations free of charge for a short amount of time. Usually, online summits are so value-packed, with many speakers presenting per day, that overwhelmed attendees don’t find the mental capacity or even the time to consume all the content in one go. 

The hosts then offer one or several up-sells to the viewers, so they can purchase the recordings all together and watch them on their own time. 

You can host an online summit on any topic and don’t even need to be an expert in the particular topic you are representing. If you or your speakers have additional digital goods, such as online courses or ebook that they can throw in to make the up-sell offer more appealing to the buyer, then this will increase your chances of a higher sales rate. The bonus is it doesn’t really cost you or the creator of the course more money

Related: How to Earn Six Figures From a Virtual Summit

2. Online challenges

Online challenges, and in particular five-day challenges, have become increasingly popular amongst online marketers, as they achieve fast results. An online challenge consists mostly of a video series the attendees will watch and corresponding “homework” assignments. According to Yahoo Finance, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. So, seeing you on video every day, especially when it’s live and you can interact with your audience, increases your trust score tremendously.

A challenge will help your ideal customer avatar get started creating something like an outline for their next online course or a launch plan for their next book promotion. This way your up-sell at the end (which in this case could be a full program or course on how to create your online course or how to write your first ebook) will become very easy, as the prospects have already started to do the work and feel motivated to keep going with it. 

The most effective challenges run usually between three and five days, as this is a healthy timeframe to get people through their daily tasks without dropping out. Most marketers run a low-cost and high-turnout challenge on Facebook. According to Hootsuite, Facebook is the third-most visited website and has become the most popular platform to execute and market a challenge. 

Related: 

3. Membership sites and online learning platforms 

Membership sites and online learning platforms are another awesome but much more indirect way to sell digital products. You can either build your own e-learning platform where you can sell your own digital products or you can sell digital goods from fellow experts in the industry. 

There are many different types of membership site models and online course platforms you can either join or create. To name just a few:

  • The drip-fed model: Content will be added every month.
  • The all-in membership: Members get access to everything straight away.
  • The online community membership: Members get access to private forums, masterminds or online groups.

A consultant and course creator, for example, isn’t necessarily interested in creating ongoing new content and therefore isn’t looking to build an entire membership site themselves. However, most consultants, coaches and course creators are more than eager to get involved in a joint venture and have their online course listed on the best e-learning platforms in return for an affiliate commission or simply for exposure. 

Related: 4 Ways to Continue to Get Paid from Home During Quarantine

Navigating the road ahead: The benefits of real-time marketing

In this article, we’ll explore the unique role automation can play in helping you respond to the impact of COVID-19 in real time.

Jerry Dischler

Vice President, Product Management

Published May 21, 2020

Changes in consumer behavior have always resulted in adjustments to marketing strategies. COVID-19 has shown how quickly consumers’ interests, expectations, and purchasing behavior can shift—and with it, an ebb and flow in demand for products and services. Despite these changes, consumer expectations for businesses and brands remain high. In fact, 78 percent of people surveyed say brands should show how they can be helpful in the new everyday life.1

Adjusting your media buying and the way your business shows up in these dynamic conditions is difficult, especially when some businesses are having to manage twice the complexity with half the capacity. Today, we’ll explore the unique role automation can play in helping you respond to the impact of COVID-19 in real time.

Get the most out of your budget

As conditions change, so do auction dynamics. Communities are in various stages of response to COVID-19 and the things people care about are rapidly shifting. This influences things like location, mobile browsing habits, conversions, and other variables that impact ad performance. It’s in this constant sea of change where Smart Bidding can help.

Smart Bidding (also available as Google Ads auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360) uses machine learning to automatically calculate bids for each and every auction. Utilizing signals like location, search query, and conversion data, Smart Bidding can optimize bids in real time to hit your performance goal even as query and conversion volume fluctuates.

It’s important to note that unpredictable changes in conversion rates, for example: shifts in conversion cycles, cancellation or return rates, are challenging for any bid automation tool. Under these conditions, consider adjusting your cost per acquisition or return on ad spend targets to ensure the best allocation of your budget. For additional flexibility, consider shared budgets and portfolio bid strategies which are effective ways to automatically adjust bids and move spend across campaigns based on performance.

Reach new and existing customers

From flour to at-home workouts to studying at home, the things people are searching for and how they’re searching for them is evolving. It can be difficult to identify where consumers’ attention and demand is shifting while ensuring you have the right query coverage. Dynamic Search Ads are an easy way to reach customers who are searching for exactly what you have to offer. Using the content on your website, Dynamic Search Ads automatically delivers relevant ads with headlines and landing pages that are specific to the user’s query. So as consumer behavior shifts, you can ensure your Search ads are adjusting in real time to meet that demand, all while saving time.

Another way to find keyword opportunities is through the Recommendations page. “Keywords & Targeting” recommendations help you identify new trends that are relevant to your business. In fact, more than 16 million keyword recommendations in Google Ads are based on market trends alone, with new ones added every day. Consider adding keywords that are projected to drive additional traffic beyond your existing ones, or pausing keywords that are performing poorly.

Once you’ve applied the recommendations that make the most sense for your business, keep an eye on your optimization score. Each recommendation comes with a score uplift, and historically we’ve seen that advertisers who have increased their score by 10 points saw a 10 percent increase in conversions on average. You can quickly check for new recommendations using the Google Ads mobile app.

Optimization - Navigating the road ahead: The benefits of real-time marketing
Google Ads mobile app

Show up with the right message

COVID-19 has not only disrupted business operations, like inventory and shipping, but has also impacted the way businesses communicate with customers. As conditions change week to week and community to community, it’s critical to adjust how you’re communicating and interacting with your customers at scale.

Responsive search ads and responsive display ads enable you to make updates to your Search and Display ads at scale, respectively. Using multiple creative assets, like headlines and descriptions, responsive search ads and responsive display ads automatically identify the best combination of assets in order to deliver an ad that’s likely to perform best. For responsive search ads, you can also pin critical information like modified support options or updated business hours to ensure it shows with your ads. If you’re seeing an increase in call volume, or your business is operating on limited hours or staffing, call ads (formally known as call-only ads) now also include an optional “Visit website” link. This gives your customers more flexibility in how they connect with your business.

When it comes to adjusting the messages in your video ads, time and resources are limiting factors right now. Rather than starting from scratch, consider using Video Builder. It’s a free beta tool that animates static assets—images, text and logos—with music from YouTube’s audio library. You can choose from a variety of layouts based on your message and goals, customize colors and font, and quickly generate a short YouTube video.

Know what’s working

As the world moves from responding to recovering from this crisis, it’s important you have the right tools available to understand the impact of COVID-19 on your business. Over the past few weeks, we’ve introduced improvements to attribution in Google Ads to help you understand your Google media better.

A new look for attribution reports helps you quickly see how customers are engaging with your ads so you can select the right attribution model for your business. One model, data-driven attribution, uses machine learning to determine how much credit to assign to each click along the customer journey. This ensures your media strategy is accounting for changes in consumer behavior during times of crisis. And with more people turning to YouTube during this pandemic, you can use cross-network reports (currently in beta) to understand how customers interact with your Search, Shopping, and YouTube ads—including clicks and video engagements—before converting.

Helpful resources for managing your campaigns

We’ve created a single destination for product guidance and business considerations when managing your campaigns through COVID-19. You can find the full list of guides and checklists here. We’ll continue updating and adding more through the rest of the year.

In early June, we’ll also be launching The Update on Think with Google: a new video series to share the latest insights, news, best practices, and products. Enjoy this sneak peek, and stay tuned.


1.  Kantar, COVID-19 Barometer Global Report, Wave2, 50 countries, n=9,815, fielded 27th-30th March

5 Effective Low-Budget Marketing Strategies for Startups

Go back to basics with these proven methods of effective marketing. April 7, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Startups operate under extremely tight budgets, which makes it almost impossible for them to set aside a marketing budget. With their tight budgets, they have to pay employees and rent,…

Go back to basics with these proven methods of effective marketing.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Startups operate under extremely tight budgets, which makes it almost impossible for them to set aside a marketing budget. With their tight budgets, they have to pay employees and rent, buy raw materials and cater to their huge overhead costs. Ignoring marketing and advertising becomes an easier option for them.

But then, without vigorous marketing strategies, startups do not stand any chance of growth or even staying afloat in today’s extremely competitive market. If you don’t market your products or services, you might not even have any revenue to budget for in a few short months to come. Advertising is more of a mandatory investment for the success of your startup than it is superfluous. That is why as a startup entrepreneur, you must come up with effective marketing strategies that give you 100 percent value for every coin you put into marketing, if not more.

As you will learn from this post, you don’t need to spend a fortune to market effectively. Here are five low-budget marketing strategies that will bring unbelievable visibility and consistency to your startup.

1. Content marketing

Content marketing requires very little investment and gives unbelievable returns when done right. Note that this form of marketing has many sides and approaches, so you shouldn’t restrict yourself to only one approach. For a start, you can establish a company website where you share with the world everything about your business. You can add a blog section in the website where you add new content as regularly as possible, both to educate and entertain your audience.

Related: 10 Marketing Strategies to Fuel Your Business Growth

It will be helpful if you can present your content in easy-to-consume bits, e.g. in the form of videos, infographics, pictures and podcasts. Another approach would be to guest blog for high-traffic websites and then add outbound links to your website. If your website has compelling content, your brand reputation will greatly improve through inbound and outbound marketing. And if you want to reach a wider clientele, it will be wise to hire trusted professional translation services to localize your online content.

2. Social media marketing

Social media marketing is big these days, particularly with billions of people from all over the world using smartphones. If you can package your content well for social media consumption, you can be sure that it will go viral and shine the limelight on your business. Your new startup needs to come out as a reliable, reputable brand online if it is to become popular and attract its target clientele.

Related: 8 Technologies and How You Should Be Marketing With Them

For a start, you can create a Facebook page and use it to interact with your potential clients. Facebook pages are free to create. Other platforms that will help you appeal to your target audience include Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. As your revenue collection grows, you can opt to pay for premium social media services such as Facebook Business and Facebook Ads.

Note that a skilled social media manager will help you grow your social media profile by posting the right, relevant and engaging content. You can use freelance platforms like Fiverr to find people with reasonable rates to do the heavy lifting for you.

Remember that posting compelling content is just a small part of the social media marketing puzzle. You must follow that up with providing the best services possible for your customers and making genuine efforts to attend to their online questions and concerns. A happy and satisfied customer will always be your startup’s unpaid brand ambassador. Negative comments from unhappy customers, on the other hand, can greatly harm your brand reputation.

3. Guerrilla marketing

Even with social media and the internet taking over the world, there still are many guerrilla marketing methods that will work for you. These marketing strategies involve creating a buzz around your products and services offline as a way of winning the target market’s attention. It involves creating entertaining and informative messages and then passing it to your local target market through the word of mouth. When people keep talking about the positives of your products, you get a better shot at new business opportunities.

4. Email marketing

Email marketing might be traditional, but it’s not entirely outdated. The key to nailing email marketing is creating an organic list of customers as opposed to buying a falsified, non-organic list. Ensure that your outgoing email blasts only go to people who are actually interested in your products or in reading your content.

Related: Easy Simple Plan for Entrepreneurs to Create a Marketing Plan

5. Smartphone apps

As we mentioned, everyone is using smartphones today. That should tell you that there is immeasurable potential in smartphone ecommerce apps. These apps are inexpensive to create yet they can appeal to millions of customers in one go. Just ensure that your app has the best UX so that clients can easily use it to place their orders and to access customer support.

Big marketing results don’t depend on big budgets

With these five low-budget marketing strategies, you will easily realize the power of the entrepreneur, regardless of how small your startup is. The key here is to speak about your ideas and to share your expert opinions with the people. Be different and shake up your niche. If one strategy fails, try another. You will surely get a breakthrough in the end.