Creating a Digital Product for a Service-based Business

If you have a service-based business, you might think you’re limited to selling your service rather than a product. Of course, it depends on what your service is – we probably wouldn’t want a health professional productising their service. But did you know, you can boost your profits and raise your profile by creating a digital product that caters to clients you would otherwise lose?

A digital product can complement, rather than replace, your service.

For example: Let’s say you’re a graphic designer. Your ideal clients are medium-sized businesses with healthy a marketing budget, yet you’re often approached by individuals who want you to do smaller jobs, such as designing wedding invitations for them. While their projects aren’t the type of business you’re chasing, you sometimes feel like saying no to these potential clients is a missed opportunity. Then you come up with a great idea.

Through producing a series of customisable and downloadable templates for customers to DIY their wedding invitations, you create the product once and sell it many times. Ka-ching!

How creating a digital product helped us diversify our offering

Here at The Professional Writer, we’ve been writing all types of content and documents for our valued clients for over 20 years. We were providing a service-only business until recently.

Around 2017, due to popular demand, we started writing capability statements for tradies. A capability statement is precisely what the title says: A document outlining your company’s capabilities. It’s similar to a company profile but usually includes more specific information about your recent experience and completed projects. Capability statements are often used by tradies to secure work with Tier 1 or Tier 2 construction companies.

Most of the capability statements we write are multi-page documents, ranging from 2 to 22 pages. The process includes research, a comprehensive interview with the business owner to learn about their business, and writing the document in a way that helps the client win more business, which sometimes requires several drafts.

We were receiving enquiries from potential clients who just wanted a single-page document and they needed it in a hurry – often on a limited budget. We do write single-page documents, but the work involved is very similar to the amount of work to write a multi-page document, so the price is comparatively high. Also, we currently have a 2-3 week waiting list to start new projects, so these clients were going elsewhere. How could we assist these clients in a profitable way?

That’s when we created a DIY capability statement kit – one which contained samples, complete instructions, and a template, so most people would be able to create their own capability statement in a short time.

Will the idea fly?

As a member of the TradieWives Facebook group, we posted about the idea and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from fellow group members. So we went ahead and created the kit.

Once completed, we asked for volunteers to “test drive” the kit in return for honest feedback and a testimonial. We sent the kit out to 10 people, with 6 of them returning feedback and a testimonial. Based on the feedback, a few minor tweaks were made and the kit was ready to be released to the market.

Most digital marketers will tell you that you need a mailing list to sell a product. While this is essentially true, if you don’t already have a mailing list, there’s no time like the present to get one started!

Selling the capability statement kit

We wrote a landing page/sales page which went onto a single page website for the kit. Next, we set up an account with Stripe, an app that collects online payments, then set up the kit, including the samples, instructions, template, and an invoice for same, to be easily downloadable via our CRM. We were ready to roll.

Again, most digital marketers say you must “launch” your product, with a pre-sale campaign that builds anticipation, etc. etc. Yes, we know this is true, but without a mailing list, it is impossible to do this. So, we once again used the Facebook group to promote the kit, with remarkable results.

Since the recent “soft launch” of the kit, we’ve sold dozens @ $97 + GST each. Sales of the kits occur overnight, on the weekend, and even while we were on holiday! We receive a notification that another kit has been sold and our payment is on its way to the bank account.

While our digital product doesn’t replace our service, it’s an alternative to clients having the document written for them. Facilitating the buyer to DIY allows them to prepare the document quickly and simply at a fraction of the cost, while we still get paid, so we all win.

Want to see what the capability statement kit is all about? Click on this link to see it for yourself.

What’s great about a digital product?

  • You can capitalise on your knowledge and expertise
  • They provide a “passive” income – some work is required
  • They’re low maintenance
  • You don’t have to hold stock
  • You can deliver value that isn’t directly tied to selling your time
  • Digital products help diversify your income streams, raise your profile and bring in a wider range of customers

What type of digital product can you create?

Digital products to consider:

  • Write an eBook
  • Set up an online course to teach the basics
  • Tutorials and guides
  • DIY product
  • Downloadable document templates – email sequences, client letters
  • Shortcuts/How to guides
  • Webinar series
  • Video instructions

How to get started with creating a digital product

OK, so you’ve got a great idea for a digital product. But will it sell? Is it something people really want to buy? How do you find out?

  • Identify a problem your target audience has
  • Brainstorm ways to solve their pain point – think outside the box
  • Think of the best way/s to charge money for solving their problem
  • Shortlist your ideas
  • Interview current customers and/or potential buyers to validate your product idea – ask open-ended questions to gain as much information as possible about the way they want the information presented and the price they’d be willing to pay
  • Create a quality product based on the feedback you receive
  • Ensure your product delivers good value to the consumer
  • Have a great sales page that answers the prospect’s questions and converts to sales

Got a great idea for creating a digital product?

If you have a great idea and you’re thinking of creating a digital product, but you need help putting it together and writing the content or your landing page, we can help.

If you found these tips helpful, please like and/or share them with your business associates or LinkedIn connections.

Want to know more?

Lyndall Guinery-Smith, owner of The Professional Writer, business writer

Hi, I’m Lyndall Guinery-Smith, business owner and chief word wrangler at The Professional Writer. My team and I write content dedicated to attracting and engaging your ideal clients … and improving your bottom line. This includes website content, business award nominations, capability statements, company profiles, team bios, blog post packages, and more. We happily work with clients all over Australia. Email us to arrange an obligation-free discussion about your latest project.