As a digital product development company, ScreamingBox has worked with over 100+ different companies building digital products over the last 10 years. As such, we have accumulated a lot of experience in building digital products, but also experience in how different sized companies go about defining, specifying and creating digital products.
For this article, we are going to focus more on the type of simple digital products and development processes that are oriented toward entrepreneurs, small companies and start-ups. The reason for this is that these types of businesses are the most resource limited; and therefore their approach is closer to their business model, and focused on efficiency because of the resource constraints.
It is easier to understand the basic digital product building process when using these smaller digital product processes and scope of work. Whether you are a one-man entrepreneur or a larger company, the basics of digital product building are almost the same.
If you are a start-up, SMB or entrepreneur, one of the most basic but also most important business processes, is recognizing a market need. Then, from that recognition of need, comes the concept of “If only there was a product that would do…” That is how all basic product concepts start. With digital products, the market need is one that can be fulfilled with an on-line digital product that is web or mobile based (or both).
If you are an entrepreneur or a start-up looking at additional revenue streams, there are some relatively simple digital product types that can help promote a business, expand a current product line, or generate additional revenue streams. These digital product types have become very attractive, and the attraction keeps increasing, mostly because of the low cost of creating them. When building a digital product, your primary investments are your time and experience or expertise; digital products are typically scalable.
These digital products are relatively easy to develop, and so we are going to use them as an example of the product creation and building process, since those processes and examples can apply to more complex products as well.
For Starters, What Characterizes a Digital Product?
Digital products come in different types, sizes, and shapes; they are services you interact with through digital means. Usually this means you use a computer, tablet, phone, TV and nowadays even a car infotainment system. A digital product focuses on different things, including creating business-to-client services (also known as b2c), business-to-business (b2b), or backend services. The essence of a digital product is to bring together the idea of service and product, delivering value through the digital interaction medium. This medium is usually the Internet.
Meanwhile, there are significant differences between a digital product and a digital good – even if they sound like they are the same thing. A digital product is a code-based asset that offers a specific interactive value proposition to the final consumer or user. The most common forms of digital products include web, mobile apps, data systems, and digital dashboards–but the list is endless.
A digital good is an item that exists in digital or virtual form and is devoid of any user-interactive component. Sometimes, a digital good is implemented in a physical form, such as electronic books, video tutorials, online courses, stock images, and many more.
Think of a physical product like a hardcover book to shed better light on what a digital good is. Provided it offers a depth of wealth on a particular subject; people will pay for it. Now, imagine you are creating something similar for an online audience in the manner of an e-book. Same value and content; the only difference is that one is a physical product and the other is a digital good.
Digital products go beyond websites and mobile apps; they have a huge backend office where much data processing and interaction occur. A digital product must:
• Have a value proposition aimed at solving a particular problem;
• Created using user-centric design;
• Have a revenue-generating potential.
Benefits of Digital Product Building
Digital products have many benefits and viable reasons that make them worthy of consideration. For a beginner to create a digital product, understand some of these benefits as they will serve as catalysts in your product-building journey. So, if you’re unsure of whether to build a digital product, maybe these will solidify your resolution.
1. Digital Products are Scalable
The most prominent benefit of digital products is their scalability; you can reach a large audience with little work or expenses. For instance, let’s say you want to offer people help cooking healthier meals. You may provide classes, but you’ll be limited to your town. Alternatively, you can build a digital product by writing an e-book containing your best recipes, selling to people worldwide, and widening your horizon.
Creating digital products is a good way to look beyond your locality and meet the needs of a global audience.
2. A Chance to Earn Passive Income
Another endearing benefit of digital products is that they require little effort after launching to continue making money through them. Once you’ve built a digital product, you can sell and resell many times over and at any hour of the day. Juicer still, you don’t have to re-stock, making digital products the ultimate business model for earning passive income.
3. Low Capital Required
Most business models require large capital to start and maintain such that many entrepreneurs run into debt. Learning how to create a digital product can help you avoid that headache. The only capital you need for digital product building is your website and other marketing costs. The actual building of the product costs nothing because you are selling yourself and the knowledge you already possess.
Ideas for Viable Digital Products
Most digital products are entertaining or educational, teaching people how to do something. It starts with choosing a topic and being sure of what you want to sell. There are hundreds of digital products you can sell, but here are some of them;
• PDF files,
• Digital art,
• Online courses,
• Wellness trackers and printable journals
• Paid newsletter,
• Wallpaper, and lots more.
The Three Stages of Digital Product Building
Digital product building involves many stages, but we compressed them into three for easy understanding for beginners. The three stages of digital product building include 1) discovery, 2) design and 3) development, launch and scale.
Stage 1: Discovery
Digital product building begins with discovering what product type you want to build. This stage also involves finding out how to ensure your product succeeds, seeing as one out of ten digital products do. At the end of this phase, you will have a proof of concept that lets you test your design concept’s feasibility. This phase includes:
• Researching users’ needs and challenges,
• Analyzing market trends,
• Challenging ideas and assumptions,
• Sketching theories,
• Using service blueprints to define operational efficiency,
• Defining your budget,
• Mapping your user personas, and
• Defining your value proposition.
• Product Market Fit analysis
Stage 2: Product Design and Development
If the discovery phase is successful, you can advance to this phase by considering your product’s look and feel. This phase will include:
• Developing a Feature Set list with priorities
• UX research and definition of wireframe flow,
• High and low-level wireframes prototyping,
• Testing the pilot,
• Releasing alpha/beta,
• Testing the QA.
At the end of this stage, you will have the minimum viable product (MVP), an essential step for idea validation. This MVP allows you to learn from user feedback and range from a simple idea visualization to a working prototype.
Stage 3: Product Launch and Scale
At this phase, your digital product is ready to go to market–the moment you’ve been waiting for. This phase includes ongoing design and development, like building new features, product scaling, and updates. Next, it includes product evolution, where you assess the product’s progress in security, quality, pricing, and other areas. Finally, it includes knowledge transfer from your team to the client and working as interim CEOs and CTOs in the hand-off of the project.
In conclusion, selling digital products comes with many benefits, way more than those mentioned in this article. However, building a digital product is one thing; building one that sells is another. With the knowledge from this article and more that you can get online, you can be among the few successful digital product builders.