Generate ideas to start with, and write them all down. Don’t be too critical. Bad ideas can lead to good ideas and vice versa. The key to brainstorming is to avoid overthinking things.
If you’re looking for a spark, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Can you teach customers how to use your products? For example, if you sell knitting products, you could offer appointments to teach advanced knitting techniques.
- Are there things you can help your customers with related to your overall industry? If you sell surfboards, you could create a workout program to help your customers stay in surf shape at home.
- What are the values you’ve built your business on, and what are topics related to them? For example, if you sell sustainable apparel, you could create a course teaching your customers how to live a more sustainable life.
- In what ways could you bring your community of customers together? If you sell kitchen supplies, you could run a virtual guided wine tasting event.
- What are you good at? If you’re really great at product photography, you could teach other people how to get better at product photography too.
Do some research to add to your list of ideas. Look for pain points your customers have related to your product, industry, or values, as well as topics they love or get excited about. Both present great business opportunities to provide value in the form of an educational product.
Here are some good places to get started doing research:
- Facebook groups. There are Facebook groups dedicated to every niche and audience imaginable, making them a great place to learn what your potential customers care about.
- Industry forums. Forums dedicated to hobbies and communities in your industry can help you learn more about what people want and need in your broader industry.
- Product reviews. Read both the reviews for your products and competitors’ products to get ideas. These could come from the reviews on product pages as well as stand-alone reviews on blogs and other websites.
- Blog posts and comments. Read the blog content your community might be reading, as well as the comments, to get even more ideas. For example, if you sell auto parts, dig around on automotive blogs.
- Emails from customers. Finally, don’t forget to go back and reread any emails or messages you have gotten from customers over the years. The people who took the time to contact you with thoughts and concerns are usually “high intent” customers and they might have shared some really useful insights.
Before committing too much time to an idea, you want to validate it and make sure it’s solid. The last thing you want to do is invest a lot of time or money in a new venture without knowing it has a good chance to be successful.
There are a couple of ways to validate your idea:
- Keyword research. Use a keyword tool to see how many people are searching for your topics. This will give you an idea of the opportunity size of each one.
- Google Trends. Search your topics on Google Trends. Look for topics that are growing in interest. This means the opportunity size will keep growing.
- Ask for feedback. Contact your customers directly, either through email or social media. A poll or survey is a great way to collect customer feedback.
- Start small and iterate. Sometimes, the easiest way to validate an idea is to experiment with a smaller version of the idea with room for growth. The goal is to get something out into the world as soon as possible so you can put your idea to the test and improve from it from there.
No matter what industry you’re in, you have unique strengths and knowledge that would be valuable to your customers.
4. Create an online store
Once you validate a digital product idea, you’ll want to get an ecommerce platform to sell on.
Shopify is the easiest and most reputable way to create an online store. You don’t need any tech skills or a big budget, and you can choose from over 100 templates with built-in features to get set up quickly—all for a small $29 monthly fee. There are also over 4,000 free Shopify apps you can use to manage your store and sell more digital products online.