Looking to make passive income online by just selling downloadable PDF files? Well, right now is the best time to do it. Why? Because the market is already using them, wants more of them, and searching for them online.
Why should you sell PDF products online?
Because you can easily create a broad range of knowledge or skill-based products, planners, organizers and charts. If you are the social type even printable ice breakers for meetings and social games for parties. If you are the creative type, you can sell artwork, drawings, graphic design, or photographs. If you can think of it you can make it into a printable and potentially a product that you can sell.
…And the best thing about selling PDFs online:
- No inventory to manage
- Unlimited repeat sales
- Great source of passive income
Here’s a list of the most popular types of PDF products being sold online right now.
- How-to guides, tutorials, or manuals
- Fiction, non-fiction,
- Comics / graphic novels
- Professional documents: (resumes, invoices, etc)
- Marketing tools: (newsletters, calendars, etc)
- Workout and nutrition plans
- Sewing patterns
- Wrapping paper patterns
- Greeting cards
- Your original art or sheet music
- White papers
- Industry reports
Where can you sell your PDF products?
The two common “less easy” ways to sell your PDFs online: on an online marketplace or on your website.
1. Using Online Marketplaces
Some of the most popular online marketplaces to sell your PDFs are Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. By selling on an online marketplace, you have potentially a built-in customer base. They also give you built-in services like terms and conditions, payment systems, and usually at least a basic level of technical and customer service.
But, because you’re using a third-party service, there will be fees that you’ll need to pay per month, per listing, or per transaction, depending on the marketplace. You’re also restricted to getting paid by their schedule. You’ll have to follow their rules and regulations when it comes to what’s allowed in the product listings, what you can sell, and for how much. Every online marketplace has its limits on how large a file any digital product can be. So you need to look out for file size restrictions by some of these third-party services.
You won’t have to worry about direct competition and how that can affect your pricing. In an online marketplace, you have to price your PDF in line with other sellers. But by selling on your own website – you set the price you want.
2. Using Your Own Website
In creating a store on your own website, you have the ability to customize the customer journey, add as much branding as you want, and possibly cultivate long-lasting relationships with your customers through follow-up marketing techniques like mailing lists or unique discounts and incentives.
But by using your website to sell your PDFs, your sales will be dependent on how well you market your product.
If you’re already using WordPress, Squarespace, or another website builder, then you can add a store to your website or blog using their service. With some platforms this can be simple, with others it could require more time or paying for plug-ins.
In other words, using your own website is great for those that don’t mind figuring out problems on their own and want to have a hand in everything as they build their brand. This requires time, effort, and energy.
So what’s the simple and easy way?
Using a secure third-party provider that specializes in these types of e-commerce services. Essentially an all-in-one platform intentionally built for digital creators, one that makes the selling and buying experience simple, safe, and secure.
If we could make a top ten list to evaluate that kind of platform. The following are the absolute must-haves that such a platform would need to have:
- The platform should have a “fully featured” free plan with no credit card or hidden fees.
- The ability to sell unlimited products of all types such as ebooks, software, design assets, printables, etc. If I create it and can save it, then I can sell it.
- The ability to connect your main domain or a subdomain for a more branded experience.
- The ability to embed the shopping cart directly into your existing website for a seamless purchase and download.
- No website? No problem must have an easy store-builder without having to write a single line of code.
- Should have the flexibility to sell digital downloads, online courses, coaching services, and even subscriptions/memberships.
- The ability for buyers to complete their purchase in seconds and be sent automatically to their download page.
- No waiting for payments. The seller would get paid instantly to their Paypal or Stripe account.
- The ability for the seller to run promotions, cross-sell and upsell products, and create discount codes.
- The ability to create an affiliate program to help jump-start and explode sales.
The smarter solution to selling online.
If you’re looking for the perfect combination of user-friendliness and simplicity, that includes all 10 items on our must-have wish list.
Then Payhip is a good choice to save you significant time and effort. It’s everything you need ready to go on their secure hosted platform.
This provider is particularly compelling for authors, creators, coaches, influencers and bloggers because it’s wonderfully easy to use. If you’re selling digital products for the first time and you’re a little uncertain, you should be right at home with Payhip.
There’s nothing to install as Payhip is an e-commerce service platform. You embed the service directly into your website or use the storefront to sell your work instead. Using Payhip, you can accept sales from anywhere, and sell directly to your customers from your website, blog, or social media.
The checkout is optimized to increase conversion rates, and customers can complete purchases in seconds. You can upload any kind of file into the service and set it to be immediately delivered to customers upon payment.
Customers can also securely pay in seconds, with a range of payment types, including Discover, PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.
Both fast, smart and simple.
Payhip is compelling for anyone selling digital products because you can sign up for free, and access all the features, unlimited products, and unlimited revenue opportunities within their free plan. (Unlike other providers which limit the number of products you can sell on a free plan?, Payhip gives you unlimited access to everything.
Wait this is totally free? The free plan charges a transaction fee of 5% which gets deducted from your payment when someone buys anything. You can lower or eliminate the transaction fee altogether with a paid monthly plan. There are no set-up fees and no locked-in contracts – you can cancel at any time.
Branding and marketing to get you started.
If you’re concerned about building a brand when selling digital products, Payhip is right on point. You can upload a cover image for your products, and design a beautifully simple experience for your customers, whenever they want to buy one of your digital products.
Marketing wise Payhip also helps you to promote your products and generate the biggest number of sales as a result. Remember this platform was built with beginners in mind. You can easily integrate social channels, send notifications and run your own affiliate program.
While Payhip is a robust platform it offers anyone who wants to get started in selling online a path to success. It requires no money or even a credit card upfront to get started.
As you scale, when the time comes you may want to upgrade to a plan that can lower or eliminate their transaction fee. You’ll want to do this when your sales get to the point when they’re stable. The free plan is really just for those starting out, where you can really test out the platform.
Ready to start selling PDFs while you sleep?
Signing up is quick and easy, and you can choose your payment option from either Stripe or PayPal. Once you’ve completed signup, you can begin to upload the products you want to sell. The interface will lead you step-by-step through adding your digital products and describing them. You can add the price you want to sell at, as well as categories, images, titles, and descriptions.
That’s all for now, have fun, until next time.