Selling digital product Online for profit with potentially reasonable ROI? (part 3)

So what? Did it worth it?

Yes, I think it did. However, there are several things you need to keep in mind if you decide to start selling stock photos in 2019.

<- Part 2

Market is already saturated

Let’s talk about it a little bit more. In 2018 you could see that overall stock photos sales started declining for a lot of people. The market is full of pictures happy or frustrated office workers, stop signs, cats and all kinds of graphics, renders, and vectors, as well as its full of photographers who keep contributing with even more office photos. The sales numbers are not the same as in 2008, however, there is still potential. 

Even with an oversaturated market, you can still get your piece of pie without too much of a hustle. Let’s say you have 1,000 extremely amateur photos to upload. After several tries, you can expect 700 of them to be accepted (the other 300 will not pass their quality standards). Considering, you made your files somewhat SEO ready, you are now on the open market.

Most likely what’s going to happen is your stuff will be lost with a bunch of other random stock garbage. You will be making sales, but it won’t be too much. Mostly because the market is over-saturated and discoverability of your pictures will be minimal. Are there any alternative scenarios? Hell yea. But they require a specific set of mind. 

Clueless photographer

What is the smart way?

Fortunately, there is one. Did I try it? No. Does it work? Well, think about it.

In stock photography there are several factors in play:

1. Quality vs Quantity

I was uploading random. My photos weren’t shit, however, they weren’t good either. You will agree with me on that if you subscribe to my future posts (I will intentionally be using my snaps from own collection instead of stock photos, at least at the beginning). That’s why you see low sales numbers in part 2 of this post. I know photographers who have 12 photos on sale and they are making hundreds and thousands of dollars per month.

How do they do it? Simple – they provide quality shit. They either have models shots or heavily photo-shopped artistic stuff. I was never into models shooting myself, the idea of communicating with other people frustrates me. And artistic shots? I don’t have an eye for it. Ironic, but so true.

But other people do have an eye for it. And they are willing to go an extra mile to work that picture. But that’s actually not enough.

2. Discoverability

There is no worse scenario then realizing that you worked SO FUCKING HARD on those 50 pictures you decided to share with the world, but there are no sales. 

You need to realize VERY soon that you can literally have a picture of an actual Santa Clause eating an avocado toast while showing declining graphs in the office with mountains and the ocean view from the window, but unless you complete your discoverability routine – good luck with selling anything.

Obviously, you’ll sell something, duh. Those are not $100+ sales tho. You need to work those keywords. You need to ride them like it’s the last day of your life. You need to do research on EVERY given keyword. Pay for additional services if you don’t want to do it yourself, but do it one way or the other. Until you understand how Shutterstock‘s or Adobe Stock‘s search algorithms work – you won’t see anything closely related to an enjoyable sale. 

Airplanes in the sky

3. Demand

Be sure you understand what is the demand. What do people need. What will they buy and how much are they willing to pay. 

You can upload whatever you want, you can literally upload 10,000 photos of a sunflower and nothing else and make a bunch of sales. Just don’t expect it to be a big bunch.

If you want traffic and you want to treat this as a business – go for whatever is popular now. A lot of websites post updates of trending themes for photography. Or just do additional research. Follow other photographers if you can and see what’s popping. 

I’ll post my conclusions tomorrow in a part 4 (final).

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