As a new teacher, perusing the Teachers Pay Teachers website for lesson ideas, I thought the sellers surely had to have some special gifts or talents. A marketing background? A minor in graphic design? I had no idea how one would go about learning how to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Now, I made all kinds of mistakes in the beginning. I did a lot of things wrong. But I also learned from these mistakes, corrected, adapted, and began to see some serious side income from the website.
In less than two years, I had earned over $20,000 from the platform with no signs of my business slowing down any time soon.
Since then, I’ve decided to start sharing what I’ve learned with others.
If you’re serious about getting started with TPT and want to learn how to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers, I have a course you can take that breaks it all down, step-by-step, through my 4 step framework.
Keep reading to get an overview of the 4 steps I think every successful Teachers Pay Teachers seller needs to take.
Selling Step #1: Build a Brand
Many sellers start by just uploading a bunch of resources. A worksheet here. A quiz there.
By the time they realize they’ve started a bona fide business, their store is full of mismatched resources with no cohesion between products.
Not only is their revenue low, but their stores look unprofessional and sloppy.
If they’ve bothered to market, the graphics and content have nothing to tie them together. A buyer would be hard-pressed to pick out their resources from others.
This will allow you to build at least a little bit of consistency across all of your product offerings, even as you pivot, grow, and change strategies.
Now, if you don’t have any background in graphic design or marketing, don’t sweat it!
There are so many free tools available now to help even the most tech-phobic create their own business assets.
For example, Canva is a website that allows users to simply create all kinds of beautiful designs. (This is an affiliate link, but please know I use Canva almost every day in my biz! Totally worth it, plus there’s a free trial and free version!)
In my course TPT Profitability, we go over how to do all of this.
TPT Quick Tip: Choose 2-3 brand colors when you get started on Teachers Pay Teachers. As long as you stick to this color palette in your social media, covers, and branding, your store will always look at least somewhat planned, even as you change, pivot, and continue to learn how to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Selling Step #2: Create Irresistible Products
No matter how good your logo is, you’re not going to get rich if you have no products!
But you shouldn’t just load up your store with as many products as possible!
When it comes to products, quality wins over quantity every time. There is no magical number of products that suddenly makes a store skyrocket in searches. You can make good money with only a few products, as long as they’re high quality.
There’s some strategy behind choosing which products to create. That first imaginary seller I mentioned–the one who occasionally uploads a worksheet or quiz with no long-term strategy–might very well see a few dollars come in every month.
Don’t you want more than just a few dollars, though? Then you need to prioritize creating high-quality products and build toward more expensive resources.
There is an infinite number of ways to create products. Every seller learns their preferred program, way of designing them, and techniques for securing files.
An irresistible product doesn’t necessarily have to be made in a highly technical, expensive program like InDesign. Plenty of sellers use programs they already have like PowerPoint or even free tools like the Canva website.
What makes a product irresistible is that it solves a problem, consists of resources that are time-consuming to make, and is visually pleasing.
Yes, even high school buyers prefer to purchase products that look a little polished.
Selling Step 3: Build Your Storefront
Once you have a few products, it’s basically wash, rinse, repeat. You want to keep adding products.
The more products you have, the easier it will be for buyers to find you, and the more they can buy when they visit your digital storefront.
But there’s more to managing a Teachers Pay Teachers store than just adding products.
First, every product page is ultimately a sales page. You need to strategize how you use every space given to you–from covers, thumbnails, and previews, all the way through your product description.
You also need to manage the customer service aspect of your business.
Once you start selling, you’ll eventually begin to receive feedback. Especially at the beginning of your online business, it’s important to pay attention to this feedback.
Buyers will be honest. This feedback is a great way to learn how to create (or update) products better. Be sure to respond professionally and kindly to all of the feedback buyers leave you in the beginning.
When new buyers arrive and they see that you’ve taken time to acknowledge buyers and their concerns, it will make them more at ease when buying in your store.
You might also receive questions from buyers.
What does this resource include? If I buy this, can I do X and Y with it? I purchased this product, but I thought it also included this other component–where is it?
Even more important than your feedback, these questions need to be addressed promptly. These questions will also help you going forward by giving you clues about where you can include more information and directions to help your buyers out.
TPT Quick Tip: Every product description should link to at least 2-3 other related products. Not only will this help your customers find more useful resources and increase your sales, but it also helps your search engine rankings! Better SEO means you’ll be more likely to be found through a Google search down the road.
Selling Step #4: Market Your Products
This is where a lot of newbie sellers fail or stop entirely: marketing.
Some sellers suggest that you create 100 products before you start marketing. Personally, I say this is terrible advice.
Your resources are designed to help teachers solve problems. Why wouldn’t you want to share your awesome solutions?
I say start marketing as soon as you have a single resource!
Yes, you can market even with one resource.
Starting early has several advantages. It allow you to:
- Get more eyes on your products sooner
- See sales from your marketing sooner
- Earn more sooner
- Make a bunch of marketing mistakes while you still have a small (or no!) audience
Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. There are plenty of ways to market your Teachers Pay Teachers products that don’t cost a dime.
Consider sharing Pinterest pins or Instagram posts of your products. You should also submit your products to the Teachers Pay Teachers newsletters. And of course, you can always share your great ideas on Facebook.
As you earn more money through the Teachers Pay Teachers website, you can reinvest that money into advertisements or content marketing like a blog or email newsletter.
The biggest marketing mistake that I see people make is not starting soon enough!
Just like creating new products, marketing is never done. But also like creating products, the more you do it, the more each effort builds from the previous one. Over time, you’ll see more and more rewards from your efforts!
TPT Quick Tip: There are tons of ways to advertise your resources for free! While blogging, podcasting, or video are exceptional marketing tools, you don’t need any of them to start getting your name out there. You can use Pinterest, social media, and even an email marketing newsletter to help your products gain traction without spending a penny!
Any teacher can use Teachers Pay Teachers to supplement their income. But you have to use the right strategies and take all four steps to accomplish your TPT goals.
You can DIY it. I did and many others have.
But I can tell you that it is so much easier with a coach or mentor at your side. If you want to get started with Teachers Pay Teachers the right way and create a business that is both profitable and sustainable, then you need to get my course.
TPT Profitability is a course I created that will take you from nothing, to a sustainable and growing Teachers Pay Teachers store in about a month.
The course, which consists of videos, worksheets, checklists, and bonuses like extra videos and templates, breaks down all 4 of these crucial steps into bite-size tasks.
And I show you how to get started using only free (or very inexpensive) programs. You won’t need thousands of dollars to get started, you won’t need a legal background on copyright, and you certainly won’t need any art skills.
Get to profitable sooner with TPT Profitability. You can sign up for my TpT seller newsletter list here for more information.