Are you just starting your journey as a Teachers Pay Teachers seller? If you are, you might be overwhelmed by the amount you need to learn and do. No doubt, you’re looking at all kinds of software, tools, and purchases and wondering, “Do I even need this to get started on Teachers Pay Teachers?” After years of creating, marketing, and growing a platform on TpT, I have tried a lot of different methods and tools. When it comes to creating marketing material, however, I believe that there is one tool that you need as TpT seller: Canva.
I was already a few months into selling when I discovered the Canva website. Had I learned about it earlier, I would have saved myself so much time (and money). But, hopefully, my learning experience can shorten yours!
If you’re just starting out and are tight on funds to invest in your new Teachers Pay Teachers business, keep reading. If Canva is the only tool you have, you can start your whole business!
Quick note: any link to Canva on this website is an affiliate link. That said, I only recommend products I actually use and believe in. I’ll talk about a few different ways I use Canva in this post.
What Is Canva?
To put it simply, Canva is a website that easily allows you to create graphics or images. It offers up a ton of templates and free-to-use images that make designing beautiful graphics a snap.
Canva is a favorite tool amongst bloggers, influences, and, yes, many, many Teachers Pay Teachers sellers. I have yet to meet another teacher-author who doesn’t use it in some capacity.
Canva is always adding more images, fonts, and templates, so you will always have the freshest designs possible. Their templates make designing so easy, you’ll look at your creations and wonder when you picked up that minor in graphic design!
If you’re going to make your Teachers Pay Teachers covers, IG posts, and Pinterest pins stand out, they need to be visually appealing. Canva is the best friend all of us non-creatives need! It really is a life saver.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT CANVA LICENSING
Don’t ask me why they made this decision. It seems like they’re actively discouraging you from buying a pro account, as there are far fewer benefits if you can’t use the paid elements in a resource.
Going forward, my official advice is to use Canva for marketing–IG posts, Pinterest pins, and even your covers and thumbnails for resources. But try sticking to old standbys like PowerPoint, InDesign, or Google for resource creation.
However, there are still some benefits to the pro account.
Canva Free vs. Canva Pro for the TpT Seller
When you start with Canva, you can either try the website for free or jump into the Pro subscription.
With the free version, you can still do a lot! I used the free version of Canva for the first two years of my business before finally biting the bullet and upgrading. But you know what, I so wish I had done it sooner!
Canva is one of the cheapest subscriptions I have for my Teachers Pay Teachers business at only $9.95/month, but it’s the one I use the most. At any given time, I have at least three tabs open to Canva!
If you really don’t have any extra money to spend while you start your TPT store, here’s my honest, straight-from-the-heart recommendation: sign up for the Pro free trial, use it as much as you can to get started, and then cancel before your trial is up.
Why? Well, Pro offers some really amazing features, some of which are especially helpful in your first couple of weeks of business.
For example, with Canva Pro, you can download images you create with a transparent background.
This is an insane time-saver! So, while you have Canva Pro, I recommend creating a logo for your store (just use one of their beautiful templates) and then download the image as a transparent PNG file.
I did not do this and spent two years of my life cropping square images of my logo into a circle every time I wanted to use it. I did this until I bought a new logo for $300–Canva would have been such a cheaper solution!
Here are some other great features that Pro offers over the free version:
- More fonts (we TPT creators can never have enough, right?)
- More images (see above!)
- Branding Kit–upload your own fonts and save your brand colors to use again and again
- One-click resize tool–create ONE image and then resize it for your product covers, store banners, Instagram, and more
- Export videos and gifs–these are especially great for improving your Pinterest or Instagram engagement
What Can a TpT Seller Do With Canva?
The real question here is what can’t a Teachers Pay Teachers seller do with Canva?
Every time I sit down to work on my store, inevitably I end up on the Canva website. From creating mock-ups for my resources, to pins, to IG posts, Canva is like my own little business assistant.
Create Branding Materials
One of the biggest mistakes new teacher-authors make is not branding from the beginning. I think people skip this because it seems overwhelming, daunting, and they think they need a design degree to do it.
Not so! With Canva, you can be your own branding agent.
I’ve already mentioned logo creation, but this is the first thing you really should do. Pick one of the many templates that Canva offers, customize it with your store name and colors, and voila! You’re off to the TPT races.
You can also create all of your store banners in Canva (that’s where I create mine). Tip: create a gif banner to display even more information or show off more products to your buyers!
Then, with Canva Pro, you can save that new logo and those branding colors in your branding kit. Whenever you create a new product cover or Pinterest pin, you can brand them with those colors and that logo in a single click!
I make most of my products in PowerPoint, but I make some in Canva on occasion. I love using Canva for graphics-heavy products like posters.
I know many TPT sellers that use Canva exclusively to create products, even worksheets and documents!
If you want to offer customizable templates like that in your TpT store, you totally can! Just be sure you grab the Pro version as it’s the only legal way to sell templates.
Create Previews and Thumbnails
In this FREEBIE, I talk about the importance of previews and thumbnails for selling your TPT resources. These can also be made–you guessed it–in Canva.
When creating your thumbnails, just make sure that your Canva design has square dimensions.
If you’re already designing your products in Canva, creating a preview can be as simple as adding a watermark (or see-through text) on top.
Create Marketing Material
This is my favorite way to use Canva. I use Canva to create all of my Pinterest pins and many Instagram images.
The beauty of using Canva to create Pinterest pins is that once you have a few designs you like, you can simply copy that design, add a new image, change the text, and quickly create a massive amount of high-performing pins.
All of the Pinterest pins on this very blog post have been made with Canva!
And using Canva also helps immensely with Instagram. Let’s be real–I do not take enough pictures of myself or my life to upload to IG every single day.
With Canva’s Instagram templates, I can easily create beautiful quote graphics or promotional ones on days when I have no real photos to share.
A Final Word on the Best Marketing Tool for the New TpT Seller
If you as a TpT seller can only invest in one tool, consider making it Canva Pro. With Canva, you can create a brand, design your first products, and promote yourself–all for under $10 a month.
Canva basically removes the need to hire a graphic designer for your logo and branding, can replace PowerPoint/Adobe/Illustrator/whatever software you’d need to create your products until you’re ready for something more advanced, and eliminates the need to pay for outside clip art and fonts! Just remember to stick to Canva’s free elements for any designs you’ll be selling.
While the free options can get you very far, the paid subscription is a great deal considering it’s all you need for your first year of business. I believe that Canva is so essential to a Teachers Pay Teachers seller, that creating an account is part of one of my lessons in TPT Profitability.
But hey, you’re getting the advice for free right now! Sign up with Canva today!