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Are your TpT product previews ugly? (Tuesday Tip)

We all know as TpT sellers that it’s important to protect our work. Unfortunately, sometimes while protecting our products from unauthorized use we are also standing in the way of marketing our work to its full potential.

One of the most common ways that I see this is with product previews. A product preview is meant to give customers a better idea of exactly what they are purchasing. It gives a partial view of the actual product so customers can better determine if it fits their needs.

Why are we slapping “PREVIEW” all over everything?

One of the quickest ways to prepare a specific page to use in a preview file is to put a watermark on it. This allows customers to see the entirety of the page while preventing it from being useable. The most common watermark is simply to put the word “PREVIEW” across the page.

It’s quick. It’s easy. But let me ask you a very important question…

Do your customers need you to tell them they are looking at a preview?

In order to see the preview they just clicked on the word “preview”. Because they wanted to look at a preview. So… I’m pretty sure they already know it’s a preview.

Simply using “PREVIEW” as a watermark does technically work. It makes the page unusable as a printed page. But is it making your product look its best? Are there other ways we could prevent the page from being used?

Try something different with your TpT Product Previews

You’ve spent so much time making a fabulous product – don’t sell yourself short by creating a preview that doesn’t show it off at its best.

I’m definitely not a design expert, but just taking a few extra minutes to be more deliberate with the design of your previews can make a big difference.

This preview shows what one page looks like, but has a text box and logo covering part of it to discourage unauthorized use.

Here are a few ideas for different ways you can protect your pages without using that ugly “preview” text:

  • Overlapping the pages (this works well for large products where you want to show the range of pages offered)
  • Use your logo or the product’s cover to obscure part of the page
  • Use a single-color, partially translucent version of your logo as a watermark
  • Use “how-to” boxes, arrows, etc that obscure part of the page while showing how the product can be used
  • Use a photo of a completed version of the product, so that the whole thing can be seen but it is not useable. (This works particularly well for crafts, interactive notebooks, and other printables that are heavily altered when they are used by the students)
  • Create video previews. These are not necessarily a substitute for a regular preview, but if you set them to a low dpi, they won’t produce a picture with high enough quality to be able to copy it.

After you add your new-and-improved watermark or visual obstruction, don’t forget to flatten your document so that your preview is secure.

Which of your products do you think needs a better looking preview?