I started my TeachersPayTeachers store all the way back in 2009… yup, 2009. It wasn’t until I was on mat leave with my first kiddo several years later that I put any kind of serious effort into posting resources. For the next several years it was fun hobby and a great source of disposable income for “extras”.
However in early 2020 I had a bit of an epiphany. In addition to being a teacher I am also a small business owner and occasional marketing consultant. For some reason that I still don’t quite understand, it never occurred to me to apply all the business and marketing skills to this little TpT store.
So I did…. and boy did things warm up fast.
What changed for me to increase my TpT sales so much?
There are a few things that I approached differently, but there is definitely one single change that I made that was by far the most impactful to my business.
I got crystal-clear on my target customer and my marketing message.
There is a lot of buzz about “ideal customer” and “niche” in the marketing world in general, and for teacher sellers as well. The problem is that for most people, they treat it like a little mind-set exercise and don’t take it that step further to actually define a marketing message.
But when you define a strong marketing message, it’s amazing how many other things become so much easier:
- Find (and choose) the right long tail keywords quickly and easily
- Turn one-time customers into repeat buyers (and raving fans)
- Choose the right wording for your store banners and other branding materials
- Write compelling Pinterest pin headlines & descriptions that make people want to click
- Create posts for social media that interest your audience
- Write product descriptions and previews that quickly capture attention
The results of a strong message:
- Increase conversion rates
- Stop feeling salesy
Perhaps most importantly, a truly unique marketing message is VERY difficult for others to copy, making it the best way to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.
Most TpT Sellers aren’t brave enough to try this
I have done a lot of store reviews over the past several years. I’ve also spent a fair bit of time in TpT Sellers’ Groups reading and answering questions about marketing and how to build your store.
It’s amazing to me how much resistance there is to the idea of narrowing down your business focus to one specific group. Even worse, it’s crazy how often I’ll see sellers advising other teacher sellers NOT to “niche down”.
“You don’t want to box yourself in”
“What if you start teaching a different subject next year?”
No way around it: This is straight-up terrible business advice.
Every successful entrepreneur knows that the best way to build a business is to create a great product, and then share that product with an audience that needs it.
The problem is that most TpT sellers are teachers, and don’t have a business or marketing background. They may have great products, but they don’t know who they are making them for or why they need it.