Marketing your teacher products can be stressful, scary, and expensive. Today, I am giving you all of the ways to make marketing the opposite—follow along for TpT marketing tips that will be friendly on your wallet and are already right in front of you!
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The Importance of Marketing Your TpT Resources
We’re talking all about marketing and I’m going to be coming to you with the most simple but high impact marketing techniques that you can use now so that you’re not feeling like you always have to do what everyone else is doing in the marketing world. Because I think when we hear the term marketing, we automatically think of complicated sales funnels and spending tons of money on ads. And while that can be the case once you grow your business to that level, it’s not the case for most sellers.
Marketing can actually be very simple and very low cost. And the truth of the matter is that product creation is just the tip of the iceberg. I think a lot of times when we get into the TpT business, we automatically think that it’s just about the products, just about creating. I was very product focused in my early days.
However, I’ve come to realize there’s no point in spending all of that time creating products if you aren’t going to show people where to find them. It’s like writing the next New York Times bestseller but then just putting it on your nightstand for years. There’s literally no point other than your own enjoyment that you get out of it. If you’re spending all of this time thinking about products to create and actually creating the products, then we should be devoting just as much time, if not more, to marketing those products and showing people where to find them.
Today we’re going to briefly talk about as many of your options as possible. There are so many simple, free, or low cost ways to market as a new seller. If you’re an established seller, you might realize that there are some things right in front of you that are free and easy but often overlooked. And you can use those to make a marketing impact on your business.
What Does It Mean to Market Your TpT Resources?
At the very base of things, marketing is the way that you sell your products. And when you market your products, you are communicating to your customers somehow. Maybe it’s through an email, maybe it’s through a Facebook post, maybe it’s through a video. But I would say that more often than not our marketing is through text. We’re writing a caption for Instagram. We are writing the product description of our actual product because that is marketing as well. The way that we talk to our customers and the language you use is very, very important. That’s why it’s the first of the TpT marketing tips I’ll be sharing.
Marketing Your TpT Resources to Your Ideal Customer
And I’m not talking about the language you use to sell your products. There’s not really a go-to phrase or a set of words that I use when I’m talking about my products. It’s more about the people that you’re selling to. In the School of Sellers foundations course (opening in May of 2021), we go through this exercise to find your ideal customer. It’s a really in-depth exercise where you hit on all of these tiny details as you create a prototype of your ideal customer and you’re thinking about things that you never thought you would think of.
Like what do they like to watch on TV at night? Where do they like to hang out online? What types of books do they read? The more you can know about your customer or at least the more details you can nail down about the type of customer you want, the more you can reach them and speak to them in a way that will really get them to pay attention. Think about the teachers that you are creating for and what they are exposed to when they go online. They go on their Facebook page or they log into Instagram or TikTok or Pinterest or anywhere really. And they’re just inundated with messages from all over the place. From other marketing people, from other TpT sellers, from anyone else they follow.
Using Your Customers’ Language To Market Your TpT Resources
It’s really important to learn how to stand out on your customers’ feeds from the very beginning. The way to do that is talking to them, using the language that they use, using terms that they use, drawing on their interests, and just making that connection in the text. And I make it sound simple but it’s not as easy as it sounds. And it’s something that you can start now that will really pay off over time.
So I encourage you to sit down and think about who you are marketing to. Who is your ideal customer? And don’t keep it broad. Go as specific as possible. If you create resources for first grade teachers, think beyond the classroom. What is your teacher doing when she leaves the classroom? Think about the things she might be interested in. And then think about ways that you can weave those interests into your Facebook or Instagram captions.
This might sound like a really vague concept. Let’s say that your ideal customer is someone who leaves the classroom at the end of the day, goes home, does dinner, and maybe baths for the kids. But then at night, she likes to curl up with a glass of wine and watch Real Housewives. You could totally use that to your advantage and use a Real Housewives GIF in some of your posts. Anything that’s really going to draw them into your content. It doesn’t have to directly be related to that product. You have to find a way to draw them in and make them interested in what you have to say. And one of the things you can do at the very beginning is drawing upon their interests.
Creating Your Own Copy Vault to Save Marketing Language
I’ve started a Google doc on my own computer that is just what I like to call my copy vault. Anytime I think of a catchy phrase or a one-liner that I can use to reach my audience, I put it in my copy vault. I’ve also started adding captions to my photos in my iPhone. So if you have an iPhone, you can swipe up on each photo and write your own caption. That way if you have ideas for a clever way to share something related to your product, it’s already saved.
You can also start saving other posts on Instagram or Facebook. Start saving things that inspire you from people who communicate in ways you really like or are drawn to. You can use those as a case study for the way that you talk to your own customers.
I think a lot of times, we stop thinking like buyers and we are so focused on the TpT side of things that we lose sight of what it really takes to connect with people. And that’s simply just to talk to them like they like being talked to and talk to them in a way that’s going to connect with them. Sometimes it’s hard to remember the human side of this business. We’re always so focused and busy on product creation and all of the analytical things. But at the end of the day, if you learn how to talk to your customers, you’ve already made it so far.
Focus on the Solution You’re Offering
Now going along with that idea, when you are ready to talk to your customers and sell your products, the way that you talk to them beyond your language is super important. If you have a product to sell, your first inclination is to just give a laundry list of features. It has this many pages, it can be used on the smart board, it covers these standards. You know, that whole list of features. Those are still really important and those have a time and a place to be shared.
When you are marketing your product, a lot of times that list of features is going to be quickly scrolled past and forgotten because it’s not memorable. It doesn’t hook people, and it’s not really that interesting. Now when you are creating your product description on TpT, then of course a list of features is absolutely necessary. But on social media, they are certainly not going to stop scrolling for a list of product features. An easy mindset shift to make so that you can avoid doing that all of the time is to focus on the solution that you are offering rather than the product.
Sell a Good Night’s Sleep, Not the Mattress
And I don’t know who said this first. However, something that has always stuck in my mind when I am thinking about how I want to talk to my customers when it comes to my products is this amazing idea. Sell a good night’s sleep, not the mattress. People don’t really care about the product because chances are there are hundreds of products just like it. But if you can get your customer to see how it’s going to change their life, how it’s going to help them, how it’s going to make things easier, how it’s going to save them time, then you have yourself a potential buyer. But if you just sit there and tell them how many pages it is and what standards it covers, then they’re probably just going to scroll right through.
The more you can stay focused on the solution, the more you can draw them in closer to your products. People are naturally drawn to finding the path of least resistance and for finding things that make their life easier. If you can automatically show them an answer to their problems, that is way more effective than just telling them about the product itself. This is also a technique that we encourage almost weekly on our Clubhouse audits that we do on Tuesday evenings at 5 PM EST where we give people advice about their stores. So many times in the first paragraph (the snippet) of our product description, we have to coach people to really talk about the problem and the pain points that teachers are having because that’s what’s going to hook your audience.
Use What You Already Have to Market Your TpT Products
In addition to the way that you talk to your customers, my second TpT marketing tip is to use what you already have. When you enter the world of marketing, you are going to be surrounded by so many different choices and options. You’re going to hear things that sound really complicated and expensive like Facebook ads and email funnels. And those things are all great. But if you are just getting started or you’ve really never done much marketing before, then these are some really easy free or low cost ways to market your store.
Market Your TpT Resources on Social Media
The first obvious one is social media. Having a Pinterest account, a Facebook page, and an Instagram account are all really good tools for a teacher seller. If you are starting out, I would encourage you to start with one and get good at it before trying others. But I also know brand new sellers who have jumped right in and done all of the platforms and that’s totally possible too. Just be prepared to have a lot to do and a lot to manage.
However, these days social media is the number one place to start in my opinion to get your products and your ideas out there. And now it’s really nice because if you have a Facebook page and an Instagram page, there are a lot of third-party apps and also the Facebook platform now that allows you to schedule posts to both platforms at the same time so you’re not doing double the work. If you are new to marketing your store, I would start with one social media platform and go from there.
Utilize Your Note to Followers on TpT
Another marketing tool available to us free of charge is the note to followers feature on TpT. You are able to send a note to every single person who follows your store on TpT. I will be the first to admit that this is something I almost never do because it’s just something that I did as a newer seller. But then once I got my Facebook ads and email list going, I was like, I don’t really have to do the note to followers anymore. But I’m here to tell you a little story that changed my mind.
Last year in the School of Sellers group, we got to talking about the note to followers and I was very honest. I said I never do them. But it kind of piqued my thoughts. I decided to just do a note followers to see how it was going to go. I ended up making an extra $200 that week just from my note to followers. That’s $200 I never would have had if I hadn’t written the note to followers.
And the notes are super easy. It’s just like an email. You can add links and images, and if you follow Bearwood Labs on TpT, they have a lot of seller tools that are really helpful and one of those things is a tool to make your note to followers even better. You can even send the same exact message in your note to followers and your email to your email list. Now it’s really important to note—no pun intended—that you can only send one note per month. So it’s important to be strategic about when you want to send them.
Social Media Shoutout & TpT Newsletter Submissions
In addition to your note to followers, another free option for marketing is the social media shout out that TpT offers. You can submit products and posts of your own social media platforms to be shared on TpT’s social media platforms.
Another thing that goes along with our social media shout out is the free newsletter submission. Every single week, TpT sends out a newsletter to teachers and teacher sellers can apply to have a free resource featured in the newsletter, a paid resource featured in the newsletter, or they can apply to be the featured seller of the week, which is a huge opportunity. And these are all free.
So here’s how this looks. For your free products or your paid products, you can submit those every single week. So you can submit one free product and one paid product every single week to the TpT newsletter. And then for the featured seller, you can apply for that once a month. So that’s really easy to just add to your calendar if you do it the same day every week or the same day every month. It takes less than 10 minutes to apply.
You can keep a simple spreadsheet or Google Doc of the products that you have submitted, the links to them, etc. That way they’re there for you to copy and paste when you go to apply for any of those spots. So again, those are just some really high impact, low cost ways to get your things seen on TpT. Now if you submit to the newsletter, don’t expect to be featured the very next week. It often takes months, sometimes even over a year to get featured. So it’s something that just requires patience but it’s something we should all be doing. Because why not? It’s free exposure.
Paid Marketing for Your TpT Resources
My third helpful tip is even though there are tons of free and easy ways to market your products, you should also be prepared to pay for marketing at some point in your business. And in the industry, a lot of times people say that we are paying to play. What used to come to us naturally is now something we have to pay for. When I first started TpT about eight years ago, our organic traffic was a lot better. I could post something on my Facebook page and not pay for it. It would still get a lot of interaction, a lot of likes, a lot of shares, and it was really easy to come by that organic traffic.
Nowadays though, with the changes in algorithms and just the changes on the social media platforms in general, our organic traffic is a lot lower and sometimes can be as low as 2% which means that if you post on Instagram or Facebook and you don’t promote it with any ad money, about 2% of your audience can be expected to see it which sounds really abysmal. And it is. It’s not great. But that’s why I think it’s important to wrap your head around the idea that you will at some point pay for marketing. Get used to that idea now, so the less it’s going to hurt once you actually start paying.
Using Facebook Ads to Market Your TpT Resources
I am a huge proponent of Facebook ads. That is where I put the majority of my ad money. They’ve been successful for me. I can attribute Facebook ads to the thing that really catapulted my business from successful to like super successful. I’m not telling you that so that you feel like you have to start spending hundreds of dollars on ads. One of the common misconceptions about ads is that they’re super expensive. While they can be for certain purposes, they don’t have to cost a lot.
In fact, the Facebook course that I took at the very beginning, Cultivate with Tracy Morgan who is now my Facebook ads coach also encourages us to spend as little as $5 a day on Facebook ads. So it’s worth it to play around with it if it’s in your budget and you have the mental bandwidth to figure out a new skill. The earlier you can start at least playing around with the idea of Facebook ads, the better off you’ll be. Facebook has a lot of free resources for learning ads. And you can certainly tap into the YouTube world for tutorials and just kind of piece together the information. Then when you are ready, you can either choose to invest in a Facebook ads course like I did with Tracy or you might just jump right into spending money on ads.
But I think it’s important to at least have a general understanding and idea of why Facebook ads are going to be important and why paid advertising is going to matter one day to you. I didn’t personally start paying for ads until four years into my business. So if you are hearing this and you’re thinking this is terrifying, you don’t have to do this right now. I’m just giving you a heads up because it was really hard for me to transition to paid ads. Even though I was making more money, it kind of was painful to part with some of that money. But it really did make a huge impact on my business. So it’s something that I encourage all sellers to work up towards.
Setting Up Your Facebook Pixel on TpT
In the meantime, if you are not in a position financially or have no time to figure out Facebook ads and you’re like, no, this is not something that’s going to be on my on my plate right now, then I think there are a couple things that you could do that can help right now so that when you are ready, you’ll be at least a little prepared. And one of those things is to set up your Facebook pixel on TpT.
TpT just recently gave us the ability to connect our Facebook pixel with our TpT account. That means that we can now target people on Facebook who have viewed our products on TpT. That is huge for the future of your Facebook ads. And it’s something you can do now without actually having to run an ad. It’s just going to start collecting data for you. If you are a member of the School of Sellers or School of Sellers 101 group, we have posted videos in those groups about how to set up your pixel. But you can also find that information on TpT.
Set Up a Business Page on Facebook and Instagram
I would also recommend creating a business page on Facebook and Instagram at the very least. That way you’ve established yourself and you have secured your business name across all of those platforms. So whether or not you are ready to jump into social media at all, I would also recommend getting your name and securing your handle. That way you have the accounts when you’re ready to use them. There’s nothing more frustrating than being ready to get on social media and make moves in your business only to realize that your name has already been taken. So I would definitely set up your pixel, get those usernames, and just start getting comfortable with the platform. Then when you are ready to pay to advertise, you will be ready to go.
So there you have it, my friends. Marketing does not have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be scary, and it doesn’t have to take up a ton of our time. But I hope that you at least take away one actionable thing that you are going to do following this episode because marketing is so, so important. It’s not my favorite part of the business but it’s crucial for sure.
We have put together a little marketing cheat sheet that gives you all of the links that you need to apply for any of the spots that I told you about on TpT. And it also just gives you a brief rundown of all of your free or low cost marketing options as a new seller. So if you would like to grab that, it is part of our teacher seller starter kit. You can download the whole starter kit. You can download just the marketing cheat sheet. And you can also check out other podcast episodes that are part of our Back to Basics series as well as learn more about our Foundations course for new and up-and-coming teacher sellers.
Links mentioned in this episode:
- School of Sellers Foundations
- Send a Note to Followers
- Apply for a Social Media Shoutout
- Submit a Resource to the TpT Newsletter
Looking for another way to get this episode? Download the transcript for Episode 50 here!
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