15 Steps to Grow Your TPT Store in 2024
Launching your Teachers Pay Teachers store (or any digital product business) is an exciting milestone! It takes a ton of thought and preparation to complete your first digital product and hit publish. You probably had to learn the ins and outs of product creation, how to set up your store on a marketplace like Teachers Pay Teachers or Etsy, and get through all the yucky mindset stuff that comes up... imposter syndrome is a beast!
But the worst thing you can do is hit publish on your Teachers Pay Teachers product, close your laptop, cross your fingers, and hope your product sells.
To be completely honest, it might sell. If you created a trending product on a topic people are searching for, you might make some sales without doing anything else. Or you might not. If you haven't gone through these additional steps, it's anyone's guess how this will go.
You deserve to have more control over your sales! So, let's put these 15 steps into place to ensure you actually make sales today, tomorrow, and for years to come! Taking these 15 steps to grow your Teachers Pay Teachers store now will also boost any products you create in the future. Let's go!
[If you're still not sure if you want to create a TPT store or use another business model, click here for a free guide on the different business models that work well for teachers starting an online business!]
Step One: Optimize your TPT listing for Search
A marketplace like Teachers Pay Teachers has wonderful benefits. You are posting on a site teachers already trust and visit daily. That's a huge advantage!
The downside? There are hundreds of thousands of other teachers posting, too. This means you need a listing that helps you come up in the top searched items on Teachers Pay Teachers for your topic. When teachers type in your topic, you don't want to be on page 32 of the search because most teachers will never even see your product! Don't worry. It's simple to optimize your TPT listing. Once you do it, you can save and use the template on your TPT descriptions.
To optimize your TPT listing, do some research first. Try typing a few of the search terms teachers might use to find your product and take a look at the top results. What are they using for a title? Don't copy it exactly, but use it as a guide to write your own.
Go to the descriptions and identify 3 keywords the top sellers use. Be sure these keywords (and one or two more) are used in your description! This will help your listing appear in the TPT search and can even land you some space in a Google search!
There's lots more you can do to optimize the inside of your TPT listing... see Step 2.
TPT Listing Title + Description Keywords
Step 2: Optimize Your TPT Listing for Conversions
Once a teacher clicks on your listing (because you were on page one of the search, of course!), you've already won half the battle! Don't lose them now. We want them to hit that buy button.
Inside your Teachers Pay Teachers listing, there are 2 main areas to think about: Your description and your previews. There's a lot I could say about both areas, but for this post (and keeping things simple), I'll give you this tip to think about: What does your potential customer need to know to be able to make a buying decision?
They need to know exactly what's in the product, what it looks like to use it with students, what other teachers think about it, and if the product will solve their problem.
Be sure you have this clearly outlined in your product descriptions and previews!
[To learn more about how to make sure you are setting your business up for success, grab this 3-day Business Planning Challenge for Teacher Business Owners!]
Step 3: Keep TPT Products Updated & Listen to Feedback
As a teacher, you already know the importance of a reflective practice. Listen to the feedback as you start to get reviews on your TPT products!
Responding to customer feedback directly on TPT and making the suggested changes is part of building trust with your customers. Encourage them to hit the "Follow" button on TPT to stay tuned as you update your products.
When you're just starting out and waiting for the reviews to roll in, ask a friend or two to try out your product and give you some detailed feedback. This will help you make improvements before you even get your first buyer!
Step 4: Create Long-Form Content Leading to Your TPT Store
This is where it will start to feel a little challenging if you're new to an online business, but creating long-form content is the best way to drive traffic to your store today, tomorrow, and for years to come. (That's my top wish for you because it is the most passive way to succeed in this business.)
I know you might be tempted to jump into creating an Instagram page and sharing your products that way, but short-form content doesn't last as long (it has its biggest impact in the first few hours and then gets pushed down by all the other content!)
How do I drive traffic to my TPT store?
Long-form content that works to drive traffic for years to come could be a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast. (Podcast is the least effective to do FIRST... I would suggest setting up a blog first.) You don't need to choose all 3; just pick one! Do you like writing or video? Pick whatever feels easiest for you.
Learn more about keywording strategy for your blog and how to create the best content to drive traffic to your store. Get on the waiting list for Teacher Hustle University where I go through all of these steps in detail to help you build a strong, profitable business in the most simple way possible!
Step 5: Check Back on Your TPT Store Regularly
Get out your calendar! We're going to pick a date once a month to check in on your TPT store. A planning party, if you will.
Here are a few of the TPT analytics you'll want to keep an eye on:
- Products with the most views
- Products with the highest conversions
- Products with the least views
- Products with the lowest conversions
- Total sales
I'll go more in-depth on each of these and what they mean in my podcast episode, but the basic point is to keep track. You can write this down on paper or create a fancy Google Sheet. All that matters is setting up a TPT analytics routine that works for YOU.
TPT Product Views & Previews
TPT Product Sales & Conversions
Step 6: Understand What Sets Your TPT Store Apart
Back to the research! How is your solution different than the other TPT products that come up in search alongside yours? If you can't figure out what makes your product different, try to figure out a way to make yours different. Could it be more simple? More unique? Better results?
I help teachers build marketing strategies that drive more traffic to their online businesses. There are thousands of other business and marketing coaches out there. I had to determine how I'm different. It took a while for me to figure out, and it took a lot of listening to my audience and their feedback. Eventually, I figured out that I can make marketing simple yet keep it innovative and ahead of the trends. (I pride myself on being the best trend predictor out there... see Step 7!)
Step 7: Promote Your TPT Store with Pinterest
Alissa, Pinterest?! Didn't that go out a few years ago? It did. But as with any platform, the popularity of the platform ebbs and flows over time. Pinterest predicts increased growth in the platform by 5.1 million users between now and 2028. (Reports from high school teachers in the trenched also say that the young kids are using Pinterest daily! That's a good sign.)
How do I promote my TPT store?
Pinterest is a way to "promote" your store without having to show up consistently on social. It pairs perfectly with your long-form content (blog or YouTube) to boost it. It has a longer "shelf life" than social media.
Make it a habit to create a few varieties of pins after you create your long-form content. When you combine the two strategies, they pack a one-two punch for driving traffic to your TPT store!
Learn more about how to use Pinterest, how to create effective pins, and how to get the most out of the platform inside Teacher Hustle University. (Get on the waiting list! Doors open again soon.)
Step 8: Create a Freebie
You can create a freebie on the TPT platform to get more attention for your store and hopefully more followers. You can also create a freebie once you start your email list (see Step 9) to get more subscribers.
Either way, make sure your freebie:
- Doesn't apply to everyone (we want only to attract people who will buy other things from your store)
- Doesn't give away too much
- Doesn't give away not enough
- Is optimized for search
- Is based on a trending topic (seasonal topics or popular topics in your niche)
Get an example by downloading my free guidebook for teacher business owners HERE!
Step 9: Start an Email List
Notice we are still not creating an Instagram! Social media is totally optional. You can drive traffic with a blog and Pinterest. You can KEEP your customers with your e-mail list so that they buy again and again.
To start your e-mail list, choose an e-mail service provider.
Here are a few of my favorite e-mail service providers for TPT sellers:
MailerLite: Free and simple
FloDesk: Paid, better graphics, limited in analytics & automations
ConvertKit: Best for long-term growth thanks to analytics and automations that allow you to send the most personalized e-mails
**I use Kajabi for all of my business-building needs. I use it for my website, blog, e-mail service provider, landing pages, and even for selling digital products and courses off of a marketplace. It's a bit pricy, but adding up the cost of all the business platforms you need can be worthwhile, especially if you're planning to grow your business over time! Grab your free trial here.
Step 10: Create a Content Creation Schedule
Once you have your blog or YouTube channel, your Pinterest account, and even an e-mail list, you'll need to decide what kind of content to create and how often to create it. I cover this in-depth inside my 3-Day Business Planning Challenge HERE.
I would suggest setting aside 1-2 hours per week for marketing. You can also set aside one longer chunk of time each month and spend the rest working on products for your Teachers Pay Teachers store.
When you sit down to work, always start with research! What topics are your ideal customers interested in? Which topics do you love to talk about? Get out your sticky notes and map out all of your ideas!
Next, start to group your sticky notes into categories. Can you get it down to 3 categories? These are your "content pillars" - the broad topics you'll create content around to lead to your TPT store.
As you work on your content pillars, there is a lot of planning and thought, especially ensuring you have a mid-priced product or product line for each pillar. (Again, this is covered in-depth with the content pillar workbook in the 3-day Business Planning Challenge for Teacher Business Owners.)
Step 11: Create "Cornerstone" Content for Each Content Pillar
Instead of creating a weekly blog post or weekly YouTube video (who has time for that while you're teaching full time?!), get more bang for your "buck" by creating cornerstone content. This blog post is an example of cornerstone content. (How meta!)
Cornerstone content covers your topic in-depth. It is designed to cover even more than the top blog post or video on that topic. And, of course, you'll use lots of good keywording strategies! My favorite keyword research tools are Ubersuggest and SEMRush.
Step 12: Create "Top of Funnel" Content
If you followed the steps above, you just created your first sales funnel! (Yay, you!) Hopefully, a potential customer will find you on Pinterest or through a Google Search, and then they will follow the journey to your TPT store and become a loyal, raving fan!
But in case they don't find you on Pinterest or in Google Search, we can add a few more ways for your potential customers to enter this funnel.
You can use TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform. In 2024, I think TikTok is the best platform for TPT sellers. I also like Instagram, but I like it for building community. (See #13)
TikTok videos now come up in Google Search! You can use the same keywording strategy you used in your blog to help your TikTok videos actually come up in searches on the platform AND Google. You get 2 times the reach for one post.
Keep your TikTok videos casual. You don't even have to show your face!
Try these faceless video types that work for TPT sellers:
- Preview Videos (like this one): Point your cell phone camera at your computer screen and demonstrate your TPT product.
- Hack Videos (like this one): Point your cell phone camera at your computer screen to demonstrate a hack.
- Promote Your Freebie (like this one): Regularly remind people about your freebie!
- Meme Style (like this one): This is more of a community builder, but it can extend your reach quickly! Use humor to call in the right teachers for your product.
Step 13: Create a Marketing Analytics Check-In for Your Blog
Remember when we set a date on the calendar to check your TPT analytics? We're going to do the same thing for marketing!
If you started a blog, I want you to set up your account on Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Here, you can track how many people visited your page and how long they stayed. You'll even be able to see how they found you, so you'll know if your TikTok videos and keyword strategy are paying off.
With Google Search Console, you can see the keywords you're ranking for and adjust your strategy as needed. Remember, it takes about 6 months to see your post rank on Google. (But that rank will last for the lifetime of your blog! Totally worth it.)
Step 14: Create a Marketing Analytics Check-in for Your Top-of-Funnel Content
You'll want to check social media for reach and engagement. Do enough people see your posts? Are they keeping your people's interest? If not, shift your strategy quickly! For more details on creating an effective social strategy, join Teacher Hustle University! I detail all these steps, including how-to's, demos, and tutorials.
Don't forget to check in on Pinterest, too! Your analytics check doesn't have to be complicated. Pick 1-2 metrics to track on each platform. What really matters is that you check these consistently (put it on your calendar!) and shift your strategy quickly when something isn't working.
Step 15: Find a Community to Support Your Ongoing Work
Entrepreneurship is lonely, and there are so many decisions to make. Find a mentor and consume all of their content! (Try to stick to ONE mentor, or you'll spin yourself in circles trying to follow all of the marketing advice!)
Then, find a community of teacher entrepreneurs so you can ask questions, get quick advice, get feedback, share wins, and vent when things aren't going well!
You can find training, mentorship AND the best community ever by joining hundreds of teacher entrepreneurs inside Teacher Hustle University, the ONE business hub you need to start, grow, and scale your online business!
For more business advice, listen to That Teacher podcast!
Is Selling on Teachers Pay Teachers worth it?
Creating a TPT store can be a wonderful way to provide extra income to your family. Learning can be tricky, and you'll certainly put the work in ahead of time.
But once those sales start rolling in, you can reap the rewards while enjoying life. You can get this work down to 1-2 hours per week, and you'll be building your legacy in teaching, all while enjoying financial freedom!
For a workbook, templates, prompts, and a workshop series to help walk you through these steps in-depth, grab the 3-day Business Planning Challenge HERE!