Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference July 2014 Session 3 Notes

I am really enjoying sharing my experience and notes from the TpT conference with you!

If you missed my previous posts, you can find them here:

                                                                   Session 1
                                                                   Session 2

All of the presenters uploaded their session handouts to TpT for free.  You can find the handout for this session here.

Build Your Magnet Marketing Plan Handouts: Session T-11, T

Today I am focusing on what I learned during my third session which was presented by Rachel Lynette. Like yesterday, I don't have a ton of great pictures for you because of the seating I was in, but I did manage to take this one.

I also found this adorable photo of her on her blog.  She is being hugged by Paul Edelman, the founder of TpT.

Those blurry words say, "Let's Network" In all of the sessions I attended, the speakers really spoke about networking with other sellers.  It may seem counter intuitive to network with other sellers who would appear to be your "competition" but all of the successful sellers collaborate A LOT!  If you have followed teaching blogs for awhile you have no doubt come across linkies, giveaways, and even collaborative blogs.  One thing I really love about the Teachers Pay Teachers and teacher blogging world is just that collaborative spirit. 

Web Presence 

Rachel Lynette recommended having some sort of web presence beyond your TpT store.  That could be Facebook, your own blog, a collaborative blog with other sellers, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. 

Provide Value

Before you post on any of these channels, you should ask yourself, "Does what I'm about to post bring value?"  According to Rachel, the answer to that question should be "yes" at least 80% of the time. In essence, 20% of the time your posts should focus on direct marketing (i.e. this is my newest TpT product) and the other 80 % of the time should be something else that provides value to your followers. She mentioned that in an earlier session, Laura Candler had said it could be 50/50 but then again Laura Candler's Facebook page does have over 460,000 followers, so what works for her might not work for everyone else.  Rachel Lynette kept saying "If it works for you - keep doing it!"

She asked us to look back at our own posts and reflect on them.  

Do our last few posts follow this rule?  
Pay attention to the posts and pins that are most popular.  Ask yourself, what made them so popular?
What value are they providing?

She suggested making lists for each of our social networks and thinking about all the different ways we could provide value to those followers.  She suggested looking beyond freebies, sales, and contests.  What about an interesting article you read?  What about a blog post by another seller that you thought could be helpful?  What about an inspiring quote or a joke to lighten their day?

You can have the most amazing product that has ever been posted to Teachers Pay Teachers, but if no one is looking at it, you won't make any sales.  So, how do you attract buyers to your store?  

Rachel says that right now there are 3 main social networking platforms that are the best bet for driving traffic to your store.  Ideally, you should be using all 3 together.  She provided a picture of this (you can see this in the slides that you download as well).


This is your home base.  This is where you should provide value to your customers through lesson suggestions and ideas, how-to's, contests, freebies, full-out product demonstrations in your class, etc.


This is your community where you can interact with your followers and buyers.  Rachel suggested using this as market research.  You can ask buyers, "Which cover do you prefer?"  "Do you like colored or black and white task cards?" "Would this type of product be useful?"  Not only do you get feedback, but you are pre-marketing the products you are making.  Rachel's Facebook is here.


This is your reach.  Buyers will find you based on pictures that are shared by you and by others.  This is how you grow your base even larger. Rachel's Pinterest is here.

Action Steps

1. If you are missing one of these above components. Fix that and get it!

2. Learn how to create appealing, pinnable pictures.  You can use PowerPoint or a number of on-line apps such as PicMonkey to do this.  Larger pictures (vertical) are more pinnable.

3. Revise old blog posts with more pinnable images.

4. Take a good look at your sidebars.  What are you promoting on them?  Your products should be in these spots not links to other blogs!  This is valuable real estate.  Take a good look at Rachel's blog.  See the way she uses her sidebars.  She is not about to be the second TpT millionaire for nothing!

5. Choose one of your products to focus marketing actions around.  Think of three ways you could promote that product.  Track sales to see the effect.

You have probably all heard the saying, "What goes around comes around." or possibly "Give to get."  Rachel says that these sayings are certainly true in the Teachers Pay Teachers marketplace as well.  When you give your time, knowledge, and energy not only to your buyers but also to your TpT colleagues, you will benefit in ways that you can not even imagine.  This was a resounding theme throughout the conference!

Action Steps

1. Create a collaborative opportunity.  Maybe it is a a group Pinterest board where you invite other sellers to pin, maybe it is a contest or giveaway where you invite others to donate their items.  Just collaborate!  I know personally, I have received a ton of benefits not only from hosting my own giveaways, but also in joining with other blogs for their giveaways.

2. Reach out in a positive way to at least 3 other sellers you admire.  Think of how you could help them.  Perhaps you have used one of their products in your classroom and you blogged about it, share the blog post with them.  

When I created my product Can We Get A Class Pet? I wanted to include resources about having a class pet.  I reached out to Erica Bohrer to ask her permission because she had posted about it and even had a collaborative blog about classroom pets.  She not only gave me permission to use her information, but she invited me to post on that collaborative board.

Can We Get A Class Pet? A Lesson in Persuasive Writing and

3.Look at the collaborations you are currently working on.  Are they worth your time and effort?  Leave boards that have low repinning rates.  It is ok to say, "no", you don't have to take every opportunity that comes your way.

4. When you are part of a collaborative board FOLLOW THE RULES.  If the board owner says only pin three times a day - only pin three times a day.  If you make a newbie mistake, ask for forgiveness, teachers are generally understanding people.  Just make sure you don't make that mistake again!  We all have our limits on patience!

Rachel says that ideally, when buyers come to your store, they should not leave until they have purchased something.  Of course, that is in an ideal world, but what are you doing to make sure that the likelihood of purchase is increased?

Action Steps

1. Look at your store from a new perspective, your buyer's perspective. Do your product pages tell them all they need to know to make an informed decision?  Have you provided accurate information?  Is the grade range correct? Are your best comments listed first.  Remember that Mark Guy from Jen Jones' presentation?  Use him!

2. Update your product pages to include links to other relevant products.  If you don't know how to make your own hyperlinks you can use this generator.  It makes them for you!  (That is my own tip - not from the conference).

3. Is your store easy to navigate?

4. Do you love your logo? If not, do some research and make changes.  I did this with my blog recently, I didn't love my design, so I had Megan from A Bird In Hand Designs create a new one for me!

According to Rachel, freebies should be just like those freebies in the store, a taste, not a meal.  She also gave us a few reminders.

1. Your pages should all have the name of your store and copyright info on them somewhere.  What if a teacher has downloaded your fabulous freebie, and then wants to buy more from you, but he/she can't remember where he/she found it?  Make sure your info is there for them.

2. Select a product from your store and make a freebie that complements it.  Make sure the freebie is top-notch.  Include a promo page for the original product including links. Then, blog about it, pin it, share it on Facebook, and other social networks.  Track it to see if it effected the sales of the product.

3. Submit your best freebies to the newsletter every week for a month. Make sure that freebie is complete, unique, and not out of season. If it is not selected, choose a new freebie.

These posts are really helping me remember everything I learned in such a short amount of time, and I am glad that they appear to be providing value for you as well!  Remember to come back tomorrow when I give you my notes from Erin Cobb of  Lovin Lit's presentation.  She grew her store in a very short time, and her presentation was about accelerating your growth on TpT.  


  1. I have been so excited waiting for your posts with notes from presentations. I may not have attended, but at least I am getting some great, productive information.

  2. Love your post! Can't wait to read about Erin!
    Mrs. Brown Loves Bookworms

  3. Thank you so much for all of this information! There is so much to think about! I can't wait to use these tips to help my store and blog!!

    Mrs. 3rd Grade 

  4. We can't thank you enough for sharing everything your learned at the conference! I look forward to all your new posts =)


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