Selling on TPT Without Social Media (ep 14)

selling-on-tpt

Selling on TPT

Where are my introverted teacher sellers? I know there’s many of you out there, and as a result, you may find social media to be extremely draining.

It can be a lot of pressure to run a business that relies on sales, and selling on TPT is no exception. We tend to feel like we have to be cranking out content 24/7 on Instagram in order to bring in new customers. While creating reels, and showing up on Instagram stories every single day may be something that you love, for many sellers it’s quite the opposite.

There’s hope out there for all of us, though! Today I’m talking to someone who has cracked the code on how to be successful at selling on TPT without using social media as a marketing tool. She’s an introvert who has learned to put her energy towards parts of her business that are within her control and that consistently brings in new sales.

Pav took my online course, SEO for Teacher Authors, in 2020. She began putting these SEO strategies in place on her blog and inside her TPT store. Pav is sharing the results she has experienced since making these changes, and how she is now successfully selling on TPT without the pressure of Instagram!

3:10 Pav’s initial experience with pushing her limits on Instagram vs. how she uses it now

7:35 How Pav is driving people to her store (no social media required!)

10:50 Pav shares her results with working intentionally on improving her SEO

17:27 A reminder to focus on what you can control in order to get the best ROI when you’re selling on TPT

Our Guest on This Episode:

selling-on-TPT-Pav

Pav is a high school French teacher from British Columbia, Canada. She started creating French cultural resources for her own classroom and teachers in her community. She now has a Facebook group, an active and engaged email list and a successful blog where she shares her passion for teaching French and helps teachers in her community centre culture in the language classroom.

Kristen
Hey y’all. Thanks for tuning into this episode. I know that so many teacher sellers are a little, if not a lot introverted, and many of us really don’t like social media very much.

Kristen
Sometimes that can make it tough to run a business that relies on sales. Well, today I am talking with someone who understands that struggle all too well, and has definitely found a way to be successful on TPT as an introvert who hates selling on social.

Kristen
Pav is a high school French teacher from British Columbia, and she has found meaningful ways to connect with her audience as an introvert, and to grow her TPT store by focusing on the things that light her up and are within her control.

Kristen
She now has a Facebook group, an active and engaged email list and a successful blog where she shares her passion for teaching French, and helps teachers in her community center culture in the language classroom. All right, let’s get on to the show.

Kristen
Hey, TPT sellers ready to see growth in your business? You’re in the right place. Welcome to the savvy teacher cellar. I’m Kristen Doyle. And I’m here to give you no fluff tools and strategies that will really make an impact on your sales. Let’s get started y’all.

Kristen
Welcome, Pam, thank you so much for being here.

Pav
Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited.

Kristen
Me too. Can you tell everybody just a little bit more about you and how you started your TPT? Store?

Pav
Yeah, totally. So I was in my second year of teaching. And like any second year teaching does I used to spend hours googling resources, like, you know, typing in something free PDF afterward. And I stumbled across TPT. And I was like, I’m very curious, I have no money to spend on paid resources.

Pav
So then I asked myself, like, Can I do this myself? I watched a few videos and I started to create resources. And they were horrible. Like, I would never use them now. But it opened up this amazing creative outlet. And the more I created, the more I really loved with how I could do anything. And I just Yeah, I honestly I haven’t looked back.

Pav
I’m now in my fourth year, I believe on TPT. And I create cultural resources for high school French teachers. So I’m like, within a niche within a niche.

Kristen
Yeah, yeah. You are very niche down for sure.

Kristen
Do you think that helps or hurts you in the long run as far as TPT?

Pav
I think it really helps me, in my situation, because there aren’t a lot of content creators in my field. There are very few. So I like being that one expert that is out there among just a few others, that teachers can rely on. So I think it really helps me.

Kristen
Yeah, it’s really easy to set yourself up as an expert that way if there’s not a lot of other content for those particular teachers. So one thing you told me is that you don’t really like selling on social. Can we talk about that a little bit?

Pav
So I think it was in my second year of TPT. I tried out everything like I had a blog and email list and a Pinterest like everything that I was told not to do. And so I tried Instagram, I really did. I would work so hard to create photos and ya know write these amazing descriptions and interact with my audience.

Pav
And I would get like zero engagement. And this happened for two years. And I’m an introvert. So you know, me putting myself out there on Instagram was really painful. But I still did it because I wanted to share my ideas. And I had so many.

Pav
And it just didn’t work. And I found that it was very draining for me because I had all these ideas and wanted to share them. And it just felt like I didn’t know I wasn’t connected with teachers. So I realized I hated it.

Kristen
I think a lot of TPT sellers, maybe not a majority, but a lot of us are more on the introverted side, and TPT itself selling your resources on TPT definitely can be done as an introvert. But then there’s all these other parts of it like the social media and you know, all the marketing things that really do lend themselves more toward extroverted people.

Kristen
And for those of us who are not so extroverted, it can be really difficult sometimes. I am, I don’t know if this is surprising, or if this makes total sense. I am, every time I take one of those tests, I am somewhere around 48/52% on the introvert extrovert I am right in the middle.

Kristen
And I’ve seen it called being introverted extrovert or the extroverted introvert. But it’s a unique kind of situation. And it makes it sometimes not super easy to do things on social because it is kind of draining.

Pav
Exactly. And that’s the thing, right? There are so many creators, there’s so many teachers, who I love to follow on Instagram who make it look so easy and effortless, and I’m sure it is for them. It just wasn’t that easy or effortless for me. And for that reason, I found it to be very draining.

Pav
But I still wanted a way to connect with teachers. Because even though you’re right, I am an introvert. I love connecting with teachers. It just had to be in a way that suited me and my business and my personality so it wouldn’t be draining.

Kristen
Yeah. And so how are you using Instagram now because I know you’re still on Instagram.

Pav
Okay, so I use it, I don’t post very often, if I have content to share, I will share it. There’s no more pressure. I use it to connect with the teachers who follow me, but I do not sell. And that’s also because for the two years where I was actively on Instagram, I saw no proof that I was actually making any money.

Pav
And two years is a really long time to spend on something and to not see the return.

Kristen
Yeah, definitely. And, you know, the more the more you rely on Instagram or Facebook, the more you have to work those algorithms and constantly just churn out more and more and more. And there is exactly pressure. Yeah, for every piece of content to be so good. Yeah.

Kristen
So you use Instagram now really just kind of however you want, whenever you want to connect with people. And that’s great. I love that. That’s one of my favorite things about my Instagram for this business versus my chalk and apples, Instagram, is that I feel like I can make really good connections with people through this one.

Kristen
And maybe because it’s a smaller audience, and we have you know, a lot more in common. This is that super niche down audience like you were talking about with yours for my TPT store is just upper elementary. It’s pretty broad.

Pav
Yeah. And the teachers who follow me on Instagram, they’re also in my Facebook group, they follow me on my email list, they read my blog posts. So Instagram just happens to be the platform where we can chat.

Kristen
Yeah, I love that. So if you are just connecting with people on Instagram, then how are you getting them over to your store?

Pav
Okay, so I have two main ways that I’m very proud of. And the first one is my blog, which Kristin created back in 2020. I love my blog. But ever since I was in grade, thank you ever since I was in grade six, seven, I loved to write. And I think that’s why I’m also like, so confident in what I do in TPT. Because I love writing.

Pav
And so I write blog posts, not too many, because quality over quantity. And I poured my heart and soul into my blog posts. I also took a Kristen’s amazing SEO course in 2020, as well, same time. So I put all of those techniques, strategies into practice on my blog posts, by creating engaging blog posts for my teachers to read and to find me on Google.

Pav
And then hopefully, once they’re on my blog posts, they sign on to my email list. And I love my email list. Again, I love writing. Yesterday, actually, I wrote a piece about how I lost hair last semester, like my hair thinned out from stress. And it was a very just like honest, like brutal me sharing about like my mental health during the semester and how it impacted me.

Pav
And I had so many teachers respond to me being like, Thank you for sharing that. Like I really needed to hear that. And really needed to hear about setting boundaries. So blog posts is how they find me.

Kristen
That’s so good, I’m sure for teachers to hear that you’re going through some of the same struggles they are and to feel seen and that way that you know, they’re not alone. And I’m sure you shared some tips about how you have kind of gotten through all of this too. And that’s what teachers are really looking for.

Pav
Exactly. And so for me, it’s about community, it’s how can I create relationships with the teachers who are in my community? So it doesn’t necessarily have to be on Instagram. It can be you know, by email list, even though I think a lot of teachers think that you can’t create relationships on email list because you’re so bound to the whole back and forth situation.

Pav
But when a teacher is reading a post that you’re writing and it’s from the heart, I think there’s so much potential for there to be connection. And for there to be a relationship, even though you might not think that there’s potential because it feels so passive.

Kristen
It can feel distant, because you write your email, you know, today and you send it out one day next week, whenever you’re scheduling them for, it can feel distant. But then once you start getting those replies and having those back and forth conversation, it can be so helpful.

Kristen
I love my email list too, both of them, actually. Because I do like those back and forth, back and forth conversations that we have with teachers and with TPT sellers as well. Yeah, I get so excited when I see the little RE: in my inbox on a day I just sent an email out.

Kristen
So you are getting people to your store, like you said, with your blog. And with your email list. I know you have been working really hard on your SEO on your blog posts, and working on improving your product listings. Can you share a little bit about those?

Pav
Yeah, so SEO is one of my main goals in my TPT. We focus so much when our businesses growing on things that we can’t necessarily control, for example, you know, like on Instagram, how many comments our Instagram posts are getting?

Pav
How many email list subscribers we have, right? So I try not to focus on those things because I have no control over them. And because I am a full time teacher, I have a very like limited amount of time. So SEO is something that I feel like I have a lot of control over. There’s so many things that I can do.

Pav
So one of my best examples of how I work on SEO is one of my very first resources, I think it was my first paid resource. And so I think it was about a year and a half ago. And I was really curious. And I thought I’d go and look up and see how it’s doing and ranking.

Pav
And I was on page 27.

Kristen
I know! Sometimes we forget about some of those early resources, especially if they are best sellers.

Pav
Oh, no, it was not a best seller, it was I barely even used it in my own classroom. So I decided that first of all, I was gonna fix the listing, I was gonna fix the product. And so I worked so hard to create a brand new product that really, for example, flowed with what I was doing.

Pav
So I wanted it to be an example of my best work. And so that’s what I did, I worked on the product, I worked on my product photography, made sure that it was absolutely beautiful, and great preview great thumbnails, and then I worked on my keywords.

Pav
So after all of that work, I think I was on page 19. So it was a slow progress. And then there were other things that I did, I sent it out to my email list a couple of times, I wrote a blog post on it. And recently this past summer, I was in a hashtag sale. And I decided that that was the resource that I was going to improve, or that I was going to sorry, post for my sale.

Pav
And it ended up getting from page 27 to page one after about a year and I would say maybe two months of work. So it was very slow, very steady. But I was so excited the moment that I saw that it was on page one, and it was like resource number seven, I got so excited.

Pav
And sadly, it has shifted to page two since then. But I’m okay with that. And I still think that page two is a big improvement from page 27.

Kristen
Yeah, absolutely. You know, sometimes SEO can be a quick fix, where you make some changes, and immediately it bumps up to the top. But a lot of times it really is a long game like that, especially with either resources that haven’t sold that well in the past, or maybe it’s been a long time since they were a best seller with some of our oldest resources, or with newer resources that just haven’t built up any traction yet.

Kristen
Yeah, and I love that story kind of about slow, steady SEO growth, because so many sellers get frustrated if they make a couple of changes, and they don’t see this instant boost in where it ranks and how it’s selling.

Kristen
But a lot of the time it is this slow and steady growth, especially with the way the TPT algorithm has kind of shifted and is including sales as part of the ranking factors now. So that slow and steady growth I think is going to become more common than those kinds of overnight successes.

Kristen
And I love that you took that step back to work on improving the resource as a whole as well. You know, sometimes our resources are really great quality resources, but they need a little fixer upper, a little glam up, glow up. And a lot of times those changes can really be one of the things that helps it take off as well, because you can get your products to the top of search, but they still need to convert as well.

Kristen
So I love that you took that step back to really look at the resource as a whole and decide, you know, what do I need to update on this resource, and it sounds like you made some really big changes. And sometimes it can be, that can be a big needle mover for us when we look at an older resource where the idea was good, but it’s not an example of your best work anymore.

Kristen
And making big changes to that one, to help it sell more and to help it be more useful to teachers can really help and with the algorithm the way that it is now that can also be the thing you need in order to push your product up from, you know, I think it’s at page 19, initially after your updates on up to page one.

Pav
And I just want to say I’ve done that same thing with a few other resources this past summer. And two of them were my biggest selling resources during the August back to school sales. So it’s definitely so important to invest in the resources that you have in your store, because there’s so much potential there.

Kristen
Absolutely. And doesn’t it feel so good one, the one that you’ve been pouring into, over the last couple of months is a best seller. Yeah, feels like this work was all worth it when you do that.

Pav
And now we have to roll up my sleeves for the other like really ugly ones that sell and I’m like, No, I’m so sorry.

Kristen
I know, we all have those products that when they sell we cringe a little. Because we know it’s not our best work. So I love that you’re working on those, in fact, what I have seen time and again, and I know I’ve shared this on the podcast before. So everyone who’s listened to the podcast for a while will know what I’m about to say.

Kristen
You are much more, you have much more potential to grow your income of your store, by working on the products you already have and selling even more of them than you do just by churning out new stuff all the time. And so many of us fall into that trap of feeling like in order to make more money, I need more products.

Kristen
And I think it kind of goes back to a mindset that maybe we have or have had in previous jobs in the past where it’s, you know, if it was a job, we were working in college before we started teaching or whatever, if I want to make more money, I need to work more hours, I need to work harder.

Kristen
So more work equals more money. But on TPT that’s not necessarily the case. A lot of times, it’s improving on what you already have that can really grow your business versus cranking out more more more things.

Pav
Exactly. And I think a lot of it also goes back to control, right? So I’m wanting to be spending my time and my energy because that is money on things I can control.

Pav
For example, I know if I work on, you know, resources that I already have and improve them, that’s a good investment of my money versus taking more like dud photography for Instagram writing captions, and nobody’s seeing it.

Kristen
Yeah, absolutely. It’s a lot better return on your investment. And that’s so important to. The time we spend on our business is always time we are taking away from something else. Whatever else that might be whether it’s family time, or just reading a book, or whatever the time we’re spending on our business, we’re taking away from something else.

Kristen
And that’s not a bad thing at all, but it means we want to be intentional about what we’re spending our time on when we’re working. Absolutely. Well as you know, I always like to wrap up with an action step for people to take away from the episode and go do something.

Kristen
So what would you suggest people do if you were leaving them with one action step to walk away with after this episode?

Pav
So I think it’s so important to focus on things that we can control. And for me, SEO is that one thing that I really can control as opposed to other aspects of my business. So I made it a goal way back in 2020, to learn as much as I could about SEO.

Pav
And then I committed to SEO, right. So I worked on my blog posts, I continued to work on them. I worked on the SEO of my TPT products. So I committed to it in 2020. And I continue to spend time every week making little changes within my store and I see huge impacts.

Kristen
I love that. I think one of the things that a lot of times I struggle with as an entrepreneur, is that focus and committing to something, and continuing to do it over and over.

Kristen
And you’re so right that once you find that thing, something small that you really do have control over, then committing to continue that work on the rest of your products or blog posts, whatever it might be, committing to continuing that work can make such a big difference, as opposed to doing little spurts of work here and there on whatever that particular thing is, and then kind of ignoring it.

Kristen
And like a lot of us tend to Yeah, yeah, moving on to the next shiny object.

Pav
I think we’re all guilty of that sometimes in our business.

Kristen
Oh, yeah. 100% I moved on to a shiny object I wasn’t supposed to this morning. In fact, I’m feeling a little seen right now.

Pav
No, I understand. Whenever I dive into like the teacher world on tick tock, I’m like, oh, no, it’s been 20 minutes. Yeah.

Kristen
Oh, well, thank you so much for being here today. And having this conversation with me. I have really enjoyed hearing about your store growth and your story about that product, especially.

Kristen
Tell everyone where they can find you.

Pav
You can find me on Instagram. Now my Instagram is in French. It’s @fleavecmmed. I’m sure that’s a little challenging for you.

Kristen
Yeah, we will make sure that that link is in the shownotes for everybody so that they can get connected with you.

Pav
Sounds great. Thank you so much for having me, Kristen. And I enjoyed our chat today.

Kristen
Thank you for being here. Thank you so much for listening today. You can find all the info in the show notes on how to connect with Pav, as well as links for Profit Booster Bootcamp and SEO for Teacher Authors, where she learned how to update those resources and make the most of her search engine optimization.

Kristen
If you enjoyed this episode, grab a screenshot and share it with your TPT seller friends. Be sure to tag me at Kristen doyle.co when you do. Talk to you soon.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Your host, Kristen Doyle, has a decade of experience selling on TpT and has made all the mistakes so that you don’t have to! As a web designer and the go-to SEO expert in the TpT world, she loves helping TpT sellers stand out in the crowd & grow their businesses with passive income strategies.

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