10 tips that helped me gain patience, perspective—and followers:
I originally transferred many popular Freebies from my website to TpT in 2015 and got serious about creating product in 2018. What a surprise to see how slow it was building TpT followers. I felt like a tiny fish in a big ocean. But now I want to share a few of the things I am learning on my journey.
For DECADES I had been teaching kindergarten literacy seminars and blogging. I thought most of my online colleagues would automatically follow my TpT store. Not so! I wasted much energy worrying about how slowly my store was attracting followers, reading everything I could find on the topic (which is not much!), and asking TpT experts for advice. Probably the best thing I did was join and begin studying with Misty Miller’s TpT Facebook group! Then we began experimenting and noticing what was working. From my experience, I present to you 10 tips:
1. How Do I Get More Followers?
My first question to Misty Miller’s generous TpT Sellers Tips & Advice support group was “How do I get more followers?” The response? “Don’t worry about getting followers; focus on creating quality products first with attractive thumbnails and descriptions.” That was the best advice, but I still felt, “Surely there are a few other things I could do.”
Two years ago, I had fewer than 30 resources and 17 of them were the original Freebies from my website. Now, with over twice as many products (and 7 good bundles!), I notice that over half of my sales are from first-time buyers. So, I continue to focus on creating product. And my followers have doubled this last year!
2. Why Will They Follow?
The next question I asked myself was “Why would busy PreK-1 educators (who already receive too many emails) want to follow my TpT store?” I noticed some sellers offered an incentive discount, so I decided to offer 50% off new products for the first 48 hours. I highlight that information on my store banner. When new TPT visitors find my store, now they see this incentive:
3. Add “Follow me on TpT” to Everything
Misty Miller, my TpT “guru,” suggested adding “Follow me on TpT” to everything: product description, thumbnail, bundles, weekly blogs, website page, YouTube and TpT preview, and acknowledgment pages. So, we began consciously looking at all the options. This is the language we chose: Follow my store to be notified of new Nellie Edge Resources. All new items are listed at 50% off for the first 48 hours after posting. (You are welcome to use this phrase if you wish.)
4. Be Generous with Freebies
We also learned to be smarter—and more generous with Freebies. I made 5 changes: First, I started thinking of them as “quality Freebies” of about 10 pages or more (you do not need to count cover and acknowledgment pages). Second, with 10 pages, I can submit one each week as a possible feature to the TpT newsletter. Third, in the Freebie description, I post a link to relevant products—especially bundles! Useful, well-designed Freebies with good covers can let teachers sample a larger product, purchase resources, and follow my store.
Early on, most of my Freebies had no connecting link, and there they sat! While several of my larger original Freebies have received 6,000 or 7,000 downloads, clearly most of those teachers did not become followers of my store; most were rather “Freebie followers.” Only a few take time to post comments or become actual followers. Sigh.
Fourth, we have created a few Super Freebies: Some are especially for parent connections. I also posted free eBooks (extracted from existing seminar content) to attract literacy coaches with content such as: “What Does a Comprehensive Kindergarten Writing Program Look Like?” We are hoping they will expand our reach to literacy leaders. Last, I sent out a TpT blog highlighting favorite TpT Kindergarten Freebies to my email readers. Wow! My follower numbers grew that month!
5. Take Advantage of Videos
How could I take advantage of my YouTube videos to introduce teachers to our teaching strategies? These videos demonstrate how a product can be used in a classroom. Over the years we have developed online seminars with multisensory strategies featuring short singing and signing video clips for teachers. Why not begin connecting them to TpT previews? Again—another avenue to attract teachers who share our commitment to multisensory, art-rich literacy.
6. Create Attractive Thumbnails
Attractive thumbnails (and easy-to-read titles) attract visitors! We revised thumbnails for consistent design and wrote succinct product descriptions with key search words. On my website PD pages I posted links using these thumbnails. They also appear on my live kindergarten workshop information with the question, “Can’t attend? See resources on Nellie Edge Kindergarten TpT store!” We now have a 2-page glossy flier of our best-selling products and Freebies that I tuck in letters and give to teachers. My email signature now also includes a TpT link. Every new follower counts— follower by follower!
7. Use Pinterest!
Create attractive Pinterest pins and boards! It is recommended that you have 4 pins per product and blog. Yikes, I do not even have one for each of my paid resources, Freebies, and blogs yet! So, one of my ongoing goals is to invest time in creating pins. We have promoted a few pins and are attempting to figure out how to use URL tracking codes to gauge response. Ask me next year what we’ve learned! Learning to use Pinterest skillfully has been a steep learning curve, but because we invested time on our 70 curated boards, it makes sense to use this as part of our social media presence. If you’re new to Pinterest, we recommend you take a course from an expert like Misty Miller, and check out our Pinterest site.
We have hundreds of great samples of children’s writing and art and we have always collected permission to use photos from parents…so sharing them on Instagram and Facebook is another goal.
8. Showcase Your Best Sellers
I invested heavily in one quality, affordable product that has always been an essential part of my teaching: An Editable Kindergarten Family Learning Calendar with parent letters. Because of our commitment to “Parents as Partners” in kindergarten success, we focused effort on this popular product. We enhance this every year and provide yearly updates! It comes in PDF and editable versions, including 12 editable parent letters and reading logs. Our calendar also leads readers to some helpful blogs. With these changes, it finally is ranking higher on the search pages. We always offer it at 50% off as our commitment to family literacy. This product now has 61 ratings and has become our best seller. We offer 2 Calendar Freebies: a September calendar and a summer calendar, both with resources. For us, showcasing these was a worthwhile way to build followers. We have gained name recognition and introduced our authentic, multisensory teaching approach to more like-minded educators.
Our blogs are the biggest drivers of TpT purchases. My weekly kindergarten blogs feature kid writing, art samples, and joyful literacy lessons in real classrooms. Last year I started intentionally connecting these blogs to related TpT Freebies and resources (but NOT as a hard sell). I plan to begin submitting Nellie Edge blogs to TpT social media.
10. Stay Connected with Your Readers
Respond to feedback and questions to establish a one-to-one relationship with buyers. This is pretty simple now: I only receive a few comments or questions every week, and it’s fun! When I read, “Your loyal follower from Perth” or “your biggest supporter from Montana,” it makes me SMILE. Right now, I only spend a few hours a month responding to comments—I look forward to the time when responding to comments keeps me busy several hours a week!
For now, I set big goals, celebrate baby steps, and appreciate the generous advice and support of my fellow teacher-authors. If you also are growing your TpT store and blogging, I hope this blog may contribute to your learning curve.
There are many large kindergarten stores with over 100,000 followers. Wow! As a relatively small newbie, I could easily become overwhelmed! I doubled my following this last year by sharing my passion, creating more quality products, updating quality Freebies, and being more focused and intentional. TpT presents a never-ending learning challenge and the reward of sharing my best kindergarten resources with teachers and parents around the world. I may never have a large TpT store, but if I can publish my best kindergarten literacy resources and double my following again in the next year or so, I will see that as great progress!
"TpT is a journey of connecting with like-minded colleagues. It has allowed me to share 4 decades of joyful teaching and learning, rich in the arts: How fun is that?"