Anyone who decides to start selling lesson plans and educational resources online knows, there are many things to learn while developing products for sale in a very popular marketplace. Here are some things we have learned in our first 12 months.
This February we have entered our 𝟐𝐧𝐝 year selling educational resources on TPT Store Page What a year it has been. We have learned a great deal about creating better lesson plans. Also a few other things:
Preparing a Lesson Plan for Sale: There are some important distinctions to be made between a lesson plan a teacher would make for their own class vs something that is ‘marketable’ in a retail environment. The buyer does not necessarily know my reasoning for doing something a particular way, so direct explanations are often required in the description or lesson plan cover sheet. In my own teaching experience, I would have a shorthand method of preparing lessons. Some effort would go into the handout if I thought it would be used again, but the lesson itself was short sentences on the board and verbal explanation. Creating a lesson for a wide audience is a while different situation. I like to think of it as ‘publishing’ more than just typing up a lesson plan.
Finding an appropriate selling platform: We started NetSpaceArts by selling directly from our main website www.netspacearts.com that launched in December 2021. It was a steep learning curve setting up an online store from scratch but a necessary step. The initial idea was to sell to Australian teachers and homeschool parents from the store. We were happy with the amount of work we uploaded, how it was represented and priced. There was only one problem, nobody could see it! I spent some time optimising the site and even paid for some Google Adwords to get things started, sure there were hits, but who were they? Out of the viewers I was attracting, how many were teachers looking to buy a lesson plan? I needed to sharpen the focus some more and look into . I kept the site store up but decided to begin listing on TPT (formerly Teachers Pay Teachers) and within days made more sales than I had in the first few months of my store. Now that the enthusiasm was climbing it was time to convert the lessons from A4 to Letter and adjust spelling for US locality. This was a large task, but well worth it.
Now a new store has opened for Australian teachers called the Australian Teachers Marketplace My Store. A lot of the resources I made to begin with are being updated and adapted to this new store. Since beginning the website, I have learned a lot more about what is selling and what is not selling. This has been benificial for dedicating time to items that will see a better return and provide needed resources to teachers.
𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬: The more we clearly presented exactly what a product includes, the more likely it was to be purchased. (this seems obvious now). But there are a few assumptions I had at the beginning that no longer are an issue. One is the search results and keywords in the first paragraph of the product listing (or blurb) and how it appears to the buyer who is scrolling. The saying ‘𝚜𝚝𝚘𝚙 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚜𝚌𝚛𝚘𝚕𝚕‘ is important, but how will you convert that attention into a sale? High quality and descriptive previews appear to be the best way to convert that view into a sale. Below is an example store listing.
𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧: Extremely important. Good thumbnails, previews and clear descriptions. I am fortunate to have a visual arts and design background which can be an advantage, but there are many products on TPT with what I would have considered to be unappealing thumbnail images with thousands of sales. Recognition of visual and cultural conventions of a marketplace is important. How to stand out without appearing to be doing something totally alien to the majority of buyers?
Time: the Rarest Commodity – Creating resources that save time is one of the most valuable things you can do. This piece of advice really gave me something to latch onto when developing lessons. Put yourself in their shoes. You care about your students, you want the best for them, but there is so much to do! That’s where you step in.
𝐐𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲: At the end of the day, the only real element you have control over when starting out is the quality of the work. Sellers on TPT have been dedicating thousands of hours to make their resources be the best they possibly can be, why should I be able to jump the queue? Learning to slow down and do things correctly the first time is a valuable practice. Nobody wants to hear from a buyer that there is a spelling error or a missing image in a resource. Often a busy teacher will not realise until the class are watching (been there, done that. Valuable lesson!)
I will add more tips to my page as time goes by. Feel free to check out www.netspacearts.com and our official Blog Homepage We have some interesting things to look at in both places.
Thanks for reading and I hope you gain something that will save you some time and improve your lessons! Would love to hear from you!
Kain from NetSpaceArts