Time to Regroup: Lessons Learned

My Reading Resources has been in business for five years now. But only recently has social media become a part of that business. Going in, I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do to supplement and promote what I was doing on Teachers Pay Teachers. After a few months, there have been a few lessons learned.

  1. Stores/Sellers have different audiences: My Reading Resources specializes in reading materials (book and story units, readers’ theaters, etc.). As such, my customers come to my store looking for specific materials, such as a book unit on a book that they have already planned to use in their classroom. They aren’t looking to find a store that they can make their one stop shop and come back to over and over again (though producing a product that teachers love will certainly help make subsequent sales easier). Most teachers that buy from My Reading Resources simply want to find a quality product that aligns with their specific lesson plans, buy it, and start teaching.
  2. These highly specific buyers are less likely to give feedback, rate products, or follow my store. This is something that I learned after looking at a list of sellers in my state.  Amazingly, I am the #8 best all-time seller in my state!  But, sadly, my “Votes” are quite low. The stores right above and below me have almost twice as many votes as mine. Theirs have roughly 1,100 votes, while my store has 638. What does that mean? I’m still trying to wrap my brain around all of this, but I think this is telling me that my buyers just aren’t taking the time to rate my products. I get it–we are all busy. And if my buyers are only occasional TpT shoppers, popping in a few times a year to find something for a specific new need, TpT’s incentives for rating products just aren’t significant enough for them to take the time to do it.
  3. My buyers don’t care about free products or giveaways. They just want to get what they came for and get back to teaching.
  4. My buyers DO care about relevant resources to the material they are looking for.  While there has basically been zero interest in my $50 TpT gift card giveaway, I’ve had quite a few buyers click on links to blog posts focusing on a particular material that I am selling.

So…what next? Time to regroup. Though it is hard to truly learn from your buyers when you can’t actually interact with them (which was the goal of the Year of Giveaways–to build a following on Facebook so that I could learn more about what my buyers wanted), you can learn some by studying their habits. Based on the habits of my buyers, this is the new list of goals for this year:

  1. Improve my products.  I want to wow my buyers with their purchases.  I want to make materials that engage students and get them excited about reading. I want to make teachers feel as though they have purchased something that they will go back to year after year. I want to make materials that stand out among the rest in order to encourage buyers to leave feedback or to remember My Reading Resources they next time they are shopping for materials.  To do this I am going to:
    • Put more of a focus on styling my materials. It’s time to dress up my materials with a more polished and professional look.
    • Add pages that clearly define CCSS tie-ins.  Looking at other sellers, it seems that this is a really important item for buyers.
    • Make edits and improvements to my existing materials to ensure that they are the best they can be.
  2. Write more blog posts for each of the items in my store.  If teachers are clicking on these links to my blog, then I need to do more of them and I need to make sure they are top-notch. Not only will these posts promote the book and my products, but I will also seek to include other free resources to complement their lessons (videos, basic lesson plans, activities, etc.)
  3. Cancel the Year of Giveaways.  There simply wasn’t any interest to speak of (there has been 1 entry for January). I will honor the giveaway for January and award the prize, but there is simply no point in continuing. It’s just not what my buyers want.

So, after this post, it may be a little quiet around here for awhile.  Rest assured, though, My Reading Resources will be hard at work behind the scenes.  After the framework for the product improvements is in place, the blog posts will start up again, this time focusing on the books used in conjunction with my products.

 

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Time to Regroup: Lessons Learned

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