One of the best things you can do for yourself as a TpT seller is to start growing your own email list.
Why? Because without one you have no way to communicate with your customers or people who are interested in your resources. People who buy from you on TpT are their customers, not yours.
98% of people check their email every day, and 60% check it more than 3 times a day. Getting into people's inboxes is a great way to share valuable information with them, so you can build that know, like, and trust factor, and ultimately bring more traffic and sales to your TpT business.
So how do you go about growing your own list?
Here are the basic steps:
1) Sign up with a provider. I use Mailchimp. Other options include ConvertKit, Constant Contact, Mailer Lite, and Sendinblue. Most of these start with free options, but as your list grows, this is something you will pay for.
2) Create a lead magnet. A lead magnet is something free that you are offering your audience in exchange for their email address. This doesn't have to be big. A small free resource, a free sample of a bigger resource, a checklist or guide of some kind, or anything else that your audience would find valuable. Make sure that your lead magnet is geared for the specific people who would also potentially buy your resources. For example, you don't want to use a math activity for a lead magnet if most of your paid resources are for teachers who need language arts activities.
3) Create a signup page. Inside your email provider, you can look for specific instructions on creating a sign-up form (or opt-in page). This will be the actual webpage or popup where people can enter their email address. Here is an example of what one of mine looks like:
After you create the page, you can customize the emails that are sent when someone signs up. This can be a thank you page where you introduce yourself and give a link to the free resource on your Google Drive, or with some of the providers, you can upload a file to your account and just have it pop open when someone hits subscribe. The detailed steps for this process will be different depending on your provider, so if you get stuck, just find a "Help" section and search for what you are trying to do!
4) Share the link to the sign-up page. Now it's time to spread the word! When you create a sign-up page, there will be a link (or URL) that you can copy and paste in different places so people can find it! If you have a website, this is a great place to add a popup. I know we all find popups annoying, but used sparingly on your website, they can be a very effective way of gathering emails. If you don't have a blog, you can share the link on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or anywhere else you have an audience! Don't just share once and forget it. Every week or two, find a new way to share about the free resource you are offering.
5) Start sending emails! Once you start gathering email addresses, don't let them sit and gather dust. It's important to start providing value to your audience right away. This will ensure they remember what they signed up for and they'll stick around!
Now to answer a few more questions you may have:
How often should I send emails? Honestly, this is up to you, but the main thing is to be consistent. I would say once a month is a minimum, but 2-4 times a month would be best.
What exactly do I put in my emails? Every email you send should include some kind of value for the reader. This will greatly improve your open rate and lessen your unsubscribe rate. People will be eager to open an email from you when they know they will receive value. This can be an actual free resource that you are attaching to the email (or sending a link to get from TpT) but it can also just be some valuable insight or information such as teaching tips related to things your audience struggles with. It can be personal stories that give encouragement and inspiration. There are really many ways to provide value and not just post a list of your paid products and say, "Hey, wanna buy my stuff?" Of course, the purpose of our email list is to drive traffic to our store and increase our sales, so of course, you can include links to paid resources. We just want to make sure it's balanced and that we are also providing value that doesn't need to be purchased.
Should I have a double opt-in? Yes - I recommend having a double opt-in. This is a setting that you can set up with your provider that requires subscribers to click a confirmation email before they are actually subscribed to your list. Many people just use junk mail to get free stuff and will never actually go and confirm. So, while your list may grow a bit more slowly, you know that those who are subscribed are going to want to open your emails. If you grow a huge list and no one opens your emails, you could possibly be tagged as spam and not show up in anyone's inbox!
My open rate seems low. Is this normal? It can be frustrating to work so hard to grow your list, only to realize that a fraction of your subscribers are actually opening them! An average open rate is going to be between 15-20%. If your open rate is in that range or more, then you are doing great! If it's less, then you may need to evaluate the content of your emails. Are you only trying to sell things? You can also look at the lead magnet you are using. Is it attracting people that are going to appreciate the content you are providing?
Can I use more than one lead magnet? Absolutely! I actually have about 8! Different lead magnets will catch the attention of different people, so creating at least a few is a great idea to reach more people.
I don't have many products for sale yet. Should I wait to start? As soon as you feel like you have valuable content and ideas to share with your audience, I would start growing your list. You can begin to grow that relationship with your subscribers and they will see you are a trusted source of information and content. Then later, as you have more products for sale, you can mention them in your emails and you will have a base of people who are likely to look at them!
Good luck growing your list!