Blur Out Student Faces From Photos Using Skitch

I take a lot of photos in my classroom but many districts don’t allow you to post students images on the web.  There is a quick and easy way to get around that by blocking out their faces using a program called Skitch.  You can download this awesome little tool from their website or they also have an iOS and Android app that you can download from those respective stores.

Here is a quick video tutorial of how to blur out faces using skitch.

Through my research over the last few months I have noticed a significant increase in pins that get re-pinned when students are pictured actually using your product.

Should I Upgrade to a Premium Seller Account on Teachers Pay Teachers?

The question that I see asked over and over on the Teachers Pay Teachers forums is, “Should I upgrade to a premium seller account on teachers pay teachers?”  Heck, I asked that same question when I was getting started.  I’m going to give you 5 reasons why the definitive answer is YES.

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade to a Premium Seller Account

  1. No Regrets – I have yet to hear a seller say that they regretted the decision to upgrade.  You can search the forums for hours and won’t find one person saying that they were disappointed in the upgrade.   In fact, I often see people mention that they wish they had done it sooner.
  2. Accountability – By upgrading your account you are telling yourself that you are going to give Teachers Pay Teachers a run for the money.  You now have a stake and will hold yourself accountable for trying to earn those monthly commission checks.  Without some skin in the game I feel that it’s much easier to make excuses on getting started.
  3. Low-Cost – The cost of a premium seller membership is currently $59.95.  I personally believe this is an absolute steal for what you receive.  My wife and I are both teachers and I know that many household budgets are tight, but $60 over the course of years comes out to under $5/month.  Even science teachers can do this basic math.
  4. Keep More Money – By upgrading your account you are keeping more than 25% of your money (85% commission for premium, 60% for non-premium).  Those are massive savings!  Not only are you saving on commission fees, but you don’t have to pay a transaction fee which is currently set at 30 cents per transaction.  That doesn’t sound like a ton of money, but if you are selling $3 products you are paying 50% in fees (commission+transaction) to TPT.  I love TPT, but I love money more.
  5. Homepage Product Placement –  Once you have a premium seller account your store and products are eligible for placement on the homepage.  That placement is rotating and random, but it does bring in traffic to your store.

I would suggest that you wait until you sell one item before upgrading.  Once you sell that item everything else becomes so much easier.  You will have proved to yourself that the TPT model works for you and then you can start scaling up your new business.

There are very few things that are as black and white as this.  I simply don’t buy into the logic that someone should wait until they have made $60 on TPT before upgrading.  By that time you could have given back $30 and you’re still back at ZERO after purchasing the premium membership.

Sell that first product and then upgrade your account.

All Pins Are Not Equal – What You May Be Doing To Kill Profits

I wrote this forum post a few months back and I believe that it holds true now more than ever.  Enjoy watching the mad scientist work.

I’ve done a little experimenting over the last couple of weeks.  I’m a science teacher after all. smile  I finally have some data to back up the fact that all pins are not equal.  In fact, you may be leaving a ton of money on the table by pinning the wrong images.

I created a bunch of different images for one of my better selling products to test out what kinds of pins got re-pinned the most.  Note that all pins link back to my blog post that describes in detail how I use the product.

This is the product that I was pinning for

I used my own personal pinterest board as well as two collaborative boards for this test.  I’m only going to site data from my own board (400 targeted followers).  The collaborative boards saw similar trends.

First, I pinned my cover page and received 3 repins on it

Next, I pinned a much nicer long graphic and received 15 repins

I then posted 4 collage images of real photos of my product
Collage 1 and received 18 repins on it
Collage 2 and received 28 repins on it
Collage 3 and received 10 repins on it
Collage 4 and received 14 repins on it

At a minimum I received a 300% increase and on one of them saw a over a 900% increase in the number of repins over just pinning the title page.

I’m no math genius, but I can see that the extra effort that I went through to put up some more appealing images is well worth it.

Conclusion: Get that camera out and start taking pictures.  My go to app for creating collage pictures like this is called Pic Stitch.  There are dozens of collage apps that will work equally well I’m sure.

Analyzing Teachers Pay Teachers Conversion Rates

This was a popular post that I made on the TPT forums a few months ago.  I think it’s worthy of being the first blog post on TPT School.

I’m not claiming to be an expert by any means, but I have been working with internet marketing for the last seven  years and have learned a thing or two.  I’d like to start a conversation and see if we can’t learn from each other.

What is a conversion rate? The conversion rate is the proportion of visits to a website who take action to go beyond a casual content view or website visit, as a result of subtle or direct requests from marketers, advertisers, and content creators.

In our case it’s the number of sales per product divided by the number of views that it generates * 100 gives you the percent.  Every market has it’s own conversion rate average, but generally speaking I’ve always heard the retail conversion rate was about 3%.  Amazon’s rate is actually higher than that because they are basically the best in the business at upselling/cross-selling you something that you need.

Let’s get back to TPT.  I’m going to list some of my products, their views, sales, and then their conversion rates.  I’ve only been here a month and have a small sample size which can definitely skew things.

Product 1  104  1  .96%
Product 2  149  8  5.33%
Product 3  167  4  2.3%
Product 4  46  2  4.3%
Product 5  441  33  7.5%
Product 6  234  3  1.2%
Product 7  110  4  3.6%
Product 8  184  11  5.9%

None of these products are bundles or  holiday specific.  They are regular lesson-based products.

Clearly, the front runners are products 2, 5, and 8.  I’m very happy with those conversions and the action that I’m going to take with those products will be to promote them more on Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, FB, etc.  People like what they are getting, the price seems right, and they are selling well.  It’s a numbers game at this point with these products.  The more views I get the more sales that come in.

It’s not necessarily the same with some of the lower selling products like products 1, 3, and 6.  With those products I need to take a look at why they aren’t performing as well as some of the others.  Remember, this is a numbers game.  If I have 100 views I should EXPECT 3 sales (3% conversion).  The fact that I’m not getting that is reason for concern.

These are the things that I’ll take a look at with these products.
1. Price – did I set the price right.  Would lowering the price increase conversions?  That’s an easy test to do.  Take a snapshot, lower the price and then take a snapshot later on and compare
2. Cover – Does my cover page need a refresh?
3. Item description – Have I described the item well enough?  Does my ad copy need any adjustments?

The other products are in decent shape right now and I’ll probably just continue to promote them as I have been.

You could over think this stuff until the cows come hope but the steps that I have listed above should really clean up a few messes that you may have lying around.  One thing that you need to remember is to not be married to a product.  If you’re dead set that your word wall package is worth $10 but your analysis tells you otherwise then it may be take to swallow your pride and lower the price.

That said, you may uncover a product that has a conversion of 15% or more.  Maybe you didn’t list high enough.  Would 10% at a higher price yield more money in your pocket?

Anyway, just some thoughts.  I’d love to hear your comments, analysis, etc.

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