How to Succeed in a Marketplace

Marketplace success tactics from MaiStoryBook's use of Teachers Pay Teachers organic traffic to drive 25% of her revenue

While I’m out on parental leave through May, I’ll be releasing unpublished articles and segments previously available only to Superlogic subscribers.


MaiStoryBook Book Crafts

3 simple tips to win in marketplaces

In my original conversation with Maya Lê aka MaiStoryBook, we learned that Maya benefits from organic traffic to her “book craft” digital products on marketplace Teachers Pay Teachers, getting 25% of her overall revenue from customers who discover her on the platform.

More than 185,000 teachers made a sale on TPT in 2022, though, so how did she differentiate her product and reach the right customer? How did she avoid getting lost in a sea of great teaching content?

What I think has worked for me is that I really niched down in what I do. I do specifically book crafts. So I'm taking a book and I make a craft that relates to that book specifically, which if I look on Teachers Pay Teachers, or TPT for short, there's not that many people that do that. There's a lot of people making overall history curriculum or reading curriculum. But then I think there's so many people doing overall general stuff, that if you're going to try to start in that way, it's hard to make yourself more prevalent since there are pretty top people who have been doing it for a while, so all their stuff is top listed.

Anyways, so I do specifically book crafts - crafts that pair with a book - and I think if you type in the name of a book, mine do come up towards the top.

There are three simple takeaways that anyone can learn from Maya’s approach, and that are likely to work in any marketplace:

  1. Understand the marketplace dynamics - Maya got to know Teachers Pay Teachers quite well. Through her research and use of the platform, she understood that general reading and history curriculum had lots of competition from larger, better known education creators. Thus, she’d have to look in a different direction to make an impact.

  2. Focus on a very specific niche - Maya’s focus on craft curriculum for young kids is very specific. It takes her out of competition with larger creators who are making more general reading materials, and enables a very specific customer to find her. By going after a smaller audience, she ends up being able to get more sales by virtue of removing the competition.

  3. Be search-friendly - By building craft curriculum around specific books - books she knows that children’s educators might be having kids read - Maya is able to get her book crafts discovered when her target customer searches for these books. She doesn’t have to promote at all; as long as her target customer is searching for something specific, and she’s one of the only sellers with a product matching that search, she gets organic sales. This isn’t an evergreen tactic; it requires staying on top of cultural trends so that your product is the first up to take advantage of a search spike. However, especially for pop culture creators making content linked to specific new books, movies, shows, songs, etc. this can be a very effective play.

Creators who operate in marketplaces are likely to succeed if they understand the marketplaces’ dynamics, focus on a specific niche, and develop their offerings around highly-searched terms, as these three tactics will enable them to reach high-potential customers when they’re likely to convert!

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