The TPT cover page is the gateway to your product so don’t underestimate how fabulous TPT product covers lead to more sales. The first view of your product often comes about when a potential buyer searches the TPT marketplace. It is important to consider at this point the cover of your product will be viewed alongside many other products. Every seller there is vying for the attention of potential buyers. So, the goal here is to stand out. Aside from any preliminary marketing material that may have led a potential buyer to you, it is your TPT cover page that is the first gateway to your product.
This article is about how to use a functional design process to design TPT product covers that stop the scroll at your product. However, it is not just a checklist of what should be in your covers. That approach is okay to get by, but it doesn’t truly consider the function of your unique product and how it stands out from the others. This article is a deeper dive into graphic design psychology and how it facilitates a positive user experience for the buyer.
The TPT cover page from the eyes of a buyer
The TPT cover page and previews are one of the hundreds of signals that the TPT personalized search engine scans for but it’s important to remember it just looks for the presence of these. It can’t see what is in it or how it looks. It is then the human eye that makes the buying decision and for that our covers (and previews) need to be informative and attractive. This is the essence of functional design.
For a moment or two put yourself in the shoes of your buyer and consider their journey. Be acutely aware that at this point as a buyer you have absolutely no prior knowledge of what is on offer within a product. Upon searching it is likely that you come up with pages of potential products to suit your needs.
Consider these initial steps – a buyer:
- Will search a topic for a resource they need (or want) but mostly need.
- Will more than likely be engaged on the first page of their search.
- Will scan for a title that resonates with them.
- Is drawn to a cover that appeals to them and that they feel will fit their needs.
- Will choose a clickable cover that leads them on a journey.
… A journey where they learn more about your product and feel confident to buy.
If you can get a potential buyer to this point that is a huge start in the right direction.
What is important to remember about your potential buyer
- They time-poor
- They need a quick and easy solution
It is for these reasons that the journey should be clear and succinct. The functional design process will not only produce an enticing cover with fabulous aesthetic appeal but will also guide your potential buyer to your product and to make a buying decision.
The seller that can guide a buyer clearly and succinctly to their product is the seller who is most likely to get the sale.
TPT product covers that stop the scroll
When a potential buyer is searching for a resource, it is the product cover page that is the first image they see when they are scrolling through the TPT website or app.
Now for sure SEO and titling are extremely important but just as important is an attention-grabbing cover. It’s one thing to have SEO and titling that will bring your product up early in a search but once you do get it in front of somebody it needs to be attractive enough for them to look further. What I’m saying here is SEO gets your product in front of eyes but when it comes to similar products, at this point what is it that makes your product more appealing than the next? … The cover.
Once they click on that cover you still have to sell them on you description, preview and the relative price point. But that initial click on the cover is a huge step in the right direction. If they click on another product cover, they might never return to yours.
What we need to be acutely aware of is that these marketplaces are becoming exponentially more popular for sellers. What was once seemingly unimportant has fast become essential. It’s a natural evolution for a growing competitive marketplace to become slicker and slicker and products better and better. It’s tough, but competition drives excellence, so you need to say in a few seconds your product is excellent. … And for that – design matters.
Therefore, covers are the gateway to a product and an essential part of attracting potential customers. By having an enticing and unique cover you introduce the product in such a way that encourages buyers to stop scrolling, click on your cover and explore further.
A TPT cover page design rationale
Let’s look at an example. This World War I Timeline and Worksheets cover is designed to attract. It’s individualised, age appropriate, shows what the product looks like at a glance, the color suits the theme, the layout conveys clarity and order.
The main interest factor that presents itself immediately is the clip art that interacts with the viewer because the character appears to be pointing at them. The cover is uniquely tailored for this product as it is indicative of the clip art within the product itself. It is a representation of a WWI propaganda poster that corresponds with its place in the timeline.
Plus, the incidentals have been absolutely considered too. For example, I thought about fanning the workbook pages but chose to keep them straight as it better represents regimented order – like an army. It’s not glaringly obvious but does add to the overall effect.
There is legible brand placement that is not intrusive. It has a strong brand presence, but it doesn’t conflict or overpower what the actual product is about.
How TPT product covers help buyers make purchasing decisions?
If we consider that TPT product covers are the starting point of a buyer’s experience once interacting with the TPT marketplace, then how do we know what to include (and just as importantly what not to include) on the cover? The answer to this comes from understanding the path a buyer takes to making a purchasing decision. We need to consider these questions:
- What journey does the potential buyer take to purchase a product?
- How do they interact with the TPT marketplace and the individual TPT store owners?
- What is their experience?
- How do we ensure that experience is a positive one?
This is the essence of a design discipline called User Experience (UX) design. UX refers to how people interact with an online product or service. It’s about making sure that the marketplace is easy to use, visually pleasing, and meets the needs and expectations of the users. The good thing is that UX path is already established within the TPT marketplace. The great thing is we can use this UX pathway as a framework to guide our buyer to purchasing our product. Let’s consider that path.
Keep this in mind whenever you are creating products. This is the pathway a buyer takes to make a purchasing decision.
Your cover is the graphic that appears amongst others when a search term is entered.
The title appears under the cover and should be indicative of the product and SEO considered.
If your cover and title resonates with the viewer they click on the cover to learn more about the product. It is at this point we should elaborate. So, do not feel you need to put everything into the cover.
This is where you elaborate on what is in your product and the benefits to the buyer. (There is an upcoming post next month on designing previews and thumbnails).
These can be used as a little extra place to provide a snapshot into your product at a glance. (There is an upcoming post next month on designing previews and thumbnails).
This is a text based description of your product. It should be SEO friendly and the text well-formatted for the reader to scan.
Note: Points 3, 4 and 5 may not necessarily be viewed in this order.
What to do and what to not do when designing TPT product covers
- If you have well designed covers and previews, be sure to follow through with well-designed products. Otherwise, it may be disappointing for the buyer and result in a not-so-great review. The cover must be indicative of the quality of the graphic design of the product.
- Consider the audience. Although it is the teacher is buying the product. The product itself should still look age appropriate and therefore, so should the cover.
- Be cohesive in design. Make sure the design makes sense and leads the viewers eye on an intended path. Conflicting elements without hierarchy can be confusing.
- Photos of the actual product in a mocked-up scene are nice but don’t overdo the props. Remember it’s your product that you want buyers to see. Hierarchy, which is the order in which the viewers eye is led through a layout design, occurs in imagery too not just text.
- Photos of the products in action are also great but again think about if it is doing your product justice. Use the photographic approach when it illustrates the product well, not just for the sake of it. Photos of the product in action may work better in the preview.
- Be reflective of your brand. If you are using your logo, make sure it is legible. It is only taking up valuable screen real estate otherwise. Branding doesn’t necessarily need to overpower but should be present. If your logo is not legible at a small size, consider creating a secondary version that is.
- Don’t underestimate the role of the TPT cover page.
- Don’t consider the cover as an afterthought.
- Don’t clutter covers – you’ve only got a few seconds (or less) to grab someone’s attention. Cluttered covers with lots of thumbnails of pages and lots of text are harder to see and difficult to read. Also, a cluttered cover can give the impression that it’s a cheap product. Unless you are offering bargain basement products your cover should look slick.
- Don’t use loads of images of tinsy-winsy pages from your product. Entice your potential customer with a cover that shows a good indication of the product. Then elaborate visually in your previews once they enter your store. Small elements are more likely to be overlooked and easily missed. Remember you have mere seconds to get someone’s attention.
- Don’t make your cover look like everyone else’s. The best way to do this is to avoid trends. Use design elements to illustrate and guide not just because you feel it looks cool. Yes, you want it to look great but mostly design should be functional.
- Avoid blanket statements such as bold, chunky fonts are easier to read. This is not necessarily the case at all and often results in a cover that looks the same as others.
- Don’t use inappropriate or hard-to-read fonts.
- All uppercase can be hard to read. It might seem bigger but think of road signage. We can often read by the overall shape of the word well before we get close enough to distinguish the individual characters to read. Your covers are the same.
- Be careful with script fonts. They can be hard to read but so can certain serif and sans-serif fonts. It is the shape of the font can be more problematic rather than the style when it comes to readability.
- Don’t use age-inappropriate clip art or fonts. This can have a negative effect on the student. If the clip art and design are at a lower age level it can feel condescending to the student.
Should I make all my covers the same – or not?
Every store is different and the answer to this is going to come down to your own product creation strategy. I recommend designing in relation to your niche and branding. Some stores are well suited to a very consistent look and feel throughout (just not all same, same though), and some can mix it up more (but still have consistency). My store is the latter because I showcase graphic design. Others with a single stream to their niche are better suited to similar designs (without becoming a little dull or confusing without differentiation between products).
Where to from here?
So yes, TPT product covers are a really important consideration when listing your products. These principles are part of the bigger picture when it comes to product design and the functional design approach should be at the centre of that.
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How are you going to use the functional design approach when it comes to designing your TPT product covers? Feel free to tell me your thoughts in the comments for this post.
Thanks! I’ve got some covers that are due for an overhaul, so this was helpful and gave me lots to think about!
Excellent to hear, Jennifer. I am so glad you found it useful.