Welcome to Lesson 4 in my 8-Part series: “Pinterest Marketing for Beginners”.
Learn how to effectively market, build your brand, and sell your products on the world’s #1 visual search engine!
Lesson 1: Why is Pinterest So Powerful? What You Need to Know.
Lesson 2: Pinterest Essentials – Small Business Marketing for Beginners
Lesson 3: Understanding the Pinterest Interface – Complete Guide for 2021
Lesson 4: How to Create a Winning Pinterest Marketing Strategy in 2021
Lesson 5: 7 Ways to Take Your Pinterest Marketing to the Next Level
Lesson 6: 5 Brands with Amazing Pinterest Marketing Strategies
Lesson 7: Putting it All Together – Your 4-Step Pinterest Marketing Plan
Lesson 8: Wrapping It Up: Pinterest Marketing – 13 Do’s & Dont’s
At this point, you now have a full understanding of how Pinterest works and you’re set up with an account that looks the part and that will help more people to start finding the content you’re creating.
Now all that’s left is to actually begin marketing.
We’ve discussed most of the advantages of marketing on Pinterest and we’ve seen how it lends itself well to promoting a website, blog, or business. Now it’s time to move away from the hypothetical and to start creating a business model that works.
Let’s start with the basics — looking at what makes any type of marketing strategy and any type of business successful.
And the single answer here is value. If you want to engage your audience, if you want to build customers and fans, and if you want to engender loyalty, then you need to be offering high quality value to achieve all those things.
In other words, you need to give people a concrete reason to want to spend time engaging with your brand.
The mistake that a lot of companies and marketers make on social media is simply using it as a platform for promoting a product. They want to get direct sales immediately, and they’re trying to reach a broader audience by doing this through social media.
You’ll see this when you follow a company on Twitter that does nothing but talk about its products or services:
“Try out our latest products today!”
“Want to save time in the office? Our productivity tools are just for you!”
“Hurry while stocks last!”
The equivalent on Pinterest is to post images from articles with no rhyme or reason, or to post images of the same product over and over hoping someone will notice it.
This is, unfortunately, an entirely incorrect approach and social media (Pinterest, included!) doesn’t lend itself to that kind of promotion. Why? Because you need people to want to follow you on social media. And if all you’re doing is posting about your company then you’re really not going to give anyone a chance to do that. Would you follow a social media profile that only ever tried to sell its products to you? Or would you quickly get bored and unsubscribe?
Instead, you need to think like the top brands on Pinterest and offer the kind of service that people are looking for on the platform: inspiration, ideas, and lifehacks.
The ideal type of company for Pinterest is a company that sells wedding decorations, or perhaps that prints wedding invitations. You can then create a Pinterest board that will share images of wedding decorations – both involving your own products and using other products.
Make sure that the ideas are unique and interesting, that they provide style and elegance on a budget, and that they offer the kinds of ideas that your followers might not have come up with themselves. This way, you give them an actual reason to follow you – because they’re learning!
Likewise, you might create a Pinterest board about ‘battlestations’, if you sell computer parts. Battlestations are PC set-ups for gamers that are designed to look cool with lots of glowing parts and large dual monitor set-ups.
Sell cupboards? Then you could create a board about organizational life hacks. Sell cooking ingredients? Then share pins of great meals and desserts and discuss the ingredients and the procedure in the comments underneath.
In any of these cases, you’re giving people a reason to follow you on Pinterest because you’re offering value in the form of ideas, inspiration, or aesthetic beauty.
If you’re selling a physical product, especially something that looks beautiful, or that has a ‘chic’ appeal, then you’ll find that Pinterest is the perfect fit for your business.
But what if you sell insurance? What if you sell eBooks about making money through day trading? What if your niche isn’t something that appeals to hipsters? How do you make this work on Pinterest?
The answer is that you need to go a little bit deeper and think about ‘lifestyle’ and about ‘value proposition’.
In terms of lifestyle, it’s pertinent to consider that every product or service that you sell, will ultimately support some kind of lifestyle and will appeal to a certain type of person.
Fitness eBooks, for instance, appeal to people who like working out and who want to be in better shape. The ‘fitness lifestyle’ is an inspiring and visual concept that you can portray with pictures of people jogging on the beach listening to an MP3 player, or with pictures of people working out outdoors.
Alternatively, if you sell holiday insurance, then the lifestyle is the ‘traveling’ lifestyle. You can post images of beautiful foreign destinations, or you can have boards outlining things to do in particular places.
‘Value proposition’ refers to the value that your product or service really offers beyond the sum of its parts. The old saying goes that you ‘don’t sell hats, you sell warm heads’. What this means, is that the true value of the hat is in its ability to keep your head warm.
So if you can’t post pictures of your ‘hat’ then you can always post pictures of your ‘warm head’.
What is the value proposition of life insurance? Simple: it’s keeping your family happy and safe after you’re gone and it’s looking after finances. As such then, your board doesn’t need to include images of life insurance policies (the hat) but, instead, should include pictures of happy families enjoying days out together and doing fun things (the warm head).
Your board could just be designed to give people that ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ by showing people having a great time, or it could be used to provide tips and ideas. How about things for people to do together as a family on a budget? Maybe it could be filled with pictures that humorously satirize the nature of the modern family?
Similarly, if your blog is about SEO and digital marketing, then your value proposition is business success, wealth, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes from making it big online. Perhaps it’s also the freedom that you gain when you work for yourself and aren’t restrained to work in an office with a boss leaning over your shoulder.
To demonstrate this on a Pinterest board, you could show images of people working in exciting locations like huge libraries or on the beach in a hammock. You might also show well-dressed people in suits, looking successful, thanks to the money they managed to earn online.
The key here is to come up with themes for your boards that deliver real value and purpose for Pinterest users while remaining ‘on topic’. Don’t just randomly re-pin pictures that vaguely relate, don’t just promote your products, and don’t just post your articles randomly. If you do that you won’t be providing value and you won’t grow your viewership.
Think of your Pinterest profile almost like a service or a product in itself. The ideal scenario is that people will end up looking forward to checking out your pins; they may even become reliant on your boards. They would be disappointed if your board should get taken down. The board should almost be able to exist on its own, as a separate entity from your business.
Selling Through Your Images
This still leaves us with one problem, though.
If your board is about great interior design ideas and your company sells furniture and decorative items, then it’s going to be very easy for you to include images of your products that people can click through to buy.
However, if you sell life insurance and your board is about ‘fun family days out’ then you still won’t be able to easily sell directly through the board.
So how do you make sales from that?
On a whole, your objective is not going to be to sell directly. Instead, your aim will be to increase awareness for your brand and to build trust and authority. The hope is that your audience will come to think of you as an expert on the subject of families and life insurance, and, as such, they will follow your links when they do want to find out more about getting a policy.
This, of course, is not as direct a way to sell but, over time, it can actually be a lot more effective as you’re building a long-term relationship and as you’re establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field.
At the same time, you need to think about the comments that you’re adding to your pictures. This is your opportunity to directly link the image back to your site and to promote your product.
For instance, if you’re uploading images of people doing home workouts to provide inspiration and ideas to your followers, then you can sell through those images by adding a note at the bottom explaining that they can find more similar moves in your eBook or course at THIS link.
The great thing about Pinterest is that, although it is not technically a social network, it really does leverage the viral power of social networks. If your board is delivering great value, then this fact alone will be enough to ensure that it grows naturally. People will re-pin your pins, they will comment, and they will discover what you’re posting through the search button. If you’re offering new content, if you’re staying on topic, and if you’re providing real value by offering a genuine service of some kind, then people will gradually gravitate towards your brand and you’ll build your following.
But, that is not to say that there aren’t other things you can do to further accelerate your progress. Here are some of the ways you can grow your following more quickly:
The more regularly you post, the more often your images will be found in searches. At the same time, they’ll also come up in home feeds more often, which means other users will be more likely to re-pin them and, thereby, share them with their audiences, giving you more exposure.
Choose Your Tags Carefully
As on Twitter, choosing the right hashtags is one of the most important ingredients when it comes to gaining maximum exposure for your images. The tags will dictate which searches bring up your images, and this means that they’ll be directly responsible for the number of people finding your brand.
When choosing your tags, make sure that you think about the types of things that commonly get searched for on the platform. Remember the kinds of things people use Pinterest for and remember that the audience is 85% female. Remember, too, that people are looking for images. ‘How to’ isn’t as applicable as ‘life hack’, for instance
If you upload an image without any comment then you give it no context. This means you won’t be getting the very most from it, simply because people won’t know what you’re trying to say with the image. If it’s a bodyweight exercise then explain how to do the exercise! If it’s a decoration for the home, then explain how people can use it, what it’s made from and where it can be bought. Make sure to link your brand to the image, otherwise people might just appreciate the image but never engage with your profile!
Interact With Others
On social media, reciprocity is a very underrated tool. Though Pinterest isn’t technically a social media platform, the more you interact with people, the more likely they will be to check out your profile and to look at your boards. So make sure that you’re interacting, following, and re-pinning. If nothing else, this helps to build goodwill as you’ll be helping those pinners to promote themselves, too!
Integrate Your Website
One of the most important ways for you to spread your brand across Pinterest and to get found by more people is to properly link your website and your Pinterest account. There are a few ways that you should do this. One is by adding a link on your homepage to your Pinterest account. This way, someone who lands on your website for the first time and decides that they like your content, they can check out your Pinterest page and follow your account or your boards.
Another tip is to use ‘ShareThis‘ or a similar social sharing tool on your website. If you have a WordPress site, then a social sharing plugin can be installed very easily and this will allow people to quickly and easily ‘Pin’ an article that they found interesting along with an image. This means there will be more people sharing your images and you’ll gain more exposure as a result.
You should also make sure that you occasionally try to cross pollinate between your social media channels. If you have a very successful Twitter account, for instance, then occasionally tweet about the ‘inspiring boards’ you’re creating on Pinterest. Likewise, you can share your pins to Facebook for people to see. Do this occasionally to help grow all of your accounts at once.
Think About Pinterest When You Create Content
If you’ve heard of ‘ClickBait’, then you’ll know how a lot of website owners are now creating content specifically to encourage shares on Facebook. This is content that uses an obtuse title in order to make people curious and to encourage more clicks as a result. It’s frustrating, but it works, and sites like Buzzfeed have built their business off this technique.
Thinking about how you’re going to share you content before you create it is a good move. The same goes for marketing on Pinterest.
If you’re going to make an article successful on Pinterest then what does it need?
Simple: it needs a great image that will make the article more compelling (this will also help when other people share your images and your pages). Make sure that you are creating unique images for your site and that they’re designed in such a way as to really sell the content of your article or blog post and to encourage people to follow you.
Some things that work well are tips that can be portrayed through a single image, meme, or inspirational quote. Note, as well, that certain images automatically attract more attention than others – we are psychologically hardwired, for instance, to notice pictures of faces!
Now that you have a basic marketing strategy in mind, we’ll take an in-depth look at how you can take your Pinterest the next level with advanced marketing techniques.
Pin It For Later!
My passion for online marketing dates back to 2006, when I first opened my virtual doors as a one-woman agency, providing small to mid-sized businesses web design and SEO solutions. Fifteen years later, I’ve expanded my service offerings to include social media, email management, WordPress sites, and just about any custom project my clients need.
Aside from the Internet, I enjoy 3d puzzles, roller skating, and spending time with my two spoiled dogs. I’m a perpetual learner and always looking to broaden my skillset. Next up: podcasting!
Let my knowledge work for you. Check out my “Work With Me” pages to start growing your online business now.