It’s no secret that Pinterest is one of the biggest sources of referral traffic on the Internet.
And while increased traffic can help bloggers and media companies to sell more advertising, many businesses (especially e-commerce) use Pinterest to sell their products directly. For these businesses the goal is to convert traffic into paying customers.
That means making the sale.
When it comes to driving purchase-ready buyers, Pinterest comes with a lot of advantages. This is partly due to the longevity of the life of a single Pin (which sticks around in the Pinterest search engine for years) and partly due to the buying mindset and affluence of Pinterest users. For example, Shopify concludes that the typical Pinterest user spends $50 per purchase.
But to successfully convert Pinterest traffic to customers takes strategic planning. These tips for driving awareness and sales with Pinterest will help you out along the way.
1. Create Buyer Personas
It’s a marketing truism that “if you try to appeal to everyone you’ll appeal to no one.”
To skip the temptation to “sell to everyone” – thus weakening your message for those who really are your customers – it’s important to make sure you understand your customers. One way to do this is to develop buyer personas.
If you hang around marketers enough, you’re bound to hear several different descriptors for a buyer persona. From “avatar” to “ideal customer to target demographic”, all these fancy terms lead back to once concept: pinpointing exactly who your products are for.
A buyer persona outlines the key facets of your target buyer, which may include age, gender, income level to hobbies, what their challenges are and more. It’s essential to know who you’re trying to reach. Everything from your copywriting to the kinds of Pinterest boards you’ll want to create to what you pin need to be tailored to appeal to this buyer.
Nail down your Buyer Persona with Alisa Meredith’s in-depth guide. At the end of the process you should have a short paragraph outlining exactly who your ideal buyer is. Add in a photo of that specific buyer to really visualize your audience.
2. Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
Optimizing your pins breaks down into two parts.
First, you need to tailor your content according to your Buyer Persona. Now that you know exactly who you’re targeting, optimize everything to attract that unique individual to your storefront.
Sweet Peas and Saffron determined that their target audience gravitates toward vertical food Pins with vibrant pictures combined with easy to read descriptive text.
With those types of images resonating with their audience, Sweet Peas and Saffron converted all of their pins to match.
Secondly, you have the mechanics of optimizing for Pinterest.
Similarly to designing images and descriptions to cater toward a specific Pinner, you need to make sure your Pins mesh well with Pinterest’s Smart Feed. The more information Pinterest has about your Pin, as well as the users who engage with it, the better Pinterest can show it to similar individuals.
To jumpstart your efforts, knock out a few quick wins.
First, verify your website. By taking the time to authenticate your website, Pinterest recognizes your content as more trustworthy material.
Next, add Pinterest buttons to your website. This gives your customers the ability to Pin your products directly from your website.
In the example below Home Depot make it clear they understand the power of the Pinterest button, which makes it easier for people to share your products or content on Pinterest.
Once your website is Pinner-friendly, start building in target rich keywords into your descriptions and board titles. Using what you learned from your Buyer Persona, identify keywords that align with your ideal customer’s interests. Pinterest helps through their Guided Search feature.
When you type a search term into Pinterest, such as “Organic Cleaners,” Pinterest pulls up related categories.
While you’re typing in your search, Pinterest will start to autofill suggestions, as well as pull up related boards and Pinners.
Once you gather keywords from Pinterest, you can use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to expand your selection and see search volumes.
By optimizing your pins, you lay the foundation for a strong SEO strategy.
3. Utilize Rich Pins
When Rich Pins first came out, we thought they were Pinterest’s first $1 billion revenue feature. Ultimately, they solved the challenge of creating actionable targeted discovery on Pinterest.
We still stand by our enthusiasm. Rich Pins can bridge the gap from browsing on Pinterest and purchasing on your site.
For example, Project Nursery are masters in the art of using Rich Pins to drive sales. Just take this Pin for their Watercolor Rose Baby Swaddle. Once you click on it, you’re already in a shopping experience – the Rich Pin lists the price, whether it’s in stock, multiple product photos, and links to learn about the return policy.
In fact, you can actually purchase the item through Pinterest with Buyable Pins. Click that “Add to Bag” button, and viola, you’re on your way to having it delivered straight to your door.
Project Nursery took it one step further and created an entire shoppable board dedicated to their “Pins You Can Shop.” You might consider doing the same.
Turn your products into Rich Pins with our handy dandy Rich Pin Cheat Sheet.
4. Create Gift Idea and Theme Boards
Now that you know how to give your Pins that extra punch through optimization and converting them to Rich Pins, create a way for buyers to stumble upon your products through Gift Idea and Theme Boards.
Lululemon uses their “Gift Guide: Her” board to help countless boyfriends and husbands navigate gift getting with ease.
They also have a “Gift Guide: Him” for all those ladies looking to treat the lucky man in their life.
Wedding Favors Unlimited uses a similar strategy through creating countless theme boards. From Edible Favors to Bohemian Weddings, all of their theme boards help direct brides-to-be to their array of affordable wedding favors. Today 80% of the traffic to their e-commerce website comes from Pinterest.
As contradictory as it sounds, once Wedding Favors Unlimited started curating content from both their sites and other sources, including competitors, they saw an increase in followers as well as more sales. Remember, it pays to curate great content for your audience.
5. Implement Pinterest Best Practices
Sending droves of purchase-ready customers to your store means doubling down on all the same measures that boost Pinterest traffic to your website. The more you implement best practices, the better your overall Pinterest performance will be.
When it comes to selling products, one best practice becomes even more important: creating appealing Pins.
No stranger to commerce marketing, Target’s Pinterest team blends multiple images into a unique and appealing Pin.
Taking advantage of the vertical layout maximizes their real estate, giving this nursery a greater opportunity to stand out. Not only is it a beautiful Pin, users can alo see the individual products at the bottom of the Pin that make up the gender neutral nursery.
Prana illustrates another one of our favorite Pinterest business tips – show your products in action. Part of the appeal of purchasing an item is adopting the lifestyle it creates – use your pin to capture that essence.
Notice how both companies used high-quality imagery? Blurry or pixelated photos don’t make the cut in an image-heavy medium such as Pinterest.
6. Track What’s Working
Even with the Buyer Persona, consistently attracting buyer-rich traffic will take constant refining. That’s where measuring results comes in.
First, check to see what types of Pins perform well by measuring organic traffic – you can do this with the Domain Insights Tab in Tailwind.
Through your Tailwind dashboard, you can also see how many website visits and how much revenue you’re generating from Pinterest. We make this easy by integrating Google Analytics into the Tailwind Dashboard.
Finally, you want to make sure your efforts are leading to your main goal: making sales. Compare your Pinterest efforts and website traffic against your sales to see which efforts are driving the most sales.
Another important tactic is evaluating what people are saying about your Pins. This can help bridge the gap into the minds of potential customers. One quick way to do that is to go to pinterest.com/source/[yourURL]. Now we can see who is Pinning our content and what they are saying about it. This helps us refine everything from the type of content we create to the images we Pin.