Pinterest is believed to be the fastest growing social networking site ever and one of the world’s most visited websites, generating an estimated eleven million visits every week. In January 2012, Pinterest is said to have driven more traffic to retailers’ and affiliates’ websites than YouTube and Google combined.
Pinternet’s website is composed of ‘boards’, resembling notice boards, onto which members - called ‘pinners’- can ‘pin’ information, in this case pictures. Each Pin can carry a sales message and be hyperlinked to a website outside of Pinterest.
The idea is to tempt visitors to click on an image that takes them through to the website from which the image is taken. At the destination website the visitor might make a purchase or click on an AdSense unit, for example, or sign up to a mailing list.
The most popular Pins can quickly go viral as members ‘re-pin’ fellow members' images onto their own boards and share Pins with friends and followers.
So it’s no great surprise to learn that Pinterest is currently being used by Internet marketers to grow backlinks and drive traffic to their own websites and blogs, as well as leading visitors to product listings on Amazon, for example, and other affiliate portals. Pinterest also offers great marketing potential for those of us selling on eBay.
A sign of how potent Pinterest is viewed as a marketing tool is the number of major companies and household name manufacturers currently using the site to market their wares.
Famous pinners include author/broadcaster/television personality, Martha Stewart, who has apparently attracted thirty thousand followers on ten boards from just one hundred Pins. At the time of writing, antiques and craftwork site, Etsy, has more than one thousand Pins pitching for business on twenty-seven boards.
Boards are built around specific themes and, according to Google, Pinterest’s American membership is primarily interested in art, crafts, recipes, cooking, fashion, and holidays. In the UK, pinners have more wide-ranging interests with most boards attracting good traffic. Which means if you upload an image of a product likely to interest users on Pinterest’s most active boards, you could make sales daily of your own product and others you are recommending as an affiliate. Not forgetting items you have listed on eBay.
Marketing experts say Pinterest offers more scope for affiliates and sellers than most Internet marketers’ current favourite social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.
Proving the point, and despite the fact Pinterest claims the site is for personal, non-commercial use only, a young man, known only as ‘Steve’, has featured in numerous media reports where he claims to be making more than one thousand dollars every day by uploading new Pins featuring images transported from Amazon and linked to his own Amazon affiliate account.
Membership of the site is by invitation only and it can take several hours and sometimes days to be accepted. You can sign up to the site by getting a friend who is already a member to invite you to join or register your interest at the site and wait for Pinterest to send you an invite.
Pictures alone can do the job of promoting members’ own goods and services, as well as affiliate recommendations, but users can also add marketing messages and captions to their images to optimise their sales returns.
In fact, there are many different ways to promote products on Pinterest and to create backlinks and drive traffic to members’ own blogs and websites, including to products they are selling on eBay.
Pinterest is easy to use and there’s a good deal of information available telling newcomers how to use the site to start a new business or develop an existing one. Key something like ‘make money at Pinterest’ into the search box at Google for articles and tips to help you get started.
For now let me give you a few ideas for using the site to market your own products on eBay and Amazon, and for promoting other people’s products as an affiliate.
Tips and Ideas
* Use Pins to create backlinks to your own websites and blogs, and to articles and posts you’ve placed on revenue sharing websites. Unlike many social networking sites, Pinterest uses ‘Do Follow’ links, which means website addresses linked to Pins are accessible for search engines to index and include in search returns. Because Pinterest is one of the most popular and fastest growing social networking websites of all time, every Pin will help optimise your destination websites in Google and other search engine returns. Hence the reason many Internet marketers are employing full-time pinners to generate Pinterest backlinks to their promotional websites and blogs.
* You can upload an image of a product available from an affiliate company like Amazon or ClickBank and add a short sales message to your Pin. Add your promotional url at the appropriate spot inside your Pin to lead users to an outside website featuring more information about the product. So you could, for example, link to the sales page for a product using your raw Amazon or ClickBank affiliate link.
But there’s a slight problem here in that some top affiliate marketers believe Pinterest is using software to search the site for affiliate links with a view to replacing pinners’ affiliate user IDs with their own. I’m not sure if the rumour is true, but I’ve read it so many times, so I think it’s best to play it safe until the truth is revealed. The next tip tells how.
* The best way to protect your affiliate links is to change their format using cloaking software, and by shortening longer affiliate urls such as Amazon affiliate links which may not fit into the box at Pinterest. Expert marketers currently recommend affiliates use tinyurl - www.tinyurl.com - to shorten and cloak their affiliate links. Alternatively, add the image you want to Pin to your own website, along with a short recommendation for whatever product you are promoting. Transport the image to Pinterest by inserting your own website url into the appropriate box behind your Pin. Then add a short sales piece to your Pin to drive traffic to your own website.
* Users can create their own themed boards and fill them with Pins relevant to the subject, as well as using their own name or brand name as the title for the board. This is one of the most effective ways to brand a product as well as allowing users to search engine optimise their Pins using appropriate, relevant keywords.
* The most profitable Pins promote a special benefit to users, such as a discount on the product featured in the Pin, or a free bonus or sample. Adding the word ‘FREE’ in capital letters in a Pin’s description box can skyrocket traffic to a website offering a free report or sample of a product in exchange for visitors signing up to a mailing list. The image used can identify the free report or the bonus product and provide an even greater urgency for users to click on a Pin. Try these simple suggestions:
- If you’re considering using a Pin to promote a ClickBank product, try creating a short report about the product and offer it free on Pinterest to grow a mailing list for the purpose of promoting the same product and similar subject products later.
- If you’re selling on eBay or Amazon, you can cut competition for your products by pinning direct to a blog or one page website for each of your products. When people click on your Pin, they’ll be taken direct to your own website, and subsequently to the eBay or Amazon listing for your product without seeing similar products promoted by other sellers on either site.
* Create a board to act as a catalogue for all of your products, with each Pin showing a specific product and linking direct to its sales page or to your own website featuring a recommendation for the product. Imagine, for instance, having twenty images on one board, each featuring a specific category of ClickBank products. You could, for example, start a Pinterest board for people wanting to lose weight and add Pins leading direct to ClickBank products centring on weight loss, diet and exercise. Include your affiliate details behind your Pins and leave them to gather buyers and commissions for you. Important: Until those previously mentioned rumours are verified or dismissed, link your Pin to a one page blog or website page for each product. Add your ClickBank affiliate link to images on your destination website. Then create a Pin to transport each image from your own website to Pinterest.
* Test market a product before buying stock by Pinning its image from your own website. So you could, for example, Pin an image of a product available from a local artist or manufacturer, or from Amazon or other affiliate portal. Then you determine how much interest is generated at Pinterest before deciding what time and money, if any, to spend on stock and marketing materials for the product.
* Design your Pin to look like a discount coupon and use it to promote special sales at your website or blog or for your own products listed on eBay and Amazon.
* Pictures are vitally important at Pinterest, and only quality pictures will attract interest from users at the site. But it’s the message accompanying an image that encourages most visits to websites linked to Pins. You can maximise clicks by featuring benefits of your product alongside the image shown on your Pin. That is because it’s benefits that sell products, not features. So instead of telling a potential buyer what your new face powder looks like, tell her how beautiful she will look wearing it. Instead of describing the material used to make your newly sourced dance shoes, describe the ease with which wearers can move across the dance floor and be the envy of other dancers and onlookers.
* Research what rivals are promoting at Pinterest and how much interest their products are generating. Use this information to create your own Pins for similar products.
* Members can create a personal profile to let other users know what they do and what goods and services they provide that could benefit fellow Pinners. Some Pinners create profiles and Pins targeting buyers exclusively through Pinterest. Case in point: several members are promoting guides to making money at Pinterest and linking back to websites featuring the image used in the Pin alongside a short sales message that takes visitors direct to purchase the product through ClickBank and other affiliate portals.
* Describe your Pins and personal profile using search terms that are frequently keyed into mainstream search engines as well as on Pinterest. This will help search engine optimise your Pins and drive more organic search engine traffic to your destination blogs and websites, while also ensuring your Pins derive maximum visits from Pinterest users.
* Pick an affiliate product and write about it on a revenue sharing website such as Squidoo or InfoBarrel. Give your article a title resembling a sales headline. Upload an image for the product alongside your article on the revenue sharing website. Add the image and article title to a Pin.
* Pinners have their own ‘About’ section, a bit like the ‘About Me’ page on eBay. This is where you can talk about your business and what products and services you offer. That can encourage fellow Pinners and visitors to Pinterest to click through to your outside Pinterest websites. Great Idea: Think of a service or product to benefit a large number of Pinners in general or in specific categories, then link your Pins to promotional websites.
* Include your product name, business name, url and email in your Pin descriptions and in your personal profile. This helps brand and spread your business across the Internet.
* If you have several eBay accounts and eBay shops, try creating a selection of boards and hundreds of Pins for each shop, or for each product category inside your eBay shops.
* Dream up unusual board names about even more unusual subjects. Create strange words that people will re-pin just to impress their friends; create a buzzword or concept that goes viral on Pinterest and expect hundreds of visitors to your websites each day. Remember the Meerkats who sell insurance, for example, and the Panda bear who promotes ‘Bisquits’? Can you think of something equally unusual that sets you apart from millions of other people marketing their goods and services online? When you make your discovery, create a board with your buzzword in the title and on every Pin and expect curiosity to drive traffic your way.
* Pin for other people. Pinning sounds complicated, but actually it isn’t, and that means people without experience of pinning will pay you to promote their websites at Pinterest. Imagine this: remember the young man who set up a website selling pixels that backlinked to clients’ websites and very quickly made him a multi-millionaire? Well, how about setting up your own authority Pinterest board and create hundreds of Pins leading to your own websites and blogs? Now offer to change the destination websites in your Pins to other people’s sites selling similar products. Here’s an example: start a collectors’ corner with Pins for every type of collectible. Create a separate page for each collectible on your own websites and blogs, each one with an image for a separate Pin. Pin your websites and create attractive captions, then offer to rent the pin to people selling similar products. When a sale comes in remove your destination website from the Pin and replace it with the client’s url.
* Trend for maximum profits on Pinterest. Make your Pin the first on the scene for a forthcoming major event and attract an early audience of Pinners and traffic to your destination websites. Consider creating Pins relating to anniversaries of births and deaths of famous people, or marking some significant historical event? Could you pin about any of thousands of people and events marking special anniversaries this year, and next year, and the year after that? I think you could, and all you have to do is create a webpage for each event, write 300 to 500 words about your chosen person or subject, then add an image of a book or other product available from Amazon to your own website. For reasons mentioned earlier, add your Amazon affiliate link to images and text on your own website. Then Pin your image to Pinterest and wait for traffic to arrive at your website and for some people to purchase your product. Find an absolutely mammoth list of anniversaries to write and Pin about at:
* Pinterest has a special section for videos. So you could create videos showing someone using products you are promoting on eBay and then Pin your videos to your eBay shop or to individual product listings.
* Add a Pinterest ‘Follow Me’ button to your websites and blogs to encourage people to click through from a one page website to study potentially hundreds of different Pins relating to your eBay shop or separate products. Pinterest boards tend to be more attractive and informative than most website pages, and Pins can be very effective for generating clicks to sites promoting your own products or others you are promoting as an affiliate.
* Add product images and prices to your Pins to make your boards look more like shopping portals. A blogger friend says that adding prices to his Pins has led to some of his affiliate promotions appearing in Pinterest’s ‘Gifts’ section and has increased his commissions from Amazon and other affiliate product sites.
Those tips will help you begin making money through Pinterest. Get started right away by requesting an invite direct from Pinterest at: