How to Start Pinterest Marketing for Your Small Business - Part 1
Pinterest marketing isn't scary, it's just different, and can be much more effective than Instagram & Facebook for many businesses. Take the first steps toward marketing your small business on Pinterest. This post explains where to start and what to do to start marketing your products, services and blogs with Pinterest.
If you’re reading this, you’ve either heard or you know that Pinterest can bring huge numbers of new customers your way. You also probably aren’t sure where to start or what to do to make that happen, but don’t worry because a. you’re in good company and b. I’m going to guide you through the process of setting up your Pinterest account basics, quickly and easily, so you can start attracting the right kind of attention on Pinterest.
A lot of people I meet aren’t really sure how Pinterest works or how people use it to shop, so let’s start with some interesting stats and facts.
- People use Pinterest to discover things to try and things to buy. If they’re planning for an event or a purchase, like a friend’s birthday coming up in 6 months’ time, they’ll save those things for later. But if they’re looking for something to buy now, such as a throw to match their new bed linen, they’ll click straight through to the site and make a purchase. Each thing they save; every item on Pinterest, is called a pin. A pin contains an image, a description and a link back to where it was saved from.
- Every pin lives on a board, which gives users a way of categorising their pins. Think of Google, where if you want to save something for later, you can bookmark it and you can save the bookmark to a folder to help categorise it for later use eg. restaurants or home decorating. It's the same concept on Pinterest, but prettier.
- Keywording or SEO is very important on Pinterest because Pinterest is a search engine and content on a search engine needs to be optimised to be found.
- Pinterest doesn't just search on words, it can also search images. Using Pinterest, you can point your phone camera at an object, take a picture and Pinterest will show you similar items within the platform. You could also search on the words “orange suitcase” and Pinterest can find orange suitcases, even if neither of those words are contained in the description.
- There is no cost for using Pinterest to market your business. The only thing a business pays for on Pinterest is advertising, which we’re not covering here. If you decide to advertise a product, you need to know that it’s something your audience will love and want to buy. You won’t know that until you engage with them organically and find out which of your products and pins they prefer.
Will Pinterest Increase Your Sales?
Pinterest is a marketing tool for your business, not a sales tool (unless you’re one of the lucky US-based businesses that has access to Buyable Pins).
Marketing is about bringing the right people through the "door" of your business; appealing to the people who are likely to want to buy your products, then getting them in to browse, and hopefully buy your products. This is one of the great uses of Pinterest for marketing your business - to get the right buyers to visit your site and make purchases.
Once the right people walk through the "door", the sales people use their tactics to convert those people or leads into paying customers. On ecommerce sites, you're the sales person and you use sales tactics like those listed in the diagram to convert your leads into paying customers.
So, using Pinterest should increase your sales, absolutely! If you’re using it right.
Pinterest is a marketing tool for your business. Your site is where the sales happen.
Why You Need a Pinterest Business Account
As a business, you’ll need a Pinterest business account, which is different from a regular user account. It’s totally free, like everything on Pinterest, except advertising. And it’s easy to set up.
A Pinterest business account has several benefits over a user account. If some of these seem a little too much right now, just move on to Step 1 and come back to them later. As with anything new, it takes a little while to get used to the lingo.
- Free tools to include on your website, so visitors can save your stuff to their Pinterest boards.
- Ability to use Rich Pins, which are useful for your customers and help you rank better in Pinterest searches.
- Stats on each product pin to tell you how well your audience is engaging with them.
- Analytics to show you what your most popular content is and who is engaging with it.
- Access to the advertising platform.
- Ability to set up Buyable Pins (currently conditional on your location and ecommerce platform).
OK, now it’s time to open up Pinterest on your computer and start marketing your business!
Step 1: Set up Your Pinterest Business Account
If you already have a Pinterest business account, skip to step 2.
- If you already have a Pinterest user account, log in with it.
- If you don’t have a Pinterest account at all, go to https://business.pinterest.com/, click the “Join as a business” button, fill in your business details and create your account.
- If you have a user account and want to convert it, log in, click the “…” button at the top of the screen, select “Switch to Business”, fill in your business details and convert your account.
Step 2: Define Your Keywords
If you have an ecommerce store or blog, you know a bit about keywords. Maybe a lot, maybe a little. Either is OK. Keywords are the words that people will search on to find your products, services and business. They’re the words you type in to Google when you’re looking for something.
The most popular keywords and hashtags on Pinterest might not be completely aligned with those that are popular on your ecommerce platform, or Google or your social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. All you need for now are 2 or 3 keywords to best describe your business and products or services - no hashtags at this stage. My free Pinterest Keyword Checklist will help you work out which keywords to use on Pinterest.
Step 3: Fill in Your Profile Settings
At the top of your Pinterest screen, hover over the user icon in the top right corner and select “Settings” from the list. You’ll need to fill in any missing details here, but the most important fields are in the Profile section. They’re the ones we’re going to focus on.
From the top… Update your business name so that it contains your main keywords as well as your business name. People probably won’t know to search on your business name alone. By including your primary business keywords in the business name field, you’re more likely to be found in search.
Next is your username. You only have 15 characters for this one, so it needs to be punchy. It also needs to be unique. Try to use the keywords that best describe your products or services as a whole, such as “UniqueJewellery”.
Let’s talk About You. Make the About You section conversational, like a cut-down version of your elevator pitch, with as many relevant keywords as you can fit in 160 characters.
Your Location is a good way to let people know where you are in the world. It helps people feel connected to you and your brand. If you’re a local business, keep it local. If you ship internationally, you can decide whether you prefer to keep your home town, state or country. Or you might want to use “Europe”, “Asia”, “Global”, “Worldwide” etc. to let potential customers know the region you service.
Now, your website. If you have your own domain, enter it here and press “Confirm website”. Part of the confirmation process involves adding code to your website. The Pinterest Help Centre has instructions on how to do this for many popular website hosting platforms. If you’re unable to follow the instructions, or simply find them daunting, you’ll need to ask a friend with a website, your website designer or website administrator to assist. Or feel free to email me at email@example.com and I’ll do what I can to help.
Confirming your website has the following benefits:
- unlocks the full range of Pinterest Analytics, letting you track your Pinterest website traffic
- adds your profile picture to any pin that was saved from your website
- helps you rank higher in Pinterest search and feeds
Note: Pinterest will only confirm domains eg. www.domainname.com, not web pages eg. www.domainname.com/myshop, so if you have a standard shop with eBay, Etsy, Amazon or similar online marketplaces, your website will still be displayed but it will not be confirmed and if you press Confirm website, Pinterest will show you an error message.
Step 4: Create Your Boards
Your Pinterest boards are where you collate and display your products. They’re like virtual window displays that allow you to capture the imagination of your customers.
Start by creating (or editing) a board containing your own products or blogs.
If you’re not already on your profile page, (which shows your name, follower numbers, profile pic etc.) click on your profile image. Select “Boards”. You’ll notice a red & white plus sign. Click it and give your board a name. The name needs to contain keywords relating to your products, such as “Satchel Bags for Women”. Click the “Create” button and you should then see the new board on your profile page.
Click on the board and you’ll notice recommended searches in colourful boxes at the bottom of the page. These can help you decide how to describe the items and your board.
Click on the pencil icon above the board title and choose which category it best fits. If possible, I’d recommend against using the “Products” or “Other” categories as they’re incredibly broad and may reduce your chances of being found in search.
Next you should describe the content of your board using as many relevant longtail keywords (more than 2 words) as possible. This is where those recommended searches really come in useful. Also try to include the category name in the board description and if you have any special offers relating to the board, tell people about it and add a link in the description. Save your changes.
Note: Some of your boards should contain your own products, while others should be helpful. You can also create combination boards if you wish. For example, if you stock a small range of a particular product, such as a printable fitness tracker, when your main product is printable planner pages, you could create a board dedicated to fitness. On that board, you could save fitness workouts, clothes, meal plans etc. alongside your printable fitness tracker. That way, you can keep adding fresh content without having to add to your product range. Search engines like Pinterest love and reward you for regularly adding content.
Ultimately, your results will be better when you have a minimum of 15-20 boards, but if you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to begin with 10 or less and build from there. You need to start somewhere and when you’re just getting started, it’s too easy to get overwhelmed with this type of thing and ignore it completely, so do what’s comfortable for you and then build it up at your own pace.
Step 5: Add Your Pins
Whenever practical, save your pins directly from your website. If you don’t see a Pinterest “Save” button when you hover over your images, you can install a browser plug-in. Just type into Google “Pinterest save button ”. You can then download & install it really quickly and easily. Once installed, you’ll see a little Pinterest P icon on your browser’s menu bar. When you click the icon, it will search the page you’re on for images that can be saved to Pinterest.
Hover over the image you want to save and click the “Save” button. This brings over your titles, descriptions and a direct link to the listing on your website into Pinterest.
You’ll then be presented with a window that allows you to change the description and save the pin to a board. For now, make sure your description contains keywords relevant to the product or service and save it to your new board.
Repeat this process until your board contains at least 10 pins.
We’ll go into more detail about pins in part 2 of this post
p.s. if you had a lightbulb or a-ha moment during this post, please share it in the comments.