How to Attract Customers With Pinterest

social media book reviewsImagine your ideal clients.

Now think about what kind of pictures or visual images they would enjoy.

If you can create (or curate) visually compelling content, then Pinterest could be a great social platform for you.

When used the right way, Pinterest can drive massive traffic to your website, build loyal communities around your brand and convert fans into buyers.

Beyond the Pin

In February 2012, Pinterest bypassed Twitter in terms of referral traffic. But that’s not all.

A survey from PriceGrabber indicated that 21% of Pinterest users purchased something they saw on a pinboard! Suddenly the sound of ringing cash registers could be heard by marketers around the world.

Unlike Facebook where images of products are annoying or intrusive, Pinterest offers a beautiful and exciting new interface (much like a mall) where users actually expect and look forward to shopping!

In her new book, Pinfluence: The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest, Beth Hayden gives business owners a lesson in visual marketing techniques that are bound to attract new customers and generate more revenue for their brands.

Here’s what you should know about the book.

Author’s Purpose

author beth hayden

Beth Hayden, author, Pinfluence: The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest.

For Beth Hayden and many others, Pinterest has proven to be an incredibly powerful and addictive space.

Beth has seen firsthand the golden opportunity that this social platform offers businesses—an opportunity to connect with customers, make more money and build loyal online communities.

Her book Pinfluence shows business owners, marketers, PR professionals and bloggers how to take advantage of these opportunities by using the most visually compelling tactics to market themselves online.

What to Expect

pinfluence book cover

Pinfluence is a fun and easy read with great tips and surprisingly smart business ideas. At 178 pages, Pinfluence tells you everything you need to know to:

  • Set up your Pinterest profile
  • Develop a Pinterest strategy
  • Know what to pin (and even mobile pinning)
  • Convert followers into buyers
  • Pinterest for B2B and non-profits
  • The ethics of Pinterest
  • And so much more!

Finally businesses of all types (B2C, B2B and non-profit) can use Pinterest to increase visibility, develop revenue-producing ideas and stay ahead of their competitors.

Book Highlights

One of the smartest things that Beth says in her book is this:

“If your Pinterest efforts are not helping you bring people to your business door, then you need to change the way you’re using the site.”

For any business using Pinterest, the goal is simple—drive traffic back to your site, add people to your mailing list and convert those visitors into buyers.

Here are some of the ways you can do that.

#1: Create Your Ideal Client Profile

The best way to create a detailed and useful buyer persona profile on Pinterest is to connect directly with the source. If you have access to some of your favorite clients, why not interview them and find out what problems keep them up at night?

Oreck, a maker of vacuum cleaners, air purifiers and other small appliances, focuses on women as their ideal clients. They created a profile called ‘Suzy Homemaker’ and filled it in with details about where Suzy lives, whether she has kids or pets and what her hobbies are.

mindset

Understand the mindset of your ideal client and develop a matching profile that fits his or her needs. Image source: iStockPhoto.

This exercise may seem silly, but don’t underestimate it. The more you know about the customers you’re trying to reach on Pinterest, the more successful you’ll be at connecting with them using images that will interest them.

#2: Name Your Boards (There’s a right and wrong way to do this!)

It’s likely that your instinct when you first get started with Pinterest (like so many other beginners) will be to create broadly themed boards that allow you to pin lots of images under a single topic; e.g., “Cruises.”

However, you must resist the urge to do this. You want your boards to be very specific yet memorable, so opt for a name such as “Fun Family Caribbean Cruises.”

The difference may seem subtle, but as many marketers in that category know, it’s a critical one. Also be sure that your board names are short, snappy and to the point.

#3: Add Compelling Descriptions

It’s easy to pin interesting pictures on your pinboards, but descriptions are just as important. Even though Pinterest gives you 500 characters to use in your description field, use only what you need to properly describe your image and give your followers some context.

key words

Use keyword-rich descriptions to help customers find the content they're looking for. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Also remember to use keyword-rich descriptions so that people can easily find the images they’re looking for when they search. For example, instead of saying, “Our lovely spring bouquet,” use specific words such as “Our lovely spring bouquet of white hydrangea and pink roses.”

#4: Get More Pinterest Followers

The quality of your Pinterest audience matters a great deal more than the quantity. However, you have to start somewhere and the way to build your list of followers is to:

  • Follow other pinners
  • Pin consistently
  • Actively seek out (and pin) new and interesting content
  • Link your Pinterest profile with your other social networks (Facebook and Twitter)
  • Run contests

Another very unique idea that Beth introduces in the book is to host a pin chat. Career coach Sean Cook hosted a unique online event that merged his Pinterest and Twitter worlds; he called it a “pin chat.” It was part of a regular Twitter chat for his higher-education job seekers.

Participants tweeted links and pins that features quotes, videos and other inspirational material for people seeking positions in higher ed (using a preassigned hashtag).

Sean then repinned those items to one of his Pinterest boards. The pin chat drew attention to the cool stuff he was doing to inspire his clients using Pinterest and provided a unique avenue for community-building that got people talking about him!

#5: Use Pinterest as Part of Your Sales Cycle

Business coach Tommi Wolfe, president of The Startup Expert, recommends that you keep a list of current professional contacts as well as potential clients with whom you would like to connect. Why not keep this list on Pinterest?

You could call it “People I’d love to know” and have those pins link to either that person’s Pinterest account or to his or her main website.

Another idea is to pin pictures of your clients and then paste their testimonials in the pin’s description. People love seeing faces with testimonials because it seems more credible and friendly. This is also an effective technique for sharing social proof about how awesome your brand is.

#6: For Non-Visual Brands

If you’re a B2B brand or in the service industry, Pinterest still holds enormous potential for you because you’re not limited to showcasing product pictures only.

Consider Mashable, a leading source of news, information and resources for the connected generation.

Currently they have 35 boards on Pinterest, 1,077 pins and almost 419,000 followers. Their most popular boards include:

  • Tech and Gadgets—obviously these are not Mashable products. They are cleverly curated images of interesting gadgets that are used in the tech industry (e.g., washable keyboards, tablets and typewriters, interesting apps and even imaginary futuristic gadgets).

    tech gadget bord

    Mashable's Tech & Gadgets board curates original and other users' images of cool devices.

  • Mashable photo challenge—each week they ask their readers to submit photos based on a particular prompt and these are then pinned on Pinterest. This is an easy idea that you too could piggyback off of.

Remember that all companies (whether B2C or B2B) are based on the same idea: people selling to other people.

So even if you’re selling to other companies, you can still have a successful presence on Pinterest as long as you’re creative and are able to offer a visually interesting experience.

Personal Impression

Pinfluence is an excellent book that covers a lot of ground and offers the kind of advice that you would pay good money for.

One of the most powerful ideas in the book is that Pinterest can (and should) be used by all types of brands, regardless of whether they’re traditionally regarded as visual brands.

Beth also has the advantage of writing the first book ever on Pinterest marketing, which means that many of her ideas are original and insightful.

All brands, whether they have little or much experience on Pinterest, will find Pinfluence to be very educational and enlightening.

The one minor weakness that I found in the book is the impression it creates that Pinterest marketing is tedious and filled with numerous tasks. I fear that someone who has never used Pinterest might read this book and think, “Forget it, this is too much work!”

Having said that, Beth has done a fantastic job in giving business owners both the strategic and tactical details of Pinterest marketing.

Social Media Examiner gives this book a 4-star rating.

What do you think?  Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Patricia Redsicker

Patricia Redsicker writes research reviews for Social Media Examiner. She is the Social Media Manager at US Pharmacopeia, a public standards setting organization. Follow her on Twitter at @predsicker. Other posts by »




More Info
  • Pnocito

    So when you sign up for Pinerest.. as a business owner, do you have your CMO or  a salesperson sign up on belhalf of the company? 

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Thanks for such an interesting article, Patricia. I’m now thinking of revamping my pinterest account to reflect the advice you have given. If you have any additional tips for podcasters like me who would like to make Pinterest work for our business, I’m ready to take notes, so bring it on! 
    Have a rockin Wednesday everyone!

  • http://twitter.com/GoSeeWrite Michael Hodson

    I’m a big Pinterest fan, but let’s hope they soon start to deal with the massive problems they have during the sign-up process that funnels almost all the followers to just a few power users… and ruins the chances of the rest of us to use this tool properly: http://www.goseewrite.com/2012/10/pinterest-numbers-game-examples-money/

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  • Danny Maloney

    Great tips. You didn’t mention how critical tracking success is. Pinterest doesn’t offer anlaytics by default, but you can get a free dashboard including competitor tracking with PinLeague. There’s a fully free plan that works for most businesses (track up to 5,000 pins!). Not free 30 or 60 days, free forever: http://pinleague.com/pinterest-tools/free-pinterest-analytics/

  • predsicker

    Thanks for reading Pnocito. As a business owner I would think YOU should sign up for the Pinterest account. Keep in mind that you will have the option to sign up with Facebook or Twitter, to use your personal name or business name and so on. Having a salesperson or even the CMO create your business profile  may cause problems later on if they decide to leave the company.

  • predsicker

    Thanks for your great feedback as usual John :)

  • Sarah Bauer

    Great review, Patricia! 

    I’m interested to know what you think of the current Pinterest landscape in North America- is it welcoming to industries of all kinds? Or should the mining companies with gorgeous pictures from the field stay back for now? It seems to be flooded by food/interior design/hair/fashion/celebrity; is there room for “boring” niches?

    Thanks again, this article is awesome!

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia 

  • http://RIppleTrifecta.com/ Rebec Wheeler

    Having signed up for a training course for Pinterest – one of the best tips was to start with a personal “P” page to get your feet wet…before undertaking a business account. Was a great course from someone who is quite savvy, but didn’t absorb/recall your #2 aspect of board titles. Thanks, Patricia – Still like pulling teeth with my clients to get on board with Pinterest…but having posted some of their products – their traffic site has tripled; the sales, however, have not. I tell the client: “Patience, grasshoper.”  ;)

  • http://twitter.com/myartandmysoul Sally Hoffman

    Excellent article, Patricia!!  I just ordered my copy on my ipad and can’t wait to get into the “meat” of the subject:O)

  • http://www.thewordchef.com/ Tea Silvestre, aka Word Chef

    It’s a great book (I’ve read it, too) and I highly recommend it. You’ve done a fabulous job laying out some of the highlights.

  • http://socialthreesixty.com/ Chad Egeland

    Some really good advice about Pinterest that you have shared and the book sounds like it’s worth picking up. Pinterest is the one social network that I find many have trouble “getting” but I think your review can help people started on the right track and the book can help people get on board with Pinterest.

  • http://www.jandunlap.com/ Jan Dunlap

    I read the book just after it came out; I began revamping my Pinterest boards and strategy as I read, since there are so many great ideas to use. And yes, it’s simple to do, and while it took some time, once you get the hang of it, it’s an amazing piece of a marketing strategy. I used it a lot during my recent free Kindle ebook promotion for the fifth book in my Birder Murder Mystery series, and the response was amazing. Now I’ve earmarked pages in the book to go back and do more with it. Really nice review, Patricia!

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  • KnitNell

    I really enjoy using
    Pinterest – I presume it is due to the fact that it is image based rather than
    text heavy – a great boon for artists/craftspeople.  I heard that the
    large majority of users are women, is this true or has the user demographics changed?

  • predsicker

    Absolutely Sarah. On Pinterest there is no such thing as a ‘boring’ niche. However creativity is key but you can collect/curate interesting images that speak to your audience. Pick up the book and see some great ideas for non visual brands. Thanks for reading :)

  • predsicker

    Great advice Rebecca and thank you for reading my article. For sure Pinterest may take a while before mainstream industries and brands take serious interest but for early adapters (like you) that means time to experiment and try out new tricks and tips long before the ‘big dogs’ show up. Keep pinning!

  • predsicker

    Awesome Sally – thanks so much for reading. I know you’ll love it :)

  • predsicker

    Thank you Chef, glad to know we think alike. Cheers for reading :)

  • predsicker

    Thank you so much Chad. Actually the book surprised me as well with its nifty little tips and tricks. I think Beth Hayden did a great job explaining how this thing works and I encourage those who are hesitant or unsure to pick up the book and clear their doubts. Thank you for your feedback Chad!

  • predsicker

    Thank you so much for your great feedback Jan – wow it looks like you’re getting a ton of mileage from Pinterest. Good for you. All the best with your fifth book :)

  • predsicker

    I think that is still the case KnitNell – don’t think that has changed although brands of all categories and sizes are starting to join in as well. The book illustrates how some of these ‘non-visual’ brands are using Pinterest – Very interesting ideas there! Thanks for reading!!

  • Jayne

    I am surprised to receive such a clear affiliate marketing support article from you Michael. Particularly puzzled about accepting this article as a guest post?

  • http://socialthreesixty.com/ Chad Egeland

    I have went and purchase the Kindle version of the book and have started reading it based on your review and I am really impressed with it so far. Thanks for the recommendation. 

  • http://twitter.com/emarketingmatt Web E Consultant

    Hi Patricia, after reading this post, I will be picking up your book sometime this week.  There seems to be many great ideas!  A division of my business has a weight loss clinic, having a section called ” Biggest losers ” or “Before” and “After” highlighting their overall weight loss would be great for testimonials, as you spoke briefly about above.  Great post, I will defintely pick up your book.  Thanks!

  • Anoob

    Hi  Patricia ,

                       Very good review(information) about the Pinterest marketing. This is my comment on social media examiner.

    Thanks
    Anoob
           

  • Betty Schuldt

    I just recently read a great book titled, “Leverage Social Networks to Drive Business Results” by Lisa Anderson, and am working on building my social networks.  Pinterest is the hottest thing right now.  I am definitely going to use your tips outlined in this post.  Thank you!

    http://www.lma-consultinggroup.com/

  • http://www.ydeveloper.com/e-smart-ecommerce-suite.html Ydeveloper

    This is an extremely helpful guide to use pinterest.

  • predsicker

    That’s awesome Chad. So glad to hear you picked up the book. Happy pinning :)

  • predsicker

    You’re welcome. Thanks much for reading and for your feedback as well!

  • http://www.hisocial.com/ Hisocial

    Very informative article, I would also add that Pinterest also  has several positive SEO effects

  • predsicker

    You’re absolutely right – thanks :)

  • predsicker

    You’re welcome Betty and thanks for reading my article :)

  • predsicker

    Thanks Anoob!

  • http://amyhagerup.com/ Amy Hagerup

    Excellent and practical tips that I haven’t heard yet in all my efforts to learn how to pin effectively! Never knew about choosing board names creatively!! Can I change the name of a board and still have the followers following it? Thanks, Amy

  • http://www.kreativehaus.com/ Lindy Neubauer

    I’ve actually recently experienced someone buying something that I pinned on Pinterest. They saw my post on Twitter, RT’d me and then told me they ended up purchasing it. It was a vintage VW van iPhone case that someone else was selling, so I wasn’t making money off it, but I’m happy to be a sign post pointing out cool items for others. 

    Happy pinning!

    Lindy Neubauer
    http://pinterest.com/kreativehaus 

  • Rajshekhar

    why can’t you provide the same info in pdf format to download, so as to read in spare time.

  • Yogiwan

     If your are talking about this article, just print to a pdf printer.  If your talking about the 178 page book, just go buy it.  That will be a better option than a pdf file.

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  • http://pegfitzpatrick.com/ Peg Fitzpatrick

    Really interesting! There already is a chat called #PinChat so this advice is good but keep in mind that other’s have already been using hashtags for chats. “Another very unique idea that Beth introduces in the book is to host a pin chat. Career coach Sean Cook hosted a unique online event that merged his Pinterest andTwitter worlds; he called it a “pin chat.” It was part of a regular Twitter chat for his higher-education job seekers.” 

  • Leah Van Rooy

    Great article! I loved the ideas in the “Use Pinterest as Part of Your Sales Cycle” section. I will definitely be creating a “People I’d love to meet” board and another one for “Client testimonials”.  Thanks for the quick breakdown! I may need to pick up the Pinfluencer book for even more ideas.

  • Rawle Tejas

    Hey Patricia, I am reading the book and wondering a basic question. The author says you log in using your Fb or twitter account. My company has an FB page but it doesn’t have ‘friend’s’ since it’s a company page and has more than 5000 likes. And I dont have a company page on Twitter. How should I use those 5000 likes from Fb to my Pinterest page?

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  • Lori Lynch

    I am an esthetician and have just opened a small spa inside a salon.  The startup is very slow and I have been working the social media but never thought of Pinterest.  After reading this article I have new hope as a way to reach new and more people.  Let’s face it you have to go and keep up with what’s new.  I am also going to try out instagram as way to get clients interest.  I am good at what I do (I am not conceited, my clients have told me they my work).  The only problem is it takes so much time with marketing and social media and there is only so much time in a day. . . . I am going to have to start devoting a certain day to each media.  Thanks for the review and I am going to get the book.

    Lori Lynch

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