How To Fix Your Pinterest Strategy If It's Not Working
A smart CEO, online entrepreneur, or small business owner knows that they need to see a return on investment (ROI) for anything they do for their business.
Some ROI is easy to see - like the amount of money you pay for advertising a product vs the profit from those sales. Some ROI is a little more difficult to track, like investing in graphic design or determining the value of an email address.
Once you decide to invest time and/or money into something for your business - in this case Pinterest Marketing - you need to understand how to analyze that strategy, figure out if it’s working or not, and know how to make adjustments to fix it.
Here are the 5 elements you need to work through to fix your Pinterest marketing strategy.
TL;DR - this is a big ole’ blog post, so here’s the quick version:
You have to use best practices first - like the right keywords, great graphics, and pinning consistently.
You have to know what defines success for you - is it traffic, email list building, and/or sales? If your strategy doesn’t match your goals, spoiler alert: it’s not going to be successful.
You have to serve your audience - specifically your Pinterest audience. Make it easy for them to convert by showing them a clear path that solves a problem for them.
You have to know your Google Analytics - knowledge is power and this will help you build a converting marketing funnel (i.e. emails and sales).
You have to know what to expect from the Pinterest audience - don’t go into it thinking you’re going to get big results in a week.
USE BEST PRACTICES
There are several foundational pieces to making Pinterest work for you that all have to do with best practices.
I want to be clear here - Pinterest is not like any other digital marketing platform. If you apply what you’re doing on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc to your Pinterest strategy - it will not work.
Think you’re saving time by pinning that YouTube thumbnail or sharing a picture that just goes back to your Instagram? Nope. You’re not because that time is wasted as you’re not aligning your content with what Pinterest wants to see.
Keywords are easily the #1 most important piece of a successful Pinterest marketing strategy. You should be searching on Pinterest - not on Google or some other SEO tool - for your Pinterest keywords. Sometimes those keywords overlap across both Pinterest and Google, but they may not. I often find when I get a list of “SEO” keywords from clients that some are not actually popular search terms on Pinterest. So - get your keywords on Pinterest.
Your keywords should be in your profile description, board titles, board descriptions, and each pin description. For more help with wrapping your head around finding your keywords on Pinterest, watch this video, or learn how to think like your audience on Pinterest.
Graphics are the #2 most important piece of a successful Pinterest strategy. Pinterest is a visual search engine and visually appealing pins are going to make or break your strategy.
This is so important, I have a blog coming out in the next couple weeks on how one business wasted lots of money because they wouldn’t change their graphics. Bookmark the carachace.com blog to read it when it’s published.
Here’s what you need to know about pin graphics:
Pins should be a 2:3 vertical ratio (600px x 900px minimum) - no landscape graphics please!
Fonts should be clear and easy to read (can you read that script font on mobile??).
Use quality lifestyle and/or product photography.
Are you using your brand’s style guide (read my blog on creating one if you’re not sure).
We all know how silly it is when you land on a business’ website that looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2005. It’s painful and does not help your audience trust you. If your pins graphics look dated, or are too juvenile in graphics or fonts, they’re not going to do well.
The last piece of best practices for Pinterest is that you have to be consistent. Whether you choose to pin 1-3 times a day, or 20 times a day, you have to be present on the platform. The reality is, every single social media and digital marketing platform values consistency as part of their algorithm, and Pinterest is no different.
I could not maintain my consistency on Pinterest, for myself or clients, without Tailwind. Tailwind is a Pinterest-approved scheduling app that lets me batch my pins according to a “smart schedule” (meaning when my Pinterest followers are online and pinning). With an average of 10 pins per day (my own content and others’ content), I can usually schedule out an entire month of pins in about an hour and a half. Boom. Done. Back to other priorities in my business.
Using best practices are a given for seeing success with any digital marketing platform. Let’s assume you’ve got that covered and you get it (Don’t get it? DM me).
Let’s move on to the next piece of understanding and fixing your Pinterest strategy.
DEFINE YOUR METRICS FOR SUCCESS
We know that if you follow best practices, Pinterest can easily be the #1 social traffic-driver for your website. It can even be the #1 traffic driver, period - even more than direct or organic traffic.
Ok, that’s great, but what does that mean? If you don’t define your metrics for success with Pinterest, you’re not going to know if it’s actually working for you.
Some businesses simply want to build brand awareness and get eyeballs on their website. The metric for success with this goal would be to simply gain more website sessions from Pinterest. This is a great goal for new businesses, new websites, and new Pinterest profiles.
The next step for a business is usually gaining potential customers/clients (I use these terms interchangeably). Is every person who lands on your website a potential client? Well sure, but you can’t please everyone, so refining that audience further to people who are taking action on your website is key.
This usually happens with a value exchange of the person’s email address for some valuable free lead magnet that is going to help them solve a problem. This lead magnet has to relate to your business product/service. This will help you build your email list with people who are truly interested in what you have to offer.
There are many ways to calculate the value of an email address based on your website analytics and sales, but they make my head hurt so I’ll let you Google it.
The third most common way to define success with marketing is sales - obviously.
It’s not often that a Pinterest user is going to click through to read your article on “xyz” and then buy your $10,000 coaching package or sponsor your conference.
That journey happens with months, sometimes years, of building trust with that user.
Is that journey going to be shorter and easier with a $12 upsell product? Sure is. But if you don’t guide that Pinterest traffic where you want them to go (that has to do with your metric for success), then it’s not going to happen.
Knowing how you’re going to define success with Pinterest is essential to understanding if it’s actually successful for you - I mean, duh, right?
Defining those metrics are going to help you in the next part of fixing your Pinterest strategy - serving your audience.
SERVE YOUR AUDIENCE
If you are going to define success in terms of sales, but you only lead people to blog posts that might have great information, but don’t provide a clear, easy path to purchase something, your strategy is going to fail.
Pinterest will get you traffic all day long - but it’s YOUR WEBSITE’S job to convert that traffic.
If you are using best practices with Pinterest, you know your goals with Pinterest, and your website is not converting for those goals - then your website funnel is broken, not Pinterest.
Do you have well-designed landing pages/blogs, calls-to-action, and (dare I say) functioning website? Or is it full of broken links with no clear path for a user to go to next?
You have to serve your audience in the way they need. Usually this means leading them in an obvious direction, spoon-feeding a bit, and giving them a solution to the problem you can solve for them.
You also have to understand that the Pinterest user is unique - meaning they’re in a different mindset when they’re searching on Pinterest.
Just like you wouldn’t just copy/paste a YouTube video into your Facebook business page (please tell me you’re not doing that), you can’t copy/paste what you’re doing on some other platform into Pinterest.
Let me give you a clearer example.
If someone is on LinkedIn, they’re likely spending the time reading articles relating to their business or industry. They’re going to want to go read your blog on “xyz” industry-thing, then share it on LinkedIn or maybe reach out to you if they need your help.
That same person on Pinterest is actively searching for something they’re trying to get ideas about. They might even type in something like “marketing ideas” (scroll up if you need a refresher on how important keywords are).
If your keywords are done right and your graphics are on point, they might see your pin that says “20+ marketing ideas for small businesses”. They click through and see not only an easy to consume blog post, but you offer them a “post ideas swipe file” they can grab for free with their email address.
This is what the Pinterest user expects and what they respond to. Meet the Pinterest user where they are at, give them what they need, and don’t lump them into your strategy for other marketing platforms.
I have a client that started working with me in 2018. We were clear that our initial metric for success was simply going to be getting traffic from Pinterest. We built out her profile and developed a consistent strategy for maximizing her content on Pinterest.
In January of 2019, I told her we needed to take it to the next level and step up her funnel from Pinterest. We booked a strategy session and took a deep dive into her analytics. We mapped out a clear funnel based on what content was doing really well for her Pinterest audience.
Within a week, she had put together a free ebook, plus a low cost upsell. The first day she had her free ebook up she got 50 email address. Within a couple of days the upsell money was rolling in. Gotta love clients who implement!!
How did we know what to focus on? We knew her analytics.
KNOW YOUR ANALYTICS
Knowledge is power, and there’s nothing more powerful for understanding your website traffic and conversions than Google Analytics.
You might very well find that your Pinterest traffic loves a piece of content or a landing page that’s different than what’s successful with your Facebook or YouTube traffic.
Analytics was the catalyst for my light bulb moment with Pinterest - when I realized that a big portion of my traffic was going to one particular blog - and I used that information to create my most popular lead magnet ever. That blog was posted almost 4 years ago, and I still convert my Pinterest traffic to email signups with that lead magnet every single day.
You can quickly set up a segment in Google Analytics to track your Pinterest traffic specifically. This is super helpful for knowing what your Pinterest audience is doing on your website. Learn how to set it up in less than 10 minutes.
KNOW WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT WITH PINTEREST
Lastly, you need to know how Pinterest actually works so you have reasonable expectations for your marketing efforts.
Pinterest is a long-term strategy.
You can expect to see your traffic and funnel goals start to gain traction in 6 months to a year. Pinterest is not a quick-fix, blast out signups for your webinar platform.
Pins live forever.
This is the beauty of Pinterest. Once your pin is out there, it’s re-pinned by other users which helps it gain momentum. When you use Tailwind, all your re-pins of your own content actually count as a new pin, which is a very good thing.
When you promote (paid advertising) a pin, once the promotion is done, that pin continues to gain the momentum from the ad spend push.
Promoted Pins accomplish was Facebook Boost Ads are supposed to.
Pinterest will get your traffic, but YOU have to convert it.
Knowing what speaks to your Pinterest audience and providing the value they need are key to converting to emails and sales. Make it easy and obvious!
Pinterest users are saving, planning, and gathering.
That means your conversions might happen several months later, but knowing which pins are being saved a lot can be an indicator of buying plans.
Plan your content 45-60 days out.
It takes that long for new pins to really start circulating in the Pinterest feeds. That means if you’re planning on new summer content/products, you need to be pinning about it in April!
If you’ve been putting time and effort into your Pinterest strategy and not seeing the returns, the good news is you can fix it.
Go back and make sure you’re doing the basics right, then take a hard look at your website. Pinterest won’t convert traffic for you, it just hands it to you to do with what you will.
If you’re frustrated and need some hands on support, learn more about Pinterest PowerUp - the first Pinterest marketing membership community designed for online entrepreneurs.
Hey hey, I'm Cara - Pinterest marketing evangelist and lover of all things Squarespace website design. I team up with online entrepreneurs to get tons of website traffic into sales funnels (marketing speak for getting eyeballs on your website and turning them into customers).
Click the button below to get in touch!