13 Nov Pinterest: how to generate leads – from companies driving tens of thousands of views a month
This post contains lots of data and useful tips – to maximise your chance of using these strategies successfully
download my ‘cheat’ sheet’ by CLICKING HERE
Here we’ll dive into how to generate leads on Pinterest.
All the strategies below are proven to increase leads or followers (mostly, both).
But first lets turn into Batman….helping fight crime, and drive traffic How do you catch wanted criminals in Pottsdown? Hop onto Pinterest and create a tip-line:
The service created by The Pottsdown Mercury drove an increase of 57% in arrests for the local Police.
But if you don’t want to catch crime, perhaps you want to drive more leads?
Can you do it on Pinterest in a strategic way?
You probably know by now – we like to understand more about the data behind marketing – rather than creating lists of ‘tips’ that have no evidence of ever working.
We like to find what works.
And with Pinterest, it turns out there ARE strategies you can use to drive traffic to your site and convert into leads….in some cases.
So before we dive in, we’ve split this post into:
1. Should you even be on Pinterest? (it could be a huge waste of time if your target market isn’t on Pinterest)
2. Some general guidance on what works on Pinterest
3. Proven case studies, hacks and tips to generate thousands of visitors a month
Should you use Pinterest?
Whilst Pinterest can drive traffic and leads to your site, it’s important to bear in mind the following: Pinterest is overwhelmingly used by females.
Most reports estimate that 80% of Pinterest users are female.
The demographics will change over time and vary from country to country, but since it’s conception – it’s been around the 80% mark for female usage, and that’s unlikely to significantly change in the near future.
Pinterest users are generally older than most social networks
So broadly speaking, if your target market is mobility aids for 66 year old men….maybe Pinterest isn’t for you. But if you’re looking to attract female users aged between 18 and 49, then Pinterest is a good place to start.
The Advantages of Pinterest
One of the advantages Pinterest has over other social media outlets is the longevity of Pins. Facebook and Twitter provide very quick, dopamine hits for finding out the latest news gossip and stories about your friends – only true psychotic stalkers will browse through your old tweets or Facebook posts.
However, on Pinterest, users find it easy and enjoyable browse through your old pins and boards – meaning you can drive traffic from older content.
Shareaholic found that Pinterest Drives More Traffic to Publishers Than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit combined
From CoSchedule’s analysis, Pinterest drives the highest amount of shares online – 90% of headlines that were shared with CoSchedule’s software more than 1,000 times were shared using Pinterest.
So with a high level of longevity and sharing…it’s a good place to start to generate leads for your business. Here’s how:
How to post the perfect image
A study by Curalate analysed 500,000 images on Pinterest to dig the data on what makes up the ideal pin. Here’s the summary:
- No human faces – Images without faces get re-pinned more often than images with faces. Among images shared by brands — retailers, media, etc. — those without human faces are re-pinned 23 percent more often
(The above image was deemed the ‘perfect’ image – it had been repinned 307,000 at the time of the study)
- Little background – If you use an artificial background on Pinterest – make sure it’s not more than 40% of surface area. If it breaches this limit, average repins are reduced by up to half.
- Multiple colours – mages with more than 1 colour = 3 times more repins.
- Don’t go black and white – a colour image is 10 times more likely to be shared than a black and white image.
- Go long – images which are vertical and have an aspect ration of between 2:3 and 3:5 get shared more often.
- Go red – red or orange based images tend to get repinned more than blue images
The 80/20 to get more followers
After analysing 3 million pins, the University Of Minnesota narrowed down the three most important factors you should work-on, to gain more followers:
- The number of users you follow
- The number of pins you create
- The number of boards you create
Focus on increasing each of the above (within sensible limit) and you should see a marked increase in your own followers and therefore referrals.
Be upfront about cost
Imagine going to Amazon, seeing an item you like, then having to click through 3 screens to be able to find out the price… …especially if you found the price looked like: Pinterest users certainly find this frustrating. On average there are 36% more likes of content with prices on them – so if you have a price for a product, make sure you include it on your Pinterest pages.
Now let’s move onto 12 case studies of companies that have found ways to consistently generate leads and revenue from Pinterest:
1. Generating 1000 visits a day from Pinterest
Health Ambition developed a strategy to generate 1,000 visits a day from Pinterest, whilst gaining more sales and higher conversion rates than other forms of social media or organic search:
1 Use a personal name to post – The case study recommends using a female name to post, claiming that marketing for a company tends to be an ‘uphill battle’. (I’m personally not sure this is the best way to promote your business, but I’ve included the results the company found)
2. Create a range of pinboards – minimum 2-3
3. Join popular group boards – Some group boards have tens of thousands of followers – which allows you to leverage an audience that would take you a long time to grow by yourself. Whilst group boards that accept new members are hard to find, it’s recommended to use a service like boarddeckhq
4. Create your own group boards This takes some time to build a following, but can be valuable if you have great content that users will want to follow you for.
5. Get pinning Systematically go through every board you are a member of and pin one image to each board when you are online daily. It’s better to pin in 5 minute bursts, rather than spend 30 minutes solid pinning. Too much pinning in a short period of time can make you look like a spammer to both Pinterest, and those that moderate group boards.
6. Use infographics to increase website visits
Long form infographics look good and drive traffic because they are harder to see on Pinterest – therefore clicking will enable the user to see them better.
Takeaway – a good, systematic strategy for Pinterest can drive plenty of traffic
2. Segment based on your customers to increase enquiries by 12.5%
Do you have a number of different types of buyer persona for your company. If so, it makes sense to create different boards based on exactly what products your potential buyers may be interested in.This strategy is part of the success of Petplan, turning Pinterest into their second highest source of traffic.
Results: 69% more page views,97% more time spent on the site compared to twitter and increased insurance quotes by 12.5%
Petplan used Pinterest to provide advice to users segmented by their breeds of dog. They provided helpful information on each board relevant to that breed and promoted their presence on Pinterest via ‘pin it’ buttons on their website and within their email footers.
This strategy makes perfect sense. If you own a particular type of dog, you’ll be more attracted to specific advice about your breed,than generic dog advice (Petplan have 73 boards in total)
Takeaway – As we’ve seen in other case studies, providing helpful advice is one of the quickest ways to generate leads.
3. Work on your images to increase your web traffic almost 200% though Pinterest
Danielle runs a blog at The Fitness Fashionista and explains how she went from a tiny blog following, to increasing heavily the visits to her site from Pinterest, by making some small changes to her images.
The table shows the increase in traffic month over month
1. Focus on image quality There’s no excuse nowadays for lack of quality images on Social media, with tools like Canva out there to help create good looking graphics simply and quickly.
Danielle went from images like: to higher quality images such as:
You can see how much more interesting (and shareable) her multiple image pins are, than before. 2. Take joining groups seriously: Danielle spent about an hour a week requesting to join groups (checking the group info for email addresses) to leverage group audiences.
3. Finally, check your analytics Work out what your audience is into to see what other images you can post and then do so.
Takeaway – this strategy shows how you can easily increase website visits and leads by improving images and joining group boards
4. Diversity to Dominate like the big brands
An analysis of the top 5 ecommerce stores online, reveals some interesting strategies on ways to post:
1. Think like a blogger If you blog for your company, and all you do is talk about yourself, you’ll soon find you’re running out of people who are interested in your posts. It’s exactly the same for Pinterest – you have to post around your business and your interests, rather than just lots of pictures of your product.
Modcloth and Urban Outfitters both follow a strategy of not just posting about themselves. Looking at the table below:
You’ll note how they both adopt this strategy well , with 38% of Modcloth’s boards being non-product boards – and a huge amount of followers.
2. Post content that helps your users
Sephora (Beauty & Cosmetics brand with 317,000+ Followers from 7,000+ Pins) post make-up tips and advice through their pins to help users. This is a superb ‘content marketing’ approach to show the value a company can offer, rather than simply posting product images.
The result: referrals from Pinterest spent 15 x more than visitors from Facebook.
3. If your business lends itself to it, work with your users to create communities 6,341 Pins •
Anthropologie have created a community board where they allow 50+ influential pinners to engage with them…and they have racked up 315k followers. If you have the type of brand or product that a community would be interested in, it’s highly worth doing.
Takeaway – helping your customers and engaging with them on Pinterest ensures more followers and a higher-spend
4. Create a self-promoting contest
As usual in social media – the results from a contest or giveaway can be significant.
When setting up a contests, you can do things the ‘usual’ way – and try to just generate entries or you can be creative and ask people to market for your contest.
Jetsetter.com generated a large amount of interest for their prize of a trip to Bali.
However, the more interesting aspect was their second prize of $500, given to the user who created the Pinterest board with the most following.
It’s unclear of the number of leads this generated – but with the users building over 500 boards (all including images from Jetsetter.com to showcase the brand), this significantly increased Jetsetters reach over their ideal target market.
Takeaway – if you are creating a contest on Pinterest, find ways to get your followers promoting your brand as a method of entry.
5. Use a call to action on your images to increase leads
Just posting nice pictures is…..nice, but it might not generate a huge amount of business. Which is why you have to think about the action you want your followers to take, in order to turn them into leads.
In the same way that a call to action will increase your sales on your website, a clear call to action can drive more Pinterest leads to you.
Rustic Artistry drive most of their social traffic from Pinterest.
By using a call to action in their pins, they have generated 112 email leads from this image alone:
The link drives the user to a sign-up form
This is a good example of combining lead generation with giving away helpful advice.
6. Market your pins outside Pinterest to generate 35,000 Pinterest referrals
Andreea Ayers found that one infographic on Pinterest generated 30,000 repins on and has made Pinterest the number one source of traffic for her blog.
The steps Andrea took were mainly in marketing her infographic, which contained useful blog information information.
1. Creating the image and posting on her blog.
2. Sending out links to her email list and a request to re-pin and share.
3. Selecting the right board to pin on: ‘Marketing Tips’
4. She targeted influencers in her nice who would be interested in reposting her content.
5. She submitted her image to infographic sites (like Visua.ly and Infographics Archive).
6. Andrea continues to re-pin
7. Andrea now also promotes the success of her pin, as a way to promote the pin (which leads to more success by continual promotion) Six months later, the referring visits to her page look like:
And in her words:
‘It also helps with SEO — when someone searches for “how to promote a blog,” my site is in the top three results on Google. This terms gets over 18,000 searches per month, so you can imagine the amount of traffic I’m getting just from this one post alone! Overall, my infographic now appears on over 200,000 (yes, you read that right!) results in Google and it can be found on sites like Technorati, Bit Rebels, Wordtracker, Marketing Land, Marketing Tech Blog, PR Daily, ePundit and The SITS Girls’
Takeaway – Marketing your Pins which provide the most value, through outreach can drive significant results
7. Build momentum to generate 40,000 views from Pinterest in 5 weeks from a standing start.
Southern Swim launched a swimwear brand and generated over 40,000 website visits to their online store in their first few weeks, all with a low bounce rate.
The steps they took:
1. First they created stunning visual ‘Look-books’ and distributed on all their social media channels.
2. Upon launch they ensured they created boards for each brand they carried which linked back to the individual pages on their online store.
3. Eschewing long form descriptions, Southern Swim opted for 20-30 hashtags for each product, with their view that hashtags are better for social sharing than long descriptions.
4. All products were linked back to their store on the product page – and they now use rich pins to display the pricing information about their product
5. For future product releases, SS develop boards of potential product styles and colours – and then determine from the analytics which products they should develop.
It’s a smart, well thought out, attractive Pinterest marketing strategy from a strong e-commerce startup.
8. Use Infographics to drive thousands of Pinterest repins
If you don’t have an industry with cool product images, create infographics Kissmetrics are renowned for savvy marketing – and Pinterest drives a lot of their sharing. The table above shows the shares for some of their most successful content online – you’ll see that their two most shared posts received a large amount of Pinterest Pins (and the majority of these are infographics)
One explanation for the top 2 posts being shared so often on Pinterest is because colour co-ordination and colour-psychology are very relevant topics for Pinterest users, and one of the key factors in deciding how to pin images. Thats said, even without these two – it’s clear that Pinterest can drive shares, and ultimately traffic to the Kissmetrics site.
Takeaway – for this case study and for Healthy Ambition and Andreea Ayers – infogaphics work very well on Pinterest to drive traffic.
9. Accidentally getting 489,000 page views from Pinterest
Sometimes just providing something that an audience want to know is enough to drive a large amount of sharing and traffic: Which is what happened to Karen Lee of ecokaren
Her post that detailed how to fix a broken washing machine (which she readily admits doesn’t have any decent visuals) received over 489,000 visits to her site from Pinterest and 75% of her email subscribers arrive from this link alone – generating 127,000 pins.
Her strategy for Pinterest wasn’t anything too elaborate – just posting regularly, posting other people’s information and optimising her blog for Pinterest.
Takeaway: You can’t beat helping people as a way to generate leads.
10. Software firm generates sales from Pinterest
Think about the wider aims and goals of your company to generate leads. Constant Contact have found Pinterest to be a good source of success for their business. The result for the Constant Contact Pinterest page is higher than Linkedin when you google ‘Constant Contact’ on google.
They credit Pinterest for driving a number of their target small businesses to their site
How do they do this?
They thought wider than just their brand and worked out how to help their customers, without necessarily selling to them.
Taking this expanded view helped her team identify other things their customers would be interested in that could be pinned.
So they used: Curated content boards to show items their target would most likely be interested in:
Inspiring quotes that would appeal to their targets:
They even found interesting ways to post survey results on Pinterest:
They engaged with their community and asked their followers to repin items at Christmas time on community boards, noting the increase in traffic and engagement from Pinterest.
In their own words “Is it our primary network? No. But as a secondary network goes, it’s a pretty darn good one”
Takeaway – have a solid strategy, repurpose content curate and add value, understanding your users’ needs.
11. Consistent Pinning leads to 16,592 websites referrals from Pinterest
With any marketing effort, it’s often consistency that drives the majority of the results, rather than hoping for a one-off silver bullet.
Bussiness2Community engaged an external agency to manage their Pinterest feed, and their pinning strategy took the business from 3,952 to 16,592 monthly Pinterest referrals.
The analytics chart shows this large increase:
All by following some simple rules:
1. Take it seriously – work out your audience and how you plan to engage with them in advance.
2. Build your Pinterest boards consistently and not too fast – maximum 30-35 pins in 24 hours.
3. Focus on areas that are around your brand – ie if you sell surf boards, don’t simply pin images of your surfboards — make sure your Pinterest boards include images of things such as favourite surfing locations, ideas for food to eat at the beach, trendy beach clothes. Once you think around your business, you’ll find endless ways to engage with people.
4. High quality images will drive shares and interaction
5 Engage with people and share alongside them to drive maximum referrals.
Takeaway – as shown in all case studies -it’s not just promoting your product direct that works for your company
12. Grow your list by automating linking with Pinterest
I included this case study on my guide to Twitter Lead Generation – and highlighted as a method that not everyone may be comfortable adopting. I have included again here in the interests of completeness.
By linking a test twitter account with their own software – the team at twibble.io managed to grow their twitter following from zero to 4,000 in just a few weeks, in the world of Street Graffiti. The steps 1. Find boards on Pinterest that relate to your market / subject: 2. Link with Twibble.io – to repost the pins
3. Monitor and improve.
This is a very, very easy tactic to use – however, it comes with health warning – it does feel quite spammy. Naturally, you’d want to measure the quality of the followers – and see the impact on leads and website visits, but if you have a business which lends itself to lots of visuals – then you could consider this strategy (if you are comfortable using this hands-off approach).
There are a number of ‘hacks’ or ways to quickly increase Pinterest following, but the most valuable ways are to consistently generate content which looks visually attractive that will appeal to your ideal customers. If you know of any ways to generate leads from Pinterest, not included in above – leave a note in the comments below.