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Everything you need to sell online

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How to Make Money on Pinterest with Your Free Site

12 min read

We know you love Pinterest as a way to discover the latest recipes and guides for your favorite hobbies. But have you ever considered making money on Pinterest? Some (very misguided) people out there have the impression that Pinterest is for bored housewives, moms, and millennial crafters. But the reality is that Pinterest is an ideal mill for almost any sector, industry, subject matter, or type of projects that you want to create. It is a powerful tool for individuals and businesses alike.

How to sell online
Tips from e-commerce experts for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
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What is Pinterest, Really?

Have you ever clicked a link in your search engine, only to be taken into a flood of images? That is Pinterest, where everything is saved and quickly scanned through the use of pinned images sorted into categories.

Pinterest is a unique social media platform. According to its CEO, Pinterest is supposed to be the go-to for a healthy dose of inspiration to develop new ideas within your favorite pastime or improve on old ones. It’s a place for people to share information and experiences so that each successive challenger is able to advance further than the last. Even if users do not make a purchase from the pin, they will take ideas from various pins to make a decision, then buy from their chosen retailer.

How this works for users

Almost everyone has an image in their mind of the product they’re looking for, but it can be really hard to describe it. Finding such things through traditional searches is just about impossible. Pinterest makes it easy because their search engine filters through pins with an image rather than a random list of links.

Users can create boards that allow categorization for easier search and retrieval. You can use the highly intuitive search engine to narrow down your results by using common related tags. Users can pin to boards from other public or shared boards through Pinterest, or they can pin from external sites entirely.

People who use Pinterest are there for ideas. We know this because the platform reported that  97% of searches have nothing to do with products directly. As people find examples of what they have envisioned, they click over to the pinned sites to buy what they need to make it happen.

How Pinterest works for businesses

Signing up for a business account is easy and doesn’t come with an upfront cost. You only pay for the services you need or want, which include a host of tools designed to help you interact with customers across Pinterest, your website, and other sales funnels.

Once you have a business account, you can start posting and sharing pins. Using tags, catalogs, and some free features we’ll get into later, you can get your images in front of potential buyers.

Those buyers are 3 times more likely to click over to your site than other social media platforms since they are looking for the idea, not a product or company. And that’s just one of the reasons you should be selling on Pinterest.

More reasons to sell on Pinterest

Because Pinterest is an idea mill, people already want to buy your product by the time they click through to your site. They’ve searched for a solution that met their vision to make a purchase decision.

If you are targeting millennials or moms, you can’t go wrong with Pinterest. Over 80% of millennials and 80% of moms in the United States are active Pinterest users. Half of all users routinely shop on the platform.

Here are a few more important stats to consider:

  • The number of Pinterest shoppers grew by 50% in the first half of 2020 alone.
  • There are over 400 million active users on the social media platform.
  • About 85% of users have bought products based on ideas from pins published by brands.

Now that we’ve convinced you that you need to sell on Pinterest, let’s make sure your brand, website, and products are ready to go.

Prepare for Your Pinterest Product Launch

Before we jump into how to make money on Pinterest, let’s cover where you need to be to start that process. Whether you are selling many items or just a few, you’re going to need to take some preliminary steps to make money on Pinterest and abide by their community rules. Here are a few things to consider.

Develop a buyer’s persona

You probably know your target audience pretty well, but do you know how to define that audience by the terms used by Pinterest? Pinterest allows you to narrow your target audience with the following filters:

  • Gender
  • Age range
  • General or specific location
  • Primary language
  • Primary type of device (85% of users are on mobile devices)

The platform also makes it very easy to target the right audience intuitively using pre-existing client behavior or your currently trending audience.

Create branding consistent with your website and other social media

There are a lot of fakers out there, and you want to be certain that your customers know that they are looking at your authentic pins. That usually means using the same profile pictures, logos, and banners on all of the sites and social media where you attract customers, fill orders or provide service.

Create a Pinterest business account

If you have just a few products on Pinterest, it can be tempting to just use your personal account to publish pins to your shopping site. This is a mistake because a lot of useful tools come with a free business account. Setting up a business account also helps you stay compliant with the Pinterest terms of service.

How to set up a business account on Pinterest

Steps for creating a business account are similar whether or not you already have a personal account. If you are starting fresh with a Pinterest business account, follow these steps:

  1. Start from the sign-up screen.
  2. Follow the prompts to enter your email address, password, and age.
  3. Create your business profile by:
    1. Add a profile picture
    2. Enter business details like name, website, location, and language.
    3. Select your business focus from the drop-down menu.
    4. Select your type of business. Individual sellers are okay!
    5. You can opt to set up ads right away, but it’s a good idea to wait until you get a feel for the platform.

If you are starting from a personal account, you will start in account settings instead. From there, you will choose to Get Started and then choose Linked Business Account from the drop-down menu.

Use your business account to claim your websites

Everyone remembers to link their website to their business account, but many forget to claim the site, and that’s the most important part! If you don’t claim the site, you won’t have access to the Pinterest analytics for pins published directly from your online store.

You can claim more than one site, so if you also want to use your business account to post idea-based content containing affiliate links it is easy to do so. If you want to make money passively, create as many themed sites as you like and populate them with idea-inspiring blog posts sprinkled with affiliate links.

How to claim your site so you can publish pins directly

You have 3 different options to claim your site or online stores.

  1. Add an HTML tag to your website. This is the easiest, just a quick copy/paste job.
  2. Upload the HTML file to your site. Check your host first for rules.
  3. Add a DNS TXT record to your domain host. This is for advanced users and should be avoided, but Pinterest does offer some assistance in their help section.

How to Use Pinterest to Sell Online

Pinterest offers some great features for free to all business users. A lot of the business features aren’t going to apply to individuals or very small operations, but there are some that are very useful when you need to unload some product quickly. Here are a few of the most important.

Create stunning visuals

Pinterest is image-based, and making your images stand out from the rest with clever design and color choices is key. Avoid making them overly flashy or gimmicky.

Use tags and keywords naturally to boost visibility in search

Keep in mind when choosing keywords for your published or promoted pins that people search for ideas, not products or brands. Ditch traditional ideas of what meta tags should be and embrace a wholly different set of keywords.

Use promoted pins to your advantage

Promoted pins are a cheap alternative to ads for individuals or small operations. If a client falls through on an already customized product in a specific niche, you can use promoted pins to get in front of your target audience. You’ll only pay for the direct clicks from your pin, not from shares.

Take advantage of Rich Pins

Rich Pins are published items that contain additional information, or metadata, such as a title, description, or alternate text, to name a few. Pinterest makes it really easy to add this information, and taking the time to do so will target and drive traffic to your pinned product.

How Long Does All of This Take?

Getting a Pinterest store set up is pretty easy, but don’t rush the process. Give yourself a week to set up your business account and tweak your profile. Allow another one to two weeks, depending on your time investment, to experiment with different types of pins, Rich Pins, and promoted pins. All in all, most people can start to see some results between one and three months in, conservatively.

How long will it take you? Stop procrastinating and get started now that you know how to make money on Pinterest.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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