How Your Business Can Use Pinterest To Increase Sales

Every business constantly strives to grow their customer base; if it weren’t for the customers, the business wouldn’t exist, at least not for very long. It’s comparable to musicians – without their fans, they would be nothing. So naturally, business owners are always looking for new ways to stand out, to be different.

Have You Heard Of Pinterest?

If not, it’s time to take your online business to the next level.

With hundreds of options out there, it can be challenging to choose the best (and most effective) method of marketing your business. With the birth of Pinterest, a virtual pin board, it’s never been easier to get your brand out there and partake in the online world of sharing (and buying). Pinterest is fun for its users and it’s an intuitive platform for business growth, which is a flawless combination.

Pinterest can basically sell products just in the way that it’s set up, but recognizing the inherent power for marketing –and giving consumers even more of what they want- can only help your business grow. Let’s take a look at what Pinterest is and how it can increase your sales.

How Does Pinterest Work?

A virtual bulletin board, except instead of Post-it notes, users pin websites or images.

Do you remember the days of bulletin boards, and pinning pictures of your celebrity crush, you and your friends, reminders and other various mementos up for all the world to see? Maybe you still use one today to remind you about your sister’s wedding or fondly remember last summer’s vacation. Pinterest embraces the same concept, only online. When broken down, the word Pinterest is literally the conjunction of “pins” and “interest.”

Users may create “boards” with a theme of their choosing, such as, “Dream House,” “Favorite Hair Products,” “Music to Buy,” “Wedding Inspiration,” etc. These boards are totally customizable by the user, and are basically a category of things they like. Once the boards are created, users may then “pin” pictures or videos to their created boards, similar to how you used to pin pictures to your bulletin board with push pins. These online “pins” can be found by following other people who have created boards or just by browsing through the different categories already created by Pinterest.

What Makes Pinterest Special?

Pinterest is now the third most popular social networking site, right behind Facebook and Twitter, and in a whole new ballpark.

Pinterest is unlike Facebook or Twitter in that the items posted on Pinterest are more targeted. For example: you’re browsing through “Travel” pins on Pinterest. You see a picture you like, let’s say it’s a Bermudian beach with pink sand and turquoise water. You pin that picture to your “Places to Travel” board. When other pinners (term for other people who use Pinterest) look at your “Places to Travel” board, they are seeing traffic (pins) from you, as well as traffic from other pinners. They then may repin that picture of Bermuda to their board of a similar category, where other pinners may repin what they’ve pinned. In this way, every time something is pinned, it is related to an even wider audience with similar interests, where it can get picked up and re-shared and re-shared…  Does your brain hurt yet?

Once you get past the whole “pinning” terminology, the concept is actually quite simple. You may not even know the person whose pins you’re repinning, but you are able to view pins based on what you’re interested in. Because Pinterest categorizes based on interest rather than followers or friends, like Facebook and Twitter, half the marketing is already done for you. For example, if you sell summer water toys and someone has a board called “Fun Things To Do In Summer,” one of your pictures may get pinned there – it’s a market already created without any effort on your part, and you wound up there simply because your business fits in that category. And every image or video that’s posted links back to the original website. See the connection?

Why Your Business Should Take An Interest In…Pinterest?

From March 2011 to October 2011, Pinterest grew from 57,000 visits per month to 1 million. And now, the website boasts 10 million users.

So what does this mean for your business? Well consider this: Once someone clicks on a picture that they like, it takes them directly to the webpage it was pinned off of – yours. This means that the person who clicked on the pin was highly unlikely to have accidentally landed on your page. They chose to go there based on their interests, and they’re probably already looking for what you’ve got; your sale is already half complete! If your business hasn’t gotten in on the game yet, it’s about time.

Tips For Proactive Pinning

Follow the steps below in order to make the most out of your pinning and increase sales.

  • Monitor: Determine what your customers want. “A lot of what gets pinned on Pinterest is inspirational- what could be, what I’m going to have, where I’m going to go,” says Jenny Sussin, a Gartner senior research analyst. By gaining a clear perspective of what your audience likes and wants, you can then begin to modify your ideas. Think about what kinds of boards would be created that are relevant to your product, and monitor the traffic these boards get. Never underestimate the power of market research.
  • Brand Yourself: You may choose whatever user name you’d like, which would typically be the name of your business. The content you create is totally up to you; this is your place to show what products you have and make them really shine. Remember: this is where you’re promoting your business through words and pictures- you obviously want to make it presentable. Your “home” website where the pictures originated from (and take the customer back to) also needs to be of the same presentable nature.
  • Create Relevant Boards: Once you have discovered what your customers want and have a general setup in mind, you can then begin to create boards based on their likes and what you’re selling. For example, if you’re targeting clothing, create some boards related to that category: dresses, shorts, jeans, tank-tops, faded tees, beach hats, etc. You can probably dress the titles up a bit more, but you get the idea. Business owners and non-business owners create boards in the same way; there aren’t specific setup rules for one or the other. 
  • Keep An Eye On Your Competitors: While you want to focus your attention on your customers, you also want to eyeball your competitors. Are they as engaging as your company is? Are they more active than your company? Find out what’s working for them and decide what you can do to retain your clients. 
  • Flaunt It: Pinterest is most beneficial to online retailers with visually-pleasing merchandise and beautiful photography to accompany it, as images and videos are the only items allowed to be pinned. When photographing images for your site, you need to make sure that they are tasteful. Customers aren’t going to click on something that looks like dog barf. Keep it as eye-pleasing as possible and remember to update your boards regularly. Make it colorful, include an interesting (but not cluttered) background- just get creative and you’ll be golden.
  • Inspire Your Customers: By creating memorable and vivid content, your customers are more apt to remember your product. Providing tips and advice is also excellent business sense. Through Pinterest, you’re helping consumers piece together their interests, what they want to become, and what they’re inspired to do in their lives. This site is so much more than just posting pictures; it’s motivational. Merchants are allowed to access customers’ lives in a relatable and fun way, creating the possibility for a bond between the Internet surfer and your company.>
  • Share, Pin, And Repin: While Pinterest is a great market for your product, it’s merely a canvas for you to create art on. You’ll need to adopt a proactive attitude in order to really sell. How are people going to know what you’re all about unless you get your name out there? By commenting, sharing, and repinning, you’ll not only get noticed, you’ll also build relationships with people. People will visit your Pinterest boards and see what your brand has to offer. The more interaction you have with people on Pinterest (as well as creating interesting and stimulating boards), the better. This is the time when you channel your inner social butterfly and really mingle. 
  • Put A Price Tag On It: Slapping a price tag on your items will also help people gauge how much they want to spend; don’t keep them in the dark. Making it as easy as possible for people to view and buy your products is key. Otherwise, people will just continue on to the next product. If your page is done up correctly, it will not only increase sales, but brand recognition as well. Word of mouth is a huge source among people; give them something remarkable to talk about!
  • Make It Simple to Purchase: Once people know how much your item costs, you’ll want to make the checking out process as simple as possible. When people click on one of your pictures on Pinterest, it will take them directly to your website. You need to make your shopping cart platform match that functionality. Put it in a place where people can see it; don’t hide it in the corner somewhere and make them look for it. After all, you do want to make a sale, right?
  • Make It Simple to Purchase: Once people know how much your item costs, you’ll want to make the checking out process as simple as possible. When people click on one of your pictures on Pinterest, it will take them directly to your website. You need to make your shopping cart platform match that functionality. Put it in a place where people can see it; don’t hide it in the corner somewhere and make them look for it. After all, you do want to make a sale, right?
  • Making The Sale: Pinterest has been proven to increase sales by up to 50%. If you’re still not convinced by now, read on. Fine art photographer Carl Christensen was basically forced by his wife to join the online world of Pinterest. Once involved, his work immediately became noticed, shared, and purchased by hundreds of people- people who would not have been exposed to his work otherwise. (We certainly hope Mrs. Christensen is getting at least half of the profits for her persistence.) Have fun with your boards, be personable when interacting with people, and sell your product!