5 Ways to Use Pinterest to Attract New Customers Like Crazy

by Toby

April 8, 2016

how to use pinterest to grow traffic

Ask any random person what Pinterest is, and they’ll probably start talking about how they use it to discover creative ideas and showcase their interests.

But marketers know that Pinterest can be so much more than that. The booming social network boasts 100 million monthly active users per month, and if you use it correctly, you can:

  • Drive more traffic to your website
  • Strengthen your brand
  • Build an engaged email list

If you’re not quite convinced, check out this case study about how Murals Wallpaper used Pinterest to bring in 77% new site traffic or this story of how Bob Vila increased referral traffic to their site by 33% using Pinterest.

Maybe you’d like to achieve similar results, but you’re unsure of how to create and execute a successful Pinterest marketing strategy for your own business.

Whether you’re new to Pinterest or a pro-Pinner looking for more advanced tips, you’re in the right place. Today, we’re going to talk about 5 things you need to do to get the most out of your Pinterest marketing efforts.

1.      Treat Pinterest like a search engine

The key to successfully using Pinterest for marketing is realizing that it’s much more of a search engine than it is a social network. That means you need to use a keyword-rich pin and board descriptions.

Start by figuring out a few words/phrases someone might use when searching for content like yours. For example, if you share lots of blogging tips, you might type “blogging” into the Pinterest search bar to find relevant, popular search terms for your topic.

pinterest as a search engine

Then, you could find ways to use those keywords naturally in your pins and board descriptions, and your content would be more likely to show up based on what your target audience is searching for.

A word of caution:

While treating Pinterest as a search engine is a best practice, keep in mind that you shouldn’t be spammy or stuff keywords into your pin descriptions. Doing so might get you some visibility, but it won’t make anyone want to connect with your brand or click through to your website.

2.      Optimize and brand your profile

Your profile needs to be set up in a way that grabs the attention of your target audience if you want to drive traffic to your site with Pinterest. Let’s talk about what you need to do to make that happen.

Put a call to action in your profile description.

If your business offers opt-in freebies to encourage email sign-ups, consider putting the sign-up link in your Pinterest profile. Here’s how blogger Melyssa Griffin does it:

Call To Action Pinterest Profile

Her bit.ly link goes straight to a landing page where the only option for the user is to sign up or leave, making it easy for her to collect email addresses using Pinterest.

If you don’t have a landing page or opt-in freebie, you could use a call to action to drive traffic directly to your website. Here’s how WikiHow does it:

Call To Action Pinterest Profile ii

Those aren’t the only two options, though – you could include a call to action to entice people to follow you on Pinterest, check out your latest blog post, etc. Whatever you choose, make sure your decision is based on your content strategy and goals.

Add relevant keywords to your name/description.

Unless your brand is already well-known, people probably aren’t searching for the name of your business on Pinterest. That’s why it’s important for you to include relevant keywords – it’s how you’ll drive traffic to your profile.

For example, if you have an eCommerce business and sell activewear, you’d want to put the keyword “activewear” in your name and description somewhere, like this:

Add Keywords Pinterest Profile

If Slightly Buddha had only put their business name in their profile, they wouldn’t attract as many customers. That’s because their target audience isn’t searching Pinterest for “Slightly Buddha” – they’re searching for what they want: “activewear.”

You should optimize your profile based on what your audience wants from you (without stuffing keywords, of course). Always keep this in mind when using Pinterest for marketing, and your efforts will pay off much more.

Choose cover images that represent your brand.

Consistently using one set of colors and fonts everywhere your business appears online helps build your brand by making it immediately recognizable. So, stick to your brand colors and fonts for your Pinterest board cover photos.

Here’s how blogger XOSarah does it:

Pinterest Images Represent Brand

You can see that she uses her brand colors (black and white) and font for the boards that include her content. She even uses those colors in her profile image, which helps her brand consistency even more.

If you don’t have branded content to share, you should focus on cover images that represent the overall feel of your brand. For example, the NikeWomen brand is all about inspiring women to work out, so they use these cover images to deliver that message to their audience:

Pinterest Cover Images Represent Overall Look Feel

Regardless of which option you choose, make sure your boards are relevant to your audience. Think about what your target audience members are likely looking for on Pinterest (in relation to what you’re selling), and create boards centered around those topics.

3.      Join relevant group boards

Group boards are just like regular Pinterest boards – the only difference is that they include multiple contributors. You can identify a group board by looking for an icon that includes two gray silhouettes next to the board name. It looks like this:

Join Pinterest Group Boards

Joining relevant group boards is good for your brand because it helps you get your pins in front of your target audience. The keyword there is “relevant” – every group board you contribute to should include a large following of your target audience.

For example, if you sell online educational courses but don’t have a large Pinterest following yet, you could join the group board pictured above and share your pins there because that board has the same audience as your business.

Then, all of the group board’s followers would see your pins. And if they see something they like, they might end up clicking on it, engaging with your brand, and following you on Pinterest to learn more.

Now, you may be wondering:

Exactly how do I join a group board?

Many group boards include the board owner’s contact info and/or instructions for joining the board. If the board you want to join doesn’t, visit the board owner’s profile and check out their website. You should be able to find their contact information there. Then, you can send them a short message letting them know you’re interested in becoming a contributor.

4.      Pin your company blog posts the right way

First of all, make sure your blog post has an enticing headline that’ll make your target audience want to read it. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to create a shareable blog post image for Pinterest.

But you can’t just create a random image and expect it to attract your audience. The most shareworthy pins are:

  • Branded – Stick to your brand colors and fonts for every blog post pin you create. Color increases brand recognition by up to 80%!
  • Vertical – According to Buffer, the best size for a pin is 735px x 1,102px. When your image is vertical, it’ll stand out more in peoples’ feeds.
  • Easy to read – Since 75% of Pinterest traffic arrives via mobile apps, your fonts should be large and legible enough to read at a glance on a mobile screen.

Here’s a great example of a shareworthy pin from HipMediaKits:

Pin your company blog posts the right way

You can see that they’ve created a vertical image that includes an enticing title presented in an easy-to-read font. On top of that, they’ve incorporated their brand colors in the background.

Don’t worry – you don’t need graphic design skills to create a share-worthy Pinterest image like the one above. You can use a free, drag-and-drop design tool like Canva to create one in minutes.

Just make sure you also write keyword-rich descriptions for all of your pins and include a call to action/link to drive traffic to your post.

5.      Promote a Pin

To do this, head over to your Pinterest profile page and click the gear symbol in the top right corner. You’ll see a drop-down menu pop up.

Promote a Pin

Click “Promoted Pins,” and you’ll be taken to your Promoted Pins Dashboard. You’ll see two options there: engagement campaigns and traffic campaigns.

Pinterest Engagement Campaigns Traffic Campaigns

Choose an engagement campaign if you want Pinterest engagement, and choose a traffic campaign if you want to drive traffic to an external site (like your company website, a blog post, or a landing page).

Once you’ve decided, click the “promote” button next to the one you want. From there, you can set up a budget and time frame for your promotion and pick a pin to promote.

Pinterest ad budget time frame

Then, you can set up all the other details of your campaign, including search terms, audience demographics, your maximum bid per click, and more. You’ll have to enter your business information and agree to the terms of service afterward, but that’s all there is to it.

Pretty easy, right?

Once you start promoting, check your analytics regularly to see your results and modify your pin promotion strategy based on what works best with your audience.

You should see results from your campaign since promoted pins have an average engagement rate of 2-5%. A business called Pure Via Bracelets was even able to increase their orders by 31% using promoted pins.

Keep in mind that you need a business account on Pinterest to promote a Pin. To learn how to set up a business account, check out Pinterest’s step-by-step guide here.

Over to you

There you have it – 5 ways you can use your Pinterest account to attract your ideal customers. If you start implementing the strategies you’ve learned in this post, you’ll be well-equipped to engage your audience and reach your Pinterest marketing goals.

Let me know – will you use Pinterest as part of your social media marketing strategy? If so, which of the strategies in this post will you try first?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

About the author 

Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

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