The potential marketing advantages of Pinterest have been well documented recently, as the fledgling social sharing site boosts traffic and sales for niche retailers like Etsy. Pinterest is serious business.
Regardless of your personal feelings for Pinterest (huge time waster or glorious godsend?), it’s impossible to deny the marketing opportunities ripe for the picking! Read on to find out why.
Why Developing a Pinterest Marketing Plan is Worth Your Time
Pinterest has shown remarkable marketing potential as some sites begin to receive more referral traffic from Pinterest than social media heavyweight Twitter.
Some quick Pinterest marketing statistics and facts as we get started:
- Pinterest is dominated by women, with 90% of users being female
- 21% of users have purchased something they found  on a Pinboard
- The most popular categories  are Home (17%), Arts & Crafts (12%), Style/Fashion (12%), and Food (10%)
How Can Pinterest Work for Businesses?
The most obvious industry to benefit from using Pinterest is retail—show all the people pretty things they (should) want! Pinterest has driven impressive spikes in traffic for online retailers like Etsy, Martha Stewart Home, and Anthropologie, specializing in stylish goods.
Pinterest can work wonders for businesses outside of retail as well. The key is in focusing on images that promote the ideal end result of using your business’s product or service. If you sell lawn care services, seeds, or gardening supplies, pin images of lush flower gardens, ripe tree-bearing fruit, and other images of the Eden-like utopia customers could experience if only they would get your help. You’re selling the dream!
When using Pinterest as a marketing tool, the goal should be to use images to spark the viewer’s thought dialogue. You want viewers to think “How do I get there? How can I make that? How can my kitchen look that nice?” and then proceed to show them how to transform that visual image into a personal reality.
Pinterest Marketing Strategy: Advantages of Posting in the Craft & DIY Section
The problem with some “selling the dream” Pinterest pictures is that a single image can speak to a variety of different dreams. For example, I was scanning Pinterest the other day and saw a spectacular image of a boat. Actually, it was this image:
Now someone might be pinning this image in hopes that seeing it will activate the urge deep within my soul to buy a sailboat. That probably is true for many people, but when I see this image, I think instead of sea-faring adventures and exciting vacations rather than purchasing a boat.
Images may be worth a thousand words, but you don’t have control over those words, unlike with other areas of online marketing, such as PPC , where you are selecting literal key words to present to searchers.
You also lose control to some degree about where Pinners go after seeing your image. Some may follow the original link and see where the image came from. Others may just see a bed of flowers and then start Googling “flower seeds.”
You can scroll down below the image to learn about the picture’s journey across Pinterest.
Pinterest Marketing Ideas: Creating Tutorial How-To Images
This problem about user intent doesn’t exist when it comes to posting in the DIY Craft section of Pinterest because you have more detail about what a Pinner is doing there – they are specifically trying to make something.
The danger is that you might be dealing with a bunch of cheapos who would rather spend hours tying together old ties to make a cloth necklace than buy yours. Or, hopefully, you are encountering an audience that loves to create and experiment, with an undying adventurous spirit (as a crafter myself, I like to say I’m in the latter category, but most likely it’s a mix of both). If you can provide these crafty spirits with the tools and materials they need to create unique works of art, they will certainly buy.
To grab a hold of this audience, you’ll want to post an instructional how-to image. Remember, YouTube tutorial videos  are immensely successful, and the same logic passes over to Pinterest as well.
Imagine you are a business that primarily sells handmade jewelry, but you also sell jewelry making supplies. You might try creating a tutorial image that shows viewers how to make a beaded bracelet.
You’ll want to make a detailed step-by-step guide with clear, bright, attractive images. The folks over at SEOMoz have dubbed these image-oriented tutorials “instructographics ,” existing as a species of instructional infographics.
Creating a thorough tutorial is ideal because it allows you to use a longer image, which takes up more prime Pinterest real-estate. Here is a perfect example:
At the end of the image, remind viewers they can get supplies from the original website link. It’s also a good idea to include a logo or short web address on the image in case folks are unable to locate the original URL.
Once Pinners click that link, they’ll be taken to your site. It’s crucial at this point to remember the importance of relevancy. When conducting PPC campaigns, relevancy between keywords  and landing pages is essential because you want people who click on your advertisement to be taken exactly to what your text ad promotes. With Pinterest, relevancy is still paramount, but your image becomes your keyword.
With the example image we are using above, you would want to take viewers to a page where you sell jewelry making supplies – specifically the supplies required to make the image they saw on Pinterest. Also post the same image on your landing page that you posted on Pinterest to reassure users that they are in the correct location.
If you sell jewelry, this is also a great chance to showcase other bracelets and necklaces you offer (maybe ones more complicated that aren’t quite so easy to replicate). Just make sure any offers you add don’t interfere with the reason why Pinners are at your site, which is to purchase those jewelry making supplies.
Using Pinterest to Develop Business Identity
Pinterest is also a great tool for building your brand identity. Some businesses might already know the personality they want associated with their company, in which case you can browse through Pinterest and ask yourself, “does this image connect with the lifestyle we are trying to promote?” If so, pin away!
If you’re a small, growing business, take some time to think about your ideal clientele and what personality traits would appeal or match with them. If you sell rafting trips, then you will want to pin all sorts of outdoor activities and photos of rugged adventures. Consider what would appeal to your audience, and reflect those wants.
Pinterest Marketing Tools and Articles
I could spend more time talking about other aspects of Pinterest, but those areas have already been covered by some great existing articles. If you’re looking to learn more about the latest social media mongrel, check out:
Introductory Guide to Pinterest —Mostly basic information, addressing Pinterest marketing tips about how to use hashtags, dollar signs, etc.
7 Useful Pinterest Tools  — Includes Pinterest marketing tools for measuring Pinfluence and tracking Pinterest analytics.
5 Pinterest Marketing Campaigns  – Some cool examples of creative marketing campaigns using Pinterest. Some ideas include Pinboard manipulation, contests, and Pinterest lotteries.
SEO Optimizing for Pinterest — KissMetrics presents some compelling evidence for Pinterest’s growing influence, and gives an overview on how to SEO optimize for Pinterest.
SEO Strategies for Pinterest  – Search Engine Journal offers some in-depth link building strategies for those ready to launch a complete SEO campaign focused around Pinterest.
Informative Pinterest Infographic  – Because information is always more fun when it’s a pretty picture!