How to Make Money on Pinterest: 24 Tips

If you think Pinterest is just a place to post pictures of wedding dresses and baby photo ideas, think again. Pinterest is a great network to tap into to sell to people who prefer the more visual side of things. We know you’ve read plenty about how to set up your Pinterest profile, create boards, and build followers. So we’re going to skip all of that and dive right into ways you can monetize your Pinterest account by using it to grow your mailing list, sell products, offer services, increase book sales, and promote affiliate products. (By the way, you may also be interested in our guides to making money on FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagramGoogle+iPhone/Android, and with display ad networks; you can subscribe to our newsletter to receive new monetization guides as we publish them.)

Grow Your Mailing List

mailing-list-pinterest

Want to build your mailing list through Pinterest? While you can’t put an opt-in form directly on your Pinterest boards, you can encourage people to subscribe. Here are some tips to transition Pinterest users to your mailing list.

  1. Pin an image of where people can go to subscribe. If you have a well-designed opt-in page, take a screenshot of it, upload it to Pinterest, edit the link to point back to your opt-in page, and tell people why they should describe in the description. This way, people who only follow you on Pinterest will know where to go for more information.
  2. Focus on making the giveaway. If you have an incentive for signups, make sure you have some great images to represent it. This could include quotes from inside an e-book, stats from a whitepaper, or a sample of a free video training course.
  3. Go with eye-catching stock photography. If you don’t have a giveaway or fancy opt-in page, find an image that gets people’s attention. Then make the description for the image count and, of course, link it to your opt-in page.
  4. See what other businesses are doing to encourage signups from Pinterest by searching for call-to-action words like “sign up” and “join our mailing list.” You’ll get a lot of great ideas by checking out what others are doing.

Sell Digital Products

info-products-pinterest

Whether you are selling an information course, app, or software, you have several options to promote it on Pinterest.

  1. Share some statistics in an image. If there’s a great stat that would encourage people to buy your product, put it in a visually-appealing image, and pin it. For example, if you sell a mobile app that helps people get fit, share some statistics about fitness.
  2. Turn your sales page into an infographic. Infographics are popular on Pinterest. Create a stunning infographic that takes people through a specific problem and how your product will help them. Then link the infographic to your real sales page.
  3. Create an explainer video. This is a video that walks potential customers through identifying a specific problem and showing how your product will help them solve it. Remember that people’s attention spans are short; so you’ll need to make your points clearly, but also quickly. Include a link to your sales page in both the video and in the pin itself. That way, even if someone repins the video, your link will be with it regardless.
  4. Offer a preview on Pinterest. If you have a video course, share one of the videos from the course on Pinterest, and link the video and your pin back to your sales page so people can learn more.

Sell Physical Products

pinterst-physical-products

Physical products are the best sellers on Pinterest. Here’s how to photograph yours to increase the likelihood of click-throughs and sales.

  1. Show your product in use. In addition to traditional product images, show your product in use. If it’s home decor, photograph it in an appropriately decorated room. If it’s a makeup product, show someone applying it. If it’s clothing, show someone wearing it in a real-life situation, like a business suit in a meeting. Show people what it would be like to own the product.
  2. Repin your customer’s photos of how they use your products. Get additional content for your Pinterest boards that work like testimonials. Offer customers an incentive if they share a pin they have posted of them using your product. This will show potential customers visiting your profile even more real-life applications of your product.
  3. Take advantage of Pinterest’s rich pins functionality. This will help your product — and your business — stand out on Pinterest.
  4. Offer a discount with a product photo. This way, people will not just see the product, but will also get excited about the discount, potentially generating more sales.

Offer Services

services-pinterest

Do you have a service-based business? If the answer is yes, you can promote it on Pinterest in the following ways.

  1. Create a portfolio board with examples of your work. Edit each pin and link it back to your portfolio page or your sales page for that particular service.
  2. Turn customer testimonials into fancy quote images and pin them to a testimonial board. Edit each pin and link it back to your testimonials page or your sales page for that particular service.
  3. Pin video testimonials from your customers to that same testimonials board.
  4. Share small tips. For example, if you’re a Web designer, maybe you could have a board with a “tip of the week” for small business website design such as adding a beautiful footer design to your website. If businesses who follow you can’t implement your design tip, they might call upon you to do it for them.

Increase Book Sales

books-pinterest

Do you have a book or e-book for sale? Want to spread the word (pun intended!) on Pinterest? Try these tricks!

  1. Create a board on your Pinterest profile for your books or e-books. This way, people visiting your profile can get to know you as an author and easily find your work.
  2. Create those fancy images with a great quote in them. Upload them directly to Pinterest, then edit the pin to add a link to your book or e-book.
  3. Better yet, create a landing page on your website for the book. On that page, include a section of pinnacle quotes, and encourage visitors to share them on Pinterest using the Pin It button and a call to action. Think of it like the movie websites where they offer desktop wallpapers, but pinnacle images for your book instead.
  4. Run a contest where people have to pin a book they want to win and explain what they hope to learn from it. Not only do you get entrants excited about the book and ready to buy if they don’t win it, but it creates mini-Pinterest testimonials across the network. Be sure that your contest doesn’t overstep the Pinterest contest guidelines.

Promote Affiliate Products

affiliate-pinterest

Affiliate marketing on Pinterest can be tricky. There was a time when you could pin an image from an affiliate link or edit the link associated with the image to an affiliate link. But while there are no official rules in the Pinterest Terms of Service about whether or not you can use affiliate links, they do fight them. For example, if you have an Amazon affiliate link to a product you’ve pinned, Pinterest will strip the “tag=youraffiliate-20″ from the link when it forwards Pinterest users to Amazon.

An alternative to this was to post a bit.ly (or other) shortened link to the item instead, but now Pinterest either warns users about the link before they get redirected to the site or blocks it all together. This also goes for redirect links that you create on your own website.

So how do you promote affiliate products on Pinterest? Here are some tips.

  1. Test the affiliate link first. Pinterest strips tags from known affiliate networks like Amazon, but smaller networks and websites may make it through. Until someone reports them at least.
  2. Pin images from your review post about a product. This way, people can click the affiliate link from your review post instead.
  3. Pin images from list-style posts like “My 50 most recommended favorite marketing books of 2013.” People love lists, and if each of your items has an affiliate link, then you’re likely to get sales.
  4. Pin a YouTube video review of an affiliate product with an affiliate link. While Pinterest strips tags and causes problems for links on Pinterest, this link will come from YouTube and can’t be monitored by Pinterest.

Bottom Line

Pinterest requires you to get creative about the ways you visually represent your mailing list, products, services, and affiliate products. It’s all about the image. only great images will see likes, comments, shares, and click-throughs from this audience.

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  • http://butlerblog.com Chad Butler

    Great post, Kristi! I was an early adopter of other social networks and found ways to monetize them, but Pinterest always eluded me. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t get it. But this post gave me some great ideas I will be certain to put to use. THANKS for posting it!

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      Thanks Chad! I’m glad it gave you some new ways to use Pinterest! :)

  • Kurt Frankenberg

    DIGGIN it when you drops tha knowledge, baby! ;-)

    Thanks Kristi for yet another enlightening post.

    Indeed, all it takes to make money online is 1) access to a thing of value and 2) a way to communicate with and collect contact info from the folks that value it.

    With one of my online bizzes, I’ve had enormous success with explainer videos. This is because when you make something to be genuinely helpful, it not only gets attention, it gets SHARED.

    Seems like Pinterest is custom-made for content like that; sharing is just as easy as on YouTube and more ‘in vogue’ and the way to communicate to certain markets.

    I’ll be looking more into Pinterest and it’s all your fault. Curse you Kristi Hines, adding to my reading list once again! ;-) Thanks though seriously for the enlightening post. I only commented on #7 but there are some real gems here.

    Keep Stepping,

    Kurt

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      Yes, now that you can pin videos, it’ll be a great place for your explainer videos! Happy to give you a new network to work with. :)

  • raisinghappy

    Informative post. And exactly what I feared and knew would happen to Pinterest once the internet marketers got a hold of it.

    I stopped using Pinterest because I couldn’t stand being “sold” to all the time (and I’ve used them since beta). As a graphic designer, Pinterest was great for inspiration. Even though I also dabble in internet marketing, I get turned off by internet marketing when I see other IMers polluting the web with their pitches and tactics. Why must they monetize everything? Eesh.

    Find a nice, quiet place on the web, and the internet marketers will soon find a way to ruin it.

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      Pinterest opened the door to it when they added business accounts and the section that tells businesses how to use their network for sales, marketing, and contests. I’m sure it’s just paving the way to ads in the long run.

    • raisinghappy

      Yes, I remember, and there is also some suspicion that Pinterest is going to monetize just as an affiliate marketer does. After all, it is a business and has to make money somehow.

  • http://whiteglovesocialmedia.com/ Anna Bennett

    Fantastic job Kristi! There’s a fine balance of being too promotional and giving helpful info on Pinterest when promoting your business. I often see brands create boards that is all about them as if it was a company brochure or catalogue. I say practice the 80/20 rule (80% helful content). Businesses must put value first before themselves.

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      Definitely a good way to go Anna! :)

  • http://rallyways.com/ Danny Cruz

    Awesome post Kristi. I’ve been using Pinterest for a while now for RallyWays and it’s proven a great network. I haven’t been using it for monetization, just for brand promotion, but I can see some of these ideas being quite effective for my brand.

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      Thanks Danny! Brand promotion can ultimately lead to monetization, sot that works to!

  • http://www.themaxidressshop.com/ Zannie Ray

    Great ! Every one of them is valuable.

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      Thanks Zannie! :)

  • Prerna @Social Media Direct

    Excellent tips, Kristi!! I’ve been using Pinterest for self and clients for a while now and think one should walk the fine line between “selling” and “sharing”.. Love that your tips blend both beautifully:)

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      Yes, if you can balance being a great Pinterest sharer and mix in your marketing, you’re set.

  • Sue Neal

    Hi – I’ve only recently got back onto Pinterest after deactivating my account for a while, so these tips are very timely for me. I particularly like your first one about making a pin to link to a landing page – it’s so obvious, but it had never occurred to me. Thank you!

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      You’re welcome Sue. I hope you enjoy your second round at Pinterest. :)

  • Spook SEO

    Out of all the tips, I’m a big fan of growig a list and the explainer video. These two are awesome at complementing each other. What’s more is these two methods has that personal touch to it.

    You are able to build closer relationships with your prospects and

    • http://kikolani.com/ Kristi Hines

      Explainer videos are definitely a great way to market your business across any network, including Pinterest.