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How to use Pinterest to drive targeted traffic to your online store

Written by Spencer Durrant on February 19, 2016 in Strategies & Tips


Pinterest has enormous referral power for ecommerce businesses and the average order value from a Pinterest referral is $50, higher than any other major social media platform. Let's take a look at how you can use Pinterest to drive targeted traffic to your online store. 

Why Pinterest?

Before getting into the nuts and bolts of using Pinterest to drive more traffic to your store, it's important to understand why Pinterest is so important.

According to a report from Adweek, Pinterest refers more traffic to retail sites than Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube combined.

That's huge. 

The report mentioned in the Adweek article was performed by the Adobe Digital Index, and it showed several interesting trends: 

  • Facebook still leads in overall referral traffic, growing 20% YOY, but is losing shares to other marketing platforms. 
  • Twitter is experiencing 258% growth in referral traffic YOY 
  • Pinterest is experiencing 84% growth in referral traffic YOY. 

However, when it came to examining referral traffic to retail sites only, Pinterest handily beat out Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit. 

Adobe Digital Index analyst Joe Martin had this to say about the report's findings.

"Pinterest is driving more traffic to retail sites than Reddit, YouTube and Twitter combined. While the            data indicates that some of the power of Pinterest may be its focus on image based content, Martin              says Pinterest is optimized for retail in general.“Facebook and Twitter are kind of all over the place                and there’s not necessarily a niche,” Martin says. '"Pinterest is really a retail driven site and I think                  that’s why they’re eventually going to overtake Facebook in terms of referring revenue.'"

What Martin said about Pinterst being extremely niche-driven is particularly important. Being a niche seller is key to ecommerce success, and operating on social media sites that are defined by their niches is a surefire way to drive the targeted traffic every online store owner wants to see. 

Now that you understand why Pinterest is such a great tool for online retailers, let's look at ways you can get that traffic flowing to your site. 

Include price tags on your pins

This tip comes from Social Media Examiner about Pinterest marketing.

Pins (or repins) that have prices listed are liked 36% more than pins without listed prices. 

Your pins should look like this: ck-ew-price-tag-pin.jpg

However, remember that you don't want to use Pinterest just as a product pushing machine.

Ekaterina Walter, bestselling author of The Power of Visual Storytelling is quoted in the post as saying that you also need to use Pinterest to, "Provide true value to your communities with a healthy mix of utility, inspiration, and product information." 

A great way to do that is by following the next tip taken from Social Media Examiner.

Include your pins in emails

Email marketing is an online retailer's best friend, so to speak. It's a great way to get your messages directly in front of an audience you already know is interested in buying, or has already bought, from your store.

Jason Miles, CEO of Liberty Jane Clothing, said that,

"Include a screenshot of your Pinterest Pin(s) in your newsletter. Place a clickable link on the image that links to the Pinterest Pin. When newsletter readers click on the image they’re taken to that pin on Pinterest where they also browse your pinboards to see what else you have. It’s a win-win. When you include some of your top pins in your newsletter and ask people to, “pin this”, you give the Pinterest enthusiasts on your email list a simple way to join your Pinterest party. They will thank you for it and reward you by pinning the item."

Including pins in your emails can be a refreshing change of pace for both you and your subscribers, and as Miles said, you have nothing to lose by including them.

Align your boards with store categories

This is a pretty simple tactic, but if you add a theme to each board for your store's Pinterest account that matches every product category that you currently sell in, you'll attract more interest to all of your boards. A theme is much more interesting and easy to navigate for a consumer than a jumbled mess of pins of products across all your store's categories. 

You can even use these themes to help people shop during major holidays. With Valentine's Day just past, you could create a St. Patrick's Day board and pin products you plan to have on sale. 

This lets you get your sale information out to consumers in a different channel altogether, and can draw in new users who may be browsing Pinterest for St. Patrick's Day bargains. 

Think like a content marketer

While the purpose of this post is to help you drive targeted traffic to your online store, you can't use Pinterest with the attitude of an advertiser. According to a post from Go Digital Marketing,

"The majority of active Pinterest users (59 percent) click on Pins that go to blog posts, articles and even photos, and less than half of those users click through to brand or shopping sites."

Pinterest is just like any other content marketing endeavor - you have to play the long game by giving your followers as much helpful content as you possibly can if you want them to "return the favor" by clicking through on your promotional pins and buying from your online store.

Also bear in mind that the majority of Pinterest users are Millennial moms (this is found in the above linked post). These are people that have grown up with the rise of mobile and online advertising, and you're not going to be able to "pick the low-hanging fruit" on Pinterest as you would on a platform like Facebook, where the demographics are much more spread out. Your content on Pinterest will need to resonate with your audience if you're going to see any traction from Pinterest marketing efforts.

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Photo courtesy Jurgen Appelo

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