How to Drive Sales Using Pinterest Boards: Social Media Makeover VIDEO

By Maria Peagler

Feb 05

Think Pinterest is just for sharing recipes, hairstyles, and home design photos?  Pinterest works for business in two major ways:  driving traffic to your website and generating sales.  If you’re new to Pinterest or unsure if you’re marketing there properly, you’ll want to watch this video.

That’s what you’ll learn in this month’s Social Media Makeover: Pinterest Edition. Debbie Maddy is a small business owner and the winner of January’s social media makeover contest.  She asked that I take a look at her Pinterest boards for business and show her how she could use them to create more business for her quilt design company.

Watch this video to discover 5 secrets to marketing your business Pinterest and get people buying your products (and if you’re not on Pinterest – take a look at Pinterest 101 to get started).

1.  Give ‘Em a Roadmap

Don’t make people work to find what you offer.  Give them a roadmap to follow so they can easily find what they want (or didn’t even know they wanted but discovered on your boards!).

Create product boards separate from your hobbies and interests; make it obvious those products are your own.  Most people create boards for their passions, home & garden inspiration, crafts, and other loves, each with multiple pins.  That makes Pinterest a potentially overwhelming and confusing place (even some artists find it too visually stimulating).

The solution is to clearly title your boards as your products.  Debbie could name her boards “My Quilt Patterns” or “My Simple Quilt Patterns”, “My Star Quilt Patterns.”   Make it clear what you offer vs. what you’ve found interesting on the web.

I also recommend placing your product boards in the second row — why?  Invite people to get to know you & your interest in the first row, and lead them to your business in the second row.

2.  Why Can’t People Find My Boards?

How does Pinterest decide which boards appear at the top of the screen?  Two ways:

  1. Engagement
  2. Keywords

Engagement on Pinterest is all about getting repins, likes, and comments .  The more a pin has, the higher it will appear in Pinterest.  Repinning has a viral effect: the more repins a pin has, the more people see it, and the more they repin it.  Unlike other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, your content doesn’t disappear once it’s old.  Your pins & boards stay where you put them, making it easy for others to find them.  My infographics get the most repins of any content I share on Pinterest, even after long periods of little activity.  All it takes is one person sharing it, and the cycle starts anew.

Keywords on Pinterest are vitally important.  People use search almost every time they use Pinterest; whether or not they find your product relies on how well you understand your audience’s language.  For example, Debbie has a pattern called Modern Art with Fabric:  catchy and descriptive, right?  But, Debbie has an easy opportunity here to dramatically increase her pattern’s visibility on Pinterest by using quilter’s language.  Debbie’s pattern is meant to be used with contemporary fabric, and so “contemporary fabric” should be somewhere in her description.  The same goes for her star patterns, which as I showed in the video makeover, are some of the most highly used search keywords for quilts.

3.  One Product = One Board

Keep people on your boards longer and invite more engagement by creating a board for each product.  Add multiple images that each highlight a different benefit, like Debbie’s easy quilt patterns, no y-seams, no diamonds, and easy construction.  By providing more information, you’re giving people even more reason to click through to your website.

Take a look at your own boards and ask yourself: am I offering enough information about who I am and what I offer?  Is there any confusing language (what’s a bed scarf?).  Have I told people why my products & services are special?

4.  Include a Call to Action

If your website link is directly to a store (like Debbie’s is), it can feel like a hard sell.  Make sure you add a brief & helpful call-to-action (CTA)  that tells people where they’ll go if they click.  For example, Debby could add to her description “Want to see more quilts made with this pattern? Click the link to see photos, a pattern description, and fabric suggestions.”

Even if you’re not linking to a sales page, be sure to include a CTA.  Invite people to your site, almost as you would as a host at a party.  After all, Pinterest is fun – so let pinners join your party!

5.  To Add a $ or Not To Add a $

A recent study conducted by a Harvard MBA student found an interesting twist to pins with price tags:  if you’re a person and affix a $ amount to your pin description, people are more likely to repin and like it than if you’re a brand adding a $ to your board.

Why the difference?

If you’re a brand, it feels more like an advertisement.  If you’re a person, you’re simply sharing a product you like.

So, if you’re using Pinterest as a person (Debbie Maddy vs. Calico Carriage Quilts), definitely include a $ on your board.  If you’re using Pinterest as a brand (Calico Carriage Quilts), leave that $ off your board.

Personal Note:  This study is a major reason I haven’t chosen to use Pinterest business boards. It’s a personal, fun, social network, and unless you’re a big brand that’s already known for great community-building like Chobani or Whole Foods, it’s tough to pull off promoting your products without users feeling like they’re being sold to.

What’s your favorite brand on Pinterest and why?  Let’s hear from you in the Comments!

Related Articles

Pinterest for Business Litmus Test

Pinterest Marketing Infographic

Pinterest Class



About the Author

Founder of, Benjamin Franklin award-winner for independent publishing, award winning author of eight books, wife, mom, quilter and watercolor artist.

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