As many of you already know, Pinterest is my favorite spot for promoting shirts and products for my main niche.
Not only does Pinterest convert T-shirt sales, as I illustrated in this video, but it will help you amass a steady stream of eyeballs on your designs for months or even years to come.
You don’t get that kind of long-term traffic exposure capability on Instagram or Twitter. Pinterest is very unique in that way.
Once your images start getting re-pinned (shared) consistently, the exposure of that image will gradually increase with time.
The pandemic definitely affected my Pinterest account heavily in April, but after consistent pinning, things are starting to get back to normal.
I really love the POD business. It’s such a fun side hustle. And it’s super rewarding when you continue to see growth in sales, even in a pandemic.
It goes to show people are still buying. Sites like RedBubble and Wayfair reported an uptick in sales last month.
In a recent article, RedBubble believes their increase came because people couldn’t shop in malls and regular stores.
So even though spending was down globally, there was an influx of new people who don’t normally shop online, but had no choice.
So that made up for the decrease in overall consumer spending.
I saw a sharp decline in sales in late March, but things started picking up again in April.
Why You Need to Use Pinterest
OK, back to the topic at hand!
Pinterest can bring sales, but having a Pinterest account also provides a ton of indirect traffic benefits that can build over time.
For example, you can associate your website with your Pinterest account. This will provide the following benefits…
- See how Pins from your website are performing
- Your profile picture will be added to everything you pin
- Pinterest users can click on your website from your profile
- It improves your site’s reputation in Google’s eyes because you’ve now associated an official account with your website
- You can enable Rich Pins, which creates a call-to-action for the Pin
Business or Personal Account?
There’s a lot of online debates about which one is best.
I personally chose a Business account because I wanted the Analytics.
If you really want to master Pinterest, you need data.
By knowing what types of Pins get the most activity, that really helps me with my decision-making process.
I think a lot of gurus suggest using a personal account because they tend to get more followers than business accounts.
However, you don’t need followers to get traffic from Pinterest.
Pinterest is NOT a social network. It’s a search engine.
Just because you have followers, doesn’t mean they will see all your Pins.
The Pinterest algorithm is NOT follower driven.
It is conversion driven. It is ranking images based on their popularity, not necessarily what your followers post.
So I personally believe that followers are grossly overrated and not necessary to gain massive benefits from Pinterest.
I received 7,500 re-pins/shares in a month with less than 100 followers on Pinterest.
I’ll say it again. FOLLOWERS ARE OVERRATED.
Get a business account so you can have access to all the detailed analytics.
A Guide to Creating Your Pinterest Boards
This is the tricky part for most people, and I always suggest that you title and organize your boards by the DATA.
Don’t decide solely based on what I do…
Don’t decide solely based on what [said] Pinterest guru does…
Use the data in your niche to help you make decisions and test, test, test!
Everything I do is data driven.
This is not about guessing, hunches and assuming. For example, if you type in a keyword in your topic, Pinterest will give you suggestions that are related to what you searched for.
Quotes are immensely popular on Pinterest. People share them like crazy. I just started posting more quotes in 2020, and they definitely get good engagement.
Study the styling of the ones that are ranked high because these are the most popular images that get re-pinned/shared the most.
Notice a trend with the images above?
They are clean, easy to read and vertical.
That’s another strategy you must employ. Pay attention to what is popular (top ranked) and create images with the same style attributes.
So based on this data, I might create boards titled “Motivational Fitness Sayings”, “Funny Gym Sayings/Quotes” or “Inspirational Fitness Sayings.”
You would add your own image quotes that you can easily create for free using Canva. You could also share mockups of your T-shirts with the same quotes and sayings.
I always mix up the types of images on my boards. Different people like to share different images. So by posting a variety of images, I can get an idea for what people like.
This is another reason having a Business account is helpful because your stats will be much more detailed, and you can see exactly what is working.
When I see something working well, I rinse and repeat that image strategy.
While single images convert sales better for me than T-shirt mockups (strange, I know), it’s still a good idea to have a mix of images on your boards.
- Title your boards based on data and Pinterest keyword suggestions.
- Mix and match your content on the board (mockups and single images).
- Keep an eye on your Analytics so you know what’s working.
- Keep testing. What works for me, may not always work for you.
- Post consistently.
Google & Traffic Benefits
The other advantage of being strategic about naming your boards is they can rank on Google.
One of my boards is currently ranking #4 on Google for its main keyword. I found the keyword by using Pinterest suggestions.
I repeat… everything I do is data driven.
I created the board about 8 months ago, and I’ve been consistently adding new content to the board every week.
The key to getting your Pinterest boards ranked by Google is to have an active Pinterest account. And by active, I mean re-pins or shares.
The more people share your art, the better your images will rank, and the more popular your account will become over time.
3 Reasons Your Pinterest Account is Not Thriving
Reason 1. You aren’t in a niche that uses Pinterest.
This site lists the top 10 niches, but I personally find that list to be extremely limited.
There are other spaces that perform very well such as weddings, makeup, hair and beauty.
The list is also too vague. Notice that Quotes is listed, but that term is very broad.
Quotes can encompass a variety of niches. Pinterest actually works for many topics if you embrace the quote strategy.
This is super important for T-shirts because many times people will see an inspiring image quote and want that quote on a shirt.
My niche is NOT on that Top 10 list yet my quotes are performing EXTREMELY well right now.
This is why I believe the Quote strategy is incredibly useful for T-shirt promotion. After all, many shirts contain inspirational, motivational or funny quotes.
Reason 2. You didn’t get it enough time.
Frankly, this is the reason most people never succeed with almost anything related to business.
The insatiable desire for instant gratification is a killer, especially when building an income stream.
If most people had the uninspiring RedBubble payments I had 2-3 years ago, they would have given up.
You have to stick with consistent posting for at least 3 months before you can deem your efforts as “successful” or “unsuccessful.”
Reason 3. You aren’t posting what people like to share.
The key to success with Pinterest is getting re-pins or shares. That’s how Pins go viral over time. If 10 people share your Pin, it’s more likely that 10 more will share, and so forth.
When Pins go viral, that increases your image rankings and account exposure.
Also, going viral on Pinterest is not the same as going viral on Instagram or Twitter.
When you go viral on Pinterest, it’s a slow build over time and the traffic is long term.
When you go viral on Twitter or Instagram, it’s quick and the traffic is short term.
Typically, my oldest images account for most of my traffic and T-shirt sales because Pinterest is all about the build over time.
I can’t say this enough. It is CRITICAL that you pay attention to what is ranked in your niche because Pinterest is TELLING YOU what people like to share.
Again, no need to guess or assume anything. Use the data that Pinterest gives you by what is ranked and the keyword suggestions.
Why You Might Be Tempted to Give Up on Pinterest
Pinterest can seem like a waste of time at the beginning because of that slow build I keep referring to.
And it’s very difficult for busy people to stay committed to something that doesn’t seem to be paying off right away.
Let’s be real…
Our patience isn’t what it used to be.
You can thank technology for our instant gratification thirst. 🙂
The other reason Pinterest probably might not be appealing to you is because you’re focusing too much on the direct benefits instead of the indirect, lasting ones that build over time.
If you’re building a brand or website for your niche, an active Pinterest account tells Google and Pinterest that your brand is official and committed.
Subtle signals like this can give you favor with rankings on both Google and Pinterest.
So it starts with an active, popular Pinterest board. Maybe you have a “Funny Fitness Quote” board that is really taking off with lots of shares/re-pins.
One active board will help get exposure for your Pinterest account. Images will rank better, which will cause more re-pins/shares over time. Pinterest is paying attention and ranking your content accordingly.
Multiply that benefit by claiming and associating your website with your Pinterest account.
Google and Pinterest are both search engines that connect the dots. Having an active Pinterest account that is linked to your website builds the “quality score” of both your website and Pinterest accounts because they are associated with one another.
Pinterest is definitely one of those silent gems that has a cumulative effect over time. Unfortunately, most people never give their accounts the time they need to flourish.
Don’t look at Pinterest as the end-all-be-all. In fact, don’t look at ANY search engine or social media site that way.
It’s a piece of the puzzle that improves your reputation with Google and other search engines that track social signals. Any sales it generates are an added bonus!
I hope you stick with it. It’s worth it!
hi,lisa. you have only hundreds of followers, how your pin get discovered by other people that don’t follow you? do you join group boards and post your pin there?
It’s not about followers. It’s about how many clicks your images get. Your images can get found without followers. Pinterest is a search engine, not a social media site. You don’t need followers. Non-followers can still discover your images.
Ade Sinmi says
In essence, patience is key. Key to making anything out of Pinterest.
That patience is a huge one I won’t lie.
Mitchell Allen says
Be careful when you tell us not to listen to experts because, you’re an expert!!! LOL
I know what you mean: air-quote experts.
So, this time, you got me thinking about my old Pinterest account, which I left alone, back when the “experts” treated Pinterest like Twitter …
I got nothing but time, to test, test, test. So, thanks for the expert tips!
Ha ha! So true!
Darlene at SugarBeach says
Once again a super helpful post!
Lisa do you find people clicking through on the quotes?
That was one thing I did not anticipate with my beach decor site… People repinned like crazy but didn’t often click through. I had to get creative.
So just wondered your experience with standalone quotes.
I was thinking to try quotes (that link to POD)… And at very bottom say something like “get this quote on a T-shirt, water bottle, journal”, etc. Haven’t tested yet though
I actually get more clicks on the quotes than the T-shirt mockups! Crazy, right? But yes, try experimenting with a call to action. This is something I haven’t really tried much.
Darlene at SugarsBeach.com says
Believe it or not… I remember (and stored it away) you saying you got more clicks with quotes minus the mockup.
That was a relief cause I wasted a lot of time on the “perfect” mockup.
I just wonder what would motivate someone to click-thru on a quote.
Like it you have a pin say “Three simple steps to getting your baby to sleep at night” …you’re gonna have ppl click thru to find out.
Right, but with some of my quotes, they are actually stylized T-shirt designs. They’re a little more styled than the ones I showed in the screenshot.
For some of those quotes, I link to the Canvas art or Poster products. That’s why I love RedBubble because the customer can quickly see that they can buy the design on multiple products. Because you don’t really know why people click. Is it out of curiosity? Are they looking for that on a shirt?
Another reason that new Optimized Default page is great because it shows the design up top and the products right below. Perfect for linking on Pinterest.
“Another reason that new Optimized Default page is great because it shows the design up top and the products right below. Perfect for linking on Pinterest.”
This is awesome!