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Give Your Online Business Pinterest Power

How you can use Pinterest to increase your e-commerce sales

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a Pinterest picture can be worth thousands of dollars to your online business. No matter what you sell, or where you sell it, you can use Pinterest to increase your sales!

Pinterest (pronounced like interest, with a p) has rapidly become one of the best ways to:

  • Reach new customers
  • Raise your brand visibility
  • Benefit from word-of-mouth referrals for your products
  • Get high-quality referral traffic to your website, store or product listing

Why Pinterest is a powerful e-commerce marketing tool

On the surface, Pinterest is an online “social bulletin board” that allows you to post images that can be shared with others. Sounds nice and friendly, but that’s not what the site is really about.

The true power of Pinterest lies in the fact that it’s the leader in the burgeoning field of visual social marketing. Because e-commerce sales are largely driven by visual images, the Pinterest platform is perfect for e-commerce marketing.

Neither the Twitter nor Facebook platforms were built on visual images. They were built on text interaction. The YouTube platform is built on video. Pinterest has forged a new path with visual social media and visual social commerce—one that will only continue to grow, because people are responding.

Pinterest power!

It’s not only the visual nature of Pinterest that has catapulted this site to the forefront of e-commerce marketing. As you’re about to see, Pinterest has some real “marketing chops.”

  • Pinterest currently gets more than 12 million unique visitors per month. That’s up from 1 million per month in July 2011.

  • Pinterest currently refers more traffic to external sites than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn, combined
  • The site is now No. 2 in user engagement behind No. 1 Facebook. Pinterest users are active! They’re not just on the site looking at images, they provide word-of-mouth marketing for brands by repining, liking and commenting on product images.

  • They’re following the links of pinned images off Pinterest, and over to the original source of the pin (i.e., your store or website).

  • In February 2012, Pinterest referred more traffic to external websites than six-year-old Twitter.

  • Pinterest currently refers more traffic to external sites than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn, combined.

  • Pinterest pins are indexed in Google organic search, as long as you properly optimize your Pinterest pins and boards. More and more, you’ll see Pinterest pins returned in the Google search results for targeted keyword searches.

  • Brands like Nordstrom, Williams-Sonoma, American Eagle and Urban Outfitters are successfully using Pinterest to reach new customers and drive traffic directly to their online stores.

Nordstrom, which recently shuttered its Facebook store, has found success on Pinterest by creating themed boards and special promotions that take customers directly off Pinterest, over to Nordstrom online.

Reach new customers and get more traffic

The simplicity of the Pinterest site allows online merchants to easily move visitors off Pinterest and directly over to their product page or store. With just two clicks of a mouse, a Pinterest user can see your product photo and go directly to your product page for more details or to make a purchase.

Wayfair, the second largest home goods retailer (by revenue), found that shoppers referred by Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to make a purchase than those who arrive from other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. They’ll also spend 10 percent more on average.

Amazon and eBay get Pinterest power!

In April, the Web’s two largest e-commerce marketplaces, Amazon and eBay, began leveraging the power of Pinterest to increase traffic, drive sales and reach new customers. Both Amazon and eBay have added Pinterest’s Pin It button on every product page within their U.S. sites. The Pin It button allows eBay and Amazon buyers or visitors to easily post products they love over on Pinterest.

Even before this latest addition, Amazon was the No. 3 source of content to Pinterest, with Etsy and Google vying for the No. 1 spot.

If you sell on Amazon, eBay or Etsy, not only can you market your own products, visitors to your products pages can now pin your products as well!

Pinterest strategies for online merchants

Whether you’re an established business or a startup, you can leverage the power of Pinterest in your business. But there’s more to it than hitting the Pin It button. Below are some tips to making Pinterest work for your business:

You should always pin from the original source—your website product page, eBay listing or your specific Amazon page
  1. Pinterest is not a classified ads site. Don’t treat it as such by only pinning images of products you sell. As with any type of social commerce, you must become part of the community, and contribute value to raise your brand visibility and reach new customers. Fortunately, you can use Pinterest only a few minutes a day and still get a lot of marketing return on your investment!

  2. Don’t spam. Flooding the site with your eBay listings will not incentivize people to re-pin your images. Keeping a balance between promoting your products and pinning other interesting content will encourage people to follow your boards and re-pin your content.

  3. Theme your boards. Think of Pinterest as a curated content catalog. Pin the best of your inventory and product photos on Pinterest. For example, Nordstrom has created boards on fashion trends, seasonal style and hot new accessories. Within those boards they showcase their own products and the products of others.

  4. Always link back to your product page. This is one of the biggest mistakes online merchants make when marketing with Pinterest! Don’t upload a product photo from your computer and call it good. You should always pin from the original source—your website product page, eBay listing or your specific Amazon page.

  5. You must have a strategy in place to use Pinterest for business marketing. While buyers will simply pin products they love, a business owner must approach Pinterest strategically—both to get ROI on your marketing efforts and the best visibility for your brand. In fact, promoting your business incorrectly on Pinterest can actually do more harm to your brand than good.

Pinterest is a marketing tool and needs to be used properly to produce results. To learn how to implement Pinterest marketing in your business visit Pinterest for Ecommerce. You’ll learn how to strategically use Pinterest and visual social commerce to reach new customers, drive more traffic to your products and convert more Pinterest visitors to sales!

The Pinterest platform is in its infancy. Whether you sell on Amazon, eBay or from your own website, if you sell something online, you need a presence on Pinterest!

About the author

Lisa Suttora
Lisa Suttora is an internationally known e-commerce expert, internet marketing strategist and veteran trend spotter. As founder and CEO of, Suttora has helped thousands of enterprising entrepreneurs build successful, niche-based online businesses. Since 2004, has provided premier education and a global community for online retailers. To get the latest on hot product niches and trends, subscribe to Suttora's free trend sheet Hot Trend Alerts. Suttora also has a 15-day e-course to help sellers make money on today's eBay. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • 1st-oliveoyl

    Is there any How-To page for Pinterest? I have started it, but am a bit lost. 

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