This is a guest post from Kevin Payne.
As marketers, we’re tasked with finding the best balance between paid and organic ways to generate leads for our businesses.
You’ve probably explored nearly every single platform and strategy to build your email list with highly qualified leads, including social media ads and content marketing through a blog or podcast.
But there may be one platform you haven’t leveraged yet, and it may surprise you: Pinterest.
In this blog post, we’ll tell you the whys and the hows of organic lead generation with Pinterest. Keep reading because, soon, you can maximize this free platform to grow your audience, scale that email list, and ultimately make more sales.
Why use Pinterest to generate organic leads?
If you’re wondering why exactly Pinterest can be of help you as a marketer, there are essentially 3 major reasons.
Pinterest isn’t social media: It’s a visual search engine
First, Pinterest is actually not considered a social media platform. It’s a social platform, true, but it works very differently than network sites like Facebook or Twitter.
Instead, Pinterest works exactly like Google. In other words, it’s a visual search engine.
Pinterest users navigate and use the platform similarly to Google: They create a search query and view the ones that appear most relevant to their search.
The main difference is Pinterest search queries don’t depend too highly on things like domain authority in order for your posts (in this case, pins) to be seen.
If anything, Pinterest’s algorithm favors fresh content over old ones, making it one of the best platforms for any business that already engages in any form of content marketing.
Pinterest users’ search intent is often transactional.
Search intent is an important factor to note when you’re deciding if Pinterest is the right platform for you.
Pinterest itself emphasizes that their users have the intention to purchase even before they decide to go on the app, where their platform becomes a place to “window shop” or collect and save photos, products, and articles online.
We also see this finding supported by a consumer study by Pew Research, which showed that users on Pinterest belong to a demographic that made an average of $75,000 annually.
Pinterest users are ready to purchase, and many of their search behaviors indicate the same.
Source: Optin Monster
Consumers themselves say branded content makes Pinterest more useful.
Under its Business page, Pinterest has reported findings from their customer research that show that over 70% of their users find branded content on the platform useful.
Pinterest users are generally more accepting of branded content, even if some of the pins they’re seeing are promoted pins or the equivalent of an ad on Pinterest. In fact, 61% of users claimed they were able to discover new brands from these promoted pins, while half made a purchase after seeing one.
How to use Pinterest to generate more leads for free
Convinced that you should start a Pinterest marketing strategy? Look no further than this post because we’ll show you how to get started step by step.
1. Sign up for your Pinterest business profile.
When you create your account on Pinterest, be sure you’re signing up for a Business profile. This gives you access to many helpful features, including rich analytics to track your pins and conversions, as well as the possibility to create ads on the site.
2. Claim your domain and other social accounts.
On your Pinterest business profile, you have the option to claim your website and other social accounts like Instagram, Etsy, and YouTube.
By claiming these, you’re able to get important attribution and analytics from pins and images associated with these accounts. For example, if a user pins a product photo from your ecommerce store to one of their Pinterest boards, Pinterest attributes these pins to your website or Etsy account.
Claiming your Instagram account also lets you auto-publish new Instagram posts into a dedicated board on your account. And claiming your YouTube channel also attributes pinned videos on Pinterest to your account, allowing them to auto-play if users are scrolling past them on the platform.
3. Optimize your profile for SEO.
When you’re setting up your Pinterest profile and unless you’re a big-name brand already, you should be optimizing for SEO. Pinterest users may be able to find your account simply from the keywords you include in your display name and bio.
Pinterest’s allowance for display names is longer than other platforms, so include as many keywords as you can.
For example, an SEO agency on Pinterest might include keywords like “SEO Agency,” or “Rank Higher on Google” next to their business name.
4. Set up 5-7 branded Boards.
Create 5-7 boards on topics that are related to your niche. If your business sells products, you can create boards on different product categories (e.g., fall fashion, winter boots for women, style on a budget, etc.).
These branded boards are what can entice users to follow your account. But they’re also the place where you’ll be pinning your content that leads users to check out your blog or lead magnets.
Five to seven branded boards are good enough to start, but, over time, as you notice more related sub-topics emerge from your content, you can add as many new boards as needed.
5. Enable Rich Pins.
Before you start pinning content, you’ll want to enable Rich Pins on your account. What Rich Pins do is read meta-data available on your content, be it blog post titles and excerpts, product descriptions and prices, and even links to download an app.
Rich Pins can give viewers of your pin additional context that can lead to better click-through rates and conversions.
Source: Simple Pin Media
6. Design long pins.
There are generally different post sizes that perform best on specific platforms. On Facebook, it might be landscape posts. On Instagram, square photos perform best. On Pinterest, you’ll get the best results with long, vertical posts.
You can experiment with varying lengths, but Pinterest recommends starting with a 2:3 ratio of 1,000 x 1,500 px.
There are different ways you can use long pins to get more leads for your business:
Blog post pins generally include a captivating headline and subhead that compels users to check out your post. You can combine high-quality stock images with text and a short CTA that encourages click-throughs.
Be sure your pin directly links to a specific blog post and not somewhere else like a homepage or service page. So, if a pin headline was all about how a personal injury lawyer could get more clients, it’d need to redirect users to a blog post precisely about that (see below).
Lead generation pages
Alternatively, you can design pins that link straight to a lead generation or sales page. Similar to the previous section, make sure that whatever is on the other side of your pin is reflected on the pin itself.
So, if, for example, a pin is all about how to take your business digital, the landing page you redirect to should point to that, either to a free lead magnet or a CTA to book a discovery call (see below).
Optimize these lead generation landing pages so they’re easy to browse and skim, but also clearly show users how it relates to the pin that led them to said page.
Source: Lolly Co
Run an ecommerce store? If you take vertical product photos, you can instantly pin them on your boards and increase your chances of getting repins at the same time.
Here’s a great example from this product page on Spruce. The business uses long product photos that, if they were to appear on Pinterest, can attract attention of users. And, if they’d enabled Rich Pins, then users would automatically see details like price, availability, and even product descriptions.
7. Test pin designs and layouts.
As with any marketing channel, you’ll want to experiment with different pin designs and layouts to see which styles perform best. You can test designs that stray away from your typical branding or create layouts that highlight different elements first.
Here are some ideas on how you can test pin designs:
- Size: Experiment with extra long pins and standard 2:3 pins.
- Colors: Check if your brand colors pop enough on Pinterest or if using off-brand colors work for you.
- Photos: Some pins like this one can do great without any photos on it, while others like this one may need photos to attract attention.
8. Optimize your pin descriptions.
Pins can be discovered organically if they appear as a search query result. Because of this, optimize your pin descriptions by sprinkling in niche keywords.
Be sure not to work these keywords organically into your descriptions instead of keyword dumping; you still want to tell users what your pin’s all about to encourage the most click-throughs.
For local businesses, use local SEO keywords that increase your chances of getting discovered by your community. For example, if a user in New York were looking for a local custom bouquet store, they might type in “custom bouquet New York” in the search bar.
So, if your competition wasn’t already optimizing for local SEO, you’d have a big head start.
Source: Blogging Explorer
9. Use different hashtag groups.
Pinterest allows up to 20 hashtags per post. Make the most of these by compiling possible hashtags for your content. As you explore the platform and look at other accounts in your niche, you might find new niche-specific hashtags to use as well.
Also, keep a rotation ready for different content categories or post types. So, if you have hashtags specific to Facebook marketing, for example, you’ll want hashtags that are specific to Instagram marketing as well.
One of the benefits of using hashtags on Pinterest is that they work a lot like social media feeds; fresh content shows up first, so, if you’re pinning in a timely manner, your pin will appear first for that specific hashtag.
Top results for the hashtag #facebookmarketing
10. Follow industry leaders and people in your audience.
By following other industry leaders and related niche accounts on Pinterest, you’ll be able to have a never-ending supply of content to curate on your boards. This shows Pinterest users that you’re saving content relevant to their needs and preferences, getting you more followers in the process.
To get more followers quickly, consider following people in your audience. You’ll find them on other similar accounts to yours. Following them is one way to get their attention, so, as long as you’ve got a significant amount of branded and curated content on your profile, they’re more likely to follow you back.
11. Request access to contribute to group boards.
Group boards are great for getting in front of larger Pinterest accounts’ followers. You’ll know a Pinterest board is a group board when you see collaborators’ icons on the lower left side of the board.
To determine a quality group board, make sure that it has a relatively good amount of followers and at least a few other collaborators.
12. Remember the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule on Pinterest recommends repinning other people’s content 20% of the time you’re on the platform. While you’ll want to promote your content more often, it’s best practice to curate, so users see that you collect and share highly relevant content alongside your own.
13. Pay attention to your SEO performance outside Pinterest.
If a few of your blog posts are already ranking on search engines organically, you can create pins based on those blog posts’ keywords.
While Google and Pinterest users may have different search habits, there’s still the very real chance that your Google users are searching for the same thing on Pinterest—but, with Pinterest, you just get higher chances of getting discovered even if you aren’t on the first page of Google just yet.
If you’re not sure how your current SEO strategy is performing, do SEO tests. These will also help you get the best results in future SEO campaigns because you base your next steps on real data.
14. Automate your pinning strategy.
There are several Pinterest-approved third-party integrations that let you publish to Pinterest on autopilot, saving you the manual process of uploading and repinning. Apps like Tailwind or Planoly can help you schedule pins and content for weeks and weeks, and the native Pinterest app allows you to schedule pins for an entire month.
Want more resources on building a marketing strategy for your small business? Browse the collection.
Have you ever considered including Pinterest in your pool of marketing channels? You may just be surprised by the amount of leads this platform can generate. To start seeing results, you’ll need to implement best practices straight away. Be sure to refer back to this step-by-step guide that shows you how to use Pinterest to get thousands of new leads for your business for free.
Kevin Payne is a content marketing consultant that helps software companies build marketing funnels and implement content marketing campaigns to increase their inbound leads.