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Pinterest: The Email Marketer's New Opportunity

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Pinterest is quickly becoming a significant channel in today's ever-evolving social media landscape. Understanding what Pinterest is and how members and marketers are using it will allow you to make the most of it.

Consider the following: Pinterest already has 20 million unique users, and it's the fastest-growing social network in history, according to comScore; Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Twitter and more than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined, according to Shareaholic; nearly 80% of pins are repins, whereas only 1.4% of tweets are retweets, according to HubSpot; and, most important, it converts: PriceGrabber found 21% of users have purchased an item that they found on the site.

Marketing Tips

Whether you are a beginner or you know your way around the site, here are some quick tips to get you started on marketing on Pinterest.

Are you a beginner?

  1. Sign up. Pinterest is driven largely by individual curators rather than brands. So it might be a good idea for your Pinterest account to be in the name of your CEO, style editor, buyer, etc.
  2. Follow people. Make sure to follow not only users who are pinning your content but also competitors and brands that are using the channel well.
  3. Create boards. Boards can be categorized by product type, season, color, pinner—whatever makes sense to your business.
  4. Pin content. Pin from your website to your boards. Use the bookmarklet or directly upload new images that are not coming directly from your website (more here). I'm not a lawyer but here's a quick legal side note: Play it safe and pin only your own content.

Are you an intermediate user?

Add Pinterest follow icons to your website and emails so that users can follow your Pinterest boards. Group them with other social-media follow icons.

Are you an advanced user? Take your campaigns one step further:

  1. Add sharing functionality to your website that allows users to pin content from it onto Pinterest.
  2. Add sharing functionality to your emails to encourage subscribers to pin content directly from those emails.
  3. Run dedicated email campaigns highlighting Pinterest contests and "reveals."

Pinterest: Email's New Best Friend


We're seeing Pinterest intersect email marketing in three ways: emails that use Pinterest-generated content, emails prompting recipients to follow a brand on Pinterest, and emails that have content appealing enough that recipients end up "pinning" the content.

How do you get started?

Choose the right content

How do you know whether your content is pin-worthy? First, do your research: Find companies that are already posting, and see what type of content is getting pinned the most. Generally, content that is extremely visual, new, aspirational, or instructional does well. Pinterest is a place for eye candy and wish lists.

When placing images in an email to share, choose those that are simple and clear. A photograph of a pair of shoes is much more likely to be shared than a photograph of five pairs of shoes.

Remember that your customers subscribed to your emails for a reason. Is there something directly or indirectly related to your relationship with them that you can highlight? For example, Bissell's subscribers really pride themselves on keeping a clean home, so they tend to pin photos of sparkling rooms. Do you have an inside joke with your customers? What do your subscribers geek out over?

Placement in the email

  • Placement of follow icon. Icons with similar functionality should be grouped together for usability—"Follow us on...," followed by icons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.—and they should all be customized to fit your brand but still be immediately recognizable as social follow icons.
  • Placement of sharing (pinning) content. Make it obvious what is being shared, and for usability, use Pinterest's standard "pin it" button. Place the "Pin it" button either over the image you'd like to share, or grouped with other sharing icons.
  • Overall formatting. Pinterest's unique formatting is making its way into email. Email marketers are experimenting with grid-based blocks of images, which, deliberately or not, mirror Pinterest.com. When creating a dedicated send with Pinterest content in it, try using similar formatting to tie it all together.

What's next for marketers on Pinterest?

Hopefully, marketers will soon see API access, ways to measure the value of a repin, methods for tracking and measuring referral traffic, AB testing for pin-it placement and usage in email, and ways to generate email opt-ins from website referral traffic.


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Kristina Huffman is a design consultant at ExactTarget, a leading provider of email marketing software.

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Comments

  • by Rishi Fri Aug 10, 2012 via web

    Once Pinterest becomes as much 'mainstream' as Twitter or Facebook, I predict that select images on a website, once clicked on to enlarge, will direct to Pinterest's website. There, people will be more keen to pin and share the image with their network. This would be every social marketer's dream.

    Get access to all our social media cheat sheets at http://mdv.to/NmISj3

  • by Steve Plotkin Fri Aug 10, 2012 via web

    Love the way you have divided this post up into Beginner, Intermediate and advanced. Nice post. I love Pinterest and have been encouraging use on our blog too http://bit.ly/N0vyy2

  • by Amber King Sun Aug 12, 2012 via web

    Pinterest is making a mark as a social network site. Businesses should take advantage of what pinterest can offer.

  • by Pinterest Marketing Pro Tue Aug 14, 2012 via web

    Great article! I love how you mention helpful Pinterest strategies for people in all different levels of expertise. Your suggestions reinforce another great source that’s helped me out too. PinLeague is a wonderful Pinterest Influencer network that does everything from helping you gain followers, understand analytics and anything Pinterest marketing related. Just wanted to pass the word along, thanks!

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