Using Pinterest to Develop Your Email Marketing Strategy

Pinterest is a tool for email marketers.

One of the latest additions to the already growing realm of social networking platforms is Pinterest. With its design-savvy layout and focus on images to represent content, one can spend hours on the social bookmarking website. It is because of the advent of this latest vice that many bloggers, marketers, and small business owners are now realizing how Pinterest can drive traffic more than any other site as long as your content is marketable. However, many brands find themselves grappling with the dilemma of how to make their Pinterest page marketable.

How marketable your brand’s Pinterest is breaks down to a few basics: Who You Follow, What You Post, and How You Interact. None of these aspects are mutually-exclusive and will all collectively affect how successful your Pinterest marketing campaign will be. By tailoring who you follow to current and potential customers, you will always have access to what they are interested in, the content they are most likely to consume, and who are the trendsetters most likely to influence others. This will allow you to post, or “pin,” content that will pique their interest the most and will more likely share with their followers. As with any other form of social networking, it is imperative that you do not rely on followers to lead the conversation – Constantly interact by re-pinning other content, liking pins that are relevant to your cause, and commenting on other pins.  Pinning compelling photographs that link to interesting content will lead to more shares and growth in your number of followers, or reach.

Although Pinterest has some basic forms of analytics through shares, re-pins, likes, and comments, you can also track Pinterest via Google Analytics. One of the more compelling attributes to their site is the ability to plug in any website’s name behind the URL pinterest.com/source/ to see what content has been shared on Pinterest from that page. For example, plug in http://pinterest.com/source/whatcounts.com/ to see what has been shared from our website.

Now that we have covered what Pinterest is and the basics of how to interact with followers, let’s discuss what methods retail brands have used to successfully incorporate pinning in their email marketing campaign:

  1. One of the most obvious ways to incorporate Pinterest in your email campaign is to highlight popular products featured on your company’s Pinterest page. This allows followers to easily re-pin your product for their future reference (think of it as a shopping list of sorts), as well as for their friends.  A great example of this would be a recent campaign by the athletic shoe store Finish Line, highlighting their “most pinned shoes.”
  2. You will notice at the bottom of the Finish Line email, they incorporated a quick blurb about a contest. This is another great way to promote an email campaign with possibly viral results. Using a contest to motivate recipients to share your product information via Pinterest, if done correctly, can generate immediate results as long as the prize is of worth to your audience. Other brands that have successfully incorporated Pinterest contests in their email campaign include: Sephora, Kiwi Crates, LuxeYard, OneStepAhead, and Garnet Hill.
  3. One of the joys of Pinterest is being able to see how other users utilize products creatively in day-to-day life, which motivates their followers to want to do the same. Not only does this concept bode well for tools, appliances, or novelties, but clothing, furniture, and other design-related items, as well. With the large amount of fashion and décor content that is frequently shared on Pinterest, brands such as The Limited, Handbags.com, and Ethan Allen have found success by directing potential customers to their idea boards via email. Using user-generated content from bloggers and designers, this gives potential customers inspiration to use their product creatively while garnering support and interaction from the online community.
  4. Lastly, the ultimate way to incorporate your company’s Pinterest into your email marketing plan is to simply embed “Pin It” buttons into your email campaign. As opposed to trying to motivate the recipient to go to the Pinterest site to see what products your company has to offer and then decide if they want to re-pin the content, simply cut out the middle man. By using your email as an extension of your Pinterest board, you are more likely to influence your audience to re-pin the content immediately. This method works well regardless of the product as long as the content is appealing, such as with recipes on Tablespoon.com, or attractive, such as home furnishings from Ballard.

So, which option should you go with to develop your email marketing campaign? Really, it boils down to where your company’s focus lies. Are you trying to reach the largest amount of people in the shortest amount of time? Perhaps a contest is in order for you. Is your goal to drive sales and increase email ROI? Embed “pin it” buttons directly into your email. Try these different methods to determine which will render the best results for your brand and your email marketing campaign. Good luck and happy pinning!

Sarah Zibanejadrad
Inbound Marketing Coordinator, WhatCounts

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