How Shopify Site Owners Are Getting Massive Traffic From Pinterest

Every Shopify store owner has a top of mind question,

How do you get people to your website?

In this post, we'll discuss how to answer that question using Pinterest. 

Pinterest Basics - Not Tricks

As context, I'm a big believer in mastering the basics rather than trying to chase short-term tricks or gimmicks. And with Pinterest, there are tried and true basics that you can (and should) follow to grow your traffic. So anyone can do this! As Bruce Lee wisely said,

"I don't fear the man that has practiced 10,000 kicks. I fear the man that has practiced 1 kick 10,000 times"

In-Depth Resource - Pinterest Power: Oddly enough I've had the privilege of being on the front lines of the marketing world's adoption of the Pinterest platform. I started blogging about Pinterest in December 2011 (www.marketingonpinterest.com) and because I was pretty much the only one discussing that topic at the time, I got a traditional book deal. My book Pinterest Power was published by McGraw-Hill in November 2012. We had some good luck (and timing) and it was a #1 Bestseller - and because of that - I was asked to speak at large conferences on the subject. So I'm pretty familiar with the basics (and the tricks).

My Pinterest blog (and book) focused on telling our own story about Pinterest - and also finding amazing success stories - and sharing those case studies - outlining the strategies and concepts that those marketers were doing (and still do).

Susan Koger, the founder of ModCloth, was one of those case studies and had this to say about the book,

"Pinterest Power is the ultimate guide for any small business owner hoping to leverage the Pinterest social platform to increase sales and brand awareness. Jason Miles and Karen Lacey answer the right questions for the busy entrepreneur or marketing leader looking to explore a Pinterest account for his or her business. The book details the most important aspects of launching a Pinterest strategy: basics of the platform, real-world examples from innovative brands, and strategic advice from experts in the field. There are powerful case studies from small companies such as Liberty Jane Clothing and BurdaStyle, the former seeing sales double after implementing a Pinterest strategy and the latter seeing the site refer over 25 percent of its traffic! The early adopters high-lighted in the book offer invaluable best practices that will provide a solid foundation for building your own Pinterest presence..."

In case you're curious, Modcloth has 2.2 Million Pinterest followers! You can see how they do their Pinterest work here.

5 Powerful Stats That Make The Case For Pinterest

Every marketer has to decide where to spend their time and money. So the first and most important question is - should you use Pinterest? The case is pretty compelling. Here are 5 stats that explain why,

 

The #1 Reason To Spend Time Marketing Via Pinterest

There is one reason (more than any other) that Pinterest deserves your time and energy. And that is the amount of referral traffic it can send to your site. "Referral Traffic" is the term for when a website sends a visitor to another website. And Pinterest does an amazing job of referring traffic to websites. In fact, according to Tech Crunch, there are 4 top sources of referral traffic on the Internet. They are, in order of how well they refer traffic:

  •  Organic Search (which Google dominates)
  • Direct Typing Of A URL Into A Browser (which is influenced by your branding and name-awareness)
  • Facebook (the undesputed champion of Social Media)
  • Pinterest (which is surprisingly good at referring traffic - and outperforms a huge number of sites)

Our Experience With Pinterest

Our experience with Pinterest started in an exciting way in the summer of 2011 and hasn't stopped. In the last 12 months on our primary website (Pixie Faire) we had over 100,000 visits from Pinterest and 52,000 of those were new prospects (that had never been to our website before).

5 Best Practices To Get Traffic From Pinterest To Shopify

There are a set of behaviors that you want to begin implementing that, again, might seem basic. But the better you get at implementing them into your ongoing marketing system, the more traffic you'll get from Pinterest. Here they are,

#1 - Upgrade & Deepen Your Site Photography

The amazing thing about Pinterest is that YOU don't have to do the bulk of the work (on Pinterest). Your website visitors will "Pin" images that they find value in. So the only question is - what types of value can you deliver via your site photography? Some types might include,

  • Inspirational images (that help a prospect envision a future they want)
  • How-To images (that teach a prospect about a process or product)
  • Infographics (that educate a prospect)
  • Wish-List images (that help prospects plan their future purchases)

What do I mean by deepen? I mean add more photos - in more ways - to your site.

Now, most people reading this blog post will ignore this advice. And just like Bruce Lee's victims, they will get punched in the face with a powerful reality - if you don't do the basic work - you won't get a good result. So, if you want to rise above the herd, actually get an outcome from Pinterest that is meaningful, and grow sales, then take this advice and master your site photography. How? 

  1. Learn more about Product Photography (Udemy has some good courses).
  2. Get better at Life Style Photography for your niche, industry, or ideal customer demographic. One of the best ways to do this is to read magazines in your industry, look at competitor websites, and stay current with visual trends.
  3. Upgrade your Graphic Art (we highly recommend Photoshop Elements for the basics and we are also enjoying canva.com).

#2 - Study What Your Customers Are Pinning (and let it guide your work)

You might be surprised to learn what your current customers are currently doing on your site. Are they enthusiastic about what you're enthusiastic about? Are they sharing images that you would consider important? Are your top products, pages, or resources going un-shared? Look at your data and let it guide you. You can find out what customers are pinning from your site, (or any site by using this link),

http://www.pinterest.com/source/enter-your-URL-here/

So for example, if you want to see what people are pinning from the following sites, just visit these links:

http://www.pinterest.com/source/amazon/

http://www.pinterest.com/source/etsy/

http://www.pinterest.com/source/ebay.com/

http://www.pinterest.com/source/pixiefaire.com/

It's important to understand that your Pinterest traffic will come from lots and lots of images pinned to Pinterest, rather than from a few. In our case, during the past 12 months we've had over 1,600 images in Pinterest that sent us traffic. 

#3 - Design Your Pinterest Account For Your Ideal Customer

When people complain to me that they aren't getting referral traffic from Pinterest - and ask me to look at their site - I almost always see the same thing. They've created their Pinterest account to cater to their own interests, not the interests of their ideal customer. This is a simple mistake that will destroy your Pinterest work. Simply put - your Pinterest account is not for YOU - it's for your CUSTOMERS. So, build it as a visual resource for them. That means, 

  1. Create Pinboards that resonate with their interests
  2. Pin images that will inspire, educate, or encourage them
  3. Give them images that will help them share their interests, hobby's, and ideas related to your niche or industry

#4 - Ask Your Customers To Follow You And Pin Your Images

After you've got your Pinterest account organized for your ideal customers - it's time to invite them to follow you on Pinterest and pin your images. Of course, they'll do that organically, but you can bump up your results by encouraging it (and even incentivizing it - more on that in a moment). You can do this in a lot of different ways. Including,

  • Having the social sharing buttons on your site (and images).
  • Having a call-to-action to follow your Pinterest account in your email(s).
  • Connecting your Facebook account to your Pinterest account in various ways (the simplest, of course, is simply posting images from your Pinterest account to your Facebook page).
  • Using contests.

#5 Game-ify (Make It Fun)

In the last 5 days, we've added 458 followers on Pinterest from just one simple method. How did we do it? We set up a contest. Let me explain how this works - because you can copy this strategy today...

First, the basic idea - your customers will have their own intrinsic reasons to repin images from your site (and your Pinboard) but you can give them extra incentives to do it - and when they do - that really bumps up the outcome.

We like doing this with contests. One contest we run is called our Mod-Doll Monday Contest. You can see how we do those here. Be sure to look at the number of comments. 

In this week's contest (which started 5-days ago on Monday) we have the following results so far:

  • 4,474 impressions (meaning people who saw our contest)
  • 1,427 people entered the contest (by completing an entry action)
  • 14,760 entry actions were completed (people can do several)

We accomplish this by using a contest tool called Rafflecopter. It works great. When a visitor to the contest page wants to enter, they log in via Facebook or email and then they complete one of the entry actions. Each week we change them up slightly. Sometimes we ask people to follow us on Pinterest. Sometimes we ask them to pin a specific image.

For our contests (because it's called "Mod Doll Monday - Help Us Decide Who Wears It Best" we only require one entry action - to vote between 2 options. Then, to gain additional entries, participants can do an additional action (or several). Here is the form the participants see:

On the back-end of Rafflecopter, you can see how people are engaging with your contest. In the screenshot below you can see how this week's participants engaged with our entry actions: 

Conclusion

Pinterest exploded on the scene in 2011 and 2012. So website owners that had very nice product and lifestyle images benefitted enormously (and still do) but that doesn't mean you can't still do very well using Pinterest. Master the basics. Build a system. Integrate Pinterest into your work (or team's work) and you'll begin to see your traffic from Pinterest grow.

Ps. if you liked this article, then I'd be incredibly grateful if you'd take the time to share it on Facebook, Twitter, and of course - pin it to Pinterest. You can also follow me on Pinterest here.