Stick a Pin on it: Pinterest Strategies for Email Marketing and e-commerce

Greg Zakowicz, Marketing Strategist

Author Bio

Greg Zakowicz is a Marketing Strategist at Bronto Software where he works with commerce-focused clients, offering strategic advice and tactics on how to increase the revenue potential of their email programs. With over 10 years of experience managing marketing programs, Zakowicz brings a wealth of experience in email and online marketing. He speaks at ecommerce related events and is a regular contributor to Bronto’s Commerce Marketing blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @WhatsGregDoing.

While many of us have mastered effective email marketing, in a world where social channels are emerging quickly, marketers have to keep up with the many programs and sites that draw in the attention of our fans.  On the Bronto Blog, we’ve talked about using email marketing to gain Facebook fans and how to drive fans and followers to buy, but we haven’t addressed one of the newest and hottest channels yet, Pinterest.

Pinterest is a rapidly growing social media phenomenon, and, more and more, I have clients asking how to effectively use Pinterest to further their social media and e-commerce efforts. The problem is that although Pinterest is exploding many people just aren’t sure what to do with it. So let’s talk about some ways you can use Pinterest to further your social media campaigns and drive revenue for your website.

The great thing about Pinterest is that it is designed to interact with Facebook and Twitter. Each “pinned” item can be individually “Liked” or tweeted.  This allows your audience to broadcast a single message through three social media platforms with ease.

Ways To Use Pinterest?

Create Pinboards

Create a Pinboard for specific topics or categories of items. Some examples would be a clothing retailer having one Pinboard each for shorts/skirts/shoes, a wedding retailer might have a Pinboard for dresses or decorating ideas and a home décor company might have a Pinboard for designs and styles. Make a list of what Pinboards would make sense for your company/brand.

In this Nordstrom example they have overarching categories with products inside that link directly to the product page on the Nordstrom site.

Nordstrom Pinterest Board

This example from Koyal Wholesale provides inspiration for different wedding themes but still manages to tie in products without strictly pushing them.

Koyal Wholesale Pinterest Board

If you think Pinterest is just a passing trend, think again.  According to Koyal Wholesale, Pinterest ranks among the top 10 drivers of website traffic.   Given the success they’ve found using Pinterest, they’re constantly reinventing ways to engage with their customers via boards and contests.

Run a Pinterest Contest

By now you’ve no doubt seen a few contests run exclusively for Pinterest. Go ahead and try your own. There are a few types of contests you can utilize using Pinterest including:

  • Pin It to Win It – Probably the most popular contest where a user creates a “Your Company Pinboard” and pins X amount of items to the board. Your company can then select the winner based on the best board.
  • Most Repins – Users create a board and the winner is selected based on how many Repins or Likes they have. Those partaking in the contest will often reach out to their networks on other social media sites asking for Likes. 
  • Scavenger Hunt – Have users create a Pinboard and offer clues to pin images from all of your sites, including your main website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, YouTube and any other site you maintain. There are endless possibilities here allowing you to drive people to all of your different sites while keeping the contest fun and engaging. For example, you can provide clues through your different social media sites; Monday’s clue will be tweeted, Tuesday’s clue will be posted on Facebook, etc.
  • Sweepstakes Simply have a user Repin a particular image and choose a random winner out of those who entered.

For contest submissions you can require the user to post the link to their Pinboard on your sites such as your Facebook page, Twitter or your blog. If you use Twitter, be sure to set up a hashtag that allows for easy tracking.

Diaper Shopes Pinterest Promotion

Be sure to clearly define the rules!  Post the contest rules on your official company site/blog or Facebook page.

Other ways to use Pinterest:

  • Release new products on Pinterest. Find it (and buy it) on Pinterest before it is generally available on your site.
  • Tease upcoming products or product lines with a sneak peek.
  • Encourage product reviews on individual product Pins.
  • Show some personality. Pin images that reinforce your company’s lifestyle such as unique office space, inner-office birthday cakes, practical jokes, or other items that show your brand’s personality.
  • Allow “guest pinners” on your page. Create a pinboard open to guests and encourage this on-going interaction. Here is an example from ModCloth who does just that.
Guest Pin Board from Modcloth

Other Pinterest Best Practices

  • Think long-term – Pinterest provides an outlet to SHOW how your products fit into the lifestyles of your target audience.  Don’t simply push your products. Make sure you share things that inspire and connect on a personal level. After all, it is SOCIAL media.
  • Use search-friendly titles for your pinboards and images.
  • Promote your Pinterest page via other channels such as Facebook, Twitter, your homepage, via email and any other outlet you have available to you.
  • Keep the conversation going – A golden rule on social media is to respond to comments and questions. If someone comments on an image, be sure to respond to them in a timely manner!
  • Monitor your Pins. You can track what items are pinned from your website by going to Check this often and see what your audience is responding to. You can also check your competitors to see what is working for them.

So don’t be afraid to explore the world of Pinterest! Have you already started promoting your Pinterest page? If so, what has worked for you?  We are all ears. Well, in this case, all eyes!

Greg Zackowicz
Marketing Strategist at Bronto