Did you know that you can use affiliate links on Pinterest and send people directly to products from a pin? It's true!
I get a lot of emails from folks asking if they can do affiliate marketing without a blog. And my answer is always the same: start an affiliate marketing blog because it'll greatly increase your chances of consistent and meaningful affiliate income.
But if you don't have a blog yet, Pinterest is a great way to get your feet wet with affiliate marketing. Especially if you're still figuring out what you want to blog about, who your audience is and how much time you have to devote to affiliate activities.
There was a time when Pinterest didn’t allow affiliate links (and there are still a few exceptions – sadly no Etsy affiliate links are allowed). But in 2016, Pinterest lifted the ban, allowing bloggers and social media influencers to share affiliate links with a wider audience.
You might be wondering why Pinterest is a valuable way to promote products as an affiliate. After all, your audience already clicks on affiliate links from your blog.
Yes, your regular audience is probably visiting your blog routinely. But Pinterest gives you a much wider reach than your loyal readers. Take XO Sarah's account for example, which has over 700,000 unique visitors each month on Pinterest. Although she has an amazing blog with tons of traffic, there's a good chance her Pinterest users don't all overlap, giving her a new audience to market to.
If you are only using affiliate links on your blog, someone has to first find their way to your site, click onto a certain post and THEN click on your affiliate link. With Pinterest, they only have to click on the pin to be directed to your affiliate link. Fewer steps equals more affiliate conversions.
The best part is that it’s super easy to promote and share your links on Pinterest, which I’ll go over with you step by step a little later on.
Since I share affiliate marketing strategies with awesome people like you, naturally my content may contain affiliate links for products I use and love. If you take action (i.e. subscribe, make a purchase) after clicking one of these links, I'll earn some coffee money ☕️ which I promise to drink while creating more helpful content like this.Affiliate Disclosure
GETTING STARTED WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING ON PINTEREST
Optimize Your Profile and Boards
Before we can think about creating pins and sharing your affiliate links, first let’s make sure people can actually find your account and see what you are pinning. This all starts with optimizing your Pinterest Profile and Boards.
Pinterest is essentially a search engine, so the use of keywords is essential. Start by including keywords in your name. For example, my account name includes the words “Affiliate Strategist” to help my target audience find me more easily.
Go ahead and also include keywords in your board descriptions to boost views. Check out this example of one of my board descriptions:
Lastly, add keywords in your pin descriptions (more on that in a moment!)
Create Eye-Catching Pins
Pinterest is a very visual place. People choose which pins to click on based on their appearance so it’s really important that your pins stand out from others.
What makes a great pin?
- Click-Worthy Title – When people scroll through Pinterest they’re usually looking for something specific. Make it clear that you have exactly what they are looking for (think 24 Easiest Christmas Cookie Recipes vs. 24 Cookie Recipes). Think about the font you use too – the text needs to be large and easy to read so that people can read without having to click on the pin to enlarge it.
- Beautiful Images and Graphics – Using the right images or graphics will help your pins look interesting AND stand out from the crowd. When you search for something on Pinterest you’re presented with a huge list of relevant pins, most of which offer the same answer or solution. Make your pins look professional, clear and one-step above all of the others!
- Eye-Catching Colors – The colors you choose to use are another way of making your pins appeal to your target audience. Aim to match the look of your own site, or in the case of affiliate pins, ensure the look of the pin matches the landing page of the product you’re sending people to.
Some bloggers just pin affiliate product images and that’s an option you can try too. Just keep in mind conversion rates on those pins may be lower.
PRO TIP: Create multiple pins for each of your affiliate links using slightly different wording and layouts to increase your chances of clicks and traffic.
Examples of Pinterest Affiliate Marketing
I bet you’re wondering what affiliate marketing on Pinterest actually looks like in action. Here are some great examples from bloggers and business owners:
This is a pin from Natalie Hughes, a fashion blogger. It’s a clear, attractive photo of the item that she promoting and the link leads right through to where you can purchase the item using her affiliate link.
This pin from Seaside Sundays has a brief description on the pin itself and a clear call to action to “Shop Now”. The text tells you why you need this item in your life and the link leads you to the purchase page using their affiliate link.
This is an example of a pin that has been created by the merchant for their affiliates to use specifically to promote their product. The affiliate uses the pin created by the merchant but adds their own affiliate link as the URL when pinning to their Pinterest board.
Unlike the pins above, this pin doesn’t lead directly to the product. Instead, it leads through to a blog post that was written with the sole intention of promoting the affiliate product. The affiliate’s unique affiliate link is then weaved throughout the blog post.
How to Add Affiliate Pins to Pinterest
Once you design your beautiful pins, it’s time to add them to Pinterest with your affiliate links.
Step One) Create Pin
Log in to your Pinterest account and select “Create Pin” from the menu in the top right-hand corner.
You will then be prompted to add your pin (upload the image from your computer), enter the URL that your pin will lead to and add a description.
In the URL box, paste your affiliate link.
Step Two) Write a Keyword-Rich Pin Description
Use the description section to explain to people who come across your pin what to expect when they click through, such as how the product or service can help them.
As I mentioned earlier, Pinterest acts as a search engine so keywords are essential to getting your pins found by your target audience. Your pin descriptions are no exception so remember to use lots of keywords relating to the product or topic featured in your pin.
Step Three) Include an affiliate disclosure!
As with any other method of affiliate marketing, it’s essential that you include a proper affiliate disclosure on Pinterest.
In order for your disclosure to be clear and obvious in accordance with FTC guidelines, you should include your usual affiliate disclosure blurb in the pin description. For example “this post contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you should you click through and make a purchase.” To ensure there's no confusion about your disclosure compliance in the future, consider putting it at the beginning.
After writing your description, you will select “Done” and choose a board to save your new pin to. Congrats, you just created your first affiliate pin!
USING TAILWIND FOR PINTEREST
One of my favourite things about Tailwind is that it automates Pinterest activity so you don’t have to be stuck on my computer or phone pinning all day to see an increase in traffic or affiliate sales.
Here’s how to get started with Tailwind:
Step One) Create an Account
Head to the Tailwind homepage. If you don’t already have a Tailwind account, select “Signup with Pinterest”.
Make sure you are logged into the Pinterest account you want to link before moving on to the next step (you don’t want to link the wrong Pinterest profile to your Tailwind account!). You will be asked to authorize the app before going any further.
Next, you want to follow the on-screen prompts to get your Pinterest account connected to Tailwind and get everything set up (don’t worry, it’s nice and easy!)
Step Two) Schedule Your Content
Luckily, scheduling pins is super simple using Tailwind. You can either upload your own pins or use the Tailwind Browser Extension to schedule posts from other websites.
When you set up your account, Tailwind will guide you through scheduling a demo post:
First, you will need to select which board you want to pin to. Once your Tailwind account has synched with your Pinterest account, you will see a full list of your Pinterest boards to choose from.
PRO TIP: You can schedule your pins to more than one board!
If you’re uploading a new pin into Tailwind, the description section will be blank so you’ll need to add your own keyword-rich description. If you use the Chrome Extension to save a pin from somewhere else online, there will probably already be a description – feel free to tweak it and make it your own.
This step will depend on where you have got the pin from.
- If it’s a new pin that you are uploading straight into Tailwind, you’ll need to add the URL (for the purposes of this tutorial, that will be the affiliate link).
- If you have saved the pin using the Tailwind Chrome Extension, the URL will populate but you'll want to swap it out for your affiliate link so you get credit for your referrals.
The final step is to add the pin to your schedule. If you select “Add to Queue” the pin will be added to the end of the queue that you have and scheduled to be posted at an optimal time. We’ll discuss Tailwind’s queuing system below in more detail.
Step Three) Schedule Your Post
Tailwind will suggest optimal times for you to share content on Pinterest, or you can select your own times.
Select “Schedule” from the left-hand menu. Tailwind already has a list of times scheduled based on your audience. You can leave those as is or update them yourself. For example, Tailwind automatically added scheduling slots multiple times each day for my account but I usually pin more frequently, so I increased the number of time slots.
To do this, select “Generate New Smart Schedule” and input the number of times you’d like to pin each day (aim for 40-50). Tailwind will then generate a new schedule for you that will look something like this:
And that’s all there is to it! Easy, right?
Using Tailwind Tribes
One of the most buzzed about features of Tailwind for Pinterest is tribes.
Tailwind Tribes makes finding and sharing content from other people super easy. And it's easy for others to find and share *your* content too!
Try this feature by selecting “Tribes” from the left-hand menu, then follow the on-screen prompts. Tailwind will then suggest some tribes for you to join based on your content, topics and niche. For most tribes, you will have to request to join and wait for approval but this usually happens very quickly.
From there, Tailwind gives you a whirlwind tour of how tribes work and where to find everything you need:
Once you create your pin and add it to a few of your boards and into your Tailwind Tribes (don’t forget to check the rules first!), your pin will keep getting repinned and discovered by more and more people.
To maximize your Pinterest affiliate marketing activities, try a combination of merchant’s pre-made pins and/or images, as well as pins you have created yourself. You can learn a ton and become a better affiliate by seeing which ones get the most repins, clicks and sales. Have fun!