The age of interruption is over for Internet Marketing.
If you happen to be selling anything online, the question that all internet marketing experts fail to answer for you is not: How do you get someone’s attention if you’re marketing an online business?
…because that’s the easy part.
The easy part is clear messaging, compelling creative, and the art of persuasion.
In other words, all those old-school affiliate marketing tactics that some “expert” taught you…where bloggers promote taking surveys for income, or write a 300 word post about someone else's course, or promote some out of date product with a crappy sales page and a clickbait headline…those tactics don't work anymore.
The market finally caught up.
Even though I just dissed affiliate marketing, some of the links included in this article are, in fact, affiliate partner links. However, the difference is that the article is not solely about linking to another product. The article is intended to help you take away some actionable steps to grow your business.
But what if you have all the right components in place…maybe you’re promoting your own products, or at least a trusted, high-ticket affiliate offer that you can personally stand behind, and you’re still not getting results? Keep reading sister, this blog post is all about common mistakes that small businesses make with their ads, and what the digital agencies don’t want you to know!
So the question is not “how do you get people to click on your ad” the question is actually:
How do you best optimize for conversion to get a profitable ROI (return on investment) if you’re running an online ad?
People are immune to online ads. You scroll right by them don’t you?
You know the ads I’m talking about right…those people who post a snazzy photo of themselves on Facebook with a really long monologue about how they’re going to help you lead the laptop lifestyle? First of all, what differentiates one of those ads over another? Some fake likes that you can buy cheaply from other countries? And who actually has time to read that dissertation or sit through a mediocre webinar with a bad sale pitch at the end?
Not this bossbabe.
Don’t get me wrong…webinars are a great middle of the funnel tool.
Wait, selling online…”Middle of the Funnel”…what does that mean?
Middle of the funnel means that you’re hyper-targeting your digital marketing campaign specifically to a group of people who already know, like, and trust you. Selling online is actually not that much different from selling in person when it comes to the methodology. It's just the tactics that are different.
If you’re marketing to a cold audience (which is what most small business owners do the first time they run an online ad) then that webinar isn’t going to produce the results you’re anticipating.
If you’ve never heard of the term “cold audience” it just means that you’re choosing your ad targeting based on people’s interests, location, gender, or age. In other words, you’re targeting “new” people who don’t know you.
So how do you get results (i.e.; a good ROI) if you’re targeting a cold audience? Well first lets address what platform you’re using. You probably already know that you can run paid ads on all the platforms. Before you run any paid ads though, it’s best to rewind and look at the platforms from a different angle.
From the agency angle.
How do I know the agency angle?
I worked in corporate and agency marketing for 14 years before I started my business. (Don’t judge, it was hard to give up a full time income for something risky). But my kiddos needed me. And I needed a way to be more present as a mother.
Back to the point of this article.
What does the internet marketing data suggest?
Start by looking at some stats. I think its important to do this because we now live in the age of information, and online data is black and white. It’s not grey like it used to be in traditional marketing. Here’s that the data says:
In the 2019 state of social media report, Buffer’s research concluded that 93% of businesses now use Facebook for advertising, by the way, in case you’re wondering about the other top networks, 84% use Twitter, 80% Instagram, 70% LinkedIn and 60% YouTube. BUT the kicker is, only 28% use Pinterest.
So this gives you a picture of where the competition is.
But lets take that one step more granular, because most people choose Facebook because they believe “everybody” is on Facebook, or because they’ve been sucked into the aforementioned crappy Facebook ads.
First decide if your exact target audience is likely to click on one of those ads on Facebook.
Depending upon who your exact target customer actually is, Pinterest is the best kept secret in online marketing.
I know what you’re thinking…how is this possible since most people are on Facebook, and if it is possible…well then can Pinterest work for my business too?
Lets talk about who your target audience is first to see if Pinterest can work for you.
But first, we need to dig into that data a little further to see why this makes sense.
If your business is targeting people outside of the US, well you’re in luck because 80% of the people who use Instagram are from outside the US. Oh yeah, and Facebook owns Instagram.
But here’s something…if your business targets upper middle class, educated women from the United States, guess where 80% of your audience hangs out?
Yeah, it’s Pinterest.
More specifically, lets think about what those female head of households are looking at and shopping for online…if your business has anything to do with:
Homes; Home Decor; Home Improvement
Books and Education
DIY, Crafts, Sewing
Health and Wellness (especially alternative medicine)
Travel and Adventure
Gardening and Landscaping
If you business has anything to do with the above and you’re not leveraging the power of Pinterest, you might want to start thinking about it.
Not sure you believe that women head of households make most of the buying decisions? Have you read Why She Buys? It’s a good one for understanding the psychology behind how to market and sell to a modern woman.
As a small business, we know it’s hard to master the nuances of every social platform, you just can’t be everywhere.
I wish I learned this sooner, because I really tried to master every platform early on.
I've been running Facebook ads for my clients since 2014. I did creative design, copywriting, and website maintenance as well…dating all the way back to 2010. For a long time I took on freelance work simply because it paid the bills.
But now things are very different in the world of digital marketing now from it's humble beginnings in 2010. It began before that, but the world started noticing around 2010.
It’s been an exciting time in this age of digital transformation, because we’ve all learned that each social platform works well for very different purposes, it’s really just a matter of applying the right strategy and then leveraging the one(s) that works for your target customer.
My best advice? Start with one network.
Especially if you’re a small business or even a Freelancer.
When you’re a small business, whether selling products or your own services, you need to fill all the roles. You’re the “doer” you’re your own “salesperson” you’re the designer, the developer, the marketer. You’re always marketing your own brand whether you think so or not.
Background on Attraction Marketing
As a small business, as your own brand marketer, your goal is always to attract a loyal tribe of people that subscribe to the same beliefs, attitudes, and values as you do. Attraction marketing can be polarizing, and that’s okay. The goal is to attract the people who want and need what you have to offer and repel the people who don’t.
We’re in the midst of a paid ad market correction at the moment.
What is a paid ad market correction?
It’s actually the same macro-economics that you probably learned about in high school…when too many businesses are “selling” the exact same thing, it drives the price down and the competition up. More specifically, this is applicable to running paid ads on Facebook. Lets look at an example.
If you run Facebook ads the wrong way, you’ll get caught up in paying out the wazoo for your CPC (cost per click). Back in 2014, CPC was about $0.40 cents per click. Now it’s well over $3.00 per click. That’s an absolute waste of money unless you have the proper system in place.
How do you know if you have the proper system in place?
The top 3 questions to ask yourself before you run a paid ad:
1. Who is your target audience?
This may seem obvio, especially since we just discussed it above, but you really have to zero in and be crystal clear. Here are the cold, hard facts: your audience targeting numbers need to be between 100,000 and 500,000 in order to be effective.
Anybody can figure out how to press the button on the ads manager, but if you’re looking at the sidebar and seeing that your audience size is 20 to 50 million, you’re way off base. Prefer to hire us for a strategy consultation? View our Services Here.
That means that you need to zero in on your targeting. Do you need some help to zero in on your targeting? Download my FREE Find Your Nice worksheet and Guide. This will help you really hone in on who you’re targeting. Because if you think you’re targeting women, ages 18-45, who live in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, then you’re not going to get good results with your paid ads. Ahem, let me say that again because it's important: You're going to LOSE YOUR SHIT on Facebook ads if you can't zero in on your audience.
You need to be much more specific.
2. Do you have a product or a service that you’re selling?
This is rather simple, if you don’t have a product or a service, don’t run paid ads. The quickest way to lose money with paid ads is to try to market a product that isn’t yours. In other words, trying to market only affiliate products using paid ads is not a sustainable business model. Unless you have a huge enormous audience already with 100,000 followers or 50,000 email list subscribers, you’re better off waiting until you actually have something that will give you some type of return on investment. Now this strategy is different for small businesses who have a loyal audience and have developed rapport with their audience. Remember, we’re talking about paid ads here in this paragraph, it’s a different strategy.
3. Do you have the right system in place for followup?
By the right system, I mean you need a landing page that is formatted properly, an automated followup sequence, and even a tripwire. These 3 components are the absolute basics when it comes to having a system in place. No system, no dice.
So then what if you have all these things in place but you’re still not getting results?
Here are two options: We offer different packages for all of your needs, whether you’re just starting with your strategy and you want some help getting a plan together right from the beginning, or you’ve been playing around with social media and not having much success so you’re ready to pass off the day to day management.
If you don’t have a big budget, but you want to learn as much as you can to leverage the power of the Pinterest platform for your own business (or, if you're interested in learning Pinterest Marketing Strategy so that you can apply the techniques yourself or offer it as a specialized service to your own social media marketing clients), I encourage you to check out my mini-course: The Pinterest Business Plan
What are you waiting for? Hire me to help you with your Pinterest Marketing today and turn that dream into a reality!
Considering the Pinterest mini-course but you want a little test drive first? Get started for FREE with this checklist!
Pinterest for Business: Your Guide to Proper SEO + Keyword Research
Are you using Pinterest for business effectively? Pinterest is a search engine, in other words, it’s a place for research and discovery, just like Google. The difference is that Pinterest is visual…in fact Pinterest is the largest visual search engine in the world!
While most people tend to think Pinterest is a social media network, it's very different from other social networks in that by using proper SEO techniques, pins can be continuously discovered for years! My best performing pin is actually from 2014.
A user of Pinterest could be actively searching for ideas like recipes, DIY, and home decor, or they could be passively searching for dreams, plans, and goals without even realizing it. Unlike other social networks like Facebook or Twitter, your content has the potential to show up in front of people who are not yet “following” you. But in order to get your content seen by the right target audience, you need to add very specific words and phrases in just the right places…and this is called SEO or search engine optimization.
Here’s an example:
If I type in a phrase such as “chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing” I would expect each different photo that appears in the search results to lead to a website with a recipe for chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing when I click on it. It doesn’t matter if the pin was posted in 2014 or yesterday, if the picture and the words match what I’m searching for, then Pinterest is smart enough to know that and return the results when someone is searching. Pinterest is so smart, in fact, that it can even discern what the picture is even if there isn’t any text to accompany the picture.
Smart and savvy businesses can use the power of Pinterest search to get discovered. Niche businesses with target customers who match the primary users of the platform tend to do quite well. The reason is because the nature of a search engine is to return the results with the closest match to what the user is searching for. It’s a great way to ensure the right people find your content. This translates into something called attraction marketing, in other words, hyper-qualified leads that are actually searching for what your business has to offer. When you are consciously specific and strategic with your choice of keywords and long tail keyword phrases, you have a good chance of attracting your target audience.
What is a keyword and a long tail keyword phrase in the context of Pinterest?
Lets look at the example of the chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. Think about what a user would search for when you would expect this to match their results. Perhaps they are searching for a recipe, so the keyword would be: “chocolate peanut butter cupcakes” while a long tail keyword phrase might be something like: “gluten-free chocolate peanut butter cupcakes recipe.” It’s better to be more specific.
If you only use the keyword “cupcakes” then the search engine isn’t sure what kinds of results to provide, but if you use that long tail keyword phrase, there is no question about what you’re looking for. As a business, the more specific you can be, the better. Notice how this Pin pulls in the keyword description directly from the blog post as well as a pin description with appropriate keywords and hashtags:
How to Ensure Your Pinterest Business Account is Set Up Properly
Every board, board description and pin description should be completely filled in with hyper relevant keywords and phrases that sound natural. Some people make it a practice to “keyword stuff” their descriptions, and this is definitely the wrong way to go about Pinterest optimization. An example of a description with “keyword stuffing” would be:
This board is about cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, peanut butter cupcakes and all things cupcake. Need a cupcake recipe? Here you’ll find cupcake recipes and gluten-free cupcake recipes. Are you hungry for cupcakes? Try one of our cupcake recipes.
As you can see, this paragraph isn’t easily “readable” because it’s too stuffed with the word cupcake. Instead a better board description would be:
This board contains recipes for the best gluten-free cupcakes. You’ll find recipes for all different flavors, each accompanied by a gluten-free recipe option.
The algorithm on Pinterest knows how to categorize your content and share it with those who may not follow you but are interested in the topic; however if you stuff a bunch of words that are either too broad or not hyper-relevant, the algorithm recognizes that and penalizes you by not showing your content to your intended target audience.
Want to learn more about how to get your Pinterest Business account set up for success? Download my FREE Pinterest for Business Getting Started Checklist!
Pinterest SEO for Business
The first step to proper Pinterest SEO is to make sure people are actually searching for what you think they’re searching for. Sometimes we tend to think people are searching for our product or services, but in reality they are using a completely different keyword phrase. For example, when I worked for a digital agency, I was optimizing a website for a client who sold a digital product that helped connect sales and marketing teams.
Initially, I made the assumption that potential customers were searching for the term “sales and marketing alignment” which has a search volume of almost 600 searches each month. In reality, only a fraction of the people searching for the product actually used those exact words. Instead, they used the words “sales enablement” which had 8,900 searches per month. So while proper SEO includes using simple words that fit into your niche, it’s important to research the words and phrases to ensure you are using words that are both relevant as well as highly searched for.
It’s best to keep your descriptions brief and straight to the point. You can use up to 500 characters in your pin description and that also includes hashtags. However, I would recommend keeping your hashtags limited to 3 hyper-relevant tags.
For example, #cupcakes is not super relevant and would be difficult to rank for unless you are a very large and well established account. Instead, you might use a hashtag like #chocolatepeanutbuttercupcakes
Keep in mind Pinterest users are mainly looking at the picture. Pins that are sized at 2 to 3 are the best performers. Most of the time, people won’t click on a rectangular pin because its much smaller and harder to see. If a picture gives someone all the information they need, they will either pin, scroll, or click. Most of the time, people overlook the title and description, but those are important so that Pinterest can properly find and categorize your pins properly. The titles and descriptions don’t need fancy, but they do need to be informative.
5 Places to Put Keywords on Pinterest
1. Your Website First
First and most importantly, optimize your website. When you write a blog post, you should include keywords and long tail keyword phrases into the title and meta-description of the Pinterest image that is attached to that blog post. Alt-text inside the image on your website is specifically meant to describe what the image is showing, it’s not the same as the image description. Alt-text is meant for the visually impaired.
There are two ways to accomplish this. One is by using the Tasty Pins plugin (if you have a WordPress site). The other way is to add the description manually by using the data-pin-description tag inside the code editor.
Why do SEO on your website first?
If your Pinterest account is connected to your website properly, it will pull the meta-data directly from the blog post. In other words, when someone pins your pin directly from your website, the specific information included inside your blog post optimization carries over to the pin.
2. Pin Descriptions
If you’ve already optimized your website, the Pinterest description will carry over and you won’t have to do anything when you pin. The best way to create a brand new pin on Pinterest is by pinning it directly from your website. When the pin image matches the blog post featured image and all the meta-data matches up, Pinterest recognized your pin as high quality. However, there are times when you will want to upload a pin image directly to the platform. The only time I upload a pin image directly is when I direct it to one of my YouTube videos. In that situation, I add a title and description to the pin, and then edit the URL to video or landing page.
Your profile is a great place to add keywords and it’s one that is often overlooked. There are two places you can add them. First, your business name. Include your business name and a brief description of what you do. Pinterest limits the amount of characters in your title, but you can add more inside the profile description.
Use this section to let prospective customers know how you’re going to serve them with the type of content or niche you are in. You can repeat keywords that you used in your business name.
4. Board Titles
In this section, it’s important to consider who your target customer is. Be specific in the types of titles you use. Use hyper-targeted and descriptive keywords and phrases. For example, it’s better to create a board called “cupcakes” and pin cupcake recipes to it rather than creating a more generic board such as “desserts”. While regular people (i.e.: your potential customers) use Pinterest for pleasure and may not care whether their pins get shown to other people, as a business, you want your pins to get shown to people when they are searching for “cupcakes” so your pins have a much better chance of being seen when they are pinned to a “cupcake” board rather than a “dessert” board.
5. Board Descriptions
This is the place where you will tell the user what you pin on the board. Write complete sentences in a natural way. Add a few hyper-relevant sentences about what kind of pins go on the board, and repeat the keyword and long tail keyword phrases.
Know Your Pinterest Audience
Last but not least, the goal with Pinterest SEO is to target your intended audience. Think about it this way: you want to attract the kind of people who will want to consume your content and share it with their friends. If you’re stuck on which keywords to use, my advice is to start with a simple list of 10-15 words or short phrases that you believe people would type into a search to find your content. In the world of marketing and advertising, we create something called a “persona” or an “avatar”. This is your “ideal” customer. Each pin (or piece of advertising) is intended to attract your ideal customer.
Once you get your target audience clicking on your pins and landing on your website or product page, make sure you are using something like the Milotree app to help convert them into Pinterest followers. If they find your content interesting enough to click over from Pinterest, it’s important to wow them with a reason to stick around and follow you for more!
Want to know the most efficient Pinning Strategy inside Tailwind to get all your pins scheduled for the week in 20 minutes or less?
Please note that some of the links included in this article are affiliate partner links. For more information, click here.
Here's the thing…if you're not using Tailwind in the right way, you can waste hours of time trying to make your way through tribe content to get your pins scheduled for the week.
If you landed on this blog post, you probably already know that using Tailwind can up your Pinterest marketing game and send heaps of targeted traffic to your website. But what most professional bloggers leave out is exactly how to accomplish this.
How to Up Your Pinterest Marketing Game
First things first, there are a few pre-requisites before you will completely understand some of the language used in this article because it’s hyper-relevant to Pinterest Marketing, but I’m not going to shame you with yet another affiliate link to someone else’s Pinterest Marketing Course that you have to pay for.
Instead, I’m going to do my best to give you some real, actionable tips that you can start using immediately.
I believe in transparency and authenticity in business, and my goal is to provide real value…always! Cracking the code to Pinterest marketing is like any new tactic, when you’re learning for the first time, you just want to become a sponge and soak up as much information as you can so that you can start making it work for you…as quick as possible!
Although I’m a veteran of digital marketing (I worked in agency and corporate for 14 years) in the grand scheme of things, Pinterest Marketing in particular was fairly new on my radar and to be honest, at the time most corporations who were hiring digital agencies to handle their online marketing campaigns were not looking to use Pinterest.
As I did research and read more about Tailwind, I kept coming across people who would have a killer headline on their pin and blog post (about pinning), and then I’d get to the article and they weren’t actually share any real tips.
Instead of offering value in the blog post, they would ramble on and on about a Pinterest Course they took, then they would share their affiliate link to the course. #ANNOYING
Using Pinterest for Business
If you are still rather new to Pinterest, then I would recommend checking out my Getting Started Checklist before you try to implement the suggestions inside this article.
The Checklist covers the basics of Pinterest for Business, such as making sure your business profile has a good description, creating beautiful and engaging pins, board covers and hyper-relevant descriptions that are loaded with long tail keyword phrases. In addition, joining Group Boards helps with the amplification tactics. If any of the above language sounds confusing, I do offer a comprehensive “mini-course” which will take you from newbie to Pinterest Marketing Expert in a matter of 2 hours or less.
When I first converted my Pinterest account over to a business account, I didn’t think I needed to use Tailwind to see the results. I wasn’t about to pay for yet another tool just because everyone was talking about it.
Without Tailwind, and with some vigorous manual pinning on a daily basis, I was able to get my Pinterest daily views to about 100,000 per month. To break that down, that translated to only about 50 blog page views per day from Pinterest, which isn’t much.
Nobody can make a passive income on 50 website page views a day. Just as a basic frame of reference, to actually start seeing some passive income (i.e.: affiliate commissions) coming in, your website views need to be at least 1,000 per day.
After about 2 months of killing myself, spending time in different Facebook Group threads and manually pinning for 2-3 hours per day (I’m including time to reciprocate in that as well) I was already getting burned out and frustrated with Pinterest. The strategy I keep hearing about wasn’t working, and I was starting to believe that all the digital agencies were right.
I was barely approaching those 50 website visitors per day, and when I wasn’t participating in a group thread, the views were down to 20. Not to mention, those visitors were likely just visiting to reciprocate with support and share my content, not actually because they were interested.
I was desperate to make it work. But two months into using Tailwind, I still wasn’t seeing the results I thought I would. What could I possibly be doing wrong?
I was sharing the Tribe content like crazy. I was spending time in the tribes reciprocating to make sure that I shared pins from everyone who shared mine.
It was taking hours.
What’s up with this 20-minute per week that everyone was talking about?
Finally…the revelation. After some experimenting, and digging deeper, I finally realized what I was missing. Although I was using Tribes, I was not pinning my own content in the right way, and I wasn’t using my Group Boards the right way either!
The Tailwind Secret
There are actually a few secrets:
1. Know exactly how to pin efficiently (view the video below)
2. Ensure that your beautiful pins are not using stock photos (because the algorithm reads the photo)
3. Pin your own content to group boards and other people's content to your own boards
Here’s a short video to illustrate the most efficient way to pin and leverage your Group boards using Tailwind.
So in a nutshell, the Tailwind process looks like this:
Join Relevant Group Boards
Create Board Lists inside Tailwind
Batch Scheduling: In other words, Pin with the Chrome Browser Extension to one hyper-relevant topic at a time (see above video for illustration of how to do this)
In the Draft section, schedule all pins to your Board Lists
Shuffle your queue
PRO-TIP: INTERVAL PINNING
If you don’t currently use a scheduling tool, it’s likely that when your blog post goes live, you pin it to every group board you are a part of. In theory, it seems like a good idea, but for your followers, it comes across as spammy and reduces the number of people who will actually see your pin.
Not only that, Pinterest will ban you for “spamming” even though you're not doing it intentionally.
Instead, click the interval button (it appears when you add more than one board inside the scheduler).
Learn more in my mini-course (because I hate reading blog articles with Clickbait headlines that catch your attention because they posted a vanity metric and then not write about the actual strategy…they just waste your time and direct you to someone elses course through their affiliate link.
Dear Bloggers: That is NOT how you give value to your audience. Unfortunately what the “big time blogger” forgot to tell those people is that promoting their affiliate link without any substance behind the blog post will not only provide mere nickels for your efforts…it will not help you build your audience because people are turned off by the fact that they didn't get any real value.
In any event, I'm not promoting any affiliates here (except Tailwind) which is just a necessary tool if you want to grow your blog.
There's enough room for all of us to thrive online without being stingy about it! My philosophy: GirlBosses Helping GirlBosses = #Vogue
Join my FREE Private Facebook Community where I post about the tactics and techniques that I've learned from working in Corporate and Agency Marketing for over 14 years. I also post share threads for the opportunity to grow your blog and connect with other Social Media Influencers and Online Entrepreneurs! What I don't do is follow the crowd. Join Now!!