Dear Socially Stephanie,
I have an online store that sells products for the pampered pet: you know, doggy outfits, cat caviar, that kind of thing. While we do well throughout the year, obviously we do most of our business around the holiday season. With Christmas and Hanukkah coming up, I really want to ramp up our Pinterest traffic. What should I do?
Doggy Duds in Denver
Dear Doggy Duds,
Can I get a woof woof? I like what I'm hearing. Your head is definitely in the right place and while it is still October, it is NOT too soon to start decking those online halls with boughs of holly. Follow my advice and I've got a pretty good feeling that you're going to want to find me under the mistletoe and give me a kiss of gratitude.
The fact that you want to focus on Pinterest makes me very happy. Pinterest to retail is what milk is to Oreos: they just go together. Not only does Pinterest increase traffic, with about 25% of retail traffic coming directly from Pinterest, it can also increase money in your cash register. Pinterest referrals spend about twice as much per order versus Facebook and Twitter shoppers. Would you rather have someone spend $160 on a purchase, or $80? I can see the dollar signs in your eyes.
The first step is getting your website Pinterest-ready. Each product on your site should be a rich pin on Pinterest. What's a rich pin? You know when you're browsing on Pinterest and you see a price tag? Well, that's a rich pin. Don't worry about the technical jargon behind it, just know this: You need them.
Rich pins are important because they make it easier for Pinners to buy your stuff. Plus, they'll receive a notification when the product goes on sale. Quick tip-if you've noticed an item you sell being heavily pinned, you might want to put it on sale right before Black Friday. This way, shoppers will receive a notification, and the next thing you know you're shipping out that cat tuxedo as soon as post offices re-open after Thanksgiving!
Now, make sure each and every one of your product pages has a "pin this" button. This is important, since 70% of Pinterest engagement is driven by fans. That's real people sharing and pinning your diamond encrusted dog collar to their friends. We want as much of that as possible. The easier you make an action, the more people will do it. The more products you have floating around on Pinterest, the more you'll have in sales as people hit the site for ideas and inspiration for their furry companions.
Now that we're on the topic of real consumers pinning your products, let's discuss ways to increase that action. How about a PinItToWinIt Contest? Before you start growling at the thought of it, listen to me. Contests work! And a contest designed to increase the number of your products in Pinterest-land is going to make you a happy camper. Besides increased product pins and increased reach, you'll also have an opportunity to build your email list before Thanksgiving when you have to really push the selling.
You've only got a month here, so we need to get to work.
The first thing is coming up with the contest. How about having your fans come up with an inspiration board that represents their pet's ideal life? These should be made up of pinned products you sell at your store. For the prize, let's double down. The best board will win a gift certificate to buy the items they pinned, as well as gift certificate for their dog's BFF. Why two? Well, in the words of a very smart dog-Snoop Dogg-"it ain't no fun, if the homies can't have none." But besides that, it also opens up your business to a new shopper who, through social referrals, now knows about you.
Now that you've built your email list and given away two gift certificates, you can offer exclusive discounts for items each person has pinned. Do this through targeted email marketing directed to your contest entrants. Talk about insight! Plus, did I mention that everything pinned from both winners and losers isn't going anywhere? Oh yes, it's there to stay in Pin Heaven!
Lastly, as you might have heard by now, Pinterest just introduced promoted pins. Got something you really want to get out there? Awesome-promote it and see where it takes you.
Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?
Please email [email protected] and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)
Illustration by Jesse Wells