How to actually make Etsy sales with Pinterest

Pinterest is an AMAZING tool for driving traffic to your Etsy shop, but most Etsy shop owners have no idea how to effectively use it. Learn how to use your Pinterest account strategically and efficiently to market your Etsy shop and make sales every single day! >>

Pinterest is an INSANELY effective marketing tool for Etsy sellers-- there’s no doubting that. You know it and you’ve heard it a gazillion times.

But do you actually believe it?

Using Pinterest to sell product is a mystery to A LOT of Etsy sellers-- they KNOW they’re supposed to be using Pinterest to sell their product, but they are at a loss as to how (raise your hand if this is you-- it’s totally been me, too!)

And here’s the thing: If your Pinterest strategy consists of simply clicking the small “pin it” button on one of your listings, then you are BARELY scratching the surface of everything that Pinterest can do for your small biz. No wonder you aren’t seeing the surge in traffic you want-- the simple listing images you’re pinning aren’t optimized to be effective, converting pins.

There’s a SMARTER way to pin and it is going to seriously level up your pinning game-- it’s all about creating pins that are clickable, and funnel those visitors directly into your Etsy shop.

But first things first-- for any of these tips to work, you’re going to need a blog/website separate from your Etsy shop.

If you don’t already have one, I recommend getting set-up Squarespace (it’s what I use + love!) --it’s RIDICULOUSLY intuitive and super inexpensive. You don’t need anything super fancy or complicated-- you just need somewhere to post content (your “blog”), which is what your Pins are going to link to.

Because if you want to make sales on Pinterest, you’re going to need to give a little (or a lot) before you ask (which is where SO many Etsy sellers go wrong. You cannot just ask, ask, ask. It doesn’t work like that). You want your potential customers to see you as a trustworthy + a valuable resource. And when they start to see you as that? That’s when the sales come flooding in.

I promise you-- this is going to make ALL the difference in your Pinterest marketing game. This is going to seriously launch your sales out of this world, and this will be the first step to making a name for yourself-- as more than just an Etsy shop-- but as a real-deal brand + company. You know, one that drives its own traffic and can (and will!) eventually host its own e-commerce site!

 

CREATING CONTENT FOR PINTEREST

(Let me start by saying that this is going to require a bit of work up front. Just thought I would tell you now so you don’t start hating on me in a few days :)

You’re new (+ improved!) Pinterest strategy is based on providing real, genuine value for your customers. This means not just pinning photos, not just pinning product. Pinning real-deal valuable content for your audience. And the best way to do this?

Through blogging (aka content marketing).

Now stay with me here! I’m not talking about blogging every week-- you probably don’t have time for that, and that’s okay! As a handmade product-based seller, you have other obligations that take up a lot of time, and blogging shouldn’t be one of them.

But creating a couple evergreen (meaning not time-sensitive. These posts can be read a year from now and still be relevant) posts once a month (and even less, as you build up your post archives!) has the potential to do AMAZING things for your business.

CONTENT MARKETING TOPICS + IDEAS

So what the heck can you actually post about? I remember when I first started blogging for my Etsy shop, I was completely underwhelmed by the ideas (or lack thereof) that I had for my shop. I sell baby headbands...to me, there just wasn't anything else to say about it!

  • Behind the scenes
    • Particularly with hand-made, solopreneur businesses, customers shop with you because they are interested in YOU + YOUR STORY. They’re interested in your ideas, how you got to where you are, how you develop product, and why you do what you do.

This also initiates a personal connection between customers + the brand because they’re able to give a face to the business, which will result in more sales

  • Product Roundup
    • This is one of my absolute FAVORITES because it can seriously put your products in front of THOUSANDS of new, targeted customers super fast. Pick a theme for your product roundup (make sure it’s applicable to one of your products!) and select items that support that theme.
      • Bonus tip- Email all of the shops you included on the roundup and encourage them to share your post on their social media!
        • Example: 10 Must-Have Floral Prints for Fall
  • Tutorial
    • This is a great topic if you get a ton of similar questions about your product. Simply create a step-by-step tutorial that you can use to drive traffic + link to whenever you are asked the question again
      • Example: The Step-By-Step Guide to Using Your Baby Wrap
  • Freebie
    • Everyone loves freebies, so why not give some to your loyal fans? Creating something that is useful + relevant to your audience and brand is a great way to start building loyalty. Plus, a lot of freebies go viral on Pinterest-- so it’s definitely something worth looking into :)
      • Example- A free art print with a motivational quote
  • Inspirational
    • People are constantly seeking out new ideas and inspiration, and this is a great way to showcase your product. Consider showing how your items look in day-to-day life, how they coordinate with other items in your shop, and unique uses for your items that your customers may not have thought of
      • Example: 7 Ways to Style a Scarf for Winter
  • Collaboration
    • One of the fastest (and easiest!) ways to increase your audience is to partner up with another shop that shares your target market (note- this is not someone that sells the same product as you! Pick a shop that has complementary products so they are not in direct competition). Offer to guest post on their site in exchange for a post on yours.

 

CREATING PINNABLE GRAPHICS

Once you’ve created 2-3 content pieces for your business blog (using any/all of the ideas above), it’s time to create graphics-- and this is where your Pinterest strategy really comes into play-- you’re going to want to create visually appealing, clickable Pinterest graphics that will link to your blog and the content that you’ve written there.

I used Adobe Illustrator for all of my graphics, but it has a decent learning curve if you aren’t already familiar with it. Other popular choices include Photoshop or Canva (this one is super user-friendly!).

So what makes up a pinnable graphic?

1 | Large Easy to Read Text

It’s been proven that people are much more likely to click through to the actual post/image website when there is text on the Pin.

Why is this?

Because by providing descriptive CTA (call to action) text on your images, you’re letting people know what they can expect to find when they click through to your blog. So the people that click through? These are your people! They already know that they want the information you provide, so they’re genuinely interested when they land on your website.

And why does this matter so much? Well, a beautiful image is definitely pinnable and will get repins over time, but the clicking through? That’s the actual “conversion” part of Pinterest and is the main reason you’re on their in the first place! You want your pins to be beautiful and clickable to drive that traffic!

Your text should be on-brand (obviously!), but it should be in an easy-to-read font + color-- don’t try and squish 9pt text into the corner of your graphic-- no one can read that! And with more and more Pinterest users surfing from their mobile devices, it’s important that the text is large enough to read from ANY screen.

The color of the text is important, too. You want it to stand-out (but not in an awful laser-lemon sort of way) so that it’s one of the first things people notice about the image. The text is the part of your Pin that will help it convert.

 

2 | Vertical (NOT horizontal) images

Ah, I love Etsy for SOOOOO many reasons, but I absolutely hate that their “preferred” photo size is a horizontal crop-- which is useful just about nowhere but on Etsy.

You know by now that Pinterest prefers long, vertical images (because every image is the same width on Pinterest, regardless of the length), so why are you pinning the photos you use on your Etsy shop?

The photos/graphics you pin to Pinterest should be made specifically for Pinterest. Yes, this is a little bit more work up front re-cropping images, but the lifespan of 6+ months on Pinterest makes the initial effort pay for itself 10x over.

But what do you do if the only images you got from your photographer were horizontal and you can’t find a decent way to crop them?

Create a photo collage! This can be as simple as adding 2 photos together (to create 1 longer photo), or combining product shots artistically. You can also add a text portion to the graphic along the top or bottom to lengthen your image. Whatever you do, you want to make sure that your image is vertical. I recommend images sized at around 800 x 1200px--it’s a pretty standard size for pins.

3 | Use a consistent style guide

If you’re serious about turning your Etsy shop into a profitable, full-time income, you’ve probably put some thought into branding + a style guide for your shop (if you haven’t, I recommend getting started on that as soon as possible!). The pins you put out there should do the same.

I know it’s super hard when you’re starting out--you’re not sure what will work, so you want to try “all the things” and experiment a lot.

Experimenting is great and super important-- it’s the easiest way to help you analyze what is working and what isn’t (ie- if your pins perform better with your graphics featuring studio shots vs. modeled of your product)

But all good things must come to an end, and it’s important that you nail down a consistent style guide as soon as possible. This doesn’t have to be set in stone-- you can change it as your brand grows and evolves, but having consistency early on is going to be KEY to getting your brand easily recognized on Pinterest.

Here are some things to consider when determining your Pinterest style guide:

  • The photographs editing
  • Font selection
  • Color selection
  • Text placement
  • Wording
  • Pin layout

Because here’s the deal: There are over 100 million Pinterest users out there all competing for space on the Internet-- and you NEED to stand out + be recognizable to make your Pinterest marketing effective.

Think back to the last time you were on Pinterest and a pin caught your eye, you pinned it, and then another very similar pin caught your eye--and you realized it was from the same person. I’m willing to bet that person gained a little credibility in your eyes because, hello, people are pinning multiple things from that same website!

So creating a style guide for your pins? Yes, please!

And the best part? If you’ve already created your brand style guide, you don’t have to start from scratch on this! I recommend following your brand style guide and creating around 3-5 graphic “templates” that you can essentially copy + paste in photos/text super quick. Having a style guide in place for your pins will save you SOOOOOOOOO much time in the long run--I promise!

 

4 | Include your website on each graphic

Sometimes pin will get “broken,” meaning that they won’t link to the correct place (your website!), and sometimes (rarely, thank goodness!) people will try and use your images for their own pins (*shudders*).

Every time that happens, you’re losing valuable traffic that should be yours. Let’s not let that happen, okay?!

The best place to add your website handle is in the footer-- you can see mine in the image at the top of this blog post :) Nothing super big (let’s be honest-- people aren’t pinning your content just so that they can have your website address-- they’re pinning because they love the subject that your pin is about!)- keep it smaller than your headliner text, but still readable. This way, if the pin gets broken or “borrowed,” people will STILL know where it came from, should they care to check back. And broken links? Boom-- problem solved! They’ll know EXACTLY where to go to find that content they are looking for!

(Oh, and remember what I’ve said before about people needing to see your product 7 times before they make a purchase? Yeah, adding your website name to all of your pins will help your brand get more easily recognized and seen--and completely unforgettable :)


The most important thing to remember when implementing a new Pinterest strategy (or really any marketing strategy for that matter...) is that it takes time.

Don't get discouraged and especially do NOT quit just because you aren't seeing the results you want in just a couple of days-- It usually takes a couple of months to get things to really take off (and once they do, it just gets easier and easier and you'll wonder why it took you so long to get started in the first place!).