Robert: Welcome to the eCommerce Marketing podcast. Today’s guest, we have Carole Rains. Carole is the founder of two eCommerce businesses, Rustic Artistry, which features furniture and décor handcrafted by American artisans and Emu Bliss, a line of all natural skincare products that incorporate the benefits of emu oil. Carole discovered the call of entrepreneurship after having a career first in pharmaceutical marketing and then as a chef. She loves learning about all things eCommerce related and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others in various forums, Facebook groups, and masterminds. Welcome to the eCommerce Marketing podcast, Carole. How are you doing?
Carole: Thanks Robert, I’m great.
Robert: How long have you been doing the Emu Bliss and the Rustic Artistry business?
Carole: I got started with Rustic Artistry in 2013 and launched that that summer and really, really enjoyed the whole eCommerce world and learning all about it, reading lots of blogs, listening to podcasts, and understanding how to market digitally. From that I decided that I wanted to have another eCommerce business that would have more frequent sales because with Rustic Artistry, a lot of my merchandise is furniture and needless to say, those orders are not something that comes in on a daily basis.
Carole: I figured I could take what I know and parlay that into another business and right around that time is when I was first exposed to emu oil, actually through a home décor blog, I was reading from Rustic Artistry. When I did a little bit more research about emu oil, I realized this is a really great product that hardly anybody knows about and it’s super helpful, it’s all natural, and I thought “Well, you know what? If I can get the word out there and some people will feel better from using it and I can make a nickel, then it’s win-win.” About a year ago, actually almost a year ago to the day, I launched http://EmuBliss.com and I’ve been selling that on my website and on Amazon.
Robert: Okay. With Emu Bliss and Rustic Artistry, what types of marketing have you been doing? What are the different marketing channels that you try to get awareness out there and try to attract the customers from?
Carole: I do email campaigns, I do blogger outreach, and of course I do Pinterest and Facebook. Those are my two main social media platforms. I’ve actually also done some print advertising in shelter magazines for Rustic Artistry as well.
Robert: Okay. Today’s topic actually, we are going to be talking about Pinterest marketing, since you’re an expert with Pinterest and eCommerce, but I just wanted to get a background to see all the different channels you’ve been using to grow Rustic Artistry and Emu Bliss. But as far as Pinterest, what are some of the statistics that are out there that support eCommerce businesses using Pinterest as a marketing channel?
Carole: Pinterest has become much more of a search engine and they’re working very hard to make it be a valuable search engine and an alternative to Google.
Carole: Right now, people are able to type in keywords into the search bar for something that they might be interested in purchasing and all kinds of pins will come up for that particular type of item. In fact, 93% of pinners use Pinterest to plan a purchase, so it is definitely worth a business’s time to look at ways that they can get their business in front of people on Pinterest. There’s millions and millions of pinners and it’s not just women, in fact 33% of new Pinterest signups are men. It’s becoming much more gender inclusive now and even companies that sell things like shaving gear are creating Pinterest accounts and doing promoted pins and things like that.
Another reason it’s also good is because a lot of people have purchased something because of Pinterest. The number they give is 87%. I certainly have had people come to my websites via Pinterest and placed orders and for Rustic Artistry, for example, it’s my third largest source of traffic after direct and organic.
Carole: Represents 9% of my traffic and generates more even than my Facebook account.
Carole: There’s lots of ways to use Pinterest for all kinds of products, so décor is certainly an easy one, but there’s ways to incorporate it for many, many different categories based on lifestyle, pins and boards, and I’ll talk about that in a little bit.
Robert: How do you get started with Pinterest marketing? What do you need to do for optimization and integrating Pinterest into your website and into your whole marketing plan?
Carole: Sure. The very first thing is to make sure that you have a ‘Pin It’ button enabled on your website, so that when somebody is hovering over a picture that the little ‘Pin It’ button shows up and that’s really easy to pin. Also, to have links to pin a blog post or a product right on those pages, so there are widgets that Pinterest supplies that are very easy to install onto a website and make it super easy for people to pin things, spur of the moment when they see it.
Carole: Another thing would be to include the ‘Follow Us’ button on your website and again, that’s just a widget that is available through Pinterest and you can stick it right in the header or in the footer. It’s as easy as a couple lines of code that you add and now there’s some place for people to also follow you via your website. Depending on the layout of your site or your blog, you can go even larger than the little button and have a sidebar widget, which actually picks up twelve or fifteen or twenty of the most recent pins and shows those—little thumbnails of those pins, so that people can see at a glance what your pins look like, what style they are, and if it’s something that interests them. Then there’s a ‘Follow Us’ button attached to that.
A couple of other ways on the … If you have an eCommerce business on the ‘Thank You’ page, after somebody’s placed an order, you can include a link there to the Pinterest account. Say “If you’re not following us on Pinterest and Facebook” or any of the other social media accounts, give them the option to do that right at that time that they’ve made a purchase and are feeling good about your business. Another way that I use it, I promote my Pinterest sites is on my business email address. I have a link to Pinterest in my email signature and I use a tool from Wise Stamp to create an email signature that includes the logo and the icons for various social media accounts and people can link to it from that. Also, anytime I do an email blast or an auto-responder, it has the Pinterest icon at the bottom of the email to link to that.
Lastly, I would say promote your Pinterest account on other social medias. On Faccebook, I will post pins with links back to the Pinterest board and sometimes I’ll promote the board itself or the account itself to try to encourage people who are already interested in my business via Facebook, they would likely be interested in following on Pinterest as well. There’s lots of different ways that you can let customers, and potential customers, know that you’ve got a Pinterest account.
Robert: Okay, and once you’ve added and integrated your Pinterest account throughout your website, throughout your email marketing, your whole ecosystem, then how do you start to market your business within Pinterest?
Carole: Okay, so Pinterest you create boards, and one thing that’s very, very important for business owners to keep in mind, is that those boards are not there just to be an alternate product catalog. A board that consists of nothing but photos of your products is not actually going to do very well. What you have to do on Pinterest is create boards that are centered around the lifestyle of your target audience. Let’s say somebody had dance wear and rather than just having boards that show their different dance wear, there might be boards that show hairstyles for dancers, or stretching exercises, all different kinds of things that relate to the lifestyle. Then what you can do is slip in product pins every once in a while. I’ll give you an example of Rustic Artistry.
Carole: I pin lots of photos of lodges and cabin décor and ranches and really, really beautiful interiors with a rustic aesthetic and then I will incorporate a pin every now and again that’s a piece of furniture or an accessory that is relevant to that. But it’s not really so in-your-face that I’m a business and buy my stuff, it’s much more to just get them involved in the whole lifestyle of what your brand is about.
The other thing is when creating pins, it’s really important to make sure that the descriptions are keyword optimized. This has become very important now that Pinterest is such a search tool, so if your pin description does not have the keywords in it, it’s not going to be able to be found by search. It’s very, very important to keyword optimize the descriptions. Another good policy to follow is to put the link to the product page, or your website, or your blog post, or whatever it is you want to link to, include that in the description itself as well as the source of the pin, because if it’s in the description somebody can click right on that. It’ll take them right to your website, as opposed to having to click on the pin and enlarge it and go through a couple of extra steps to get to your website. Always put the link in the description as well as in the pin source.
Carole: Another thing you want to do is keep boards fresh, so if somebody has put in their product pins six months ago or twelve months ago, it’s fine to go ahead and re-pin those because there’s new followers, there’s new people coming on all the time. Pinterest is always picking and choosing what they show, so just because you’ve pinned a product pin previously, does not mean it can’t go again. I would encourage people to do that because it’s going to get them in front of a lot of new eyes.
One other way to get in front of a lot of people is to create a join group boards. There’s a website called http://PinGroupie.com, which has curated pretty much all of the group boards on Pinterest and you can sort them by category and see which ones you would want to try and join. By joining a group board then you can pin to that and suddenly now your pins are in front of all those followers. In addition, if you create a group board, you can invite people to pin on that and then again, that board goes into their account and all their followers will see that board. It increases your exposure exponentially.
Robert: How do you spell Pin Groupie?
Carole: P-I-N G-R-O-U-P-I-E.
Robert: Okay. http://PinGroupie.com
Robert: The whole goal with creating these boards and getting more followers is just to get more people to look at the boards and to get traffic and does engagement play a big part in any of this? Do you have to actively engage with your followers? Is it encouraged? Or just having the boards and doing everything you’ve said, is that good enough to…?
Carole: Engagement on Pinterest is measured a little bit differently than on other social media and there’s not the kind of back and forth in commenting as you would see on Facebook, for example. There is an ability to comment, it just simply doesn’t get much use on Pinterest. What I do is I use a program called Tailwind App and it will show me who has pinned from my website. I can go in on that pin and click the little heart and at least they get a notification that I liked the pin, or I could actually put something in the comment that says “Thanks for pinning.” They’ll get a notification and the good thing about that is that there’s—now there’s one other time that my brand name has gotten in front of them, and it’s just a little reminder.
Carole: That’s one way. Pinterest looks at engagement in terms of how often your pins are being re-pinned, so if it’s getting a lot of re-pins, then that’s considered good engagement.
Carole: In Tailwind, you can actually see what your engagement is. I have, I think about 95% of my pins have been re-pinned and the average is twenty-something per pin, so that’s really—that’s great. It means that I’m pinning the right stuff and it’s resonating with people. If you’re not getting re-pins, you might want to think about what the content is because obviously it’s just not having enough interest.
Robert: Okay. With engagement in Pinterest, you don’t have to worry about a lot of the commenting and going back and forth with your followers.
Carole: Nope, you really don’t. You kind of just put it out there and then if it’s a good pin, it’ll take off on its own, and it’ll get re-pinned, and re-pinned, and re-pinned. In fact, even with the promoted pins, which Pinterest introduced, you can spend money to promote a pin to a specific target audience, but even when you’ve turned that campaign off, those promoted pins will continue to be re-pinned and generate views, and traffic, and potentially sales, even when you’re not spending money on them anymore. They live on in perpetuity, so that’s one of the nice things about promoted pins, is that it’s not out of sight, out of mind because a good pin will continue to be shared and it just—it’s like dominoes, it just keeps going and going.
Robert: Okay. You mentioned that Tailwind app that you use for your Pinterest.
Robert: Does it work with other social networks or is that app specific just for Pinterest?
Carole: There is a way to link it with Instagram and share your images on both Instagram and Pinterest through their scheduling tool.
Robert: Okay. How do you spell the Tailwind app?
Robert: Okay. Last question I have as far as Pinterest is, can you collect emails from Pinterest?
Carole: Yes, and I had been … I found a way to do that really successfully and again, it involves having a good visually interesting pin, but I use a tool called Pic Monkey, and that’s P-I-C http://M–O–N–K–E–Y.COM, it’s a graphics creation tool, it’s similar to Canva. What I did was I created a tall, narrow pin, which is always how you want your pins to be, tall and narrow so that they get more real estate.
Carole: I did it as a collage with five different images, and the center image was a call of action that was announcing an email newsletter that I had and was a topic that was interesting to people, it was how to decorate with cowhide, and the pin linked to my sign up form, the description linked to my sign up form, and the source of the pin linked to my sign up form. I’d driven a lot of people to that sign up page, which is right on the website, gotten tons of signups. The pin has been re-pinned thousands of times and it still continues to get re-pinned even though I first pinned it more than a year ago.
Carole: The other thing is that every couple of months, I’ll put it up on my board again because I’m getting … I have maybe twenty or thirty new followers a day, so there’s a lot of new—a lot of people who’d never saw that. You can do that with a pin like this and just post it up again to the same board or to other boards and it starts the process all over again, but it’s very important to make sure that it’s got good images in it that are going to catch people’s eye, and that your offer is something that’s interesting to them. I would suggest if anybody has a really popular blog post, to create that and drive people to a sign up page. In fact, rather than driving them just directly to the blog post, direct them to a sign up page, and then just make sure that as soon as they sign up, your auto-responder is created so that that blog post is the first thing that they receive right out of the gate.
Robert: Carole, thanks for sharing all these strategies on Pinterest marketing. You actually mentioned some tools when you were talking, are there any other tools that eCommerce marketers can use outside of Pinterest marketing, or some tools you use to help with your whole marketing strategy?
Carole: My favorite tool is Tailwind, and it’s an analytics tool that goes above and beyond what is available in the Pinterest business analytics, because it also has a great scheduling tool in it. The beauty of that is that rather than having to deal with finding and pinning pins every day in order to stay active, you can spend an hour at one point just putting a whole bunch of things into the queue. Then you have a schedule and you can decide how many pins you want to go out on each given day and what times, and Tailwind will actually suggest optimal times. Then it will just put them out on schedule, so you could do everything for a whole week, just all at one time, or have a VA do it, and that way you don’t have to think about it, but yet you’ve got fresh content going out every day, throughout the day. To me, that’s invaluable at making sure that I have a presence and an active presence on Pinterest.
Robert: How can people reach you if they wanted to contact you, Carole?
Robert: Okay, any final thoughts? Are there things that we left out as far as Pinterest marketing, or just some things you may want to share?
Carole: I would just suggest that everybody create—there’s really not very many businesses that can’t find a way to get exposure on Pinterest because people are looking for all kinds of things and information as well. Even businesses that do marketing services, they are all over Pinterest and people are learning and re-pinning from these services all the time. It’s free and basically all the traffic you get—there’s a time involved for it, but you don’t have to pay to be on Pinterest so it can really generate good traffic and good brand exposure. I consider it very, very good for brand name exposure.
Robert: Okay. Last question, what is one thing an eCommerce business can do right now to help grow their business? Is there one thing that you would recommend or suggest for any eCommerce business that they can do right now? It can be—it doesn’t have to be Pinterest, but just any one thing you think that can help any business to grow.
Carole: Oh, that’s a good one. Top of mine, because we’re talking about Pinterest, would be to just make sure you’ve got the ‘Pin It’ button added.
Carole: Even if you don’t have an account, that gets people pinning your content and your products onto their boards and it gets it out to other people. That’s a simple little thing, it takes five minutes, and after that you’re done. Now, all of a sudden, you’ve got exposure, so I would say do that.
Robert: Thanks for being on the podcast, Carole.
Carole: Thank you, Robert. I enjoyed it.