Arlen: Welcome to the eCommerce marketing podcast, everyone. I am your host Arlen Robinson, and today we’ve got a very special guest Melissa Megginson, Melissa is Community Manager and resident Cat Lady at Tailwind, the leading visual marketing tool for brands. As Community Manager at Tailwind, it is her job to make Tailwind’s members look GOOD and find success in their marketing efforts. In her 7 years at Tailwind, Melissa has won an ADDY award, worked with major brands like Adobe and JCPenney, and recently graduated with an MBA from the University of Oklahoma.

Melissa: Thank you so much, Arlen. I’m so happy to be here. 

Arlen: Yeah, no problem. And I’m excited to speak to you because today’s topic is going to really be all about interest.

The Pinterest, excuse me, and how an eCommerce brand can really use it to boost their traffic and sales. Because from what I’ve heard from you, that it’s, the traffic on Pinterest is really at an all time high, which is exciting because I’ve kind of seen. Pinterest from the very beginning and I’m, I’m excited to see what you have to say about that, but before we get into all of that, if you can let us know a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today.

Melissa: Yes. I’m kind of lucky in that I fell into my position after I graduated. College with my undergrad degree, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I wanted to be when I grew up and was scrolling through jobs on our college job board solved one for a company called , which is tailwind way back in the day and thought.

It was part of Pinterest, actually. I thought I was applying to Pinterest when I sent in my resume, which our name back in the day was a little confusing and a lot of people thought we were Pinterest, but after talking to our CEO, I realized that it was not Pinterest and that very, very small. Pinterest marketing firm that had opened up at the time, it was just our two cofounders and one other person and joined back then right out of college.

This was my first job, my first real job I ever had, and I haven’t left since, and it’s been just incredible to watch the company grow from our four employees with only 50 members to almost 60 employees with pushing a million members around the world. So it’s been crazy seven years. 

Arlen: That’s awesome. It’s really interesting story.

Yeah. You just seemed like he kind of stumbled into it because you thought it was Pinterest and it was kind of, it seems like he kind of had an oopsie moment, but it turns out that it looks like it worked for your benefit. 

Melissa: So far so good. 

Arlen: Yeah. That sounds good. Well, yeah. Thanks for sharing that. And you know, for the listeners that are not that familiar with Pinterest, because I guess you could say it’s still kind of up and coming, or maybe it isn’t.

I don’t know. It just depends, I guess, what circles you’re in as far as the social platforms that you’re familiar with, but for those people that aren’t familiar with Pinterest, why don’t you tell us a little bit about it and really what you can do on that social platform. 

Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. People who do know about Pinterest likely think of it as a place that people plan their weddings or get recipes for family dinners and build their dream home.

And while it is that, it’s also largely a search engine. We think about Pinterest as a. Social media platform, but it’s actually a visual search engine. And so keywords are super, super important on Pinterest. And another odd thing about it versus. Things like Instagram or tailwind is Pinterest actually wants you to get off of their website.

They are providing pens to you, which is when you’re scrolling on Pinterest, the things that you’re saying on your feed, those are the pens, and when you click into them and go to the website. That’s the goal of Pinterest. It’s to show you things that she may be interested in, so you can then collect them onto your boards, which are just different segments to collect pens, and then you can click through and go to a website, read an article, make that recipe, or make a purchase on the website.

So it’s very, very different. Versus, you know, Instagram where you have your one link in your bio, they really want you to stay on the platform and not leave Instagram. They make it very difficult to do that. But Pinterest is wanting you to actually go to other people’s websites and drive traffic. To other websites.

So it’s very different and very unique in that way. And since it is a little bit less known than some of the other networks out there, it’s still really amazing for organic traffic and for driving those sales. 

Arlen: I appreciate that explanation. And when you were describing all of that, I was thinking of it as almost kind of like a.

I mean, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, but maybe like an online, almost like a bulletin board or posted board, but on steroids because it’s kind of tied to the internet. So I guess, you know, if you’re browsing for certain things, and like you said, you can pin items to your segments, create segments, and refer back to it later.

And then further dig into the sites and information that you’ve pinned. And so yeah, it definitely sounds like a pretty good research tool actually as well, because of the visual aspects of it and the fact that you can kind of easily save things where it’s not like a. A traditional search engine where like Google or Bing or any of the other ones where you know, of course you can search for anything.

You get your results, you can bookmark pages. But that’s a little, the whole bookmarking aspect hasn’t changed too much over the years. And so I really like how Pinterest kind of spend that as has really evolved. So that’s pretty cool. Now, when I read your intro and shortly after that, that indicated that you told me earlier that.

At this time, and we’re right now, we’re at the, I guess almost at the middle part of the year, 2020 and you indicated that right now the Pinterest numbers are really, traffic numbers are really at an all time high. Why do you think that is right now? 

Melissa: A lot of it has to do with people being home and not knowing what to do with themselves.

So Pinterest has a really cool tool. So if you go to you can see what’s trending, what key terms, what search terms are actually trending right now. And a lot of them have been like at home date night, things to keep kids busy. Birthday parties inside there related to staying home and not going crazy.

So people have more time to go on to Pinterest to search, to discover things that will help make their time in quarantine a little bit easier. But also they’re just discovering that it’s a great search engine. They can plan for their future trips. Once we’re all able to travel again, they can start planning out.

New items to purchase for their home office. That was a big trend recently, and it’s just people staying home and looking for things to do as well as she’s getting sucked into Pinterest. It kind of gets a little addicting as you’re scrolling through and saving pins and discovering new interesting things on the internet.

So like right now that’s sort of been the silver lining through all of this. Of course, the code crisis is. Completely reshaped the way all of us function in our day to day lives. But if you are looking for traffic, if you’re looking to grow your sales right now is such a good time to start really investing in Pinterest because the traffic’s there and the whole point of Pinterest is to send people to your website to make those purchases.

Arlen: I can definitely see that. That really makes sense. And just, you know, for some reference for people that discovered this podcast, let’s say 10 years from now, and we are in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s a covert 19 virus that’s kind of ravaged a lot of the world, really high numbers here in the U S and so everybody is on a, I guess you could say lockdown, isolation.

Um, they decided to. Isolate everyone, not just the sick people. So everybody is really in the house. And um, I can definitely see why Pinterest is exploded because, you know, people don’t have a lot to do. There’s a lot of people just trying to occupy their time. And I’d say this would be a great way to do it.

So yeah, definitely a good thing to know. And for those listeners that are listening, surely after this. Podcast episode goes live. It’s definitely a good opportunity to try to take advantage of that. The fact that you’re going to have a lot more eyes on things on Pinterest these days now specifically for eCommerce businesses, how would they actually utilize Pinterest to increase their website traffic and boost their sales overall.

Melissa: So one of the great things about Pinterest is there’s no brand loyalty. People are not typing in target branded linens when searching for something to purchase. They’re just looking for the keyword that they want to buy. So one of the big things that any commerce store can do is. Do their keyword research within Pinterest.

And there’s a few ways to do that really, really easily. So the first way is just type in a few key words into the Pinterest search bar. And after you do that, you will see little bubbles pop up underneath with other search terms. So if we’re sticking with the linens example, if you type in linens, it could come up bed linens, pattern lindens linens for kids, linens for couples.

Those are giving you an example of what people are actually searching for when they’re searching for that keyword related to your business. So you can start building that into your pin descriptions, your board descriptions, even your profile descriptions, and really investing into those keywords so that you are ranking when someone is searching for whatever it is that you’re looking for.

Another one of my absolute favorite little hack. To do keyword research within Pinterest is as a business account, which if you have an eCommerce store, I highly recommend setting up a business account through Pinterest. It’s super easy, no real struggle, and just making the switch over to a business account.

And once you do that, you have access to their ads platform. And if you go in, create an ad. You can, yeah, it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing. But on the second page of the ad creation, there is a space for keywords. And so that’s another place where you can type in linens, sticking with the same example, and you’ll get search traffic by monthly searches within that.

So you can see, okay, well Lennon’s has 5 million searches per month. Linens for kids have 500,000 searches per month. And you can get different ideas for related keywords and see what the search traffic is. So you can start to say, okay, Lenin’s maybe really competitive and I’ll have a harder time ranking for it.

But linens for kids is really good and I need to start sprinkling that in. So I rank within that specific search. So the keywords are so important. SEO, the similar idea to what we see on Google and investing really, really heavily into those keywords and making sure you understand who your target audience is, what they’re looking for, and what those search terms are, are so important on Pinterest.

Arlen: Key words, and I’m glad you mentioned the business account and being able to. Really get access to their whole PaperClick mechanism for any eCommerce businesses. Kind of interested in, you know, may have perked up. Is there a low barrier to entry for, let’s say, various keywords? I know, of course it’s going to vary, but there are certain keywords, of course, on Google ads platform that are ridiculous, where you could pay $20 $30 per click, even higher.

Does it go that high or really low is the barrier to entry. 

Melissa: It’s really pretty low. There’s not a ton of advertising, especially when you compare it to Google. Uh, not, not as much advertising on Pinterest, but even if you don’t want to actually pay for ads up front, if you’re just trying to get a footing with your organic traffic.

Just using the ads platform to figure out those organic keywords. I know a few years, not more than a few years ago, like 10 years ago, Google took away their really, really good keyword insights tool that I used to use, but Pinterest hasn’t done that yet. So while you still have access to it, when the search volume and collecting all that stuff, it’s great to get in there and see what those keywords are.

And then once you start building up your organic traffic, seeing what’s working for you, seeing what’s resonating. Seeing what types of pens really work. Then I would suggest looking into the paper, click advertising, and you know, you can start with a pretty low test, you know, five, $10 tests to see how it works for you, and then tweak from there.

Arlen: Well, I know it looks like the, as you mentioned earlier, the kind of the main differentiating factor with Pinterest is the kind of the visual aspects of it and being able to pin certain things. So with that in mind, it kind of sounds like Pinterest lends more definitely to product companies, consumerable type products, products that have to be viewed for people to.

Take a look, make a decision. What about other companies that aren’t necessarily selling a consumer product? A tangible product? Maybe it’s a service based company, maybe they have some type of subscription, and these days online courses are huge. What about those types of businesses? Is it Pinterest right for 

Melissa: them as well?

Absolutely. The one thing that I will say Pinterest is not right for is a local business. You really need to have an online presence and some way, and whether it’s a blog that you want to drive traffic to and build ad revenue that way, or it’s a product, a physical product that you’re selling or courses.

Courses are huge. Huge on Pinterest, and we’ve seen our members have incredible success promoting it. But the great thing about Pinterest is you don’t have to have a product shot. Just the typical product shot to be successful. In fact, those typically don’t work as well as more lifestyle shots and having text overlay.

So making these pens that are portrait style. They have a lifestyle feel to them or they have multiple images on them and then there’s a text overlay that describes what the pin is. That’s what really works well, and you can create all kinds of different images using that style and drive traffic that way as well.

Arlen: That definitely makes sense. I’m really big into online courses and I watch a lot cause I’m always trying to just, you know, of course, increase my knowledge and yeah, I didn’t really realize that there was really an Avenue or channel for the online courses, but it really kind of makes sense now. And so with everything, you did basically say that it does seem pretty.

Straightforward as far as setting up an account and you know, kind of managing it. If you want to create the business account, you can go in there, you can play around with the keywords and determine which keywords you need to associate with your listings there. But let’s say you’re trying to really kick it up a notch, take it to the next level and be a little bit more strategic with it.

Are there any specific other tools or resources that a business needs to have in place to really have a successful Pinterest strategy? 

Melissa: I would definitely recommend setting up rich pins, especially for products, and that allows the pens to provide more information about the product. So you can have, if it’s in stock, what the price is.

If there’s a price drop, people just get to know more about the pin before clicking through and making the decision to purchase. So your bounce rates will be lower with that and you will get more analytics behind it as well. It’s a simple code that goes into your metadata on your website, and there’s great documentation and ways to figure that out.

And as well as if you have like a Shopify site, woo commerce, most of the big eCommerce platforms have that built in. And even if you are terrified of code. It’s not a problem, they’ll take care of it for you. And getting those rich pen set up is important for e-commerce. And then just to not feel like you have to spend your life on Pinterest and constantly be sharing out content and getting sucked in all the time.

I would recommend a scheduling tool and of course. You gotta recommend tailwind. There are others out there, but we’re very close partners with Pinterest, and so we are able to get all of the best practices built into our tool and they help us with new products. We have meetings with them pretty often, and so we are deeply embedded with Pinterest and therefore provide our members with the very best content and the very best ideas to grow.

Plus, you can use our scheduling tool so you can batch your. Content for the week or the month, let it run and then come back and check how it’s done. So you don’t have to constantly be going on to Pinterest and sharing pens. 

Arlen: Definitely. Good to know. And cause I know that’s a concern, especially with, you know, any social platform that you’re looking to.

Get a presence on or advertise on. The whole thing is do you, you don’t want to have to do so much handholding where you’re constantly going back there checking and posting and manually having to do it. So I can see how your app really could come into play there and make things a lot easier. So you can, like you said, check it once a week and schedule your pins.

Now I prefer to wrap things up. I’m always a huge advocate of really. Kind of gleaning ideas from some of the top eCommerce brands, like whatever they’re doing across any platform. So these days, what top eCommerce brands are really just killing it on Pinterest that we can all learn from. 

Melissa: Yeah, and I always say, if you want to get started on Pinterest, the best way to do it is to be a Pinterest user.

Go in, see what it’s like, see what people are doing, and specifically for eCommerce platforms. Or e-commerce sellers, I would go and see what the platforms are sharing. So see what Shopify Pinterest looks like, what brands they’re promoting, what their pins look like, how they’re building up their presence, because they also work closely with Pinterest and are getting these tips and ideas directly from Pinterest.

So if they’re sharing a pin, that looks really good. That’s a tip to you to say, all right, I, that’s something that I should probably, uh, borrow that idea and use it on my own account. C is another one that’s really, really good on Pinterest and seeing what they’re sharing, how they’re organizing their boards, what Etsy sellers are doing really well is another great place to look as well.

But yeah, pretty much any. ECommerce platform that you use is going to have a Pinterest account, and it’s going to be a really good place to look. So whatever platform you’re using, or if you’re using a out of the box platform like Shopify, just go ahead and take a look at their Pinterest. 

Arlen: That’s really good to know because these days, most people that are also selling online are using one of the major platforms, like you said, Shopify or big commerce or any of the, of the large ones.

And so you can definitely take a look and see what they have going on with regards to Pinterest. So that’s definitely. Really good to know. Now, um, I appreciate you coming on of course, and sharing everything that you’ve shared. Pinterest is, uh, something that we hadn’t really talked too much about before on the podcast.

So I think, uh, everything that you shared is going to go a long way, especially these days during the, you know, the midst of this pandemic. Since the numbers on Pinterest are really, like you said, at an all time high. And, uh, we really don’t know. When things are going to go back to normal or what the new normal is going to be.

So there can still be further restrictions across the board globally where people are gonna have a lot more time inside and on the computers. So yeah, I can definitely see this would be a great time to pursue. Checking out Pinterest for sure. When I recommend all of our listeners to do that. Now what I want to do now is just kind of switch gears.

I got to always have a bonus question. I always ask my guests and at this time I’m kind of switch it up. I used to ask another question, but now I’ve got another bonus one that I, I’m going to kind of steal from another podcast that I heard that I thought it was a good one to ask. And really curious of what your response is going to be before we close things out.

But if you could choose any entrepreneur living or dead to sit down with and have dinner with, who would it be and why? 

Melissa: Oh, this is a tough one because entrepreneur is just such a broad term. So my first thought was Oprah. She may not think of her as a traditional entrepreneur, but who is, she has done everything.

She is a media mogul talk show hosts, article writer, actress. She’s just incredible. And he’s had such an amazing. Life and has so much knowledge. I feel like to share that I would just love to sit down with her and pick her brain and get inspired by her presence. 

Arlen: That’s awesome. I’ll have to ditto you on that.

And I think she would be definitely on my list. If I could choose some entrepreneurs, she’d definitely be one of the top ones for sure. And they’d definitely say, you can consider her a true entrepreneur. You know, even from her early days with her show and taking her show to syndication. You do have to have a fair amount of business savvy to be able to navigate those waters.

I know. And you’ve got to have a great team and she’s been able to parlay that all the way into various ventures today. So yeah, definitely somebody, I would also like to sit down with them, you know, pick their brain about just a ton of different things. So, yeah, I appreciate you sharing that, Melissa, and we definitely appreciate you coming onto the eCommerce marketing podcast.

And finally, if any of our listeners would like to reach out to you and pick your brain anymore about Pinterest or about anything regarding e-commerce, what’s the best way for them to get in contact with you? 

Melissa: I live and die by my email, so you can email me at [email protected].

And then you can find me pretty much anywhere on the web at Melissa Megginson and at Tailwind App.

Arlen: Well, thank you for sharing that. I know our listeners will definitely take advantage of reaching out to you. I appreciate that. And a, yes. Thank you again for joining us today on the eCommerce marketing podcast.

Melissa: Thank you.

Podcast Guest Info

Melissa Megginson
Community Manager at Tailwind