Email and Pinterest for marketers Published April 1, 2015 Pinterest is still a relative newcomer to the social network arena; but already it is having quite the impact with over 10.4 million users and counting. The concept is a good one – allowing users to collect scrapbooks of images, uploaded by themselves and others. These scrapbooks tend to be themed, with collections of everything from beautiful sunsets to funny looking dogs. Users are able to follow other people’s boards and ‘repin’ them, akin to a retweet on Twitter. Pinterest seems to have gathered a following from a very specific genre of social butterflies and thus, the network is currently full of pictures of cupcakes, pictures of kittens playing with wool and other rather fluffy subjects (the UK does have a slight tech bias over kittens). Why then, should businesses and marketers pay it the slightest bit of attention? Well…are you ready? The number of unique visitors to Pinterest has increased 2,700 per cent since May 2011. In terms of driving referral traffic, Pinterest consistently outranks YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn. In fact, it outranks all of them combined. Twenty-one per cent of users have purchased something as a direct result of browsing Pinterest. In fact, buyers spend more money, on more items and more often than any of the other social media sites. Need any more reasons Okay, Pinterest referrals spend 70 per cent more money than visitors referred from other channels. Pinterest has more users with high-end disposable incomes than any other network. It’s engaging and retaining users 2-3 times more efficiently than Twitter was at a similar time in its history. If you weren’t sat up and paying attention at the beginning of this article, you probably are now. The fact is whether you ‘get’ Pinterest or not, you would be foolish to ignore it. How to remain Pinteresting: Email and Pinterest for marketers Case Study: Sony Sony is blowing the competition out of the water when it comes to user engagement on Pinterest. It gained over 2,500 followers in the first six months and experienced an 800 per cent increase in traffic from Pinterest to the Sony store, since launching its own page. Furthermore the ‘Pin it’ button received ten times more clicks in the Sony Store than the ‘Tweet This’ button. Perhaps most importantly for a brand like Sony, they have found a way of tapping into the nostalgia that comes from 30 years of being at the forefront of technology. People are pulling out their old eight-track recorders to snap a picture for Pinterest. So what is Sony doing right? Callan Green, senior social media specialist at Sony Electronics said that the social team started from within. It encouraged Sony staff to start pinning things that they found interesting and engaging, and thanks to the long tenure of many staff, images began coming out of the woodwork that were not on the company’s radar. The social community picked up on this and before long, images of retro Sony equipment were all the rage. The team then planned a mix of boards – a strategic spread of lifestyle and fun boards as well as commercial ones. As well as driving traffic to the site, Pinterest is a perfect channel for creating brand affinity, Green points out. Sony then brought in a photographer to create images specifically for Pinterest – for example, a heart shape made out of Sony cameras from throughout the ages. This gave users content that they couldn’t get anywhere else. It is a visual platform, so creating aesthetically-pleasing boards is at the heart of successful campaigns. Pin deals The company created a series of competitions as well as ‘Pin Deals’, where a discount was given if content was repined a minimum number of times. Finally, the Sony team used their email channels to get ‘eyes on boards’. The most difficult part of getting a Pinterest campaign to take off, is pointing users towards the content, Green said. Integrating Pinterest and Email So with Sony’s success in mind, how can we integrate it into our email campaigns? First of all, if you are not already, get familiar with the platform. Start by doing research into what people are pinning and how other brands are interacting with their customer base. Next, sign up and get a Pinterest icon integrated with your site and email templates. As it is still a relatively new network, you may have to do a bit of DIY to get the appropriate widget. It is recommended that you put together a highly visual, ‘Pinterest optimised’ email that promotes your brand’s presence on the platform, with a call to action for people to repin images when they see them. Next, start integrating Pinterest into all images in your newsletters and email campaigns, using a call to action to repin each of the images such as ‘Like it? Pin it!’ Flip the game on its head. Instead of using your email lists to promote competitions and sweepstakes, hold the competition on Pinterest and use email to draw attention to it. Pinterest is a rapid-fire platform, with sharing at its heart. Creative and visually appealing competitions can spread quickly. Send Pinterest-optimised content to an engaged segment of your database to get the ball rolling on campaigns. As well as being a high-value traffic driver, Pinterest is a great litmus test for campaigns and products. Get stuff out there and monitor repins and comments to see what sticks and what doesn’t. Pinterest is still an up and comer but effective marketing is all about staying ahead of the curve. The time to pin is now.