Leveraging Pinterest to Benefit Email Marketing Campaigns
Much to everyone's surprise, the runaway hit social networking site at the turn of 2012 isn't Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. It's Pinterest, the latest social media craze that seems to have captured everyone's attention.
Pinterest is essentially a graphic social bookmarking network. It's quickly skyrocketed into one of the top 10 most visited social networks of the past year, having already attracted more than 10 million registered users. And it continues to grow in popularity, even making Time's list of the 50 best websites of 2011.
The concept behind the image-based platform is simple: users create pinboards and post relevant photos to them. Pins are images and videos collected from anywhere on the web. You can also download a browser extension which allows you to quickly pin anything you find online directly.
With yet another social network to keep track of, how can companies best use Pinterest to their advantage in conjunction with email marketing campaigns? For starters, it's important to understand that Pinterest goes far beyond simply just sharing or liking things of interest; it allows users to actively collaborate on various topics.
Some companies have already set up accounts on Pinterest and asked users to repin and like their images. If users like what you pin, it will be repinned. In turn, their friends will see your pins and have the option to repin them and so on down the line.
Pinterest is based on image sharing, so the key factor to leveraging it as a supporting advertising and communication channel is to pay attention to how images are integrated with email sends. The better the image, the more likely a user will want to pin it. You can include a small description of an image you post on Pinterest or place it in your e-newsletter along with a link that leads users to the specific page on your website that hosts the image. Doing this gives you even more opportunity to tell users about your product, service or company.
You can also offer a "pin it" button next to products on your site. This button gives users the option to share what they shopped for with their friends. All it really takes is one pin to get your product noticed by multiple people, which is fantastic if you're in the retail industry or sell products via your website.
Pinterest can help you get more out of your marketing and communication efforts in a number of other ways, including the following:
1. Using social media to promote blog entries and other content-based efforts has become a commonplace ingredient in the marketing mix. This strategy works best if one uses an attractive picture to accompany new entries — largely for the express purpose of pinning — to help intrigue users and get more traffic via Pinterest shares.
2. Include Pinterest links with your other social media links in the header and/or footer of your emails. As Pinterest is still fairly new when it comes to social networks, some email service providers may not offer social widgets for it yet. In this case, create your own icon to import and place anywhere on your template, linking it to your own image board. Ask subscribers to use the follow button for Pinterest to support the content of your weekly e-newsletter.
Some readers may be unfamiliar with Pinterest, so be sure to provide clear calls to action related to any Pinterest activities so that they don't end up on your image board unwittingly and become confused or disinterested.
3. Leverage popular pins in your email campaigns by letting your audience help you determine which images to use. Check which of your Pinterest-shared images resonate with people interested in your brand the most, then use those images in your email campaigns. You can even integrate comments from your popular pins, which is a very easy way to get user-generated content.
4. Determine how Pinterest boards support your current email marketing campaigns. Test how Pinterest can increase your email engagement levels and response rates. Send a Pinterest-optimized campaign to the socially engaged segment of your email list and see what reaction you get. Try adding specific Pinterest boards to your email calendar — e.g., holidays, big events, social media trends, special sales or any highly supported Pinterest category that you can establish relevancy to.
5. Pinterest is an ideal platform to introduce new products and gather initial reactions and firsthand opinions about an item's look and feel. Marketers can easily obtain and analyze consumer sentiments via Pinterest. As users repin a photo, for example, you can gather more intelligence and use that data to decide whether to move forward with production and distribution. Experiment with this by calling out new product launches in your email newsletters linked to your Pinterest presence; then wait for the feedback.
Furthermore, Pinterest and email have a lot in common. Both allow users to decide what aspects of the web are worth sharing rather than randomly browsing via a search engine. Like email, Pinterest is about targeted content sharing. It's a great way to make your creatives go the extra mile and do more for your brand. By using the power of images, companies can create buzz around products and tailor more personal and visually charming experiences for their audiences.
Pinterest holds immense potential for brands to interact with their audiences and to visually entice current and potential customers. And as with all other social media channels, as it continues to grow we're likely to see more integration with hosted email marketing solutions. Don't wait. Get pinning today.