Pinterest is amazing, isn’t it? How fun to pin outfit inspiration, get excited about new items to add to your household menu or encouraged to organize your messy desk once and for all. I mean, my dad is even on Pinterest searching new recipes for the grill or landscaping inspiration… so if my dad is on it, chances are your ideal clients are hanging out there, too.
I’ve been getting asked the question, “How do I grow my email list when I don’t have a large social media following?” Girl, if this is you, I hear you because I started with only about a thousand followers and ZERO email list at one point.
Enter: the email list-building game-changer that is Pinterest. By utilizing Pinterest, it’s not just about the number of people following you like other platforms. In fact, you don’t need a large following to be able to quickly and consistently drive traffic to your freebie! How exciting is that? And the reason why is because of a little something called the smart feed.
The entire point of bringing your content into Pinterest is to attract your audience and invite them to click through to your website. Once they’ve landed on your site, you have way more control over their experience, and you can tell them more about what you can offer them. And… you can convert them onto your email list. It’s a whole win-win-win situation going on over there, and it’s pretty incredible.
Steps for how to grow your email list with Pinterest
First things first, let’s talk about what you need to have in place to convert Pinterest users to your email list subscribers. You can’t just expect Pinterest to grow your email list without having a clear path for people to follow to guide them to your offer that they will get in exchange for their email address.
There are four non-negotiables that you’ve got to have:
- A freebie or content upgrade.
- A Pin-worthy image that will attract someone to your content.
- Keywords that your target audience is searching for.
- A way to capture their email once they click through to your site.
Let’s walk a little deeper through how to apply each of these to YOUR unique business!
Building a catchy opt-in or freebie
I follow three really easy-to-follow (and remember) rules when creating my own opt-ins, and they can be applied to any kind of business or website.
- It needs to provide a solution. When people decide to opt-in to your content, it better be something that makes their life easier, solves a problem, or brings them joy. It doesn’t need to cure cancer or rival rocket science, but it should provide tangible value.
- It needs to be accessible and quick. This is probably the best one because your freebie does NOT need to be a novel or 5-day program for your subscribers! Think of it as simply a fast track to results — you don’t need to solve ALL the problems. Just tackle one and prove that you can provide an exceptional solution — and fast. Be sure they can download, print, or put your opt-in into action ASAP.
- It needs to be consistent. Your freebie should support and build on the messaging behind your brand. It needs to make sense for your industry (since you’re an expert in that area, of course!).
Need ideas for what kind of freebie to create? You can go in a hundred different directions — just try to get creative, test different ideas, and have more than one. This is the library of all of my freebie resources to help you get started with your own opt-in generation!
Plus, here’s a whole bunch of different freebie ideas to get started with brainstorming and modifying to make them your own: a worksheet, customizable guide/template, sample of a book, calendar download, free book, stock images, free course, PDF training download, email templates, a challenge, case study, webinar training, and so much more!
Designing a pin-worthy image
I’ll let you in on a little secret of mine… Canva! This free design website, founded by a woman, and it is amazing because it gives you optimal Pinterest sizes and beautiful designs so you can drag and drop in your text and images, and direct the pins right back to your site. And the best part? It takes 5 minutes or less to create and optimize your pins. If you’re not on Canva, get on there… you’ll be inspired for days.
You can even create multiple images for a single opt-in, meaning you can have a few different designs floating around Pinterest, and then you can track which ones gain the most traction, clicks, and conversions! You’ll be able to replicate and repurpose the most popular ones.
Crafting your freebie around audience-specific keywords
Now that you’ve got the free content that interests your target audience and an image to attract them, it’s time to make sure it shows up when they are searching for information! You need to show up in the smart feed by infusing keywords into everything (and I mean everything) you write on Pinterest — especially the description of your pin for your freebie.
The good news? Many of these words are going to be the same ones you use in other areas of your business, including SEO for your website, hashtags, and branding words. If you’re not really sure where to start with creating a solid master list of keywords for your brand, I always say go to Pinterest first (go figure).
Pinterest is a search engine, not a social media platform, so there’s a whooole lot of insight into what people are looking for right now. We do a TON of research for our SEO and content creation in general on Pinterest. All you have to do is take 5-or-so keywords most strongly associated with your business and write them in the guided search bar of Pinterest.
Pinterest will then auto-populate the most common searches with that one keyword. So as an example, if I write “wedding photography,” Pinterest pulls up the most popular searches including that phrase, which are: wedding photography poses, wedding photography ideas, wedding photography checklist, and wedding photography tips. These are the quickest ways to get ideas for what to build a freebie around AND how to advertise it on Pinterest!
This also works when you type your keywords into Google. These topics are the things people want to know and search for the most — isn’t that wild? It does so much of the legwork for you and gives you tools for including keywords that convert and land people on your website.
Capture the traffic that ends up on your site
Once you’ve created an opt-in, an image to promote it, and the right words to attract your people, now you need a page that will capture the traffic! It’s not enough to just get them to click through… We need to also capture their email so that we can continue to communicate and build a relationship with them.
Statistically speaking, most people won’t be back to your site after visit numero uno, so we need a way to reach out to them in the future. A few of our favorite ways to do this include:
Leadpages: This is my platform of choice for creating high-converting opt-in pages — it is AMAZING. Sign up on their site (their demo is super helpful) and choose the price plan that best fits your business. They have different templates to fit all the different types of opt-ins, from webinars and PDF downloads to book promotion.
OptinMonster: This platform has all kinds of integrated features, like generating specific pop-ups for people who come to your page from a specific place. It allows you to provide strategic and helpful pop-ups to encourage people to subscribe rather than irritate them (we all know those annoying pop-ups that never go away). It’s the best pop-up platform I’ve found.
Email sign-up form embedded on your site: If you already have an email marketing service provider, you’ll be able to create an email sign-up form that you can embed into a blog post or the sidebar of your blog.
My final tips for using Pinterest to build your email list?
Building your email list can actually be fun for you and transformational for your business — if you do it the right way. I can’t stress enough how important quality is over quantity when it comes to freebies. You want to become known for providing valuable resources, not just more noise or a repeat of what everyone else is doing. Follow these final tips to achieve that with finesse — because you can and will!
First, find what works and is resonating with your audience, and start with ONE core freebie. Once you know it works, continue to create content around that freebie to continue to promote and make fresh pins for the content. It’ll become a cycle that continues building on itself, and you’ll witness your list grow in droves.
Next focus on experimenting and trying new things. We’re always having fun and seeing what is working. You can always optimize and strategize, so have some fun with it. It’s so, so, so important to test multiple pin images, designs, and descriptions. Check back often to see what’s working and gaining solid traction — and then make more freebies like that.
Lastly, maximize your pins by pinning them to multiple boards, including group boards. Don’t let a pin live and die in one post. Get as much life out of them as you possibly can, just be sure to spread them out so Pinterest and your followers don’t start viewing your pins as spam.
Pinterest has been a big part of our list growth and you know me, I’m so passionate about growing and serving my email list so well. I hope you feel mega-equipped and ready to start rocking the Pinterest game to grow your email list, my gals! You’ve got this and I know you’ll be creating killer freebies and opt-ins left and right with these tools.
I have more email marketing and Pinterest resources just for you!