Sell on Pinterest: The Ultimate How-To Guide

Pinterest is an underestimated market for selling items online. What started out as a website to find mood boards, motivational quotes, and aesthetically pleasing images wound up being a prodigious tool for making money online.

However, selling on Pinterest might not be as straightforward as it seems. Here’s an in-depth guide on how to get started and be successful selling on Pinterest.

Why Sell on Pinterest?

By the end of 2019, Pinterest had over 300 million users. And while it’s great to reach such a massive audience, there are plenty of other reasons to sell on Pinterest.

Pinterest has an upscale feel to it, and approximately 90% of people who regularly use the site do so specifically to find products to buy. You want your living room to look like it could live on Pinterest. How do you do that? By finding Pinterest-worthy products.

Because lots of visitors are going to Pinterest to find products or styles they like, there’s already a demand. So if you have a supply, you can make a few bucks through the transaction.

You can reach this market and start earning income—if you know how to do it right.

Getting Started on Pinterest

You have to set up a business account on Pinterest to start selling. Here’s how to do that the most efficiently.

1) Determine Your Brand

This step is an optional one that we highly recommend. If you don’t have a clear understanding of your brand, you won’t know what type of business account to set up or what products to sell. This lack of focus behind your company will lead to marketing incoherence, which will ultimately mean viewers won’t see your product.

To avoid that, we recommend defining your brand before starting to sell on Pinterest. What types of products do you want to sell? What moods do you want to evoke in Pinterest users? How do you want them to remember you?

Once you are able to answer these questions, you’ll have a certain focus that you can apply throughout the rest of the selling process.

Many sellers don’t take this time to establish their brand consciousness, which is why a lot of customers either won’t see them or won’t buy any of their products. Establishing your brand is how you set yourself apart from other merchants.

2) Find Your Target Audience

Once you’ve determined your brand, it’s time to consider your ideal audience.

Remember this marketing maxim: “When you sell to everyone, you sell to no one.” You might think that reaching the broadest audience possible is how you maximize your profits, but you’re actually wrong. Narrowing your market focus is how you get more money.

Let’s say you want to sell a certain style of vibrant throw pillows. Who do you want to buy those pillows?

Let’s say you want trendy young people to buy them. You will quickly realize that there’s such a huge variety of consumers in this market that you’re not going to reach the people who would actually buy your pillows. Plus, the trendy young people market includes college students who probably don’t have enough money to spend on pillows—or who don’t even own couches to hold those pillows.

There are also young people who prefer to decorate with a more simplistic approach and don’t want a bunch of extra pillows. Minimalism is taking off among gen-Z and young millennials. And these are just a few examples of the many personality types that would make it less likely for your audience to buy your pillows.

That’s why you can’t dissect your audience based on broad demographics like “young.” You also shouldn’t categorize by gender, race, or other backgrounds. Instead, choose your target audience based on personality characteristics. “Trendy” would be easier to market toward, as trendy people tend to look at Pinterest for style inspiration. Expand on that characteristic to include socioeconomic status and perhaps even a job that requires a certain personality, such as a graphic designer or interior designer.

Finding your target audience will influence your marketing choices later on. That’s why we recommend that you don’t skip this step.

3) Create a Business Account

With brainstorming out of the way, now it’s time to set up your business account that allows you to sell on Pinterest.

Here’s what to do if you already have a Pinterest account:

  1. Log into your existing Pinterest account.
  2. Click the down arrow in the top right corner to open the profile menu.
  3. Click “Add a free business account.”
  4. Click “Get started.”
  5. Follow the guide to create your business account.

Expanding on Step 5, you will need to do the following when creating your business account:

  • Click the “Edit” icon to add your profile picture. This is where having a brand idea comes in handy.
  • Enter your business name. Once again, it should be related to your brand.
  • Add your website. To reach more people and to seem more legit, we recommend you have a business website.
  • Select your country and region. This is important for reaching certain audiences.
  • Choose your language, then click “Next.”
  • Pick one of the options from the drop-down menu for the specialty of your business, then click “Next”
  • Select what type of business you are, then click “Next.”
  • Pick “Yes” or “No” if you do or don’t want to run ads, or select “I’m not sure yet.”
  • Click “Next.”
  • Select to “Create a Pin,” “Grow your audience,” or “Showcase your brand,” or click the cancel icon to go to your Pinterest business profile.

If you have already done the brainstorming, this process should only take a few minutes to complete. Setting up your website will take a little longer, so be sure to complete your website before setting up your Pinterest business account.

Once that’s done, you will need to…

4) Brand Your Account

Your Pinterest business account is up. Great! Now it’s time to differentiate it from the ones that already exist by branding your account.

You should already have your brand name and profile picture set up. Now you need to focus on populating your Pinterest account with materials that align with your brand vision.

Start by uploading pictures and videos related to your brand. You can also link to helpful articles on other websites that you think your audience would like. Don’t do this too often, though, as you could inadvertently guide people away from your Pinterest page.

5) Link and Verify Your Website

Add credibility to your website by linking and verifying it on your Pinterest page. Pinterest has different ways you can go about doing this, such as adding an HTML tag to your website. An HTML is a Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that’s used to format the structure of a webpage.

You can link and verify your website on your Pinterest page by doing the following:

  1. Log into your Pinterest business account.
  2. Click the down arrow on the top-right corner.
  3. Select “Settings” from the menu.
  4. Click “Claim” from the left side of the navigation.
  5. Below “Claim your website,” enter your site URL.
  6. Click “Claim.”
  7. Select “Upload HTML file.”
  8. Click “Download,” then click “Next.”
  9. Upload the HTML file to the web server of your site’s root folder. There are different instructions for this depending on what server holds your website. You can see the following instructions here.
  10. Return to Pinterest and click “Submit.”

6) Meet the Merchant Guidelines

Pinterest has clearly stated policies on the type of items merchants can sell. Some items you cannot sell on Pinterest include:

  • Alcohol
  • Financial products, such as loans or cryptocurrency
  • Adult products
  • Live animals
  • Gambling or gambling-related products
  • Healthcare products, such as prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication
  • Illegal items
  • Drugs or drug-related items
  • Infant formula
  • Imitation or counterfeit products
  • Political merchandise
  • Sensitive or disturbing products
  • Tobacco products
  • Weapons and explosives

You must also ensure your account has an active catalog or functioning tag. Those who don’t have either of these active for 30 days won’t meet merchant requirements and will be removed from the seller program. You must also ensure that you don’t behave like a spammer or drop shipper to continue to sell on Pinterest.

How to Sell on Pinterest

Now that you’ve set up your Pinterest selling account, you’ll need a quick guide on how to ensure your products appear on your target audience’s feed. Here’s how to sell on Pinterest.

Focus on Pinterest SEO

As a visual search engine, Pinterest has its own search engine optimization rules and algorithms that are different from sites such as Google.

You have to focus on your target keywords and use them in the titles and descriptions of your Pins. Do the same for your board titles and descriptions too.

Sprinkle in the words strategically, though, and don’t overdo it. Otherwise Pinterest will think you’re a spammer and will remove your post. Incorporate keywords naturally to prompt Pinterest SEO to work as it should.

Use Rich Pins

A Rich Pin uses extra data and information from your website along with normal Pin info, such as the photo, title, and description. Rich Pins pull the price and the product description so that users can see that information within Pinterest rather than on the third-party seller’s website.

Viewers can also see if the shop has the product in stock or not, which is an excellent way to facilitate informed purchasing decisions among your audience.

You can use Rich Pins once you claim your website on Pinterest. Rich Pins are another way to set yourself apart from other sellers and to augment the buying experience for your audience.

Employ Promoted Pins

Don’t want to solely rely on Pinterest SEO? Want to have more control as to how viewers see your Pins? Then you should use Promoted Pins.

You can promote a Pin of anything, whether it’s a product, blog post, or lead magnet. They’re pushed to the top of the page rather than dispersed throughout it. Promoted Pins can help you generate more sales and help lead users directly to your website.

You can use Promoted Pins to better reach your target audience since you can create them based on age, interest, or other factors. You could also use Promoted Pins for an entire marketing campaign or just a one-off promotion.

Share High-Profile User-Generated Content

Celebrities have a lot of influence over what people buy. If a celebrity promotes your product, you should let others know about it.

Don’t just wait for a celebrity to promote your brand, though. You can set up marketing campaigns that include what other users have said about your products or brand. This builds credibility among newcomers and entices them to buy from you.

The more newcomers see others use or promote your products, the more likely those newcomers are to buy from you.

Use Content Marketing

Everyone loves a good story, but you can’t tell a story through just a photo. Content marketing is a great way to back up your visuals with words—and to use those words to urge people to buy your product.

You can easily share blog posts on Pinterest to expand upon a product, answer common questions, or otherwise boost engagement.

Content marketing is relatively easy to implement. It diversifies the type of content you post on your Pinterest account and prompts further audience engagement with your brand.

Frequently Asked Questions for Selling on Pinterest

You asked, we answered. Here are concise answers to your top questions people about how to sell on Pinterest.

Is It Free to Sell on Pinterest?

Yes, it is free to sell on Pinterest.

It’s best to use buyable Pins when selling on Pinterest. Buyable Pins let Pinterest app users buy products from their phone. You don’t have to set up anything fancier than your business account, and users can buy products directly from your Pinterest page without having to go to your website (though you should still set up a website to boost trustworthiness).

Pinterest doesn’t take a cut of your profits. However, you still need to process and handle your order for your customers. Certain apps, such as Shopify, makes it easier for you to create buyable Pins for your products.

When is the Best Time to Post on Pinterest?

The best time to post on Pinterest is after work hours on weekdays. You don’t want to post during work hours because people are focused on their jobs and don’t have time to peruse the site for their next outfit or home-decorating idea.

On weekend, it’s best to post three times a day around meal times if possible. People tend to scroll through their phone while eating to keep themselves occupied. Pinterest users also have more leisure time on the weekend, so they’re prone to scroll the website more.

Tips for Selling on Pinterest

Pin the Product Page

A big pet peeve among many Pinterest users is finding a product they like on the site but not finding the information on where to buy it. This adds more mental friction to the purchasing process. Mental friction, in the economic sense, is any hindrance that comes between someone wanting to do something and actually doing it.

For example, let’s say you want a hamburger. You see a hamburger stand right around the corner and decide to check it out.. You go to the stand, but the menu is so confusing to read that you get frustrated and end up walking away without ordering. If the menu were easier to decipher, you would have ordered your burger.

Mental friction loses sales. If you’re pinning a post with products in it, add product links at the beginning so customers can easily see them. If the product links don’t interest the reader, they’ll scroll past it. If the reader is interested in the links, though, there’s less friction impending their desire for the product and the actual sale. It’s a little extra work for you, but it will be worth it.

Make Boards That Don’t Directly Relate to Your Products

Creating posts that only pertain to your product could limit the amount of sales you get.

For example, if you sell wedding dresses, you should make boards related to wedding photography and planning a wedding. These extraneous boards won’t directly boost sales, but they’ll draw in people who were in the market for wedding-related products or services and will likely need your item too.

That’s why having a brand vision and target audience is important. If you know your niche, you can fully mine it for all its worth. Think creatively on your narrow market to find unusual ways to connect certain audience desires to your product.

Use the Most Popular Pinterest Categories to Your Advantage

You’ll also want to use popular Pinterest categories to boost traffic to your page.

The most popular Pinterest categories are DIY, food, home decor, quotes, women’s fashion, fitness, humor, technology, travel, technology, and hair and beauty.

These categories get a lot of regular views. Even if you’re not selling a product directly related to one of these categories, find a creative way to relate one of them to your brand. For example, if you sell a natural type of shampoo, you can create a board pertaining to women’s silky long hair. You could also create a board of quotes about living naturally or about the benefits of using natural products.

Think about what your target audience wants, and then work backward to consider how your audience might come across your page if they’re already looking through these popular Pinterest categories.

Only Use High-Quality Photos and Video

Low-resolution photos will be the death of your Pinterest page. If your photos and videos turn up grainy or otherwise unpleasant to look at, people won’t want to spend much time on your page.

Pinterest is very much an aesthetic website. The bar is set higher every day in terms of the high-quality photos people want to see. Users spend thousands of dollars on camera equipment to produce the highest quality materials for their Pinterest pages.

While you might not have the funds to shell out that much money on photo or video equipment, do try to create the best quality content possible.

Make Tall Pins

Tall Pins make people spend more time looking at them since they take up more space on the vertical scrolling platform. Square or horizontal Pins don’t have the same effect. Therefore, it would behoove you more as a Pinterest store owner to incorporate more tall Pins on your site.

To make tall Pins, you should use images that are 600 px by 900 px. This ensures the images are crisp and clear while also taking up a suitable amount of space. The images are tall but not too tall to seem annoying to viewers.

Use Discount Codes

We know you want to maximize your profit as a store owner, but you also want people to buy your product. They’re more likely to engage with your products when they think they’re saving a little bit of money on it.

Discount codes can help encourage potential customers to actually purchase your product. You can have a pop-up discount code that draws them in or an exit-intent one that catches them right before they leave.

Just remember that lots of Pinterest users view the site from their phones. Discount pop-ups should look prominent but not annoying on mobile. Limit the number of pop-ups and slider apps you use when creating such marketing efforts.

Selling On Pinterest Isn’t Easy

You’ll be joining hundreds of thousands of other sellers trying to make a living by selling on Pinterest. And you’ll face immense competition on the platform.

Learning how to sell on Pinterest may come naturally to some, but you can improve your chances of doing well by implementing the tips and tricks we’ve discussed. We cannot stress enough the importance of creating a brand and identifying your target audience. Those two items will be the skeleton to a strong online business.

All that’s left is filling your Pinterest page with high-quality images and products, using content marketing, and ensuring you’re complying with Pinterest’s merchant guidelines so that you don’t get the boot. From there, promote, promote, and promote your Pins. And then promote some more!