Pinterest is an amazing driver of traffic to blogs and online shops. Back in February I decided to conduct a Pinterest experiment. I knew that long, vertical images do best on Pinterest and I wondered whether pinning a long, vertical image of each of my free softie tutorials would drive more traffic to my blog. I also wondered whether I could the turn those Pinterest visitors into newsletter subscribers. (Read about the launch of the experiment here.)
It’s been eight months and I’d like to show you the results.
First, the pins. The new vertical images for four of my tutorials have been the most successful on Pinterest. It’s interesting to note that all four are for babies. This affirms what I know about the patterns in my shop – the baby toys do the best.
- Soft Rattle Blocks = 12.2K repins
- Soft Rattle Balls = 8.2K repins
- Josephine Doll = 6.2K repins
- Patchwork Playballs = 4.6K repins
Some of these tutorials are quite old. By pinning the vertical images I’ve introduced them to a new, larger audience. Success!
After embarking on the experiment I made two more significant changes to my Pinterest strategy. The first had to do with increasing repins and the second with converting new visitors.
When I began the experiment 8 months ago I had 14.5K followers on Pinterest. Then I signed up for a 1-month free trial with BoardBooster and used their “looping” feature on all of my boards. The results were really impressive! My follower count shot up to 21.8K with basically no effort on my part, in one month, for free. I didn’t continue after my free trial and since then my follower numbers have been steady.
Having more followers means more people see my pins and have the chance to repin them driving more traffic to my blog.
Converting New Visitors
The thing with Pinterest traffic is that it’s very “bouncy,” meaning people find an image on Pinterest, click over to get the free tutorial, and then “bounce” away never to return again.
My goal was to hang onto the new influx of traffic coming from Pinterest and this is where I made the second change. In June I signed up for LeadPages. (Read the details of that decision here.) LeadPages allows you to easily offer bonus content in a blog post. Readers can get it if they sign up for you list.
I figured that most people who find a free sewing tutorial online would enjoy the convenience of having that tutorial as a PDF to save on their computer. I decided that PDFs of my tutorials would be a perfect bonus to offer to my Pinterest visitors in exchange for their email addresses. I spent a few hours turning my most popular free tutorials into PDFs and used Leadpages to offer them as free downloads on the posts.
Again, the results were really impressive!
The tutorials convert at 60%. That means 60% of the visitors to those pages put their email address in the box in order to get the tutorial emailed to them as a PDF. Let’s take a look at what this has meant for my email list:
Check out the months leading up to June. I was getting between 300-400 new subscribers each month.
No let’s look at August when LeadPages was fully up and running. I got 347 subscribes the old way (pop-up + sidebar sign up) and 1,729 from LeadPages (shown as “imports” on the graph). I’m now getting 50-60 new email subscribers every day rather than 15-20.
Every growth strategy has some risks, including this one.
First, BoardBooster is not an approved Pinterest partner (unlike Tailwind) so that means there is some risk with using this tool. Pinterest could choose to penalize accounts that are using it. To me the 1-month free trial was an amazing opportunity to grow my following exponentially and I’m thankful nothing bad happened.
And second, I’ve found that people who subscribe to my newsletter via LeadPages are motivated by one thing: getting a free PDF emailed to them. That’s different from what’s motivating my other subscribers who are signing up because they truly want a weekly update from me. I’ve noticed that my open rate tends to dip below 50% fairly quickly now which means that I’ve had to be ruthless at cleaning my list (here’s how) to weed out people who just aren’t interested in my newsletter. Still, the overall subscribe/open rate is continually rising.
It’s Working, Now What?
My experiment worked. Each of these steps took time, but together they’ve helped me to make the best use of my old content. It was time well spent.
One thing I’ve been thinking about now is the $150/month fee that I’m paying MailChimp. My next project is to make the most out of what they have to offer. MailChimp has recently launched a bunch of neat automations that I’d like to try. I’ve just set up an abandoned cart email and a second welcome email to new subscribers. Both are already working and I’m excited to continue adding to my library of automations.
It’s important to keep in mind that building an online business requires steady work and a willingness to experiment. Each little improvement adds to the momentum of the whole.