The second annual Social Media Marketing World presented by Social Media Examiner is officially in full swing. More than 2,000 attendees are soaking up community management, content, and social media marketing strategies, tips and trends. One of this year’s hottest topics? Pinterest, the visually appealing photo pin board social site. As Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner stated in his keynote speech, “Visuals are a huge deal people. The brain can process an image 500x faster than text. The faster people can see it, the faster they’ll share it.” According to Stelzner’s recent 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, more than 70% of marketers plan on increasing their original visual assets.

Melanie Duncan, owner of the online training program, Entrepreneuress Academy, and online business owner of Luxury Monograms, Complete Apparel Solutions and, knows a thing or two about Pinterest. She drives thousands of visitors to her site and gains a tremendous number of email subscribers purely from Pinterest. “When we use social with email marketing, this is where we really see the most direct result in revenue.” Duncan says. As one of Social Media Marketing World’s presenters, Duncan gave a packed room of entrepreneurs and small business owners her 3-step system to building your email list via Pinterest:

1. Create an offering
It might seem simple, but Duncan says to create an offering, pin it, and lead people from that pin to an email opt-in form on your website.”In exchange for their name and email, you give them a gift,” Duncan says. So what types of offerings should you create and pin? Here are a few ideas:

  • Coupon codes
  • Ebooks
  • Checklists – Duncan says checklists are particularly effective on Pinterest.
  • Guides
  • Video series
  • Online trainings
  • Google Hangouts — You don’t have to sign up for a Google hangout, but create a sign-up page for it anyway!
  • Webinars

What about blog posts? Duncan says that if you’re leading readers to a blog post, ensure that your blog is also optimized for email sign ups and your sign up call to action should appear at the top, side or bottom of your posts.

2. Have a nicely designed landing/opt-in page
A compelling opt-in and/or landing page is key to gaining sign ups. “The opt-in page is a hurdle for most people,” Duncan says. But you don’t have to be a tech-whiz to make an opt-in or landing page look good. Her favorite tool, which doesn’t require coding knowledge: Leadpages – software that allows you to create appealing, mobile responsive landing, launch, sale, conversion opt-in pages and more. Duncan also says to make the landing page or opt-in form and the pin as visually consistent as possible – Use similar colors, visuals, fonts and images.

Bonus tip: Include a disclaimer (ex: “Don’t worry, we don’t spam and your info will never be shared.”) on your opt-in form to ensure people of the safety of their email address and information. “A disclaimer significantly increases sign ups!” Duncan says. “Make them feel as comfortable and confident as possible.”

3. Pin it
Pinning images is obvious, but there’s more to it than simply clicking the “pin it” button:

A. Upload your own content
Did you know you could upload your own content and images on Pinterest? “Creating a visual for your information to share is an important part of the process,” Duncan says. She highly recommends this, especially for those who offer services or run non-product based businesses. And, don’t forget to include a source link. Duncan also has a list of her favorite tools for creating your own images:

  • PicMonkey – A free online photo editor
  • Box Shot King – Allows you to upload images and project them onto eBook covers – No design experience necessary!
  • Placeit  – Allows you to insert images, videos, checklists, etc. onto images of computer screens, mobile phones, iPads, etc.

B. Have a stellar pin caption/description
Pinterest isn’t just about posting photos. Taking advantage of the caption is also vital to leading Pinterest fans back to your website and opt-in form. “Include a call to action in the caption such as, click here, repin this, comment below,” Duncan says. Also be sure to include a link within your caption, as Pinterest will automatically hyperlink it. “Hardly anyone does this!” says Duncan. “This works really well and it doubles the amount of ways to get traffic.”

C. Repin your own pins
“Can you do this?” an audience member asked. “Absolutely,” Duncan says. “The majority of people who log on to Pinterest only look at their news feed and miss out if they don’t happen to log in at the time you posted something… Take your most successful content and repin it.” Deleting the previous pin is completely A-okay in Duncan’s book, especially since it doesn’t break any links. “Don’t pin the same thing more than once a week,” Duncan advises. She also recommends repining something at a different time and day of the week.

D. Maintain robust boards
“Have at least 5 boards, 6 is great, and no less than 10 pins per board. This is not a golden rule, but you want your boards to look like they have enough value, so when someone comes to your page, they’re interested in following you,” Duncan says. Her advice for building up quality boards: Create secret boards, pin at least 10 things in each board, and when they’reP hearty enough, make them public so they’re ready for the world. How much is too much? “40 boards with 2-3 pins,” Duncan says. “This is the most common mistake I see.”

Have any thoughts or additional tips to add to Duncan’s Pinterest email list building tips? Share with us!

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