Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Pinterest Marketing Basics with Kate Ahl

July 12, 2021 Julie Ball Episode 82
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Pinterest Marketing Basics with Kate Ahl
Show Notes Transcript

#082 - In this episode, Katie Ahl joins Julie to talk about Pinterest marketing.

Katie is the founder of Simple Pin Media which is a Pinterest marketing and management company. She is also the host of the Simple Pin Podcast.

This episode is great for subscription box owners who are just getting started with Pinterest.  

Links:

Julie:

So you want to launch a subscription box and don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach and your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some fun! Hey, everybody! Welcome back to Subscription Box Basics. I'm very excited to have a guest on the podcast today. Her name is Kate Ahl. She is the owner and founder of Simple Pin Media, which is a Pinterest marketing and management company. And she hosts the Simple Pin Podcast. Welcome, Kate. I'm very, very excited to have you to talk about Pinterest today

Kate:

Me too. I love talking with you. So this will be great helping people who are just getting started and up and running with it.

Julie:

And this is actually a topic that I don't know a lot about. So I'm going to be learning alongside them. And it's something we haven't talked about on the podcast. So this is super exciting. Some people will be meeting you for the first time. So why don't we take a minute to introduce yourself, give a little bit about your background or your story?

Kate:

Yeah. So in 2014, I started Simple Pin Media, basically on a whim and hope and a prayer that we would make money because we had really suffered greatly from the 2008 recession. We were living on food stamps coming up at the end, a friend suggested it because I was working for her on her blog doing Facebook marketing and are also doing Pinterest marketing. So she said, "Hey, you should manage people's Pinterest pages." And I said, "Hey, that's a really dumb idea." She's like, "Well, you're really poor. So you don't have a choice."

Julie:

Wow.

Kate:

I did it. I bought the domain Simple Pin Media. I asked a couple people, "Hey, will you become beta clients really low costs ? But just give me feedback." Like, is this actually something that you feel like is a sustainable thing in your business? Do you feel like Pinterest is important? And three months later they were like, this is amazing. I'm getting a lot of traffic. Yes. Keep doing this, don't do this, do this. And then they suggested a few more people, a few more people. And pretty soon I was like, oh, I guess I have a business on my hands. I should probably figure out how to do this. And so late 2014 was when I hired a business coach and really decided to make it official. So since then we now work with about 120 organic clients, ads clients. And then we have two memberships for both ads, for Pinterest ads and then one for organic and the podcasts, like you said.

Julie:

Wow. What an incredible story. And I think a lot of people can really relate to that because so many of us in the product based space start with nothing, have this idea, need that little bit of push validation. And then when you get to a certain point, you're like, I need a coach. Like I need some help. So I love that. That was part of your story as well. Congratulations on all of your success and man, I cannot wait to jump in. So let's just talk about the power of Pinterest. As you mentioned, you immediately jumped in, learn new tool at the time and within three months you were seeing success. So talk about that, that power.

Kate:

Yeah. So one of the great things about Pinterest is that it is a search and discovery platform. It's similar to Google, similar to YouTube and people are primed to move off the platform. When they go to Pinterest, they're only thinking about themselves. What can I do? What can I dream into? Where can I go? What can I make? They're not interested in people. So that's a really big distinguisher that I like to set at the front gate. And that's why you get traffic because people are intent on finding solutions. If your subscription box is a solution to their problem, or you have an article that talks about it, people are going to click over there. Whereas Instagram is different because we get go over there to get lost in people's stories or brands . And we follow. So I always break it down to say on Instagram, people care about you. On Pinterest, people really don't care about you. They care about themselves. So you really have to approach it that way.

Julie:

I like that. So it's kind of like if you're scrolling on Facebook or Instagram, you're interrupted by things. Whereas when you're on Pinterest, similar to Google, you're intentionally seeking something out, an answer to your solution or an inspiration or something like that. Is that a good way tp put it?

Kate:

Yeah, absolutely! And what's great is that Pinterest has all these boards that people can have on their profile where they can save a bunch of stuff for later. So the Pinterest user is in gather mode about three to six months before they make a decision, they are lurking. They're spending hours, their labor into I've done this. I just remodeled my kitchen. Believe me . I was like tile. We all have . And that's when we remember what we've done on Pinterest. It's easier for us to market to those people on Pinterest to catch them where they're at, to think about their questions because they are not searching your brand. They're searching what the benefit of your brand is and the solution that your brand provides to their problem.

Julie:

Yeah , no, that makes so much sense. So for example, I would think someone's not going to go to Pinterest, to search for Sparkle Hustle Grow my subscription box, but they may go to Pinterest searching for personal development resources or business training or things like that.

Kate:

Yeah, exactly. They're searching for, you know, think about the questions that you get, the FAQ's that you get a lot. Those are things that they are starting with on Pinterest. Like, okay, what do I, how do I support somebody in business even? Or how do I grow my business? What are some great tools for that? So you have exactly it. You just have to be totally different mindset. A lot of missteps that people make is they start with an Instagram mindset and they go to Pinterest and they're like, well, this doesn't really feel very good because no comments, no likes like this. Isn't very fun. I'm out of here.

Julie:

That makes sense. Okay. So let's, let's break it down to some basics. What are some of the basic terminology? Some of the words that we need to know as we're first approaching Pinterest from a business perspective, not from our personal play perspective on Pinterest.

Kate:

Right, so the first is Pinterest page or profile. This is yours. This is basically where you showcase what it is your business are about is about, but it'll often be called pager profile. So those two are the same thing. A pin is what actually is what you see on Pinterest. They look like little tiles. They're vertical. That's exactly. That's um, where the pin goes, like it goes to your website, it links to your products. It's just an image. And then , um, the other thing would be idea, pins. Those are new. You're going to hear that term used to be called story pins. And then we also have pin description. That's describing what the pin is, boards, as I just referenced, those are on your Pinterest page , your profile. And then there's a lot of talk about smart feed. So this is important because when you open up your app or desktop, it defaults to a main homepage. That's called a smart feed. And Pinterest goal is to make this smart feed so smart that it knows exactly what you're interested in, who you follow, what you've searched, what ads you might like. And so this is where people start scrolling and they just scroll aimlessly. Okay . Then there's a search bar at the top. And what we have is you put in a term and you get what's called a search feed. So those are really two different ones. One is kind of a meander and one is very specific intent. You want specific pins that pop up in your search.

Julie:

Okay. And so I heard you say the word ads. So what's the difference between Pinterest and Pinterest ads?

Kate:

Yeah. So Pinterest ads are called promoted pins and they are very hard to spot. They really blend in quite well, but right underneath the image, you'll see something that says promoted by, and then the business name it's the same as a Facebook ad. Someone just basically paid to promote a pin to get it into the feed by saying, Hey, this person is interested in subscription boxes. We're just going to target them so that they see our advertisement in their feed. Okay. So just

Julie:

Big picture. Would you just start with kind of the organic side of it first, build your boards and build your profile and then potentially move into ads? Yeah,

Kate:

Absolutely. One of the basics is your profile for sure. You want to make sure you have an, a presence where if I come to your profile, I know what you do. I'm not confused about it. If you talk about business, you don't have like a cat board or yarn or something like that on there, keep it real streamlined to what you talk about. And then you want to get into the habit of creating the pin images. So this is really important to , because the images , the only thing that people see because people don't read on Pinterest, right ? Whenever you put words on Pinterest, you're really doing it for the algorithm to know kind of where to categorize it. But the first thing that people look at is the image. And so we recommend that people take a couple of months to really dial in their branding, their images on Pinterest, so that you can really get that before you would do ads. And that's really just because a lot of people will not do that. They'll skip that step. They'll put money behind an ad and they have a horrible image that people are just moving past because it really doesn't catch their eye. So that's a really important thing to focus on. Okay.

Julie:

So that's a good segue to talk about how our product based businesses actually using Pinterest to grow their business, to drive traffic, like what what's working right now. Of course, this might be different six months from now. I realize that, but how are product based businesses using it and specifically subscription box businesses. I know you've worked with Laurel Laurel box. And so maybe you can cite a little bit from that.

Kate:

Yeah. So there's two things you need to know in 2021, Pinterest is putting a lot of effort towards a product based businesses. The reason is because Pinterest knows that they're, they're the great informer of a purchase, right? People get these aha. This is amazing. Well, that gap between when they find it on Pinterest and when they purchase is about three to six months, they want to shorten that gap. So what they've done is they've made great shop integrations. They're still a little clunky. They have what's called the verified merchant program. You can look that up through Google. Um , it's a great seamless integration works really well if you have Shopify heard some bumps in the road. So just know that that's still getting ironed out, but Pinterest is saying, we don't want you to buy on the platform, but we want to help people go to other websites to buy on the website. So they've been very clear to say, they're not going to put a buy button on Pinterest. They're still going to make sure that the buy buttons on your website. So that being said, the two main places that we see product sellers, this really working is in your images. You have an up-close of your product, and then you have a lifestyle image of your product, and you can also upload your catalog. You don't have to do the verified merchant program as well. There's a way to upload your catalog. And Pinterest will give you a little shop tab. Again, it's a little clunky, but it will allow your images to show the current price. If it's in stock and this refreshes every single day, that's going to be more the closeup image, the actual product image. So that being said, I see a lot of potential for where Pinterest is going. Now here's another element is that product based businesses. We know, I say the word blogging and people either roll their eyes. And they're like, oh my gosh, okay. So the example you brought up Laurel box, we just did a podcast with them. And what they learned, which was really interesting is that Pinterest is a place for them to get a ton of new customers. Whereas Instagram was a lot of repeat, well , the way that they were getting new customers through Pinterest was by writing short blog posts about grief, what to do. Cause their boxes are specifically around sending people a box. That's very unique to the grief that they're experiencing, whether it's the loss of a parent for a child. So they wrote quick blog posts, what to say to a mother who's lost their child. Um, what to say to a newborn, a mom who's lost a newborn and these posts gave people, they answered the question of what they were looking for on Pinterest. What do I say to somebody? This feels so strange or how do I, what do I give somebody in grief? They were coming to their website and then they had the solution as the subs or as the box. And it's not a subscription, but they have the solution. So then they would read the blog post, oh, here's a perfect box for a mother. Who's just lost a child. Wow . So that blog doesn't have to be 3000 words or anything like that. But Pinterest users, because of the three to six months that I talked about, they need to be warmed up to your product. Why is your beauty products important to me? Why are these things actually something that I might need in my life. So getting something that is a short form blog post allows those new customers to come in the door and then purchase your product. And so that's another way that product sellers are really doing well on Pinterest. So it sounds like that's a funnel, a sales funnel. Yep , exactly. Okay.

Julie:

So we need to look at this as though, you know, we were looking at other platforms top of the funnel, you know, trying to get those new people in their middle of the funnel where we're going to warm them up and then provide the solution. It's the bottom of the funnel and to convert them. So we kind of need to visualize that as we're doing Pinterest and what content is going to help warm them up and provide them with quick wins and lead with value.

Kate:

Exactly. We actually have a framework here at simple pin for our funnel and it's called inspire inform and decide. Aspire is really where you're hitting the Pinterest user. You want to have them have that? Oh man, I didn't even know this was an option. Click learn more and then go down the funnel and decide to make a purchase

Julie:

That simplifies everything. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah . Okay. So we'll make sure that we put the link to your podcast and specifically that Laurel box episode in the show notes. So I want to inspire our listeners to action. So what can they do right now to get started on Pinterest promoting their subscription?

Kate:

Yeah. So number one is, make sure you have a Pinterest page or profile. That's really important that somebody can go to that. They know exactly what you do, who you are, what you sell that's number one, then make sure any boards that you have. If you're new, we recommend five or so those boards talk specifically about your products too. So they're just three to four words. You can have one that's devoted to your website. So I have simple pin media. You can have one that's devoted to subscription box for XYZ , whatever or productivity tips, any of that. So your boards need to be very streamlined. Like I said, no cats or yarn or anything like that. And then begin to create images, Pinterest images for your content or your products. These are vertical images. We use Canva and there are a lot of, they have templates. Perfect. Yeah, they have templates. You can even purchase. Pinterest templates are all around. You just Google them. And start to begin to create images over the next couple of weeks. Pin them to Pinterest. You can pin them more than once, but don't do everything at once. You want to at least do one to two a day. If you have a really large catalog of content, like you can support even more. It's okay to go up to 10 a day, just making sure they're different and you're not spamming your audience. But that's really what we tell people to get started is just start playing on the platform. We don't want you to be concerned about right way or wrong way. We want you to be focused on images. And then here's a really important one that people miss. You want to write pin descriptions that are natural sounding one to three sentences and have key words in them because that's where that search factor comes into play and where Pinterest goes, oh aha. You're about this. We're going to show this to more people. So take the first month or two, just, you're going to feel like you're throwing spaghetti on a wall, but just do it because you're going to get your feet wet and you're going to figure out what's working and not working cause with a business account, it will give you analytics to see. Yeah.

Julie:

I was just going to ask that. So is that's built into the platform already that it will start showing you who , what people are actually engaging with, what are their clicking, that type of thing. Yeah,

Kate:

Absolutely. So you want to make sure if you did have a personal account on Pinterest and you want to merge it to a business account, you just simply go to business.pinterest.com and they have prompts to walk you through it. And then all of a sudden you get access to ads and analytics. It's really, and they're much better than they were three to four years ago. Right.

Julie:

Awesome. Okay. So one more question I have about the images themselves. Do you have any best practices? Because

Kate:

You know, I I've seen pictures

Julie:

That are or pins that are literally just pictures. And then I see some with cute text or font on top. Like what's the best practice there.

Kate:

Yeah. So it kind of depends on what niche or category you are in. So if it's like home decor, we tell people don't do a lot of texts because people will really want to see the bandwidth of the room. They want to see it all when it comes to subscription box. I think there's an interesting way that you can do it by showing the contents of the box and making sure that I can see most of that with a little bit of context as to what I'm looking at. Because if you just have a box there, I don't really know why, why would I pick it? Like you have to give a little bit of value or benefits to what's in it. I'll also say this is that video is growing tremendously on Pinterest. There's a billion video views per day happening right now. So for subscription box owners, get your phone out. I like InShot or jump rope. Those are two great ones that I use. And just show you open it kind of an unboxing video, like what's inside and pin those to Pinterest. I think that's going to be some great engagement for people cause they , they can feel like they're having an experience and that's important for product sellers because people can't touch it or hold it. And so they want to be able to see that too as well. So with images, you do want to use texts. You can also use text with video too , using those two apps I just talked about. Um, but the biggest part is just giving enough words to give context, but not take away the value of what's in the image.

Julie:

That makes sense to me when I used to build websites, the big thing that I would think in the back of my head was don't make them think like they need to see it and be like, immediately know what it is. Um, so with videos, that's a really great tip. Is there a specific length of video that we should shoot for?

Kate:

Yeah. They say less than a minute 30, you can go up to two minutes, but really you're going to do between 30 and 45 seconds. It's very much like those poppy Facebook style videos that used to go crazy with the hands and stuff. It's because Pinterest is a little bit behind where all the other places , social media platforms are when it comes to video, that's, what's really trending. And I, people get caught in those all the time. I mean, I'll look at them in my feed and I just sit there and stare at them. I'm like, oh yeah, that's really cool. So , and

Julie:

Then 30 minutes later, you wonder where the time went. Totally.

Kate:

So definitely don't put any of your long form video on there. It does not perform well. Pinterest users don't sit around to watch. Okay.

Julie:

Good advice. Thank you so much. This was you've you've really simplified things. I know. That's your goal. So yeah. Kudos to you? That's so helpful. If people want to learn more about Pinterest and want to connect with you, where can they find and follow you?

Kate:

Yeah. SimplePinMedia.com and then I'm at Simple Pin Media on all social channels. And if you want to see what we're doing with idea pins, we didn't talk about that. But if you want to see those or any of the pins that we're creating for business or video, you can see that at our Pinterest profile and it will show up right away of the top for what we've most recently created.

Julie:

Very cool. Well , we'll put all those links in the show notes. This has been so much fun. Kate, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge about Pinterest. I know that my team is really inspired and like really wants to get into Pinterest. We were just dragging our feet, you know, cause we just didn't know what we didn't know and it seems overwhelming. So thank you.

Kate:

You're so welcome. Happy to help.

Julie:

Awesome. All right, everybody. I hope you're feeling inspired. Go set up your own Pinterest profile or if you haven't already and share it with us in the DMS, you can always reach me in the DMS at Subscription Box Bootcamp on Instagram. I'd love to hear how your new Pinterest strategy is going. Thanks for listening. And we'll see you on the next episode. [inaudible] .