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Using Pinterest to market and sell online courses


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In just a few short years, Pinterest has taken the world by storm. It’s the first-ever platform of its kind to attract and nurture all of its users, not just an elite tech-savvy few. In doing so, it has created a new way of allowing real-world users to share and organize the things they love most.

In this guide, we’ll give you an introduction to Pinterest monetization, including how to set up your board, Pinterest marketing for knowledge entrepreneurs, and best practices for success.  

What’s Pinterest and why should I use it for marketing? 

Many business startups, especially platforms, believe that the best way for them to attract and retain users is to focus on making a viral impact among tech-savvy early adopters. And while there’s no doubt that this can have a ripple-effect among that small niche of users (which then spreads to the general public), there are also as many failed ideas that never gained the traction they felt they deserved because of their super-narrow targeted gamble. 

Pinterest was founded to go against this common practice, right from the start. Rather than trying to attract only Bay Area techies, the platform wanted to take something we all do, like saving and organizing things, and make it even better. 

Eleven billion dollars later, Pinterest became a force of nature in its own right, thanks to their inclusion of the app on Apple's App Store, as well as their mention in Time magazine. Only then did people suddenly start to see exactly how Pinterest could fit into their busy digital lifestyles. They began using it to “pin” everything from recipes to quotes, to outfits and cute home décor ideas. 

These days, Pinterest has grown into much more than just a way to organize your hobbies and the things you want to save. Pinterest, much like any social network, will expand to fill any time you give it, and for knowledge entrepreneurs asking themselves, “Where can I sell my online courses?” this presents a great marketing opportunity if you use it wisely. 

Consider the following: 

Pinterest monetization happens naturally if you leverage the strengths of this platform. You’ll need to set up your account correctly, learn to create pins that promote your knowledge products, and optimize your pins to be found by your target audience.

Pinterest is one of the least-known places to promote your course — which makes it a great platform to stand out. But where do you start?  

Pinterest marketing is much more than just looking for cute pictures to post or exciting words to use. Let’s look now at how to launch a PInterest presence for your online course, step by step.  

How to get started with Pinterest

To get started with Pinterest, it’s important to know the basics of how Pinterest works. First, users “pin” the content they want to save or share to various “boards” to keep it organized. This also allows other users to discover related content. 

Screenshot of a Pinterest board with categories for events, books, success, marketing, kitchen, and more

When you create an account for the first time, you’ll need to choose between a personal and a business account. It’s a good idea to go ahead and select the business account. That will open up Pinterest Analytics, as well as a built-in video player, a visual search tool and, if you choose, the ability to run ads. 

If you already have a personal Pinterest account and want to run ads, you’ll need to upgrade it to Pinterest Business and upgrade your account to run ads. For this, you’ll need to include a payment method since Pinterest’s Ad Manager is what allows you to selectively target your ads toward those who are more likely to take your course. 

Creating your first Pinterest board

Pinterest is a visual platform. That being the case, Pinterest marketing is a great opportunity to share videos and blogs. Unlike Instagram, Pinterest users can click through to visit live links. 

Your first step is to create a Pinterest board. Boards allow you to save your pins (more on that in the next section below) and let you share content for your followers to discover. You can have an unlimited number of boards and you can (and should) organize your boards into different themes, ideas, or plans. 

Create one or more boards related to your course and your business as a whole, so users can more easily find your content. 

If you’re collaborating with others on your course, you can also invite them to join your board. This converts it to a “group board.” You and your collaborators can then share and pin your ideas and concepts to the board. 

When you create your first board, you’ll need to choose a category for the content to be shared in. This ensures that your content (boards and pins)  are searchable by people who are interested in your content and the topics you cover. 

Users on Pinterest discover content by using the search box to find what they’re looking for, or drilling down using the Categories section of any user’s profile to see related content. 

Creating your first pin

Now that your board is made, it’s time to start pinning. Oftentimes users will pin whatever interesting or unique things cross their path as they browse the web. Since you want to use Pinterest marketing to promote your course, you’re going to want to create your own pins. So what kinds of pins get shared and commented on? 

You may be surprised! 

First, branded images without faces tend to get 23% more pins than those that use faces. So if you’re camera shy, Pinterest is your place to shine. 

What’s even more interesting is that Pinterest users are very open-minded about branding, surprisingly so compared to other social networks. In fact, 75% of Pinterest users are likely to watch branded videos as long as the content is interesting to them. 

If you have the budget to use Pinterest’s Promoted Videos, do so. Videos that are around 30-90 seconds tend to perform the best. 

How often and what to post on Pinterest

If you’re at a loss for what to post beyond video ads and imagery without faces, it’s a good idea to start by looking at your course from the angle of someone who wants to learn what you have to share. 

For example, you could:

  • Share images and video snippets from your course to give users a taste of what the course is like
  • Share statistics about your interests or niche and unique or interesting facts about it
  • Create graphics with quotes from famous people in your industry 
  • Provide a video that serves as an introduction to your course, but as a freebie that teaches users a simple method, trick, or technique. The goal here is to encourage them to sign up to your course to get more.

Screenshot of a Pinterest image saying "Don't be too general"

In addition to the images you use, you’ll also want to make smart use of keywords on Pinterest. You can use keywords and phrases in your profile and posts, as well as your pins and boards. In doing this, you’ll increase the chances that your details will appear organically in the user’s feed when they search for what you have to share. 

If you want to use Pinterest ads to promote your course, you can take advantage of the company’s own keyword targeting tool to precisely target your ideal audience through the platform. 

Finally, be sure to use hashtags. Hashtags are words and phrases proceeded by the # sign and allow users to browse topics simply by clicking on that hashtag. These tags work the same way as they do on other social networks like Instagram, so it’s highly likely that your users are already using them to discover new and interesting pins and boards worth following. 

In terms of how often to post, it’s recommended to post at least three, but no more than 30, posts per day. Yes, that’s right, we said per day

You’ll be glad to know that Pinterest Business accounts allow you to schedule pins. You can also use a third-party app to schedule your pins in advance. 

So now that you understand what to share and how often to share it on Pinterest, the question then becomes, “How do I get the best performance when marketing on Pinterest?” For that, we suggest the following best practices.

Best practices for marketing on Pinterest

When marketing on Pinterest, remember that no board is an island. Your Pinterest quotes might be amazing, but if you’re only promoting and not exploring, you’re missing out on the “interest” part of Pinterest! 

Just like with any other marketing initiative, it’s all about building relationships. On Pinterest, this means engaging with your target audience as well as complementary, non-competitive knowledge entrepreneurs in your space. 

Best practice #1: Follow new accounts that share an interest in your space

Take time to welcome new accounts that are just getting their feet wet on Pinterest. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to connect with potential course members. 

For example, if you’re selling a course on beginning SEO (search engine optimization), it’s a great idea to connect with those that have noted SEO, digital marketing, and web development as their interests. Chances are very high that they are or will be involved in SEO at some point. 

Best practice #2: Share, like and comment on others’ pins

Just as no board is an island when it comes to Pinterest marketing, neither are you as a user. Don’t forget to share, like, and comment on others’ pins. 

If someone in a related space has shared Pinterest quotes related to your industry or topic, be sure to like, comment, and share them. That increases the chances that they will do the same for yours! 

Best practice #3: Showcase your expertise in your given niche, share and ask for ideas! 

Pinterest is the perfect place to create a unique post that showcases your expertise in a fun, quirky, or unique way. Teach your followers how to do something simple, host a giveaway or a contest, and create incentives to get them involved.

Don’t forget, your followers can be a rich source of potential ideas, not just for your Pinterest pins, but also for your course in general. Oftentimes, as experts in our chosen subjects, we forget what it was like to be a beginner. We need beginners to remind us about the things we used to struggle with when we were first learning.

Best practice #4: How to boost engagement on your Pinterest marketing initiatives

Many of the same best practices apply whether you’re using Pinterest or any other social media. For example, you don’t want to be overly-self-promotional and pushy when it comes to selling your course. At the same time, you do want to let users know that your course exists and why they should be a part of it. 

It’s never a bad idea to offer some sort of incentive to users who repost or re-pin your content. Consider a free Getting Started guide or a discount code. 

Just as you would with any type of social media post, the content that you pin and share should have a purpose (and not just to promote your course!). By sharing unique, engaging things around your chosen topic, you’ll gradually begin to attract like-minded users who want to learn more. Over time, you’ll continue to position yourself as the expert they’ll want to seek out about your niche. 

Best practice #5: Analyze your Pinterest marketing results

Don’t forget, with a Pinterest Business account you also have access to the site’s analytics so you can see how well your Pinterest marketing is paying off. 

Pinterest Analytics is categorized into four different sections which you can then drill down into for more information: 

Profile metrics
- Information about how your profile is performing, who visited it, where they’re from, how they found it, and so on.

Details about your users and followers- How many people saw your pins? Who saved them? Who re-pinned them?

How are people interacting with your content? One of the biggest reasons Pinterest has garnered so many users is because of the variety of ways you can pin and save items to boards. Pinterest has an app for all major smartphone brands, as well as browser extensions that make it easy for users to pin and share in just a few clicks. 

Beyond that, many web pages have a “Pin It!” social media tab at the bottom of their blog posts.

Details about your most popular pins - You can use this data to see what kind of information people are searching for within your industry. This type of knowledge can spark new ideas for future course updates or additional material! 

Getting the best performance out of Pinterest

You may be surprised to learn that following all of these tips and strategies has the potential for a big pay-off:  Pinterest users have the highest purchase intent of any other social media users. 

More than just sharing Pinterest quotes and images, you can do a great deal to get even better performance out of PInterest if you want to scratch beneath the surface and really make your course stand out. 

Here are three ideas for doing just that:

Performance tip #1: Be a storyteller

Humans are natural storytellers. We may not gather around campfires in caves anymore, but we still love a good story. Because Pinterest is a visual medium, it’s a great way to tell a story with images instead of just words. 

How can you communicate what your course does and how it works, using mostly images?  It might be a little bit of a challenge at first, but visual storytelling can be a great way to attract users; particularly if your subject matter is often viewed as dry, uninteresting, or unusually complex. 

If you can break down and demystify your topic using image and video, you’ll definitely capture attention and set your course apart from all of the other “me too” users that are involved in Pinterest marketing. 

Performance tip #2: Showcase your blog posts

Pinterest provides an excellent opportunity for showcasing your blog posts. Although you can’t put the whole post itself in Pinterest, what you can do is upload an image and then link that image to your blog for users who want to learn more. This works with videos as well. 

Unlike Instagram, which forces you to shove all your promotional links in your bio (until you reach 10,000 followers), Pinterest has no such restriction. Users can click right through to go directly to your blog post. 

Performance tip #3: Humanize your niche

This suggestion goes hand in hand with visual storytelling. Although images without faces may get pinned more, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to hide behind your pins. 

Remember, Pinterest is a two-way communications street. That gives you the opportunity to reach out to discuss and share information with like-minded people. It also gives you an opportunity to help beginners navigate common pitfalls or roadblocks when getting started in your niche. 

Plus, Pinterest marketing is a great way to give back to the community that has given you so much. Show your followers how you’ve incorporated their suggestions through: 

  • Behind-the-scenes videos
  • Course updates
  • Additional material 
  • Discount codes

It’s a great way to share the love and attract new students and members in the process. 

Get started promoting your course now! 

PInterest has its own particular way of doing things, but at the end of the day, it works like many of the social media sites you already know and love. Done right, it also provides an excellent springboard for you to promote your course, build your credibility, and showcase your expertise in a niche where users are actively looking for help and information. 

And there’s no better time to start than now. Pinterest marketing is a smart way to promote your business and products.

Pinterest is much more than a haven for recipes, clothing ideas and crafts. (But if your course is on any of those topics, it's a natural fit!)

It’s a balanced, organized, and welcoming platform for people of all genders and ages. That means there’s a high likelihood that your target audience is already using Pinterest, and the only thing missing is you! 

Wondering how Pinterest stacks up to other marketing methods? Watch our video covering the results of 2021 Knowledge Creator Marketing Study. We report on some helpful marketing benchmarks and popular marketing strategies:

If you’re ready to learn more about how to use Kajabi to create and market your course or membership, we’re ready to help, and we’d be delighted to answer any questions you may have. 

Join us for live Q&A webinars
every day, Monday through Friday. Register today to learn everything you need to know to succeed as a knowledge entrepreneur, including selling products, Kajabi themes, pipelines, webinars, and the Kajabi Partner Program. 

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Using Pinterest to market and sell online courses
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