Turning Pins into Paychecks: How to Make Money on Pinterest

Today, I am going to talk about a few different ways to leverage your Pinterest business account to make money.  If you’re interested in connecting on Pinterest with potential customers but aren’t sure about the best ways to go about it, this post is for you.  Of note, this blog post may contain affiliate links to products I love!

We already know that our favourite social media platform is great for helping your target audience discover you and your brand. It’s what you do with that brand awareness next that counts!  Reading this post is the first step on your journey to a vibrant, lucrative Pinterest business, whether you’re looking for a side hustle or a full-time gig. Here we go!

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Can you get paid from Pinterest?

If you are just testing the waters right now and trying to figure out if Pinterest is a good way to make extra money, let me tell you that yes, you can make money posting Pins on Pinterest! However, Pinterest itself won’t pay you directly; but will give you:

  • A free platform to use 
  • Visual search engine technology 
  • A pool of 445 million people that you can market to

Confused? It’s really quite simple. Here are the top ways to use Pinterest as a medium to make the cash flow into your bank account: 

1. Brand partnerships 

In this scenario, you will partner with brands that you can promote authentically and in line with your target audience’s vibe and values. Put together a media kit that includes your Pinterest profile and sample content so that you are ready to approach the perfect brand when it presents itself. Once you find a brand that agrees to work with you, use your Pinterest presence to promote it. Simply tag your brand partner in your Pins (using the paid partnership tool) according to the deal you work out directly with them. You will arrange the terms of your agreement (including payment) outside Pinterest itself. So, you are making money ON your Pinterest boards, but not FROM Pinterest itself. 

2. Links

There are a few different ways that links can make you money on Pinterest. The first and most obvious is a direct link to your own website. Make this link obvious and straightforward in every Pin to drive interested Pinterest traffic over there! Maybe your website is monetized for ad revenue, or maybe you use it as an online store to sell products or services (more on that later!). Either way, Pinterest is one of the best social media sites for connecting interested new customers or viewers with your website, for free! 

The second way to use links to make money on Pinterest is to become an affiliate marketer. What this means is that you can seek out products and services that you genuinely support and believe your audience would be interested in and then join their affiliate program. Once you do this, they will provide you with direct affiliate links that you can add to your relevant Pins. When people click through and purchase that product or service using the link, the brand pays you for your support! So: in both scenarios Pinterest is only involved indirectly by providing you with the platform to share your links. Your payout comes from other sources. 

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3. Digital products 

Ok, now I’m getting really excited! Making money on Pinterest by selling digital products is a great way to use your Pinterest platform to make money. If you are a Pinterest content creator but you’re not using your account to sell digital products and services, you’re missing out! So, let’s spend a bit of time on how to make money selling digital products and services using your Pinterest platform. And I’m not just saying this because I love Pinterest. Chances are your audience and ideal client do too! So, should you be putting valuable time, effort and resources into promoting digital products on Pinterest?

I say yes!

Honestly, there has never been a better time than right now to use Pinterest to promote your digital products. The COVID-19 pandemic pretty much threw a wrench in everyone’s plans, and we’ve all had to pivot quickly to get everything online and virtual. A lot of businesses adapted by re-imagining their offerings as digital products, but where they’re still struggling is in getting in front of their audience. That’s where Pinterest can act as a digital product sales funnel.

Perhaps you’re thinking – sure, Pinterest works for crafters, foodies, people doing DIY projects and home decor, and beauty and fashion bloggers, but that’s not my business. Digital products don’t belong on Pinterest. Right? Wrong! It’s true that there aren’t a lot of businesses promoting their digital products on Pinterest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find success doing it.

What are digital products? 

Let’s back up for a moment. Do you know what I mean when I say “digital products”? Sometimes people get stuck thinking computer software programs and the like are the best examples of this revenue stream opportunity, but that just isn’t so! Here is a list of different types of digital offerings you can showcase with your product Pins, and I bet once you read this list you can think of even more ideas that are relevant to your skills and target audience! 

1. Expertise/SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT

Are you an expert on something? It could be anything! You could create a short written course, video series, or handout on your subject of choice and offer it to your audience as a helpful tool. If you are a foodie blogger, put together a course explaining your favourite staple ingredients, or a video tutorial of your most well-known recipes that contains tips and tricks not found in the free version. eBooks are another way to monetize your expertise. You could create a short how-to on setting up a workshop with the right tools and equipment if you are a DIYer, or write a travel guide to your favourite city if experiences are your thing. Get the idea? Anything you know a lot about can be turned into a way to help others AND increase your revenue. 

2.   Templates/SWIPE FILES

Templates are a perfect digital product for Pinterest marketing! If you are a virtual assistant, could you create email or newsletter templates to make it easier for your clients to get started on their own? Is there a printable idea that your customer base would love to have in their hands?  If you write blog posts for a living, you could create a template with how to start each paragraph for a post that flows properly. Anything you can put together to stop people having to start from scratch is sure to gain traction with your followers over time if you link it to a relevant Pin on your business Pinterest account.

3. Services/DONE FOR YOUR VIRTUAL SERVICES

Have you thought about turning your skills into a digital product? If you are a writer, editor, virtual assistant, or web designer (you get the idea) you can use Pinterest to advertise what you do. You could also piggyback off your template products: too busy to write the blog post even with the template? If so, let me do it for you! And so on. If you have a skill other people might want, use your Pins to sell it.

3. Podcasts/AUDIO FILES

Think of this as a sub-category of expertise! If you would rather talk about a subject instead of write about it, a podcast is your best bet. 

4. Subscriptions/REOCCURRING ACCESS

Asking your followers to subscribe to get more in depth content from you at a low additional cost is a great way to up your passive earnings, and it is common enough now that very few people are upset by the suggestion. You will be surprised how much people are willing to pay for information or advice from someone they trust! So, if you have a loyal Pinterest or social media following, a subscription newsletter, handout, or monthly update is not a big leap. 

5. Art & music 

Are you an artist with creations to sell to the world? Do it on Pinterest as a digital product! Prints and recordings can easily be sold this way, with no need for a physical shop. 

This is not an exhaustive list of all possible forms of digital products, but I hope you get the idea that there are just so many possibilities out there for ways to monetize your knowledge and skills.

How do you make passive income on Pinterest?

This is really just another way to ask if it’s possible to make money on Pinterest, and now we know the answer! Yes, it is possible to make passive income on Pinterest.

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To recap: Pinterest affiliate marketing, your direct website links, and digital products are all great revenue streams that you should definitely add to your business model. Profitable digital products most definitely help bring in passive income to your business – that means you’re making money even when you’re not doing anything, and who doesn’t love that? You create the product once, and you can sell it as many times as you want – no extra effort required. 

It’s also a way to diversify your business. We’ve all heard the advice of not keeping all your eggs in one basket, and that applies to business as well. Having digital products on offer in your business helps you stay prepared for changes in the market. 

Remember: anything that can be digitized and solves a problem, offers a solution, or inspires people can be sold as a digital product. The possibilities are endless; all you have to do is figure out what digital products are right for your business and Pinterest community.

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How do I sell my digital products online?

Now that you’ve decided to take the leap and start offering digital products for sale, you’ve got a few steps ahead of you. And remember, you cannot actually sell anything on Pinterest, but you can use your keyword-rich Pins to generate outbound clicks to whatever platform you are using to sell your new products to your Pinterest followers. You are responsible for creating that shop and then having the products to then share to social media, like Pinterest, to generate interest in the products. So, here’s what you need to do first before focusing on your Pinterest marketing:

1. Brainstorm & GENERATE IDEAS

Figure out exactly what you want to sell! Go through your skills, what you are selling now, what content your audience loves, the relevant keywords that help your audience find your content, and the pin descriptions that generate the most website traffic for you, and get to work creating digital products that fit your brand. 

2. Identify your TARGET market/AUDIENCE

If you already have a following on Pinterest or other social media, identifying your target market should be easy! You want to create products that will serve the needs and fit with the values of the people already following you. If you are just getting started or want to serve a broader audience than you have right now, you might want to do some market research and figure out what niche works best for you. 

3. Create an online shop

As previously mentioned, you need somewhere other than Pinterest to sell your digital products! Your website, Shopify, or Etsy are great places to start. Do some research and figure out what works best for you. We personally LOVE Shopify or Stan Store. Shopify makes it super simple to set up your own shop for selling digital products and it integrates BEAUTIFULLY with Pinterest and Instagram. There is a reason it is SO popular. Another great platform for anyone who only wants to sell a few digital products is Stan Store. Stan Store is a newer platform that allows you to create a custom “link in bio” type shop and generate sales right in your Stan Store.

Can you really make money selling digital products online? 

Yes, you really can make money selling your digital products. As with anything for sale in either the physical or online world, the key is to make yourself visible and help people realize they need your product and then connect with you to buy it. And this is the great advantage of Pinterest! As a believer in the power of this social media platform, you’re already more than halfway there to a successful online business. 

How to sell digital products on Pinterest

Not quite convinced to add digital products to your Pinterest game? Let’s review:

  • Pinterest is often called a social media platform but it works more like a search engine (think Google, but with pictures). With the advent of “social search” and Gen Z turning to social media platforms to look for advice, products, and services, there has never been a better time to start selling with Pinterest. What’s amazing is that you do not need followers on Pinterest to have buyers discover your digital products.
  • Pinterest provides community, a trusted place where people feel safe. If you have built this relationship with your users by following Pinterest best practices for generating authentic, quality content, you already have an audience who is ready to listen to your recommendations
  • 50% of US Pinners spend money on the platform, and almost 90% of Pinners are on Pinterest to get inspired to buy something
  • 2 in 3 Pinners are actively looking for brands, services and products they can trust
  • Pinterest because it is a search engine, allows for more passive discovery of your amazing products and doesn’t require the constant churn of new content like we see on platforms like Instagram or TikTok.

Guess what this all means for you, the business owner who wants to promote their digital products? People on Pinterest are waiting to buy from you – you just need to put yourself in front of them!

Think of Pinterest as a top-of-funnel discovery and planning platform (planning purchases, to do something, to find solutions!). Marketing digital products on Pinterest is as simple as inserting yourself into the customer journey from the beginning of their search until they make their purchase decision. Whether they’re changing something in their business, their home, or life, position yourself as a valuable resource by sharing content that’s helpful, interesting or useful. This is really powerful if you have a product that solves a problem, offers a solution, inspires people or gives people the ability to plan something.

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Find Ways to Help, Serve or Inspire

Pinterest is really such a helpful platform. I swear, all Pinterest wants to do is connect users with content they find useful. That’s it.

What does this mean for you as a business owner thinking about how to sell on Pinterest? Find ways to help, serve or inspire your ideal clients and audience, and Pinterest will take care of putting that content in front of the people who are looking for it.

It’s that simple.

Give Users Context

Unlike other social media platforms where people who see your content are probably already following you, Pinterest users usually have no clue who you are when they first see your offers pop up in their feed. That’s why you have to give them some context. Share who you are, what you do, why you do it, how you can help them – everything! You need to put in a little more effort to generate the “know, like, and trust” factor, because remember – they know nothing about you.

How do you help people get to know you? You need a comprehensive landing page or sales page that people get to from Pinterest, wherever you have decided the link from your Pin will take them. I recommend using almost a blog-style format in driving traffic to lead magnets, opt-ins, content upgrades, or even directly to your digital products.

Play the long game

The reality is, selling digital products on Pinterest has potential, but it’s not as easy as 1-2-3. Pinterest is not an over night success platform. It takes time to build an audience there. People won’t always immediately buy your digital products once they come across them on Pinterest. Unless you’re selling something that’s $5 or $10 or that addresses a super huge pain point, chances are your audience isn’t going to jump from discovering you to making the purchase immediately.

They’ve discovered you via Pinterest, but now it’s up to you to help them along to get to know you and understand why they should invest in your products. I like to call them cold warm leads. They’re warm because they’re actively looking for what you offer, but they’re cold because they haven’t built a relationship with you yet.

This is especially true for high-ticket items (think $500, $1000, or more). They’ll probably need 2-3 months before they make the buying decision on those. During this time period, you need to think about how you can establish your authority and expertise – don’t forget that consistency is key!

Strategies to increase Pinterest sales for digital products

Here are a few strategies you can implement right away to start driving traffic and increasing your digital product sales on Pinterest:

  • Use relevant and powerful visuals: Pinterest is all about the visuals, so using images that really showcase what people will get is super important. Make sure the picture tells the story! Create beautiful mocksup, showing your product being used and lean heavy into sharing Video Pins
  • Claim your website! Pinterest has a preference for Pins that lead to your claimed domain and that’s why I prefer Shopify websites or Stan store (or better yet, a WordPress website!)
  • Clarify your message: Include relevant text overlay and copy (Pin title + descriptions) to drive across your message of what they’re going to get and why they need to take action. Be concise and keyword rich in your word choice.
  • Test different visuals: Different things will attract different people! A/B testing is the only way to verify what really works with your audience (so that you can keep doing more of that). Remember, you can create multiple Pins per product page, landing pages or sales page.
  • Consider landing pages: This is where you’re building those relationships, so make sure your landing pages are telling your story.
  • Track conversion rates: Once you start driving traffic to your digital products, keep track of your conversion rates. Ensure that you are serving value to keep those rates high!
  • Consider creating a blog so you can create fresh content that has your products embedded into the posts. This allows you to share fresh content more regularly to Pinterest
  • Ensure you are using Video on Pinterest to maximize your visibility

What do you do now?

So, now that you’ve decided to take  the next step and launch your digital product marketing program on Pinterest, what do you do? Want to know how to scale up your Pinterest sales funnel to get more eyes on your digital products? Want to dramatically shortcut your path to more leads and conversions from Pinterest? Worried about (or already tired of) wasting time figuring out why your digital products aren’t getting traction on Pinterest?

Save time, money and energy with my Pinterest Marketing Toolkit. It’s got everything you need to jump right in and get your digital products on Pinterest, just like that. You will receive:

✔ Unique, Professionally Canva templates

✔ Pinterest Keyword planner

✔ AI Prompts to write Pinterest copy faster

✔ Pin title generator

✔ Growth tracker

… And more!

These tools and strategies are designed specially for digital products, so that you get more visibility, leads and ultimately, sales. Trust me, this toolkit will make your life so much simpler and take the stress out of how to leverage Pinterest to sell your digital products.

So, there’s all my advice on how to make money on Pinterest! I hope you’ve learned a lot and feel inspired to try something new. Whether it’s affiliate marketing, direct website links, or digital products (hint: try digital products!), there are ways to make passive income on Pinterest that can help you life the life you’ve always wanted. 

Happy pinning!

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