Pinterest is often written off as a lifestyle site with little to no value for businesses, but you CAN use Pinterest to drive traffic, leads and sales for your business...and here's how.
This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Alex Nerney explains how he has used Pinterest to successfully build a following and drive traffic and revenue for not one, but two online businesses.
With more than 3 million monthly views on one Pinterest account, and more than 4 million on another, Alex knows a thing or two about what it takes to not only create a successful Pinterest presence, but do it in a way that generates meaningful business outcomes, and in this episode, he's sharing all the details of that strategy.
This week's episode of The Inbound Success Podcast is brought to you by our sponsor, IMPACT Live, the most immersive and high energy learning experience for marketers and business leaders. IMPACT Live takes place August 6-7, 2019 in Hartford Connecticut and is headlined by Marcus Sheridan along with special guests including world-renowned Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith and Drift CEO and Co-Founder David Cancel. Inbound Success Podcast listeners can save 10% off the price of tickets with the code "SUCCESS".
Listen to the podcast to learn how Alex has used Pinterest to drive traffic to his blog sites and get the specific strategies he shares with clients looking to achieve similar results with Pinterest marketing.
Kathleen Booth (Host): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast. I'm your host Kathleen Booth, and this week my guest is Alex Nerney who is the founder of Create and Go, which is an online blog which, get this, that teaches others how to start a blog and make money from blogging. So you're the blogger that teaches bloggers how to blog.
Alex Nerney (Guest): I know, tragic.
Kathleen: Welcome on.
Alex: Pulling into this space. Thanks for having me.
Alex and Kathleen having WAY too much fun while recording this episode
Kathleen: Talk a little bit about yourself. How did you wind up founding Create and Go? What led you down this path and give a little bit more about your background.
About Alex Nerney and Create and Go
Alex: Yeah, for sure. Let's start out with explaining "the how we fell into this" for our readers. Back in 2015, I was working as a personal trainer at the time and my co-founder, Lauren, was working as a CPA, and we were really disenchanted and disenfranchised with where our lives were headed.
You could kind of see the writing on the wall. We didn't have a lot of time for vacations, and not a lot of time to travel, didn't have a lot of time to do the things that we wanted to do. It felt like we were always chasing the weekend and drinking our sorrows away on the weekends.
So we decided that we would start a website. Started out with a website called Health and Happy Hour and that website failed completely. It was a-
Kathleen: Oh my God, but I love the name.
Alex: It's an amazing-
Kathleen: It's Health and Happy Hour. That's like having it all, having your cake and eating it too.
Alex: Exactly, exactly. You know, the funny thing is people still to this day, I get that comment all the time. They're like, "That's an amazing name," but just another business tip is that your name doesn't necessarily mean your success, you know?
So we started it and really was centered around us and we wanted to talk about working out and health and drinking, because those were the things that we liked to do. And so, we went through, and it was just where we started. It was our foundation. That blog ended up not succeeding.
We started another blog called Avocadu.com. Less funny name, and hard to spell and not the most perfect name in the world, but that blog we grew very rapidly. Within a year, we were making $100 grand a month. During that time, we quit our jobs and went all in, sold all of our things and tried to make this whole blogging thing work.
And so, what happened is we started this blog and it became successful, and the pain of going through that process of learning how to blog was very real, because I felt like other people who were teaching this subject about blogging about blogging didn't know what they were talking about, because that's all they had ever done was to teach people how to blog about blogging. They'd never ran an actual separate blog.
And so, it was very much like, "We should do this because we can do this so much better." And so, that's how Create and Go was formed, and we teach blogging about blogging and we love what we do and we love getting to help people. We've had a few students now reach six figures and beyond, go from zero dollars to quitting their jobs in all sorts of niches, in anxiety and depression and law, and things like that.
So it's just been a phenomenal process. It's been a lot of fun for us, and so, to this day, Create and Go makes over $100 grand a month. We make over $100 grand a month, but combined between our blogs, and we really teach people how to do it and how to get started. So that's me. That's us.
Kathleen: That's a great story. I love that you shared that the first one didn't work, because I feel like there's so many of those stories, whether it's my first business, or, in my case, my first podcast was a big dud.
Alex: Oh, really?
Kathleen: I do find entrepreneurs especially tend to be very reticent about sharing their failures. I was business owner for 11 years, and I remember how isolating it can feel when you feel like everybody else is crushing and you're like, "Wait, what am I doing wrong?"
Alex: For sure, for sure.
Kathleen: But, under the surface, there's a lot that a lot of people are doing that's wrong, and I think if we all were willing to embrace that and talk about it more, we would all be better for it. You learn so much from those failures, and so thank you for sharing that.
Alex: I totally agree, I totally agree. I think it's that necessary step of success, and it can be a very humbling thing as well, because I know you're like me, and you consider yourself a smart person and watching all these other people succeed while you are failing again and again, beating your head against your computer, it can be frustrating, but it just becomes part of the story, and I couldn't agree more that the more people that share that open process and share the facts that, "No, it's not all laptops on the beach." It's not all that dream all the time. I think it's so important for beginners starting out and having success.
Kathleen: Totally, and I remember once I did research on this and I was shocked by how many seemingly wildly successful entrepreneurs, at the same time, have been flat out failures at things. Like Dyson is a famous example that most people know who tried, I don't even know how many iterations, 50 some odd, hundred some odd iterations of the vacuum before he landed on the one that worked. And Oprah got fired from her first job and network TV, and there's so many more like that where you look at these people and you think, "You're just magical. You know how to do things," and you don't see those earlier failures.
Alex: Totally, totally. It's easy to see people's successes. It's not as easy to see the hard times, because the problem, too, is we don't record the hard times.
Kathleen: That's right.
Alex: We don't hold the camera up for the late nights in front of a computer, because we're just like, "Nobody cares." But, I think that one day someone will. So, I'm talking to my personal trainer, and I'm like, "Dude, you need to film yourself every day right now. When you're not aware, being perfect," he's young guy. He's 23, 24 now, and I'm just like, "Dude, you need to start filming everything, because if I could go back and have one thing, it would be to have the proof of those things. If you have the late nights in front of the computer where nobody's watching but you."
Kathleen: Yeah, yeah. I feel like we could have a whole nother podcast on this topic-
Alex: I feel like we could.
Kathleen: -because I'm super passionate about it.
Using Pinterest to Grow Your Business
Kathleen: But, there was a very specific reason that I wanted to talk with you, because, in addition to teaching people how to blog, one of the things that is very interesting about you is that have a Pinterest presence, which, first of all, is interesting because Pinterest, the majority of the users of Pinterest are women, so I love talking to a guy whose doing well in Pinterest, break the stereotypes, and you get 3.1 million monthly views on Pinterest, and that has actually fueled the growth of your blog.
I've talked to a lot of different marketers on this podcast about a lot of different growth strategies, and Pinterest has never come into the conversation, so I was really excited to talk about it for the first time, especially not just how do you do Pinterest and get followers, but how do you do Pinterest and achieve goals outside of Pinterest, using Pinterest?
Alex: Totally, totally. So, humble brag, too, we also have another one that has 4.4 million as well.
Kathleen: Ah! That's crazy.
Alex: We got the Pinterest system down-
Kathleen: That's awesome.
Alex: -so I'd love to share about it.
How to Monetize a Blog
Kathleen: Now, before we dig too deeply into Pinterest, one thing I do want to clarify, because I want to make sure I understand it, and also my listeners.
You talk about yourself and your co-founder making money with blogging and, obviously, teaching others not just how to blog, but how to eventually monetized the blog. Can you just give me the quick highlight reel of how are people monetizing blogs? How are you teaching them to do it? Is it primarily through advertising, or are there other methods that your clients and yourself are using to monetize your blog?
Alex: There's a scalable system that people should start with, and I think it's almost true of any digital business, and it starts with basic things. What I've noticed from teaching just beginners is that getting those first few wins matter a lot.
So what it starts with, it starts with things like sponsored content and ads, because those are layups, those are things where people can make their first few dollars, and sometimes it's just about believing that this thing is real, right?
The next step up would be high-level, or affiliate marketing, just general affiliate marketing. Everybody should start there because of a variety of reasons, because it allows you to test things, it teaches you to sell, it teaches you what products are selling. It's a really valuable lesson.
Then scaling up to a higher level version of affiliate marketing where you're marketing higher priced products and services. Again, another level of learning, another step.
And then, the final step I actually think is creating your own products and services. I think that's the final step, is whenever you're building this community, you know how to sell things, you know what your community needs probably better than affiliate product, and then you create your own. And then you create your own products and services, and that's really how you scale something up to $10 grand a month, $100 grand a month, is by creating your own digital products and services.
Kathleen: Okay. Thank you for clarifying that, and to make sure that I understand, so a lot of my listeners are actually in B2B marketing roles, and when I put on my B2B hat, what I hear when I listen to describe that, is you could start with, if you have a site with a blog, you could start with either taking advertising, or sponsored content, from companies that want to reach the audience that you have.
IMPACT, my agency, takes sponsored content. So this is happening in B2B already, for sure.
And then, it sounds like the second level, being affiliate marketing, for an individual blogger, it's easy to image how that might play out. For a B2B blogger, I could see things like if you are doing book reviews using an Amazon referral link so that you're getting a slight kickback on anybody who buys that, and I would presume that, in doing that, then the rule of thumb is always "be very transparent," because I believe there are FTC guidelines around that.
Alex: Absolutely, absolutely. And those are serious things.
Kathleen: Yeah. And then the third level being whether that's create a training course, or creating some kind of a subscription based, or membership based offering.
Kathleen: I could see it translating very easily to B2B, and have you seen that as well?
Alex: I think so. I haven't personally worked in that space, but here's how I image it.
So let's say you have a software business and let's say you're building out a SaaS program, what you could actually do partner with other SaaS programs, and say, "Hey, listen. I want to drive you traffic," or even then just do it for, even if they don't give you the affiliate kickback, learn how to create an email marketing sequence that sells that software, right? In that, you can prove through deliverables that sells, even if they're not giving you money, because, again, it's teaching you that sales process.
Then, when you create your own, then you control the margins and everything, and it's really a plug-and-play scenario, because if you're promoting this software and it's something that you can do better, then you just plug in your own thing and be like, "Hey guys, I've now created my own. This is where you go."
It's a good way to test things without, what happens with a lot of businesses, what happened with me a long time, is that you run to the end goal, you run to creating your own product, you run to creating some massive thing without properly testing it, and that's the biggest mistake ever, because you'll spend hours and hours, and sometimes it just flops.
Kathleen: Yeah. I love this approach, because if anybody listens regularly to this podcast, they've probably heard me mention Joe Pulizzi's book Killing Marketing, and that's really the premise of his book.
For a B2B businesses is, or really B2C, too, it's build an audience first, honestly. And then, the audience will tell you what your product should be through the dialogue they're having with you. And then, your business becomes monetizing that audience.
Kathleen: But, in doing so, you have to do it in a way that also safeguards the interests of your audience, because if you're too spammy or too salesy, you drive your audience away, and if that's the base of your business, it's like shooting yourself in the foot.
And so, for those B2B marketers that are interested in learning more about this, I would definitely recommend reading Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi, because that is the handbook for how to do this well in a B2B world.
Alex's Pinterest Strategy
Kathleen: But, so now that we've clarified monetization, let's dig into Pinterest a little bit. I'm so interested in hearing what you're doing here, because I'm a Pinterest user. I will admit I'm not a power user at all, by any stretch of the imagination. Every time I want to make some change in my house, I'll start a board. So it will be like, "Here's the driveway gates board, here's the board for outdoor shower inspiration." Or if I'm getting a new haircut, here's the haircuts board, or the recipe board.
Alex: Yeah. Totally.
Kathleen: But, sounds like this is a very different approach. So start from the beginning and describe to me what you're doing on Pinterest.
Alex: So it really starts with the high-level of thinking about why people follow boards, or why people follow particular types of content.
I'm into tattoos right now and really into motorcycles. I just got my license, very excited about it. So the things in the content of Pinterest that I'm personally following have to do with that, and Pinterest is sort of this curation place where you curate what you like into making it your own. I like a particular design of a tattoo, so I'm curating a bunch of those and putting those together, and it's all curated together.
So, what you are doing, from a high-level business standpoint, is you are curating content around that target avatar. You are around that target person that you want to visit or come to your place.
So for my business on Avocadu, our health blog, we're really in the women's weight loss space, right? So we curate everything from under the sun for the 45 to 55 year old woman who wants to lose weight, but is struggling to do that. So our entire design and everything is around curating content for that person.
That's how you build up a big following and a big fanbase. Obviously, we'll get into the specifics and stuff, but that's how you want to think about it. That's how you want to approach Pinterest from that standpoint.
What happens with businesses, and what happens with a lot of marketers and why they don't succeed on Pinterest is, well, number one, Pinterest is the red-headed stepchild of social media, right? Nobody really knows how to use it, it's kind of confusing, it's just very different. So it can throw people off.
But, the second part is that they come in thinking that the same things that might work on something like Facebook apply there, and it's not true. It's a very different approach, and you have to know how the system works in order to have the success you can have, but once you can have success, you can have crazy success.
We've had people go from zero visitors to 50 thousand visitors a month organically to their website with Pinterest within a month. Now that was a year or two ago, so the results are not always the same now, but you could still go from zero viewers to 20 thousand, 50 thousand within three months, with you doing and approaching the right strategy.
Kathleen: So I'm going to pretend that I'm a business that's not on Pinterest. Well, I am a business, well, we might have Pinterest, but we don't do a lot with it.
Alex: Yeah, yeah.
Kathleen: So let's pretend we're starting from the beginning, and you mentioned beginning by identifying your avatar, or your target audience, in a very specific one, at that. And then, you go and you create your Pinterest account, and from my past experience with Pinterest, I know at least there are a lot of different ways you can slice it. You can have multiple boards.
How to Organize Your Pinterest Presence
Kathleen: And how you decide thematically what goes on each of those probably could vary quite a bit. Can you talk a little bit about how you advise your clients to approach organizing their Pinterest presence?
Alex: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So it's starts out high-level, so it just depends if you're running a personal thing or if you're running a business thing. So if you're starting out, let's do an example. It's always going to be easier for an example.
I actually really like the idea of an e-commerce store, because I think it really highlights the differences between what you would typically market, like on Facebook versus Pinterest.
So let's say you're coming on there, let's use my sister's actually, Live Luv Lavish, and what should would first start by doing is by creating group boards around keywords on Pinterest.
Pinterest is a jQuery search engine. What that means is it's like a Google, it's like a YouTube. People type in the things that they want to see. Those things are served to them. That's, again, what makes Pinterest so amazing is it has organic content, has organic reach. Organic reach only happens through jQuery search.
So, because of that, you would start by creating group boards around the things that people want, with the keywords that they're looking for. She sells natural cleaners, like organic soap.
One word would be "natural organic cleaners." Another group board might be, most people who are going to buy these are homemakers, right? So something like "Designing your perfect home," right?
These are the group boards that you're centering this content around. Remember, you're thinking about this avatar. Who is buying my product? Who is interested in what I have to sell and what I have to say? And that is how you start, by organizing it through keyword research, essentially, on Pinterest.
You go in, you type in your topic, and the great part is Pinterest will serve a lot of different results right underneath of things people are typing in, so it gives you a really good outline of "here's what these people are interested in."
Kathleen: Okay, that's interesting, because it really is essentially the same thing that any marketer should be doing outside of Pinterest, which is really understanding, given my target audience, what kind of content do I need to create at the top, middle and bottom of the funnel?
Alex: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Using Pinterest To Do Keyword Research
Kathleen: And so, it sounds like what you're saying is, with regular marketing and content creation, a lot of these people are going to places like Google Analytics and Google Trends and SEMrush and doing their keyword research on those kinds of platforms, but from what you're saying, it sounds like you can actually do your keyword research right in Pinterest. Is that correct?
Alex: You do it right there. You can do it right there. Now, it's not going to give you the same stats and data, but it will give you ideas, and that's sort of what matters on Pinterest, because content can still go viral, as well as a Facebook, so it's more like creating the specific content around the avatar, and then getting in their heads, right?
So, again, we go back to that example of Live Luv Lavish, we're talking about a homemaker. Let's say they have a son and, like me, he was always bringing home dirty sports equipment, right?
So a great topic would be "what to do with your son's nasty sporting gear," and have a picture of hand holding a dirty sock, a dirty football sock, like mine. That would be a good example of something to start. Something that would do well on that platform.
Creating Your Pinterest Boards
Kathleen: Okay. So you identify your topics, your top, middle and bottom of the funnel topics. You create a board for each. Is there any kind of rule of thumb about if you're just starting, how many boards should you have? I'm sure the answer is, probably, it depends.
Alex: Yeah, yeah.
Kathleen: But, any guidance you can give to anyone?
Alex: Yeah. We have very specific guidance in our course, and Lauren stays really up-to-date with the exact number of group boards, so I wouldn't want to talk out of place, but I would say at least 10 group boards around these specific topics that your audience is going to be interested in is a fantastic place to start.
Kathleen: Now you just said something that I want to dig into a little bit deeper. You said "group boards."
Alex: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kathleen: So my understanding is, Pinterest, you have your regular straight up board where you, the person that created it, are the contributor. And then, are you referring to group boards where you create the board, and you contribute, but you open it up and invite others to contribute?
Alex: I was actually referring to your own boards, but, as well, joining group boards is another huge strategy on Pinterest, joining group boards around the topics that, again, are relevant to your audience is a big way to get started. You can do that with tool like PINGROUPIE that will organize those group boards and show you which ones are most popular of that space, which groups boards were way more effective in way more important back in the day. They're a little less effective now, but they're still an important part of the process of really cultivating growing a solid Pinterest account.
Kathleen: Okay. So you create your boards, and then, obviously, the next step is to start populating them with content-
Alex: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kathleen: -and I have a lot of a lot of questions here.
Alex: Yeah, go for it.
Creating Content for Your Pinterest Boards
Kathleen: But, I'm going to just start with, talk me through what you tell people at this stage?
Alex: Totally. So the first thing you're going to do is you're going to build it out with whatever content that you currently have.
So whatever content you have, you have to start by creating Pins. There are images that are different size on Pinterest that work better than on a Facebook or an Instagram. I believe it's a thousand by 1,500 is the exact Pin dimensions, so it's a tall, long image.
Again, another reason why most marketers and people give up on Pinterest and why you shouldn't, because that barrier to entry is there, and when there's a barrier to entry, we know that, beyond the barrier to entry are good things.
So the barrier to entry is there to create the Pinterest images, and you would start by using specific Pinterest images for your target content. S
o let's say you've written 10 different posts on different topics in your space. Or let's say, again, let's go back to that example, has created 10 different pieces of content. She would start by creating those Pinterest Pins and pinning them to the specific group boards that match that content. So, running it back, she has a group board named "all natural cleaners," right? So she would start by pinning her all natural cleaners on those group boards, and that would be the very, very first place that she would start.
Kathleen: Okay. Now, I am not good at graphic design, and so my fall back for things like this, like Pinterest images, has always been Canva, which is great because it has templates that already know what sizes things should be.
Are there any other particular tools that you recommend to people like me who are disasters when it comes to trying to go into graphic design programs?
Alex: The start of how actually we got started back in 2015 was I was working on the blog and I was always interested in making an image for a program, and Lauren came over and looked over my shoulder and I was like, "Whoa, that is terrible," and I was like, "Yeah, it is terrible," and she just moved my chair over, was like, "Let me help you with that." So I, too, fall into that space of not knowing what to do.
So the two strategies that I would have is, yeah, Canva's a great source, but especially for the busy marketer and busy business owner out there, Fiverr's amazing. Fiverr, $5 a Pin. It's something very cheap to get something that's actually pretty good quality.
I'm sure that that is outsourced to the Philippines or something like that, but you will get great quality images for not a lot of money, and it can save you a lot of time and a lot of hassle, because, as well as just putting a Pin on each particular post, I'm going to get into the next part where you need to create multiple Pins around the same post, right? Because you're kind of split testing what works and what doesn't on there.
So you're going to create four or five different images on one particular post to see which one works the best. So outsourcing that work to a place like Fiverr is a great resource.
Kathleen: Interesting. Okay, so multiple images per post to see which one drives results.
Kathleen: You Pin those. Obviously, you're creating these images, but you want them to live on the post so that you can pin from the post, so that when people click the image it takes them back to the post, correct?
Alex: Yes, yes. You got that crazy Pinterest logic. You've got it down.
Kathleen: Yeah. Otherwise you're driving traffic to your Pins, but it's not going anywhere.
Creating Copy For Pinterest Posts
Kathleen: So, once you get the image on to Pinterest, are there other best practices as far as, do you use hashtags? Are there ways that you can use the copy that goes with the Pin to drive attention?
Alex: The biggest things are having the words written on the Pin itself, having it written out. So if you have something like, again, "all natural," "the top 10 all natural cleaners," right? You want those big, bolded, easy, clear letters on there, so that when people are scrolling through their Pinterest feed, they see that.
Pinterest, like everything else in marketing, in business, is a competition, so your click-through rate on Google is an easy example, right? So if my click-through rate is better, because I have a better title, Google will now favor that content, as long as we have the same read time and stuff like that.
Same goes with Pinterest, right? When someone's scrolling through content, they're scrolling through and they see four different Pinterest images, right? So you have to stand out. That's your goal, is to stand out in the presence of somebody searching for your content.
The easiest thing, and it's going to sound so dumb and so trivial, but it's to go on Pinterest, type in those things, look at what other people are pinning, and ask yourself the question, "Can I do it better?" And, "What would better serve this market? How can I make this image better or more interesting, or more clickable?"
Those are the questions you want to ask, and then go create those things. If you do that, over a long period of time, you will be served very well.
Video on Pinterest
Alex: And, also, there's all sorts of new things. Pinterest just rolled out video, as well, which is going to be a huge opportunity for businesses. If you can produce videos and know how to produce videos, it's going to be a massive opportunity right now.
Kathleen: I love what you talked about with finding what's already out there and doing it better, because it's the exact same advice that we give to people about creating content. If you're going to write an article about something, go to Google, find what's already showing up for that topic, and write something better, or don't write anything at all, because it's not going to get around.
Alex: Yeah, or just don't, or just stop. Yeah, yeah. That was the simple process with even the product creation, was like go out there and see what products are available. Can you do it better? And then, there's a need for it. But, if you can't, do not. Don't-
Kathleen: Yeah. Don't waste your time.
Alex: Don't make something worse. Don't even bother.
Kathleen: Yeah. Now, okay, when you said the word "video" and Pinterest in the same sentence, I was like, "Ah, we need to stop and talk about this," because I know my team, at IMPACT, is very invested in creating video. We have our own in-house video production team. So tell me more about video on Pinterest.
Alex: Pinterest and video have been a long slog of a process. They tried to do this back in 2018 and just couldn't get it to work. I don't know exactly why they struggled for so long to get it, but they re-rolled it out earlier this year, and the initial results that people are getting have been really strong. It's a way to definitely stand out, like I said before, from the competition.
So, again, if somebody's scrolling through and looking for all natural cleaners and they see four Pins and one is a video Pin of showing the cleaner and then spraying it and using it on something, obviously that's going to stand out by a large margin. So if you're able to produce videos on there, you already have your competitive advantage. Get your ass on Pinterest. It can serve you well.
Kathleen: And especially when you think about the work that goes into creating good video. If you put all that time in and it feels like if there's just one more place you can put that video, get it out there, because it's all about distribution.
Is it fair to say that, because this is so new, it's a little bit of the wild west in terms of best practices and what's going to work?
Alex: All of Pinterest is the wild, wild west. Pinterest ads are the wild, wild west. Pinterest images are the, I love Pinterest, but they really struggle sometimes with just basic advertising things, the stuff that comes so inherently and so easy when you're on Facebook is not the same experience that you're going to have on Pinterest.
But, again, these barrier to entries of, that make it a good thing, so yeah. It is the wild, wild west, but, again, there's really great rewards to the person and team that puts in the effort and time there.
Kathleen: And hasn't Pinterest just, or are they in the process of introducing shoppable Pins?
Alex: Again, this is one of those things that they've tried and fumbled, and they're there. They're there and I don't really have any good use cases of people doing it, but the one thing I have seen work really well.
So back to Live Luv Lavish, because this is a great example. So she has a cleaner on sporting equipment. What's a great piece of content instead of just putting your product on Pinterest, would be to create some piece of content that that person would want.
So I would create something like the five best sporting cleaners, and then list your product as number one on there and be like, "This is an awesome product, but here are some other ones that are really great." That is a really great way to do it on Pinterest, because people will share that content more than they will share something like a shoppable Pin.
But, shoppable Pins do exist, and there are people that do well with it. They're not really in my circle, though.
Getting Found on Pinterest
Kathleen: Got it. Now, once somebody gets content up on their Pinterest account, are there tricks to getting it found and to getting that initial traction and getting seen?
Alex: Not really. The biggest thing on Pinterest is this consistency of the platform. You'll see it on YouTube. If you're posting every Monday, YouTube will give you a little bump. The same with Google. If you're posting regularly or posting regular content, Google gives you a little nudge. They like that. They like fresh, they like new content.
So that is what I would more say. You are essentially, there's this thought that I had when we were creating our initial Pinterest thing, it's called "shotgun theory." You know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun. A rifle, it shoots a singular bullet into a very small space, right? But, a shotgun, you spread out. The pellets explode and they spread out and they create a wide spread.
Kathleen: That's the phrase "take a shotgun approach," which is-
Alex: There you go. Exactly, exactly. And that's what you want to do. You want to spread out that content, because one of those things will go viral and go big. So all of the content is centered around that, right? That's why you're creating five different images, that's why you're pinning those 10 different posts, because, out of all of that, one of them will do well, but one of them will do really well, and that's the fun part.
Kathleen: It does sound a little bit like, at this point, Pinterest is such a great opportunity purely because marketers haven't completely ruined it. They have some other platforms.
Alex: Yeah, yeah. Like Facebook.
Who Is - And Is Not - Right For Pinterest?
Kathleen: I'm not saying get in there and ruin it, but there is this opportunity to be the first mover in your space for Pinterest. Is there anybody that Pinterest is not right for? Any type of business that it's not right for?
Alex: I would say if you're really tech focused. I would say that Pinterest is going to be hard to come by. Pinterest has surprised me before.
We have a client of ours who is in the health and wellness space. His name's Rusty Moore. A really good friend. And he got our Pinterest course way back in the day. It's a cool story, but I won't go too far into it.
His blog is primarily, though, focused on men, and he was getting a million visitors a month on Pinterest to the male audience, because it was kind of underserved. So I wouldn't say that there are things that are never going to work on Pinterest, because he's kind of proof that you can make it work.
I would say, though, that there are, a techy more focus is going to struggle more on there. Anything that's not visually stimulating will be a little bit more difficult. It's kind of the same as Instagram and these types of things where the things like recipes, or the things like travel photos. These images that are very visually stimulating give you a bump up and a leg up. But, I wouldn't say that there's too many topics that you couldn't work in. Lawyer, we have someone who made a lot of money with law. She teaches people how to make disclaimer pages and stuff like that, properly
Alex: I know, right? Super exciting stuff, but she's doing really well with it.
Kathleen: But, I think it all comes back to how creative you get about the content, because I don't remember the name of the product, but I read something once about, it was a blender, and the company that makes this blender created this completely viral marketing campaign, because their messaging was all about how it's very powerful and it can blend almost anything. They were sticking things like hammers in the blender, and things you would never put in a blender-they were putting in and making videos of it blending and chopping the things.
And so I feel like if you're, even with tech companies, maybe you're not going to do your straight up marketing of your server, but if you can think of a creative way to demonstrate the power of your product or your service, then who knows?
Alex: I couldn't agree more. I think it's all about the creativity of the individual. It's the same thing with monetizing a blog or website. I feel like it comes down to creativity. I know of an instance of a guy making $20 grand a month on his blog about herbs. And by herbs I mean the weeds you pick your backyard, and he's able to make, what, more than most high-paid lawyers, online, selling herbs.
Alex: So it's more like how you creatively approach, again, that target person that you're trying to reach. So, yeah. If you had a tech company, or those sorts of things, I'm sure there's a way to work it in, if they can work in the blender industry.
Kathleen: Well, and if you're listening and you have an idea, Tweet me or send message, because I want to hear it.
Alex: Yeah, for sure.
How Pinterest Has Helped Grow Alex's Business
Kathleen: I guess, to bring this back to where the rubber meets the road, can you talk a little bit about the specific results that you've seen? You mentioned that you get 3.1 monthly views from Pinterest. What does that mean for your business?
Alex: We can use Avocadu as an example. We get 4.4 million viewers, translates to about 200 thousand organic visitors to our blog and our website, and that is the primary traffic source driving in all of the income for Avocadu. We get Google traffic, as well, but that's a blog that does $10 grand to $20 grand per month, really on autopilot without us having to touch and do much to it.
So there are some specific stats that you can expect. Out of your total impressions on Pinterest, which is what you're seeing, the 3.1 million, I can probably get, what, 15% of that to actually click or click over 15%, 20% of that. But, again, that represents a substantial amount of traffic.
And then, as well, I think something that's so much more valuable than that is the fact that it's organic and searchable over time, because nothing allows you to scale more than having consistent traffic coming in and knowing that it's coming in every month, because it frees you up to focus on things like optimization and email marketing and these types of things.
Kathleen: Yeah, that's pretty incredible. You mentioned 200 thousand organic website visits a month. Is that right?
Kathleen: I'm sure there are lot of people listening who would just love to have 200 thousand visits to their website a month, period.
Kathleen: Who cares where it comes from?
Alex: Right, yeah.
Kathleen: So that's pretty great.
Alex: And that's another good point. The average Pinterest user is something in the $70 grand per year ballpark, way above average mean and average income, so they're a good demographic of people who actually like to spend money. They're not like, I don't know, your StumbleUpon audience. I don't know much about, I just assume that it might be not as spending focused. Let's say that.
Kathleen: Yeah. That's great. Well, I'm now totally trying to process all the ideas I have for what I can do on Pinterest.
Alex: Good, good.
Kathleen: Every time I do a podcast, my team probably groans, because I come back and I'm like, "Here's 10 more things we should be doing."
Alex: Ideas. Ideas.
Kathleen's Two Questions
Kathleen: Exactly. People who listen know that I always ask the same two questions of every guest I have and I would love to hear your answers. The first of those being, company or individual, who do you think is doing inbound marketing really well right now?
Alex: I would say, let's talk about one on Pinterest. Somebody I've been super impressed with is Kate Ahl. We have recently used her team to outsource some of the things on Pinterest, to outsourced some of the creation of the content and organizing of the content. I think she does it very well.
She has a Pinterest podcast. It has this really seamless approach of getting people in, learning the best about the platform. I've been really impressed with her efforts, especially as of recent.
I was always a fan of DigitalMarketer. I was always a fan of Ryan Deiss's team. I always thought they provided some interesting stuff that, I don't know, that definitely impacted our business.
We learned about Pinterest because of being in the DigitalMarketer Lab back in the day, because they had posted something on, like, "Yeah, we're getting tons of visitors on Pinterest," and I was like, "All right, let's check this out."
Kathleen: Well, I have to agree with you on Ryan Deiss. It was funny, you live in Austin. We were just talking about this before we started recording. I was in Austin a few weeks ago, and it was to visit and meet with DigitaMarketer.
Alex: Oh, nice. I've always been so impressed by Deiss's ability to see into the future a little bit. Obviously, sometimes, he gets it wrong, but I go did go to Traffic And Conversion Summit, not last year, but the year before, and it's always interesting. I love his looking glass of the marketing landscape and seeing his opinions on it. I think he really does understand marketing at an unbelievable level.
Kathleen: Yeah, he's a smart guy, for sure.
Alex: He is.
Kathleen: Now, Kate Ahl, spell her last name for me so that I know how to find her.
Alex: I think it's A-H-L.
Kathleen: Just one I hadn't heard before and I'm so excited to have one that's a Pinterest person so we can see some more examples of that in action.
Alex: Yeah, for sure. For the people who are interested in Pinterest, we have a Pinterest course that teaches people how to do it, called "Pinterest Traffic Avalanche." As well as her stuff, she sees it from a very big business standpoint. She manages tons of different companies and their Pinterest accounts and stuff like that. So, because of her looking glass, being able to see into all of their stats and these types of things, it's the same way we're able to see for bloggers and small business owners all of their results. She can, not predict the future, but she's always fresh to date on the best content on there.
How to Connect With Alex
Kathleen: That's great. Now, you mentioned some of the courses that you have. If somebody's listening and they want to learn more about blogging, the stuff that you guys teach, or they want to learn more about some of the other things, like the Pinterest course, what's the best way for somebody listening to find and connect with you online?
Alex: There's two ways that I'd send them, and it would either depend if you're a video person or if you're written blog post. If you are a written blog post type person, createandgo.com is where we blog at. We have two epic posts, one on how to start a blog, and then one on how to make money blogging. And that level, that stepping stone strategy that I just talked about on where you need to start and what's your next steps and will pinpoint exactly where you're at and what you need to do next, that is on there. There's a link at the top. You'll be able to find it pretty easily.
The other thing is if you are more of a video person, and if you're listening to podcasts, you might like to just play it and listen to it. We have a lot of fans that do that. We have a big YouTube, a big YouTube channel, we have a YouTube channel, 58 thousand subscribers. It's doing well. I actually just recently posted the video version of the how too make money blogging. Again, really breaks down this whole thing.
But, we have tons of YouTube videos on there. A lot of people who buy our products, they say they just binge watch the videos. And what's cool about it is you can see the first video I did, maybe three years ago, where I look like a mess, I am in Nicaragua and I have very long hair and haven't shaved in a while, and you can listen to this kid talk about blogging and succeeding with, but it's fun to look back on.
Kathleen: That's so cool. Where were you in Nicaragua?
Alex: We were in, oh my god, one of the, it's been a while.
Kathleen: Was it San Juan Del Sur?
Alex: Oh, so it was close. Now I see you're familiar.
Kathleen: Were you surfing?
Alex: Oh, absolutely. The surf [crosstalk 00:42:50].
Kathleen: I don't surf, but I went on my honeymoon to a place right near San Juan Del Sur and I loved it. It was amazing.
Alex: Yeah. Okay. I've stayed there twice for a month at a time. One was a WiFiTribe. Another one was another group, but, yeah, the second time we stayed right by San Juan Del Sur and the Malibu resorts up there, and it was wild. It was a great-
Kathleen: It's a cool spot, and most Americans hear Nicaragua, and they're like, "Wait, what? Nicaragua?" But, it's amazing.
Alex: Yeah. Have one of their $3 tacos and it will change your mind.
Alex: One dollar beer, $3 tacos. It's, yeah, pretty great.
Kathleen: It's pretty great. Well, this has been so much fun, Alex. Thank you for joining me. I have, again, head is bursting with Pinterest ideas.
Alex: Right there. Takes two seconds. Pick up your phone right now, I want you to do that. I'll walk you through it.
Kathleen: I love it. Thank you, Alex.
Alex: Thank you, too.
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