Hi Andrea! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
Hi there! My name is Andrea Li [@andrealidesigns on the PBC], and I make unique one-of-a-kind gemstone jewelry. I’ve been in the online space for about five years when I fired up my first eCommerce store in 2016.
I started investing heavily in Pinterest marketing in early 2019 when I became one of the very first beta testers for a new product called Story Pins - yup, back then, you could link every page to its own URL. I quickly used them and began working with the development teams to help guide the user experience. This relationship resulted in a trip to headquarters to present at Knit Con and an invitation to the Creators Conference.
I was hooked after that and began discovering new ways to leverage my account and tap into the then 250 million monthly users.
Today, I’ve had hundreds of coaching calls on Pinterest marketing with small business owners who sell handmade products. I’ve also presented webinars for large membership organizations like the Women's Jewelry Association and NY Now.
My latest project is a Pinterest marketing blog geared explicitly towards independent makers, called Red Pin Geek, where I share my insights on the elusive strategies that product-based businesses can use to convert on Pinterest.
I also continue to run a full-time jewelry business and maintain my jewelry-focused blog, which allows me to stay relevant and current in my Pinterest marketing observations.
What are your business goals and how has Pinterest helped you reach your goals?
I believe most handmade product sellers struggle with getting more people to buy from them that aren’t friends or family. I know this because it was my most significant pain point.
I needed to expand my audience. Although I was getting pretty good engagement on Instagram and Facebook - yes, plenty of comments from my mom, my list wasn’t growing, and neither was my traffic.
You can’t successfully sell online without new leads and website visitors.
Pinterest has helped with both of these issues. Simply by redirecting just a fraction of the 478 million users who use the platform monthly over to my brand’s site.
What does your future with Pinterest look like?
Pretty bright, I’d say. I love creating evergreen content that continues to be sticky and shows up in search results. It makes my time investment so much more worth it than an ephemeral platform like Instagram, where your posts become trivial after 72 minutes.
My account growth isn’t slowing, and neither will my efforts creating great content to publish specifically for Pinterest. If anything, I’m looking to scale my results with standard ads this year.
What insights or trends have you unlocked by using Pinterest?
There are four stages of growth when it comes to Pinterest marketing:
1. The Set-Up 🔎
This is when you need to set your account up correctly, mainly to index your content for the algorithm. Using the best keywords to describe your business will leverage Pinterests’ search capabilities and distribute your Pins optimally. Then, if you’re staying consistent with Pinning, you should see your monthly views and impressions grow significantly.
2. Driving Traffic 📈
At this stage, you start figuring out what kind of content compels Pinners to click through to your site. If you’re regularly publishing this type of content, you should see a rise in click-through rates and saves on your Pins.
3. On-Site Conversions 🛠
Now that you are successfully sending people to your site, you want them to take action when they get there. If your call to action is irresistible, you should see a rise in conversions.
4. The Sale 💵
This is the most challenging stage that requires quite a bit of strategy, too much to go into here but keep in mind that this is a numbers game. Your sales goal will inform how much traffic you need to be driving to your site and work backward from there. A good benchmark to remember is conversion rates are typically around 1-2% of all traffic.
As a creator, what inspires you to create content on Pinterest?
I create content that will attract my ideal client on Pinterest. Since Pinterest is a place of positivity and inspiration, I keep both of those front and center in my published Pins.
I love creating content for Pinterest that delivers value in a way that is unique to the platform. Now, with the introduction of Idea Pins, it will be interesting to think more creatively out of the box with more personality-driven content.
You’re also a Verified Merchant! Can you share a bit about the benefits you’ve seen so far being a member of the Verified Merchant Program?
Of course! The trust factor is huge! Being a Verified Merchant tells potential Pinners looking to buy from you that Pinterest has pre-vetted you and stands behind you as a trustworthy vendor. Anyone who has gone through the vetting process knows that Pinterest doesn’t dole them out like Cracker Jack prizes.
I also love that simply uploading your product catalog gives additional chances for your products to surface on the platform. This benefit is on top of any custom Pins you publish of your product.
One of the big benefits is that your products can actually show up directly in Pinterest shopping experiences, so your products are up front and center when people are exploring new shops! Although the process wasn’t easy because I don’t have a Shopify site, I’m glad I did it. Not just for the obvious benefits but also to make resources available to others looking to do the same.
P.S. you can apply for the Verified Merchant Program here!
What tips would you share with other small businesses looking to get started on Pinterest?
1. Always put the Pinner first when you are creating content.
2. Are you selling products on Pinterest? Check out my Idea Pin on tips to find your best keywords. 🙂
What other features have you found beneficial for your small business?
Using the ability to create group boards to collaborate with clients on custom projects such as commissions and kitchen remodels. Or as a style guide for virtual assistants, copywriters, or graphic designers.
If you are in the fashion space like I am, these function beautifully as inspiration for photoshoots.
It’s a great way to gather and share ideas to ensure everyone is on the same page.