Pinterest Affiliate Marketing: Never Leave Money on the Table
If you don’t make money with your pins, Pinterest will.
For example, let’s say your favorite book in the world right now is the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer. You go to Amazon.com to look up an image for the book cover and you pin it to one of your boards. At this point, any user who clicks on your pin image will be linked to the Amazon.com page where they can buy the book. If you haven’t specifically changed the link address to use affiliate codes, Pinterest will automatically change your link so that it will collect commissions whenever anyone who clicks on your pin buys the book from Amazon.
Although the technical details of how Pinterest actually changes all your links automatically is somewhat unimportant for this discussion, you should assume that if you are linking to a product or service with an affiliate program, Pinterest will probably be able to collect commission on it. Pinterest is using technology from Skimlinks (skimlinks.com) that has a network of 17,000+ retailers including Amazon, eBay, Target, BestBuy, Zappos, and many more.
In my opinion, this is actually a very fair business model for Pinterest. Many people (unlike you!) are not aware of the potential to use Pinterest to make money. Instead, they love pinning things they like and drawing inspiration from the pins of others. So, they don’t really notice or mind that Pinterest is making a small amount of money on all of their pins. Of course, it’s also good for the merchants (Amazon.com in our example). They get additional traffic and sales from Pinterest and they are happy to pay the commissions for each sale as they make more by selling the product.
However, if you understand the model, you can pocket those commissions instead of Pinterest. In order to do this, you need to first sign up as an affiliate of the merchant who is selling the product or service you want to promote. This might seem like a lot of work if you are promoting a large, diverse number of products from many different retailers. However, you can start by just choosing the merchants you pin from the most. You will also be able simplify things by joining a large affiliate network like Commission Junction (www.cj.com) or Linkshare (linkshare.com) or the affiliate program of a large retailer like Amazon.com (affiliate-program.amazon.com) that offers a large number of products.
After signing up for the affiliate program, you will get an affiliate link that you can use when linking any pins to the merchant’s site. Here’s how to do this on Pinterest:
- Pin your image as usual using the “Add +” button on Pinterest or the “Pin It” Browser button.
- If using the “Add +” button, specify the affiliate link when creating the pin.
- If using the “Pin It” Browser button, you need to IMMEDIATELY click the Edit button on your pin and change the link to your affiliate link. The reason this needs to be done right away is that people will almost instantly start repinning . Only repins that happen after you change the link to your affiliate link will allow you to generate commissions.
For more specific marketing tactics to maximize conversion and commissions, refer to the Pinterest Marketing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Brand and Products on Pinterest by Leon Cho. The book covers board organization, link conversion, pin copy, pin selection, and getting followers.