5 Reasons You Are Not Making Money from Pinterest

If your business has a web presence then you have the potential to benefit from Pinterest, whether you are active on the site or not.  This means you have the potential to make money from leads and sales.  

But there are many lost opportunities on Pinterest – opportunities that often businesses are completely unaware of, yet can be easily fixed. In this post we look at 5 reasons you might be wasting good opportunities to make money from Pinterest.


Before talking about the mistakes that you need to avoid, let's take a look at the two ways you can be successful on Pinterest:

  1. Having your content shared from your website  – this one is easy. You don't have to do anything. Really!  No Pinterest account required.  Visitors can pin your content without you raising a finger.  But there are mistakes to be made with this one too, so read on.
  2. Driving traffic from your own business account on Pinterest to your website.  This one requires a Pinterest account and some activity on your part, but it is also relatively simple.

Pinterest is like any other social media platform. It does not stand alone but is part of your overall social media marketing strategy. Think of it as another way of sharing content with your community and encouraging users back to your homebase – your website. Once they are there, they are more likely to subscribe or buy your products and services.

Just like any sales conversation, monetizing your presence (or the presence of your content) on Pinterest depends solely on how you manage leads when they come to you.  How are you handling the leads when they come to you – what happens when someone clicks through on a pin and arrives at your website?

Here are 5 Mistakes You Need to Avoid in order to benefit from your content being on Pinterest:  

1. Not Optimizing Your Website to Keep Visitors Engaged when they Arrive 

This one is simple. As with all web traffic from all social media sites, it is important that you have a reason for the person to stay.  Some traffic from Pinterest you can control in that the image is directly linked to a blog post or a product page….but some traffic is random.

Anyone can pin any image from a website (unless the image has been blocked) so sometimes even the best attempts to optimize the images you put on to Pinterest will not stop people coming to your site through random images (which is still a good thing right?).  The most important thing to ask yourself is “How can I keep them here, now that they have visited my site?”.

Do you have:

  • Links from each page to find out more about your products or services?
  • Links to more content?
  • Popular Posts Listed?
  • A chance for them to read more relevant, related content?
  • Some kind of welcoming banner or image?

Will visitors stay on your site when they arrive to check out your content?  Think about how each page will appear to a new visitor and brainstorm ways to make it “sticky” and keep visitors on your site.

2. Not Providing a Clear Call to Action

If someone is arriving to check out a blog post (after clicking on a pin) or to buy a product, do you have a clear call of action on the image as well as the landing page?  When they arrive and read your blog post:

  • Can they sign up for your updates/newsletter with ease?
  • Can they find out more about you without getting lost on your site?
  • Can they immediately link to more blog posts?
  • Can they find out about your amazing new program at the end of the blogpost?

Think creatively – what do you want the person to do after they have viewed your product, post or landing page?

3.  Not providing  an easy way for them to opt in for email updates

Yes, I am totally aware that this is a variation on Mistake No 2.  But I am repeating it here because it is worthy of repetition.  No amount of action on social media, Pinterest included,  can replace the worth of an email subscriber (for the most part).

At Social Media Marketing World in March this year, the overwhelming “chorus” of comments from every thought leader in the room was that email should still be your number 1 priority – it is intimate, people open email (vs a chance viewing of a social media post) and as much as we all love to hate it, we can't do without it.

Nurturing your community through fabulous, helpful content is so so vital, and email is the best way to do it.  So ask yourself this – when the person arrives on your website from Pinterest – what incentive do you have for them to sign up to your email updates and get access to your VIP information? Make it obvious for them, by having options to opt in:

  • on your header
  • using a pop up like Pippity (where you adapt the settings so it can pop up, say after the person has already read a blog post or some of your content – not so “in your face” and targeted)
  • inserting Hello Bar at the top of your site
  • having opt in forms at the end of blog posts, for those that have read your content ie “Hey, if you love this content I would love to send you more” etc).

There are many ways to collect email addresses, but be sure that you at least have one of them waiting for those people that bother to check out your website!  Welcome them in for a cup of coffee and ask them to stay!

4.  Making it Super Hard for them to find the Products and Services they come to your site for!  

This one is important.  Do you have products on your site? Are people coming to your site from a product image on Pinterest? Then be very careful about how you handle your product pages.  Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your product page is welcoming and easy to navigate. Think about how many photos you have on one page – is it swimming with images, making it too hard for someone to find the handbag they came looking for?  Be sure to think about how your page looks for someone arriving through an image or link.  
  • Do a search on the products that are being “shared” from your website. You can do this by entering:  www.pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite.com  (so in my case this would be:  www.pinterest.com/source/sociallysorted.com.au) – a page will open up showing all of the images that people have been sharing from your site.  Go through them, click on them – get an idea for what people are finding when they come to your site.  Then think about how you can welcome them when they arrive.
  • Don't delete old product pages – even if the products are out of date or last season's stock.  Instead, re-draft your “welcome” blurb and even mention that people may be coming over from Pinterest or another social media site. If the stock they are looking for is no longer valid, then redirect them to some new exciting stock – or a new page!  There is nothing worse than arriving to an “error 404” page when you are wanting to check out the jacket that you soooooo loved on Pinterest.  But being redirected to the new seasons winter jackets on a different page – totally fine.  
5. Not providing more options for great content to check out.

Can they easily navigate your site for more more information and products?  Let's say someone arrives on your site and reads a great post.  Do they think “great post” and leave or do you keep them there, hungry for more great content?  Here are a few ways you can keep your guest on the site for a little longer:

  • Have links to your own content within a blog post. Not only is this great for organic SEO (Google loves internal links to relevant content) but it is also enticing for the reader, as they can see that you have more articles about the topic they are interested in.  Or in the case of products, a link to other categories of products or product pages is just too hard to refuse.  Are you here for shirts/tops?  Check out our coats too!  
  • Use a plug in or program that shows “related posts” at the bottom of your blog post. Shareaholic, Disqus and NRelate are all plugins that provide further “relevant” articles at the bottom of the post.
  • Think “How can I keep this person in a content “vortex?” – how can I keep them reading and clicking on my content?
  • Do you have a resources page on your site?  This can be great for listing your most relevant posts in a kind of “mini-training guide”, all on the one page.  A great way to repurpose old content.

There you have it.  Pinterest can be powerful for your business even if you are not active on the site itself.  People will find you no matter what!  So be ready when they do!

Think of Pinterest like a referral generator – it is what you do with the visitors when they arrive that is important!

What strategies have you implemented on your blog or website to “welcome guests” when they arrive from sites like Pinterest?  Will you be implementing any of these tips now?  I would love to hear what you take away from this post, implement and any results that you get!  

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.

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  1. Kathy Hadley

    I just be doing more right than not as I’m pretty busy! 🙂
    Great post and lots of helpful tips.

    • Donna Moritz

      That’s great – even a few of these things will definitely help!

  2. Cathy

    Lots of good ideas here.

    • Donna Moritz

      thanks Cathy – be sure to let me know if any of them work well for you!

  3. Vincent Ng- MCNG Marketing

    Great article Donna, and I think that what you’ve said is so true, and analytics and some qualitative observation may help understand the issues. I think what’s also helpful for businesses that are looking to make money is to test out different images that lead to the same product page as a way to drive traffic. Since images and links can be customized, it would be interesting for businesses to do an A/B split of two pins to see which one would drive more traffic.

    Great article!

    • Donna Moritz

      Hey Vincent – thanks so much for your feedback. I think you are very right in that split testing of images is a great way to go – I have been doing some research for upcoming articles for some blogs I write for and I was talking to the CEO of Curalate, Apu Gupta and their technology allows brands to see what images are being shared organically based on pixelation technology (it’s prettycool stuff) and it is surprising how brands think a particular type of image will be popular yet the data shows something different – Pinterest and visual platforms are becoming much more about brands listening to and watching what is being generated and shared by users, and then using that information to better relate to them. So definitely they should be testing what images drive traffic to their product pages but also what images their community are organically sharing – ie “what they like”. Great points!

  4. Melinda

    I am not in business, but I might be able to apply some of these ideas to promoting the youth ministry I volunteer with. Thanks!

    • Donna Moritz

      That’s great Melinda – it would be interesting to see how many young people are using Pinterest, as that could be a really great way to promote your services and to attract them to your website or information.

  5. Belinda

    Hi Donna, I love all your advice and articles but this has to be my favourite so far! So many helpful tips here and things that are very relevant to me and my business right now. I have already signed up for a Hello Bar, I had never even heard of it!
    Lot’s for me to follow up on too so better get onto it, thank you!

    • Donna Moritz

      Wow Belinda – that’s great! Be sure to let me know what you use and how it goes for you – I love to hear how people implement strategies and the success stories! Ha ha – I had better let you get on to it! Good luck!

  6. Lynne

    Great information to know about pinterest and what to avoid to effectively use it to promote your buisness. Very helpful, thanks!

    • Donna Moritz

      Thanks Lynne – that’s great to know that it is helpful for you! Thanks for letting me know!

  7. Lisa Murray

    I am in the midst of reinventing one of my websites – so thanks for a great list of practical strategies to include Donna – brilliant!

    • Donna Moritz

      You are welcome – these have all been really exciting tips for me too especially the ones shared in the newsletter on the weekend – more of that coming soon, but I will be sure to keep you posted on the blog as well! I am presenting at a major conference next week and some of the content about Pinterest and how to optimize your website for people sharing images on the web. Good luck with the new website – let me know when it is done!

  8. Elvis Michael

    Awesome post Donna.
    I recently started using
    Pinterest and i admit it’s a lot more fun than FB and Twitter (perhaps
    due to the visual aspect of it.) In any case, it’s a neat platform for
    business/marketing and casual use alike.

    I’ve noticed that
    the more pictures i share, the more people seem to return the favor and
    my profile has gradually built some momentum.

    I suggest
    that everyone also installs a Pinterest plugin to your blog so that your
    readers can easily “Pin” any quality image available in your blog

    Hope that helps. Enjoy your day.
    Elvis Michael

    • Donna Moritz

      Awesome tips Elvis.. the Pinterest plugin is a definite winner for encouraging pinning!

  9. Ava Cueto3

    Interesting commentary , Coincidentally , if someone has been searching for a a form , my company filled out a sample version here http://goo.gl/NaF5GX



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