In just a few months, Pinterest has gone from relative obscurity to surpassing Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube in referral traffic. Pinterest is still used mostly by consumers (particularly women in the Midwest and central U.S.), but some small-business owners are turning “pins” into profits.
Beth Quinn, the Mesa, Ariz.-based jeweler behind Beth Quinn Designs, is among them. She began by using the online pinboard to post ideas and images of her jewelry. Then, one day last fall, another Pinterest user spotted Quinn’s necklace bearing the saying “with brave wings she flies” and pinned the image. Two days later, Quinn had received 20 orders for the necklace. Over the next two months, she received 300 more.
“It just kept spiraling, everybody was pinning it,” Quinn says.
Recently, Quinn struck gold again when another necklace photo got more than 1,500 pins. On a normal day, Quinn’s website gets about 10,000 hits, but at the height of her Pinterest popularity, traffic was seven times higher. In addition to boosting jewelry sales and site traffic, her presence on Pinterest has led to more retailer inquiries for her merchandise.
The sudden surges in demand haven’t created problems for Quinn, because she sells to boutiques around the world and employs a staff to help her maintain inventory. However, when people pin older designs from her blog, she can’t always remake the pieces, especially those that were one-of-a-kind.
Quinn estimates that she uses Pinterest three to five hours a week in small increments between other tasks. She recently offered the Intuit Small Business Blog a few insights into her Pinterest strategy:
- Make photos pop. “It’s a visual board, so if the pictures aren’t good, people aren’t drawn to them,” she says. Quinn styles and photographs each piece herself, paying careful attention to photo composition and detail.
- Add Pin It buttons to your website. Quinn encourages customers to pin her products by including a Pin It button next to every item and “follow” buttons for Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook at the top of each webpage.
- Create multiple boards. Beyond pinning her own jewelry, Quinn looks for other images that fit with her relaxed vintage aesthetic. She has a board devoted to quotes, since her jewelry is largely inspired by words, and another board with outfits that would complement her jewelry.