Make Money on Pinterest With Affiliate Links: A Step by Step Guide
Today, I’m going to show you exactly how to make money on Pinterest with affiliate links in 2018. You’ve already learned about this wonderful passive income stream called affiliate marketing. Maybe at the moment, affiliate links are sprinkled throughout your blog posts. Now you wait and wait and wait for the commissions, but…
No matter how much time you spend writing reviews and sharing links, no one is purchasing through your affiliate links. It’s frustrating to the max! Oh, I’ve been there, and I started to think that maybe affiliate marketing wasn’t for me.
This post contains affiliate links as explained in my disclosure policy
My First Affiliate Sale
Then I made my very first affiliate sale for my favorite travel blogging course. It was a recurring payment of $38.80 (someone purchased the course on a payment plan.) I was over the moon! I had been promoting that course for 2 months before I finally made a sale. This small win encouraged me to continue trying different strategies to promote affiliate products.
Writing blog posts (such as reviews, tutorials, and product comparisons) is a great affiliate marketing strategy. But it can be time consuming. What if I told you there was a quicker way? You can use affiliate links on Pinterest to promote you affiliate products. When I started doing that, my affiliate income climbed faster. Today, I’ll go over how to create affiliate pins and upload them to Pinterest. And the best part? You don’t even need to be a blogger to do this!
You may have read my recent chat with Pinterest expert, McKinzie Bean, where she shares tips to crush affiliate marketing on Pinterest without a blog. Now, we’re going to get into the specifics. This post will show you the exact step-by-step process to create pins with viral potential, write keyword-rich pin descriptions, and promote them on Pinterest. Let’s get started!
Related: HOW TO START A TRAVEL BLOG
To begin with, I’ll walk you through the steps to upload an affiliate pin. Then we’ll go over the process to create a pin and perform keyword research. If you want to learn more about how to create high-converting pins, check out my Pinterest Viral Pin Formula.
How to upload an affiliate pin on Pinterest
So you have your eye-catching affiliate pin ready to go. Next log into your Pinterest account and do the following.
Step 1: Click the add pin symbol on the right OR click the create pin button on the left.
Either one will get you to the same destination.
Step 2: Upload the pin you’ve created to promote the affiliate product.
Sometimes the product creator will give you a pre-made affiliate pin. You can use that as well, but make sure you use multiple pins (at least 3 different pins) to promote any affiliate product. You want to make sure you appeal to different audiences.
Step 3: Copy and paste your original affiliate link into the website section.
Note that it’s against Pinterest’s policy to use Bit.ly, Pretty Link, or any other link shortener.
Step 4: Write a detailed description of the pin, focusing on 2-3 relevant keywords.
One keyword will be your main target keyword and the other(s) will be supporting keywords. You want to make sure your main target keyword appears in your blog post title, pin title, blog post URL, and pin description. That means you’ve optimized your pin to rank highly for that keyword. In that case, Pinterest is more likely to show your pin to someone who searches for the keyword. As you can see, Pinterest is a lot like Google. It wants to deliver fresh, relevant content to users. You can help the Pinterest algorithm do that by telling it exactly what your pin is about using keywords. That’s why Pinterest Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so important!
Step 5: Save your affiliate pins to the most relevant, well-keyworded boards.
This is crucial! Do NOT save your affiliate pins, or any pins for that matter, to generic, all-niche boards. You’d confuse Pinterest. When you share a new pin, the Pinterest algorithm goes to work to figure out what that pin is about. It determines this based on the image, keywords, and the boards where the pin is saved. If you want to learn the ins and outs of how the Pinterest Algorithm works, there’s no better course than Pinteresting Strategies. Mommy blogger, Carly Campbell, walks you through how she went from 0-200k page views a month by mastering the Pinterest algorithm and manual pinning.
The importance of choosing the right boards
Let’s say I save the affiliate pin for my favorite Pinterest affiliate marketing course to a general group board called ‘Bloggers Share Your Best Pins.’ In the group board, there are pins about parenting, DIY, recipes, fashion, weight loss, and all sorts of topics. Because the board is a free-for-all, there are no relevant keywords for, well, any topic. How is the Pinterest algorithm supposed to determine that my pin is about affiliate marketing? Sometimes you have to put yourself in the Pinterest algorithm’s shoes, as strange as that sounds. How can you make its job easier? Signal exactly what your pin is about by using the right keywords and posting ONLY to relevant boards.
Don’t forget to post your affiliate pins to your OWN personal boards! When I share my affiliate pins, I start with my own relevant boards because they’re better optimized for SEO than my group boards. I carefully write my board descriptions to optimize them for keywords. Technically speaking, you don’t even need to share pins to group boards if you have well-optimized personal boards with high repin rates. The advantage of group boards is that they help you expand your reach.
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How to disclose affiliate links on Pinterest
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you must disclose that you’re an affiliate anytime you promote affiliate products. Why? It’s to protect consumers from being misled. If they know you’re getting paid, they can make a more informed decision about whether to buy a product. Let’s say someone recommends you buy a DJI Mavic Pro drone, raving about all the amazing features. You’re immediately interested. Then you learn that the recommender is a brand ambassador for DJI. Wouldn’t that make scrutinize what they said? Maybe do more research? That’s the point of disclosures.
Notice how I disclose that this post contains affiliate links at the top? For affiliate pins, you can add one of the following hashtags at the end of the pin description.
Disclosing affiliate links is MANDATORY. If you don’t do it, the FTC could fine you. I haven’t yet heard cases of people getting fined, but don’t take any chances. Just follow the rules.
Can You Use Amazon Affiliate Links on Pinterest?
Amazon can’t seem to give a straight answer about whether we can post its affiliate links on Pinterest. To be safe, I don’t post any Amazon links directly on Pinterest. What I do instead is share a pin leading to blog posts and pages that contain Amazon products.
How To Create Affiliate Pins That Get Clicks
One of my favorite affiliate marketing courses, Pin to Profits – Affiliate Marketing, goes into detail about design elements that make an affiliate pin click-worthy. Unfortunately, I can’t share that here because it’s copyrighted material. But I can give you some pointers. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Create long and vertical pins.
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s worth reiterating. I still see square pins all the time on Pinterest. With affiliate pins, I make my pins longer than usual so that they stand out. My pins are typically somewhere between 735 x 1250 and 735 x 1400. I also experiment with smaller pins (600 x 900), and they do well too. There is no set rule for the exact dimensions your pins should be. Just make sure they are vertical. I use both PicMonkey and Canva to create my pins. PicMonkey has an edge over Canva in terms of features.
Make it immediately clear what problem you’re solving.
Your title should be something specific like “How To Crush Affiliate Marketing Without a Blog” or “The Only Affiliate Marketing Course You’ll Ever Need.”
Use warm colors, such as orange and red.
A Pinterest study that examined 500k pins found that pins with red/orange as the dominant color were 2x more likely to be repinned as those that were blue/green. With affiliate pins, I also find that bright purples and pinks do well.
Use fonts that are easy to read.
With affiliate pins, I use both script fonts and cursive fonts. I tend to tell people to stay away from cursive fonts, but I make an exception with affiliate pins because they Before I post an affiliate pin, it goes through my ‘sister test.” It’s pretty simple – I just ask my sister, who wears glasses, whether she can read every single word.
Invest in paid stock photos.
The quality of your photos can make or break your pin’s success. As new bloggers, we’re all cash-strapped, this is one area where you can’t be cheap. Don’t underestimate the power of professional quality images! I use Deposit Photos to source all my images for pins. Typically, I’ll search for images like “feminine computer desk” or “workspace with flowers.”
How to research keywords for your affiliate pins
Besides your images, keywords are the other major make or break factor for your pins. Spend some time to identify 2-3 relevant keywords that people would use to search for the problem you’re solving. Focus on just one target keyword phrase that you absolutely want to rank for. Then add one or two other related keywords. To figure out what keywords to choose, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What would they search in order to find a solution to the problem your affiliate product solves?
Keyword research in action
Let’s take a look at a real-life example. I’ll show you how I did keyword research to promote my affiliate pin for the Pin To Profits – Affiliate Marketing Course. The course teaches beginners how to make money on Pinterest using affiliate links. Before I put myself in my audience’s shoes, I make a note of the key information about the course that I need to convey.
- It’s about how to make money on Pinterest with affiliate marketing
- The lessons provide a step-by-step guide for beginners
- You can implement the strategies without a blog
What keywords are my target buyers searching for?
Now, I’ll put myself in my audience’s shoes, if I wanted to find out how to do affiliate marketing without a blog, what would I search for on Pinterest? I’d brainstorm potential keywords. This exercise is completely optional. I just do it to see how well the searches I come up with match Pinterest’s suggestions.
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Step 1: Start with a general search
You can skip the previous exercise and just to start with a general search. In this case, I would start by searching for ‘affiliate marketing.’ By doing so, Pinterest would show me the most searched keywords about affiliate marketing. As you can see below, the most searched keywords about affiliate marketing are:
- Affiliate marketing without a blog
- Affiliate marketing for beginners
- Affiliate marketing on Pinterest
All these searches are 100% relevant to the course I’m promoting. Even before doing this search, I planned to include them in my pin description. Now, it’s just a matter of combining them to optimize my Pinterest SEO and still sound natural.
Step 2: Narrow down the search using suggested keywords
Now, I look at the suggested keywords and pick 4-5 that are most relevant to the course. I’ll use them to create my target keyword. In this case, they would be:
- Without a blog
- For beginners
- On Pinterest
- Make money
- Passive income
I click all the relevant suggestions to see what pins appear under them. Often times, you’ll find that there is a lot of overlap. I want my pins to appear under as many of these keywords as possible. At the same time, I don’t want to just stuff my pin description with every keyword. It still has to sound natural and make sense.
The tricky thing about keyword research is that there is no hard and fast rule. I can give you a general guideline, but you’ll need to spend time on Pinterest doing keyword research to get good at it. Choosing keywords is both an art and a science. After doing it over and over, it’ll become more intuitive.
Step 3: Put together your main target keyword
Based on my research, I chose ‘affiliate marketing on Pinterest without a blog’ as my main target keyword. This what they call a long-tail keyword, a phrase that conveys a specific idea. It’s important to use long-tail keywords because then you’ll be giving users exactly what they’re looking for. If you use just ‘affiliate marketing’ as your keyword, you’ll be competing against everyone on Pinterest who has ever written anything about affiliate marketing. Thanks to proper keyword research, the first and seventh pins in the search results below are my own.
Step 4: Write your pin description
Write a description using your main target long-tail keyword and and 2-3 related keywords from the search results. With a regular pin, your main target keyword should be in your blog post title. meta description, pin title, and pin description. Affiliate pins don’t have a blog post title or meta description so you just need to focus on the pin title and pin description. This below is my affiliate description. Notice how I effortlessly weave in the keywords? After writing your description, read it over and make sure it sounds natural. Below, I used #affiliate, but now I use #ad to be more explicit.
That’s how you make money on Pinterest with affiliate links. Uploading the pin is simple. However, getting clicks can be a challenge in the beginning. I was struggling with that until I took a course called Pin to Profits – Affiliate Marketing. It goes over design tricks you can use on Canva or PicMonkey to entice people to click on your pins. You can learn more about the course in my interview with the creator, McKinzie Bean.
Helpful Pinterest Tools
PicMonkey – make professional looking pins to promote your affiliate products. It comes with a wide variety of fonts and many cool features
Canva – I use this to make pins in addition to PicMonkey. It’s easier to use if you’re new to graphic design but isn’t as sophisticated as PicMonkey. It does come with 300,000 photos, which is 100x more than PicMonkey.
Pinterest Ninja – introductory Pinterest course that will help you set up your account. It focuses heavily on how to do keyword research and create a pinning strategy on Tailwind.
Pinteresting Strategies – detailed course for intermediate-advanced Pinterest users. It offers an in depth look at the Pinterest algorithm and shows you how to drive traffic with manual pinning
The Billionaire Blogger Pinterest Manual – this 165-page Pinterest tutorial is ideal for users of any level. It starts with Pinterest basics and then builds up to more advanced topics, such as understanding user intent. This is one of the most comprehensive Pinterest guides out there. It’s like a Pinterest bible.
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