It’s Pin-sanity: How to get Started with Email Marketing and Pinterest

Why Pinterest?

You probably know what it is by now, but if you don't, find out here.

  • It's big: With 20 million unique users already, it's the fastest growing social network in history. (comScore)
  • It's connected: It drives more referral traffic than Twitter, and more than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined. (Shareaholic)
  • It's viral: 80% of pins are re-pins - only 1.4% of tweets are re-tweets. This shows a highly engaged, self-sustaining user base and stream of content. (HubSpot)
  • It's sticky:Users spend an average of 88.3 minutes on the site. (MarketingProfs)
  • And most importantly, it converts: 21% of users have purchased an item that they found on the site (they fall in love before seeing the price!) (PriceGrabber)


How to get started:


  1. Sign up. Pinterest is driven largely by individual curators - not many brands. Maybe your Pinterest account could be from your CEO, intern, mascot, style editor, buyer, etc. (like Williams Sonoma’s creative coordinator, Maia McDonald: with 1.5 million followers.)
  2. Follow People. Make sure to not only follow users who are pinning your content, but follow competitors and brands who are using the channel well. Some of our favorites across a variety of verticals are: Real simple, The Wall Street Journal, Whole Foods Market, Time Magazine, Starbucks, and kate spade.
  3. Create boards. Boards can be categorized by product type, season, color, pinner; whatever makes sense to your business.
  4. Pin content. Pin from your website to your boards. Use the bookmarklet or directly upload new images not based on your website. More here. Legal side note: I'd recommend only pinning content that you have the rights to: although as of the publish date of this blog post, no lawsuits have been filed against Pinterest or its users, according to the terms of service, pinners are responsible for the imagery they pin. Just play it safe and pin your own content.


  1. Add Follow icons. Add the Pinterest icon to your website and emails so that users can follow your boards. Group them with other social follow icons.


  1. Add Sharing functionality to web. Allow users to pin content from your website. It doesn’t need to be added to every image on your site; try it on featured items, or the items that are proving to be most popular on Pinterest. (
  2. Add Sharing functionality to email. Add functionality for users to pin content from email. (This is a marketing blog, not a geekfest. We added the code to 3Sixty that will help you use in your ExactTarget campaigns.)


Examples of usage

Examples of the three ways Pinterest and email intersect:

1. Using Pinterest-generated content in an email
NineWest collected the top pinned shoes, and is featuring them in an email. This is key for success: the links of the email go to The only link that goes to is an ad that is placed after you've consumed the rest of the content. They’re keeping a focus on conversion. Once the user has clicked through to, the distraction factor is extremely high; within seconds of clicking, the user is immersed in the site, pinning 50 ways to use mason jars, and costume ideas for next Halloween.

Nine west uses Pinterest content in an email


2. Pinning email content
Driscoll's added a Pin It button to their emails to pin recipe images out of the email.

Driscoll's is pinning content out of their emails


3. Follow us on Pinterest
One King's Lane is taking it to the extreme with a Pinterest landing page to introduce new users to the site. The ad placement is prominent in their email, and with thousands of followers and 60+ boards, they’re finding value in this channel.

One Kings Lane


What's next for marketers on Pinterest?

Hopefully, API access, measuring the value of a re-pin, tracking and measuring referral traffic, AB testing for pin it placement and usage in email, and generating email opt-ins from website referral traffic.   

Let me know if you’re finding success with Pinterest, and using it in innovative ways.

Happy Pinning!


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