If you are a maker with an online shop, you know how hard it can be to stand out in the crowd. There are a ton of shops competing for the same customers and getting eyes on your products can be really difficult. With online shops you can no longer just open the doors and expect customers to come rushing in, you have to (virtually) go out there and find people and drag them into your shop. I know, it sounds depressing. You’ve spent all this time perfecting your craft, polishing your shop and now I’m telling you you need to work hard bringing in customers.
Don’t shoot the messenger!
Outside of Etsy, the best place to focus your marketing efforts is on social media. And you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck using Pinterest. (So to speak, since Pinterest is FREE to use after all, lol). So I’m going to show you how to create pins for Etsy listings and the best way to add them to Pinterest.
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Fair warning: This post is novel-length. 😀 But I know you’ll find it super helpful, so hang in there!
Pinterest is a great platform for product sellers because it is basically a visual search engine. People go there to look at all the pretty pretty pictures. And online product sellers already have lots of pictures to share. It’s a good match.
Other social platforms, not so much.
Instagram posts are pretty much only good for about 24 hours. Unless you have a really consistent IG strategy and have lots of time to be social and connect with people on an individual basis, it’s not ideal. I mean, I definitely recommend having an Instagram account and posting regularly, but it’s got drawbacks in my opinion.
Facebook seems to change it’s algorithm every 33 seconds and I personally don’t have time for that. It’s getting harder and harder to get eyes on your FB posts unless you pay for boosting or ads (and FB ads are a tough nut to crack). No thanks.
But Pinterest’s got your back. Once you create a pin and send it out, it’s out there forever. And comments aren’t really a thing on Pinterest so you don’t need to be social and remember to reply to anyone (Introverts rejoice!)
Pinterest is worth the energy you put into it.
Pinterest accounts for about 31% of my shop’s views. That’s a pretty big chunk of people that I have reached into internet-land to collect. No one else sent those people to me, that’s my Pinterest marketing efforts coming to fruition. It’s nice to know that you can have some level of control in terms of getting eyes on your shop.
And it doesn’t need to be complicated. Lemme show you how to create pins for Etsy listings the RIGHT way.
(ps. This strategy will also work for shops not hosted on Etsy like Shopify or Woocommerce. I just reference Etsy because that’s where my shop is.)
Why Create Unique Product Pins?
So, why can’t you just pin a product pic straight from your listing? Well, you can, but it won’t get you very far.
For starters, your product pictures aren’t sized for Pinterest since Etsy favours more horizontal photos and Pinterest favours vertical. So listing pics on their own won’t be super effective as pins.
Secondly, if you pin a picture directly from a listing, that picture will always lead back to that specific listing. Even if it sells outs or you remove the listing. When a customer lands on a listing that is no longer there, other similar items will be recommended to them instead. Items from other people’s shops. So you’ve essentially just found a customer for someone else. Boo.
I have a couple of dud pins floating around on Pinterest (pinned in the days before I knew how to create pins for etsy listings) and this is what happens when I click on one. None of these listings are from my shop. So my pin and product are sending customers to other shops. And the customer probably doesn’t even realize it. Unless they are really familiar with my work, why wouldn’t they assume that these other listings are mine?!
Creating a custom pin gives you so much more control over your potential customer’s experience. And it is a much more effective & strategic method of marketing.
How to Create Pins for Etsy Listings
You’ve already got awesome pictures, now you’re going to make an awesome pin with them.
(If you need help creating amazing product photos, click the button below!)
The first thing to keep in mind is the size of your pin. Pinterest has recently changed it’s preferred pin length so that anything longer than 1260px will actually get cut off in the feed (You can still see the whole pin if you click on it though).
So the perfect pin size these days is 564px X 1184px . Give or take a little depending on your photos. You don’t want to stretch them out to fit an ideal pin size only to reduce the quality of the photo. It’s about balance.
The best way to decide on a pin size is to make it twice as tall as it is wide.
Or go with Pinterest’s official recommendation of 600px X 900px since that’s easier to remember. 🙂
Now, there are endless pin designs you could try. I’m going to show you a couple of simple options because in my opinion simple is always better.
Pro Tip: When I’m in need of a little inspiration for pin design I like to do a slow scroll through my Pinterest home feed and take note of all the pins that draw my eye.
I use Picmonkey to create all my pins and business graphics and I love it. It gives me all the functionality I need while still being easy to use. It’s not free anymore, but I gladly pay for the Pro Plan ($9.99/mo) since it’s a program I use almost daily . You can also get the Basic Plan ($5.99/mo) or I think you can still try a free trial. Ok I know this is starting to sound like a sales pitch, but I swear to you that I love this program and you will too. Let’s carry on!
(If you’d like to know about all the other tools I use to run to my businesses check out this post: Ultimate List of Tools for Creative Shop Owners. )
Collage Style Pin
I like to use collages because it’s an easy way to create long pins and get a few angles of your product in a single pin.
Head into Picmonkey and click on Collage.
Change the collage layout by selecting ‘Ducks in a Row’ and opting for 3 boxes.
Next, rotate and re-size the layout to 584 x 1164.
Add your images from your desktop and arrange them so they look balanced. You can also adjust the amount of white space that borders the images by clicking on the paint palette icon. I like to bring the spacing down to about 7-8.
Now you can click the ‘Send to Editor’ button so you can add overlays or text.
Now you can add some text to your collage. I like to use 2 different fonts when it makes sense to. Sometimes I use 2 colours as well to help create balance. I always draw the colours out from my images using this (free) html colour picker.
For this pin I’ve also added a white rectangle under my text that’s been faded so my images will still show through but the text is more legible.
One of the great things about Picmonkey is that you can use your own fonts if you want to. This will help you stand out in the sea of pins that all have the same fonts. You can score some great free fonts on Creative Market every Monday. That’s where I got the fonts I’ve used here, Oh Wonder Sans and Jelytta.
It’s never a bad idea to add a little branding to your pins. It can help prevent your pins from getting stolen and redirecting people to other sites. (A sad truth of using Pinterest I’m afraid.)
It can also help viewers start to recognize your products and your business. They might scroll past 3 of your pins but stop at the 4th because they’ve recognized the branding.
I very simply add my website to the bottom of every pin using one of the same fonts I’ve used in the overlay. I leave out the www. to give people a greater chance of getting my biz name stuck in their heads.
If you make printables or other kinds of prints, you may want to consider adding watermarks to prevent them being stolen or screen shot.
Here’s another version of the collage pin. Everything is the same as above except I’ve omitted the center image and made the top and bottom images taller before sending it to the editor.
This leaves a nice white space for unobstructed text.
Third Pin Style
Here’s where I like to use a product picture I’ve taken in which I have left some natural white space.
On the Picmonkey homepage, hover over ‘Design’ and click on ‘Custom Size’. Enter in 584 x 1164 and click ‘Make it’.
Click the butterfly icon and add your image from your desktop.
Size your image so it fits the box and add your enticing text. For this pin I decided to crop a little off the top to better suit the design I was going for.
Here are all 3 pins next to each other.
A note on adding text: Your text overlay should concisely convey what your product is but also give viewers a reason to click on it. Think of how your product is used or who it’s for and try to find an angle in as few words as possible.
How to Upload Your Pics to Pinterest
Once you have created your pretty pin, you need to add it to Pinterest.
First, make sure you have saved your pin with a proper name. And I mean saved on your desktop with a proper name. Preferably a name with searchable keywords. This helps with SEO on various platforms and it will simplify your life later on. Trust me.
Head over to your Pinterest account and hover over the red + button in the top right menu bar, click ‘create pin’.
This box will open up:
Click to upload your pin from your desktop.
Add the URL of the page you want your pin to direct to.
Now here’s what I highly recommend:
Direct your pin to a category page rather than an individual listing. As I mentioned before, individual listings may not last forever in your shop. But your categories are much less likely to change or be deleted. Plus directing customers to your category pages immediately gives them a view of all the variations of the product that you offer.
For example, my pin might be all about blue hair bows but when you click on it you will be directed to the Hair Bows section of my shop. The customer will have to locate the blue bows again but they will also have seen all the other colours and styles I offer. It’s a win if the blue bows happens to be sold out at that moment.
Next, add a description. You can make it pretty long (500 characters) and that’s a good opportunity to get a lot of keywords in there.
But don’t just stuff a bunch of keywords in like you’re duplicating your Etsy tags. Pinterest doesn’t like that. Instead try to fit them in naturally and conversationally.
You should add a few relevant hashtags too, 2-3 is fine.
Now save your pin to a relevant board.
Pinning, Repinning & Scheduling
The very first board you need to save your pin to is a relevant board. NOT your ‘Best of’ board or your ‘Etsy Listings’ board.
So if you make party printables, save it to ‘Birthday Party Ideas’. Or if you make screen-printed t-shirts, save it to ‘Fashion for Millennial’s’. Make sense?
This will help Pinterest get a really good sense of what your pin is all about and where to recommend it. From this relevant board, you can repin your pin everywhere else.
I use a scheduling tool to distribute my pins and it works really well for me.
Using Tailwind, I’ve created board lists and one of my lists is for Etsy or Product related boards. So with a couple of clicks I can schedule out my pins to all suitable boards and space them out so they’re not all going out at the same time.
Scheduling is awesome because then you don’t have to worry about being available to pin at optimal times during the day. Tailwind takes care of that for you so you can just focus on getting to soccer practice on time!
Depending on the board, I will wait 2-4 weeks before repinning the same pin to the same board. Basically you need to wait until the original pin is further down the board so you don’t appear to be spamming the board.
This is mainly for the sake of group boards. I suppose you can spam your own boards as much as you like!
Group boards are where it’s at in terms of gaining traction on Pinterest.
A group board is a board that the owner has opened up to other contributors. So the potential audience of the board is the collective following of all the contributors. This can get your work in front of a lot more people.
Finding group boards and getting accepted as a contributor can take time though. I would say on average I’ve heard back from about half the group boards I’ve inquired with. And it has taken up to 2 months to get responses. So be patient!
Here are some Etsy-related group boards I’m in that you could try inquiring with:
My Favorite Etsy Sellers
All Things Etsy
Adorable Etsy Finds
Wonderful Things Found on Etsy
Top Handmade Shops
Pinter-Etsy Small Biz Group
Handmakers Success Group Board
Look What I Made
Pro tip: If you want to find additional group boards, pick someone in an Etsy group board, look at their profile and find all the group boards they are in. (You can recognize a group board by the bubble with lots of faces in it.)
Rinse and repeat until you have a big list of boards you can try to get on! Always make sure you read the board rules before inquiring and abide by the rules after being accepted. Then start scheduling those amazing pins and watch your shop views grow!
Well done for making it to the end of this epic post! I hope now you feel like you have a better idea of how to create pins for Etsy listings!
This is a massive topic so hit me up with all your questions because I’ve likely forgotten something! (Plus I’d love to hear from you!)
Don’t forget to grab a free chapter and worksheet from my E-Book!