Do you ever wonder, “Is Pinterest good for coaches?” Like… could you *really* generate leads there? And how would it work to market coaching programs and offers?
Or maybe you still feel like real Pinterest success is reserved only for those posting recipes and home decor?
These were JUST the topics that Alisa Meredith (of Tailwind) and Jeff Sieh (of Manly Pinterest Tips) asked me (Yes! Little old me!) to come help their viewers with. They co-host a weekly Youtube show called, “Marketing Unleashed,” and it was my pleasure to be their guest in July!
We had a great discussion and we went deep on how online coaches and other “infopreneurs” can inspire Pinners to action – even when the service or product covers a “less-than-Pinterest-obvious” topic. 😉
To listen in, you can push play on the video below! Or if you prefer, you can scroll down and read some excerpts from our Q&A… (Tidied up a bit to make it easier for you to read them!)
I hope these ideas inspire you.
Let’s get into it… Is Pinterest good for coaches?
Jeff: I’m excited. I’ve been excited about the show, because I saw our guest over on Clubhouse. She’s been killing it over there! … Alisa, why don’t you introduce our guest?
Alisa: I would be honored. This is Jana O. (I’m going to let her pronounce her last name for us!) Jana is a marketing expert, provider of premium Pinterest services, and the creator of Pinterest with Purpose, an e-course.
Jana especially loves supporting online coaches, course creators, and consultants, people who basically share what they know as a way of having a business. And that is what we are super excited to talk about today.
This episode was a difficult one to name. We have Jana on and her focus is with coaches and consultants, but I didn’t want to exclude product sellers either because it will still all apply to everybody.
So our topic is how to inspire pinners to try something new.
But there will be a little bit of an additional focus on that knowledge economy. If your product is actually your brain, how do you get that onto a pin? So let’s just start with that basic question…
Alisa: How can a coach or infopreneur get people to try something new on Pinterest? … Because they’re not making a recipe or a DIY hack that’s really easy to just show, right?
Jana O: Right.That’s a question my clients and students ask a lot. Like you said, they are coaches, course creators… sometimes service providers or consultants. Basically experts in monetizing what they know. And some of them still get stuck on thinking of Pinterest as a place for recipes and crafts and things like that.
Of course, we love it for those topics. But most people on here watching this probably know that there are so many more topics that are popular on Pinterest – especially in health and wellness, self-care, and relationships spaces. These niches have all exploded on Pinterest.
So, there are a lot of people in my audience who are trying to figure out how to translate those ideas that they have – and that they teach and coach around – to the platform.
Some of that is about how do you make these so that they’re visually appealing? And some of it is about how do you take these things that you know and break them down into micro ideas that help people to have these little moments of aha?
I almost think that they’re in some ways mini lead magnets these days. They’re bringing those people to you.
These are the two things. Helping people to figure out how to make these things more visual. And helping people be creative and think about, “Okay, but I’m not making recipes. I’m a pelvic health coach,” like my recent client. Or, “I am a coach that helps people release trauma through dance therapy. How do I take these things and show them on Pinterest?”.
It’s about getting creative and thinking out of the box in terms of how you’re presenting your tidbits.
Jeff: What do you think is the mindset that makes it so difficult for us to get around? Let’s talk about breaking down some of those roadblocks like, ‘maybe my avatar is not on Pinterest,’ or ‘I don’t know how to drill down and figure out who the person I’m trying to reach on Pinterest is.’ So can you give us some tips for doing that?
Jana O: Definitely. I think that we have to remember that people are on Pinterest looking for ideas and inspiration and things to make their lives and their businesses better.
We have to figure out how to capture their attention. A lot of the coaches have to wrap their heads around this:
We’re not actually selling coaching on Pinterest. We’re not trying to attract people who are going to Pinterest looking for coaching. Or who are looking for a course to learn how to do something. What they’re there for is they’re looking for ideas, things to do, things to try, things to buy.
It’s really about figuring out how to inspire them first and putting those ideas forward and bringing them into your ecosystem. Some people like to call that a funnel, you can call it that if you want, it’s up to you, and then continuing the conversation from there.
Recently, somebody in a Facebook group asked, “What’s something you wish you knew when you first started in entrepreneurship?.” And all of a sudden it came to me. I thought to myself: A lot of people, when they first get started, they don’t realize that people aren’t necessarily going to see their thing and buy it immediately. There has to be some of this nurture going on between when someone finds you and when someone actually pulls out their wallet. That’s even more true on Pinterest.
We call it the very “top of the funnel.” That’s because people are often new to us when they find us on Pinterest – because Pinterest is a search engine.
We need to remember to take what we’re teaching and what we know, these things that we’re monetizing, and break it down into little things, literally little tidbits or micro ideas that are going to give people inspirations, solutions, and things to try.
That’s why I always encourage my clients and students who are coaches to think about what those things are. I have some little tricks that I use to help them do that, which I can talk about if we want to go in that direction.
Jeff: I would love that, because one of the things I would love to do is have a tactical example. Let’s do that. Give us an example. You mentioned one of yours was, and we don’t have to use this, but the pelvic floor coach. That’s really niched. How would you do that? Do you have some examples?
Jana O: That’s a great one. As an example, she’s definitely very niched. What she sells is her coaching and courses. One of the things that she has pinned to Pinterest, which has done really well, is this… (Many of my clients are our health coaches. We get into these health-related things!) But she’s pinned an opportunity for people to grab a copy of her bladder diary, which helps people with incontinence.
It’s a way that people can grab this thing that she has, which is just a principle. We’re very familiar as Pinterest users and Pinterest marketers with the ideas of principles. But essentially, it’s a principle that guides someone through this process of becoming more aware of what this potential problem is that they’re having.
Of course, it’s a lead magnet as well. So it’s also going to help them to take next steps along that road of solution as well. So that’s one thing that she pins.
One of the types of idea pins that I’ve been encouraging people to consider when they think about different approaches to creating idea pins is to take two different things and compare them.
She created an idea pin, recently, which was about how to do Kegel exercises and how to do them the right way and how to do them the wrong way. That’s a great example of her using that idea. She’s comparing what it’s like to do this type of exercise the wrong way and what it’s like to do this type of exercise the correct way, that’s going to get you the results that you want. That’s how it is with coaches. They’re helping us get different kinds of results or transformations.
I’m glad you brought that one up. I have tons more, obviously, if anyone needs inspiration.
Jeff: It’s not like, “I’m selling my coaching. Sign up here to get my coaching. It’s X amount of money.” It’s solving a problem. Here’s how you get from A to Z. Here’s a thing, like a downloadable or something, that can help. Then that leads to that top of the funnel that you were talking about before.
Jana O: Exactly. We need to be thinking about idea pins like we think of free content. We have free content that’s gated, meaning that you have to give me your email for it. Then we also create free content that is not gated, that’s meant to inspire people and show your expertise and bring them into the beginning of this transformation process. So that’s exactly right.
Alisa: I noticed that you are a big proponent of idea pins. How are you using them for coaches?
Jana O: It’s so funny to hear you say that, because I feel like it’s taken me a while to get to the point where people would perceive me as a big proponent of idea pins!
I’ve come to understand that idea pins are a great tool for people who are infopreneurs, who are teaching what they know and monetizing that and who are leveraging personal brands. I think of these idea pins as these little micro ideas, how tos or comparison. That’s what coaches are doing in most cases. They’re very niched.
There’s different approaches you can take. Again, I think that they’re fantastic for not only the reach that they’re giving us, because at the moment they’re being prioritized to some degree on a platform, but also for showcasing the things that we have to offer and teach. There are free offers or paid offers…I’m all about them these days.
Jeff: So this is good, because we were talking about some of this stuff. Brian said, “Too much information!”
Jana O: Hahahaha… Sorry!
Jeff: I think it’s important. It’s like what if we pin about more gloomy topics, like breast cancer awareness? I think that’s a great question.
Alisa and I were doing this kind of thing, what can we pin on Pinterest? I said, “Well, I think anything but undertaker stuff.” Then I got all these comments about, “No, you can talk about grief,” and all this stuff. I’m like, “Okay, I won’t ever say that again.”
Jeff: So what do you tell people if they think, “Well, I can’t be on Pinterest, because it’s not happy. It’s not inspirational”? Or do you move it to inspiration? What are your thoughts on that?
Jana O: I think both. Number one, I think that Pinterest has been clear with us through its overt cues, but also through some of what we read between the lines, that they no longer see the platform as a place where people only expect to see Pinterest-perfect content.
When we’re creating content on the platform and pinning content that is off the platform, that actually is real life and raw and about real human experiences that people can relate to. That is the right way to go.
I would never want us to steer clear all together and be like, “Oh, no. Flip that. Make that positive.” We don’t want that. It doesn’t all have to be positive all the time. But I do think there are opportunities because some of the people in the audience for that particular topic are looking for inspiration.
You also could flip it and say, “Okay, what do they need in order to feel good about what’s going on with this particular topic right now? And how do I give it to them?”
I think it’s both. You show up imperfectly and real with what people can relate to, especially your people. And then I also think it’s about providing people with the inspiration and holding the space for them to push themselves more toward the positive aspects. But not expecting them to be there all the time.
Jana O: Does that make sense?
Alisa: Totally. Can we talk a little bit about bridging that gap? Going back to your example, with the pelvic health care coach…
How does she bridge that distance between pinners seeing something on Pinterest, like how to do kegels properly, and actually signing them as clients and making money? We like to help people, but we also have to pay the bills. How do you do that?
Jana O: The short answer is through your funnel – or your customer journey.
I think that a lot of coaches and course creators, people in my audience, are new to Pinterest as a platform. People in that arena are just discovering it over the last couple of years as a way to attract potential clients and buyers of their programs.
There are two things that often mystify them in the beginning about Pinterest.
One of them is the whole keyword / search engine thing. So we’ve had many conversations about that. We know that it’s a search engine. It behaves that way primarily, although it has some social aspects to it.
But the other thing that I think still mystifies people about it a little bit (and I’m trying to get the word out about it!) is that, at this moment, Pinterest isn’t a place where people come looking to connect with others. It’s not a place where we really have conversations with people – or nurture our audiences through conversation.
Pinterest is a lot like Google in the sense that people search things. Then Pinterest gives them things that they think are solutions, answers to their questions, things that they’ll like, that’ll inspire them.
I sometimes ask people (rhetorically), “Okay, if you were going to try to nurture your audience and build relationships on Google, how would you do that?” And it’s like, “Hmm… I guess you really don’t, right?”
So, I think the short answer to your question is funnels. The longer answer to your question is building out a customer journey where you’re taking people down a path.
The way that Pinterest operates right now makes it a great place to get discovered by new people. But it’s not a place where we’re having conversations and so you have to have a way to build their interest.
For some people, that’s growing their email list. For some people that is bringing people to a Facebook group. It’s about bringing people somewhere where they’re going to learn more about you, which is probably your email list. And then maybe offering them the option of going deeper with you by joining your Facebook group or doing this or doing that.
But I think the name of the game is figuring out what exactly you’re saying. What’s the connection? In all honesty, not everybody loves to hear this, but for 99% of the people that I know who are infopreneurs and have a lot of success on Pinterest, the answer to that is, email marketing.
Alisa: That makes a lot of sense. I also feel like Instagram is a great next step from Pinterest. So encouraging people, probably in your profile on Pinterest, to also follow you on Instagram. It’s handy if you have the same username.
But you alluded to this, where Pinterest would really like Pinterest to be a place where pinners and creators connect on a personal level. I’m with you. We’ll see if people want that. But so far I’m somewhat encouraged. I typically tag people in my stories, companies, the paints or the pigments or whatever that I’m using, and almost every time, at least one of them will comment. I feel like that’s the very start of something, something you could do with your followers as well.
Jeff: I think there’s a lot of that where the first steps can happen with some of the things that Pinterest is doing, especially with idea pins. Do you guys agree? Or am I off course?
Alisa: Oh, yes! Totally, totally agree. I have this one idea pin that has 47,000 impressions, One with 2,000 clicks. The cover image that I chose is the painting I’m working on, but it also includes a side view of my face. I’m wearing this crazy hat thing to keep my hair out of the paint. That has way more views than any other idea pin.
The other one that’s doing really well includes videos of me talking. I would rather not, because I’m up in my studio, probably a little hot and sweaty, probably have paint all over me. But people seem to like it. So I’m going to have to do it.
Jeff: So Triona says this, “people want that human interaction. We’ve been inside for so long over the last year or so.”
Alisa: I also think there’s something to video. That’s something that’s being discussed in the comments a little bit. Maybe it’s an issue that it needs to be a video versus images. Video clearly seems to work better.
Jeff: I want to do this question, because it’s always great to go back to the basics. I’m glad that people feel comfortable enough to ask. Stacey asks this question, “Newbie here. What’s the difference between an impression and a click?”
Alisa: It’s quiz time. So impression basically, means how many times your pin appeared in someone’s feed or search results. So how many eyeballs potentially may have seen it.
A click means, with an idea pin especially, that they have clicked to see more. I don’t know if it also includes clicks from one page to the next. I was assuming not. I was assuming it’s just to get to your pin. But I know that advancing from one page to the next is another good engagement signal.
Jeff: On a regular pin it means they’ve gone over to what you needed to.
Jeff: Jana, what is the metric that you track the most when you are saying a pin is successful or not?
Jana O: It’s definitely still outbound clicks for me. But when it comes to idea pins, I’m also looking at profile visits and follows. But I think that the profile visits, to me, feels more meaningful than the follows. If I were evaluating idea pins, recently they made it so we can now see the profile visits and the follows on idea pins. They weren’t like that initially. When they took them out of beta, they added those two metrics, which to me opened up a whole world of understanding.
We actually now see some evidence that these things are helping us grow our audiences, which is so exciting, not just for me personally, but also for me in terms of communicating the value of creating these things and, honestly, overall, the value of the platform to people.
For me with idea pins, profile visits are the metric I’m looking at the most. Then I think the click-through rates, CTRs, on static pins and video pins to some degree and then the CR, I’d guess we call it – the click rate. So the ratio of impressions to pin clicks would be an important metric on idea pins as well.
Jeff: On that note, since idea pins rolled out, have you changed your profile to optimize it in any way to get more of those clicks? What have you done for that?
Jana O: Yes. So much, so much. I teach about that a lot now, too. If you’d asked me two years ago if it was important to optimize your profile from a visual perspective, I would’ve said, “It’s a nice thing to do, but I wouldn’t let that distract you from doing the more important things that move the needle on the platform.” (Of course, though, it’s always been important to optimize your profile from a keyword perspective.)
More and more, I’m seeing evidence it’s driving people more to our profiles. Idea pins are just one example of that. I’m also seeing in Google Analytics, more people clicking through to the homepage for me and for clients, which, I think, is really, really interesting.
It took me a while to try to figure out what that all meant and to make sure that I felt confident that it meant what I thought it meant! But I do think that most of the time, that means people are going to your profile and clicking through – literally clicking on your claim domain.
I actually created a free template for people to create a cover image that has a call-to-action on it. I think that your eyes automatically go to that cover image so having a call-to-action on that, if it’s classy, is a good idea.
That’s one way that I’m optimizing client profiles now, as well as my own and encouraging people to optimize the visual look of your profile.
I know this is controversial, but I have always liked board covers. I think they make a big impact on when people land on your profile. If you are leveraging a personal brand, which a lot of the coaches and course creators are, helping people understand that this is your business, that you’re very intentional about what you’re curating here for them, I think it sends a message that way.
Jeff: You never know, because things that go out of style can come back. Hashtags!
Jeff: We were talking about graphics and analytics. You mentioned how important it is to get click-through rates. Let’s talk about one of the things that helps drive click-through rates. You have a post with 75 call-to-actions that aren’t a snooze fest.
Alisa: Love that title!
Jeff: What makes, especially on Pinterest, a good call-to-action?
Jana O: They need to be short and snappy, but I like them to be specific.
So instead of just “click here,” “download this,” I like to try to be a little creative. Making them more specific reinforces on a subtle, almost unconscious level. They’re not just clicking to click. They’re clicking to get the result that you’re promising. So ‘take this to the grocery store’ or ‘learn the big five’ or something like that which actually is specific to the thing that you’re dangling.
Alisa: Can we talk about design here? How do you effectively show coaching?
Jana O: I think that really does come back, again, to this idea that we actually don’t want to try to show coaching in our pinsl Because these are people mostly who are discovering us for the first time. They most likely didn’t search for ‘style coaching’. But rather they searched ‘work capsule wardrobe’.
I have a client who helps people do just that…create a capsule wardrobe for work to feel confident. She works mostly with C-suite executives who are in their 20s. So people who got promoted to the C-suite way before they ever thought they would – and they don’t know what to do or how to look or what to wear. They’re usually in the city. So they’re looking for these minimalist capsule wardrobes that are going to set them up for success in their professions.
So again, super niched. She knows her audience so well. She knows just what they need. It makes it a lot easier when that’s the case to find the keywords and to know what we’re looking for or who we’re trying to get in front of.
She did an idea pin, as an example, where she talked about the difference between what you’re actually getting when you’re buying a $425 woman’s blazer versus buying a $79 or a $29 woman’s blazer. She showed the difference between them. And that’s a thing that people are looking to understand. They’re trying to understand why in the world they would want to invest that kind of money on one piece of clothing. Her audience is hungry for information like that.
It’s not that you couldn’t create a pin that says, “Hey, this is what it’s like to do coaching with me.” I’ve seen some of those out there. I think it’s fine to do that, but you don’t want to just skip right to that. You want to, ideally, start at the beginning where you’re giving people those ideas and those inspirations, because that’s what they’re looking for on Pinterest. And that’s what’s going to catch their attention.
Once they know you and you’ve given them some of those ideas, if they see something that’s a little bit more, maybe closer to, showing coaching then you might be good. But we can’t hang our hat on that and assume that that is going to be what’s going to work.
An example of how to show coaching, would be like, here’s literally the process that I use. Here’s my framework. Here’s how I work with people in this framework.
Alisa: I think that could make a fantastic idea pin. Ever wonder how coaching works?
Jana O: As long as it’s not the only kind that you’re creating!
Jeff: We’ve got some great questions in here. This is, “How many idea pins are you doing per week? Is there a suggested amount?”. Alisa, how many are you doing a week?
Alisa: I am doing one a week, because that’s how often I paint. That’s what I’m doing idea pins for. I’m also in the Pinterest creator community. In order to keep your status there, to keep being in the membership, which allows you to get into some cool conversations, you have to create at least once a month. I don’t think they’re saying that’s the minimum for success. That’s just a requirement to stay in that group. I would say once a week would be the lower side.
Jeff: Is that what you’re saying, too, Jana?
Jana O:. For people who are just getting started with Pinterest, I’m recommending, in addition to a certain number of static pins, also doing one idea pin per week.
I started out doing just one. Then I had this moment where I sat for a little while and batch created a bunch of them. They were all ready to go and I was going to drop them out over the next couple of weeks. Then I got ambitious and just put them all up there.
I’m really glad I did, because I wanted to know how it would work. Of course, it’s just one account that I’m experimenting with. But I got good reach on all those pins that I pinned daily, back to back to back, one per day.
I think as many as you want to, but one per week is a good place to start.
Jeff: I’m interested that you’re doing painting, Alisa. We’ve talked before about making sure that it has to do with your topic or what your account is about. This to me, would seem like it’s not. But you’re getting success on that. What would you say? Is that something you would recommend or not? Or is it more like, “I’m seeing the real Alisa Meredith. I want to find out more about her. And she is going to teach me painting.”
Alisa: Oh, no. My account is so far gone with all the experiments that I’ve run that I’m not even trying to get reach for my marketing concept. Don’t do what I did! If I was trying to build my marketing business and my reputation through Pinterest, I would not be sharing idea pins about painting.
But because I’ve done so many crazy things, I’ve attracted followers who do not care about my marketing. It kind of hurts a little bit, but they’re digging the painting. Again, like Jana said and you said, we’re always just experimenting. Then we can share it with our friends and see what we learn.
Jeff: Can Jana share her Pinterest URL?
Jana O: I’m Jana O. Media everywhere, so it’s pinterest.com/janaomedia.
Jeff: This is a great question: “thoughts on number of pages and idea pins?”
Alisa: Well, I think Pinterest recommends five to seven. I would definitely say more than one. It’s really hard to tell a whole story or share an entire idea in one pin. That’s where I think you see comments from frustrated pinners saying, “But how do I do this? There’s no link. How do I get to…”
The point of the idea pin, it should be everything is right there. You don’t get an external link and you’re not missing it. They also do look at advancement from page to page as an engagement signal.
So having pages that are so compelling, you have to go from one to the next, is fabulous. Use as many as you need to tell the whole story.
Jana O: I’m creating them with at least five pages, because that’s been the guidance from Pinterest. I want to be doing things the way that they are suggesting, because I want to see how that works.
But I will be honest and say, it’s a little frustrating when I look at my own feeds. I have a personal account then my business account. A lot of the idea pins that I’m seeing surfacing in my smart feed are one panel. It’s one of those things where I feel like, I don’t know if they really mean what they say yet.
Alisa: So I have a guess. I think Pinterest is hungry for idea pins. They don’t have enough five to seven, or five to 20 page pins, so they’re going to show what they have. I think, like you said, I think they’re going to catch up. So do more.
Jeff: Like I said, mine have been boosted up. Some of them hit over 10,000 impressions. They’re just going crazy, with two or three panels. What I’m doing for my show, Social Media News Live, is I take the guest who gives a great succinct tip and I’ll make a title page that has the question like, “Why is Instagram no longer a photo sharing app?”. Then I have Patrick answering that question. Then it’s like an ending pin. It’s not too long of a video. Sometimes I’ll do a video, just something to catch their eye, like exploding paint behind the title. That gets people to stop. Then they watch the rest. Now, it’s a slow burn. Like anything else on Pinterest. You put it up. You’re expecting, like on Instagram you get all this feedback from a story. That doesn’t happen. But they are starting to ramp up. I think it’s because it’s a mixture of video and the idea pins.
Alisa: There was a concept that I read about on your website. I want to know a little bit more. You talk about marketing a coaching business by creating and growing your body of work. What does that mean? How can we do it? And what part does Pinterest play?
Jana O: I think that Pinterest plays the role of getting more ideal audience type eyes on that body of work.
Traditionally, we’ve put our body of work on a blog or in a podcast or a YouTube channel or some kind of long form content. I’m personally a big proponent of continuing to do that. I just think that having a place that’s your own home base and that you control every aspect of the customer journey that’s important. That’s the way to get people on your email list.
But the body of work you’re building is something that is searchable essentially, and evergreen, so that people can binge on your content when you’re not actually working. You could be off doing something else, but you’re nurturing your audience, because they’re there getting the answers they need, having little aha moments. And all along the way you are showing and demonstrating your expertise and your ability to help them solve these problems.
To me, my body of work is my blog. I think of it as the long form content place. Pinterest is just an incredible way to get people to see that body of work, who otherwise would not have seen it and would not have found out about you, but are already interested in the topics that you write about and teach about and create content about.
Alisa: So your Pinterest account could be an extension of your blog or website?
Jana O: I think that the idea of pins do give us this opportunity to do that, but just like we don’t control Instagram or we don’t control Facebook, we also don’t control Pinterest.
Even though idea pins are all the rage and it’s a great place to repurpose your body of work, it shouldn’t be where your body of work lives solely, in my opinion.
Alisa: Absolutely. You have to have a home base that’s yours.
Alisa: So what about keywords? Is there any difference when we’re talking about coaching as opposed to products or recipes or anything like that?
Jana O: I don’t think so. I think my audience, like anyone’s audience, has particular challenges with translating their content to the keywords and stepping into the shoes of their ideal audience to think about what it is that they would be searching for.
But we have those challenges in every audience and for all types of monetization methods on Pinterest.
It’s about finding the keywords that your ideal person is looking for and also what you want to attract. I always think about keywords like a Venn diagram. One circle is the things people are searching for. And the other circle is what you create and can help with.
Then you want to be looking for the things in the sweet spot. If it’s in one circle or the other, but it’s not in your sweet spot, then it’s not for you. I don’t think there’s a lot of differences. It’s just about figuring out what people are searching for that is also what you want to attract!
The episode aired live on Youtube on July 22, 2021. Thanks so much to Jeff and Alisa for welcoming me to the show!
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