One of my passions is teaching women how to make money from home. I love being able to stay home with my kiddos and still contribute to my huge financial goals.
I worked for a long time at “the blogging thing” without really making any money, so I decided to try something different last summer, and agreed to work on it for three months. I ended up getting sidetracked and not being as consistent as I liked. I was spending a lot of time on my blog, focusing on sharing my passion instead of creating a profit. I ended up learning some things about Pinterest and getting some new tools to help me market better, and my blog traffic exploded.
Instead of using my newfound Pinterest skills just for blogging, I decided to apply it toward making money right away. I didn’t want to start marketing a ton on my blog, so I decided to start sharing affiliate links. I wanted to be able to share what I did, and then keep my blog ad-free.
What I Pinned
I pinned a ton of products, and painstakingly kept notes of what worked and what didn’t. I figured out how to use analytics to see what my Pinterest audience loved, and what my most profitable boards were.
After that, I started Pinning products from affiliate programs that paid per click, as well as per sale so I started bringing in really good money. I had a few Pins go viral and they continue to make me $300 a month on average months.
Affiliate programs I use
I started off using Shopstyle Collective, and used to like them a lot. Then in our Facebook group, we started to hear about SSC closing accounts randomly and not giving people the money left in their accounts, so I definitely don’t recommend them anymore. I don’t like to send people to companies who are unprofessional and take people’s money.
Magic Links is my new favorite company that offers both pay-per-sale and pay-per-click commissions, which is a great way to make money. You can check them out here. They don’t mind if you use your Pinterest profile to apply (so you don’t need a website or a blog!) and they’re great. I heard back very quickly when I applied, within a business day!
What I did to make consistent sales
I played with Pinterest marketing for several months before I really figured out what worked for me. These were the things that really sent me over the edge from making less than $5 a month to making well over $10 a day.
- Signed up for a free Tailwind account. I upgraded pretty quickly because it was useful for running my blogs, and for just the Pinterest marketing, but I did stick with the free plan for quite a while before I started making money. I highly recommend anyone who is interested in Pinterest marketing for any purpose uses Tailwind. I recommend it to my students so often that I actually created a free course called Tailwind Mastery for them so they wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed using it when they first started.
- Pinning consistently to my top-performing boards. Before I used Tailwind I pinned 5-10 times a day, 1-5 pins each time. After I started using Tailwind I went to 10, then 20 times a day. Now I typically have 50 Pins a day in my queue.
- Sharing in-use images. One of the biggest things you can do as an affiliate marketer is to share in-use images that look like “normal” Pins, with the product as a natural part of the image. These kinds of Pins perform better than images on a plain white background, so definitely share from retailers who have these kinds of images!
My consistent results from Pinterest affiliate marketing
My Pinterest following went from growing by 1-3 followers a day to 10+ a day. I started with less than 1,000 Pinterest followers in March of 2017 (when my first Pin went viral) to having over 5,000 followers (since this number is always growing, you can check to see the number of followers I have below.
Part of the nature of Pinterest affiliate marketing is that with pay per click programs you’ll have huge swings in your income, but the more Pins you have floating around, the higher the upward “swings” will go, and your “dips” will also be higher. It takes a while to get to that point, but once you do get there it’s great! Averaged out, my earnings for the first several months after my first viral Pins, held steady at between $10 and $30 a day. After that they continued to climb steadily and by the end of this year, my new average income is around $6,000 a month with all of the programs I promote.
How I get my income numbers
I want to take a second to be really, really clear here about how I arrive at my income numbers:
- I do not count any affiliate income I make through my blog in these numbers
- Some bloggers pad their income reports and make it look like they’re “making money” when it’s all them referring people to programs like Awin, then count that as “affiliate income” – so I don’t include my referral program fees here because I feel like that’s dishonest
One question I get a lot is “do you publish income reports?” and the answer is no . I don’t publish regular income reports because I feel like it’s hard to give a big picture of your business and the time and effort it takes to get to that point in a single blog post. Most income reports make it look unreasonably easy to make money online. It isn’t. It takes lots of time, strategic hard work, and I don’t ever want someone to think I’m giving the “anyone can do this with little work!” scam marketing message. That’s not who I am.
I absolutely love Pinterest affiliate marketing. It’s a blast, and as far as online business go, it’s simple to implement and it’s very lucrative. It’s definitely a ton of work, and it’s not a get-rich quick scheme. I tested my theories on what would work and ideas for shortcuts and hacks that I hoped would be the quicker road to more profits… most of those ideas weren’t great, but I did learn a lot about what not to do for a year before I had my first batch of Pins go viral.
I don't have a blog or website, do I have to have one?
Nope, no website needed to do Pinterest affiliate marketing!
You can sign up for a company I love to use called Magic Links, which does require 100 followers. If you don't have 100 followers yet, then you're welcome to take my free class, Your First 100 Followers, where I go through the strategies I used to grow from 200 followers to thousands over time with a steady, consistent growth approach.
What apps, software and such do you need to build this business?
You can start your business with just your smart phone or desktop and a Pinterest account, but the best software you can use for affiliate pinning is Tailwind - they are my favorite way to schedule affiliate Pins, and non-affiliate Pins.. and for finding amazing content to Pin!
Can you make more money the more you work on it?
Definitely! With consistency, hard work and using good strategies, your income can, and should, continue to increase overtime as you have more affiliate Pins on Pinterest.
How long does it take to start making money?
I tell my students that for accounts of 500 or more, expect to work 6-8 weeks before seeing significant results.
This is not a get rich quick scheme, and like any legitimate business takes time and work to build. 😀
What affiliate programs should I apply to?
There are so many affiliate programs out there, it's impossible to make a recommendation for one that's best!
We have compiled a database of affiliate programs we use and love, as well as 500+ group boards and Tailwind Tribes where you can share your affiliate links.
You can get access to the database here for $5.
What are the ongoing fees necessary?
This is a tricky question. You can make a good side-income Pinning the "regular" way, on your phone or desktop on Pinterest. That's how I got started. I didn't upgrade to using a scheduler until my first few Pins went viral, then I started using Tailwind to schedule all my Pins.
If you want to make a larger income ($1,000+ a month) I highly recommend Tailwind as a scheduler and BoardBooster for their "looping" feature that allows you to put your earnings on auto-pilot. I also like using Coschedule for scheduling Pins as well, I already had a membership with them when I started my blog so I really like using them.
All of these programs are worth trying and you can try them out before you buy them, so you can see what interface works better for your style and level of technology savvy.
Can I do this from my phone?
Absolutely! You can use Tailwind from your phone, they have an iPhone app but I'm not sure about Android.
You can also Pin directly from Pinterest, so it's definitely possible to do this on a mobile device!
Do I need to disclose my affiliate Pins?
Yes! Here is what the FTC says about that: click here to see their article.
Should I open a new Pinterest account?
For almost every single person, we have found that if you have any followers and you have boards that already have content, it's best to keep your current Pinterest account and convert it to a business account.
For info on how to convert your account to a business account, check out our Pinterest 101 course.
How much should I be pinning?
There is no one answer to how many Pins you should Pin every day to make money as a Pinterest affiliate marketer, or to grow your following, isn't set in stone.
My rule of thumb for new students is for you to figure out how many Pins you can comfortably maintain Pinning each day. Consistently pinning less is better than sporadically pinning large amounts.
If you want to Pin consistently (which is best!) but struggle to be consistent because of time constraints, or if you prefer to Pin in batches, I highly recommend you check out Tailwind. I have a free Tailwind course that teaches you how to use it, and they have a 100-pin free trial for you to get used to their software.