If you have a website, a blog, or just an idea for a business, then the social media site Pinterest is a surprisingly good way to make money with affiliate marketing – for FREE!
But just how does Pinterest affiliate marketing work? Can it support a full-fledged online business on its own, or do you need a website too? And which niches work best with Pinterest?
We’ll answer all of these questions and more in ClickBank’s ultimate guide to Pinterest affiliate marketing. Read on!
Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest
You’re probably at least somewhat familiar with the concept of affiliate marketing, where you promote other people’s products in exchange for a commission. (If you’re not, check out our “What is Affiliate Marketing?” post.)
Basically, with affiliate marketing, you get credit for generating online sales for another company by placing a special tracking link in your content – when a customer clicks your link and makes a purchase, you get a commission!
This affiliate marketing thing is pretty common if you have a blog, a YouTube channel, a paid ads campaign, or even a social media account like Instagram.
But is Pinterest really a good opportunity for affiliates?
As we’ll show you, the answer is yes – especially if you’re interested in a great source of free organic traffic!
How Does Pinterest Work?
Pinterest was created in January 2010 and has gone on to see more than 400 million monthly active users.
Right off the bat, one of the coolest features of Pinterest is the fact that it’s a search engine/social media hybrid, with an emphasis on images and social bookmarking.
Basically, you create a “board” – think a digital bulletin board – and post “pins” that can be discovered organically by others in your network on Pinterest. However, if you include the right keywords in them, your pins can also appear in the search results when users do a search in the platform’s search bar and generate engagement that way.
It’s true that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks feature hashtags as searchable keywords, but search is a much bigger part of the Pinterest experience (and it’s generally less competitive than those bigger platforms).
So, why does Pinterest’s SEO search function matter?
But what if you could build a backlog of quality posts that generated more and more organic traffic long-term, just like a blog or YouTube channel can?
With Pinterest, optimized pins can continue to receive engagement after a year, compared to a typical post lifespan of 48 hours on Instagram, 6 hours on Facebook, and 15 minutes on Twitter.
Sound interesting? I’ll show you how to make Pinterest work for you in 5 simple steps!
Step 1: Set Up Your Pinterest Profile
To make money with affiliate marketing on Pinterest, your first step is to set up a Pinterest account.
Now, if you’re new to the world of Pinterest, the first question you’ll probably ask is, “Should I get a personal or business Pinterest account for affiliate marketing?”
The answer is simple: If you’re planning to use the account for commercial activity – promoting a blog or pointing traffic to an affiliate offer – then you should definitely get a business account.
Don’t believe me? Here’s what it says in Pinterest’s TOS:
If you want to use Pinterest for commercial purposes you must create a business account and agree to our Business Terms of Service.
Beyond legal compliance, though, the business account gives you a few other key benefits:
- Account analytics and audience insights
- Special Pin formats, including Rich Pins
- The opportunity to advertise on Pinterest’s paid platform
Technically, your account and your pins will look the same with either a personal or business account. But since you’re going to be making money with Pinterest, the business account is recommended.
The good news is, setting up a Pinterest business account is easy enough – if you have a Google email address, you can just use that to sign up. You can also convert an existing personal Pinterest account to a business account.
Once you’ve signed up, Pinterest will ask you to build your profile, so fill in those details and answer their questions on what type of business you are over the next few screens.
Lastly, Pinterest prompts you to pick your primary focus: measuring your ad performance, creating an ad, or showcasing your brand.
I would start with the third option, which brings you to an account settings page where you can finish your profile. Fill that out, upload your branded images and logo, and you’re ready to start using your Pinterest business account to generate organic traffic!
Step 2: Get Familiar With Your Pinterest Account
Once you’ve created your account, the best way to get to know Pinterest is to create some pins!
But first, a quick tour…
Each Pinterest business account has the usual “Home Feed” that a personal account would, but it also has something called a “Business Hub” that houses all of the analytics data you’ll want to check on regularly.
The main area you’ll want to pay attention to on the Business Hub page is Performance, which is broken out into analytics for organic content and an ads overview for your paid ads (see below).
At first, these sections will be blank, but once you start creating content, you can quickly see how all of it is performing here.
Of course, you can find even more detail by going to the Analytics tab in the navigation menu. This breaks down your metrics by impressions, engagements, pin clicks, outbound clicks, saves, and a lot more!
As a business account, you also get access to a few additional pin types that we’ll cover shortly.
But for now, take a few moments to get familiar with the interface. Then, we can start creating content!
Step 3: Create a Pin
A Pinterest pin is a short piece of content that’s discoverable in Pinterest search and visible to your profile’s following in their feeds. A pin is usually image-based (though video is an option as well), and it’s designed to drive traffic to a blog post, landing page, product sales page, or even a YouTube video.
That dovetails nicely with affiliate marketing. Every pin you post can point to a strategic destination of your choice – the only question is, where should you drive traffic to?
Well, it all starts with understanding your niche and the behavior of your potential customers. If you haven’t decided on a niche for your business yet, I recommend learning more about that process in our ClickBank for Beginners guide.
But keep in mind, when it comes to Pinterest, you need to strike a balance – some categories do MUCH better than others on the platform!
As a general rule, you’ll find the most success with more “visual” niches, such as:
- Graphic design
- Home décor
With that said, you can uncover a visual component within almost every niche, from history to health and fitness. It’s up to you to figure out what makes the most sense for your business, but any of the best ClickBank niches should work well with Pinterest!
Now, let’s talk about creating a pin. You can easily find this option in the main navigation menu under Create > Create Pin.
The pin creation screen will look like this:
The main components of your pin are an image or video, a title, a description, alt text, and a destination link.
If you’re like me and you’re not exactly a graphic design whiz, Canva is a fantastic way to create decent images for Pinterest.
All you have to do is sign into Canva and find the Pinterest pin template. It comes equipped with the optimal dimensions for Pinterest pins: 1000 x 1500px.
You can either start with an existing template and customize it for your business or create a blank Pinterest pin that you can build from scratch.
For this example, I just created a blank Pinterest pin and grabbed a featured image from a blog post on my music blog, Improve Songwriting. After adding a few rectangle graphics, changing them to my brand color, and including a heading, my pin graphic was done. It took maybe 5 minutes!
And with that, my very first Pinterest business account pin is ready to go! (Yes, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not the most impressive image ever – but that’s kind of the point! If a design-challenged guy like me can manage this, what could a decent graphic designer come up with in Canva or a more advanced program like Photoshop?)
In terms of how to design YOUR pins, you either want to be as professional and flashy as possible, or create something basic to “pattern-interrupt” people who are scrolling through their feeds. The real goal here is for your pins to stand out somehow!
When it comes to pushing your pins live, one handy option is the “Publish to Pinterest” button found in the upper right corner in Canva.
But to make sure you can see how it works inside Pinterest directly, let’s publish our first pin there.
It’s a pretty simple process of uploading your image and filling in the rest of the fields with relevant copy. Here’s what mine looked like:
A few final tips when you create your pins:
A. Always include alt text.
Alt text is just a short description of the image. If you’ve built an affiliate website, you should be familiar with the use of alt text in images. On Pinterest, alt text is a great spot to optimize for relevant keywords that some pinners forget about.
Google Images will pull from Pinterest too, which is another reason why alt text is so important – it can expand your pin’s visibility beyond Pinterest.
B. Add Relevant Hashtags
Next, it’s usually worth it to add at least a few relevant hashtags in the description for your pins. This has been a big debate for Pinterest users, with the platform going back and forth on hashtags as an effective tool (since a lot of users search with regular SEO type keywords like they would in Google).
Currently, it’s recommended that you do add hashtags – but while you can include up to 20 total, the ideal number of hashtags is probably in the 2-8 range. These should include one branded hashtag that can help people quickly find all of your pins, plus a few hashtags based on the subject matter or niche of your individual pins. I would put your hashtags at the END of the description.
C. Create a Board
If you don’t have one yet, don’t forget to create a relevant board for your new pins. This will make it easier to group your pins by category to attract followers.
Fun fact: According to one statistic, the average number of Pinterest boards for top pinners is 56. It’s almost like a mini-account for each subtopic in your niche (or for each audience you want to target).
D. Add a Destination Link
Last but not least, you’ll want to include a destination link in your pin.
It is possible to put an affiliate link there, as affiliate links ARE allowed on Pinterest. These include not just ClickBank links, but Amazon, ShareASale, and other affiliate networks.
But another option is to expand your sales funnel and route traffic through an affiliate bridge page that will warm up potential buyers first (and capture some email addresses as well). What you decide is up to you!
Step 5: Grow Your Reach
By now, you have your Pinterest business account, you’ve created a pin, and you’ve hit publish.
Amazing! You’re well on your way to getting a nice flow of free traffic to your blog, YouTube channel, or affiliate offer page.
In the case of our example pin, I’ve already gotten a handful of impressions in just the last day, as you can see on the Performance tab in my Business hub.
… So, now what?
Well, for one thing, you should KEEP publishing new pins! Just one pin isn’t enough to get traction.
Many marketers aim to hit a cadence of at least 10 pins per day – which I know sounds like a lot, but this total can include repins from other pinners that you curate in your board. Pinning and repinning every day is a good way to keep your board fresh and active so that your followers have a reason to come back often.
But just publishing and repinning isn’t enough. You should also browse Pinterest regularly and follow people who are in a similar niche as yours. When you follow them, they’ll often take a look at your board and see that you have something they’re interested in too. As you follow others, you can expect maybe 20-30% will follow you back, which is a handy way to grow your Pinterest presence organically.
Similarly, search for boards related to what you offer. Remember, not only can people find your board or pins in search, but your followers will also be notified when you post new pins – so it gets easier to find success on Pinterest over time as your follower count increases.
The primary goal of your pins is to get an outbound click to your destination link – but some good intermediate marketing goals include saves, pin clicks, repins, and followers. All of these indicate engagement, which will lead to a greater reach and better potential success for your future pins.
Ultimately, building your Pinterest influence isn’t something that happens overnight. You have to keep going and make it a priority to see the full benefits of this social platform – but for many affiliates, it’s absolutely worth it!
Step 6: Promote Your Best Pins (optional)
Oh look, it’s an optional bonus step!
Many affiliates start out with the intention of keeping their marketing costs low and focusing on free traffic sources. Being able to go into business without spending a lot is one of the biggest benefits of affiliate marketing.
But if you do have a paid marketing budget, you can get even more mileage out of your best pins with some targeted ad spend. It’s a more advanced strategy, but it can pay HUGE dividends!
Here’s how it works:
From the Business hub or on an individual pin, click the Promote or Create ad button to get started.
Choose a pin you want to promote. I’ve only created one so far, which keeps this choice simple. Hit “next” to move to the next step.
You’ll want to make sure you have the right destination link for the pin (typically an article or product page). Then, you’ll either let Pinterest handle targeting to find the best audience for your ad, or you can do it yourself.
Lastly, you’ll fill out your daily budget in USD, which is set to $3 per day by default. After you set the budget, this tells you what your potential monthly audience size will be.
This is found in the “quick ad creation” process. It allows you to start promoting a pin in less than a minute, honestly. If you’re coming from a more complex platform like Facebook, this is refreshingly easy to do.
But if you want more control over the way your ads run, you’ll want to click the “Switch to campaign creation” option.
From here, you can choose a campaign objective, create ad groups, specify when your ads should run, and more. It’s still a lot more straightforward than Facebook advertising, honestly, but it does give you some more choices about how to run your Pinterest ads.
Like with any paid advertising platform, you control your own approach. I recommend that you create different campaigns based around specific keywords or themes, with unique creative for each pin, and divide your placements between mobile and desktop with separate budgets for each.
Overall, the goal with Pinterest ads is to leverage your most successful pins. If you can get a pin go “viral” organically, it makes a lot of sense to generate even MORE saves, followers, and outbound clicks by getting it in front of more pinners.
Example: How to Promote ClickBank Products on Pinterest
Now that you know the 5 (6?) steps to success on Pinterest, it’s important to understand how all of this works in the context of an affiliate campaign.
Throughout this post, I used my own affiliate website, Improve Songwriting, as an example you could follow. The pin I created from scratch was linked to a blog post on there called “Changing Keys in Music.”
So, how does this relate to affiliate marketing? Well, I’ve been able to monetize traffic to my songwriting website with a relevant ClickBank affiliate offer called Piano For All. When I get a visitor to my blog post reading about how to change keys in their song, I can softly sell them on a piano course that will expand their knowledge of music and improve their technique.
Of course, an SEO blog is just ONE way to promote ClickBank products via Pinterest. Some people will find more success routing Pinterest users to their YouTube channel, Instagram profile, or just straight to the affiliate offer they want to promote.
There are all kinds of marketing tactics and techniques to generate traffic. I just wanted to share a concrete example of how Pinterest can be used in your own affiliate marketing path.
But it all starts with the right products. If you’re still trying to figure out which ClickBank products to promote on Pinterest, check out our top ClickBank products blog post – it’s updated regularly with the latest products (and niches) that are performing well on the ClickBank marketplace!
Pinterest Affiliate Marketing Frequently Asked Questions
How do beginners make money on Pinterest?
For most beginners, affiliate marketing is an ideal way to start making money on Pinterest. You don’t need to create your own product – you just need to create attractive images or videos that entice Pinterest users to engage with your content.
For established brands, it’s possible to sell directly on Pinterest via the Shop by uploading your product catalog into product pins. But if you’re still new to your chosen niche, it helps to start by promoting other products to help you learn what audiences respond to.
Can I add affiliate links on Pinterest?
Yes, Pinterest allows you to add affiliate links as your destination link. The question is, should you?
It depends on your approach as a Pinterest affiliate, but more and more, the web is moving toward a relationship-based affiliate model, rather than a transactional one. In other words, you may find it better long-term to bring users from Pinterest to your website so they can get to know your brand – the potential lifetime value of each customer is a LOT higher when they follow you and stay in your orbit.
Can I make money on Pinterest without a website?
Yes! It’s possible to directly drive traffic from Pinterest to a sales page through your ClickBank affiliate link and generate affiliate commissions.
Alternatively, you could use Pinterest to drive users to a one-off squeeze page with an opt-in to build up an email list and put affiliate offers in front of them – or point them to a YouTube channel where you include affiliate links or sponsors. The optimal marketing solution just depends on your niche and the buyer’s journey for your target audience.
Can you use ClickBank on Pinterest as an affiliate?
Absolutely! ClickBank permits you to post your ClickBank affiliate links directly on Pinterest. However, it’s important to check out the requirements from any seller you want to work with to make sure you’re staying within their guidelines.
Is Tailwind good for Pinterest?
You may or may not be familiar with the scheduling Tailwind for Pinterest. Similar to Buffer or Hootsuite, Tailwind allows you to schedule your pins ahead of time, which can be a huge boon to your efficiency as a Pinterest affiliate.
However, Tailwind is specifically designed for the visual social networks Pinterest and Instagram, and it comes with a tool to help create better posts.
Even more than that, Tailwind includes an invaluable feature called “Tailwind communities.” This is basically a group of creators in each niche that can share ideas, build relationships, and work together to grow each other’s reach on Pinterest.
Tailwind is a solid tool, and you can use it for free. The cheapest paid plan is just $9.99/mo when paid annually.
Do I need to create a board on Pinterest?
You should. Pinterest boards are a helpful tool to further optimize your content to get you found and followed on Pinterest.
Remember to add keyword-rich titles to name your boards. For example, for a board about pets, you might be tempted to call it something creative like “good bois” – but it’s better to call it something that people are actually searching for, like “Dog Halloween Costumes.”
(Yes, there are actual Pinterest boards dedicated to dog Halloween costumes, and they’re glorious!)
Oh, and make sure to write out a full description of your board. You don’t want to waste any opportunity to optimize your Pinterest presence for a greater marketing reach and increased visibility in search.
How do I do affiliate disclosures on Pinterest?
Assuming you aren’t linking directly to an offer with your ClickBank affiliate link, you probably won’t need an affiliate disclosure in your Pinterest pin descriptions.
However, you WILL want to have a disclosure on your destination page if it contains any affiliate links. Read more on affiliate link disclosure here.
Pinterest Affiliate Wrap-up
Taking it all together, Pinterest is a fantastic way for affiliates to generate some free organic traffic to a blog, sales page, or other valuable destination online.
There are many more marketing techniques and tactics you can use to level up your affiliate marketing game, but it’s nice to have a few tried-and-true opportunities that don’t require a genius-level marketing IQ to utilize!
If you want further affiliate marketing resources from ClickBank, I recommend checking out these guides:
- Affiliate marketing on Facebook guide
- Instagram affiliate marketing guide
- Native advertising examples
And if you want to learn more about Pinterest, organic traffic, and affiliate marketing in general, be sure to check out our latest Spark courses. We dive into all kinds of traffic strategies you can use to find the affiliate marketing success you’ve always dreamed of!