Growth Hacking Pinterest To Sell Amazon Merch

How many times have you seen someone mention or felt that you were just not getting any sales through Merch by Amazon leaving frustrated even though they were all posted on social media? Social media can be one of the biggest opportunities for selling your Merch if you do it correctly. The fact is though, that simply posting your shirts to social media is not going to work unless you put in the leg work first.
Posting your shirt on your personal Facebook account is not going to get much traction as none of your friends are specifically targeted. Tweeting about your design to the 1200 followers you got by doing a giveaway is NOT going to turn into more sales. Half or more of those giveaway followers are fake and used specifically to join these type of giveaways and they are just looking for free product and could care less about your product. It just does not work this way!
The above might sound a little harsh, and it is to an extent, but it is true. Everyone is coming at social media with a single angle of “sell shirts, sell shirts, sell shirts” without taking the time and consider why these people would want to purchase from you in the first place? You have to give and provide value before the majority of people will trust you and purchase something you created. This is similar to why you should try the 3 day trial of Merch Informer.
The perfect example of this is the Youtuber Philip Defranco that we talked about in the article on how to price your merch shirts. If you are not familiar, he runs a youtube show where he talks about current events, much like a news station. He also happens to sell a LOT of merch.
He clearly did not start out his channel to push merch to everyone. He started his channel to give people information that they were looking for and get some entertainment. It was only later that he pushed out merch and because he was connected to his audience, they eat it up each and every week. THIS is how you need to approach marketing your shirts to people. Give value first, sell them later. In my opinion, there is no better way to do this than utilizing Pinterest.

Pinterest – The Perfect Buyer Profile


You could choose any social network you wanted to build and to sell followers your merch but I still think Pinterest is by far the best targeted audience that you can get.
If you take a look at the image above, you will notice a few things that should stand out immediately. Pinterest is made up of mostly women who have an education and have a disposable income. Having a disposable income means that these women are BUYERS!
Seriously, if anyone uses Pinterest themselves or has a significant other that does, you will know that when on the site, they are in a buying mood and are basically shopping around for things to purchase.
The key is to not focus on every social media network that you can find to post your shirts to, but to pick a single platform and focus on it till you master how it works. The best platforms to start on are the ones that are going to turn into the highest ROI for your time.

Free USA Traffic In Bulk

Running paid traffic to a USA audience can be incredibly expensive. We went over a way to get your adspend lowered at the same time as building your social proof when running Facebook ads to Merch by Amazon listings a few weeks ago. You still need to do a ton of testing to get these campaigns right and turning into some sales from you.
If you build out a Pinterest profile, you expect USA traffic for free. Not only will you get USA traffic, but you will get a LOT of it if you do it right.
Think about how many people might look at your shirts right now organically through Amazon. Making sales you might think you will just stick with organic traffic right? Well, how many more sales do you think you would get if you were driving traffic that looked like this?

The fact that this is a relatively small account of mine should be telling. There is a LOT of room for growth on Pinterest and if you look at the audience broken down by country, you have the majority of the people being from the USA, which means they can readily purchase your shirts from Amazon.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving


See that image there?
What about this one…

These are from an account I have not touched in many months!
With other types of paid advertising, or with Instagram and the majority of Facebook, once you post something, it will show up on someones feed and then die off over time.
With Pinterest, once you pin something to one of your boards, from that point on, it will continue being “repinned” by followers, and followers of followers driving traffic from people outside your audience.
Confused?
Imagine this: You have a social media account with 1000 followers. You post an image of your t-shirt and 3 people out of 1000 like it enough to repin it to their own boards. Now, they may like the image and not buy at all. Waste of time right? Wrong!
Imagine that the 3 people that repinned your shirt have a combined 10,000 followers. All of those people are now going to see your shirt pin. From those 10,000 people, maybe 15 decide to repin the image to their boards… so on and so forth.
Pinterest is literally a tumbleweed that once you get started properly, the traffic just keeps on pouring in and never really stops. I have preferred using this social media since I first got into selling online and to this day it drives thousands of visitors to my websites and now to t-shirts.

How To Do It “Right”


You keep seeing me mention creating a Pinterest account the “right” way. What does that even mean?
It simply means that you need to create and build your account by giving value to others (your followers).
The very first thing you should do is read the Amazon Merch Pinterest Marketing article we put up. This will explain to you how to set up your account in detail and get started.
A few main points you should take away from that article are these: You should always use a female personal profile. These get the very highest engagement from any type of account I have tested. Note that you will not have access to analytics if you use a personal profile. We want to build up a profile to drive traffic so completely forget about their advertising platform. It is incredibly expensive.
Second, you really do need to make your profile look and feel lie a real person who has real interests in what they are posting about. Since I have a LOT of shirts in a lot of different niches, I will create a profile that is just interested in all those niches. Each niche becomes its own board.
Finally, and this is the big important READ THIS section of the article where I tell you again that you need to PROVIDE VALUE to followers. No one is ever going to follow you and look at your content if you are just constantly trying to shove advertisements down their throat. No one likes this and if you try and just post your shirts on all your boards with little to nothing in between, you will fail.
In the original article I recommended 20-30 boards to start with. I still think this is a good amount of boards to get going right away. The biggest tip I can give you though is to limit the amount of times you post your shirts. Sounds almost backwards, but the goal at first should be to grow the account and gain followers, not to sell when you are first getting started. Once the account starts growing and you hit 5-10k subscribers, I would recommend pinning your shirt (mockups from https://placeit.net/ work great here), one time for every 15-20 other pins in that board you have. For example, I might post 15-20 different images related to cute pugs before I post a mockup of my pug shirt on Amazon. Then I would post 15-20 other images before I even thought of posting another shirt. If you decide to use the mockups from placeit.net, we got in contact with them and they are willing to give 15% off to Merch Informer readers.
If you follow that general rule of thumb, you are going to provide your audience value, entertainment, and advertise to them without being pushy or annoying. The less you can annoy your audience the more successful you will be.

Gain Followers and Grow

The last part of the entire equation is to gain followers. We went over this in the original Pinterest article, so I will not bother you with the small details. You will need to work at this every single day. Once your account gets large enough, you can start to slack off a bit and it will continue to grow, but at first, you will need to focus. This means that every day you will need to be following accounts that are interested in your material.
Pinterest operates on followers. These are the people that are going to potentially repin your pins, so make sure that you are following people that are interested in your niche. You can do this by looking at the followers of other accounts in your niche or people who are following group boards. Joining group boards can be one of the best things you can do to drive traffic AND gain followers at the same time.

Wrapping It Up

Instead of wasting your time trying to promote your shirts to fake followers on Twitter, spend the time and put in the work to grow a social network that is going to keep paying you back months and months after the initial effort occurred. Pinterest is the perfect platform to sell almost anything under the sun to their perfect buyer profile users. Use this to your advantage and sell your merch! Good luck.

Comments
  • Awesome article, thanks! I was surprised to read that Pinterest ads are very expensive, though, had been hearing that they were cheaper than FB ads for instance… Also, I would like to ask what kind of content are posting (the ones between shirts), are you repinning other accounts pins, or posting pictures as if they were yours (or crediting the author, in the instagram style)?

    • Like all ad platforms, if you want to get paid ads to work, there is a lot of testing that goes into it. They CAN be cheaper than Facebook ads, but not all the time. I usually like to repin other peoples pins but I also pin stuff that I find around the internet that is relevant to any of the boards I might have at the time.

  • Hello Neil. I wanted to ask something that’s not related to the post.
    I got a mail saying that my associates account will be closing because i didn’t had any sales.
    What can i do about it? I need the account in order to use merch informer…

    • Even tho your account might get closed due to lack of sales your aws keys and associates id will still be active and you will be able to use MI without any issues 🙂

  • Hey Neil, I`ve go a question about your experience when pining your own shirts. Is there a significant difference (in success)between pining then from a Facebook Store or a own, meaning normal, online store? So, is there a best way or is it not relevant how to smuggle my shirts on pinterest?

    • Not sure I understand your question. I am pinning shirts to my boards from Merch by Amazon so the pin leads to an Amazon page.

      • Oh ok, I thought using the mockups I have to go the indirect way with an own homepage or Facebook page. Thank you

        • You can either pin the designs from the actual Amazon page OR you can grab the design from your computer, place it on a mockup, and then upload that to pin to one of your boards. I have found that mockups work best, but you can still pin directly from Amazon.

  • HI Neil, Thanks for your really articles. You have given us lots of ideas of marketplaces and marketing these products. What is your opinion on using ebay or etsy to sell products as well?

    • Huge fan of getting as much exposure as possible. If they have traffic, you want to be there! Etsy and Ebay are very popular so do what you can to sell on those marketplaces.

  • Nice extra article on Pinterest Marketing.
    There are some areas that are still ‘gray’ for me though.
    1) What kind of ‘ball-park’ earnings can Pinterest generate? is $500 monthly MBA tee profit possible on 5000 followers or is it more like $50? What magnitude of return are we talking about?
    2) If we have dragon tees… would we build boards with themes of dragon art, dragon figurines, gold dragons, cute dragons etc … and add a tee pin to each one… or would you put the tee pins in a dedicated dragon tee board?
    3) Once you have a mature pinterest account… how do you add new tee pins without bloating that account? For example… you have 50 boards each with 100 pins and you want to add 10 more tees. Do you just add 150 new pinds (15 of which are tee pins)… making your pinterest boards become bloated’… or do you delete out 150 pins then add 150 new pins (effectively cycling through pins to keep the boards sharp and tight)?

    • The limit is far FAR higher than that. The thing is, when your followers pin your shirt, their followers see that shirt. The cycle goes on like this, and from a single follower pinning your tee, you can get a reach of hundreds of thousands of people. There is really no specific magnitude of return, but the way it works means you can and will probably notice you make more than $500. For the dragon example, I would only have a single board dedicated to everything dragons. For number 3, I would add a bunch of pins. This does not mean that it will become bloated. It will just mean that your followers see more of your content. The more content they see, the more likely they will pin it and their followers see it. If their followers see it, they will go seek out YOUR board and follow YOU. Pinterest is like one giant wheel that never stops spinning.

  • I am having hard time getting followers even though I have consistently done the above and from the other post. How long should it take to get the 5 – 10k followers and would you suggest using something like pinblaster or other pin bots to gain followers…Thanks as always for the great information you give everyone

    • How many people are you following a day? This, like a lot of other stuff in this game is about doing it in volume. You have to be following hundreds of people a day.

  • Hey Neil,
    in your previous article you mentioned to unfollow the people who not follow you back. How do I track those people, except going thru the list of “followers” and “following” manually? Is there a way?
    Thank you!
    Alex

  • Hi Niel, really informative blog post. I have a question as it seems Pinterest has made some changes since you posted this.
    Pinterest doesn’t seem to show the number of pins or whose liking pins any more. From what I’ve seen, they implemented this change in the back end of 2017.
    Is there an alternative strategy to gain a good number of followers without being able to follow those that repin / like pins?
    I have built my niche boards as per your blog and I am now looking for a strategy to follow active users. Do you have Any ideas on this?

      • Pinterest still shows how many repins an image has but only in the API. If you are not using a program to do any of this, then this will be a bit harder for you. I would still recommend following people and unfollowing people that do not follow you back, but perhaps tweak it so you are following people that leave comments. That way, you know they are engaged with the content and will probably follow you back.

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