Using Pinterest for Affiliate Profit

Looking for a few extra bucks from your affiliate marketing efforts this month? Look no further than Pinterest, the social pinboard that at this point presents what amounts to one of the best possibilities for driving revenue in the performance marketing space today.

Much of the conversation related to Pinterest often centers around ecommerce (and social media, of course) and for many that will signal a terrific opportunity for affiliates to get in on the action. If merchants are posting their products and driving traffic to their websites (making sales and increasing brand awareness in the process) then why not affiliates?

Affiliates marketers are the middlemen of the Web. They connect users interested in something with a merchant/vendor providing it. I've said it time and again - affiliate marketers are marketers (and, in most cases, they are the best marketers in the world); they just get a percentage of the profit instead of the whole kit and kaboodle. As such, affiliates need to work harder and smarter, finding any available channels/platforms/destinations that might result in more activity on their affiliate links.

With Pinterest now reaching millions of users each day and being a top 30 site according to Comscore, if you're not looking at Pinterest with an eye on generating profit as an affiliate you're about to be left behind. This post is going to be brief because once you get the idea about how to use Pinterest as an affiliate marketer, I am confident you're going to be off and running.

Keep in mind that what I will suggest in the next few paragraphs is about as gray hat as it gets. I don't really recommend that you do what I've done with any regularity (maybe just mix the strategy in to your existing use of the site), but it does work. I believe that you'll have better results in the long run if you take Pinterest participation seriously (using it as designed), sharing the best content/products you find and re-pinning and commenting on what is shared by others.

All right, enough hedging already! How do you spam Pinterest? I mean, use Pinterest as a channel for marketing affiliate-based offers - wink, wink?

The first is to become an affiliate of a merchant that has been slow to adopt marketing their products on Pinterest. This tactic also could prove useful as fewer pins from that particular merchant will be on Pinterest, raising the likelihood that your pins will be repinned. It also proves useful to find a merchant whose products cater to women (primarily) of a mostly younger demographic. For the most part, however, anything will work as long as efforts are made to ensure pins are categorized and grouped appropriately. For example, I recently pinned ten different books about the stock market and received quite a few repins - something I didn't expect.

Ideally what you will want to do next is select Internet retailers with lots of products. In my own efforts, I aimed to identify merchants that provided XML feeds (although if you are affiliated with a shopping portal which offers an affiliate program this will work as well) as this can speed up the entire process.

While there are a few software solutions on the market which automate the Pinterest submission process, in my own efforts I opted to do this manually as it offered more control and better listings - which I found resulted in more clicks over time. My method is to take the RSS or XML feed, subscribe to it within a feed reader, identify the posts and start pinning. I tend not to post more than twenty items a day so as not to trigger any alarms at Pinterest.

If you really want to make some money fast (before Pinterest catches on and kicks you to the curb), then look around for some cost-per-click programs. Ebay, for example, offers "quality-click pricing" and that is certainly one option - particularly as it enables you to generate RSS feeds of products that could be submitted to Pinterest on nearly every product available in the world.

Another option, and if you follow the Website Magazine blog you already know this, is the recently released ChaCha affiliate program which has a huge repository of interesting information perfect for sharing on Pinterest. Of course, CPC programs exist but they are typically a little harder to find.

There's no real trick to using Pinterest to generate some revenue as an affiliate outside of looking for merchants whose products fit the Pinterest demographic, repinning items found within their XML feeds, and opting for CPC programs (although cost per acquisition deals would work, too).

Pinterest will likely be the next billion dollar acquisition target, but in the meantime while the oversight team at the pinboard is busy focusing on the most aggressive spammers, you'll fly under the radar and straight to greater profits as an affiliate.