Why Online Store Owners Shouldn’t Overlook Pinterest

Why Online Store Owners Shouldn’t Overlook Pinterest

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are often seen as social media royalty, but Pinterest is the real winner for eCommerce businesses.
It’s a great example of a social media channel that understands both the requirements of the everyday user and the potential for driving sales. It’s visual, it’s immediate, it’s inspiring; and it’s also great for SEO and driving targeted eCommerce traffic. From product pins, to Pinterest Lens — Pinterest is a great platform for generating sales and repeat custom.
Here’s how to make the most of Pinterest for your eCommerce brand, no matter where you are in your eCommerce journey.

Related Reading: Why Your Small Business Needs A Website

The numbers: Who uses Pinterest?

A quick look at some recent Pinterest statistics is a great place to start…
Pinterest has 175 million active monthly users, over 55% of which live outside of the US. Of those users, 2 million save shopping pins to their boards on a daily basis.
Information on demographics is equally illuminating. Even though 81% of current users are female — that gap is now closing, with 4/10 new signups being male. Age-wise, the majority of active pinners are below 40, and millennials are now using Pinterest as much as they use Instagram.
Knowing your target audience is an essential of any online business. While you already have a great insight into what makes your customers tick, there is always more that you can be doing. The below video outlines 10 ways that you can learn more about your target audience…

Pinterest is a great traffic driver: over 5% of all online referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest and 87% of “pinners” have purchased a product that they discovered through it.
Based on these numbers alone, there is a compelling case for why Pinterest needs to feature as part of your ecommerce strategy.

Things to consider when setting up your store’s Pinterest boards

Each social media platform has its own unique qualities that separate them from their peers. For Pinterest that comes from their boards and in order to make the most from Pinterest you need to know how to set them up.
In order to get set up with a Pinterest business account, decide on your board strategy. You can’t just randomly pin your products or own content: you need to set up a wide range of carefully curated boards that are going to interest your target market.
There’s a lot to consider when creating your boards and I recommend that the first thing you do is to watch the video below on how to set up one up…

You need a way of thematically grouping your pins together in order to ensure you get the most out of them. Some of the important things to consider are:

  • Trends
  • User submitted content
  • Curation (don’t just pin your own stuff)
  • Aesthetics (think about your visual language)
  • Color
  • Product boards (best done under themes)

Once you’ve got a clear strategy for how you’re going to go about creating your boards, you need to map them out and start pinning. Mix up your boards from time to time, and don’t be afraid to archive ones you no longer use.

Here are three board pinning strategies your eCommerce business will want to try:

Seasonal shoppers

Pinterest lets you organize your boards according to different plans, ideas, and interests. Adding a seasonal element to your Pinterest strategy means that you can gear your online store to take advantage of some of the most popular seasonal peaks for shopping. Here are some of the examples of Christmas boards that brands have set up:

Seasonal Pins example from Pinterest

This brilliant article from Milo Tree app founder Jillian Tohber Leslie comes packed with advice on how you can get the most out of seasonal Pinterest boards, including an excellent podcast whose tips can be applied to your own online business.

Niche right down

Some online stores suffer from trying to broaden out the niche interest of their business to cover as many areas as possible. Your niche isn’t something to run away from: it’s what makes you unique and is the thing your customers want to see more of.

Creating a niche Pinterest board is a great way of connecting with your core audience. Think about all the subsets of your wider niche, and how you can create boards that speak to these specific topics.

But don’t stop there: joining niche group boards gets your online store out to a community of people interested in the areas that are also important to your brand. Signing up to one gives you a chance to broaden your customer base.

Targeted lifestyle boards

But don’t forget to draw the dots between your target audience and your brand — you want to promote your brand as part of a coherent customer lifestyle.

This board from fashion brand Zappos is an excellent example of how to create boards that are geared towards a clear target audience…

From cozy holiday shots to curated product boards with fun names like “Footwear Fetish”, Zappos is committed to creating a fun Pinterest experience. They are also more likely to pick up a wide range of referral traffic by opening up their board strategy in this way.

Drive traffic quickly and easily

Pinterest is packed with a host of impressive features that will help drive business to your online store.

For starters, a crucial way of driving traffic to your products is by using the Pinterest Save button – which allows people to save your content and products to their own Pinterest boards. In this way, anyone can advertise your products free of charge.

By ensuring that all the products and pages of your online store have their own Pinterest button, you’ll make it easier for anyone to share them. Just ensure you have correctly set up all the sharing settings so that any images and copy being pulled through are compelling for the user.

In WordPress, you will need to install a social share or WP Pinterest plugin, whereas some off-the-shelf CMSs like Shopify have in-built social sharing functionality.

But that’s not all you can do to make sure your Pinterest account is doing it’s best to drive traffic to your online store.

There are a whole host of tools that can help you streamline the way that you use Pinterest, giving you the ability to upload more content and generate more traffic from the platform

Olapic is a two-in-one tool that allows you to source user generated content to use in your Pinterest account, along with providing a range of analytics that help you to track engagement, influencer interactions, and ROI…

Olapic

Taking advantage of one or more of the many useful Pinterest tools is all good and well; but if you’re not making the most of the analytics that Pinterest provides you with, your online store is missing out on a huge opportunity.

The video below is a great introduction to how you can make sure you are getting the most out of all the Pinterest data you have at your disposal. If you’re not already applying these principles then your online business could experience a huge boost in ROI once you have applied them…

Buyable pins & shopping on Pinterest

One of the key reasons you shouldn’t overlook Pinterest is that that you can sell your products on there for free.

Setting up buyable pins means that your customers can buy items direct from your Pinterest account, without even having to go to your online store. Sounds great? It is. But is it simple to bring to your online store? You bet it is.

  • Step 1: Apply for buyable pins
  • Step 2: Once you’ve received approval, you’ll be able to be able to add products to your Pinterest account using a protected products board – it can take up to five days for your products to become available to sell once you’ve added them to your protected product board
  • Step 3: Make sure people can find your buyable pins. There’s plenty you can do to make this a reality, and this article has some of the best tips on how to make your buyable pins visible.

Adding buyable pins to your online store can be a huge boost your business. While Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram all have more monthly users, none of them can match Pinterest for its purchase popularity among users.

As marketing guru Neil Patel explains:

Credit: Neil Patel

Neil believes that adding buyable pins to your online store can potentially drive 328% more sales for your business, and that’s a figure you just can’t ignore…

Build your community

As with all social media platforms, the more you put into Pinterest, the more you get out.

This doesn’t just mean the regularity with which you pin your own images, but also the way you share other user’s content and engage with their posts.

Re-pinning products/ images outside of what you offer helps build an aesthetic and mission statement for your business, as well as encourage others to share your pins and drive traffic to your online store.

I spoke earlier about not watering down what makes your business special. However, positioning yourself as a brand that cares and who engages with your audience is a way that you can create a community spirit without spreading yourself too thin.

Lulus is a business who sell “Cute Dresses, Tops, Shoes, Jewellery, & Clothing For Women.” But that doesn’t stop them from showing their audience that they’re thinking about them. See their board below with useful DIY tips…

Credit: Lulus

It’s all about building a community of like minded people and creating engaging content for your target audience. Don’t just try to push your products — create useful and user-oriented content like how-tos.

Consider the other businesses and influencers that you would like aligned with your brand: who has a similar demographic without being a direct rival? Co-marketing and co-pinning could be a great way to tap into a larger user base.

AI enabled

2018 is set to be the year when AI finally becomes an integral part of our everyday life.

A particular AI feature that should not be overlooked is Pinterest’s Shazam-like image app: the Pinterest Lens. This allows the user to point their smartphone at any object — and Pinterest will then serve up similar image results from its content database.

There’s also a new “Lens your Look” feature which enable users to snap an item of clothing they own and then Pinterest will provide ideas for how to wear it. All fashion brands should be looking into ways of upping their visual commerce game when it comes to styling and curating products.

Pin codes

If you’re in the UK, US, or Canada and have a business account with Pinterest, there’s another new feature which should not be overlooked: Pincodes.

Similar to QR codes, they are special codes that take people through to a designated Pinterest board when scanned with a smartphone.

Picodes from Pinterest

It’s a clever way of giving customers extra content and bringing them closer to your brand, and will be especially useful for any multichannel stores who have a physical retail outfit as well.

If you want to find out how you can get more followers and more customers using Pincodes, the video below is the perfect place to start…

Become a thought leader

Another reason for not overlooking Pinterest is that it’s a great tool for helping to establish your business as a market leader and authoritative voice in your chosen field.

Instructographics are a particular favorite of the Pinterest user. These ‘how to’ posts tend to be a multi-panelled visual that tells the user how to do something in great detail.  It’s a handy way of distilling a process that you’re an expert in into a visually appealing and useful series of images. (Get some help here on how to DIY a great visual brand).

Cake decorating and recipe company Wilton’s have a series of content that they’ve produced to position themselves as a thought leader within the baking space. This example below is just one of the many they’ve created…

Created: Wilton

Rather than just giving your followers the hard sell, you’re adding value and strengthening their bond with you. You can take them on an exciting journey with you and let them take ownership over their social interactions with you.

Pinterest is at the heart of key technological advances that are driving ecommerce sales, and it’s a social media platform that’s the ideal place for new brands to establish themselves. Just make sure that you are making the most of all the features that Pinterest has to offer and that you keep the focus very much on community building.

Victoria Greene is a freelance writer and branding expert. Her site, Victoria eCommerce is dedicated to helping anyone and everyone make a living on their own terms, regardless of their location.

Linkedin Insights is the ultimate page weight

Linkedin Insights is the ultimate page weight

Page speed has been spoken about a lot over the past two years. Google has made it a major ranking factor for search and they even made a special tool called AMP to show us all how to make pages load fast and be mobile friendly.

I have taken all of this to heart myself and I am always trying to ensure we have fast page speeds for our main websites, and that for our clients that we convince to take part in it.

Anyhow, this is not about page speed, it’s about Linkedin.

The Linkedin Insights Tool

I recently attempted to use Linkedin Insights. It was very insightful.

Its a tool similar to Facebook pixel or Google Adwords tracking code. At its core, it is meant to allow you to track users from Linkedin on your website. You can then make an audience to market to these users with remarketing methods. Sounds like a wonderful idea and it is, in fact, a really good idea.

I went to the Linkedin insights tool and I added the specific code to my Google Tag Manager. I was a really simple process and after checking it was tracking, I thought nothing more of it.

A few days passed and I had on my schedule to do some page edits and refresh a few pages on my website. We are doing a full site audit at the moment to improve all pages for SEO and conversion etc.

Immediately I noticed some very odd messages in Google Chrome. Weird domains were loading lots of scripts. Immediately my mind jumps to the worse case scenario and I’m left wondering if it was a Google Chrome extension or virus. At this point, I scanned my Mac using a malware tool and started to try and track down the culprit of this problem.

After running the scan and experimenting with an enable and disable on all my chrome extensions I realised the problem was my website. It was loading something weird. I had a sinking feeling, I was wondering how my site could have possibly been hacked and this script got onto my pages.

Then, it occurred to me. I had added the Linkedin Insights tracking code. I went to my Google Tag manager toolkit, turned on the preview mode and could see Linkedin Insights. It was loading a bunch of total crap behind it. I mean, why on earth should a tracking code have such weight to it.

A deeper investigated into Linkedin Insights was needed.

Using GTMetrix I loaded a page speed report using Australia as my location. Last time I ran it I was just above one second total load time.

It was 8.0 seconds. 8.0 seconds, not 4, not 3 but 8 seconds. I was finding this hard to believe. Anyone that knows how hard it is to get WordPress to load a nice site in 1.2 seconds will appreciate my disappointment. I had gained weight, a lot of weight.

This result reminded me of the fat-free yoghurt episode on Seinfeld years ago. In this episode, everyone started getting fat eating yoghurt that was thought to be fat-free. When they jump on the scale, of course, it was over, they had all gained weight. You can do a Youtube search to find the episode.

I too had bought into the dream of Linkedin Insights and found it was fat. Very Fat and was a weight on my page.

I went to Google Tag Manager and published a new version of my tag container code without linked in insights and re-ran the test. I was back at 1.7 seconds.

Linkedin Insights takes over 6 seconds to load.

Simple maths here was telling me that the Linkedin Insights code was adding a whopping 6 .3 seconds to my load time. Yep, 6.3 seconds.

WOW.

It was loading just 0.3 megabytes in 6.1 seconds and managed to take my Pagespeed ranking from an A to a B.

All the hype and sales marketing materials on the earth can’t make up for such a terrible tracking code load time.

I removed the insights code and began to rethink my advertising strategy however the insightful side of myself (see what I did there) made me want to look further.

When I looked into it, I found the reason for this horrendous load time. It seems when you use Linkedin with Google Tag manager the system loads just about every retargeting platform on the planet on to your page via javascript.

That’s an interesting decision.

I’m merciless with a tracking code.

You should be merciless too. You see, Google tells us that for every second we increase load time on our pages, we lose 25% of our customers. So effectively to lose all your customers you can just load LinkedIn insights.

I have included the screenshots of the test comparison below. The red column is the load time for my site with Linkedin Insights installed.

Page Speed test with Linkedin Insights compared

Page Speed test with Linkedin Insights compared

At my current page size, my biggest weight is Google Tag Manager at 0.5 seconds. GTM is giving me lots of good information with Google Analytics. After my site audit will also have AdWords tracking code added to GTM.

When should you use a tracking code?

It seems a simple option for a lot of people to throw random javascript onto various parts of their website. We often do this with a promise of amazing information and advertising that will change your business. It’s all a lie. Fancy hot spots and tracking users won’t make a single difference.

Acting on analytics will make a difference. Act on what you already have. After that, If you cannot get the insights you need from Google Analytics, use something else but uninstall what doesn’t work and use what you have installed.

Don’t load what you don’t need.

As for facebook pixel – I don’t use it on my site because I’m not using retargeting advertising. If you are, then you may want to use it but don’t load it just for the fun of it. All you will do is slow down your website to no advantage. You may, in fact, cause a disadvantage if your webpage slows and gets too heavy from the script.

One rule is the rule to rule them all in 2018, make sure your page loads fast.

When I say fast, GTMetrix should be giving you a total page load time of under 2 seconds with Google Analytics on no bandwidth restriction.

If you cant do that, its time to get mean and get lean. Lose that page weight and get results. You can have the best website design ever, but if it loads slow no one will ever hang around to see it.

Should I use Linkedin Insights?

No. Unless a tracking code loads fast you should not include it.  The only exception is when you absolutely must have the script to make your business work.

For just about every customer I can think of that means you should never install LinkedIn insights. Wait it out until they can get it loaded in under 1 second.

 

 

Do you have an SSL on your website?

Do you have an SSL on your website?

Why is it important to have an SSL on your website?

When you have an SSL on your website you are taking a big step towards a better internet.
An SSL, or secure socket layer, is a method of transferring information in a secure way on the internet. It’s that little green padlock in the top corner that tells us we are on a secure page. It is what lets us all use the internet for online banking, and make payments online in a secure way.
A couple of years ago, it was unnecessary to have an SSL on a standard small business website. Then, a few years ago, Google began to encourage every website to become secure. Other large organisations joined Google and a movement was born.
SSL is no longer limited to an E-Commerce Website. Google is driving this so that we can all enjoy websites becoming more secure.

What has changed for SSL on your website in 2018?

We now know that Google has confirmed the use of HTTPS or SSL as an SEO ranking signal for your website. This means they Google are favouring a website that is using an SSL over one that is not.
This is a big one for anyone doing search engine optimisation, which we all should be doing.
SSL is now a standard feature of every website.
An SSL is one of the many steps needed to ensure you can rank higher in the organic search results with Google. A good search engine ranking means more search traffic to your website and more leads.

Is Google ranking SSL on a website a surprise?

Not really. For years Google was pushing mobile websites and the need to support mobile devices. Then one day we had Mobilegeddon. A moment when a new Google algorithm favouring mobile sites kicked in to search results. Websites that were not mobile friendly dropped out of Google search results overnight. Websites that were mobile friendly using responsive website design. took over the search results.
When are we going to see something similar with SSL security? If I only we knew. What Google has told us is SSL is a good idea and you should have it on your website.
We agree. Install an SSL on your website as soon as possible.
The advantage is:

  1. Your website is secure.
  2. Users will feel more confident.
  3. A secure website will actually be able to go faster due to new ways of delivering traffic on the internet with HTTP/2.

How does an SSL make your website faster?

The internet now has a new HTTP protocol, called HTTP/2. Very original naming. HTTP/2 requires an SSL to be installed on your website. With HTTP/2 enabled your site can download faster.
Are all sites with an SSL using HTTP/2? Not always. You can get HTTP/2 enabled with most good hosting providers. Check with your hosting provider or Managed WordPress provider for more information
HTTP2 is great because faster sites are always better. The faster a site, the more sales and leads you will get. It’s that simple.

How does HTTP/2 work?

The new method allows many files to be downloaded at once. The old method had a limit to the number loaded at one time and made the page load in chunks. Now you can get lots of files all shoved down at the same time in a very fast way. This is great for the internet and great for your website and marketing too. No one has ever complained about a website being too fast and secure.
With SSL you can accept credit card and personal data on your website. Encryption will keep this information safe. This makes a clear pathway for your business to take online payments and grow into E-Commerce.
Are an SSL and HTTP/2 expensive? No. Most people can get a free SSL from Lets Encrypt and be delivering a secure site in hours using HTTP/2.

Do you need a paid SSL?

No. A free SSL from Lets Encrypt is fine. You may need to move on from a free SSL at some point but getting started is what matters.

Does SSL ensure my website is secure and protected from hacking?

SSL is a great step forward but you should also ensure your site is up to date and your SSL correctly installed. An SSL will not stop hackers because anyone can access your website over the internet. This means a hacker can still attempt to gain access to your site. Stopping a hacker gaining access means keeping your website and hosting well maintained.
To check an SSL installation is secure on your website is pretty simple. Go to SSL Labs and run the SSL test. I’ve added a screenshot animation to make it easy to understand.

Check your SSL on your website using this simple online tool from SSL Labs

https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/

Run this test to ensure the SSL on your website is installed correctly and up to date. If you get an error or a low grade, send the output to your hosting company or IT Department. They can sort the problems out for you and the report gives good advice on how to do that.
You will also need to make sure your website software and hosting are secure.

Keep your website up to date.

If you use WordPress or other open source software keeping it up to date is a great way to keep your site secure.

Remember, all the information transmitted from your customers to your website is secure. Your website is encrypted when using an SSL, however, it could still be hacked if you don’t keep it up to date.
For every business with a website get your SSL installed ASAP. This will position your business as a great internet citizen. You will help make the internet more secure and safe for everyone.

Finally, use a good hosting service provider because a good host will be operating in a safe way.

If you need more information you can download this great guide here from stonetemple.com.

https://www.stonetemple.com/http-to-https.pdf

It’s a comprehensive guide to SSL certificates and your website.

Want to learn more about SSL? Contact the team at M R K. We can assist you in understanding your requirements and make a recommendation.

Footnote: This article was originally posted in 2016 and we revisit it to update as needed.
New Divi Training WordPress Plugin

New Divi Training WordPress Plugin

We are excited to tell our Managed WordPress clients about a brand new plugin, by Wolfgang Marketing, that we have installed on our Divi websites.

You will now find the Divi Theme Documentation, by Elegant Themes, in the Divi menu in the WordPress admin (see screenshot below).

Divi Menu

These videos are perfect to help you learn more about using Divi and how to update your own website. The quality of the documentation videos by Elegant Themes is excellent and is organised into categories to help you find what you’re looking for quickly.

We hope you enjoy using this new feature and find it useful.

To learn more about how it works, please watch the walkthrough video below.

If you are interested in getting a Divi website, feel free to send us a message on our website.

Enjoy!

Divi Training Plugin Walkthrough

You can check out the video via youtube here

Simplifying the art of Project Management

Simplifying the art of Project Management

Simplifying the art of Project Management

Time goes by so quickly. And everything is happening all the time. So many of us are juggling several balls in the air at any one time. For those of us who have been around for a while, we know that time is more than money. It’s something we never get back. It’s something we all want more off. Therefore, it is so important the we have the right tools to help us manage our time.

As your business, teams and projects grow it is important you review your current project management needs and requirements. You want to the right tools to foster and encourage team environments. Tools that bring fluency and creativity. After considerable research and discovery MRK Development made the change to Active Collab.

What is active collab?

Active Collab is a web-based project management tool which offers features such as task management, collaboration, time tracking, and invoicing all in one system. So what are some key points?

Team Collaboration

With so many different projects, tasks and key people involved, the team will know what they have to do, when it must be done and who needs to do it. Users get their own Dashboard listing what needs to be done and is broken down into list and tasks that can have its own files, discussions and content.  One of the best features is the ability to allow restricted access to clients. Clients can see what you want them to see, while your team can see everything.

Self Hosting

While Active Collab runs in the cloud like most browser apps today, you can also install it on your own server. If you want absolute control over your own data, or simply do not want to pay a monthly fee for storage and users, Active Collab’s self-hosted model maybe the perfect solution.

Add-Ons

SlackXeroStripe and Paypal are just a few of the extra features and addon’s available. Active Collab lets you track time for each task and define the hourly rates for each client. This provides you with the ability to create and issue the invoice from the billable time in Active Collab. Because they are always in sync paid invoices are reflected in both systems allowing you to work on the project and the accounts people to work on their accounts.

The Verdict

There are many more features and attributes that you should check out and see if this maybe the right solution for you. For us, it has brought together many tools that we have in the past used several tools for. Is it 100% perfect? No, but it doesn’t have to be. What it does need to do is provide for is a solution that connects the majority of our needs and brings transparency to our day to day business and clients. Moving forward out clients and partners will have access to input data inside Active Collab to better work with our users.

What do you think? Have you used or been using Active Collab? How have you managed to bring solutions your business project needs?

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