The Pinterest Strategy Guide and Traffic Experiment Failure

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Pinterest Strategy GuideWell – this one is a doozy. Here is yet another great example of why I call myself ‘dumb’! One more failure to add to my massive pile of internet marketing attempts that completely flopped. This one has to do with a ridiculous purchase I made for a Pinterest Strategy Guide and how I tried to use it to increase traffic to one of my niche websites. Epic fail!!

Who is dumb enough to pay $139 for a Pinterest Strategy Guide and has no plans to use it themselves? Me! That’s who. Like so many others, I got sucked in by reading about the massive success of somebody else and I thought I could make it work for myself. Well… things don’t always work out for me (or you) the way they work out for others. Here’s my story…

I got sucked in by reading about the massive success of somebody else and I thought I could make it work for myself.Click To Tweet

The Pinterest Strategy Guide

I knew that there was traffic potential with Pinterest – but I mostly ignored it and concentrated my efforts on using SEO to get traffic to my sites. Then one day, I was listening to Nick Loper’s Side Hustle Nation podcast. His guest that day was Rosemarie Groner and this was WAY back in November of 2015. At the time, she was making around $5k per month with her blog and she attributed much of her success to the traffic she was getting from Pinterest. Rosemarie explained her Pinterest strategy in detail on that podcast – and there is even a FREE download within that post on Side Hustle Nation that explains her strategy in detail. Plus – there are two detailed videos on that post too that further explain her strategies.

Learn How to Dominate Pinterest Without Paying for a Course

Nick Loper took action himself and implemented Rosemarie’s Pinterest strategies for his blog and he found incredible success. Read all about that here – http://www.sidehustlenation.com/pinterest-traffic-growth/

Then, almost a year later – Nick had Rosemarie back on his podcast. As of October 2016, she was bringing in more than $20k per month. Again, attributing much of her success to her Pinterest strategy. The difference this time – her strategy was for sale – Rosemarie’s Pinterest Strategy Guide was selling for the bargain price of just $139!

How could I say no?! If somebody like Rosemarie could build a blog that makes that kind of money using a Pinterest strategy – then I had to see what this guide was all about.

I accessed the sales page for Rosemarie’s guide through Nick Loper’s affiliate link on his site. I shelled out the $139 and received instant access to the guide. I gotta tell you – I was completely underwhelmed and disappointed – to say the least.

As I scrolled through the (only) 6-page PDF – I couldn’t help but notice that I had seen all of this information somewhere else before. Oh yeah!! It was in the FREE guide that Rosemarie provided and that I had downloaded one year earlier! I sort of felt like I had been duped. Yet I was the one who was DUMB enough to pay that kind of money for information that I had already seen for free.

I pretty much knew what I was paying for – but I was hoping that the $139 guide would be MUCH more detailed than the free one and would provide very specific step-by-step instructions. It wasn’t and it didn’t. Much of the guide works off of the assumption that the user already has a working knowledge of the Pinterest platform.

I was hoping to get a guide that I could hand off to a VA who has absolutely zero experience with Pinterest and they would be able to take it and implement it and make it work. This guide is not suitable for that. But I had to try it anyway.

Outsourcing Attempts with The Pinterest Strategy Guide

First of all – I should explain that my intent was to use this strategy to drive traffic to one of my niche websites using an alias Pinterest account that I created. The particular website is built around a topic that has a largely female audience and the alias I created for the site author, and the Pinterest profile, is a female persona.

Outsourcing Attempt #1

My first attempt was lackluster at best. I simply forwarded the Pinterest Strategy Guide and the Pinterest login details over to my regular (long-time) VA. This particular VA is kind of a jack-of-all-trades and he is able to pick up on most things I send to him and learn new processes fairly quickly. Why should it be any different with this?

He made a noble effort and started working within the Pinterest profile. Just like me… he really had no interest in the particular topic and no desire to spend time on Pinterest. But he put forth the effort for a couple of weeks just to appease me. He improved the Pinterest profile quite a bit and created several relevant boards (per the strategy guide) and placed a bunch of pins on those boards.

After a few weeks, it became evident that this wasn’t going to work. The Pinterest profile looked much better – but I wasn’t seeing any increase in any of the other metrics (like followers or website traffic). Plus, it was starting to take away from some of the other tasks that this VA does for me regularly.

So… I promoted him!! Say what?!

This VA has been working for me for nearly 3 years now. He’s dedicated, dependable and trustworthy – so I decided to give him manager status and hiring privileges on UpWork (along with an hourly wage increase)!

Outsourcing Attempt #2

Honestly, I didn’t want to take the time, myself, to search for and find a new VA to implement the Pinterest strategy – so I delegated the task to my new VA manager. It took him a couple of weeks – but he finally found somebody to do the job.

By the way… my regular (long-time) VA is from the Philippines and so is the female VA that he hired to take on this Pinterest project.

At $3.60 per hour – the new VA started right away. She started following hundreds of different people on Pinterest in an attempt to grow our followers.

The basic gist of the Pinterest strategy is that we need to grow our followers on Pinterest then start reaching out to Group Board owners to see if we can post our pins.

Okay… so we’re now following nearly 2,000 people – but our follower count is only at a few hundred. I don’t know anything about Pinterest and I don’t want to know anything about Pinterest… but something wasn’t adding up here.

I emailed my manager VA and told him to make sure that the new VA had read and understood the Pinterest Strategy Guide. I paid $139 for this thing so I needed to make it work!!

At this point – the new VA spent a couple of weeks attempting to reach out to group board owners – but our follower count was still really low and nobody was responding to her. I decided to pull the plug and take her off the project. Total spent to that VA for that project – $153.

Outsourcing Attempt #3

Still determined to make this strategy work – I decided to take it upon myself to hire somebody on UpWork who actually has experience with Pinterest and who knows what they are doing. The plan was to find somebody with a proven history of success with Pinterest and possibly even hone their skills by giving them access to the Pinterest Strategy Guide that I purchased.

I found a perfect candidate – a guy from Bangladesh who had plenty of experience. He knew and understood Pinterest and was willing to implement the steps laid out in the strategy guide. He demanded $6/hour (more than I wanted to pay) and asked for 25 hours per week. I agreed to $5/hour and 20 hours per week.

My new Bangladeshian (is that a word?) VA got to work right away and within just a few weeks he had grown my follower count on Pinterest to nearly 2,000 followers! I don’t know how he did it and I don’t want to know. While growing my follower count – he also added several more relevant boards to my profile and added lots and lots of pins to each of  my boards. Most of these were pins from Pinterest – with a few pins from my site sprinkled in.

Everything was going great with the Pinterest profile. But there were a few problems. 1) I was paying this guy $100/week to manage a freaking social media account and 2) I wasn’t really seeing an increase in website visitors as a result.

I asked the VA about this and about how things were progressing with the Pinterest Strategy Guide that I sent to him. He assured me that we were right on track and that we needed to keep growing our followers before we started reaching out to group board owners.

As you can imagine – my patience was starting to run thin. Paying somebody $100/week to work on a social media profile for a site that isn’t even earning that much seemed a bit extreme to me. I gave the VA an ultimatum… I told him I needed to see a significant increase in website traffic within a week or I was going to have to end his contract.

I’ll give him credit. He worked really hard for that last week and reached out to lots of group board owners. But the traffic never came. I couldn’t do it any longer. It felt like I was literally flushing money down the toilet. I had to end his contract. This particular VA did an incredible job with my Pinterest profile. He did everything he was asked. But through no fault of his own – I had to let him go. I just couldn’t keep paying that much money with no guarantee of increased traffic or income as a result.

Overall, I ended up paying this VA for about five and a half weeks for a total of $545.84.

Learn How to Dominate Pinterest Without Paying for a Course

Total Wasted Money on The Pinterest Outsourcing Attempts

  • $139.00 – Purchase the Pinterest Strategy Guide
  • $120.00 – Estimated cost for VA in attempt #1 (VA does other tasks for me so I don’t know exactly how much time he spent on Pinterest)
  • $153.00 – Exact cost for VA in attempt #2
  • $545.84 – Exact cost for VA in attempt #3

That’s a grand total of $957.84 that I spent wasted on trying to outsource this stupid Pinterest strategy!! Nearly a grand just to try to get more traffic from Pinterest – and I’m not even sure how well Pinterest traffic would have converted into buyers from my site!

Feeling kind of DUMB and a little bit irritated with myself, to say the least. But then again, how would I know if this would have worked (or not) if I didn’t try? I guess I’m chalking this one up to money spent on yet another lesson learned.

How I spent nearly $1000 trying to get traffic from Pinterest to my niche site... #LessonLearnedClick To Tweet

How to Use Pinterest to Increase Traffic to Your Website or Blog

I admit – this Pinterest Strategy Guide experiment was a flop and a failure for me. But I know that it can and does work for others. I’ve heard and read about the massive success that others are having. Even more recently, this girl named Grace wrote a guest post for the Side Hustle Nation blog where she described, in detail, how she got motivated by Rosemarie’s Pinterest Strategy and took massive action. She now has a blog that gets most of its traffic from Pinterest and brings in $10k to $15k per month! Grace includes lots of tips and advice within that guest post and describes exactly what kind of effort it took to reach that kind of success.

Be Willing to Invest the Time

My biggest takeaway from reading Grace’s post was the incredible amount of time and work that she dedicated to make this thing work. Here’s a quote from the post…

In the earlier days, I would spend around 50 hours a week working on writing posts, creating pins, and getting onto group boards. I know it’s a lot, but the time goes by fast and it paid off big time.

50 hours per week! How many of us would be willing to spend that kind of time with no short-term results or even a guarantee of future success?

Learn How to Create and Edit Images for Pinterest

Also, a major aspect that probably led to my failure… I mostly ignored this part of the strategy. I already had awesome edited images for every single post on my site. They are really nice looking images with custom borders and text overlay that matches the title/keyword for every post. The problem with my images… they are in a rectangular landscape format that is optimized more for Facebook sharing. When shared on Pinterest – the left and right sides get cut off and part of the text doesn’t display.

I was not willing to change my images just to appease Pinterest. It drives me crazy that different social media platforms require different image sizes for best optimization on their respective platforms! If I created only Pinterest optimized images for every post – then they would look ridiculous on Facebook.

There is a solution for this. If you use a premium social sharing plugin, like Social Warfare (as seen on this site) – they give you an option right within the WordPress Post editor screen to add different images/sizes for each social platform. This way the correct image/size is automatically inserted when a reader shares on whichever social media platform. Go ahead – share this post using any of the sharing buttons and see what happens for the different networks!

Try Social Warfare Today

But – finding, editing and creating shareable images takes time to learn how to do. On top of that – it takes a LOT more time than you would think to implement for every blog post. Especially if you create multiple images per post! To give you a reference point… it’s not uncommon for me to spend around an hour to find, edit and create an image like you see at the top of this blog post. I might spend closer to 2 hours if I create separate images for the different social networks.

Hint: This is a great task to outsource! My VA does an incredible job creating images for my niche sites.

Here is the Pinterest Image I created for this blog post… and I feel I spent wasted far too much time on it! Lol

Pinterest Strategy Guide - Pinterest Image

Bottom Line

Using a Pinterest strategy (like Rosemarie’s) can definitely work and has potential to drive massive traffic to your website. But – it IS NOT easy or quick. It takes a ton of time and dedication. Moreover – it is not easy or cheap to outsource. This is not something that you can easily hand off to an overseas VA for just a few dollars per hour and expect them to produce amazing results in a short amount of time.

You have to be willing to invest the time and effort yourselfor you have to be willing to pay a good amount of money to a virtual assistant. To achieve incredible results, by my best estimation, you need to dedicate months and months to a Pinterest strategy like this.

Personally… I’m going to stick with SEO. It’s what I know. I have no interest in spending time on Pinterest and I failed at outsourcing it.

But if a newbie asked me how they should get traffic to their new website or blog – I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest learning a Pinterest strategy. Especially for a female oriented website. Learning how to implement a Pinterest strategy is MUCH easier than learning SEO – and cheaper too. Just don’t waste $139 (like I did) on a guide. All of the information is available for free! Click the button below and I’ll show you!

Learn How to Dominate Pinterest Without Paying for a Course

Image Credit: by C_osett via Flickr

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  • Jamie Hill

    Really interesting post Matt. There has been a ton of buzz about Pinterest lately and a few people do seem to be having massive success from it. I opened up an account about a two months ago and I have been getting accepted on to a few boards recently – I pretty much just approached the owner of everyboard that Nick Loper was on and took a chance, some have said yes and they have a good amount of followers. I then paid $5 on ….yes you guessed it Fiverr.com! to a seller who has over 1.5 million followers in total, it resulted in an extra 100 hits to my site direct from Pinterest in one day so may try to give him some more work as it a cheap way to try and experiment.

    • Yeah Jamie… even Nick Loper seems to be having some success with it for his Side Hustle blog. I noticed that ALL new images he published with his posts are optimized for Pinterest. I still wonder about the traffic though… I suppose it’s worth it if even just a small percentage convert to email subscribers. Personally – I’m not putting any effort into Pinterest for THIS blog. I would only dare attempt it for a female oriented site.

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  • Thanks for checking the program out! I was actually considering buying it after reading the same exact post in order to drive traffic to my niche sites.

    I’m glad I didn’t!

    Keep up the great work! 🙂

    • No problem! That’s kind of the main reason I wrote this post… to save others from making the same mistake that I made. My intent was NOT to trash Rosemarie or her guide… just to show my experience with it exactly how it happened.

      If you really want to give the Pinterest thing a shot… download her FREE guide in her first appearance on Side Hustle Nation. (I wonder if she’ll remove that if she catches wind of this post…lol)

  • Matt, good tale of caution. I got sucked in on the Pinterest stuff, too. Some niches are really good for Pinterest, but like you said it takes time. Marketers ruin things that work in the beginning and we usually try to do things fast.

    I didn’t get sucked in as far, monetarily, but I also bought a course and enlisted a VA. It was a different course and somewhat helpful. At the end of the day, it’s still about building relationships and networking, just on Pinterest, to get in the group boards.

    I was always skeptical of the conversion rates anyway. I never got my pinterest account where I wanted it and I’ve left it to sit at this point. I’m better off getting organic search traffic where the visitors convert. And, oh, yeah, I actually know how to do that!

    thanks for sharing the story!

    • I hear ya on two points Doug!

      The conversion rates… I was skeptical too. One of my posts on that site went viral on Pinterest for a couple of months and got a total of around 14k or 15k pins. I was getting crazy traffic for a few weeks straight. But pretty much NOBODY was buying the recommended products on that page. I did create a quick content-upgrade for that post to at least capture a percentage of those visitors and get them on my email list.

      Better off with SEO… I agree completely. We KNOW the intent of searchers for certain keywords. It’s very hard to predict intent for visitors who landed on your site from Pinterest. It seems that most often, their intent is just to look at nice pictures or graphic design work. I’m with you! I’m back to focusing on SEO.

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  • Hi Matt,
    so sorry to read about your failure with Pinterest 🙁
    I am very thankful that you shared with us this experience. As I have said before, many brag about successes but few tell the truth and share the failures as well. It is important to see the both sides of the things.

    I wonder if you reached out to Rosemarie to tell her about your dissatisfaction? From my personal experience, I know that sometimes, the product creators prefer to do a refund rather than get a negative feedback out there in the internet.

    • Hi Nadya… thanks for your comments. I only wish I had more success to share! Seems I share my failures far too often. I’m working on it…!

      I did not reach out to Rosemarie and I do not want a refund from her. I was not misled by her in any way… She’s just using good sales and marketing techniques. As an affiliate – I regularly see commissions taken away from me as a result of buyers getting refunds and it annoys me to no end!! I hate refunds! It sure seems to me like a LOT of cheapskates buy and use products – then get refunds just to take advantage. I could easily have asked for a refund – but I would still have the PDF… Not fair and having integrity – it’s not something that I would ever do unless I thought I was legitimately being scammed or something.

      My intent with this post was NOT to trash Rosemarie or her guide… just to show my experience with trying to use it to outsource the entire strategy. Her guide is great and plenty of others who use it and dedicate the time are having great success with it. It’s just unfortunate for many of her new audience/customers that they don’t know that they could access the exact same info for free if only they knew where to find it. (Like I stated to a commenter below – I wonder if Rosemarie will remove the free guide if she catches wind of this post – lol)

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  • man I needed to read this. The limited Pinterest traffic that I get is FAR stickier than any other source of traffic to my blog. That stickiness is so appealing that I’ve been trying to crack the Pinterest nut for months with little success. I’ve now got my wife spending her time helping me out. She’s doing MUCH better at this that I was doing, but the progress is so slow. Reading your frustrations makes me feels a bit better. Misery loves company? Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Ty – that’s really interesting that you say that your Pinterest traffic is FAR stickier. I’ve seen and suspected just the opposite. I suppose the niche has a LOT to do with it.

      I think my biggest mistake is the fact that I ignored all of the advice on images for Pinterest. Apparently – that aspect is REALLY important. So much so…. that I just created and added a Pinterest image to THIS post (it wasn’t there when you originally left this comment). Now I’m seriously considering having my VA do the same for a bunch of my higher traffic posts on that particular niche site and just see if it will take off organically on Pinterest.

  • https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/33700e3f605f156a473615ca235f7a2224fb48a9a10a42a261c8c799bc0ec909.png Hey Matt,

    I’m bummed to hear you didn’t find value in the guide but happy to see you taking action on this stuff, even if it didn’t work out.

    Pinterest is BY FAR my biggest social channel, beating everything else combined by a huge margin, and since I’m driving traffic to a lot of podcast episode pages with content upgrades, I’ve seen solid conversion rates to email opt-ins – especially considering the majority of Pinterest traffic is on mobile. (The image shows 2017 year-to-date analytics)

    I haven’t tried this for any of my niche sites yet, though most are B2B so probably not a great fit. I’m in the process of trying to go down your path of outsourcing some of the pin image creation and group board discovery and outreach, since that’s the most time-consuming part for me.

    I’ve made most of the images myself in PicMonkey, and some I like better than others, but having a dedicated designer who could crank these out consistently would be a big win. Having decent-looking (or better) vertically-oriented images is really important, and could be one reason for board owners to reject or ignore you.

    I’m blown away by Grace’s success at ChasingFoxes too!

    • that’s crazy, @nickloper:disqus!

    • Nick! It wasn’t that I didn’t find value in Rosemarie’s guide… I was just annoyed that I had already seen all of the information for free in the guide that she offered to go along with her first appearance on your site/podcast. I was hoping the paid guide would be MUCH more detailed… Nevertheless – I still used the paid guide and attempted to outsource the task.

      You’re right… optimizing images might be THE most important aspect of this strategy and the #1 reason for my failure is that I ignored that part. I’m definitely going to have my VA create some Pinterest images to go along with my high-traffic posts on that niche site and just see if it will take off organically on Pinterest.

      Thanks for sharing your stats… That is nuts!! Hey… I just created a Pinterest optimized image for THIS post (wasn’t there when you originally commented)… would you mind sharing it to one of your boards just to see what happens? Thanks man…

      • I’m on it! You’re right – she really didn’t hold back any secrets on the podcast 🙂

    • Jamie Hill

      Thanks for sharing the stats Nick, really impressive ! How much time per day are currently dedicating to Pinterest?

  • I really wish I had seen this about a month ago!

    • Sorry Vanessa… it wasn’t written a month ago! Lol… I was in the midst of the failing experiment at that time.

      • I can honestly say I found the ‘free’ copy to be more helpful – and free.

  • Shauna

    I bought a Pinterest course last year and immediately got a refund. Then this year I keep hearing how people are using Pinterest for traffic and bought yet another course this time with the mindset of wanting to make it work. I too am spending hours on in on learning and applying. Making pins, writing posts, etc. The thing that is different this time is I actually enjoy it and it’s really paying off!

    Now if it was Instagram it be a major flop for me like Pinterest was for you. We all have to find our own strategy and what works.

    I really enjoyed this post btw.

    • Hi Shauna… if you enjoy it then that is what you SHOULD be doing! Absolutely!! As I stated at the end of the post (Bottom Line…) a Pinterest strategy can work really well if you are willing to invest the time (or money). It’s definitely not a quick and easy thing to do… but traffic can really start to multiply if you build a nice following. Definitely concentrate and spend the most time on making those images great… That is probably my biggest takeaway after reading several of the comments to this post. Good luck with everything!

  • Jeremy Hier

    I went through a pinterest coaching course for 397.00.
    I have 30 posts up and I create the image with canva.
    I have almost 100 followers.

    I hope I can at least make my money back.

    • I hope you make your money back too Jeremy! I think I’m discovering that Pinterest is only effective if you dedicate time to it weekly/daily. I could be wrong. The whole thing is frustrating for me because I see so many others having success with it.

      • Jeremy Hier

        My plan is to create at least 100 posts with an image for each post, as well as keep pinning
        new things each day. And then see where I am. So far only 2 click-thrus to my site from pinterest.

        I have also bought courses by potpiegirl on pinterest, which then tell you to buy tailwind, or
        boardbooster to help automate things.

        We’ll see.

        • Yup… Most sites/programs tell you to use tailwind or boardbooster to automate. I would use one or both, except that I still don’t really understand Pinterest completely and I don’t want to understand it. I was hoping one of my VA’s would figure it out to the point that I could buy one of those automation tools and they could set it all up for me. But we never got to that point… Maybe I’ll get there one day. Working on other things (sites) in the meantime that will likely give me a better ROI.

  • Hi Mathew,

    This is my first time to your blog and I can definitely relate. I purchased a Pinterest course when I first got started with my blog. Although, now I can say that everything in the course was free. At the time of the purchase, I didn’t know anything at all about Pinterest.

    So I found it to be extremely helpful in learning how to use Pinterest. I’ve been using Pinterest for about 5 months with my blog. I’ve almost quit a couple of times because I wasn’t seeing any results from my efforts.

    While I wasn’t spending 50 hours a week, I was taking the time to create pins for all my posts. This meant that I had to go out and find great images to use. Then I had to use Photoshop or Canva (my favorite is Photoshop) to make the image look great and write text.

    It’s definitely time consuming. Now I can say that Pinterest is my 2nd biggest traffic referrer. It’s slowly climbing to the number one spot. I have no doubt as I continue to add more pins and stay on my Pinterest marketing, it will be number one.

    My takeaway, you have to be willing to spend time and months to see traffic. Don’t give up, I almost did and I would’ve regretted it.

    Now if only I can get my SEO game up. I’m going to have to read some of your blog posts to see what I can learn and implement to grow my traffic.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, I definitely can relate. Have a great day 🙂

    Susan

    • Hey Susan – thanks for sharing how you relate to my experience with Pinterest. I agree with your takeaway… you have to be willing to spend the time. I definitely see how Pinterest is working for those who have/spend the time. Unfortunately, I don’t have the extra time and as you learned in this blog post – it didn’t make sense to outsource. I’m guessing if I would have stuck with the outsourcing, it would have paid off within a few months. I just couldn’t keep paying that kind of money.

      Hope you learn a thing or two about SEO from some of my other posts!

  • Eliran Kupfer

    I just use PinPinterest com simple and easy