Pinterest Case Study: A Graphic Designer who Gets Direct Sales


I’ve been looking for case studies of people who are making money directly from Pinterest. I’ve found affiliate marketers who are (stay tuned for more on this in a future post). Geoffrey is one of the first to make money by promoting his products on Pinterest.

I’m not advocating that making money directly from Pinterest is the holy grail of marketing. Just like making money on any social network, it’s usually because you’re visible and people like you that you end up making money. In other words, people see and like Geoffrey’s work so they contact him for a design project. It’s rarely a direct sale (someone sees and buys the product).  But sometimes it is and that is what this case study is about.

I interviewed Geoffrey Sagers (that’s such a graphic designer’s spelling, isn’t it?). He’s a graphic designer who got on Pinterest about 9 months ago. He just started to experiment with selling his work. He didn’t set out to do it, but after people asked for copies of his designs, he began to see the potential.

Geoffrey noticed quotes, which are super popular on Pinterest, but a lot of them are ugly. He thought he could do better, so he started making his own versions. Quotes do well on Facebook too (I didn’t ask if Geoffrey has a page for his business). If you design a quote, it’s good for a blog post, a Facebook update, a new product, and a pin.

When he was starting out Geoffrey wasn’t pinning his work, he pinned photographs and things that inspired him. Things that gave him ideas for his own business.

Pinterest is nothing if not a form of inspiration and enchantment. There’s always something to be discovered. I believe in participating from a mindset of sharing and connecting with whatever inspires you, not from a mindset of how much money you can make. Although I’m not a purist. You can use Pinterest any way you choose, or create multiple accounts to use as you please. In fact, you could create a themed account like this one that just showcases Facebook design services.

Of course someone can copy your work and take credit for it. Or Pinterest could decide it’s theirs. But so far it’s worth the risk Geoffrey says. You win some…but not all. Granted it’s not his full-time gig.

Lessons in Fulfillment
At first Geoffrey ran to Walmart to print orders as they came in, but that took a lot of time. He now uses Smugmug . I must say I hate their shopping cart with the small buy button that you have to look for, but that’s not the point of this story. The point is the quality is better and he doesn’t have to do any of the fulfillment.

Appeal to your Target Audience – in this Case Usually Women
The majority of people pinning and repinning on Pinterest are women. That does not mean that men or things that appeal to men can’t do well on the site. It does mean that the majority of pins in most cases are things that appeal to women. I like this. Most businesses like this because you know, the power of the purse. Women make a lot of the purchasing decisions for their families. Think educated, higher income moms and grandmas.

My friend Karen says men are more reluctant to use Pinterest because of the name. Her husband says it’s because men don’t pin things, they nail ’em. But it was started by a man (who launched Pinterest at Alt Summit, a conference in Utah that mostly women attend).

Timing – When to Pin
Geoffrey says if he doesn’t get at least one repin on his work, he deletes it and pins it another time. Your pin appears as a new item in a category for about 7-10 mins. So if you don’t get a pin in that time it’s unlikely you’ll get them later. I’m sure there will be services that do this but I’ve started to see people hiring for this task.

He’s found that the best times to pin are between 7-8am (before work or school), 11-1:30 (during lunch), and 6-8pm (after dinner).

Colors are Important Too
Again and again I see how colors are important. Geoffrey uses pinks and red when the image is has a love or marriage theme. Otherwise he uses blues or greens. If the quote is hard-hitting then he’ll use a darker background image or grungy look. This could be a coffee stain look or black. So that infographic you create might do better on Pinterest if you change the color scheme.

End of my Long-Winded Post about Pinterest
I can write and write about Pinterest because I genuinely love it. For many reasons both personal and business. I think it’s the most accessible of the social networks. We’re always looking for the fastest way to get information. It’s much faster to skim images than to read. You don’t need to click to be whisked away into dream mode, you’re just in it, bang. I also love how people love Pinterest.

Here’s one of the pins that got Geoffrey the most repins. You’re not used to seeing quotes like this on my blog are you?

Now you can pin this post.


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