Today we're going to be talking all about Pinterest, but not just any Pinterest strategy. No. Emilee Vales is going to be sharing with us today a little bit about how to use promoted pins. Not only is Emily a Pinterest guru, she is a former teacher as well! She taught for about three and a half years, kindergarten and second grade for part of a year prior to having her first daughter. Definitely a teacher at heart who loved teaching and loves working with teachers.
What we love about interviewing teachers is that we feel like teachers are the best at explaining really hard concepts and making them super easy. And not everyone that we interview is a teacher or was a teacher. So when we get to interview someone that has that special touch, it means a lot, not only to me as the person that gets to do the interview but also to our audience.
One thing kind of led to the next for Emilee. The school she worked at was fabulous and they actually were going to allow her to work part-time as a classroom teacher. She felt like she was going to have the best of both worlds because she was going to still be in the classroom, still get the professional development, and keep her license active. And still have those days at home with her daughter.
But then as the time drew near she was nervous. It was just a really difficult position to be in because she taught at a really rough school. It was in the inner city and she loved her students. She knew both she and her students valued the relationships and that emotional support. She was having a really hard time because she felt terrible guilt. She really believes that we all love our students and play a really important role in their lives.
When they moved Emilee to second grade she was going to have a co-teacher. Two licensed teachers share a contract. So the students would have that stability. And even though it was the best of both worlds, Emilee really wanted to be there for her daughter. And to be honest, when they actually did the math, it just didn't even make sense financially. A lot of daycares would require you to pay full tuition. Because you're technically taking a spot.
They lived on one salary for about six months and that summer, she felt like she needed to use her brain in other ways. As much as she loved being a stay-at-home mom, she started thinking about what other options were out there? So she ended up taking a course that taught her how to launch her freelance business and fast forward a year and she was basically doing social media management.
She thought that was her go-to because she felt comfortable using Instagram. She had used Facebook and she knew she could figure it all out. But she got so burnt out. So she had a client for who she had been doing Instagram management for but they hadn't seen a lot of growth. It wasn't really Emilee’s passion. So she was trying to figure out what other things they could try.
And her client asked her to play around with Pinterest. In the beginning, she charged her something like $200 a month to do her Pinterest design, scheduling, keyword, research, everything. She started seeing immediate results and really amazing results. Emilee wants us to know that social media platforms are amazing, but Pinterest is really a search engine and it's just used so differently. She basically fell in love with it and fast forward to now, it’s what she’s been doing for the past two and a half years.
I think there's a really big transformation that's happening right now. Teachers are wanting to leave the classroom. Not all of them, which is why we help you do what your heart is calling you to do here at the CEO Teacher®. Feeling guilty is a normal feeling and you just have to kind of go with what your heart says is best. Most of the time I don't think there's ever going to be a clear-cut answer where you know you are going to run with it at the moment. Sometimes that path that leads you to where you need to go wasn’t what you envisioned to start.
Emilee’s business adventure started because she had always used it from the user's side and used it to plan all of these amazing and big and important events in her life. She used it to plan her wedding. Her baby nursery and more. She really loves the idea that Pinterest thrives off of it being a platform that is inspiring, positive, and uplifting. Coming from the social media site where she wasn't necessarily excelling, she felt a click when using Pinterest.
She really just leaned into that because it really made the whole keyword research and everything so much easier because she had all of that knowledge from being a teacher. She even recalls some of the big Facebook groups searching for a former teacher to be a VA. Because teachers have a different understanding of their businesses than somebody who didn't have that knowledge base. Emilee wasn’t necessarily targeting teachers in the beginning, but it kind of turned into that. I love that Emilee shared about teachers having that something special. All of our full-time employees are former teachers and because they get our audience that's important for us.
Keyword research is really the heart and soul of the CEO Teacher®. We are so down and nerdy when it comes to keyword research and Pinterest is a huge search engine that relies heavily on that. Emilee gave us some quick strategies on keyword research when it came to things that teachers are using to take their businesses to the next level.
When Emilee is starting, whether she’s taking over somebody's account, that's, they've already been on Pinterest. Or is she starting an account from scratch? They dive into that keyword research and brainstorm. Almost like a reset you need to look at your base, your foundation. If you don't have a place where you have organized your pillar content and your long-tail keywords, she highly recommends creating some type of spreadsheet, now.
Emilee talks about pillar keywords, which are typically anywhere from two to three main keywords that your business is built around. And then the LTKWs are two to five words that are really building off of that pillar keyword. For example, if guided reading was your pillar keyword, then “guided reading group activities” would be an example of a long-tail keyword. So really do that keyword research to know where your business is headed. She likes to have that initial call with clients because even though she is a classroom teacher, there are certain niches that are almost like sub-niches in the teaching world. For example, she’s not a special education teacher. And so there are words and keywords that SPED teachers use and are very important to their niche that she might not necessarily know. So it's helpful to get on that call and kind of brain dump first. Emilee also recommends using the Pinterest trends tool. Emilee does have a client who is a school counselor and she doesn't have as much seasonal content, but they see that content perform really well using the trends tool.
She recommends starting to share content anywhere from 60 to 45 days in advance because it takes time for the platform to index your content. Start sharing that content early and using the Pinterest trends to see what specific terms are surging. You can compare different terms and see which ones have higher searches. One thing Emilee is kind of finding is that certain terms that were very popular last year are a little bit different this year because most schools, if not all schools are in-person now.
Definitely have a place where you keep your pillar keywords and your long-tail keywords. And that document should be something that you continue to build on because as you grow your brand and your business, and get more familiar with Pinterest, there'll be different terms that come up. And that's just a good practice to do whether you're managing your own Pinterest or if you have somebody managing the platform for you.
If you have been around here a while you know my love language is data and keyword research. I love that Emilee helped explain the keywords. It’s nice for our students to hear it reiterated. How important it is, not just for utilizing it with Google analytics and your blog, but everywhere. Utilize those SEO strategies, it's so important on every platform. And I'm so glad she talked about last year's trends versus this year's trends. That's a very common topic in our coaching calls each week because some of our students were killing it last year with their digital resources. And we tried to be super open and honest. Yes, digital resources sold really well last year, but you know, classroom worksheets will always be king.
Since the beginning of time teachers have been doing worksheets with students, not your typical worksheets, but they still need paper and pencils. So we've seen a big decline in a lot of digital sales and our students have seen it too. But we're learning different ways to navigate. Next year they'll be ready to go when things inevitably change again. I love all of the tips and tricks Emilee shared. But I really want to dive deep into how to use promoted pins to uplevel your teacher business. Before we get into what promoted pins, let's chat a little bit about the difference between organic traffic and paid traffic and which one is ultimately the best.
As far as organic traffic goes it comes down to those keywords basically telling Pinterest who your ideal person is and who you are targeting. Remember Pinterest is a search engine, so it takes time for them to index your content. Emilee says to think of creating file folders with all the content related to one subject. Pinterest does that, but it does take time for the platform to do that. And for the algorithm to understand who you are, who you're serving, and who to show your content to. So with the organic traffic, you're going to see that take a lot more time. Pinterest managers used to say zero to three months, then three to six months. Emilee really thinks 6 to 12 months, and realistically, even more, long-term 12 to 18 months.
Emilee wants to remind you to keep it all in perspective when you are learning how to use promoted pins. In the first few months of growing your business, many people think that if you basically create your blog, write your pillar blog posts, and throw some social media posts out there you're going to rank on the first page of Google. It may not happen. Some people find that secret gap in the market and their LTKW will go viral, but more often than not it's a long game. Google takes time. It has an algorithm to index that content.
It’s the same thing with Pinterest. Organic traffic is all about the long-term being consistent. And one huge difference. You don't have to have a consistent organic strategy to run successful and profitable Pinterest ads. Which Emilee thinks is very confusing. If you have been doing the organic side, it can give you really helpful insight as to what's already working for your audience. And some people will even take a pin that has performed well organically and maybe add a few tweaks. Especially if they want to make it really clear to the person what they have for sale or an optin they want to promote. Those are definitely important calls to action that you'd want on a promoted pin.
And even though it's all Pinterest, it is a different algorithm for how to use promoted pins. So with organic Pinterest, Emilee always recommends just a solid base. Confirm your domain. Install your Pinterest tag. So this is basically code, which sounds super complicated, but it's actually not that complicated. You take this little piece of code and you install that on your website. And that helps Pinterest start building information about who is coming to your website, and that is different from confirming your domain on Pinterest. With promoted pins, you are basically paying for that traffic and to get eyeballs on your content, whereas organic traffic is technically free.
Emilee says technically because you're putting time into getting organic traffic. With that consistency, the keyword research and your time is money. But it doesn't feel the same as investing in ads. With ads, it can feel as though you have a lot more to lose when you could be investing hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars. Whereas with the organic it can be frustrating if you don't see results right away. In the long run, organic traffic is cheaper to get. Emilee also says it's important to note although the algorithms between the two are different you don't necessarily have to do one to do the other.
So if you are reading this and wondering which pin to promote. (Which just means you're going to pay for people to see it. It's not organic.) It can be helpful to look at what has performed well for you organically, first. On the platform, we have what are called legacy pins. These are pins that month, after month, year, after year is always rising to the top. Emilee says sometimes the pins are (just to be honest) hideous first pins. It has the scripty font. It's so hard to read. It's not even a very clear image. Sometimes it's very confusing as to why pins take off. It is kind of reminiscent of the nature of social media. Sometimes reels will take off -you know the one that took two seconds to create. And the one that took an hour, is very educational, perfectly on brand, it ends up with a hundred views. You know the audio trend where it says something like, “I saw that going differently in my mind”? It’s like that.
It's important that when you're promoting a pin is not necessarily just go off of organic reach. With a promoted pin to have a really clear, easy-to-read title, with text overlay and an image. So when people click on your pin, when they get to that landing page- whether it be a sales page or a landing page to your freebie, they should feel as though they are clicking exactly to what they thought they were clicking on. When you design your pins it's not a good time to be ambiguous. You want to be very clear about what the person will be receiving and the action you want them to take.
If you are in the right place to invest in your business and paid advertising Emilee had a few pointers for you!
Emilee walks her clients through the two different options and why you would select either one. She encourages promoting a pin that directs your audience to a landing page. So the call to action or what you're telling them by directing them there is, it's not a blog post. It's literally signing up for your thing when they hit that page. And you're building your email list because there's so much more value over time from your email list. And if you are nurturing your email list, you should be receiving monthly sales. So you're really increasing the value of your customer base when you're using that for lead generation and getting people on your email list.
Whereas when you're promoting to a TPT store link the one-off sale feels nice right away, but you have to think about it as far as scalability. A lot of TPT resources are lower priced and if they hit something that's a $50 bundle from a promoted pin, they are going to say whoa I'm not ready to spend $50 yet or we don't have the know like and trust factor yet, and they move on. Or they might not click at all just because they see that it's to your TpT store. Emilee has seen that happen time and again.
Emilee says there are exceptions to the rule with when and how to use promoted pins. Sometimes you have a seasonal or timely product and you need eyeballs on the pin right away. She really does think that there's a time and a place to promote TpT products, but if it's a lower-priced product, you need to start with a specific budget on Pinterest. If we're spending X amount, you need to sell X amount of this product in order for it to make sense. Emilee likes to see a 3% – 5% conversion rate, an industry-standard can be as low as 2%. That's people who are seeing your product and are actually going to convert to buyers when they're hitting that sales page. Because these numbers can be so low, she reminds us how to use promoted pins in the best way possible by building the email list route.
I think a lot of times we want easy, quick wins because they feel good and they're in the moment and it helps spike serotonin or whatever it is that we're looking for whenever we start an online business. This is the long game. This isn't an easy, quick thing. And I'm just so thrilled that Emilee shared the hard stuff that people may not be grasping. The things that Emilee is saying about industry standards and the long game and nurturing that email list are not just for the more advanced business owners. We teach Facebook ads and Instagram ads inside of our upper-level programs. We don't currently teach promoted pins, although I'm about to nerd out on all of this content. So if you are in the CEO Teacher® Academy get ready for some more info on how to use promoted pins.
I really wondered if you can see your cost per lead, especially on the back end through Pinterest Analytics. Especially now that so much has changed recently with iOS updates. Emilee says we can see cost per lead and there are different types of campaigns that you can set up and run. And one thing she wanted to make clear, and believes is a common misconception. People think they're running promoted pins when they hit the promote button on a pin. She likes to compare this to Facebook ads. You have the option to boost a post. Basically, you're just paying for engagement. There's no real targeting or any strategy. You're just basically throwing money at the wall. When you hit the promote button on a pin, it's not the same as going to the ads dashboard and setting up a very strategic campaign.
So when we're talking about promoted pins, we're talking about going into the backend of Pinterest where you have different campaigns with different objectives. Maybe your objective or whole goal for a campaign is to build an email list. Whether you're running consideration campaigns or conversion campaigns. So if you do decide to go the promoted pins route, consideration campaigns are definitely the way to go. They're less volatile than conversion campaigns. If you're going for the email subscriber, you can see the cost per lead and you can see how many outbound clicks you're receiving. So then you can do the math. You can see how many people are actually hitting that landing page. And then based on how many email subscribers you're actually receiving from the campaign, you can do the math and see that conversion rate. And that's a really great way to see if there are bottlenecks in your funnels.
Whew, so much upper-level information in our interview and I am so here for it. If you are wondering what Emilee is talking about, I've got you. When our brains hurt it means they are growing.
What Emilee is talking about with bottlenecks in the funnels looks a bit like this: you're getting a ton of traffic, so people are actually visiting the page, and let's say, it's a landing page. And you're asking people to sign up for your free PDF. You're getting a lot of traffic but you're not getting very many leads. Or you're paying a lot per lead. That might be an indication that something's not resonating on that landing page. And you might need to make some tweaks.
When it comes to promoted pins If you have a good click-through rate, that's a good indication that the pin is resonating with people. But if you're not getting very many leads it kind of points back to that landing page. And on the reverse side, if you have a low click-through rate where not very many people are clicking on that pin, that's an indication of missing the mark on the Pinterest side. You could either be targeting the wrong audience, or something's just not resonating with your audience and your pin design. Pinterest is a visual search engine, it's super important that you do have a pin that catches people's eye and makes them want to click.
You know I am a huge proponent of giving away free content, I feel like the universe will always pay you back. Do good to people, and then it'll always come back to you. Emilee has given away so much free content and oftentimes there's a paywall between what people want to give. And then once you get over the paywall, you realize that the content on the other side is maybe not what you had anticipated. So Emilee is the real deal. She gave so much really important insight for people even if they're just starting. Especially for our more seasoned sellers on Teachers Pay Teachers that are looking to move beyond just selling on TPT Emilee’s information is GOLD! You know, we don't want to put all of our eggs in one basket. And if you're looking to build a true business that lasts a lifetime growing that email list is key.
You can tell Emilee is super passionate about talking about Pinterest and sharing how to use promoted pins with the teacher world!
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