Well – 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…
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.
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.
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 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. (No – I did not create separate images for this post)
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.
Hint: This is a great task to outsource! My VA does an incredible job creating images for my niche sites.
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 yourself – or 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!
Image Credit: by C_osett via Flickr
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