Passive income eludes most people. Not so with the Pinterest power users making real cash from affiliate sales each and every week. In this guide on how to use Pinterest for affiliate marketing, we spoke with Pinners who consistently drive traffic to their affiliate links—and get paid for it.
With over 322 million monthly active users, Pinterest represents a huge opportunity for building up a recurring revenue stream from affiliate sales of products, programs, and services.
Keep reading for tips, steps, and examples from the pros that will teach you how to create passive income from Pinterest.
Can You Add Affiliate Links on Pinterest?
“Pinterest is an amazing source of traffic for affiliate marketing because it can help drive visitors to your website on a daily basis,” says Latasha Peterson, Side Hustle Coach and Pinterest Strategist. “When visitors from Pinterest click on your Pinterest pin images they will be directed to your website which can help boost affiliate sales.”
That sounds exciting, but you might be wondering…are you allowed to put affiliate links on Pinterest? Is this all “above board?”
Yes! Using Pinterest for affiliate marketing is absolutely within the platform’s terms of service, so no worries there.
However, you’ll want to follow these best practices:
Check the rules of your affiliate programs – You need to check the rules of all of the specific affiliate programs you’re a part of. For example, the Etsy Affiliates Policy does not permit affiliates to post their links directly on Pinterest. Instead, Etsy Affiliates promote products in a blog post, and then link to that from their pins.
Provide value, not spam – Don’t just link to products and pages using the provided imagery and expect to make a killing. Instead, you need to offer your Pinterest audience something of value. Create an engaging blog post, video, or free guide. (We talk about this even more in the section on an example affiliate funnel.)
Disclose affiliate links – Be sure to disclose when you’re using an affiliate link. If you’re linking directly from a pin to an affiliate link, add #affiliate to the description. If you’re including affiliate links in your blog post, you don’t need to put that in your pin, but you should put it at the top of your blog post, and/or in your blog sidebar.
Here’s an example disclaimer from Camper Report. The footer of their website links to this disclaimer. Consult a business lawyer for advice on how to disclaim affiliate links on your own website.
Why Pinterest Is Better Than Social Media for Passive Income
A great affiliate marketing strategy should always prioritize long term results. You want to set up something that will work for you in the future—so you don’t have to hustle every minute of the day.
If you want to know how to make money on Pinterest with affiliate links, you first need to understand Pinterest.
“The biggest mistake business owners make is thinking that Pinterest is social media, and it’s not. The two words that I use to describe Pinterest are ‘visual search engine’, and ‘referral traffic source,’” explains Laura Rike, Pinterest Strategist. “If people start to think about it more as a search engine, they’re going to start to focus more on the phrases and the keywords that they’re using. That’s really what the algorithm picks up on.”
Pinterest is one of the best ways to build an affiliate revenue stream because pins have a long shelf life. While the life of a tweet is measured in minutes or hours, the life of a pin can be measured in months or even years.
Well-optimized pins can continue to show up in search results for that target keyword. A pin you created last year can earn money today.
How to Use Pinterest for Affiliate Marketing
Clearly, Pinterest represents an incredible opportunity for affiliate marketing. But how do you turn your passive income dreams into a reality?
As with anything passive income-related, you have to build your dream. Here’s the step-by-step process to follow.
Step 1. Sign Up as an Affiliate for a Product or Program
“A lot of my clients are affiliates for courses they have taken in the past and for different products and services they love such as their favorite email marketing platform,” says Latasha.
Consider what products you already use that you could recommend to your target audience. If you’re in B2B, you could promote business courses and software apps. If your business is B2C, you could consider becoming an Amazon affiliate or promoting personal development courses.
(At the end of this post, we present specific affiliate ideas, so keep on reading.)
Step 2. Create Content on Your Website to Promote Your Affiliate Links
Next, you need to introduce your Pinterest audience to your affiliate links. Content is the bridge. Latasha explains, “Create content specifically for the products or services that you are an affiliate for and publish this content on your website. Some examples of content are blog posts and video posts.”
For example, Latasha has this post with an affiliate link for her favorite website theme store:
And, in this post, she includes an affiliate link for AirBnb, when referencing the idea of becoming a host to make some extra income:
Step 3. Create Multiple Pins for Each Piece of Content
“After you create blog or video posts on your website, create multiple Pinterest pin images for the posts and post the Pinterest pin images on Pinterest,” says Latasha. “This method will help showcase your content to thousands of people daily on the platform.”
While many Pinners create 3 – 10 pins per blog post, some power users create 17 pins per post! Regardless of the number you choose, one thing is certain: the more pins, the more traffic.
Here are some example pins Latasha created to promote the above-mentioned blog posts:
Step 4. Stay Consistent on Pinterest
Passive income strategies are notorious for being time-consuming and slow-moving. However, they snowball with time.
“One of the ways you can stay consistent on Pinterest is by pinning fresh new Pinterest pin images for your blog or video posts daily. This will help boost your traffic which will send visitors to the posts you created with your affiliate links,” says Latasha.
Don’t feel like you need to create a dozen pins all at once for each post. You can start with a few, and then add more as you go along. This is easier to accomplish, and better for the health of your Pinterest account too.
Step 5. Analyze Results and Take Informed Action
Analysis is a critical step for any affiliate marketing campaign. Fortunately, Pinterest Analytics is a treasure trove of information. Take a look at your top pins by link clinks (see the image below from Laura on how to filter top pins.)
Find out which of your affiliate-link containing pins is performing the best. Can you create more versions of this pin? Can you craft a similar blog post and spin-off additional pins for that new concept?
If Pinterest is your key traffic-driving strategy for your affiliate links, then Pinterest Analytics is where you’ll want to turn to discover which pieces of content are driving revenue for you.
Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest Without a Blog
Pinterest is popular for getting traffic to your blog, but what if you don’t have a blog?
There are plenty of other options. You can create pins that link directly to your affiliate products, but make sure that fits in with your overall Pinterest strategy. For the most part, we caution against this tactic, but it can work well for some Pinners.
It’s important that your pins add value to other Pinners, instead of just looking like spam. For example, if you have a fashion-focused profile, you could make boards for different styles or occasions and include a mix of affiliate and non-affiliate links in each board.
You can also create pins for freebies like webinars and ebooks, so you drive people to your email list and promote your affiliate links via email—no blog required. Create several different freebies and make a dozen pins for each.
Keep in mind that while a blog isn’t required for Pinterest affiliate marketing, it is an effective strategy, so after you’ve got your feet wet without a blog, consider using blog content to supercharge your affiliate marketing income.
Deep Dive into a Live Affiliate Funnel Example
For more expensive products, it’s wise to have a funnel. That’s because higher-priced items are a considered purchase. You need to educate and nurture potential buyers.
“My top tip for driving traffic to your affiliate funnels using Pinterest is to think through your offer. A plain old affiliate link doesn’t work anymore—there’s no drive to sign up under you,” says Michelle Lewis, Visibility Expert and founder of the Visibility Lounge.
Instead, Michelle recommends that you give your Pinterest audience something more valuable, for example, a “complimentary course, a members-only community, or a 20-minute masterclass.”
About the Affiliate Funnel Example
Michelle explains her own funnel strategy for earning over $1300 per month as a Kajabi affiliate. “I personally use an hour-long masterclass to introduce people to my website software. It’s a great offer and allows me to send follow up emails that also encourages signups, so there’s a higher conversion rate.”
The Pins That Link to the Affiliate Funnel
But once you have this funnel setup, why should you prioritize Pinterest instead of a social media platform or paid ads? The answer lies in the magic of Pinterest: organic search.
“Pinterest is one of the best ways to promote this funnel because it’s using the power of a visual search engine to people who are ready to buy and invest,” says Michelle.
As we can see, many of Michelle’s pins are related to her Kajabi affiliate masterclass.
She promotes her affiliate funnel using both pins that point directly to her funnel and to blog posts that link to her funnel:
- What You Need to Know About Organizing Your Membership Site for Learning and Engagement
- What You Need to Know About Launching Your Membership Sites in Kajabi
- Launch a Money-Making Membership Site in Under One Hour
- How to Launch Your First Money-Making Membership Site in Under 1 Hour Flat!
- Everything You Need to Organize Your Membership Site
- How to Organize Your Membership Site in Just 3 Steps
Key Takeaways from this Example
Let’s break down the top learnings from Michelle’s funnel. It’s important to understand why her funnel is a successful source of passive income: she’s attracting the right audience with her pins and her freebie.
Michelle knows that the best person to convert into a Kajabi customer using her affiliate link is someone who does not already have similar software. That’s why her content is focused on beginners and the initial set-up process.
Also, Michelle runs the Visibility Lounge, a membership program, and so she’s smartly chosen to promote that aspect of the Kajabi platform, rather than the ability to sell standard courses. This is strategic because it helps her pins stand out to others who want to launch a membership site. There’s not nearly as much content on this subject as there is on selling courses.
How to Automate Your Pinterest Affiliate Marketing
To automate your Pinterest affiliate marketing, you need to automate your pins.
Batch create pins and load them into your social media scheduler. MeetEdgar integrates directly with Pinterest so you can upload dozens of pins at a time and schedule them to go out days or weeks in advance.
This can help you stay consistent with your Pinterest marketing so that you’re pinning every day, even when you can’t log in.
However, it’s important to note that automation is never a replacement for activity spent inside of the app. When you’re using a schedule to automate pinning, be sure to still log in every week to pin other people’s content, comment on it, or rearrange your boards. Your in-app activity sends a message to Pinterest’s algorithm that you’re an active user.
Automation simply makes it so you don’t have to be logged in every day, and facilitates the batching of your work.
Affiliate-Marketing Related Tasks Your Virtual Assistant Can Help With
You don’t have to do everything alone. There are plenty of ways your virtual assistant can help you drive affiliate revenue using Pinterest.
Here are some of the top tasks your VA can assist you with:
- Blog writing
- Blog publishing
- Graphic design for blog posts
- Graphic design for pins
- Loading pins into your social media scheduler
- Pinning directly to Pinterest
- Arranging your boards
- Creating reports based on Pinterest Analytics data
- Looking through old blog posts for places to add affiliate links
To save on expenses, you may want to first try affiliate marketing with Pinterest on your own, but once you know what works, it would be smart to outsource as much as possible.
Which Affiliate Products and Programs to Promote
Not an affiliate yet? Maybe you want to get started with affiliate marketing but aren’t sure where to turn.
Below, we’ve pulled together tried-and-true affiliate programs to help you get started.
B2C Affiliate Products and Programs
If your business serves consumers (or if you don’t yet have a business and want to earn a commission selling products you love), then these B2C ideas would be great for you.
For best results, choose a specific niche, such as beauty or a hobby like sewing. This will help you build a cohesive Pinterest profile, and it will make it easier for you to decide what products to promote, and what type of content to create.
- Etsy products (see program details)
- Amazon products (see program details)
- MasterClass classes (see program details)
- Udemy courses for hobbyists (see program details)
- Sephora products (see program details)
- Nordstrom products (see program details)
B2B Affiliate Products and Programs
If your audience is business owners or working professionals, these B2B affiliate products and programs might be the perfect fit. Or, you can use them as inspiration to brainstorm other ideas.
- MeetEdgar’s social media marketing software (see program details)
- SEMrush’s SEO software (see program details)
- ActiveCampaign’s email marketing software (see program details)
- Udemy courses for business owners and professionals (see program details)
- SiteGround’s website hosting (see program details)
There are tons of great affiliate programs to join as a B2B business owner, and some of them will surely come from people you know. Are you acquainted with a business owner who offers a course or membership you love? In addition to searching for ideas online, reach out to people in your network too. They might already have an affiliate program setup that you can join and start earning from.
A little bit of hustle, the right strategy, and consistent action are all that’s in the way between you and hundreds or thousands of dollars in affiliate revenue each and every month. Put these strategies to work, and watch this passive income stream grow.