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How One Mother Uses Pinterest to Grow Her Online Business (And How You Can Too)

Image altered by Pretty Presets

Pretty Presets was created to address a pain point that many photographers experience: editing takes a long time. Pretty Presets solves that problem with pre-made alterations for Lightroom that cut photo editing time in half. 

Because the business is so visual, Pretty Presets quickly turned to Pinterest as a marketing tool. Over the years, Pinterest has become their number one traffic source, accounting for 10% of sales.

In this customer spotlight, we chat with founder Laura Thomas about how she uses Pinterest to drive traffic—and revenue—for Pretty Presets.

Describe your business and product(s). How did you come up with the idea for your product(s)?

We just moved to a small town and I had quit my stable 5-year, 40-hour a week job. My dream was to be at home with our sweet children, while still contributing financially. With two toddlers and a spouse that was often gone, I quickly learned how time consuming this business could be.

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The work from my photography sessions started piling up. I needed to find a way to become more efficient. This is when I began creating "presets". Presets are pre-made alterations to lighting and coloring. This easily cut my editing time in half. Instead of editing a wedding in two weeks, it was only 5 days.

It was in 2010 when I first launched Pretty Presets. My goal was to save other photographers time. My hope was that others could now invest more time into their families or loved ones. This has always been and continues to be why we love to serve our community. We see it as an opportunity to encourage more entrepreneurs to live out their dreams. 

Laura Thomas headshot

What percentage of your sales come from Pinterest? Why did you decide to focus on Pinterest as a marketing channel for your business?

Pinterest has been such an exciting new avenue for us. Currently, Pinterest brings in about 10% of our sales. This is huge for us! Honestly, Pinterest has moved to the very top for referrals, even surpassing Facebook. We knew Pinterest would be a valuable asset to our business, but never knew to what extent. Being photographers, our market is all about showcasing captivating images. Pinterest has been an amazing place to grow and expand our community.

How do you optimize your original content for Pinterest? Do you consider Pinnable content when creating/sourcing images for your blog or product pages?

We have a couple different methods. We do have "Pin it" buttons on each of our products within our store. This is such a valuable tool to have for any growing business. Oftentimes, I'll just go through each of my pages or products and pin them myself. We've also included a "Pin It" option to each of our posts on Facebook. I attribute a lot of our growth on Pinterest to this link. We've received so many thankful comments from our community for including that option. Let's face it, everyone is busy, so giving an option for them to pin it for later helps them and it helps us. 

Pretty Presets on Facebook

How do you engage with your Pinterest audience?

Besides our "Pin It" reminders in our Facebook posts, we also love to provide our community with free resources. Free resources are a fantastic way to start any relationship with your client. Any time you can create a blog post, video or resource that will save people time, it's going to get traffic. We're fortunate to have a private community of almost 30K photographers who provide us with incredible ideas to better meet their needs. Ask your community what they need. Create it and pin it. 

Lightroom tutorials Pinterest pin

 Lightroom webinar Pinterest pin

Have contests and giveaways helped grow the channel or drive sales? Describe a successful campaign.

We've run just one giveaway contest a couple years ago. While it brought us about 3,000 new friends on Pinterest, it wasn't as successful as we'd hoped it would be. I think Pinterest wasn't big enough in the digital photography community at the time. We might just have to try it again as there are so many more people on Pinterest today. 

Pinterest contest image

What is your content mix – images from your own site vs. others?

I would say about 50/50. When it comes to anything about Lightroom, presets or business, then they'll be pinned from our site. We love being able to share our knowledge with them and offer our free resources. When it comes to products and services we don't currently offer, then we'll gladly pin them from other websites. 

Pretty Presets Pinterest screenshot

As a busy entrepreneur, how do you maximize your time on Pinterest? How many hours/week do you allot to Pinterest marketing?

Honestly, it has been so much fun to do and it only takes a couple hours a week for us. We'll pin when we share on Facebook each day and then randomly throughout the week as well. We don't want to over-pin, so we do our best to space them out. It's really such a small investment for a big return in any business.

Do you use any scheduling or analytics tools for Pinterest? Which do you recommend?

I've been using the Pinterest Analytics tool and I highly recommend it. It's such a great opportunity to see what the audience needs. What images and information are relevant to them and catching their eye. Unfortunately, I haven't worked with any scheduling tools at this time.

How do you use Pinterest to help understand your customer?

I've done some A/B testing on images to see how many people pinned one image over another. Both of these images would come from the same product and/or blog post. Then, I'd use the image that received the most repins for our product promotions. It's a great way to test the waters. Overall, I've found that our customers absolutely love those sharp and colorful images that just can't be missed.

Pretty Presets A/B test screenshot

Pretty Presets split test screenshot

What's your best advice for someone just getting started with Pinterest marketing for an ecommerce store?

My advice is to add Pinterest into your weekly schedule, right now. Give yourself a realistic goal of 2-3 hours a week to start. Watch what is working, and what isn't. Then just continue to create new and exciting content. Also, add to your board descriptions and share some the successes you've had there. Social confirmation is incredibly helpful when building trust between you and your prospective clients.

Lasting success doesn't come quickly, it comes over time. Before starting Pretty Presets, I had started three other businesses. While they weren't successful, I learned a lot from those "failed" attempts and kept moving forward. If you ever find yourself closing up shop, don't think it has to end there. If you're not sure where to start, sit back and consider what it is that you're really passionate about.

Lastly, start your business with the mindset of serving others instead of trying to sell to others. I've found this is the best way to love what you do and you'll never dread having to "go to work" again.

Pretty Presets uses Pinterest to grow their business. You can, too.

"Pinterest has been such an exciting new avenue for us. Currently, Pinterest brings in about 10% of our sales. This is huge for us! Honestly, Pinterest has moved to the very top for referrals, even surpassing Facebook. We knew Pinterest would be a valuable asset to our business, but never knew to what extent."

— Laura Thomas, Founder of Pretty Presets

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