Pinterest might look like a great way to waste time, but if you dig deeper you realize it's practically made for business. It's likely the only social network where people are actually expecting and looking for images of different products. This means people are often already in a buying mood when they go to Pinterest, and even if they're not, they could be persuaded by the right image. Did you know that pins with price tags included tend to get 36% more likes than pins that don't include price tags? That says a lot about the frame of mind of the typical Pinterest user. And if your typical customer is female, you're in luck - 80% of Pinterest users are women. "But I've got a service business," you say, or you've got an information product business. "How do I make Pinterest work for me?" That will depend on your particular niche. If you're selling something like travel advice or horse care information or gardening tips, it'll be no problem to find pictures. If you're selling acne treatment info or marketing info, you'll have to get a little more creative with your pictures. But even a black and white, no-photo type of stuffy publication like the Wall Street Journal can and does use Pinterest to drive interest up and traffic back to their site. How do they do it? By taking images of memorable quotes from Wall Street Journal stories and floating them over a column of blurred out text. The message is clear - if you want the rest of the story, you need to click the pin to go to the WSJ site. http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/how-the-wall-street-journal-uses-pinterest_b11829 You could do something very similar with quotes from your own blogposts, sales letters and products. And as a happy side benefit, your writing will likely improve even more because you know you'll need some really snappy quotes to use on Pinterest. Here then are 28 tips for using Pinterest to drive traffic to your website: 1. Set up a Pinterest business account. It's not required, but if you're going to promote via Pinterest, you'll look more professional and credible with a business account. http://business.pinterest.com/ 2. Build the perfect business profile. Here's a blueprint to help you create a profile that will attract your ideal customers and clients. http://marketingthink.com/how-to-build-the-perfect-pinterest-for-business-profile-infographic/ 3. Track your campaigns with Piqora. The analytics lets you measure the impact and success of each promotion you do,so you know what's working and what's not. Plus you get tried and tested promotion templates, plus a wealth of helpful information on what's worked in the past. http://www.piqora.com/ 4. Create a great Pinterest board in minutes without editing tools by using Pinstamatic. You can add stickies, use quotes, add Spotify tracks, add a map and more to make your Pinterest board really stand apart from the crowd. http://pinstamatic.com/ 5. Get your Pinterest "goodies." You'll want the "Pin It Bookmarklet" so that you can pin any image or video from the web. 6. Next, pick up the "Pin It Button" for your own website. This lets your readers pin anything like from your site. (HINT: Do not place photos on your website that you don't want on Pinterest.) 7. Finally, get the Board Widgets. This lets visitors follow your boards right from your website. http://about.pinterest.com/goodies/ 8. If you're interested in having your own Pinterest store to sell your own products, you can set up shop in just minutes with Shop Interest. Take advantage of their free trial to see if it's right for you. http://www.shopinterest.co/ 9. For other tools to consider, check the Resources section of this month's issue 10. Be sure you have an opt-in form with incentive on every page of your website to capture your new Pinterest traffic. 11. Create at least one board and pin at least several things to it before you begin to build your Pinterest following. Just as you would want to have several posts on a new blog before you begin promoting that blog, you will also want to some content before you begin promoting your Pinterest board(s). 12. Know that a person could follow you, or they could follow a particular board of yours. If they follow you, then every time you pin to any board they will be notified. If they follow a single board, they will only be notified when you pin to that board. 13. Use keywords for your boards. Make each board specific to one set of keywords. By keeping each board tightly focused on one topic, you increase the chances of getting followers who are passionate about that topic. 14. Engage with others. Pinterest is a social network, so start following other users you think might want to follow you back (think Twitter). Like and comment on their pins. 15. Promote your Pinterest presence through other channels to get a jump start on building a following. Notify your list, your blog readers, your Facebook fans, your Twitter followers, etc. 16. Use an image for every blog post you make, then pin the image to Pinterest. It should be a strong, attention grabbing image that people would want to share. Not using images on your blog posts? You should be, because images are engaging - they hold people to a page longer and get them to read more. 17. Use infographics. If you can't create them yourself, get someone else to do it for you. Infographics are hot and they are often shared on Pinterest. 18. Pin your ebook covers and product covers. If your covers look amateurish, this is a good time to get them redone BEFORE you pin them. If possible, place the main benefit of your book or infoproduct as the subtitle on the product. For example, the title might be Global Blogging and then the subtitle might be, "How to start a worldwide rave for your brand." 19. Pin photos of your happy customers. If you can, use photos of them either holding your product, using your product or enjoying the benefits of your product. 20. Add links back to your website in the pin descriptions. Use a relevant link. For example, link back to the blogpost where the image is located. Remember to have an opt-in form on every page of your website so you can capture some of this traffic. And track the leads you get from Pinterest so you can compare your stats with you other marketing venues. 21. Make it easy for visitors to pin from your website by adding images. Not just any image will do - it should be something your visitors will want to share. If using images from places like Flickr and Photo Bin, be sure to give the appropriate credit. Whenever possible, use your own images. 22. Check your stats. Pinterest does offer its own analytics to track the number of people pinning from your website, as well as how many views your pins have. 23. Check the "most repinned" list to see what's trending on Pinterest. This might give you some ideas for pins of your own. 24. Run contests. Running a "Pin to Win" contest can be a great way to get some Pinterest love quickly. Just make sure you follow the rule, because Pinterest has recently tightened its control on contests, as you can read here on WebMarketingToday. http://webmarketingtoday.com/articles/Pinterests-New-Contest-Guidelines-to-Change-the-Popular-Pin-It-To-Win-it-Contests/ 25. Use a contest to integrate your Pinterest account with your Facebook account. Shortstack "Pin and Win" template lets you create a contest on Facebook asking fans to Pin an image to their Pinterest account using a hashtag you specify. Entrants enter their contact info for a chance to win. http://webmarketingtoday.com/articles/Pinterests-New-Contest-Guidelines-to-Change-the-Popular-Pin-It-To-Win-it-Contests/ 26. Create a user-generated pinboard. When you let other users (Your top customers? Your most loyal fans?) contribute their own pins to your pinboard, you're involving others in your marketing. Be specific when asking them to contribute. For example, ask them to pin a photo of themselves with your product. 27. Create a video gallery. Did you know you can also pin videos? Create a board of your best business videos. Mix in some great images, too, for peak interest. 28. Use hashtags. Yes, just like Twitter, Pinterest supports hashtags. You can tag your pins to make them easier to find. Are you rolling out a new product or starting a new campaign? Use the same hashtag on Pinterest, Twitter and Google+ to leverage your social media campaign.