June 11, 2014, 4:40 PM

How visual content can help retailers drive sales

Aime Schwartz, King Arthur Flour’s digital marketing manager, said that Pinterest is the baking products manufacturer and retailer’s largest source of referral traffic thanks to the brand understanding its customers.

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You can’t have an effective marketing campaign without knowing your customers, said Aime Schwartz, King Arthur Flour’s digital marketing manager, today at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition.

“It’s critical to know your audience, what resonates with your customers and how to reach them—especially when you’re using multiple platforms to reach them,” she said.

Many of King Arthur Flour’s customers are active on Instagram and Pinterest, which is why the baking products manufacturer and retailer has made visual content a core component of the brand’s marketing efforts.

The retailer has helped make Pinterest the brand’s top source of referral traffic by professionally photographing baked goods specifically for the elongated image format that appears on Pinterest and featuring large high-resolution images throughout its site that consumers can pin. Shoppers clicking from Pinterest to KingArthurFlour.com account for 11% of the retailer’s web site traffic in a typical month, according to the Internet Retailer 2014 Social Media 500, which ranks the leaders in social commerce by the percentage of web site traffic they receive directly from social networks. King Arthur Flour ranks No. 25 in the guide, with social networks driving 15.1% of the site’s traffic in a typical month.

The retailer draws attention to its brand using hashtags, which are any word or phrase that starts with a pound sign (#). Any hashtag is also functions as a clickable link to a feed of all other mentions of that word. For example, on Instagram King Arthur Flour launched a campaign using the hashtag #bakeforgood to encourage consumers to share a photo of the nutritious meal they’ve cooked to fill undernourished bellies or to sell cookies to support a cause or even just to bake a plate of cookies for their neighbors.

“It’s a win for our fans in that they get to share their efforts and it’s a win for us,” Schwartz said.

The campaign helped boost awareness of the King Arthur Flour brand, she said.

Having a clear goal—like King Arthur Flour’s desire to drive traffic to its site from Pinterest—is essential to developing visual campaigns, Schwartz said. “There is so much data to wade through with digital marketing that you can’t get to it all,” she said. “Figure out what matters to you and set goals. And work toward improving toward that goal.”

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