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10 Clever ways to grow your email list with Instagram

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How to convert instagram followers into email subscribers and grow your email list

How to convert instagram followers into email subscribers and grow your email list How to convert instagram followers into email subscribers and grow your email list

Have you ever wondered how to get more email subscribers from social media? You probably know you need an email list but haven’t gotten started yet because your head is spinning with all the information out there. Where to begin?

The good news is that it’s never too late to start growing an email list of people who love you and your work and do it straight from Instagram. But, first… How can you convert Instagram followers into raving fans of email subscribers too? Let’s dive in.

1: Have an incredible incentive and lead magnet

A lead magnet is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a free item you offer to your audience to attract your perfect potential customer. It should be packed full of value and naturally leads potential customers into raving fans, engaged subscribers, and hopefully, actual customers soon. That means you don’t just want to offer anything for free because you could attract email subscribers who aren’t well suited for your paid offer and might unsubscribe right away.

Choosing the right freebie can take time when it’s your first try. Consider who would the perfect customer look like for your business and what problems can you solve for them with a freebie? Consider all the options you have to create a free item that they wouldn’t hesitate to sign up for.

Some popular ideas for lead-magnets are:

Here’s a great example of a freebie and lead magnet from Gabby Bernstein

2: Have a customized landing page specifically for Instagram

Once you have your freebie picked out, you’ll want to make it very easy for your Instagram audience to opt-in and subscriber right away. This can be done best by utilizing a custom page on your website specifically designed to capture leads. You can easily create landing pages with the email service provider I use, ConvertKit.

(Image Source: ConvertKit)

3: Use one clear call-to-action (in posts and in your bio)

It may be easy enough to ask your audience to “click here, learn more, leave a comment, like, and follow” in one sentence, but don’t. Asking your audience to take too many actions will result in overwhelming them into not taking any action.

The best way to get your audience to subscribe is by using one clear call to action that leads them to something free. This applies to more than just your bio and should be common practice for your daily Instagram posts.

Remember these rules when creating your CTA’s:

  • A strong call-to-action stands alone and tells your customers exactly what to do next.
  • Keep it direct, short and urgent.
  • Make it obvious (use emojis, arrows, and etc to bring attention to your CTA)

4: Promote your freebie and call-to-action in your Instagram stories

Instagram stories are hot for humanizing your brand and provide unique behind-the-scenes for your audience to become more delighted and engaged with your content. But, Instagram stories can also be used to increase your email list.

One of the best ways I’ve done this for my own brand, and how I’ve seen this done by others, is to create 2-4 stories that lead up to the freebie offer. Why? Because you need to gain trust and permission to “sell” or “offer” something to the viewer.

Story #1: Prime them with a probing question or related story that reminds them of a similar problem they may be having

  • Example: “Setting up a successful Sunday self-care routine can really make all the difference in a productive work week”

Story #2: Then solve their problem by providing them a queue to grab your freebie

  • Example Option #1: “Kill it this week by grabbing your copy of my step-by-step Sunday routine, head to the link in bio now!”
  • Example Option #2: “Kill it this week by grabbing your copy of my step-by-step Sunday routine, Swipe Up now!” (Swipe up is only available if you have 10k followers)

Below is a good example from Brit and Co where they start their stories off with a “story” and lead to a call-to-action in the last story with the last story action being “swipe up to see more”.

Pro tip: Use geotags and hashtags in your stories to reach new Instagram users.

If you’re ready to start growing your email list and are feeling inspired to start now, click here to grab this free workbook full of 10 actionable assignments to take for growing your email list fast!

 5: Ghost Posting your freebie offer

This one may throw you off guard and may be up for debate, but let’s agree not to knock it until you’ve tried it! This strategy takes a few steps but, done once or twice a week, could grow your email list a lot!

Here’s how it works and why it’s called a “Ghost Post”:

  1. First, you post an image designed to promote your freebie.
  2. Post it with a clear call-to-action caption like “Get this free right now, link in bio”
  3. Leave the post up for a couple of hours to generate some interest, then archive the post so it doesn’t show up on your grid anymore

You may be wondering why you would archive the post, right? Well, think about it. Do you really want to follow a brand who posts graphics that promote freebies constantly? Probably not. So, this keeps your Instagram grid clean but also allows you to get your free offer in front of your audience more frequently.

This strategy is called a “Ghost posting” because it allows you to post content that promotes your freebies to followers for a short period of time, much like an ad is considered a “Ghost Post”. But, after archiving it, your posts won’t show up on your grid anymore and ‘poof’ it’s gone.

Link in bio ghost posting on Instagram

Pro tip: Spend some of the time to explore Instagram hashtags related to your freebie and engage with the top 9 posts, much like Gary V suggests here in his $1.80 strategy Don’t forget to use hashtags and geotags to reach new people on the platform who aren’t already familiar with your content.

6: Create highlights for each lead magnet

Remember how I suggested you post your freebies in your stories? Well, I forgot to mention that you should track which of those stories gets the most clicks, because once you’ve spent some time promoting your free offers on Instagram stories, you can save those stories as highlights (plus reuse those designs for story ads – brilliant!).

Highlighting your free offers gives new visitors something to discover and learn about while viewing your profile. In addition to that, these highlights also provide you another place to promote and mention freebies in your posts. For example, you could say “For more info, visit the highlight in my bio labeled: free ebook.” 

highlight cover example

7. Back up (almost) everything you post with a content upgrade and call-to-action

One strategy that I’ve tried in the past, that has worked really well for me in generating clicks and opt-ins, is to add a content upgrade or call-to-action in every post. Much like you, I like to keep my grid looking a certain way, so I keep promotional graphics to a minimum. That said, I will offer a 2nd graphic to an Instagram carousel and encourage my viewers to “swipe for more”.

Instagram Post Example Call to Action

8. Host an Instagram challenge (contests or giveaways work too)

Hosting challenges, contests, or giveaways is another great strategy to bring value to your audience and encourage more email subscribers to sign up. As long as you keeping your audience’s specific problems and your business end-goals in mind, this can work magic for you.

The key to running the right campaign is to align your products and services with a challenge that also provides a meaningful transformation for your audience. You want to ensure that your audience gets something meaningful from the challenge and not just a sales pitch.

9. Run Instagram Story Ads

One of the best, but little-known secrets, is that Instagram story ads can convert like crazy. Compared to other placement options, Instagram stories have yielded higher conversion results in my own business, which makes it prime real estate for running an inexpensive ad and marketing campaign.

I don’t know about you, but I like getting the most bang for my buck. The results will likely change over time as more and more brands jump on the bandwagon, which is why you should get started with Instagram story ads for your business.

10.  Keep content fresh: Change up your freebies and incentives

Offering the same freebies week after week can get boring for your followers, which is why its never a bad idea to create fresh incentives and freebies to keep them engaged and growing right along with you. Creating new freebies and incentives doesn’t need to be complicated. Simple checklists or worksheets work really well. Focus on providing easy-wins and you’ll continue to delight your audience without adding overwhelm to your social media marketing.

Ready to grow your email list?

If you’re ready to start growing your email list and are feeling inspired to start now, click here to grab this free workbook full of 10 actionable assignments to take for growing your email list fast!



First, make sure you read this blog post about creating 30 days worth of Instagram content here and learn how to create a colorful month of content in as little as 5 minutes.

Plus, check out these Instagram tips:


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