Sales & Marketing

How to get leads & email subscribers with Instagram

Let's be honest: We love our followers and engaging them on Instagram, but if we can't convert it to sales, then our business will suffer.

But how do we turn our Instagram followers into customers? There's only one 'best way' to do it, and that's what we'll cover in this guide. Let's dive in.

In this guide we'll cover 🤔

  • How to turn Instagram followers into leads & email subscribers
  • How to make Instagram users want to give you their email address
  • The #1 way to get emails & grow followers (at the same time)
  • How to make sure the email addresses you get are valid (not fake )
  • How to reach more prospects & get more leads with collabs
  • Ideas for your next Instagram marketing campaign

Instagram gets 4X more engagement than any other social network and has one of the largest user bases (billions of users!). After reading this guide you'll know the best way to tap into that opportunity to get more leads, subscribers and sales.

Why email subscribers are more valuable than social followers

Social media marketing and email marketing go hand in hand. In general, social media is for discovery, and email marketing is for conversion (sales). So let's talk about why.

Why it's easier to monetize email subscribers than social followers

People generally browse social media in their free time. It's entertainment, just like TV. So use social media well, and you'll grow your following and get discovered by more people.

But because social is for browsing, it's harder to convert those followers into customers. For example, the average engagement rate on Instagram is just 0.8%. It's low because it's less purpose-driven than email, which is a direct connection to customers. On the other hand, the average email open rate is around 20%, which is much higher than the 0.8% engagement rate of Instagram. That's why email marketing is more effective at conversion than social media.

When it comes to marketing ROI, social is still good, with an ROI of 28%. But the ROI on email marketing is a whopping 3800%. That means for every $1 you invest in email marketing you make $38!

That's why social media marketing on Instagram and email marketing work so well together: Grow your audience on Instagram, then convert them into email subscribers to drive sales. You need both for an effective marketing strategy.

The power of owning the customer relationship

The most important thing about email marketing is that you own your email list. Your email list is a valuable asset representing a direct relationship with your customers--it is their permission to market directly to them.

Social media is different because somebody else owns the platform. If the social platform shuts down or closes your account, you lose access to all your customers, and your business dies. But email is different: you'll always have access to your email list, and you can move it to any email marketing provider. That's the power of owning the customer relationship.

However, getting discovered and building an email list is hard. That's why we leverage social media: for discovery. Social media is where people discover your brand. Then you convert those followers into email subscribers to nurture and grow that relationship, eventually converting them into loyal customers.

But how do you get your Instagram followers to give you their email addresses? That's what we'll cover next.

How to make Instagram users want to give you their email address

What if you could make your Instagram followers want to give you their email addresses to subscribe to your newsletter or become leads? Wouldn't that be amazing? Well, you can.

Rather than beg your followers to give you their email, you need to engage and incentivize:

  1. Engage: Engage your followers where they are, in ways they love.
  2. Incentivize: Use the right incentives to get people on your email list.

Engaging users where they are in ways they love

Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all of the social networks for a reason. People are there because they want to be engaged, and Instagram is the best at facilitating that. So leverage Instagram's native engagement functionality for likes, follows, and comments to engage your users. We'll talk more about the best way to do this later in the guide.

Incentivize followers to join your email list

Humans operate based on incentives: You work to earn money. You follow laws, so you don't go to jail. You eat, so you're not hungry. These are all incentive-based behaviors, as most human behaviors are.

So, what incentive are you giving your Instagram followers to sign up for your email list? There are multiple ways to do this, but there's only one best way.

The #1 way to get emails & grow followers (at the same time)

As we covered above, to turn Instagram followers into email subscribers, we have to 1) engage users where they are in ways they love and 2) incentivize them to become email subscribers. So how can we do both?

We do this by leveraging the best engagement and growth strategy on Instagram: Instagram giveaways.

You've probably seen Instagram giveaways and maybe even participated in a few. But we're not running giveaways for fun here--we're running giveaways with a specific purpose: Turn Instagram followers into email subscribers and customers.

If you've never run an Instagram giveaway before, we wrote an in-depth Instagram giveaway guide here that you may want to review first. But here's the gist:

  1. Instagram giveaways incentivize users to take action (follow giveaway rules) for a chance to win a prize.
  2. Giveaway rules should maximize engagement, follower growth, and getting email subscribers (example below).
  3. Use a giveaway prize only your target customer would want (inexpensive prizes are ok).
  4. The typical Instagram giveaway length is 2-3 days (up to 1 week for collabs or expensive prizes).
  5. Overlay the text 'GIVEAWAY' on your Instagram post, so it catches attention as users scroll their feeds.

Those are just a few tips on running a good Instagram giveaway. For more guidance and a comprehensive checklist, check out our free Instagram giveaway guide.

When planning your Instagram giveaway, the most important thing to get right is the Instagram giveaway rules you use. They must be easy to follow and achieve your business goals. To maximize entries, follower growth, and email subscribers, we recommend using the following giveaway rules for entry criteria:

Example Instagram giveaway rules template to get email subscribers

  1. Follow me
  2. Like this post
  3. Tag 3 friends in the comments
  4. Subscribe to my newsletter (LINK IN BIO!)

Now, let's break down why we use each rule:

  • Follow me: Getting more followers grows your audience. And when people tag their friends, their friends will also follow you if they want to enter your giveaway.
  • Like this post: More engagement is always good and gets you more exposure.
  • Tag 3 friends in the comments: This helps your post go viral and grow faster when all entrants tag their friends, who will tag more friends.
  • Subscribe to my newsletter: This is the most important rule since it directly turns your Instagram followers into valuable email subscribers. This step is last because if you've already completed the above steps, you're committed and more likely to complete this step too.

We've focused on growing email subscribers to get more customers so far, but a lovely side effect of Instagram giveaways is that this will also grow your Instagram following, which will also help you get more email subscribers in the future. It's a cycle that continually builds on itself!

Depending on your process, you can run Instagram giveaways 2-4 times per month to maximize growth without overdoing it.

It may seem overwhelming, but running Instagram giveaways is quite easy once you get your process down. And speaking of process, next, we'll cover how to simplify the Instagram giveaway process.

How to manage an Instagram leads the easy way

If you have hundreds or thousands of giveaway entries, it might seem overwhelming to track all of those and determine who has completed all of the giveaway entry steps. Thankfully, the POPSMASH Instagram giveaway app can do this all for you automatically. It can also pick a random winner based on who has completed all of your giveaway entry criteria.

We covered why Instagram giveaways are the best way to get email subscribers, leads, and customers through Instagram. But this only works if the email addresses you get from your giveaways are valid. If you only get fake email addresses, you'll never be able to monetize and turn your followers into customers. Well, you're in luck because that's what we'll cover next!

How to make sure the emails you get are valid (not fake)

We've all used fake emails when signing up for email lists before. This might be fine for something free, but if you're giving away a prize that you've spent your hard-earned money on, you need to make sure the emails you're getting are valid. So, how can you do this?

Rather than asking users to type in their email address manually, you need to have them authenticate with a trusted service to ensure their email address is valid. Since these are Instagram users, it's easier to have them authenticate with Instagram and give permission to share their real email address with you directly. This process also avoids the issue of typos (accidentally typing the wrong email address).

Lucky for you, POPSMASH can do this for you automatically by allowing users to authenticate with Instagram to ensure you're receiving validated email addresses.

This also relates to the next important step related to measuring your campaign's ROI: Making sure only those who subscribed to your mailing list are entered to win your giveaway (or counted as bonus entries). The most important part is tying the conversion (subscribing to your email list) to the giveaway entry.

How to match email address opt-ins (conversions) to giveaway entries to measure ROI

For your campaign to work, you need to measure how many valid entries you're getting that are converting to email subscribers. This is the process of tying the email newsletter opt-in (the conversion) to the giveaway entry on your Instagram post to 1) ensure the entry is valid and 2) measure how effective your campaign is.

Remember from the last section how POPSMASH can validate email addresses for you? Well, it can also tie those email addresses to Instagram users at the same time so you can confirm who and how many people have completed your giveaway rules.

Now we see how this all works together:

  1. Run an Instagram giveaway with a rule requiring users to subscribe to your email list
  2. Validate email addresses on entry with a 3rd-party service
  3. Match email addresses to giveaway entries to ensure only valid entries are eligible
  4. Measure ROI from followers giveaway entries email opt-ins to track conversions

That's why we built POPSMASH to do this for you automatically: you just post your giveaway, and we do the rest.

But do you know what would make this whole process even better? Expanding your reach by collaborating with others in your industry or with complementary businesses. So let's talk about how.

What if I don't have a big Instagram audience?

It might seem like you need a large audience to use this technique, but that's not true. Why? Because you can collaborate with others and leverage their audience to get more email subscribers or leads, plus grow your own Instagram audience.

This is one of the most underrated Instagram hacks of all time because you get access to millions of Instagram followers without putting in the work to grow your following. Instead, you pay others (e.g., with creators in your niche) with a relevant audience to borrow their following and create highly targeted traffic.

New to Instagram collabs? No problem, let's talk next about using Instagram collabs to grow your email list and get leads.

How to get even more subscribers & leads with collabs

You might have a large audience, but with over 1 billion people on Instagram, there are always more potential customers out there. Collabs (short for collaborations) help you tap into a broader audience to maximize your reach.

Instagram collabs work by making joint posts (usually giveaways) with similar audiences (e.g., similar or complementary industry or the save local service area).

In the past, Instagram giveaway collabs required multiple posts: One from each person running the giveaway. But thanks to Instagram's new collabs feature, you have the option to share one post, which makes the process much easier and consolidates engagement for a huge boost.

Instagram giveaway rules for collabs are similar, except you'll include your collaborators in each of the steps (example below). So, for example, instead of just saying 'Follow me' as a giveaway entry rule, you'd say 'Follow @soandso and me' to include your collaborator(s) usernames. Here's an example:

Example Instagram giveaway collab rules template to get email subscribers & leads

  1. Follow @soandso and me
  2. Like this post
  3. Tag 3 friends in the comments
  4. Subscribe to our newsletters (LINK IN BIO!)

Things can get complex fast, so try to keep it simple. POPSMASH helps with this by automatically tracking entries and email opt-ins for all involved.

For more tips on running Instagram giveaway collabs for broader reach, see the collabs section of our Instagram giveaway guide.

Other opportunities for using Instagram to get more leads, emails & customers

There are many opportunities to leverage Instagram to get more email subscribers, leads, and customers for your own business or your clients. Here are some examples:

  • Get subscribers for a paid newsletter
  • Grow an email list for your online store
  • Build a startup pre-launch list
  • Generate momentum for a product launch campaign
  • Build a following for Creator merch/swag offerings
  • Build a targeted lead gen list for your industry

These are just a few ideas, but thanks to the breadth of social media, there are opportunities to get more leads and email subscribers with Instagram for any industry!

Wrapping up! 🏆

This guide looked at everything you need to know about using Instagram to get more leads and email subscribers. We covered everything from why creating a direct relationship with your customers is so valuable to using the right incentives to attract those leads and email opt-ins.

We covered a lot because there's a lot that goes into leveraging Instagram for leads and sales. Now, wouldn't it be great if there was a tool that did the hard stuff for you? Well, you're in luck: it's called POPSMASH, and we built it just for you ❤️

So, now that you know what to do and how to do it, get out there and start building your list!

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Cofounder of POPSMASH
Antonio is a long-time tech veteran and the cofounder of POPSMASH