Followers are great, but newsletter subscribers are even better. Yes, even in the all-powerful Instagram era, the newsletter is still the best shot you have at opening a direct communication channel with your customers. A channel you can highly personalize and customize to fit different categories of clients.

Think about it this way: on Instagram, you have to pray hard for your post to appear in your followers’ feeds or throw the glove and pay for sponsored posts. With a newsletter, on the other hand, you’ll be able to talk to your subscribers whenever you want and be sure that they’ll see you knocking on their online door. This is not to say that you should talk the spammy talk (that’s punishable with the “unsubscribe” button). Instead, it means that your important key messages will reach all subscribers and have a real chance of getting answered.

Thus, designing a funnel that turns potential followers into followers and then newsletter subscribers is essential. And today we’re going to focus on how you can make this 2nd magic step happen. So buckle up, we’re in for an exciting ride!

1. Offer followers a compelling incentive

There’s a reason for the saying “The best things in life are free”. And turning followers into newsletter subscribers requires a strategy deeply rooted in this saying. Followers love to be pampered with free goodies, whether these come in the form of giveaways, discounts, prizes, free samples, courses or…anything with the word “free” in front.

In specialty terms, this can be referred to as a “lead magnet” (if you’re feeling pretentious). We go by another saying “What’s in a name?” and rather focus on results than get tangled up in terms. So, if you want followers to sign up for your newsletter, what you need to do is to create an incentive that can be redeemed by sign-in-up with the e-mail address!

Of course, the incentive you will create will totally differ depending on what you’re promoting (is it a product? a service? yourself?) and your target audience. Let’s say that you’re selling a product. Then, your best chance might be to create a discount for your product. Things would totally change in case you are selling a service. Then, think about giving away a free course or give-away that relates closely to your area of expertise. The beauty of incentives is that they can wildly vary and are only limited by your imagination: it can be a coupon, a free guide, a DIY book, a contest, a discount or what not!

Oh, a myth we want to debunk is that incentives need to be expensive. That’s not at all true! Sure, they are going to require some time from your part and that’s surely valuable. However, with a bit of imagination, hard-work can replace high-budgets and give you a pretty return on your time investment. For example, free-guides can be entirely created by you and your team. And since these are online, no money needs to go into printing. While this might not apply to every business, there are still ways to create non-expensive incentives.

2. Create a special landing page for your incentive

It won’t take long for you to realize that your incentive needs an online home  – a place where followers can find out more info about what you’re offering or what challenge you’re proposing (and what you’re offering in return). The trick is that you’ll be asking your followers to leave Instagram. But for the trick to work, you need to make the place you’re directing them to, awesome!

Redirecting your followers to your homepage is not the way to go. You don’t want to make it hard for them to find the offer hidden somewhere among the pages of your website. Why? Well, because they won’t! You need to directly lead them to the landing page of your offer. And this page needs to be beautifully designed, as easy to understand as possible, AND (this is crucial) have the e-mail sign-up form in plain sight! Just have a look at Upwork’s neat and to the point landing page. 

3. Craft a strong CTA to show-off your incentive

Okay, so you’ve done everything by the book: you took the time to brainstorm which incentive would work best for you, then you took even more time to find the best form for this incentive and you created a stunning landing page. Now, what do you do with these? How does this work? Was it all for nothing?! Don’t despair, this is when the fun begins!

Because the big moment has arrived! The moment to…craft a CTA! And the best place for this CTA is in your bio. Yeap, you heard that! Your bio is the perfect spot to place the CTA for your incentive, alongside a link for Instagramers to follow. There are two ways you can put this into action and you can either play them individually or create a nice mix between them:

1. Use your Instagram Bio

Oh, yes, the almighty Instagram bio – your time to shine! Here you can squeeze the essence of your brand/service in a few sentences and some hand-picked emojis. But it’s also the spot where you can redirect the attention of your followers (and potential followers) to the campaigns you’re running or other initiatives you’re planning to implement.

2. Put a nice spin on your Stories

This functionality is only available verified accounts or for business profiles with more than 10,000 followers, but it truly does the work that it’s supposed to. And that is to add a link to the content in your Stories! This will appear as a pointing up arrow which once clicked, redirects the users to wherever you want them to. Pretty neat, right? 

In a nutshell

If you have the “tl;dr” fever today, here’s the short story of how you can turn Instagram followers into newsletter subscribers:

  1. Create a killer opt-in incentive (aka lead magnet)
  2. Design a stunning landing page for the incentive
  3. Redirect Instagram followers to the landing page by using your Instagram Bio or Instagram Stories

Now, get to work! 


Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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