There’s a big problem with the Instagram audience you’ve worked so hard to build.
You don’t own it.
Instagram’s complex algorithm decides how many of your followers get to see your content—not you. Studies peg global reach on Instagram at only 34.37%—that means if you have 10,000 followers, only a third of them will even see your content.
Whether you’re a musician, podcaster, or writer, numbers like that aren’t great. If your Instagram followers never see your new album release, the podcast episode you just dropped, or the article you published, they won’t even know it happened. You need as many of your followers as possible to see your content, especially after they’ve already shown an interest in your creativity by following you.
That’s where email subscribers come in.
Unlike your Instagram audience, you own your list of email subscribers. If you have 10,000 email subscribers, every single email you send will make its way into 10,000 inboxes. The reach of email makes it far easier to build relationships and trust with everyone interested in your products and services, not just one-third of them.
Just like you, we like those email statistics much more.
It’s time to turn your Instagram audience into email subscribers.
Why Instagram is a powerful tool to grow your email audience
Let’s be clear: social media and email aren’t exclusive. Creators can (and should!) use both platforms together to grow their audience.
Think of Instagram as an excellent tool for finding people who love what you’re creating. Social media platforms like Instagram help you reach like-minded people. With over one billion users, Instagram can help people who love your style of music, art, writing, and more find you. The average user spends 7 hours per week on the platform, scrolling content they find entertaining, educational, or inspiring. Yup, that includes your content!
The problem is, social media isn’t the best tool for maintaining that relationship. The Instagram algorithm doesn’t want to hide your content from your followers. It’s just showing them the content they’ve shown interest in and the content that will keep them on the platform as long as possible.
Will they see your content eventually? Yes, but only after they’ve scrolled and scrolled through all of the other posts their algorithm has prioritized for them.
Email lists don’t rely on an algorithm like this. Using email, you can tell your 10,000 subscribers you just dropped a new podcast episode. You can talk about your latest EP, the article you just published to your blog, or send a link to your next virtual comedy show. Guess who just found out about your new podcast episode, EP, article, or comedy show? 10,000 people.
We like that number a lot more than 3,000.
5 strategies for turning your Instagram audience into email subscribers
Think of email as the peanut butter to Instagram’s jelly: You can use Instagram to reach hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people interested in what you’re creating. Then, you can turn those followers into email subscribers so you can own your audience (and create a safety net that ensures they’ll see your content!).
Here are five strategies for turning your Instagram audience into email subscribers:
#1: Align your calls-to-action across your channels
Your emails are valuable. People would love to see your name in their inbox.
The thing is, they need to know what they’re getting by subscribing—and that begins by clearly explaining the value your newsletter provides.
Let’s say you’re a musician promoting your weekly newsletter that highlights all the shows your band is playing that month. You don’t want to promote it on Instagram by saying, “Subscribe to our newsletter!”—there’s little incentive for visitors to sign up.
Instead, be clear about the value you provide. As marketing expert Harry Dry puts it, “Buttons which amplify ‘value’ over ‘action’ usually perform better.” He calls these value amplifying buttons calls-to-value—a play on the more commonly-used calls-to-action. For example, a band’s call-to-value to subscribe to their newsletter could be, “Subscribe to get first access to tickets!”. Once you’ve figured out your call-to-value, you want to use it consistently across your channels.
Freelancing School has nailed its call-to-value. Instead of asking people to subscribe to get freelancing content, they created a free, five-day course that comes free with subscribing. Jay Clouse, the creator of Freelancing School, tells ConvertKit, “The free email course is a very tangible, high-value offer that also starts to build a relationship with the reader. Not only do they subscribe, but by the end of the email course, people know what I'm about and have started to trust me.”
When Freelancing School promotes subscribing to their email list on Instagram, they use the same call-to-value as you see on their website. This consistency makes it clear what their audience can expect from opting in.
Here are some examples of how to show your audience the value of your newsletter or emails:
- A musician or band can send early bird discounts, do merch giveaways, or give first access to buy show tickets to their subscribers.
- A podcaster can let their subscribers know when a new episode is live, do subscriber-only giveaways, or let subscribers ask guests or the podcaster questions.
- A writer can give first access to brand new articles, answer subscriber questions, or give workshops or lessons in their emails.
- A company can create a free self-taught course (ahem, Freelancing School), offer free training with experts in their product’s industry, or give access to premium content to their subscribers.
If you need more inspiration, we’ve rounded up 25 powerful calls-to-action for you.
#2: Splinter your newsletter content into Instagram content
Create content once, but use it twice. Not only does this strategy save you time, it also helps promote your emails. When you repurpose an email newsletter into an Instagram post, you’re reminding your reader that you have more than just Instagram content. You have a newsletter, email course, training, or whatever it is you send to your subscribers that people love to see in their inbox.
Splintering content is a strategy used in content marketing to repurpose one piece of content into several pieces you can promote across different channels. For example, you might turn your email newsletter into an Instagram post, a Tweet thread, an article, a YouTube video, a podcast episode, a Twitter Spaces conversation, and more.
Think of this as creating FOMO for your email content. When you continually show your Instagram audience all the exclusive content, training, access to tickets, and more that your email subscribers get—they’re going to think, “I want in on that, too!”
You can either turn your emails into Instagram captions or Stories. Each post or Story will summarize or highlight a part of your email and tell people where they can subscribe. The goal of splintering your email content into Instagram content is to promote your emails to your Instagram audience by showing them what they’re missing.
Ryan Holiday is splintering his email content from Daily Dad, a daily email he sends about his experience as a parent. Here’s an Instagram post highlighting content from his Daily Dad emails with a caption telling his Instagram audience where they can subscribe.
This Instagram content shows his audience what they’re missing out on by not being subscribed to Daily Dad. It gives them the sneak peek they need to say, “I want in on that, too!”.
Splinter content from your emails to Instagram posts and Stories like:
- New song alerts or snippets of new music (for musicians)
- Quick summary of show notes from recently launched podcast episodes (for podcasters)
- A look inside your latest product launch (for eCommerce entrepreneurs)
- An overview of an email training (for freelancers and companies)
- Your recipes (for chefs)
Remember to tell your Instagram audience they can find more of this content by subscribing to your emails and telling them where they can subscribe.
#3: Show behind-the-scenes glimpses into your newsletter process
As a creator, your audience loves to see more than just your creations. They love to watch time-lapses of you painting, get sneak peeks as you record new music, or get to have a say in what your next article is about.
By creating behind-the-scenes content for your emails, you get to show them another side of your business and life. Showing the behind-the-scenes of writing your emails shows your audience that you have more than just great Instagram content. You also have emails that give them specific value (remember your call-to-value from Strategy #1?).
Creating behind-the-scenes content that gives your Instagram audience a say in your email content makes them want to see the final result. Instagram gives you lots of opportunities to connect with your audience with Question Stickers and Poll Stickers. By adding these stickers to your Instagram stories, you can let your audience know you’re about to write your weekly training or release exclusive content. Ask them what they want to see from you, and then let them know where to subscribe.
Here are some ideas for creating behind-the-scenes content for your emails
- Writers can use the Question Sticker to ask their Instagram audience what topic they want the writer to cover in their next newsletter.
- Podcasters can use the Poll Sticker to see which question their Instagram audience wants them to answer in their weekly email.
- Musicians can show themselves writing their email and adding an early bird discount to in-person show tickets, selling their music online, merch, etc.
- Businesses can record a story talking about what they just wrote in their newsletter and when it will be live (so people can subscribe before it goes live!).
As long as every post talking about your emails shows where someone can subscribe: you’re doing it right.
#4: Create a link page for your Instagram bio
To make it easy for your audience to subscribe, it’s always best to create a designated place where they can opt-in to your email list. When you promote your newsletter and emails in your Instagram content, you’ll direct your audience to that landing page by telling them to click the link in your bio.
But what should you do when you have more than one thing you’re promoting? Your newsletter, podcast episodes, upcoming shows, new articles, products, and other social channels all need to have a space for promotion. Promote all of them at once with a link page that you can put in your bio and links to all the offers your audience would be interested in. This makes it easy for you to say, “Link in bio!” and for your audience to find the resource or product you were referring to.
- Listen to her podcast
- Apply for her mastermind
- Apply for 1:1 Brand Coaching
- Book a 1:1 Brand Strategy Intensive
- Take her Stop Dreaming, Start Doing Challenge
- Visit her website
Hollie says, “I love growing my audience on Instagram, but my long-term goal is to create lasting relationships with my audience through email. The ConvertKit link pages make it super easy for me to make that happen and easy for my audience to join my list. As a brand strategist & coach, I love that I can customize it so it’s on-brand and the whole experience is consistent too!”
Using ConvertKit’s link pages, you can make it easy to show your Instagram audience where they can become a subscriber. You don’t even need a website to grow your email list.
If you don’t want to use the link in your Instagram bio for just email subscriptions (because you’re also selling tickets, merch, masterminds, or courses), link pages are your answer. You can link out to a content gallery, button list, Instagram feed, or a Storefront and give your audience a choice of where they want to navigate.
- Sign into your ConvertKit account
- Click on Landing Pages & Forms in the top navigation menu
- Click the “Create New” button
- Choose “Landing Page”
- Select “Links” in the left-hand options
- Choose your template
- Customize your links
- Click “Save and Publish”
#5: Promote your newsletter at least three times a week
Your Instagram audience isn’t going to see every post and Story. Hopefully, they’ll catch the majority of them, but that still means they’ll miss some. If you post about your emails on Monday, but that’s the busiest day of the week for one of your followers—they might not have a chance to see your Instagram post or Story.
This is where consistency comes into play. As a creator, you not only want to create consistent content. You also want to promote your email list consistently. Remember, the more engaged, larger Instagram audience you have, the more prints, seats, tickets, merch, and views.
Since the Instagram algorithm rewards profiles that consistently post with more reach, the more you post, the more people will see your content. The more people that see your Instagram content, the more followers can turn into subscribers (woo-hoo!).
Posting about your newsletter at least three times a week is a great start. If this sounds like a lot, you’re probably thinking you need to create a huge promotion for your emails each time. That’s not the case.
Courtney, @SelfCareCreature on Instagram, uses an Instagram caption to remind her followers that her Growth Trotters email is “dropping this a.m..”.
Here’s an example of what your email promos might look like on Instagram for one week:
- Monday: Splinter your newsletter from last week into an Instagram graphic with a caption that tells your audience where to subscribe
- Wednesday: A behind-the-scenes look at you writing your email (you can also use the Question Sticker or Poll Sticker on Stories to ask your audience to help you write it)
- Friday: A quick reminder on Stories that your email is getting sent out in 24 hours and where people can subscribe to be able to get it
Create a habit of posting about your emails at least three times a week with a posting schedule. It will help you stay on track and make sure you don’t miss promotions when life inevitably gets in the way.
Your Instagram followers WANT to be email subscribers
Longevity in your creative career relies on having an audience interested in listening to your music, tuning into your podcast episodes, and reading your articles. Even though social platforms like Instagram are a great place to build an audience, they’re never where you want to keep that audience.
Drive your Instagram followers towards your email using these strategies, so you don’t have to worry about the algorithm. Using email, you can reach everyone on your list and build a loyal audience of people who love and support your creativity.
Your Instagram followers would love to subscribe to your emails, but they can only do it when you create a frictionless, easy way for them to become subscribers. Creatives like you are exactly who ConvertKit was built to help—our link pages make it easy to promote to your Instagram audience, write automated emails sent out as soon as someone subscribes, and keep in touch with your subscribers. Grab your free ConvertKit account, and start making the most of your Instagram audience today!