How to turn your Instagram followers into email subscribers

By Ritvars Lauza read
02 Apr, 2024
How to turn your Instagram followers into email subscribers

In times when the world of Instagram is ruled by a seemingly uncrackable algorithm, the life of businesses, influencers and digital creators can be a bit difficult, to say the least. 

As a digital creator who sells products via social media, you may have noticed that the Instagram algorithm has created anxiety of some sort due to the fact that it is rumored that only about 10% of your audience actually sees what you post.

This is a serious issue and many marketers have voiced their concerns about it. But is there a way to work around it?

There are several strategies to help you deal with the Instagram algorithm “problem”. However, none of them can guarantee that all of your followers will see the content you’ve created.

And here the main question arises – is there a way to ensure that your content reaches your Instagram followers every time?

It turns out there is – by taking the relationship with your audience from Instagram to their inboxes.

Why does email marketing work?

The point of using Instagram is to create visually appealing content that will spark interest in your followers, who’d later be open to engaging with your product. But in some cases, a thousand likes for a picture does not necessarily translate to a thousand dollars in sales.

However, emails are a whole different story.

The data shows that email marketing is 40% more effective than social media. Consider the amount of time and money put in one of your company’s or your own Instagram account and then ask yourself – how many sales will you make out of your email marketing efforts?

Source: OptinMonster

Fortunately, there are plenty of sources that show the general overview for return on investment (ROI) when comes to social media vs. email. And the results show a clear dominance of email with a 41% ROI.

So, how much is your customer’s email address worth? It depends on how many contacts you have on your list, what your usual conversion rate is, and what your average order value is.

# of Contacts X Sales Conversion Rate X Average Order Value = Revenue

Source: Justuno

That means if you have 1000 email list subscribers, a 2% conversion rate, and your average order value is $10, your email list will generate $200 in revenue. And to find out what the revenue per lead is, use this equation:

$200 / 1000 contacts = $0.20 revenue per email lead

In this case, we can conclude that each email from your contact list can earn you $0.20 in revenue. Not that bad, is it?

Now that you’re charmed by all the data and think that you need email marketing in your life, the big question arises – how to convert your Instagram followers to your email list subscribers?

And the answer is: with a little help of digital freebies.

Using digital freebies to grow your email list

First of all, let’s find out what are digital freebies. Basically, they are any type of digital product that is offered free of charge. For digital creators, those are usually digital products, such as e-books, music, photo presets, etc. 

Why do freebies work?

Many marketers say that this is one of the top strategies to use due to the fact that it helps you earn customers’ trust. Therefore, offering freebies can be the first step to actually selling your products, which, of course, is the goal for every business. 

There are other reasons – besides that it’s in human nature to love free stuff – why freebies work.

By giving away a freebie you’re taking a proactive step in the right direction. When you’re the one taking the first step, the chances of people subscribing to your newsletter are higher than if you simply sit and wait for that to happen. Besides, if there’s a valuable freebie involved, you increase your chances of getting their email addresses even more.

Now, where do you start?

Go to your Sellfy store, and from the dashboard go to Products, then Freebies. There, create and save your freebie.

Have no idea what to offer? No worries – we got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of 10 freebie ideas that you can offer your followers.

#1: Presets for images

We live in a time where just taking a picture isn’t enough. Since Instagram was born, people have started to love using filters for image enhancement.

Therefore, if you’re into photography and know how to create presets, you can share one of your creations with your followers for free. For example, this photographer’s passion is to create presets that turn a seemingly ordinary image into a magical story of composition and color. 

Source: Sorelle Amore

#2: Fonts

Another freebie that you can offer is fonts. If you’re a designer or typographer you can create a font (or share one that you’ve already created) and offer it to your followers. And as your followers are most likely interested in design, it’s pretty safe to say that they won’t say no to a new, cool, and free font.

For example, this team of designers creates original fonts for other designers and art directors and shares them on their Sellfy store for free. And the variety of offered font styles is really impressive.

Source: Freegoodies

#3: Budget templates

Budget templates are an essential financial tool. Have some financial skills and knowledge to share? Creating your own monthly budget template and offer it as a freebie to your potential customers.

You can share your budget template with some additional tips and tricks of financial planning, so your followers can use it to create a precise budget sheet.

Lifestyle photographer Chris Hau shares knowledge on how to use and fill out a budget sheet if you’re a freelancer. In addition, he offers to download the budget sheet he uses for free on his Sellfy store.

Source: thechrishau

#4: Video overlays

If you love creating videos, you’re probably used or even created some video overlays that add an artistic vibe to your content. Therefore, another freebie that you can share with your followers is a video overlay.

As people’s interest in watching and creating videos is growing every day, we can safely assume that this freebie would be a valuable product to offer.

Music video editor Creative Ryan offers a grungy video overlay as a freebie on his Sellfy store and we love it! 

Source: Creative Ryan

#5: Image overlays

This is another creative idea for a freebie because everyone wants to create breathtaking images but sometimes filters just aren’t enough. Therefore, you need to use an image overlay to achieve the desired effect.

Your followers most likely are big fans of the content you create, therefore, offering them one of the overlays you use for your social media posts would be motivating and a valid reason to exchange their email address for it.

For instance, this creator shares a passion for creating image overlays that can add the magic of the golden hour to any photo of your choosing.

Source: Daniel Schiffer

#6: Fitness workout guide

It’s no secret that working out can positively impact your health. If you create content that is based on a healthy and active lifestyle you can offer a free workout plan for your followers to try out.

For example, since it’s the beginning of the year, 28% of Americans are making a resolution to stay in shape. That means this freebie would not only be practical but also popular.

You can see in the example below that home workout guru Sia Cooper offers her fans a 25-day training program that’ll make all the muffin tops out there disappear. 

Source: Sia Cooper

#7: Music

If you’re a musician, offer a free song to your followers. Imagine how excited your fans would be if you would offer your newest single in return for their email address – yay!

As your Instagram followers most likely follow your musical adventures they will be very eager for this mutually beneficial exchange.

Take an example from the band Team Unicorn and share your free song with similar enthusiasm and excitement.

Source: Team Unicorn

#8: Books

As people are still fond of reading, turning a digital book into a freebie would be a top-notch idea. So, if you’re an author who wants to treat your audience with something they’ll consider valuable, offer them a book you wrote. 

Your digital book can come in the form of an e-book or an audiobook. And also – no pressure. You don’t have to write a whole new book. You can just offer a short story, poem, or anything else that your imagination and beautiful words can create.

Or you can do it like the health coach Ross Bridgeford and provide a whole guide on how to follow an alkaline diet.

Source: Live Energized

#9: Digital artwork

Sharing your creativity in the form of digital artwork is another great idea when comes to finding your niche of freebies. And let’s be real – who doesn’t appreciate a nice illustration or a really cool collage?

You can offer artwork that you’ve created previously or make a new one. The choice is up to you. You can find some inspiration here.

And you can present your followers with a new artwork every month – just like the greeting card, stationery, and gift company Ohh Deer offers a free phone and desktop wallpaper of original design every month. 

Source: Ohh deer

#10: Courses

You definitely have some knowledge and skills that you can share with others. And why not turn this into a freebie? It can be a language course, a weekly food plan, or a tutorial on how to practice meditation – whatever works for you and your audience, of course.

In addition, by sharing a course, you can help your followers to learn some new skills and save some money. It seems like a pretty fair deal, right?

Take a look at the example below where music mentor Adam McInnis offers a course in songwriting and get inspired from his freebie idea!

Source: Adam McInnis

Three ways to drive traffic to your freebie

Now that you’ve been inspired by all the great freebie ideas you’ll use to grow your email list, the next step is to understand how you can execute them. Or in other words, you need a plan on how to guide your fans from Instagram to your Sellfy store.

Here are three ways:

#1: Add a link to your store in your bio

Quite obvious – adding a link to your Sellfy store in your bio is probably the easiest way to lead your Instagram followers to your online store. Just open your profile’s settings, add a link, and you’re good to go. Make sure you remind your followers to go to your bio and click the link by simply mentioning this in your posts. 

Source: kodiakmilly

This link in your bio can lead to your freebie’s product page, or to your storefront if you’re hosting a giveaway or asking for their email addresses. 

#2: Swipe up stories

Instagram’s Stories feature has a huge impact on both businesses and individuals. 500 million users make and watch Instagram stories every day, they also receive higher conversion rates in comparison to regular posts. And you can use this high engagement to capture attention and direct your followers to your shop.

Bear in mind that the “Swipe up” option works if you have more than 10,000 followers. In case your follower list is smaller – use your bio (see option #1) or add links to your posts.

#3: Posts

The first step is to capture attention, the second – direct people to action. Instagram posts are the attention catchers, but how do you encourage action?

First, share a message that clearly states what you want your followers to do. So, instead of saying something vague like ”let’s connect”, tell them directly – ”subscribe to my email list”.  

Next, direct your followers either to your bio or stories. You can also place a link to your store in the post or on the image. In this case, make sure that it’s short and easy to memorize so that people can quickly type the URL in their browsers from their mobile phones.

Source: bemytravelmuse

What to do with your freshly made email subscriber list

Now that you have a freshly made email list – what’s next? Start sending your subscribers email marketing campaigns to boost your business.

Here are a few ideas for your very first campaign:

Upselling email

When a customer signs up for a digital freebie, deliver it to their inbox with a message that encourages them to take a look at your premium products on the shop. They’ve already expressed their interest in your products, so they might as well buy one of your paid products.

For example, if a customer signs up for your free yoga course, offer them to buy your ayurvedic recipe book or yoga mat. It’s clear that the person is interested in yoga, so don’t miss the opportunity to upsell your premium yoga products.

Highlighting your best sellers is a great way to upsell. Get inspired by the sportswear brand Asics – their upselling initiative is simple and sweet.

Deal emails

Share your hottest deals and offers on your store with your subscribers in their inboxes. Those can be Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales, 24-hour lightning deals or free shipping offers on your physical products.

Get inspired for more campaigns from examples here.

Product update emails

Let your email list subscribers know when a new product drops on your store so that they can be the first to buy it. You can also give your email contacts an exclusive peek behind the scenes of making new products and other updates.


In the world of 7.7 billion people, there are 1 billion active Instagram users and there are 3.8 billion email users. Imagine, what would be the effect on your sales if you combine both?

As Instagram is one of the most popular social networks with millions of people logging in every day, it would be a wasted opportunity not to use it to reach your goals of attracting new email list subscribers.

So, in conclusion, think about the ways you can entice your customers to subscribe by using digital freebies. Then all you have to do is to engage your followers in a conversation and give clear directions on how they can get from your Instagram account to your Sellfy store.

Then, all the possibilities are yours.

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Ritvars is the marketing lead at Sellfy. With over 6 years of experience in online marketing & eCommerce, Ritvars shares his knowledge in Sellfy blog. He is inspired by the success of Sellfy creators and is passionate about finding new ways how he can help them succeed.