How to Monetize Instagram with E-mail Marketing?
A Simple 6-Step Process to Start Making Money off Instagram.
Welcome boys and girls!
In this article, we’re going to learn how to monetize Instagram accounts with e-mail marketing.
I’m going to walk you through a process you can use today to start collecting e-mails from Instagram. It’s not hard to do and anyone who has the will can do it.
Let’s get into it.
Now, if you’re more of a visual person, then here will be a video of me explaining how it all works (still work in progress, so check back later).
To get started, let’s break the whole process down to 6 actionable steps.
Step 1: E-mail Marketing Software
Now, there are hundreds of different e-mail marketing software out there. Which one should you get?
To be honest, most of the popular ones (MailChimp, Aweber, Campaign Monitor, GetResponse to name a few) are good for the task. The price of these tools is more or less in the same range.
However, MailChimp comes with the most attractive offer. You can get it completely free for hosting 2,000 subscribers.
The pricing of these tools is usually calculated based on how many subscribers you have. Sometimes, also, on how many e-mails you send or how many times per month.
MailChimp is good to get started if you’re looking to start without spending anything.
If you have a small budget to start with, I would definitely recommend checking out ConvertKit. I’m using it myself for all my campaigns and I couldn’t be happier with it. The entry level price is $29/month. With that plan you can collect up to 1,000 subscribers.
Why ConvertKit over Mailchimp? Is it worth the extra $29/month?
In my opinion, ConvertKit gets better e-mail open rates and is much more flexible in terms of building automated campaigns. Whichever platform you go with, you should be looking to send out:
- Very simple text e-mails (I’ll explain later, why it’s important)
- Build any kind of rule based campaigns
Most platforms are suitable for that task, but for the sake of this article, let’s use ConvertKit as an example.
So if you want to go along with me step by step, sign up for ConvertKit 14-day Free trial.
Step 2: Set up an Opt-in Page
In order to get people’s e-mail addresses, we need to set up an opt-in landing page.
Now, since we’re on ConvertKit, we can easily create a landing page within the software.
Yes, that’s right.
With ConvertKit you can create and host e-mail opt-in landing pages so you don’t need to pay for hosting, hire designers or use any other e-mail landing page software.
That’s powerful! E-mail capture page software like LeadPages or Unbounce usually go for $49-99 per month. That’s something you don’t need to worry about.
1. Create a new form and select the option “Landing page”
2. Once you’ve selected the template you want to proceed with, simply add some content on the page. More on that in the next step.
Step 3: Create a Lead Magnet
What is a lead magnet?
Lead magnet, sometimes also called a freebie, is essentially something an email subscriber wants and is willing to exchange their e-mail address for. In the simplest terms, it can be a checklist, a report, a whitepaper, a mini course, an e-book etc.
Now, what if you dont have one yet?
Don’t sweat it.
In my experience, a simple shopping list is seen as valuable as a lengthy e-book or a course. Think what your audience would like to get and offer that.
I see so many people struggling with putting together a perfect lead magnet. I first started by creating a 7-day free e-mail course on Instagram marketing. (Which you can get, if you haven’t already).
And to be honest, not everyone will consider this valuable, as it’s a commitment. “Seriously, a 7-day course. I don’t have time for that” they might be thinking.
So, in addition, I’ve created:
- My Best 5 Growth Hacks for Instagram (1 A4 PDF Download)
- Instagram Engagement Groups List (1 e-mail with engagement group links)
I’m sure there’s also something you could offer your followers. Write it down in a document or e-mail.
When you’ve done that, set up an e-mail sequence.
You can send the initial e-mail immediately and then start sending additional value e-mails after a few days to keep your subscribers engaged.
If you’ve set up your sequence, go to Automation and add a rule. We want to start sending this sequence every time a subscriber opts in from the form we created earlier.
You see how easy it is to set up something that might have seemed so complicated?
That’s why I absolutely love ConvertKit.
Alright, let’s move on to the next step.
Step 4: Engage & Convert
So, now that you have everything set on the back-end, it’s time to get some leads.
Before you go about and start sending your opt-in page link, here’s one thing you might consider doing.
Get a bitly link – it’s totally free.
With Bitly you’re able to shorten your ugly looking URL into a nice neat short one. Additionally, you’ll get analytics. You’ll be able to see how many clicks you’re getting on your link and where these clicks are from.
This also gives you an idea which channels are working the best in terms of driving traffic, should you want to share it outside of Instagram as well.
Once you have that link, put it into your Instagram profile and draw some attention to it. Use emojis and give context why people should click on it.
Here’s an example from my account:
Now, you might not have a massive follower base yet. If you have less than 1,000 followers, chances are that you’re not getting a lot of clicks to this link (unless you’re giving away a free Ferrari).
What I suggest you do, is take some time from your day and devote that completely to reaching out to people and building relationships. It can be anything from 15 minutes to a few hours.
You can also spend your whole weekend on this. The bottom line is that the more you reach out the more leads you will get – end of story.
Here’s one free tool that can help you automate following, unfollowing and liking certain accounts that you pre-select – Combin.
Which users should you reach out to?
Here’s my top strategies for finding the right people:
- Your followers – it’s my number one choice because if you reach out to them, it’s very likely that they will notice you and they are willing to have a chat with you.
- Your competitors’ followers – if you’re a photographer, go and search for other photographers. First, follow their followers. Secondly, start engaging with these followers – like their photos, leave some comments if you can and then send them a direct message to start a conversation.
- People using certain hashtags – if you’re a nutritional expert, go and search for the content with hashtags like #eatinghealthy #wholefoods #goodfood etc. You should be able to identify easily who might be the people interested in your offer. Once you have found them, repeat the engagement part.
When you get the conversation going, be sure not to “sell” them the lead magnet straight away. Some people do it and I personally think it’s spammy and can hurt your brand in the long term.
Be nice and friendly.
When you have exchanged “hello”-s and “how are you”-s and done all the small talk, start channeling the conversation towards a problem or a pain your lead magnet is solving.
For example, let’s say you’re in the photography niche and you have developed a PDF with all the settings a Nikon camera owner should know to shoot professional photos.
You can then start asking questions like “What settings do you typically use when shooting outdoors/indoors/at a party?”. Then, after talking about it, you should understand if he/she is a beginner or not and whether your lead magnet could interest them.
If you think they might be interested in your offer, then presesnt your offer and paste your Bitly link.
You can say something like this:
“I see. Well, to be honest, that’s something I myself have struggled with in the past. I’ve just recently put together a list of settings that I use in my everyday shooting. You can check them out here: your Bitly link address.”
If you clearly see that your offer is not for him/her, then don’t start pushing it either.
Although, you should ask them about the struggles they are facing as photographers. Use their feedback to create new lead magnets and why not even start putting together your own informational product(s).
Step 5: Monetize
Let’s get to the most interesting part!
How do we make money on Instagram?
Get some people in your e-mail list. I would suggest getting at least 500 people before really thinking about monetizing.
Let me break it down for you. It’s simple math actually.
You have 500 subscribers in your list. If you write a compelling subject to your email you will get around 40%-60% open rate (250 people will open). If you write good copy and you’re very straight forward with your offer you’ll get 30% – 50% CTR (click-through-rate) (100 people will click on your offer). Now, depends on the offer, but you should expect at least 1% conversion rate. That means, out of 100 people 1 will buy.
You might be thinking: “But what if I don’t have anything to sell?”.
Don’t worry, here’s 2 of the easiest ways to start selling online.
1. Affiliate products – This has to be one of the easiest ways to start selling something online. What you’re essentially doing, is selling other people’s products and services. To find affiliate offers, simply google different companies who sell products that your audience might be interested in.
For example, if you post pictures of scenery on your Instagram account and/or blog, you might want to recommend flights or trains to the location and a couple of good hotels nearby. The easiest way to do that is through Travelpayouts. It’s an affiliate network that allows you to work with many travel affiliate programs, like Booking.com, Hotels.com,etc, from one platform.
Additionally, you can set up an account at Commission Junction, ClickBank or Avangate. They are all a bit different in terms of deals you will find. Commission Junction is more general and you can find all sorts of deals from there. ClickBank is more focused on informational products and courses. Avangate is mostly about computer software and IT.
2. Your own membership group – Membership sites and groups are nothing new.
Now, they used to be quite difficult to set up, but recently I see a trend in creating paid Facebook Groups, which is essentially the same thing. So, set up a group, offer it for free, give people personal coaching on a topic you know about (or hire an expert to do it for you), get some testimonials, set up a landing page to pitch your e-mail subscribers about your group and finally set up an automatic e-mail sequence to convert people into the group. Easy.
PS. I have a private Instagram Coaching Group, where I answer all your questions and offer that personal 1:1 coaching to help you grow and monetize your Instagram account. Click here to join!
If you already have a business, then your main service or product should be the #1 thing to sell. So drive traffic to your own website or eCommerce site. If you don’t have a website yet – make one, we’re not in 1995 any more. If you want to set up a website for free in Google Cloud, then check out this article – How to Host WordPress on Google.
Step 6: Scale it up
Obviously, you can reach out, engage and convert a lot of leads to your e-mail list by simply implementing the strategy from step 4.
Now, if you want to take this thing to a whole new level, you need to figure out a way to get more leads into your sales funnel without the manual labour.
When you have started making money by doing the manual work you’ll pretty soon realize that you’re getting back more than you put in.
That’s the beauty of online business. It’s measurable and super scalable.
When you’ve reached a point where you’re already making some money, but you’re putting a lot of effort in on your side, it’s time to improve the strategy.
Here’s how you scale:
You can hire them at a price lower than what you would have to spend for a full-time employee. You can also hire Filipino virtual assistants as they are way cheaper yet talented than some VAs. Check this guide if you want to know the secret sauce to hiring a good virtual assistant from The Philippines.
Good VA-s can cost you from $300 – $1000 a month.
So let’s say you’re making $1200 per month right now. Hire a VA for $300-$600 to take care of 80% of your business so you could focus on the 20% (building more products, improving your strategy etc). Or you could also use that extra free time to be with your family.
After all, working 30 hours per month for $900 is better than working 160 hours per month for $1200. Right?
2. Learn Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. These two channels are amazing for scaling up your business really fast. If you know you’re making $20 on every email you collect during 1-2 years, then you could spend a lot of money on buying paid traffic. Usually, you will pay $2-4 per lead from both channels.
Pro tip: if you don’t want to learn how to run ads, hire somebody who knows how to operate this. Heck, you can even hire me!
3. Write guest posts. This is a powerful source of traffic. Identify some of the top ranking blogs and sites in your niche. Reach out to the site owners and ask if they would be interested in having you as a guest author. They will get good content from you and you will get traffic from them. Everybody wins.
Pro tip: find blogs that are doing a lot of marketing. If you can get an article to their site, it should be getting significantly more traffic than other blogs that don’t promote that heavily.
4. Reach out on other platforms. Instagram is all good, but I encourage you to be active on other platforms as well. Facebook groups are a wonderful source of traffic. Quora is an awesome platform for helping people and driving traffic back to your offer. Additionally, look for YouTube comments and see if you can jump into conversations and promote your offer.
There’s many more. Just google them!
The Advanced Stuff
If you stayed with me through this article, then here’s a real treat for you.
This is something 99% of internet marketers probably aren’t doing with e-mail marketing.
The problem is that a lot of the e-mails you send, end up in spam and promotions tab (in gmail).
There’s 2 things you should be doing to increase your email open rate.
1. Set up e-mail records (SPF, TXT, MX usually) at your domain registrant with the server details from your e-mail marketing software.
Honestly, for so long I didn’t do it either. I just sent out emails blindly. I was getting around 30%-40% open rate, which is fine. Once I set up the records my email open rate jumped to 60%.
2. Use simple text based e-mails. The more images and HTML you put into your email the more likely it is to end up in spam or promotions tab.
That’s why I like ConvertKit.
They aren’t even offering you fancy designed newsletter templates. Stick to simple text based email and you’ll do good.
(Full disclosure: some of the links on this website are affiliate links. I’d appreciate it if you use my link when making a purchase. I will get a small bonus from that, which will support this blog and help me create more content in the future).