5 Ways to Grow Your Email List with Instagram

Published on January 4, 2022
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Filed under Shipping Basics
Read time 11 Minutes

Growing your email list is an important marketing strategy. Many e-commerce websites have a section for people to subscribe to a mailing list. But it can be a struggle encouraging people to provide their personal information. One way you can entice people is by using Instagram.

Why Growing Your Email List Is Important

Many businesses are using social media to connect with consumers. But you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of email lists in generating leads.

Don’t use social media as the only platform for marketing and communication. Rather, leverage it as a tool to increase your email list. Email has a higher engagement and conversion rate than social media. And it can be more personalized and segmented in its communication. It’s also the first thing that 71% of consumers check online in the morning.

There is a greater chance of people seeing your message through email. Social media platforms can change the rules of what content you can post at a moment’s notice. The Facebook algorithm decreased businesses’ organic reach by pushing unpaid posts lower on the News Feed.

In contrast, your company owns and controls email lists. So you can choose who receives your messages and have a higher guarantee that they received it.

Why Use Instagram to Grow Your Email List

You can use a combination of social media platforms to grow your email list. But Instagram is a particularly powerful tool due to its reach. It has 1 billion monthly users and 500 million daily active users. It also has the highest engagement of any social media platform. In fact, 68% of Instagram followers engage regularly with brands, in comparison to only 32% of users on Facebook.

Take advantage of Instagrammers’ interest in engaging with brands. Figure out what your audience wants/needs and then use this information to get them on your mailing list.

How You Can Use Instagram to Grow Your Email List

Lead Magnets

Even if they like your brand, people won’t give out their personal contact information without getting something in return. Therefore, regardless of what strategy you use, you’ll need to offer an incentive. This is referred to as a lead magnet and can come in a variety of forms.

Lead magnets can be downloadable content, discounts, videos, or exclusive sneak peeks. For your lead magnet to be successful it should offer something that your target market needs or wants and be easily accessible.

You can make lead magnets fun, such as running a giveaway or contest that requires folks to provide their contact information to register. ShipStation customer Maggie Louise Confections ran a Mother’s Day Giveaway that they promoted on Instagram:

Maggie Louise Confections Mother's Day Contest

Readers were directed to sign up via the link in the company’s Instagram bio.

Instagram Bio

The only place that Instagram allows you to add a hyperlink is on your profile bio. And this is limited to one link per a bio — so make sure to use it wisely. Your bio should give people an idea of what your company is and reflect the tone of your brand. But if you want to use it to get email addresses, you can include a call to action, followed by a link for them to sign up for your mailing list.

Chances are you’re not just using Instagram to build your email list, but also to show people your products and services. As a result, many brands include a homepage link in the bio. The downside of this is that it doesn’t directly take people to a place to opt-in to your mailing list.

You have a couple of options to address this problem. You could include a link to a landing page for prospects to sign up for your mailing list. Or shoppers can receive an item such as a free ebook or discount in exchange for their email address.

Another option is to have a pop up for people to sign up for your mailing list show up on the screen when people click the link. This is a tactic that Feisty Gal Studio, a feminist apparel company, uses, as shown below.

Feisty Gal Studio Social Responsibility

Feisty Gal Studio also uses a tool called Linktree, which is a great loophole to the one link limit. You can share up to give links with Linktree and it will generate a custom URL for you to put on your Instagram page. When people click on the link, it will redirect them to a page where they have several options of what action to take/page to visit.

Feisty Girl Uses Linktree

This way you can address several goals at once, such as directing people towards mail opt-in pages, sales, or other campaigns.

To further increase traffic to your website and/or mailing list landing page, you can get a Bio sponsorship. A Bio sponsorship is where you sponsor someone to include your link on their Instagram bio. This could be an influencer with a following that is relevant to the products or services that your company offers.

Instagram Stories

A common way businesses get people to opt-in to giving their email address is through Instagram stories. If you have 10,000 or more followers on Instagram, you can use the swipe-up feature.

When swipe-up is added to an Instagram story clip, people can swipe up or press the See More button to be directed to another page. You’ll need to lead up to this by providing the audience with something of value for them and a call to action. Here’s an example:

Example of Swipe Up in Instagram Story

For instance, let’s say you own an e-commerce retail company. The beginning of the story could give out some fashion tips or show how to style different clothes and accessories from your product line. At the end of your story, you could tell people that if they want more fashion how-to’s, they can swipe up to subscribe to your mailing list.

If you have newsletters, you could give people a sample/preview of your newsletter in your stories. Emphasize the parts they would find interesting and useful, and tell them to swipe up to sign up to receive your newsletters. Other incentives can be included as well, such as promo codes and giveaways/sweepstakes. Instagram stories can also emphasize the value of your products or services by featuring testimonials or recent publicity placements.

Even if you don’t have enough followers to qualify for the swipe-up feature, you can still use Instagram stories to convince people to opt-in to your email list. Instead, you would tell them to click the link in your bio to sign up for your mailing list to receive more information.

Whether you have the swipe up feature or not, you should make your stories quick, engaging, and useful/relevant to your audience. You can learn more in our post on creating Instagram stories.

Direct Messages

If you’re struggling to come up with content and lead magnets to grow your email list, looking at the kinds of questions and comments you get through direct messages. Engaging in personal conversations with customers can clue you in to what your audience wants/needs.

If someone direct messages you a question or wants advice on something, then you can create newsletter content or freebies answering this question.


Of course, there is also the option of using Instagram ads to direct people to your landing page. 70% of Instagram posts aren’t seen, so if you’re having difficulty getting people to view your content on Instagram, you may want to consider using ads to direct people to your mailing list.

To track conversions and optimize your ads by making sure they are targeted towards the right audience, read Why Your Business Should Use the Facebook Pixel. If you have Facebook Pixel installed on your website, it will track Instagram ads as well.

Moving Forward

This post gave you some ideas of how you can leverage Instagram to grow your email list. Remember that whatever content you create should be entertaining, useful, and of value to your audience. You need to include a call to action and provide consumers with something in return for giving you their email address.

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Written by

Margie Zable Fisher

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