​Emily Johnson8 min readPartner postsFebruary 11, 2019

Did you know that you can use Instagram to grow your email list?

Did you know that you can use Instagram to grow your email list?

“We’re living at a time when attention is the new currency. Those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value.” – Pete Cashmore

How do you convince people to share their email addresses with you? That’s a great question! 

You might have already created a perfect landing page and use exit-intent pop-ups, for instance, and chances are they work pretty well. However, building an email list is not something you can do in a day, a month or a year. It’s a continuous process. 

Thus, the more channels you use, the more subscribers you'll get, and the faster your business develops.

In this article, I’m going to share how you can use Instagram to grow your email list. 


How to use Instagram to build your email list 

Building an email list on Instagram is different than on other social media platforms. Unlike Facebook, for instance, Instagram doesn’t allow brands to promote their email lists through advertising. You need to get creative and use a different strategy. 

Is that good or bad news? Well, I’d say it’s good news, because, as you may already know, paid advertising is costly. So, any other strategy which doesn’t require a huge budget is always welcome. Am I right? 

Here are six easy and cost-effective ways to build your email list with Instagram.


#1 Run a contest or a giveaway 

There are several reasons why running an Instagram contest is a great idea. First of all, people love social media contests. Why? Well, because they are fun and give everyone a possibility to receive something for nothing. 

Second, a social media contest can have huge benefits for your brand: it increases the number of your followers and fans, boosts online engagement, and inspires virality. What’s more, it can be a wonderful way to increase the number of your email subscribers. 

Here’s an example of an Instagram contest: 

instagram cta example 1

Now, looking at the participation requirements of the above contest, you can conclude that its primary purpose is to build the number of followers. Sounds great, right? However, an Instagram contest can do much more than that for your brand! 

It all depends on what you list under “how to enter” section. Thus, to build your email list, all you have to do is add “subscribe to our email list” as one of the participation requirements. That’s it! Will people go for it? Of course, they will! Exchanging an email address for a chance to win a cool item sounds like a fair trade, wouldn’t you say? 


#2 Add a CTA to your Instagram bio 

Do you pay attention to your Instagram bio? No? Well, it’s about time to start! Remember, your bio is the first thing people see when they arrive at your Instagram profile. So, it should have the most vital information about your business. 

A perfect bio tells your potential new followers who you are, what your business is about, why they should follow you, and encourage them to take the next step and interact with your business, for example, by signing up for your email list. 

It’s simple. Just place a link in your Instagram bio either to the homepage of your website or to your sign up landing page. That’s it! Check how BusyBakersSupplies did it: 

instagram cta example 2

Now, since you already have a link to your sign-up page in your bio, it’s time to promote it. After all, some people may not notice it and so, become your followers, but fail to subscribe. Thus, create Instagram posts, which promote your bio link, like the one below: 

instagram cta example 3

#3 Make good use of your Instagram Stories 

If you’ve never used or heard of Instagram Stories, here’s what you need to know about them in short: 

  • Instagram Stories is a newer feature (introduced in 2016), which allows users to post images and videos that disappear after 24 hours. 
  • When there’s a new Instagram Story, users see a bright ring around a profile photo of a person or a brand.
  • Unlike traditional Instagram posts, Instagram Stories don’t allow users to comment or Like. 
  • Stories can have various stickers, such as fun icons on many themes, information about your location, or chosen hashtags. Stickers can also be used to create polls and ask people questions. 

I know what you’d like to say now… Instagram Stories seem to be a great way to boost engagement, but they don’t seem to help in building an email list, do they? As a matter of fact, they do! 

Instagram allows all businesses, which have 10k or more followers, to add links to their Instagram Stories. Thus, if you want to drive traffic to your blog, you can add a link to your blog post, or, if you're going to build your email list, you can add a link to your sign up page. 

instagram cta example 4

Now, keep in mind that the link button may not be obvious to many users, so add a call to action to your Story as well, such as “Swipe up to...” sign up, for instance. 


#4 Encourage people to download content from your site 

I believe this strategy comes with no surprise since it’s pretty well-known. The chances are that you either used it before or use it all the time. What we’re talking about is, of course, exchanging (free) content, an item or information for an email address. 

Here’s how you can use this strategy on Instagram: in your next post, inform people about a new ebook or a tutorial on your website, which they can download for free, and provide them with a link to it (or tell them that the link is in your bio). 

Next, your followers will come to your site and to download your new content, sign up for your newsletter. Simple and smart. 

Take an example from Johanna Basford: 

instagram cta example 5

… and Natura Siberica:

instagram cta example 6

#5 Encourage social media sharing 

Is there better news than to learn that your content went viral? After all, that means you reached thousands of people and so, the chances are that you increased traffic to your website and got new subscribers. 

Unfortunately, not all content goes viral. Sometimes, people won’t figure out that they should share your post unless you ask them to. Thus, to build your email list, ask people to share those Instagram posts, which promote your sign-up link or bio link. 

Here’s an example: 

instagram cta example 7

#6 Ask people to sign up for your newsletter 

If you want something, ask for it – an obvious, but effective strategy. 

Building an email list doesn’t have to be hard, time-consuming or complicated. Remember, if people don’t subscribe to your newsletter, the best way to encourage them to do so is to ask. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just ask. 

Here’s how you can do it on Instagram: 

instagram cta example 8

Ready to put these tips into practice? 

Instagram is a platform that is both popular and powerful. Thus, building your online presence on Instagram can have huge benefits for your business. One of those benefits is getting more subscribers. So, don’t waste your time and start using it to your advantage today! 

If you have any ideas not mentioned in this article on how to build your email list on Instagram, share them with everyone in the comments below! We’d love to improve our knowledge. 

Also, if you find this post useful, share it with your friends! 

​Emily Johnson

Emily Johnson is a content strategist at OmniPapers. She writes insightful articles about digital marketing, social media, remote work and productivity. Her blogs about content marketing and blogging help writers improve their skills. Feel free to follow Emily on Twitter.