How To Grow Your Newsletter With Instagram

PLUS: Paid newsletter guides, ghostwriters to drive growth, the best lead magnets, and more

Welcome to The Newsletter Operator!

Today’s email is all about how to grow your newsletter with Instagram.

Organically and with IG ads.

I've seen 3 newsletters drive 100k+ subscribers organically with Instagram.

Many more grow to 10k+ just with IG!

Below you'll discover the best way to hack this channel to grow your newsletter...

But first, here are the best links and examples I found this week:

Deep Dive

How To Grow Your Newsletter With Instagram

The opportunity to grow your newsletter with Instagram has never been better.

Here’s why:

  • Reels make it easy to get views and followers

  • Stories allow you to convert those followers into subscribers

  • And IG ads (aka FB or Meta ads) allow you to retarget your IG followers and views with ads that drive newsletter subscribers

In fact, I’ve spoken with 3 newsletters in the past few months that have driven 100k+ newsletter subscribers just from Instagram!

Here’s how to grow your newsletter on Instagram using their 5-step strategy:

Step 1 - Drive Followers with Posts and Reels

These types of posts work best for newsletters:

  • Reels

  • Memes

  • Carousels

  • Twitter screenshots

The goal of these posts should be to drive followers. Include a CTA to follow you in ~25% of your posts and reels.

Examples of great content from creators and brands with newsletters:

This is your first opportunity to convert those followers into subscribers.

Use a CTA in your bio for your newsletter that links to a landing page.

Don’t use a linktree!

If your goal is subscribers, there’s no need to distract traffic with other links. Focus the traffic on joining your newsletter.

This will drive the most subscribers (and you can always direct subscribers to other links on your thank you page after they subscribe).

Here’s why this is so important:

Your newsletter landing page can convert 30-60% of visitors to newsletter subscribers.

A linktree (or similar tool) with 5+ links will convert less than 10% of visits to subscribers.

That’s 3-6 times MORE subscribers by using a landing page.

Step 3 - Pre-CTAs In Your Stories

The day before your newsletter goes out, create a story about what it covers and what subscribers will learn, discover, or get.

Include a link to sign up in the story.

This creates urgency and FOMO.

It also makes it easy to pitch your newsletter. No begging for sign-ups. Just tell followers what’s inside your newsletter and share a link. If they’re interested, they will subscribe.

Most of your subscribers from Instagram will come from stories.

Post these “Pre-CTA” stories at least once a week.

Step 4 - Create and Promote Lead Magnets

This is where the magic happens.

If you create a great lead magnet and promote it well, you can convert massive chunks of your followers into subscribers.

Here’s how:

1/ Short and actionable

Lead magnets need to be short and easy to consume, and immediately actionable.

  • Don't give away: a 1-hour+ course or 10-page+ ebook

  • Do give away: a cheat sheet, checklist, database, 1-page report, swipe file, tool, resource list, template, <10-minute video breakdown, PDF guide

Your lead magnet should create a simple and fast outcome.

Users should be able to consume your lead magnet, follow along, and get an outcome in less than 15 minutes.

2/ Use a custom landing page

Don’t use your newsletter landing page to promote a lead magnet. Make a simple custom page that’s focused on lead magnet sign-ups.

I recommend using ConvertKit, Carrd, or Clickfunnels to build this.

3/ Promote it in your stories

You should promote your lead magnet like a product launch:

  • A few days before it goes “live”, tease followers about what you're about to drop to build anticipation

  • The day it goes live, post 3+ stories about it.

  • Change your link in bio to the lead magnet landing page

  • Update your bio to include a CTA for the lead magnet

  • Post 1+ story about it daily for 4-7 days until your followers are fatigued and no longer subscribing at the same rate.

  • Create pinned stories about the lead magnet

Of course, don’t over-promote it and spam followers. However, you should promote it aggressively for about a week.

If possible, only make the lead magnet available for a limited time so followers need to subscribe now to get access.

Then, stop promoting it. Wait 3-4 weeks and repeat the process with a new lead magnet.

Step 5 - Retargeting Ads

Retargeting Instagram followers and Engagement works great. This is a go-to ad campaign I set up for clients if they have a following here.

However, if you have less than 10k followers this isn’t worth doing. Your audience size is too small and your ad frequency (the number of times followers see your ad) will be too high.

Before 10k, it’s better to focus on steps 1-4.

After 10k, here’s how to set up your IG ads:

1/ Use a “leads” campaign.

Your campaign should be focused on driving website conversion or leads using FB’s instant forms.

2/ Create a custom audience of all your IG engagement in the past 365 days

It’s better to start with a broad audience and then test smaller custom audiences later.

3/ Set your daily budget to $20-$40

Start low. You don’t want to fatigue your audience by showing them too many ads.

4/ Create 4-7 ads

Test at least 4 ad creatives at a time. When retargeting, you want your audience to see a wider variety of ads to reduce ad fatigue.

Then test 1-2 more ads every week. This will help you find more winning ad creatives and keep ad fatigue low.

When you test new ads, pause the low-performing ads so you never have more than 7 running at once.

5/ Check out my past newsletter's step-by-step guides on how to make ad creative

Link’s here:

For best results, use the referral program at the bottom of this email to get access to my FB and IG ads course.

The course has everything you need to make a successful ad campaign.

3 Examples You Can Steal

1/ Make a Compensation Report…

…To use as a lead magnet.

If your newsletter is focused on one industry or profession (finance, banking, marketing, software engineering, etc), this could be a great opportunity.

Survey your readers and collect data from the web on compensation. Then put the information into a PDF or google slide deck.

Now you have a lead magnet people will happily subscribe to your newsletter to get access to.

(I’ve seen first hand these work great).

Everyone wants to see what others are making and use that data to negotiate more money for themselves.

2/ TLDR Landing Page

This might be the best newsletter landing page I’ve seen.

Here’s why:

  • Animations keep your attention and illustrate the topics covered in the newsletters

  • It looks great on mobile (where most newsletters will get 50%+ of their traffic

  • Draws your eyes to the email form with a blinking curser

  • The page load speed is extremely fast

Plus, it tells visitors:

  1. They can get a benefit in a short period of time - “Get Smarter About Tech in 5 Min”

  2. What topics they write about - “stories in startups, tech, and programming”

  3. How often the newsletter is sent - “one daily email”

  4. Social proof - “Join 900,000 readers”

  5. It’s free - “free daily newsletter”

3/ Use Testimonials In Your CTAs

I love this CTA from Katelyn Bourgoin.

This tells me:

  • What I’ll learn

  • What she’s writing about today

  • It’s packed with value and insights (by showing a reader testimonial)

  • Where I can sign up (the arrow with a link to her profile, directs me exactly where to go — without including a link in the tweet which would decrease its reach)

Dave Nemetz, the founder of Blecher Report, explains what makes newsletters great.

Amazing breakdown of the business of paid newsletters.

Once you know what it takes to be a super fan, reverse engineer yourself.

Deep dive into how Starter Story grew to 100k+ subscribers.

This may be the most unknown, yet effective newsletter growth hack…

I know many big creators and newsletters that use ghostwriters to help them create content on Twitter and LinkedIn. The investment in this content often has a higher ROI than advertising.

This post does a good job of explaining how it works.


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