How to use Instagram sales funnel to get leads and sell courses?

Ever wondered of using organic Instagram sales funnel to find clients?

Instagram has over 500 million active users. India is the second largest to America, having more active Instagram users. How come you can leave such an active social platform in your marketing activities?

In this post you will discover how you can set up an organic Instagram sales funnel so that you can find more clients, sell more of your products, and generate leads for your business. 

Why should businesses focus on Instagram?

Last year Instagram crossed the ad revenue of its parent company Facebook. 

What does this say? The more and more people are active and more businesses are ready to spend to drive attention of their audience.

Instagram is a visual based platform wherein videos and photo posts play a significant role. With Instagram, your brand can reach anyone, anywhere.

If you are a service provider,

Ex: A graphic designer, a freelance content writer, you can leverage Instagram to showcase your expertise, find clients, build a community, etc. 

Exact mindset you need before setting up an Instagram sales funnel:

Everyone’s writing about “how to get more followers on Instagram,”, “strategies to drive follower attention,” etc. What does this boil down to?

Business owners are ascending for their share of follower pie.

The question that boils me is, Is the size of your Instagram following is the key to having a successful business?

Certainly Not!

building a successful business on instagram

You don’t 10K followers to sell your courses; you need only 100 raving fans who are ready to buy. The same works for service based business too.

How does an Instagram sales funnel look like?

Everyone here knows that a sales funnel is a metaphor applied to digital marketing. 

The Instagram sales funnel describes the process in which potential followers become actual buyers. 

In this method of setting up a sales funnel, I am going to describe the AIDA- classic sales funnel model to structure your lead nurturing journey. 

Who can use this method?

This method applies for 

  1. Service providers
  2. Agencies
  3. Digital product sellers
  4. Online coaches
  5. Influencers
  6. Small business owners
  7. Few of the ideas work well with ecommerce too. 

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Now lets see how you can adapt this AIDA model for your Instagram. These are the 4 stages that you take your Instagram followers through. 

  • Stage 1: Attracting the right followers
  • Stage 2: Engaging with the followers
  • Stage 3: Generating leads
  • Stage 4: sales 
instagram sales funnel

Let me explain each stage with the actionable strategies that you can employ right now at the end of reading this blog post. 

Stage 1: Attracting – The First Impression

The attention grabbing is the first contact with a potential follower who didn’t know you.

Here, you need to make a first impression by having an effective content strategy. 

Here you are a complete stranger to your potential followers. The Instagram followers/users you try to reach are simply the visitors, readers or spectators. They are looking for some information or might enjoy the content you share. 

Stage 2: Engaging – The Interaction phase

At the interaction phase, users get interested in the benefits and features of the unique solutions being available on the gram.

Now the potential followers are “suspects”. They might have an interest in acquiring a service you offer might buy a product from you. But they’re not 100% sure.

Stage 3: Lead generating phase

Here the potential followers have a favourable disposition towards your brand/the product you offer. 

You can call the followers as your prospects. They show their interest by checking your website or signing up for your newsletter. 

Stage 4: Sales 

Hurray! This is the phase where your Instagram followers finally become your “customers/clients/buyers”.

Here they use your trial products/ get your free resources and try them.

In this stage, you need to focus on the practical aspect of product use.

  • If it is a digital product, you may show a sneak peek of what is inside. 
  • If it’s a service, for example: you can give a trial of your service. 
  • If you are a coach, you can share a free lesson, etc

Just you have to make sure the buyers know how they can use your product or service.

Now it’s on your hands where you need to make sure your buyers are 100% satisfied

Now it’s time to apply this to your Instagram.

Actionable strategies that you need to implement on each stage of your Instagram sales funnel

Before diving into the tactics, you need to make sure whether you are

Using Instagram in your marketing funnel or Use Instagram as a sales funnel for your business

You can use both, but it takes time and effort. Clearly decide your path and act accordingly. 

When you have a clear path, next is the goal-setting phase. Identify the task, goals, specific tactics and tools related to each phase.

Stage 1: Attracting stage: How to turn strangers into your followers?

The very first step is to turn strangers into your followers by breaking through the noise and catching the people’s attention. 

There are so many active content creators on Instagram, can you grab a space for you? You can do,

  1. By creating a perfect content strategy – making use of all available post types of Instagram. 
  2. Targeting the right hashtag
  3. Building/ Engaging in a community
  4. Collaborating with other influencers

Crafting a content strategy for your followers:

Based on the product/ service you offer, you can create your own content strategy within your limits. The more you create a shareable content, higher is your chance to get more exposure. 

What is a shareable content?

Think of it for a second. What makes content shareable for your audience? Start with what you know, analyse what works well within your niche. Find out what your audience is really responding for and then use that strategy to create your own content.

Some shareable content ideas that work well with every niche are 

  1. Knowledgeable content
  2. Inspirational/motivational content
  3. Tutorial videos
  4. Memes
  5. Controversial content
  6. Relatable content
  7. Challenges
  8. quizzes

You can either create Instagram carousel posts/ single posts or video+post combination. It is up to your choice.

As Instagram is a visual platform, I prefer using the right images along with the posts.

DESIGN + VALUE = CONTENT THAT CONVERTS

I kept this in mind while creating each post for the gram. I am sure this formula works irrespective of the niche.

Examples I would like to share:

Here is an educational post which promotes a service at the end of the post.

When demystifying the post, you can find two interesting things. 

  1. The content creator Danny Allen is trying to educate the readers- This makes content shareable, and it brings more eyes on the post.
  1. For the Business owners who view posts, he is trying to showcase his expertise and try to convert them into his client.

The same way if you are a coach you can use the same strategy to build your audience. 

In the above post, the Content creator Christos has shared a strategy, or he made his readers to understand how they can make 100k followers in a year. 

At the end of the post, he is sharing his ebook with Showtime. 

Try to build some transformation in your audience. That paves the way for them to the next stage funnel.

Your consistency also contributes to your growth. You need not to make 3 posts a day. But you need to post at least every single day. 

Instagram algorithm recommends posting at least once a day in the feed and 5-7 stories a day.

Alternatively, you can use a cohesive Instagram feed with brand and theme colors. 

Things you need for attracting your audience: 

  1. A graphic designing software like Canva, Crello, PicMonkey, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, etc
  2. You can use schedulers to make sure you are consistent. I recommend Facebook creator studio. There are other paid schedulers like Later, buffer, hootsuite and sprout social. 

Targeting the right hashtag:

Hashtags are the ways of joining and building conversations on Instagram. It’s the way of reaching your target audience. You need to use the relevant hashtags for better conversion.  

Try targeting niche specific, location specific hashtags

Geo tags are very similar to hashtags but targets the user within the location. If you prefer location specific audiences, use geotags.

You use hashtag analysers like Hashtagify, Ninja analytics to analyse the best performing hashtags and use them strategically for better visibility.

Below image helps you understand how you can choose a set of hashtags. 

hashtag strategy for instagram

Tools I suggest: 

  1. Flick 
  2. Ninja analytics
  3. Hashtagify

Collaborating with other influencers: 

Micro influencers have a very good reach, in terms of conversion. Find the most active micro influencers in your niche and collaborate with them. This will increase your brand awareness by introducing you to their audience. 

Stage 2: Engaging stage: How to turn followers into fans?

Viewers first engage with your content. They may like, comment ,share or save your content. 

In the Interest stage, you need to keep in mind that some followers don’t react to your posts. They may be silently observing you. Even if they like your product/service, they don’t outreach you. 

Here, how can you track, who is just viewing your profile and not interacting? 

Use Instagram stories strategically to find your active followers:

Stories are a better way of driving traction. I use stories a lot to find active clients, sell my courses.

Step 1: Create a series of engaging stories on your gram. Look at the example below. I created it on the course launch day. 

Step 2: Check the viewers’ list at the end of each story and find who is not responsive but have seen. 

Step 3: Outreach with a message that might start a conversation. Talk to them and understand their needs. 

Example: On the Free course launch day, I used a story strategy wherein I first started with explaining what the course is, finally ended up with asking the question. Below image has only a few stories I posted.

Take a look at them

how to use instagram stories for business

At the bottom of each story you can see the Impressions and You can easily find out who is active.

instagram content discovery

From the above image you can see that out of 90 impressions only 77 has forwarded to the next story. 

This is how you can use stories to drive engagement with the followers. You cannot find who has seen your feed post. Insights will show you only the reach count and the impression. You can use this simple story to outreach your prospect. 

Stage 3: Generating leads: How to take your Instagram followers to your website 

Once your followers show interest in your offers, you don’t want them to stay on Instagram itself. You have to make them buy from you. 

Take them to your website, it may be an e-commerce store or an offer page where you sell your products.

You cannot add links on Instagram posts. Only when you have 10k followers, you can add links to the website in the Instagram stories.

Not everyone can spend time building followers. When you are initially beginning, as per Pareto rule 80% of the efforts if it goes in the sourcing the leads, you can make a living with it.

One strategy that you can implement in this stage is optimising your profile. You can generate traffic by using a link in bio. 

Adding a perfect single line call to action, a clear description of what you do in the profile is much more than enough for conversions. 

Next strategy to bring in traffic to your site is adding a DM ME STICKER in your Instagram stories so that users can DM you. 

Stage 4: How to sell more of your products using Instagram?

When you get traffic to your site, it’s the quality of the products and the services that bring in a sale. 

The previous stages of conversion are really crucial. Not everyone is going to visit your website link. That happens! 

Once they are there on your website. You have a lot of options to convert them into your buyers.

  • You can use retargeting ads 
  • Follow them with email newsletters 
  • Cold calls
  • Trial offers 
  • Live chat
  • Webinars 

How to measure your Instagram sales funnel performance? 

That’s the most interesting part of this whole blog post. 

I know most of them who are just starting always miss this phase; they run behind the vanity metrics(no. of likes and comments). 

I recommend measuring every effort you make. 

Let me show you how you can do that. 

What is your ultimate goal for Instagram sales funnel

  • Webinar sign-ups
  • Joining your email list
  • Purchasing your products 
  • Inquiries on your products 
  • Taking your service
  • Joining your course 

Always begin with the end in the mind. 

With the pre-defined goal, your effort let’s see how you can calculate the conversion rate at each stage of the funnel. 

When you know the conversion rate at each stage of the funnel, you will have an idea where you are lagging and what you need to improve. 

What you need to measure at each stage of the Instagram sales funnel? 

Sl. NoStage of the funnel What do you need to measure?
1.AttractReach Impression 
2.Engage No. of new followers Direct Messages Comments Story replies 
3.Lead generationNo of profile visits Track the traffic from Instagram on your site using Google Analytics 
4.Sales Email subscriptions Webinar attendees PurchasesInquiries 

When you can analyse the conversion rate, then you can easily predict the amount you need to spend on ads and influencer marketing. 

Here is the conversion rate formula I used for my personal brand on Instagram. 

Conversion rate = No.of followers in the next stage / No.of followers in the current stage. 

conversion rate at each stage of the funnel

Say, for example, I am having about 10000 followers. Out of which 1000of them are showing interest in engaging with my posts. 100 of them have enrolled for my free course(I have added the link to my free course in the link in bio). 10 of them bought the premium course. The funnel then looks like this, it shows the conversion rate at each stage below.

instagram funnel marketing

How to analyse the performance of Instagram sales funnel in google analytics?

You can use UTM code to track where your traffic is coming from. 

Step1: Create UTM CODES for the links you add in your profile. Use Google analytics campaign builder to build URLs for different campaigns.

Step 2: Shorten URLs with BIT.LY. You can also customise your short URLs with a premium plan.

Step 3: Google Analytics provides you customised reports for all traffic coming to your website.You can understand the behaviour of your audience, you can learn how you gained an audience and find out what works well.

It worked well and I am getting more course sales every day. 

Conclusion

It’s really easy to set up an Instagram sales funnel compared to a website sales funnel, marketers find it difficult because they couldn’t crack the attraction stage (stage 1) 

It takes some effort and time to catch the attention of the viewers; you need not to worry about the initial vanity metrics, run towards the destination with constant and consistent efforts. 

Let the smart growth be with you! 

Do you use an Instagram sales funnel? If so, on what stage are you struggling?

Leave in the comments below.

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