Have you ever thought to yourself:
“I need to get a lot of followers before I can become successful at selling my offer?”
“I can't start selling before hitting 10k followers and unlocking the Swipe Up feature.”
I bet you have had these thoughts. Truth be told, I used to be like that, too, thinking that a crazy amount of followers on my Instagram would equal success.
BUT you don't need a shit ton of followers to hit amazing sales. It's one of those misconceptions that stays afloat in social media land.
For instance, you could go on any reality show; the Bachelorette, Too Hot to Handle, or any show for that matter and gain a massive amount of followers, but that doesn't mean you would reach a lot of potential clients. A lot of these followers might not even be interested in your offer.
If you want to make money (and get leads through the door on your Instagram), quality always wins over quantity!
Now, in fact, you don't need as many followers as you think to be successful. What you need is a winning strategy.
Today I'm going to pretend I lost all my followers and my whole email list and teach you what I would do if I had to start over again with ZERO followers and email subscribers.
And here, we're also talking no network, no budget, no audience… basically nothing.
Let's get going and zoom in on some of the winning principles to building your Instagram and email list from scratch.
1. Be extremely concise about what you do
We often tend to please everyone. At least that was the case for me back when I started my Instagram account. However, over the years, I have learned to be less vanilla (lol, haha).
The truth is: when you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to absolutely no one!
I see so many business owners on Instagram trying to do everything… and I mean everything. They are into food blogging, wellness, business, makeup, microphones, plants, traveling. Don't be like that.
Don't be vague and do it all.
Don't be afraid to name the thing you're doing. I get it's complicated because, on the one hand, you're scared you might not have enough experience to claim your territory, and on the other hand, you're afraid you might scare off people by becoming too niche.
Here's the thing, you can't be scared of this. Don't focus on attracting a shit ton of followers, but focus on attracting the RIGHT followers. And yes, you will feel uncomfortable naming precisely what you do, but that's your sign to go for it.
I know what you're thinking right now, “But Amy, how do I become concise in my elevator pitch?”
Your elevator pitch is your “I help….” statement, and this exercise can help you spell out clearly what you do.
Let's look at a few examples:
“I help moms who just gave birth to gain back control of their abs by giving them at-home ab exercises.”
“I help solopreneurs without a team to scale to multiple 6-figures.”
To sum up: be concise about what you do and don't be afraid to scare off people. Instead, be very in tune to attracting the right people who will be attracted to what you do. This principle applies to both service-based and product businesses. You need to be so clear that any stranger landing on your Instagram profile knows what you do. Have a look at your own profile: can you tell what you do if you didn't have any earlier background information?
2. Go live to connect with your audience
Back when I first started using Instagram for business, Instagram Lives or Stories didn't exist (can you imagine?)
They do now. Therefore, if I would start from scratch with 0 followers, I would definitely go live every single week.
I have said it before, and I'm going to repeat it: videos do VERY well, and they give people the feeling of getting to know you better.
Tip: create a series of video content with a lot of free advice.
It's scary AF the first few times, but you will get over it, trust me.
So many of my clients are afraid of going live, too, but once getting through the first few lives, they experience firsthand what a gamechanger video and Instagram Live are for their businesses.
To crack through the noise right now, video is one of your only options left. Video is still performing super well and has done so quite some time now.
Put on your confidence hat and start creating video content. You CAN do this! Remember, the fact that video scares you is the reason why you have to do it. Your competition is probably not doing video, so this is your chance to get one step ahead and connect with your audience in ways your competition will never get the opportunity to do.
You will have the first-mover advantage and already have begun fostering a bond of trust, which is critical further down the sales funnel.
- Once you start creating video content, save your Instagram Lives, and reuse the video and audio for a podcast, use the content for emails, articles, and captions.
- Get creative and try to repurpose whatever content you create, but always make sure you provide value.
- Give more than you ask.
3. Give more than you ask
No matter which content format you use to connect with your audience, ALWAYS give more than you ask. Inspire, educate, and entertain MORE than you pitch.
If you would only promote your products, it would be like reading a newspaper filled with ads only. Can you imagine? That newspapers definitely wouldn't sell.
Tip: a great way to practice pitching less and sharing more advice is to educate people with some of the stuff you would typically include in a paid offer.
Make sure the advice you share is really tangible to convince potential customers and make them think: “Wow, if I get all of this advice for free, the paid program must be amazing.
It's an excellent way to lure people through the door and let them experience your knowledge and skills.
The reality is that people have a huge ego and often think they can solve their problems using Google. Because spending money hurts. Everyone will try to rationalize themselves out of spending money.
Therefore, show them you have the answers through free content. You want to make sure they consult you and check your content before trying to figuring anything out on their own.
When you do it the right way -sharing more advice than you ask for a sale- you WILL get paid down the line. People will trust you're a smart cookie and you can help them.
4. Showcase test(imonials)
Show how satisfied your clients are by showing reviews, photos, or videos of clients talking about you. You need to show everyone else how happy existing clients are with what you have to offer.
Sure, you need to contribute to pitching your offer, and people might believe you when you tell them you can change their worlds, but people will BELIEVE it MORE when hearing how good you are from OTHERS.
This is called the reference effect.
Potential clients will be looking for proof that you're legit, so you need to provide them with that. They want to believe they can trust you.
Okay, let's imagine you don't have any clients in your book yet. We're starting from scratch, remember? How do you get testimonials or reviews?
You make stuff up. I don't want you to lie but showcase a test case. Create an example of a customer scenario and show how you would go about solving it. Make the experience clear, and on top of that, make it clear how you would treat your clients so they know they can trust you.
Therefore, if you don't have any specific testimonials from actual clients, create a test case to increase the trust factor. Alternatively, ask former colleagues or others in your network to provide a testimonial, but make it easy for them.
Example: ask someone in your network to answer 3 questions about working with you, like:
- Rate your experience working with me from 1-10.
- What did you specifically like about working with me?
- What can I improve?
When you have the replies to these questions, you can turn them into a testimonial, and voila!
5. Create a lead magnet leading to your core offer
One of the things I regret the most looking back at my journey to where I'm at today is this: I waited TOO LONG to create my first lead magnet.
Definitely don't make the same mistake as me. Instead, create your first lead magnet sooner rather than later. Do it now.
And maybe you only have 10, 100, or 200 followers; it doesn't matter. Ask them if they are interested in a free training on the topic XYZ.
For example, a solopreneur selling daily planners could ask her followers if they would join a free training on goal-setting in exchange for their name and email address.
A lead magnet can be formatted in various ways, for instance, as an ebook, webinar, training, or guide. Anything is possible. No matter what you create, don't wait too long. It's never too early to start building your email list. You need this to better reach and get in front of people, and the inbox is the perfect place to do so.
To create your first lead magnet, start by looking at your core offer. In fact, my best tip is to reverse engineer your core offer into a lead magnet that then leads to your offer further down the line.
Ask yourself: what can I offer for free that gets people through the door to my real offer?
6. Pitch like a boss
Alright, you need to be concise about what you do, go live, provide value, show testimonials, and offer a lead magnet. BUT all of these actions are worth nothing if you never pitch your offer.
For instance, if I would start over, I would DM the first person following me to ask: “How can I help you?” You may not be pitching, but you're always selling yourself, and you got to remember that.
Don't get caught up setting up your email provider or playing around on Instagram. Instead, focus on scaling your business, reaching out to the audience you already. And even when you're not creating content about your offer, you're still selling yourself.
Make yourself the promise: never wait to pitch. When you start with 0 followers, start pitching to the followers you have because by pitching and selling your offer, you will attract an even bigger audience.
As I already said, quality over quantity. You don't need followers; you need quality leads or people who can bring in quality leads.
The best time to start doing all of this was 5 years ago. The second best time to start selling yourself is today. Go on video today, post today, pitch today. Never borrow from tomorrow, and don't think you will do it then, do it now. You will learn so much more by putting yourself and your business out there.
I'm cheering you on!
- Be extremely concise about what you do
- Go live to connect with your audience
- Give more than you ask
- Showcase test(imonials)
- Create a lead magnet leading to your core offer
- Pitch like a boss
If you want to start strong, I have created a download with my best Instagram growth hacks: Growth Hacks for your Instagram. It will help you save a ton of time searching for the right strategies.
- Grow your Instagram followers exponentially
- Get the best content ideas for fast growth
- Learn how to leverage your network on social media for ultimate reach
We do not take any responsibility for the financial decisions or any other business-related decisions made by listeners/businesses based on our podcast content. Every business has its own specifics, which we cannot take into account in this podcast.