How to Increase Optin Downloads with Instagram Stories

leads Aug 28, 2018

Want to use Instagram to grow your email list? Instagram Stories are a smart way to get more email opt-ins, if you use them wisely. In this post, we’ll share how to increase opt-in downloads with Instagram Stories.

So you’ve created a jaw-droppingly awesome lead magnet to entice people to join your email list, and now you need more people to sign up and download it.

Well, you’re in luck!

There are quite a few ways that you can promote your new shiny email opt-in, including using owned media, earned media and paid advertising. But today, we’d like to focus on using something that you probably already have to increase your opt-in downloads.

If you’ve read the title you already know what it is… it’s your Instagram Stories! 

With Instagram boasting over 400 million daily active users of Instagram Stories alone, it is a no brainer to use this medium to promote your opt-in and increase opt-in downloads.

Whether your opt-in is an e-book, a folder of creative elements, a template or a group of templates, or something entirely different, you can still make the most out of Instagram Stories to promote and increase opt-in downloads. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. 

“If I post an iPad mockup of my free e-book every single day, that’s going to get boring sooo quickly!”

Don’t worry, I’m definitely not about to recommend that repetitive strategy.

Instead, I want to share with you a few creative ways that you can integrate promotion of your email newsletter opt-in so that you can increase opt-in downloads in a way that is authentic and entertaining to your Instagram audience.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive right in…

5 Steps to Increase Opt-in Downloads with Instagram Stories

1. Create Eye-Catching Graphics

If you want to truly capture the attention of your Instagram audience by using Instagram Stories one of the first things that you’ll need to add to your promotional toolkit is some snazzy graphics that feature a mockup of your opt-in.

If your opt-in is something less tangible, like a folder of royalty free music clips or creative elements, you could showcase how people can utilize the resources that you are giving away.

Send your opt-in to a few of your close business friends before launching and have them test it out, and send you a testimonial or better yet, a photo of what they’ve created.

PSSST! If you have a Facebook group, you may want to offer a ‘sneak peek’ of your opt-in to a few members to try out and review for authentic testimonials from your community.

You can work those examples into eye-catching graphics and right there you’ve got something that is far more interesting and appealing to share on Instagram Stories that is sure to increase opt-in downloads.

Do you need a tool for designing these Instagram Story graphics?

The Unfold app is pretty great, but if Photoshop is your thing, CreativeMarket is a great place to shop for pre-designed templates that you don’t have to spend hours upon hours deciding on how to design your Instagram Stories graphics.

Once you have your Instagram Stories graphics at the ready, you’ll be able to start posting them to increase opt-in downloads.

2. Show Your Face

If you want to have a better relationship with your Instagram followers (and have them leave more comments when you show your face on your Instagram feed) a good way to do just that is to get your face on Instagram Stories more often.

And no, I don’t just mean sharing your latest headshot and calling it a day.

If you want to increase opt-in downloads with Instagram Stories one of the best ways that you can make it happen is by filming some vertical videos of yourself (it’s worth buying a phone tripod!) and sharing with your audience WHY your opt-in could be so valuable for them.

Focus on the benefits that your opt-in can provide them with if they were to sign up to your email newsletter.

For example:

  • These strategies helped me to grow my X by X much in X weeks!
  • You’ll save X dollars in your weekly grocery shop by following these recipes!
  • I wish someone gave me this at the start of my business! It’ll teach you how to X

If you have over 10,000 Instagram followers and an Instagram Business Profile be sure to add the link to your opt-in within that Instagram Story so that there is a clear call-to-action and so that it is easier for story viewers to sign up.

If you aren’t quite at the 10,000 follower mark yet but you still want to simplify the steps from view to opt-in download, you can draw attention to the top left-hand corner of your Instagram Story where your profile picture will sit when others are viewing your Instagram Story.

But why would you do that?

Well, when someone clicks on your profile picture when viewing your Instagram Story they will immediately be taken to your Instagram profile. From there, they can easily click on your bio link and go straight to your landing page to download your opt-in.


Pretty nifty, hey?

You could also take this a step further by using vertical video testimonials from your clients who have achieved success with your strategies, recipes, or program. This is a sure-fire way to increase opt-in downloads in a way that is authentic and valuable for your audience.

3. Host an Instagram Live Video

If you really want to take it to the next level with Instagram Stories and increase opt-in downloads you could organize an Instagram Live Video! Choose a date and time to go live on Instagram and be sure to let your Instagram audience know through an Instagram feed post a few days prior.

Build the hype and perhaps even offer to share a bonus tip that you don’t share in the opt-in but one that could be really helpful to your audience.

You could even share the news of your upcoming Instagram Live with your Facebook page audience, in a blog post, or in a few Facebook groups for good measure.

A few tips to make sure that your Instagram Live videos are fantastic:

  • Try and film an Instagram Live Video during the day so that you have plenty of natural lighting so that everyone can see your beautiful (or handsome) face!
  • Rest your phone against something OR use a phone tripod to avoid having the camera jiggling all over the place
  • If you have a color print-out of your e-book or freebie, use it! Actually showing your tangible opt-in will increase the desire in your audience to sign up for it. 
  • If you have someone on your team, someone who has reviewed or used your opt-in and had great results, you could host a combined Instagram Live Video to really make it entertaining!

4. Create an Instagram Story Highlight

Instagram Story Highlights are the best way to maximise the effort that you are putting into creating great content to increase opt-in downloads.

By having an Instagram Story Highlight you’ll be able to save a collection of your best Instagram Stories that showcase your opt-in so that your Instagram followers will be able to see what all of the fuss is about long after you’ve posted a story.

These Instagram Story Highlights essentially lengthen the lifespan of your Instagram Stories content, which is well worth doing considering that Instagram Stories only display for 24 hours!

You can create custom Instagram Story Highlight covers by using a tool like Photoshop or Canva. Most people tend to create these covers as solid brand color backdrops with an icon or emoji as the main ‘feature’. You’ve only got one little circle to summarize the content within each Instagram Story Highlight, so think creatively and be consistent with all of your covers so that they look great alongside one another.

For a step-by-step guide to creating and uploading your Instagram Story Highlight covers, take a peek at this blog post.

5. Create an Instagram Stories Strategy

If you are yet to create an Instagram Stories Strategy, now is the time to do so!

According to Instagram’s Head of Business, Jim Squires:

“Brands that get the most out of their Instagram accounts make use of the different mediums within Instagram: Instagram Stories, Instagram Feed Content, IGTV…”

The key takeaway from what Jim shared at the 2018 Sydney Advertising Week Conference is that brands (and entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses) should be utilizing each element of their Instagram account in a different, strategic way to get the best results possible.

Here is an example of an Instagram Stories Strategy to inspire you:

  • Monday – Share Helpful Tip + Inspiration for the Week Ahead
  • Tuesday – Promote Opt-In for Email Newsletter
  • Wednesday – Share a Behind-The-Scenes of Your Latest Project
  • Thursday – Share a Client Transformation / Testimonial
  • Friday – Share a Snippet of Your Latest Blog Post + Link
  • Saturday – Share a Work/Life Balance Tip
  • Sunday – No Story Today 
PRO TIP: You don’t have to post to Instagram Stories every single day of the week, but the more frequent you are the more likely it is that your followers will come back to check for new Stories. Get them hooked with valuable content!

Ideally each Instagram Story should be around 4 or more slides in length. These slides can be vertical videos, images, boomerangs or even graphics. It is completely up to you!

Now, if you are prone to forgetting to post to Instagram Stories, my best tip is to use the Plann app to schedule your Instagram Stories in advance at the beginning of the week after scheduling your other social media content.

With the Plann app, you can also create an Instagram Stories strategy by coming up with a few key ‘categories’ for your Instagram Stories content to fall into. For example; you might have ‘Educational’, ‘Motivational’, ‘Promotional’ and ‘Behind-The-Scenes’ content.

Consistency is key if you want to convert your new Instagram followers that you gain each week to download your opt-in and sign up to your email newsletter.

After a few months you may want to change up your opt-in or add an additional opt-in that relates to a new online course or group program that you are working on. When that happens, be sure to go through the steps again to make sure that you can increase opt-in downloads quickly.

Bonus Tip #1: Instagram Story Hashtags

Instagram Stories offer a fantastic opportunity for businesses who are on Instagram but are struggling to get cut-through in the Instagram news feed.

A bonus tip to help you get the most possible exposure for your Instagram Stories is to add hashtags into them. You can add up to 30 hashtags per Instagram Story ‘slide’ and you can even use the color-picker tool to make those hashtags seamlessly blend into the backdrop of your photo, video or graphic.

How handy is that?

Bonus Tip #2: Instagram Story Stickers

By using Instagram Stories stickers like location stickers and daily stickers as well as hashtags you can increase your exposure dramatically. This could lead to new followers and showing up in the ‘Explore’ tab in the Stories section.

If you want this to happen be sure to post your Instagram Stories at peak times during the day when your audience are likely to be online, like lunchtime.

Bonus Tip #3: Instagram Story Takeovers

If you have a few good business friends who offer complementary products or services to your own it is worth taking the time to set up an Instagram Story takeover!

In this collaboration you would both create valuable Instagram Stories content to share on the other’s Instagram Stories on a pre-arranged day. This will open you both up to each other’s Instagram audiences, giving you both more opportunities to increase opt-in downloads.


And there you have it! Now you know how to use Instagram Stories to get more opt-in downloads.

Excited? You should be! Go out there and create some sparkling new Instagram Stories!

Leave a comment below to let me know what you’re doing with Instagram Stories to promote your opt-in. I’m sure they’re going to be flippin’ amazing!

Mackayla Paul

Mackayla Paul is an Instagram Marketing Specialist from Australia best known as the Marketing Manager of multi-award-winning Instagram Scheduling, Strategy and Analytics app, PLANN.

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