Today, it goes without saying that social media runs the show when it comes to digital marketing. If you’re not scrolling on Instagram or Facebook throughout the day, what exactly are you doing? 

You get it. Social media has to play a major role in your brand’s online presence. But I’m throwing you a plot twist: the real, lasting value lies in your email subscribers. And by value, I’m not just talking profits. I also mean forging a meaningful connection with your ideal customers, and providing them consistent value. Email is the key to creating a repeat customer.

In fact, according to Hubspot, 99% of consumers check their email every day and it is by far the preferred way to receive updates from brands.

Think of it like this: your social media posts are like the cocktail hour at a party. Quick, sometimes unorganized and oftentimes filled with surface level conversations. You don’t get to see or talk to everyone in the room. 

Your email communication, on the other hand, is like a small, intimate sit-down dinner. By saying, “yes, you’re welcome in my inbox,” your subscriber has offered you a seat at their dining table. It’s where you get to know someone, share stories and build something more meaningful. Ultimately, your emails allow your audience to get to know, like, and trust you.

National women’s running group Black Girls Run! built an entire business on a social following. The founder didn’t let Instagram or Facebook dictate how effectively she could reach her followers. She converted them to email subscribers, and that’s where she would consistently communicate new gear releases and new virtual races—right alongside updates from her blog.

That community-first business model was not only a win for her—it was recognized by Oprah herself. Can’t get any more legit than that!

What if you’re a product and the community aspect is harder to come by? We built a list of email subscribers for a calcium/supplement client and, after six months, they could count on at least $1,000 in sales every time they sent an email.

In fact, our clients on average see 10x more conversions from their email subscribers. For a health and wellness practice, REBOOT, the client met her five year goal in one year by converting potential patients into email subscribers—and then loyal patients.

Email generates $38 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 3,800% ROI. Email is by far one of the most effective channels in marketing. Are you ready to level up your email marketing now? 

One Hit Wonder vs. Long-Term Relationship

1 How to Convert Social Media Followers Into Email Subscribers and Forever Fans

Own Your Greatest Assets

Remember, the best part about your list of email subscribers is that it belongs to you. You own it, which means you control it. The exciting, yet concerning, thing about social media is that it’s ever-changing. Huge platforms are routinely bought out by one another or just disappear overnight (RIP Vine…). Even the big players like Facebook and Instagram have complex algorithms that constantly evolve. And as we all know, that directly affects who sees your social content and how often.

If the social platform you’ve anchored your business on disappears tomorrow, will your followers still be able to hear from you? This is the power of owned media as Gini Dietrich preaches with the PESO Model. You own your list of email subscribers. You don’t own or control social platforms or followers.

Cut Your Risk for when Social Media Changes 

I’m familiar with several influencers and fellow digital marketers who built large followings on Twitter when the social platform reigned king. (You know, the days before Instagram ruled the social media landscape.) Some of those people migrated to Instagram and worked hard to convert their followers to the new platform, while others stuck to tweeting and seemingly lost momentum in their businesses. We all know what happens when you don’t adapt quickly in the digital age…you get left behind and forgotten. 

Here’s where email saves the day: email protects your business from the ebb and flow of social platform popularity. If you consistently convert your followers to your email list over time, you won’t have to panic or stick your head in the sand when the inevitable change comes.

Turn Captivating Moments into a Lasting Relationship

It’s still true that a viral social media post or video can offer you big results. You can gain tons of followers, use it as a platform for a cause, or profit off the instant success, but the problem with instant success is that it’s temporary. A viral social post is like a one hit wonder rather than a sustainable, long term strategy. With every algorithm change, it seems harder and harder to achieve organic growth. 

In contrast, when you engage people with a captivating email, you have someone to connect with and to sell to time and time again. Two months, four months, and six months after your initial contact with them. The long-term relationship you’re able to build from sliding into your customer’s inbox strategically is so much more valuable than the one-time social media interaction from a single post. 

This is why the money is in the list of email subscribers. If you’re with me, this is what I want you to know most of all: I have witnessed firsthand the magic of a strategy that uses email + Instagram + social advertising together. Today, it’s the perfect blend of tools to generate interest, develop a relationship and clinch the sale. That’s why I created a program called Become a Marketing Pro, where I teach you how to convert your followers into subscribers (and throw fuel on the fire with social ads). 

The Payoff of Giving Away Big Value for Free

2 How to Convert Social Media Followers Into Email Subscribers and Forever Fans


One of the most effective ways to get new email subscribers is by offering them something of value for free. Well, technically not for free—it’s in exchange for their email address. This is your lead magnet, and it’s truly the biggest driver in list building.

So, how do you determine what lead magnet to offer? Here’s how. Ask yourself the following to get started: 

  • What’s the first question a new social media follower asks you?
  • Which of your social posts are the most popular?
  • What do people ask you that comes easy to you?

Once you have those questions answered, share your best ideas and poll your followers. Which lead magnet can they not live without?

Now that you know what you’ll be offering, it’s important to keep the following in mind as you create your enticing new freebie:

  • Make sure it directly addresses a customer’s pain point
  • Keep it short, but high-value
  • Ensure it’s something they can’t get anywhere else from you. Exclusive = special

Next, let’s chat about the different types of lead magnets you can create:

  • Multi-day challenges
  • Downloadables like tip sheets and workbooks
  • Mini video series trainings
  • A short guide 
  • A fun quiz with results

It’s worth mentioning that a popup on your website for your list of email subscribers is super effective when it comes to lead magnets. 

Now that we’ve covered how to entice your followers to convert, let’s talk actionable tips for getting people from social media running to your site.  

How to Convert Your Audience Like a Boss

3 How to Convert Social Media Followers Into Email Subscribers and Forever Fans

First and foremost, your social media post calendar needs to be updated so your content drives people to your email list. Every time you have a call to action in an Instagram post or throughout your IG Stories, make sure your prompt is driving to your lead magnet.

Next, consider taking these steps to convert your social followers to email subscribers in no time:

  • Make sure the link in your Instagram bio, your Facebook profile and your FB Page About section take people to your lead magnet signup. Use a trackable link, like a, to pinpoint where new subscribers are coming from.
  • Run an Instagram Stories poll asking people to vote on which lead magnet they want most. Make sure you have content created for both poll options. As the poll nears its end, share each lead magnet via IG story and a post on your feed with the link in bio. 
  • Prompt people to tell you what their biggest pain point is in Instagram Stories with a question box. Their responses will automatically be sent to your DMs. Respond back to each person with a trackable link that sends them to your lead magnet sign up.
  • Go live on Instagram and Facebook with influencers, other colleagues in your industry, and brands that can help you expand your audience. Make sure to center your live video around a specific pain point of your customer, and plug your lead magnet throughout the live video.  
  • Join Facebook groups relevant to your brand, where your ideal customers spend time. The key is to be helpful, not spammy, when there is a conversation that allows you to share advice and offer your lead magnet as support.

Now let’s dive into the last section, which will outline what to do after you’ve captured your new subscriber. Remember, the goal is to have a long-term relationship with your new email lead, so be thoughtful about the funnel they go through in your email strategy.    

Following Up with Your Email Subscribers

I’ll keep this quick and to the point. Once you’ve brought someone from your social sites and on to your list of email subscribers, this is what next steps should look like:


  • Thank you/confirmation page of your website. Here, you can opt to offer them an inexpensive product (think an eBook or guide) for a limited time only as a new member of your email community.
  • Next, as soon as your new subscriber is on your list, they should receive the lead magnet you promised them.
  • From there, the next communication will be the initial email in your welcome email sequence. This welcomes them to your list, lets them know what they can expect and kicks off your relationship.
  • After this, you begin your regularly programmed email series.

If you need to learn how to create a social media strategy so you can grow a following, join the free three-part webinar series, How to Create a Social Media Strategy that Catapults Your Business starting tomorrow. Register here.

What’s the biggest obstacle for you when growing a list of email subscribers? Share your questions below so I can help you out. 

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

Rachael Seda

Rachael Seda is co-founder of Mix+Shine Marketing, the Become a Marketing Pro Online Program, and the Co-Host of The Corporate Dropout podcast. She has created award-winning and effective marketing and social media strategies for her clients including Sentara Healthcare, The American Physical Therapy Association, Uncle Harry’s Ice Cream Cakes, Roc Solid Foundation and more. Rachael is a trained Google Design Sprint facilitator, and leverages this signature process to help consumer packaged goods clients take their branding and strategy from zero to done in just 5 days. In her spare time, Rachael enjoys living by the beach, running, chasing her two little ones, and traveling with her husband (if she’s being honest, preferably without the kids). Join her FREE 5 day challenge to identify and attract your ideal client.

View all posts by Rachael Seda