How to Sell on Instagram to Different Kinds of Buyers

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One of the questions I get asked most often is how do I sell on Instagram. Isn’t that what we all want? And, fair enough!

If you are running a business, you absolutely want your marketing effort to result in sales!

But today I am going to challenge you to think about selling on Instagram in a slightly different way.


Let me introduce you to the Instagram Sales Funnel!

If you aren’t familiar with what a sales funnel looks like, think of it as a ▼ that leads your customer from Brand Awareness → Interest → Decision → Action.

The thing is, your potential customer doesn’t really move through these 4 stages so quickly on Instagram.

You have to nurture them slowly by writing great captions, providing value, sharing your brand story, getting them to engage with you, and then slowly but surely they make their way through, from the top of the funnel, i.e., being a new follower to the bottom of the funnel, i.e., your sales or checkout page.

Let me introduce you to 3 kinds of buyers you will come across on Instagram and what you should do move your potential customers down the sales funnel:


1) Need Instant Gratification!

You see something on Instagram, and you want it! NOW! I have to admit, this may not happen very often, but it does. It’s definitely more likely to occur with products that cost anywhere from $5 to $20.

So this is how it may go down.

First, let’s say you make hand-poured soy candles with 100% natural fragrance. I come across your Instagram minutes after I went to my boy’s bathroom and said to myself “oh my god, I wish this bathroom didn’t smell all the damn time!”  

I see the candles. The “problem” was already in my mind I buy it!

Second, I come across your account with an awesome testimonial that says “This lavender candle makes my mudroom smell like the lavender fields in Provence.” Pretty convincing huh? I buy it!

And third, I am having coffee with a friend, and she says “Oh my God Dee, you have to check out this Instagram, they have the best candles ever!” I do and I buy it!

Now you must be thinking “Errr… but what did I do here to get you to purchase my candles?”

The answer is NOTHING MUCH. As a Brand, you had very little control over my experience. Coming at me with “car salesman kind of sales pitches” isn’t going to do much.

What you should do –  Show up consistently, provide value and stay true to your brand values.


2) One that’s been playing peek-a-boo 

I have been following your Instagram for a while, maybe even commented on some posts but I am not ready to buy….but I may be convinced to punch in my Credit Card. I need to feel confident that this is the BEST product for me.

What you should do – SHOW don’t tell. Don’t just talk about what your product is, show up with different ways to use your product, the value it can bring to my life and how others are using it. Give me compelling reasons why I should buy it.


3) I am here just for the free show

I like your Instagram, but I am not going to buy what you are selling…yet.

Going back to our candle example, maybe I like the pictures you post or the funny, interesting captions you write but I don’t need a candle.

But before you completely give up on me and my kind, hear me out!

What you should do – I may not need the product now. BUT when I see the brand show up for their customer every day and provide education & value, it’s naturally building trust with me.

And when I get invited to a housewarming party that my BFF is hosting… I know exactly what I am getting as a present.


This is what I hope you will learn from this.

Showing up with a clear brand story in your captions and a strong focus on serving your ideal customer, you’ll naturally and gently guide the buyer down your sales funnel

Don’t go after the sales ONLY.

Focus on

  • showing up for that ONE ideal customer.
  • building relationships.
  • listening to the needs of your followers.
  • getting a conversation going.

That’s how you will convert a follower to a customer.

Now, over to you, What can you change about the way you show up on Instagram to reach any of the three buyers? Tell me in the comments below!


2019-04-15T21:38:52-04:00By |Blog, Instagram Marketing|0 Comments