Personally, the thought of losing my Instagram account haunts me. If it were to disappear tomorrow, what would I have to show for it?

So, after repeatedly hearing Eric (aka The Broke Agent) stress the importance of building an email list, I finally made the decision in June to start growing mine. Beginning with zero subscribers, I managed to grow my list to 429 in three months. 

This shows that you can grow your list quickly —you simply need to start! 

The initial five emails I sent out had an average open rate of 29%, which was frustrating. Keep in mind that all of these subscribers came from my Instagram following. They are “warm email addresses” meaning, they willingly shared their emails in exchange for one of my lead magnets. 

After researching how to increase my email open rate, I realized I had made a critical mistake. 

Doubling My Open Rate

I was sending bulk emails from a Gmail address, which often results in emails landing in spam folders. The solution – purchasing a Google Workspace email, which transforms email addresses from something like to 

I opted for the “business starter” plan at $6 a month. Immediately my email open rate skyrocketed from 29% to 68%. Initially, I thought this was a fluke, but the next nine emails I sent had an average open rate of 68% as well. 

email open rate

You can purchase a Google Workspace email here

Now, the goal is to achieve monthly list growth of around 5%, with an open rate ranging from 17% to 28%. 

In June, I had 69 subscribers; by July, it was 282, and August concluded with 429 subscribers. 

So, how do I convert Instagram followers into email subscribers? 

How to Convert Instagram Followers into Email Subscribers

I utilize Manychat to offer lead magnets or freebies in exchange for an email address. Manychat has a “capture customer data with lead magnet” flow specifically designed for this purpose.


For more on how to use Manychat to convert leads, read my blog or watch this BAMx course.

Lead Magnets That Convert

You can certainly offer real estate-related freebies like buyer guides and home maintenance checklists. However, the key is to meet your followers “right where they are” in that moment. Rarely do potential buyers or sellers stumble upon your profile when they are ready to make a move. We need to create lead magnets that resonate with them in the present moment. 

Take into account Marie Lee! A substantial portion of her email subscribers originate from her “Nashville Hot Take” newsletter featured in her bio. While it’s unrelated to real estate, it’s highly relevant to her area and a valuable source of subscribers.

Focus on creating “evergreen” guides in addition to real estate-focused lead magnets. Evergreen guides are freebies that are relevant at any point in your followers’ lives.

(Remember, you can purchase “lead magnet” templates on Etsy, create free lead magnets in Canva by searching for “lead magnet,” or use templates from Coffee & Contracts if you’re a member.)

Evergreen Guide Examples

Need some inspiration for evergreen guides? Check out these ideas:

  • The Ultimate Foodie’s Guide to Austin: Discover the best eateries, food trucks, and hidden gems.
  • Outdoor Adventures in Austin: Explore hiking trails, kayaking spots, and nature escapes.
  • Underrated Music Spots in Austin: Showcase the vibrant music scene.
  • Austin’s Art and Culture Hotspots: Highlight art galleries, museums, and cultural events.
  • Top 5 Playgrounds in Austin: List family-friendly playgrounds.
  • Top 10 Best Brunches in Austin: Curate top brunch restaurants, including family-friendly options. You can also add a personal spin and share your favorite brunch meal!
  • Wellness in Austin: Explore yoga studios, fitness centers, and healthy restaurants.
  • Best Craft Breweries and Distilleries: Feature the craft beer and distillery scene.
  • Shopping in Austin’s Unique Boutiques: Guide shoppers to boutique stores or vintage shops. 

Remember to use words like ultimate,” “underrated,” “hidden,” ortop five or ten.” These words convey that they are missing out (#FOMO) and that they will receive value in exchange for providing you with their email address. 

You can also create real estate-related guides such as Buyer Guides and Home Seller’s Checklists, tailored to your audience.

Next: Monitor your top-performing lead magnets

Personally, I have 10 different email segments within Flodesk to track my top-performing lead magnets. This means that when someone gives me their email address in exchange for my lead magnet, they are automatically added to a specific segment in Flodesk so that I can trace their source and understand what my followers are resonating with.

Here are my three best-performing email list builders

1. How to turn LIKES into LISTINGS quiz

This is a quiz I created using “Interact” that engages followers. Quizzes are interactive, and they shift the spotlight away from us and onto the participant! After finishing the quiz, they receive my eBook via email. If you’re new to this strategy, it’s worth considering starting with a simpler lead magnet like a PDF guide.

Lindsey Jo

2. Free Insta eBook

This is featured as the first link in my Instagram bio, making it convenient for my audience to access. This eBook provides insights into what I would do differently if I were to start my Instagram journey all over again. It contains valuable lessons and strategies learned!

Lindsey Jo

3. Instagram Story about Manychat

I encouraged my followers to reply to my Instagram story with the word “CHAT,” to demonstrate how Manychat works. This was an effective way to engage my audience and grow my email list. 

Lindsey Jo

Remember that it’s never too late to start building your email list! Continue to provide value through your lead magnets, keep a close eye on your subscriber counts in different email segments, and consider investing in a Google Workspace email to ensure your emails reach your subscribers’ inboxes instead of ending up in their spam folders.