Did you know that more than 36% of small businesses don't have a website?
If they don't have websites, then how do these businesses attract customers?
Well, instead of bringing customers to their store, they outreach where their customers love spending their free time.
Instagram is mostly recognized a platform know for sharing selfies, pictures of your pets & delicious looking foods.
But small business have transformed Instagram into an eCommerce marketplace for direct selling to consumers (D2C).
With the help of this guide you will be able run your entire eCommerce business solely on Instagram without having to own a domain.
When you decide to sell on Instagram, you eliminate the process of creating and maintaining an eCommerce website.
50% of Instagram users follow at least one business.
So, if you're already using Instagram for marketing your brand but not for sales, it's time to rethink. This guide will prove that if you want to sell on Instagram and start a business, you don't need a website; all you need is a marketing strategy to get in touch with your to-be customers. So let's get started!
- Can You Sell On Instagram Without A Website?
- Why Should You Sell On Instagram?
- How To Sell On Instagram Without A Website?
- How Does Statusbrew Help Brands To Sell On Instagram?
You can directly jump to a section of your choice or keep scrolling.
Can You Sell On Instagram Without A Website?
130 million Instagram users engage with shopping content every month.
The short answer is yes. If you are just starting out with your eCommerce business and have a limited budget, you need not allot a massive chunk for website development. If you desire to sell products at the very least, you can use Instagram to pitch customers using compelling content and product pictures.
While your website remains under development, or if it's not up yet, you can still get started with Instagram to build brand awareness and generate sales. Instagarm can help you generate direct sales for your product. This blog will help you on how you can sell producths through Instagram even without a website.
Once you have your website up and running, you can include its link in your bio and redirect customers to purchase.
By that time, since you would have already built up a concrete customer base on Instagram, your website will provide an add-on to a smooth purchase process. Although, you would still need to continue broadening your customer base on Instagram.
Why Should You Sell On Instagram?
If you don't own an eCommerce store or a website, but you still want to sell products and grow your business, Instagram is the place for you. Not just that, selling through Instagram offers several growth opportunities for your business.
Reason 1: That's Where Your Customers Are
Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users making it the 6th largest social network worldwide. And that is what you need to sell on Instagram, an active user base that needs your product.
60% of people claim that they discover new products on Instagram.
Instagram also has a tremendous engagement rate. Engagements will make it easier for your products to reach more customers. And if you own a business and sell products, you need to do everything possible to reach your customers.
Instead of just providing best product with the best features to your customers you need to provide a wholesome experience by offering services such as proactive customer care.
Learn about How To Provide Great eCommerce Customer Service
Reason 2: Sell With Minimum Bearable Investment
You don't need a heavy budget to get started selling through Instagram. What you need is a loyal following base who trust you. They should know that if you sell on Instagram, it's not another form of advertisement. You are selling it because it offers some value to the user. Your audience's trust in you will make them come back to your business every time they think of an online purchase.
How To Sell On Instagram Without A Website?
Instagram has grown leaps and bounds since its release by offering a plethora of new features that includes everything you need to take your business to new heights.
So, here’s a 10 step process to sell on Instagram without a website by building an online presence through visual branding & leveraging the user’s shopping mindset to enable your business to reach the far corners of the world.
Sell On Instagram #1: Pick Up A Product And Niche
Pen down on your product niche even before you get hands-on with starting to sell on Instagram. Deciding on your product niche will give you direction to grow on Instagram. Narrowing down on your niche will provide a boost to your Instagram growth in the long run.
It will make it easier for your audience to find your account and products to solve their problem, which they have been searching for for a long time. It will also grow the traffic on your account and your audience base.
You can get to know the relevance of a niche by searching for niche-specific hashtags and noting the number of followers and posts. The narrower your niche, the easier it'll be for you to build your audience and sell your product. You will start seeing the results of deciding on your product niche once you start creating engaging content on your page.
Sell On Instagram #2: Create A Business Account
A business Instagram profile will give an edge in selling through Instagram. Have a look at the benefits of having a business account on Instagram.
- Instagram Insights: A built-in analytical tool that tells about valuable metrics like how your content is performing.
- Promoted Posts & Advertising: Pay to promote the high-performing posts or advertise them on your follower's feeds.
- Shop in App: Allows customers to shop on Instagram without leaving the app.
- Swipe Up Links: For business accounts having more than 10,000 followers, Instagram allows users to add swipe-up links in their stories.
- Add Valuable Information: Add contact links like your phone number and email address to enable your followers to connect with you quickly.
Converting into Instagram business accounts is hardly a matter of a few steps, as listed below.
- Log into your account. Tap the three vertical line button at the top right of your dashboard.
- Go to Settings at the bottom right and tap on "Account."
- Tap on "Switch to a Professional Account" and select "Business."
- You will be directed to steps that would help you to connect your Facebook business page to your Instagram business account. This step is optional in case you don't have a Facebook business page.
- Select your business category and add the necessary contact information, and you have completed setting up your Instagram business account.
If you have to switch back to your personal account, follow the same steps and click on "Switch Back to Personal Account."
Sell On Instagram #3: Write A Killer Bio
Instagram bio serve as the first touchpoint to get connected for anyone who visits your profile.
Use the below-given steps to create your killer bio on Instagram without crossing the barrier of 150 characters.
- Describe your brand in one line by defining your value proposition. Specify your niche and show your authority.
- Ensure easy conversion for potential customers by including a clear call to action statement.
- Make it easier for your potential customers to reach out for product queries by providing your business contact number or email address.
- Instagram provides its users with only one way to link to any external sites: their bio. There is no way to include links in captions as well. That's why users often caption their posts with "link in bio." Hence, have a link in your bio that is will help your brand to sell on Instagram.
Bonus: Including keywords relevant to your brand and the products you sell on Instagram in your bio might pop up your profile's in appropriate search results.
Example: As an online shop selling knitting accessories through Instagram, The Crafty Jackalope writes the perfect bio by describing their unique value proposition, a compelling call to action, and a link to connect with their product links.
Image Source: The Crafty Jackalope
Sell On Instagram #4: Feature Products On Your Page
The most basic form of promotion for your products on Instagram is posting content that features it.
When you visit a physical store, the first thing you do is ask the shop owner to show you products. Similarly, if you start selling products online, your potential customers wish to see product images before purchasing.
As Instagram is a highly visual platform, make full use of your feed by posting tempting photos with attractive captions. Rumi Spice, a brand that sells ethically sourced spices on Instagram, puts up stunning images with great captions to entice their audience into purchasing.
Instagram shopping allows you to create a product catalog that is shareable. Users can become familiar with products and purchase them on the Instagram app itself. So Instagram shop would serve as your inbuilt eCommerce store. Instagram allows you to tag these products present in your catalog in your posts and stories.
Learn more about How To Set Up An Instagram Shop
Image Source: Rumi Spice
After setting up Instagram Shop, you can start tagging products in posts using the below steps.
- Pull up the post in which you wish to tag a product, click on the three dots icon on the top right side, and select edit.
- Click on 'tag product,' and a list of products in your shop will pop up.
- Pick the product you want to tag and click on it. Then click done.
On a single image post, you can tag up to 5 products and up to 20 products on a multi-image post.
Use this feature to get creative by making a mini lookbook with several products tagged. You can also create a single multi-image post to showcase all the variations of one product to sell on Instagram.
If you want to create a product catalog for several products, try out the highlight feature on Instagram, available right below your bio. This is an excellent way to feature your product catalog since Highlights get notice before Instagram posts.
The coloring book and accessories selling brand Shine in All Shades has put up all the beautiful shades of coloring books in their highlight section, which presents a pretty glance for anyone who visits their profile.
Image Source: Shine in All Shades
Instagram's Guide feature allows you to create blog posts. You can include your product posts to showcase the best items you have. You can also make one to announce the launch of new products or to create a gift guide.
Sell On Instagram #5: Set Up Payment Options
It's now time to drive your audience from browning your products to placing an order and purchasing them. You can use your bio to accept the order details by attaching a link to an order form.
You can also ask your customers to connect directly on WhatsApp to place an order. Locate your Instagram account, click on "Edit Profile," and put the Whatsapp link on the website section provided. Let your audience know in the caption to fill up the order form with the link provided in bio or place an order using WhatsApp in the captions.
Since Instagram allows only one clickable link in the bio, you can maximize it by going for a linking tool like Linktree.
The fitness brand, FightCamp has included a Linktree link in their bio, which contains several other links and the purchase option. They are redirecting their audience to their Linktree page with an actionable CTA.
Image Source: FightCamp
Sell On Instagram #6: Increase Reach By Using Hashtags
Including hashtags is an effective way to increase your reach and bring your content in front of new audiences—monitor and measure how hashtags are performing for you. Try and switch between relevant hashtags to see which one works best for your brand.
When selecting hashtags, think about what words your customers will be searching for that aligns with your product. You can also consider using a hashtag research tool to find the best hashtag for your product and target audience. Just type in a tag relevant to you, and you will get several tag suggestions.
But don't overload your post with all the relevant hashtags. Though Instagram allows adding up to 30 hashtags to every post, including 15+ hashtags looks spammy and desperate, bringing any substantial result for your brand. Instead, try to include 4 or 5 relevant hashtags per post. In this manner, you can gain engagement without making your post look full of hashtags.
Word of caution:
- Do not copy-paste any brand's hashtag directly into your post.
- Do proper research to figure out which hashtag is trending to sell on Instagram in your niche.
- Use hashtags mindfully.
- Don't go for hashtags that have millions of posts. This will only make your post lost in a pool of several similar posts, eventually leading to negligible reach.
Learn about Marketer's Guide To Instagram Hashtags
Here is how the Artisan craft DIY kit selling brand Terra Create scrupulously uses niche-specific hashtags in their posts.
Image Source: Terra Create
Sell On Instagram #7: Make Use Of Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are viewed by more than 500 million users daily.
Use user-generated content in your Instagram stories. Ask your customers to share testimonials about products on their Instagram account and tag you in their posts. When you put up the same post on your Instagram stories, more people will be convinced to buy since it became an excellent experience for other users.
Create intriguing and exciting Instagram stories around your product will boost your viewers beyond your expectations. Showcase products in the form of a catalog or lookbook on your Instagram Stories. Create unboxing videos and put up behind the scene shots into your stories to let your customers know more about the brand than just products.
Use countdown feature for product launches
This feature can be used for the launch of a new product or special offers. This is a compelling feature to create a sense of urgency in your customers. When your audience taps on the countdown sticker, they will get an option to turn on reminders and receive a notification when the countdown has finished, and the launch happens.
Get to know what's on your audience's mind using 'questions stickers'
Using this feature, you can ask questions to your audience about your brand, products, feedback, or literally any question that comes to your mind. This helps create a two-way conversation with your audience; even more, you can post the sticker's responses as stories to enhance brand awareness.
Ask for audience's opinion using 'polls'
Using this feature, you can get your audience's opinion about the content they want to see on your page. This will give rise to a sense of trust in your audience that their opinion is being asked, and it will also boost your engagement if you consider the poll results.
Keep your evergreen stories in 'highlights'
Your Instagram stories will disappear after 24 hours. If you want to put up evergreen content on your stories like user testimonials and product features, which you would also want your future audience to see, you can make a collection of them in your highlight section.
Here's how you can add your stories to highlights.
- Go to your profile.
- Tap the circle with the plus sign above "New." below your profile bio.
- A selection of all your stories will be displayed; you can select the story of your choice to add to highlights.
- Tap "Next" once you are done selecting your stories for a highlight
The next step is to Name your story highlight. Instagram allows 15 characters to name story highlights.
Example: As an online brand helping pre-cooking work and selling non-perishable ingredients, Takeout Kit keeps their stories related to menus and kitchen snaps collected in their highlight section.
Image Source: Takeout Kit
Sell On Instagram #8: Post, Engage, Repeat
Instagram algorithm will favor your brand only if you stay consistent with your content.
A consistent Instagram posting rate will grow your account exponentially. Engagements will help you understand you community better and figure out what they prefer seeing more in your feed.
Avoid posting randomly on Instagram. If you have to sell on Instagram you need to create a content that aligns with your business goals. If you have to convert your audience into customers, you will have to create a content plan and stick with it. Your goal should be to figure out what kind of content your audience likes to see the most on your feed to stand out from the rest. Your plan should be practical and scalable.
Here are some tips for creating engaging content for your Instagram viewers.
Post captions should give context about the image or video. Make it short and to the point that provides a 'take' on the image/video. Make it more engaging by asking a question or encouraging your followers to tag a friend in the comment section.
Post product images with people
You can share photos of your customer with the product or an influencer promoting your product, or just a mini tutorial of your product. These kinds of posts will provide a human touch to your brand, thus boosting engagement.
Reply to comments
The comment section is a great way to start a conversation with people who engage in your post. Your audience might even reach out with a product query in the comments section.
Statusbrew maximizes your efficiency in replying to comments by automatically assigning conversations to specific teammates based on keywords and social profiles. All your DMs and comments are unified in one inbox that makes it easier for you to engage will your audience.
Post in your best time
Figure out the best time to post. The best time to post will be when your audience is active on Instagram, as this will raise your engagements. Track your best time to post by testing with different posting times of the day.
Statusbrew allows you to schedule your posts for automatic publishing during your best posting time.
When creating an Instagram post, stick to your brand theme for making your feed look organized in front of your audience.
Quad Lock, a brand selling smartphone mounting solutions regularly puts up post about their products. Not just that, they also reply to comments on their post to engage with their audience.
Image Source: Quad Lock
Sell On Instagram #9: Be Strategic In DMs And Comments
Instagram DMs provide an excellent chance to create a personal experience with your audience. Use them to connect with your customers in a friendly manner that builds trust.
Your audience who have constantly been engaging on your post can be your potential customers. Start a conversation by introducing yourself and getting to know more about them to know if your services will be helpful to them. Don't jump the gun by directly pitching your product.
If your customers reach out to you with a product issue, it's better to address them in a private environment rather than discussing it out in the open. See DMs as a quick way to solve customer queries. You can also thank people for purchasing from your brand by sliding into their DMs to nurture the existing relation.
Similarly, reply to people who comment on your posts. People might reach out in the comment section with product queries or just a simple appreciation. When you reply to comments, you pass on a message that their time is appreciated, rather than just leaving them unaddressable.
See how the fashion brand Bonobos solves the customer query in the comment section, thus increasing their chances of sales.
Image Source: Bonobos
But not all comments on your post will be directed towards you; there might be spam comments. Since these are not related to your post, it's better to remove them.
Learn more about How To Hide Spam Comments on Instagram
Sell On Instagram #10: Use Sponsored Ads And Influencer Marketing To Improve Product Visibility
Instagram advertising has a potential reach of 928.5 million.
Instagram ads reach the audience of your choice and guarantee several views on your ads. Instagram ads eliminate the guesswork it takes in reaching your target audience. It also allows you to add customizable CTA buttons to your post. You can either direct your audience to your profile or website with a clickable button on the post itself.
58% of people bought a product after an influencer endorsed it, 40% started trusting the brand, and 33% started talking about that brand.
Influencers are experts in your niche, and hence their recommendations can be used to build your social proof to sell on Instagram efficiently. Influencers transmit the trust in your brand to their following base. Improve your sales conversation by partnering with influencers to engage new potential customers.
How Does Statusbrew Help Brands To Sell On Instagram?
If you don't have a website, that doesn't mean you cannot start your business. You need a strategy to maintain and grow your social media presence and leverage it to pitch to potential customers.
Statusbrew helps you with managing your social media presence by making the process frictionless.
All your conversations such as Instagram comments, ad comments, DMs, mention, etc across profiles are synced & available in a unified inbox.
You can directly create & schedule Instgram posts with a single click. (yes, no push notifications required).
Not just that, you get to measure the performance of your stories, most engaged hashtags and analyze the growth of your followers and their engagement.
Want to discuss further? Book a free demo or start you free trial today!
Statusbrew is an all in one social media management tool that supports Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, and even Google My Business.