How to sell on Instagram without a website?
August 27, 2023
Can you use Instagram for your business to sell your goods without a website? 36% of small businesses don’t have a website, and actually, 41% of them say they don’t need a website at all.
So, how can you sell products without having a website? With payment links!
Most businesses have leveraged the use of social media apps for business purposes. Platforms like Instagram have become valuable assets, especially for businesses that do not have websites or may not be able to afford one.
Selling on Instagram without a website is becoming increasingly popular among soloprenerus, local and small businesses. Initially, Instagram's main focuses were sharing photos and fostering connections among individuals. However, with the substantial growth of eCommerce, Instagram has transformed into a platform predominantly utilized for online sales. Today, it is entirely feasible to sell goods on Instagram without a website.
If you want to have your online store, learn how to sell your goods on a website for free.
In this article, we’ll first look at how you can sell your items on Instagram and accept payments. Next, we’ll look at how to make your Instagram account your sales channel by optimizing it.
How to sell on Instagram with quick payment link
Payment links, also known as "Buy Now" links, are your gateway to get paid directly through your Instagram account for your products or services. These links allow you to showcase your offerings and receive payments, all while bypassing the need for a dedicated website. Whether you're a creative entrepreneur, freelancer, or small business owner, payment links provide a hassle-free method to connect with your audience and turn followers into customers.
You can use payment links in 2 ways to get paid for your items:
Send the payment links to your customers
Place the payment link in your Instagram bio
Create a payment link and send it to your customers
The process is straightforward: after finalizing a sale with a customer, simply generate a payment link on Uvodo → Sell via Link for the specific product or service. You can then send this link directly to your customer via Instagram Direct Messages. This instant link enables your customer to proceed with the purchase, streamlining the entire transaction process.
Create a payment link and place it in your Instagram bio
Your Instagram bio is the first thing that your visitors see, and you can use it effectively to feature your payment link. Include a concise and engaging call-to-action inviting visitors to explore your offerings. By clicking on the payment link, potential customers are directed to a secure payment gateway, simplifying the buying process.
How to create payment links with Uvodo?
Creating payment links is like a breeze with Uvodo. With just a few clicks, you can generate payment links for individual products or services.
On your Uvodo admin panel navigate to "Sell via Link" sales channel
Click on the "create a link" button
Select product or service option, and add item details
Once you accept the payments with the link, you can view the transaction history from the Uvodo admin panel and spend your earnings with Uvodo Card.
Uvodo Card is a virtual Visa card that allows you to spend money anywhere that Visa cards are accepted.
How to make your Instagram your main sales channel?
With over one billion Instagram users, it comes as no surprise that businesses are increasingly using the platform to establish an online presence and boost sales. By using Instagram's various features, including Instagram Catalog and Shoppable posts, it's possible to create a virtual store and initiate sales without a website.
Understanding the platform and its different features is essential to make the most of it. Now, let’s explore how you can optimize and utilize your Instagram account to sell your products and services.
#1 Decide on your niche & unique selling proposition
Once you have your product to sell on Instagram, it's crucial to know your niche market segment and unique selling proposition (USP).
To understand a market segment, you should take time to know the kind of consumers your product is for. Market segmentation is a way in which you can improve your marketing strategy.
It is important to note that having a unique selling proposition (USP) will influence the styles you embrace when shooting pictures or videos and choosing backgrounds for your Instagram page, among other factors. It will also help you:
Grow targeted traffic and build your audience;
Create targeted content for you Instagram followers;
Present your product better on the platform;
Make your product to stand out amongst the competition;
Practice brand building strategies effectively.
It would be best if you aimed to ascertain the advantages of your offering and what makes your product(s) unique. The product USP will be the trademark of your business alongside quality and other things.
How, then, do you know your product's UPS? To know your product’s unique selling proposition:
Know your competition. Research your competitors and get an overview of what they offer, what are their weakness and strengths;
Identify your target audience. Who your ideal customer is, and what they might be looking for in a product;
Determine the benefits of your product. Identify the unique features and think of what problem it solves for your target audience;
Decide on what makes your product unique. Identify the specific qualities or features that make your product different from your competitors;
Focus on your USP. Based on your research and analysis, determine what your product's unique selling proposition is. This should be a clear and concise statement that communicates the benefit of your product to your target audience.
After going through these steps and knowing your product’s USP, you will be able to filter the ideas of what type of content will serve best your business on Instagram.
Once you have known your product’s UPS, the next step is creating a business account on Instagram to sell your products without a website.
#2 Switch to Instagram Business account
Switching your account to a business account will enable you to run ads and use Instagram’s advanced selling tools. Business accounts include features such as:
Professional dashboard where you can access insights, discover audience demographics, explore content trends, etc.
The Business Category helps your clients identify the type of business you have. For instance, if you sell cosmetics, you would categorize your business as 'beauty'."
Contact options for your clients to get in touch with you. For example, you can include buttons like 'call' or 'email' on your platform, enabling customers to easily reach out to you."
Ad placement on Instagram enables you to create posts and run targeted ad campaigns, reaching desired audiences with specific demographics and locations.
Using Story Highlights on your Instagram profile is an effective way to showcase your main services or products.
Action buttons allow you to add customizable action buttons to your Instagram bio section, allowing customers to take specific actions such as 'donate' or 'shop'.
Insights feature provides valuable analytics to improve marketing strategies and connect with your audience.
If you are creating your shop on Instagram, it's important to pick the right category that suits your business. Adding a business category helps connect with your audience, tells people what you sell, and it encourages potential customers to view your posts.
On Instagram, you'll find a wide range of over 100 business categories to choose from, allowing you to select the one that best suits your business. You can search for these categories using relevant keywords related to your industry. Some popular business categories include art & entertainment, media, health and beauty, education, restaurants, fashion, sports and fitness, and many more.
Ensure you make the category visible on your profile so that users will get the overall idea of your Instagram shop.
Changing to a business account is quite easy and here are simple steps to updating your category.
Go to your profile
Head to “Settings”
Click “Professional account”
Hit the “Change” on the Category
Choose your preferred category
Click “Done” and “Submit” changes.
#3 Optimize your Instagram account
Write an attractive Instagram bio
Interacting with different features, such as the bio section allows your customers to know all about your business as soon as they visit your account. Create a business account and provide all the necessary details, such as phone numbers, business address, and opening hours, in your bio. This way, you can effectively communicate what your business is all about and freely engage with your audience.
Remember, an attractive bio is your first impression to your audience and will determine whether people engage with your Instagram shop's content. Your brand's message is best showcased here, and it can differentiate you from competitors as your values and selling propositions can be outlined in this section.
You can enhance your Instagram bio by incorporating third-party links like one-page landing pages (e.g., Linktree, Linkinbio) to consolidate multiple links in one place. Additionally, you can create a payment link with Uvodo to sell your offerings. Or generate WhatsApp's 'Click to chat' link and add it to your bio, allowing users to easily initiate a chat with you on WhatsApp.
You can find all these features under the "Edit profile" section.
Add contact buttons
Instagram offers various contact button options that you can add to your business profile. These buttons typically include options like "Call," "Email," "Directions," and "Message."
When you add contact buttons to your Instagram business profile, it becomes easy for clients to access your customer support.
You can add Instagram buttons to your business profile in a few steps:
Go to your profile
Click “Edit Profile”
Go to “Public business information” and “Contact Options”
Fill in your phone number, email and address.
Tap “Done” and “Save”
Go back to “Public business information” and choose “Profile display”
#4 Create product catalog
Instagram provides businesses with the ability to publish catalogs and posts featuring shoppable products. Before creating and publishing a product catalog, you need to review the Instagram Commerce Eligibility Requirements to ensure your business complies with the merchant agreement and commerce policies.
During the catalog setup process, it is essential to ensure that you are not selling illegal items, engaging in dishonest practices, or infringing on the intellectual property rights of others.
The eligibility requirements for Instagram commerce include the following:
Location. Businesses should be located in the support market such as the US, UK, Canada, Australia and most of Europe, where Instagram shopping is available. There are over 50+ supported countries and you can always check the Instagram Help Center, for a full list.
Comply with Instagram’s commerce policies. You must ensure that you are not selling prohibited products, you are not engaged in fraudulent behavior, and you are not violating intellectual property rights.
You need to have eligible products. Your business should have physical products. Since some products are prohibited, it's important to ensure that your products should not be digital, pre-order or service.
You can read Instagram’s Commerce Eligibility Requirements to get more information and assistance concerning eligibility requirements for your business on Instagram.
It is also important to note that you can always create a catalog on Meta. Here is a guide you can follow to help you with the process:
Set up an Instagram Professional account.
Connect your business account to your Facebook page.
Set up Instagram Shopping: Follow the steps to submit your account for review and ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements.
Go to the Facebook Business Manager and navigate to the Catalogs section.
Select "Create Catalog" and choose "E-commerce" as the catalog type. Give the catalog a name.
Follow the prompts to set up your catalog. Make sure to include your business information, upload your product feed, and select the appropriate currency and language.
Once your catalog is set up, go to your Instagram profile.
Tap the three horizontal lines in the top right corner of the Instagram app and select "Settings".
Tap on "Business" and then "Shopping". Follow the prompts to connect your catalog.
You can start tagging your products in your Instagram posts and stories once your catalog is connected. Your users can tap on the tags to easily see more information concerning your products and make a purchase.
#5 Generate traffic & beat Instagram algorithm
Generating traffic and beating the Instagram algorithm requires a strategic approach with several vital elements. Consistently posting high-quality content, engaging with your audience, utilizing Instagram's various features, and collaborating with other businesses on the platform can all help increase your visibility and reach.
Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri recently published an article explaining how Instagram's ranking system works.
Adam says that, Instagram doesn’t have a singular algorithm that oversees what people do and don’t see on the app. Each section of the app - Feed, Stories, Explore, Reels, Search uses its own algorithm designed to cater to users' specific behaviors within that section.
Let's explore how Instagram ranks Feed, Stories, Explore, Reels, Search.
Instagram ranks Feed based on:
Your activity. The posts you have liked, shared, saved, or commented on help Instagram gauge your interests and preferences.
Information about the post. Instagram considers signals related to the popularity of a post, such as the number of likes it has received and the speed at which people are engaging with it through comments, shares, and saves. Instagram also take into account basic details about the content itself, including the posting time and any attached location information.
Information about the person who posted. Understanding the person behind a post is crucial in determining their potential relevance to you. Instagram considers signals like the level of interaction that person has received from others in recent weeks, as it helps Instagram assess how interesting they might be to you.
Your history of interacting with someone. Your past interactions with a particular individual play a role in shaping your feed. For example, if you regularly engage with each other's posts, it indicates a higher level of interest, and Instagram takes that into consideration when deciding which posts to show you.
Instagram ranks Stories based on:
Viewing history. The frequency with which an account's stories are viewed helps Instagram identify and prioritize stories from accounts that the user is unlikely to want to miss.
Engagement history. Instagram examines how often a user engages with a particular account's stories, such as liking or sending direct messages. This analysis provides insights into the user's level of interest and interaction with the account's stories.
Closeness. The overall relationship between the user and the account owner is evaluated, including factors like friendship or familial connections. This assessment aids Instagram in understanding the importance and relevance of the account owner's stories to the user.
Instagram ranks Explore based on:
Information about the post. Instagram evaluates the perceived popularity of a post by considering signals such as the number of likes, comments, shares, and saves it has received. These signals carry more weight in the Explore section compared to the Feed or Stories sections.
Your activity in Explore. Signals related to your interaction with posts in the Explore section are taken into consideration. This includes posts you have liked, saved, shared, or commented on, as well as your past behavior when engaging with Explore posts. If you have interacted with a specific type of post, Instagram aims to show you more content similar to the original post you engaged with.
Your history of interacting with the person who posted. While the person who shared the post may be unfamiliar to you, Instagram considers your past interactions with them. This provides insights into your level of interest in the content they share.
Information about the person who posted. Instagram analyzes signals such as the frequency of interactions people have had with the person who posted the content in recent weeks. This helps in sourcing compelling content from a diverse range of individuals.
Instagram ranks Reels based on:
Your activity. Instagram analyzes your recent interactions with Reels, including likes, saves, reshares, comments, and overall engagement. These signals help Instagram understand your preferences and identify content that may be of interest to you.
Your history of interacting with the person who posted. Similar to the Explore section, even if you are not familiar with the creator of the Reel, Instagram considers your past interactions with them. This provides insights into your level of interest in the content they share.
Information about the reel. Instagram examines various signals related to the content within the Reel, such as the audio track used or the visuals presented in the video. The popularity of the reel, including factors like likes and comments, is also taken into account.
Information about the person who posted. Instagram considers popularity signals associated with the creator of the Reel, such as the number of followers or the level of engagement they receive. This helps in discovering compelling content from a diverse range of creators, providing opportunities for everyone to find their audience.
Read the full article about Adam Mosseri explains how Instagram’s ranking system works.
People are constantly searching for products on Instagram by using specific keywords. Using particular keywords in your post captions and keywords can help you generate traffic to your account. A study shows that well-optimized posts receive twice as many likes and have a 30% wider reach (source).
Therefore, you must use hashtags and keywords to increase your visibility and ensure your posts appear in Instagram's search results.
You can also generate traffic by posting regularly, engaging, and interacting with your followers on Instagram stories using Q&As and stickers.
Additionally, utilizing Instagram's various features, such as Instagram Stories, Reels, and IGTV, can help boost your visibility and engagement. These features allow you to share more dynamic and interactive content with your audience, which can help increase your reach and engagement.
Aside from this, partnering with other Instagram users, running Instagram ads, and collaborating with influencers can also help you generate more traffic and beat the algorithm. By working with others in your niche, you can tap into their audience and reach a broader audience on the platform.
Implementing these strategies can improve your chances of generating traffic and beating the Instagram algorithm.
#6 Post and engage
Instagram still holds its position as one of the most crucial marketing tools for small businesses.
To sell on Instagram, post visually appealing and high-quality images or videos that showcase your products or services.
Note that engagement is not about the people following you but the number of people interacting with your posts.
To successfully sell your goods on Instagram, you should balance your promotional content and genuine engagement. By implementing these practices, you can create a strong presence, connect with your audience, and drive sales on the platform.
You can post behind the scenes, product tutorials, entertaining reels for the best engagement rate.
Also, regularly analyze your Instagram Insights to gain insights into your audience demographics, engagement metrics, and post performance. This way, you can refine your strategies and optimize your content for better results.
#7 Run ads
Running ads for your Instagram posts is a great way to reach a wider audience and increase engagement with your content. To do so, you'll need to create an Instagram Business account and connect it to your Facebook Page. Once you can access Instagram Ads Manager, choose the post that you want to promote and select your target audience based on demographics, interests, and behaviors.
Instagram offers several ad formats, including photo, video, carousel, and story ads which you can choose the one that best suits your content and marketing goals. With careful planning and execution, running ads for your Instagram posts can help you grow your brand and connect with more potential customers. To be successful, consider your ad goals which are:
Brand awareness (video views, increase traffic and reach)
Engagement (send message & contact)
Taking desired actions (contact, visit account or shop)
How to run ads on Instagram?
You can create an ad campaign on Instagram. However, to do so, you first need to set up your Facebook Ads Manager.
Once you have set up your Meta account, you can create and run your ads directly from Instagram.
To run an ad on Instagram:
Step 1: Click on the "Boost post" option located beneath the post you want to promote.
Step 2: Select a goal (More profile visits, more website visits, more messages).
The goal options include action button, learn more, shop now, watch more, contact us, book now, and sign up.
Step 3: Define your audience. You have the option to choose "Automatic," where Instagram targets ads to people similar to your followers, or "Create your own," where you can specify locations, interests (e.g., art, entertainment), age, and gender. You can save this audience profile for future use.
Step 4: Set your budget and duration. It is recommended to start with a budget of $5 to $8 for a duration of 5-6 days. After reviewing the ad's performance, you can decide to extend the duration or make adjustments to the ad.
Step 5: The last step is to review your ad. Take a preview of the ad and then click on "Boost post" to launch it.
#8 Review Instagram Analytics
Instagram Analytics is a robust tool that empowers you to gain a comprehensive understanding of your business account's performance on Instagram. By leveraging this tool, you can unlock valuable insights and metrics to assess how your activities on Instagram are faring.
From engagement rates to follower demographics, Instagram Analytics provides a wealth of information that enables you to track and evaluate the effectiveness of your Instagram endeavors.
Here are some basic steps to get started:
To access Instagram Analytics, go to your profile page and click the three horizontal lines in the top right corner. Then select Insights.
Review your metrics: Instagram Analytics provides a range of metrics, including engagement rate, follower demographics, and post-performance. Reviewing these metrics regularly can help you understand what content resonates with your audience and how to optimize your strategy.
Adjust your strategy: Use your insights from Instagram Analytics to adjust your content strategy. For example, if your audience engages more with individual posts, focus on creating more of that content.
When you tap on insights, you will find the metrics and analyses of your stories, posts, and audience which you can use to determine if your business is effective.
You can start selling on Instagram without a website by using Uvodo’s Sell via Link sales channel which allows you to create quick payment links and get paid for your products and services.
Once you accepted the payments, you can spend your earnings with virtual Uvodo Card.
Switch personal account to Instagram Business to use advanced selling and marketing tools.
Decide on your niche and product's USPs to better understand your content and market and sell your products on Instagram Business.
Optimize your Instagram profile to make the first impression.
Create product catalog to showcase your products and enhance credibility and trust towards your brand.
Choose a manual payment method to accept money on Instagram, like Cash on Delivery or Order on WhatsApp.
Generate traffic to your Instagram business profile by posting entertaining and engaging content.
Run ads to increase visibility and reach.
Use Instagram analytics to get insight about how your ads and content are performing.
Happy selling! 🥳