Project Ignite Podcast by Derek Gehl Nathan Chan Reveals The Instagram Marketing Strategies That Generate 200+ Leads Per Day
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  • Episode  90
  • Nathan Chan


Nathan Chan is the man behind Foundr Magazine. His story is an inspiration to all start-ups and entrepreneurs-in-progress. Plus he’s an Instagram ninja and in this interview he reveals how he is using Instagram to generate 200+ leads per day.

Nathan’s Recommendations:

Transcription Episode 90: Instagram Marketing Strategies That Generate 200+ Leads Per Day

Welcome to the Project Ignite podcast, designed to skip the hype, skip all the fluff, BS, all that stuff, and give you real actionable tips and strategies from real digital entrepreneurs to help you grow your business on the internet.

This is your host, Derek Gehl, and today I’m going to be interviewing an incredible young entrepreneur who in 2013, in his mid-twenties started with zero, started with nothing, and launched Foundr Magazine, which is a digital magazine for young entrepreneurs.

Today his magazine is read by thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide. It’s a top-10 ranked business and investing magazine in the app store, and features interviews with some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs in the world. We’re talking about people like Arianna Huffington, Sir Richard Branson, Gary Vaynerchuk, Daymond John, just to name a few.

In addition to building this media empire, he’s also a leading authority on Instagram and Instagram marketing strategies, and has built an audience of over 900,000 followers last I checked. With these kind of results, I’m definitely going to be asking some questions there today, and so without further ado, it’s my pleasure and honor to welcome Nathan Chan to the show today.

Nathan thanks so much for being here.

Thank you so much for the kind introduction Derek. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Awesome. Now before we get into the the instagram marketing strategies, and I’ve got so many questions for you, but before we get into those, could you just expand on my introduction?Not that long ago, three years ago, you’re in your mid twenties, starting from zero and here you are today. Walk us through that journey. What inspired you? How is it growing? How did you get to where you are today?

Yeah. Sure thing man. I started Foundr actually on the side while I was working my day job. Didn’t start it just cold turkey, because this is my first business, so it all started.We launched the company three-and-a-half years ago, but before that there was a lot of I guess work towards a mastery, lessons towards mastery, that was equipping me for the work that I was going to do today, and I still haven’t even achieved anywhere near mastery, but I’m on my way.

Long story short, I was working my day job in IT support at a travel company and I was really frustrated with my current situation. Really didn’t enjoy the work. I did go back to uni, to a master’s in marketing, no one would give me a job, which was really, really frustrating in marketing, even though I had a masters in marketing. In the end I was just like, “You know what? I think there’s something here around creating an entrepreneurial magazine.”

I stumbled across the opportunity to publish my own magazine with the self publishing software called MagCast. Then I thought, “What an incredible opportunity if I were to do a magazine. I think that will be just a digital magazine of itself was a good idea.”

Then I thought to myself, “Well, what are my interests? Where is there a market that I could serve? What is something that I could produce that people might be willing and interested to read and buy?”

I stumbled across the fact that there wasn’t any entrepreneur magazines in the app store, or the Google Play Store, or even in terms of print, targeting young and aspiring entrepreneurs. There wasn’t really, and still isn’t to this day, a brand that people can familiarize themselves with in terms of targeting young people, or aspiring of novice stage entrepreneurs, in particular young people.

I know there’s a lot of gurus out there, and there’s a lot of people that can certainly teach you their method or system on how to start, or build, and grow, and scale, a business but there wasn’t really a brand that people could relate to. Now, that’s kind of how Foundr was born.

I didn’t know if it would work, and I just said to myself, “I’m going to start this just as a fun, passion project on the side,” and you know three-and-a-half years later, we’re a multimillion-dollar company, and actually a million-plus consumer content every month.

Wow. A million-plus. Congratulations. That’s fantastic. Three years.
Yo, thank you.

That’s great. Now, I’ve got a question for you, so I mean, when you developed your magazine, you were targeting it towards young entrepreneurs, but have you now expanded across more of the generations if you will, in the age group?Because I mean, I’m unfortunately no longer a young entrepreneur, I’m 39, and so when I first saw your magazine, and probably the first time I subscribe to, was when it was … I remember when you had a first couple issues out, because I was always looking for entrepreneurial magazines.

I remember your first few issues, and I went, “Wow. Finally something in here that’s targeting entrepreneurs.” It really wasn’t for me about necessarily the young entrepreneurs, and so it grabbed my attention. I guess my question is, have you skewed past young and now you’re reaching a general audience, or is it still focused for young?

Yeah, no. You got anyone. People do resonate, and this is a question that I’ve tackled for quite a while Derek, is do we remove the tag line? Because it can be intimidating to people, and we definitely have not just young people in our audience or community, even people that joined our membership site or anything like that.They’re definitely not may be considered young, but yeah, that’s something that I’ve played with, and people do really assimilate with the brand though that are young and yeah, it’s a tricky question and to be honest I don’t know the answer on what we should do, what the next steps are, whether we just remove that tag line or keep that tagline.

To answer your question we definitely, definitely do have a lot of people that are in their 30’s, 40’s. I’m 30, you know, in the 40, 50, 60, 70, you know ages that consume our contents and that’s cool too. We definitely don’t discriminate, and a lot of people … It’s all good. The content is still relevant to them.

Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Now I would actually like to sort of dig a little bit into … first of all into the the business of a digital magazine. Because I think there’s a lot of gray area for people when you look at digital magazines, because they’re a little bit off of what we consider sort of a traditional information product, right?
Yeah. That makes sense.
I guess the question I have is, when you first built it, now you built it sort on the side, but did you have a vision for how you were going to turn it into a business? Was it going to be subscription revenue, or ad revenue, or a lead source to drive your own business? What you thought initially, has that changed at all?

Yes. Look Derek, I had no idea. I didn’t. When I first started I didn’t even know what the name for product was. I didn’t even know that recurring revenue was really powerful, as predictability to help build a sustainable business model. I didn’t even know what those words meant. Which is really funny at the time.I just kind of lucked out where I knew that I didn’t want to make the magazine free, because I was in my day job, and I knew that having a subscription business model there was, that can be … Have some predictability with it, so I knew that if I could see, “Okay we made $80 in the first month. Then we made $200 in the second,” and it was constantly going up.

I could say like, “Oh, okay, well if we make X amount of dollars, this our operating costs, and here’s my salary that I need to pay myself,” then it’s just a simple mathematical equation. I didn’t know that, and yeah that’s kind of what we started out. Still to this day to be honest, we’ve never really done any advertising.

40% of our revenue is recurring across the magazine, and we’ve created this club which is kind of like, you could consider it, maybe a membership side or in the info product world, or in the first week see it’s like a premium, like a way to house premium content.

You can actually get the magazine, so it’s bundled in the magazine so you can get that as well, part of this premium package, so you have 30%, 40%, at least 40% of our revenue is recurring from the magazine and the club. Then the rest of the revenue comes from courses, one off courses, and that will continue to be the case. I’d like to have our recurring to be at least 50% to 60% of our revenue, and that’s going to be a big focus for us definitely in 2017.

In terms of the business model, I didn’t know what that would look like, I just literally worked it out along the way Derek, and I was lucky enough to stumble across this resource, and it’s an incredible resource for publishers called Mequoda.

What they do is, they help struggling print publications with how to turn their business around, because a lot of legacy print publications that have been around for 20, 30 years are struggling now that digital’s come. Not just from a digital magazine standpoint, but they don’t have a blog. They don’t have any “digital information products” or anything like that, and these guys help these legacy print publications turn those businesses around.

They put out so much free content on what it means to create a really sustainable really, really strong healthy magazine publishing company, or media company. I followed their model, and that’s kind of … I haven’t paid them any money, and haven’t bought any of their products, but I’ve just read their stuff and it just makes sense.

We have the magazine on the front end, it’s kind of a level entry $2.99 a month or $21.99 a year, and that’s the kind of level entry face of the brand. Then on the back end we have our … The core product is this club, which is a subscription-based, $50 to $70 a month, and then on the back end we have courses as well but 99% of their content is free.

We have a lot of people that listen to that podcast, go to the website, consume our content every month, read the magazine, and have quite a sizable email newsletter, that’s close to 300,000 now. Across all of that we have quite an amazing community, and building a reasonable sized platform.

The goal I think for us now is to create more premium content, but at the same time keep producing quality content at scale for free. Whether that’s blog posts, podcasts, whatever, and the business model I think will be to have the core product, some sort of recurring, and then on the back end have two courses at scale taught by experts.

One thing I want to set up next year is having an office in LA, and just getting an expert doing interviews, I don’t want to do the interviews anymore, and getting someone doing video interviews, turning them into podcast interviews, live streaming, creating courses, doing profit shares with all sorts of experts, and doing really high quality courses at scale, to the point where once we have enough amazing courses on how to do X.

It has to be evergreen, that we could bundle it all into one day have some sort of Foundr plus, or Foundr premium, which we could charge, bundle it all in for a recurring. I think that’s the goal for the business model now, but I never knew what … To answer your question, I never knew what what that would look like.

All I literally knew was selfishly that I wanted to create awesome content, wanted to build up this magazine to be able leave my day job at first.

That’s an awesome story, and I mean for all the entrepreneurs listening, and for the people that are waiting to take that step, just know sometimes that when you start this journey, not everything is clear, but if you never take that first step, it will never become clear, right?Instagram for business

I think Nathan what you did there is a good example, for all the the new entrepreneurs that are going, “I don’t know quite exactly how this is going to work yet,” but as you move forward, it definitely becomes clear.

Now, something I want to drill into a little bit here is, you’ve kind of taken a different approach, so I mean I’ve always been more in the, let’s call it the personality-based brand, right?

Now you’ve gone and you’ve built a more of a, not a guru, but a traditional brand, Foundr, so you’re building a company where people are connecting with this brand. Now one of the questions I have is, as you’re creating the courses, and the training that you’re doing in the community platform that you’ve created, are you communicating with them as Nathan, or is it the Foundr brand that is communicating?

Yeah. That’s a really good question, and this is something that I struggle with to be honest Derek, and wrestle with all the time, because I don’t want to make myself the product. I was speaking to Michael Gerber, the guy that wrote The E Myth yesterday, and I said, “What should I do with this conundrum?”Long story short, to answer your question, for now depending on where people are at, or what they say, so for example, we have an indoctrination series, so if you sign up to our email list, the founder of the company is telling you the history, giving you some of their best stuff and showing you a good introduction to what we’re all about and what we believe it. Those emails come from me. If it’s a blog post, because I don’t write in the blog posts, it’s our content guy, JC, so he sends out those emails.

We did do our first test, where someone in our team, who is just an absolute guru weapon at sales. He did a course on sales and webinars, and all the emails came from him, and he did all the teaching.

That was a really good experiment and it went well. I think yes, you have to be careful, I agree, because I definitely don’t want to be known as a guru, and yeah, I am around Instagram stuff but I don’t openly admit that.

I think I’m one of the best in the world when it comes to growing and utilizing Instagram as a tool for traffic, but as time goes on, it will be less and less about me. Yes, I’m the leader of the company. I try to see it as Richard Branson and with Virgin, or Steve Jobs with Apple.At the end of the day, yes you listen to the podcast, you hear me, that’s a part of it. Yes, that Instagram course that we have that is a part of it, you do buy me when you buy that course, but everything else, the magazine, the blog, all the future courses that we’re working on and everything else, you’re not buying me, you’re buying Foundr. I think as long as I keep doing that, we will be fine. It’s not a personal brand based business.

Yeah. I mean I think that’s smart. You know the company that comes to mind for me, and who I compared with the path you’re taking to is Mindvalley and Vishen Lakhiani.
Yeah. 100% or DigitalMarketer.
I think those two are great examples of what you can do building a hybrid media/educational company.

Yes. Agreed. I think to that point, it allows you to scale far better than it does when it is purely a personal brand, because I’ve been in that position of running a personal brand based business for many years, and it’s difficult to be able to hand the reins over and say, “Okay, you create this training,” or, “You create that training for me,” and to bring in other experts.The reason I’m going into this, is I know it’s a question so many, especially digital entrepreneurs, kind of struggle with as they’re starting companies particularly in the information marketing and education space. I was interested to see where you’re going with that, and I think your approach is the right approach because it allows you to scale and to create an asset that is sellable, if you ever so wanted to exit one day. Because there’s no asset, or it’s a difficult asset to transition when it’s your name behind all of the goodwill if you will.

We’ve covered the brand driven stuff, now I’m interested to talk about how you’ve created this magazine, and how that magazine then generates leads that you can … Because you’ve created a community, correct? You’ve got the subscription based …

Yeah, we’ve created a platform.
When somebody subscribes to the magazine, let’s say on iTunes. Now, if I understand correctly, you don’t get their email address. Is that correct?
We get this very, very small portion. It’s pretty savage man. Yeah, it’s like someone subscribes, and they get a pop-up saying, “Do you want to share your details with the publisher?” Only like 20%, 30% tops take it up.
Wow, wow. That’s interesting. Okay, so now you’ve got this other 70% that are sitting out there consuming your content, how are you engaging them and capturing their info?

We have full-page ads in the magazine now for certain sort of lead magnets here and there, then also to be honest, the biggest ….the magazine is the face of the business, the magazine is the brand builder, the magazine is the influence building tool, the magazine is the piece that allows us to get these ambassadors and rock stars of the market that we serve, and the influences of the market that we serve to be on the front cover of the magazine.To tell their story, to extract amazing insights and advice from them, but also to use them as the positioning on the front covers to get people to check out the brand, go to our website, and start exploring and seeing what we’re all about. In terms of lead generation, our strongest lead generation source is Instagram marketing strategies by far. Our strongest lead generation way to get people into our finals or sales process, is for landing pages.

Right. Okay. When you say your strongest lead gen… You’ve got this magazine but you’re generating the lead through other platforms, capturing their information, and then are you then driving the majority of your subscriptions from the lead you’re capturing?

No. It really depends where people are at, and depends on the funnel that someone goes down. Most of the subscriptions that come from the magazine, are either from Instagram, from word of mouth, from the website, but one of the strongest is App Store SEO.That’s what I have been mastering and working on as soon as I started the magazine. I was thinking, I don’t have any money on bootstrapping this thing. It cost me $2,000 to start, and I was like … I don’t know, ads. I tried ads and I was paying in terms of acquisition to get app downloads.

I was paying like $4 at install, which is … It’s really rough. It’s really competitive. I was like, “Okay, what’s the lowest hanging fruit?” and it turned out it was App Store SEO. That’s the strongest source. That’s one of the strongest sources where if anyone types in entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company, Forbes, Fortune, Foundr comes up.

We’ve done a really good job I believe of attracting people to the magazine from App Store SEO. The goal more than anything is to use the magazine as a great brand builder, and to generate the interviews, get the great content out there, but yeah we don’t push that hard to the magazine to be honest.

Right. For all the listeners here, I want to highlight something that Nathan just said, is creating the magazine, obviously that’s a lead generation source, but it’s also a huge brand builder.Having a magazine and a presence like that I think adds a whole new element and level of credibility, and you know what’s fascinating I find now Nathan, is the fact that a guy can go out, who at the time you were working in IT support for travel company, right?

Mm-hmm (affirmative).
For $2,000 you launched your own digital magazine. Which in this day and age, when somebody is flipping through the app store looking at magazines, puts you on a perceived level of other big companies that have magazines in there.
Yeah. 100%.

Gives you this instant credibility and so for the listeners, there’s a huge asset here, an opportunity that you can take advantage of, because when I go through the app store and I look at the different magazines and stuff that’s out there, I still see so many niches where there’s absolutely zero presence as far as magazines go.Once you get into some of the different niches, I think this represents a huge opportunity for people, to start building credibility. Then something that I love that you’ve done, is you’ve used that to now connect with other authorities that play a massive role in enhancing the credibility of the magazine.

Now let’s shift gears a little bit here, and let’s talk about that, because you’ve had some incredible guests, absolutely amazing guests, right? How did you … I mean when you were first starting out, how did you attract people to the magazine, to be interviewed to take part?

Yeah. Look I want to be really clear Derek, you got to be on point man, but please understand I worked all this stuff out along the way. I was lucky that I said I didn’t want to build the Nathan Chan brand, I just created Foundr and I just kind of fell into this kind of asset based business.I didn’t even know the difference between an asset based business, and a cash flow based business. Then about a year in, I said, “Okay. Well I’ve got a magazine called Foundr. I need to decide whether I’m going to build an asset based business or cash flow based business,” and I chose asset, and the rest is history. I just want to be really, really clear, all right?

Throughout this whole process I’ve not known what I’ve been doing, I’ve just kind of worked it out along the way, and you’re making me sound really good man. I just want to be very transparent with your audience, that I am working out all of this stuff along the way.

Yes, you’re right, I am … Some of these things I am doing, I think is a good move, I think it’s a wise move, I think from a strategy standpoint it is good, but working out along the way. Same with starting the magazine, I had no idea about … It’d be a tool for influence, calling it Foundr and having a magazine, no idea that’d be an asset based business, not a personal brand, not Nathan Chan, plus I try to be as humble as possible. That’s just who I am.

Then in the third place around utilizing influences, and using it to build the brand, didn’t know but worked out along the way. I think the first … To answer your question, we have wrote an in-depth blog post, 5,000 word plus on our whole exact process of how we get interviews with Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington, Barbara Corcoran, you name it. You can go to because we do get asked this question quite a lot, was just giving out a whole process. You can go and check out that blog post.

But to answer your question, in the early days, it was really rough Derek. If you look at the first issue of the magazine, I didn’t even have a successful person on the front cover. I had a stock image, and that is because no one would get back to me, and it was really, really, really rough, and I struggled big time.

As time went on, I was lucky enough to get an interview with Richard Branson, and have him on the front cover of issue number eight. That was a big turning point for us, and I learned a lot of critical lessons around what we did with that issue, with the Richard Branson issue, I can talk to you more about that if you want to delve into that.

Yeah, the way that we do it is one, we have a magazine which is powerful. Two, we contact people when they’re looking for press, which is, you know, if people are looking for press … They’re promoting a book or they’re promoting a TV show, or you name it, then they’re more likely to do press stuff. Then we find the correct person so the gatekeeper, whether that’s a PR agency, or whether that’s this person’s assistant, or that person’s head of PR. We find them and we make phone calls, or hassle them, or whatever.

I just literally just got off the phone last night with Richard Branson’s head of PR, because I have a few requests, or some things I’m trying to work with those guys on. I don’t know if they’ll say yes, I don’t know if he’ll say yes, but I’m asking and I’m getting on the phone.

If you run right back to me on email, I want to get on the phone man, and that’s a key takeaway when people have. Very, very, key there’s a reason people have their phone number in the email signature. Call them. I hope that answers your question.

Absolutely, it does. One of the points I want to go back to here because it’s awesome, your first issue, you said you didn’t even have a successful person on the cover, you had a stock image. That is classic tenacious entrepreneur that is going to find a way.This goes back to … You know I’ve heard people say it before, when you’re first getting started, sometimes you got to fake it till you make it a little bit, right? To get it off the ground, and that’s exactly what you did, and got the momentum going. I know so many people that would have said, “Oh, I can’t get an interview. I’m done.”

I love that and I mean your track record speaks for itself, and I think what we’ll do is I’ll include the link in the show notes that you just gave us for that process for getting interviews. Because just about in any niche imaginable, you can find experts, you can find people that are already influencers, and if you can find ways to connect with them and interview them and leverage their brand in your business, that can be a massive turning point.

You said you could talk a little bit about how you used Richard Branson, and how that worked for you. You want to go down that rabbit hole a little bit?

Yeah. Sure thing. I think it’s a great lesson that I learned Derek. It was that you should give away your best stuff for free, especially in the online space, even in the physical products space I think it works as well. I haven’t tried it, and I will be testing it with a new project we’re working on.I think give away your best stuff for free. Don’t be afraid to give it away because that’s what we did with the Richard Branson issue and it’s been one of … You talk about lead generation sources, that free Richard Branson issue has been downloaded 50,000 times, and it’s just … We send people the the PDF digital version. 50,000 people, you can fill a stadium with 50,000 people.

Yeah, totally.

That’s only a small percentage of people on our email database. Here’s the thing, right? Derek I think a lot of people, especially when it comes to their best stuff, they want to hold onto it. They want to charge for it, and I’d encourage you to charge for your best stuff, but wherever you can, try and give some sort of teaser around your core product that is just so good that you could charge for it.Because if you can do that, and it is so good, people are going to forward that to their friends. People are going to speak about it, and not only that, the people that do download it, the people that do experience it, whether it’s physical or digital, if it is that good that you could usually charge for it, you’re going to build tremendous amount of trust.

People buy whether it is a personal brand, or whether it is a business brand like Foundr, people buy from businesses or people that they know, like, and trust. That’s what we did when I got that Branson feature.

Not only did I push people to a landing page, if they stumbled across it, but I also pushed … We also gave away that issue for free in the magazine. One thing I want to do is, we’re going down exploring print now. It’s so funny, we’re going full circle man. We’re doing this print book … You didn’t ask me this questions, so if you want to delve deep on this print stuff, we can later.

Sure. Yeah, absolutely. I definitely want to know more about this project, and I’m going to save that one. Just back to your piece of advice, that giving away your best stuff is fantastic advice, and I think the results have spoken for themselves with 50,000 people.You know, it’s funny because when you quantify that, here’s the problem with the online world, we talk such big numbers. I have 50,000 people, right? But it’s not until you really put it into context that that’s like a stadium full.

Yeah, I know it’s crazy man.
All of a sudden you visualize the stadium and go, “Holy crap, that really works,” right?
These are real people.
Real people.
Real human beings in order number. I think some people get, and I might … Honest to God, me myself included, sometimes you get caught up in the numbers you forget that these are real people that admire you.

That’s it. Totally. That is that one of the downsides of a digital business, is you don’t have that human contact as much, right? Sometimes that’s why I like to go out and speak at live events. I’m like, “Wow, there’s real people out here.” It adds an element of realness to it.Let’s shift gears now, and let’s dive into Instagram marketing strategies, because you’ve been crushing it on Instagram. I mean you’ve some different Instagram marketing strategies in some cases than what I’ve seen. Let’s start at the beginning … Why Instagram? What drew you there initially?

Yeah. Pretty much I built up the business, took me about a year to replace my income and leave my day job. We didn’t have any social media presence, so this is two years ago, two and a half years ago.We didn’t have any social media presence, we just launched a new version of the site that went away from a basic landing page to keep Apple happy to actually having a blog, and a few other bits and pieces.

I was like, “Okay, well let’s grow this thing.” How are we going to grow this thing? I was trying all sorts of things, guest posting, blogging on our own site, Facebook, Facebook ads, Twitter, all sorts of things to grow the magazine. Pay traffic, you know I talked about how much we’re paying for app installs. We’re doing great with App Store SEO, but you can only get so far, right?

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

I was just like, “Okay, well what about Instagram?” We had an Instagram account, it had like 100 followers, I hadn’t opened it up in about a year, I had no Instagram marketing strategies. What happened was, I was getting an intern, because I couldn’t afford to hire anyone, so I kind of took an intern to do some work with me, just help with some marketing stuff.Before that intern started the day before I said, “I’m going to open up our Instagram account to see what’s happening there.” I was actually to be honest with you Derek, quite intimidated by the platform. I didn’t really understand how it worked and hadn’t explored any Instagram marketing strategies. We had like maybe about 30 photos because I have another friend who was just doing a little bit of pro bono social media stuff to try and get a job. He did do a few posts on there and stuff.

We had maybe 100 or so followers, and I did have another friend, this is the actual friends that helped me come up with the name Foundr, without the E, my friend Jake. He’s an entrepreneur, and he’s from my area that I live in. Which you would know because I know you know Melbourne.

He was crushing it on Instagram in the health and wellness space, so he was creating physical products, selling super foods, and all sorts of things. Long story short he said to me, you know, “Instagram would never work for you Nathan. Instagram marketing strategies are only for people in the health space.” I said, “Okay, I’ll take that.” It does look like that.


It does look like you know health, and beauty, and fashion, really that’s all it looks like. I said, “Okay, but if hypothetically if I were to try some Instagram marketing strategies and grow like get traction on Instagram, what would you say I do?” He told me, you know, “Post some images, utilize hashtags, do a bit of targeted following, and pay for shoutouts.”Those were some Instagram marketing strategies that he told. I tested the shoutout space, it didn’t work when I tried and there’s a reason for that, and I can tell you about that if you’d like to know. But I did a few things around the hashtags, and did a couple of posts.

Crazily enough, I saw after like two or three posts, that night before the intern started, the day before the intern started, a Google analytics hike. We made an extra $150. I was just like, “Wow, we’re onto something here.” And Instagram marketing strategies got interesting.

With that I took that and I just battle-tested the absolute crap out of the platform. Measured, tested, built. Measure scale, and test measures scale. I don’t know what that framework is from the way we set up, but … Build, measure, learn. I just did that over and over, and over, until we developed Instagram marketing strategies and built this machine that has been a massive, massive lead generator, but also a way to spread the brand.

Like incredible, like we’re closing in on close to a million followers. We will be there hopefully by the end of this year. Even if like you know … Just forget about how many leads we’ve generated, or dollars or whatever, just people hearing about the brand they probably don’t even know, they’ll always say you know, “Oh yeah, I think I’ve heard of it,” or, “I’ve seen you guys around,” and it probably might have started with Instagram marketing strategies.

Because we have, you know out of this 400 million, 500 million accounts on Instagram, active accounts, users, monthly users, and we’re in the top 6,000 in the world, and we’ve built that in two years.

We have quite a large account … I mean the top accounts are like Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande. We built that and it’s been … Because of our Instagram marketing strategies we have one of the largest business related, startup related, accounts on Instagram, more than Fast Company, Entrepreneur, or other traditional magazines in the space as well.

It’s been incredible, incredible way to just spread the word of the brand. Normally you just generate leads, but the Instagram marketing strategies actually really make a massive impact.

Awesome. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a long time, and so some specific questions for you about Instagram marketing strategies, so you create this Instagram account, if somebody is starting out today … Now actually let me take a step back.One of the things that I’ve definitely noticed about your Instagram account is it’s all brand based, and typically it’s image-based, quotes, stuff like that, motivational, with the Foundr brand on it. Then interspersed with the odd say promotion for your podcast, or something like that. Now …

We have promotions for the magazine, all the videos, promotions for lead magnets, yeah.

Yeah. Not really the typical what we expect on Instagram, you know, the product shots, or the health guides, or the celebrity stuff, right? It’s a very different approach.One of the things I found interesting is that as I was scrolling through I’m like, “There’s not really any Nathan in here. There’s no person in there per se.” Now, what’s your reasoning behind that? Now I understand it’s the Foundr brand, but there’s no Nathan in there.

Yeah. That’s a really good question. To be honest Derek, we should actually have more behind-the-scenes photos of myself and the team as one of our Instagram marketing strategies. I did talk to you at the start about how I have this obsession around not wanting to make the brand around me, so I probably wouldn’t want to post a photo of myself, but I’d be more than happy to post a photo of me and the team.We have done that. It is very rare because we do post so often, but we do do that very, very rarely, and I think we should do it a lot more. To answer your question, I’m glad you raised it, because it is something that’s been on my mind, that we should post more just to humanize the brand a little more.


I’m really glad you raised that because I’m literally writing it down now. The reason that we post the content that we do post, it’s because it’s what our audience loves, and it’s easily to be shared, and people love to share it and it’s one of the Instagram marketing strategies that allows us to grow tremendously fast.It allows us to attract the kind of people that would be interested in Foundr, because of these pieces of content, and they’re extremely shareable. I do agree, that in terms of adding some salsa dancing to it, we should humanize the brand and spice it up.

I have had this thought, and it’s just one of those things you think about, you think about, you think about, so yeah, we are going to do that I think, yeah. I think we should have more photos of people that we’re featuring in the magazine.

We do a lot of product stuff no doubt about it, you would see. We have the videos constantly going, of the Tim Ferriss issue with a cool video, the Richard Branson issue, the Corvair, Tony Robbins, Arianna Huffington, we do have that a lot, but I think we should actually definitely have some more shots of within the magazine, and then also of the people featured in, putting a long caption story in there.

Then also of the team and behind the scenes. I think you’re right, that’s a really good idea, and we will do that. Still I think 95% of the content should and can be just content the people love for growth. But you can’t mix it up. I would say that it wouldn’t hurt to do one in every 20, or one in every 15 of the humanization point that you mentioned.

Right now with your Instagram marketing strategies, you’re posting … How many times a day do you post?
Six to eight times.
Six to eight times. Do you recycle content? Are you reposting the same things?

Every now and then but not always. We do have a couple of Instagram marketing strategies rules, one rule is, I don’t want us to be perceived as a motivational quote account. Two years ago Derek, when we started on Instagram, there was none of these kind of motivational quote accounts. Now there are so many, like crazy amounts.Because we predominantly post a lot of that stuff, we have two rules. One, yes we can post motivational quotes, but we want to have a big emphasis on startup quotes, and startup tips and facts more than anything. Two, if anyone comes to our Instagram page, they will see something around the magazine. Like they will see one of our magazine promotional video.

Constantly when you’re scrolling down, like one out of every nine, will be something around the magazine, so they can see that, we’re not just your typical motivational quote account. That’s a big important piece, and then now we’re going to add in this humanization part of the brand, which is your idea, which I love.

That’ll be probably one in every 20, and the rest is … One in every five, we usually do a lead magnet with a call to action, and we rotate about 15 to 20 different lead magnets, and we change the link in our bio. That usually generates anywhere between 250 to 500 leads per day, depending how fresh and how popular that lead magnet is,

Wow. Okay, so and just for everybody that’s listening, I just want to point out exactly, and explain what Nathan just said there.When they create a lead magnet and post it, anybody that’s used Instagram already knows that you cannot include links in the descriptions when you post an image. Change the URL in your profile, and that’s how they’re going to get … That’s exactly what you’re talking about, correct?

Correct. Soon, I’m so excited Instagram will be doing an update that you can put links in the images. It’s going to be game-changing Derek.
Finally. When you say links in the images, do you mean in the description below or…?
Actually on the images. You’ll actually be able to … It’s going to be golden, an all new set of Instagram marketing strategies. Like we will be able to 10x our conversion, 100x our conversion, it’s going to be crazy.
I mean that that’s been the showstopper. Not a showstopper but that’s been the biggest challenge, right? Fantastic, and I’m looking any time lines?
Not sure. I know they’re testing it and they announced it literally this week.
Got you. Now, with the video, so you’re using video as well in your Instagram marketing strategies?
Where do you find better engagement? Video or image?

Depends. I can tell you for a fact that we’ve been doing a little Instagram marketing strategies experiment on posting, and reposting just like motivational videos, and bits and pieces, and always crediting the source, and that’s growing our Facebook page really, really fast.It’s kind of the same thing with Instagram. If you can get a video that really resonates, and shares like wildfire, it’s not as strong as Facebook, but it definitely is strong.

I think you need a combination, but more than ever a great Instagram marketing strategies tip for your audience, is you can use a tool called where you can find and run scans on your competitors accounts, and you can find the most liked and commented images. You want to repost that stuff if you can, and just make sure you credit, and that’s really, really key.

Also I want to be really clear Derek for your audience, because I know I’m going to work towards wrapping up soon, is you don’t have to post quotes as one of your Instagram marketing strategies. If you have any commerce based business, and you sell physical product, don’t post quotes. Don’t use the strategy we use.

We have also the other Instagram marketing strategies that we’re doing to utilize Instagram as a massive traffic source, an authority builder, and reputation builder, but yeah don’t post quotes. It is not on branch.

Right. Somebody with physical products, which they’d be posting, pictures of the products, people using the products.
Yeah. 100%.
Yeah, absolutely. Cool. All right. Now as you said, we’re running out of time here. Before we wrap up though, you are launching a new crowdfunding project. Tell us about that.

Yes. This is something I’m really, really excited about Derek. It’s going to be our best body of work that we’ve produce thus far I think. The reason that is, is because we only could have produced it this far down the journey.We’ve produced thousands, and thousands, and thousands, of hours worth of content, we’ve interviewed some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our generation, so why not pull all those pieces of words of wisdom and package it together in a beautifully designed physical coffee table print book.

We have the in-house team to be able to produce really great content, not just the content itself but from a design and experience wise, so that’s what we’re doing. We’re going to produce this beautiful 250 page book, printed, coffee table style, die cuts, on the front cover.

It’s going to be an amazing experience, and the content is just amazing. It’s literally distilled down to our best stuff in regards to, and from the best in the world, best founders in the world, from some of the greatest companies that have changed the world.

We’ve distilled it down to ID validation, team-building, hiring, marketing, social media, raising capital, you name it. Every single section we’ve got pieces of gold that we’ve extracted, and yeah. We’ve been working on it for at least the past eight months to a year, on this project.

We’re going to crowdfund it, and we’re going to see if it’s something that people truly want, and we’re going to involve the community, bring this project to life. It is a physical product, and I’m really, really pumped about it.

If people want to know more, and they want to get the early bird back at deals, so you can get the coffee table book at a super ridiculous, like cheap rate that we won’t even really make much money on it to be bluntly honest with you. Just because you want to bring the project to life more than anything, and this is a branding exercise.

If you go to Foundr Mag, and at I’d love your support.

That is awesome and honestly I think that sounds like the first coffee table book that I’d actually read.
Yeah. This is … I must also say this is not a traditional coffee table book you just have sitting there, this something that has the contents like actually amazing and then you’d want to read it.
Yeah. Absolutely. Okay, so that is fantastic, and I’ll make sure that the links are posted in the show notes. I’ll be heading over as well to get my copy once we wrap up here. When’s the scheduled date for that to go live?
We go live November 15th.
Is that for the crowdfunding or the book?
Crowdfunding. We’re crowdfunding the book man. Crowdfunding the book.
That’s right. You’re crowdfunding the book, so the book is not ready November 15. The books a ways out.
Yes. Correct.
Yes, awesome. All right. Love it and Nathan I just want to say thank you for sharing so many Instagram marketing strategies today. Your journey has been an inspiration, and I mean you’re so humble, but I mean you’ve been deflecting credit, but you’ve done amazing things, and I want to thank you for so generously sharing your knowledge, and wisdom, and your journey, with our listeners today.
You’re welcome Derek. Thank you so much for having me on your show, it’s an absolute honor. I really appreciate your time, and dude you’re an incredible interviewer, so keep up the great work. I really appreciate your questions, it was an awesome conversation man.
Fantastic. Awesome. Thank you Nathan.
You’re welcome.

All right everyone, that was Nathan Chan, the founder of Foundr Magazine, and as always any of the links that we talked about in this interview will be included in the show notes along with an entire transcript of this episode, and you’ll find them all at you haven’t done so already, make sure you head on over to iTunes and subscribe to this podcast so you can get every future episode automatically delivered. If you’re an Android user you will find us on a SoundCloud, and while you’re there, leave us a rating, leave us a review if you like what you heard.

Now it’s time to apply the final essential ingredient to making the Instagram marketing strategies that Nathan shared with us today actually work for your business, and that is action. Go forth, take action, apply what you’ve learned and stay tuned for more info packed episodes of the Project Ignite podcast.

This is your host, Derek Gehl, signing off.

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