(Pssst. At the end of this article you'll find the option to purchase a copy of my affordable 9-Grid Roadmap PDF for just $20!)
Just wanted to give you the heads up so you won't miss anything. Okay, onwards! Keep reading!
What the HECK is a 9-Grid?
The 9-Grid is a strategic, 9-post sales funnel designed to replace your existing Instagram profile (or sit on top of old feed posts) to warm up brand new leads so you can step back from posting to the grid and focus your energy on other parts of Instagram that are getting you the most engagement and ROI (like Reels or Stories).
You could say that my 9-Grid functions as a "mini sales page" or "mini website" if that helps you to visualize it!
How the 9-Grid Came to Be
From 2018-2020, I had been posting photos, carousel posts, videos, and graphics 3-5 times weekly to my feed using hashtags. Like many online entrepreneurs, I had seen a steady decline in post/hashtag engagement due to changes in the algorithm.
I finally made the decision to eliminate all hashtag use in 2020 and focus on purely organic engagement through networking with other creators who would share my content in their Stories and posting trainings in my own Stories.
Stories were my primary source of engagement, networking, word of mouth referrals, and sales. I watched my Stories engagement continue to increase even if my feed posts didn’t have hashtags, but I began feeling burnt out from the feed post hustle that wasn’t yielding any results.
I had hit a wall... and I realized I was so sick of slamming into it over and over again.
Feed posts weren’t directly responsible for any of my engagement or sales, so why was I continuing to put my effort there when clearly, my Stories were driving my ROI.
So late one night in September 2021 as most of my followers were sleeping, I archived every single post on my Instagram profile and replaced them with a strategic 9-post sales funnel as an experiment. Each post in my new feed led brand new audience members through a "journey" or "funnel" to learn more about me, my biz, my values, and my ethical Sales Page Toolkit.
I titled my strategy the “9-Grid” and over the next few days began to share details about the decision with my followers in my IG stories, a blog post, and an email newsletter.
Overnight, it seemed like my experiment picked up a lot of interest across Instagram. My followers were shocked and intrigued and started DMing me around the clock. Obviously, what I did really struck a nerve. Many people began sharing about my decision in their own IG Stories and tagging me, which funneled a ton of followers over to me.
I began receiving dozens of new followers and DMs weekly, was invited to speak about the 9-Grid on a few podcasts, was featured in other creators’ newsletters, and continued to be shared in dozens of other creators’ IG Stories from that point forward. For a small feed grown organically, this was a surprising level of publicity for me!
Since launching the 9-Grid, I've also heard directly from dozens of online business owners who are feeling burnt out on Instagram. Now I teach my 9-Grid sales funnel strategy so that they can experience relief too.
My original 9-Grid, published September 2021 (left) and my updated 9-Grid, published September 2022 (right)
While I could absolutely swap out/edit captions, replace my 9-Grid puzzle with an updated puzzle, or add seasonal promotion puzzles on top of this one, I actually allow my 9-Grid to sit on my profile untouched for a long period of time. In fact, I didn't need to update my 9-Grid for an entire year. This is a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders and a much more sustainable way to post to my feed!
Now I have the energy to go all-in on Instagram Stories, DMs, and Reels. Stories and DMs are my favorite part of IG anyways! After consistently putting all my focus in THOSE places instead of the feed, I've seen my engagement skyrocket.
Speaking of ROI, let me break it all down for ya.
My Results, 1 Year Later
Several people have DM'd me wanting to know what happened after publishing my 9-Grid: "Did you see results?"
I have to laugh just a bit, because that question is more open-ended than we might think. What results do you mean when you ask that question? Typically, people are asking me if I've made more money.
And while that's a great question, I want to expand the idea that ROI only means money. Money is great. But it's not the only metric that matters to me. Here's a more robust breakdown of my ROI after making the change:
- I felt an IMMEDIATE, tangible release of pressure on my shoulders the moment my puzzle went live and I stepped back from feed posting. It was surreal. Even though I hadn't been posting regularly anyways, I didn't realize how much the "guilt" of not posting was physically affecting me. Going forward, I didn’t feel exhausted and depleted every time I opened Instagram, and it began to feel fun again.
- Now I spend only 2-3 hours per week (instead of 7+) strategizing, creating, copywriting, designing, and sharing social media and newsletter content.
- My IG engagement soared through the ROOF as people flooded to my IG to check it out and told their friends. I fielded 10+ DM threads and got 3-5 new followers each day for a while (an amount I used to get in a whole week, pre-9-Grid) and it kept increasing from there. Now I receive around 10-20 new organic followers and dozens of DMs from new followers (and old ones!) per week. After one year, I've organically attracted 600+ followers on IG (who are my ideal clients!) without spending any money on ads... and they haven't hit the unfollow button.
- My Stories engagement began climbing and are now up 330% after 1 year, all organically, because I was able to go ALL IN on Stories now that I had refocused my energy and priorities on Instagram. Again, I really don’t use ads or sponsored Stories! Other creators consistently tag me in their Stories talking about my 9-grid and other innovative sales strategies I have created. This word of mouth networking is bringing most of my new leads!
- I'm making MORE and MORE QUALIFIED sales, even successfully selling to recent followers who have never seen my feed or heard of me before, including "passive" sales of my 9-Grid Toolkit. This is MAJOR for me because historically, I had never sold ANY custom copy services via Instagram (Stories or otherwise) and struggled to sell my digital products on Instagram prior to using the 9-Grid -- my copy clients and students of the past were email referral only. This is a HUGE change for my brand.
- My creativity no longer feels "trapped" in a box that Instagram owns and new ideas constantly surge in my brain. I launched a creative new Brand Manifesto Package and opened 5 spots at beta rates... and immediately sold out of them within the hour. When I opened up 5 more, those sold out too. Since then I've had several Copy Pop Ups for new services I've dreamed up and have sold many seats to them with much more ease!
Will the 9-Grid work for your brand?
From an aligned values perspective, you don't have to do things the way they've always been taught. You get to decide what business strategies feels good to you. And it can lead to just as much, if not more, success as the strategies you hate. But from a strategic standpoint, not every brand is the best fit for a 9-Grid, and I want to encourage you to make a wise decision!
The 9-Grid might be a GREAT fit for you if...
- Your engagement (likes, comments, shares, and DMs) on FEED POSTS is dwindling, even with strategic hashtag use, and you're feeling exhausted from your efforts there
- You get MOST of your engagement in other places on Instagram (like Stories, DMs, Lives, or Reels) and see occasional or regular ROI from those places, want more of it, and are willing to put more effort into THOSE places
- Many or most of your sales do not come from Instagram at all and you/your ideal clients don't really hang out there anyway (i.e., you mostly get clients from email referrals, etc.) BUT you just need a professional presence on Instagram so potential clients can verify that you're a real person
- You are launching a brand new business and want to establish a professional presence on your Instagram profile as you focus on building consistency in other parts of your social media strategy
- You are taking a sabbatical from work or an extended break from social media and need to give potential clients information about your brand while you are away
You should probably pass on the 9-Grid if...
- Most of your sales can be directly traced back to Instagram FEED POSTS (i.e., clients regularly reach out and book you based on a feed post)
- You use IG as your visual portfolio (i.e., an artist, painter, calligrapher, photographer, hair stylist, tattoo artist, stylist, etc. who posts regular images of their work)
- You're looking for an Instagram strategy that sells completely "passively" so you never have to touch IG again (stepping back from posting to the feed can eliminate a LOT of tasks for you, but you should expect to put in effort in other places like Stories or DMs if you want to make sales on Instagram)
If you think the 9-Grid might be the perfect fit for your brand and want to start envisioning your new feed, SCROLL DOWN to purchase a copy of my 9-Grid Roadmap for just $20!*
The Roadmap is perfect for beginners who want to test the waters before investing in the full 9-Grid Toolkit. If and when you're ready for even more support, you can check out my 9-Grid Toolkit that includes a video training, caption brainstorming outlines, and an in-depth strategy guide to help you maximize your results.
*Still unsure if a 9-Grid is the right fit for you? Come DM me on Instagram and tell me about your brand! I'll help you make the best call for your biz. :)