The Ultimate Guide on How to Monetize Your Baseball or Softball Instagram Following | Everything Coaches Need to Know

January 09, 2024

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Ultimate Guide Monetize Baseball Softball Instagram Following B P052

Instagram passed the one billion monthly users mark in 2020 and reports 500 million active users per day. 

You already know it’s one the key places for your baseball and softball brand to connect with your target audience of parents or ballplayers.

But not only can you grow your brand on Instagram, you can also monetize your following. 

Influencers, affiliate marketers, and entrepreneurs from all walks of life have found ways to earn a living from posting and curating content on Instagram. 

So why not you and your baseball or softball brand?

You can, and in many cases should, rely on more than one strategy to make money on Instagram. 

Diversification is always recommended, whether we’re talking about a stock portfolio or attaining your business’ goals.  

It’s all about finding the approaches that most align with your business goals, or feel like the best fit for your brand. 

But before covering all of your options for monetization as a baseball or softball expert in serious depth, let’s start with some stats.  

Instagram Statistics Coaches Need to Know

  • The average post has 10.7 hashtags. Hashtags can still impact your growth on Instagram. 
  • 71 percent of Instagram users are below age 35, with the most popular demographic being 25-34. Does your target audience fall within that age range?

    If you are a private instructor or team coach growing your personal brand online, then the answer is almost certainly yes. 

    All of your actual clients and the majority of their parents – parents with ballplayers 6-18 years old – will be found on Instagram. 

    Also, these statistics are only taking into account all Instagram users, but, sports parents, due to being able to share their child’s accomplishments visually, are incredibly active on the platform – even parents who are in the 35-55 age bracket.
  • Users spend an average of 30 minutes per day on Instagram. The more time users spend on the platform, the more opportunities they have to see your branded content. 

    For example, the introduction of Stories increased the average time spent on the platform significantly. 

    And keep in mind that extending their average user's time on platform metric is the goal of nearly every feature that Instagram will ever roll out – we’re looking at you Reels.

    Also, this stat should remind you to look into which time of day is the best to post for your baseball and softball communities. 

    In order to do this, look at your Instagram Insights, of course, but also just think critically through the average day of both young athletes and of the parents of young athletes and try to align your posting times to when they might have a chance to get online.
  • The use of the hashtag #ad, which indicates a sponsored post, grew by 133 percent between 2018 and 2019. 

    Influencers and marketers have started taking over even more these days, as sponsored content becomes increasingly more commonplace on the app.
  • 500 million Instagram accounts use Stories every day and one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses.

    Content for Stories doesn’t have to be as pristine as for regular feed posts, so you can share casual, everyday moments related to your baseball or softball brand. This kind of content helps fans connect with you more easily.
  • Nike averages 4.6 million views per Reel.

    Reels are still a massive opportunity for baseball and softball creators to grow their Instagram account and overall brand. 

    Reels have been especially well-adopted and received by the sports community writ large – and this includes your potential parent and player customers. 

Now keep these stats in mind, as we enter all things monetization. 

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Three accounts in our industry doing an awesome job on Instagram. Take special note of how many of their posts have the Reels symbol. @infinitehitting@primepitching@stronghold_catching.

What Are the Basics for Monetizing Your Baseball or Softball Instagram Following?

Before you can get started monetizing, you need a fanbase of highly dedicated followers. 

But, in order to better explain things, we’ll break this need up into its component parts:

1. Fanbase

Almost every monetization strategy that we’ll cover works better and faster the larger your fanbase becomes.

Just to take one of the many methods we’ll soon cover, influencer marketing, as an example, ask yourself: why would a business agree to pay me to promote their products? 

A company will only be interested in you as a person of influence if you can put their products in front of interested Instagram users. 

For many of the monetization methods we’ll cover to really pay the bills, you’ll need at least a few thousand engaged followers.

Luckily, we have tons of guides and resources to equip you with the tools you need to reach this milestone.

And don’t worry, again, influencer marketing is certainly not the only monetization option for baseball and softball experts.

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2. Dedicated followers

Sheer number of followers isn’t enough to catch the attention of businesses or move the needle on your own brand’s goals. 

Your followers should also be engaging with you actively on Instagram. 

When you post, your followers should be liking and commenting, because it shows that they’re more likely to check out the baseball and softball products or services that you’re offering. 

Engagement on Instagram matters – content on Instagram is four times more likely to generate interactions compared to Facebook.

Now that we’ve covered the basic ingredients for successful monetization, it’s time to dive into the various strategies at baseball or softball creators’ disposal. 

To make money from your baseball or softball following on Instagram you can:

  • Become a person of influence in the space
  • Do affiliate marketing for others’ products
  • Create a service or physical product offering of your own
  • Build online video courses

None of these options are mutually exclusive and many baseball and softball creators do a variety of them – but each is good to know and understand in depth.

Okay, let’s get after it.

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How to Earn Money on Instagram as a Baseball or Softball Influencer

The first strategy that we’ll tackle for getting paid on Instagram is becoming an influencer. 

📚 Definition: An influencer, or person of influence, is just someone who posts content on their social media account related to a specific niche or industry. 

Sometimes, the content they post may promote or incorporate a different company’s product or service. The influencer is usually remunerated for these posts, either with cash, freebies, or product discounts. 

So how do you become an Instagram influencer? 

Here’s a much too simplified summation of the steps:

  • Grow an engaged audience
  • Post sponsored content 

Whittling this strategy down makes it seem easy, but it’ll take real time and dedication to become a profitable baseball or softball Instagram influencer – and we’re going to cover every step of the journey.

🚨 Important Note: If you already know this influencer monetization path just isn’t for you, please skip ahead in this guide to find the strategy that fits you and your goals better.
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1. Pick a niche

You’ve picked baseball or softball as your niche, so this part is a little easier.

But there are already a lot of successful baseball and softball influencers on Instagram – how might you make yourself stand out? 

You can choose a micro-niche within the larger orbits of baseball and softball. 

It might be worth mentioning here that 55 percent of businesses say they prefer to work with micro-influencers – sometimes defined as 1,000 to 100,000 followers – because they’ve fostered a more genuine connection with their fanbase.

Therefore, instead of being a general baseball influencer, for example, you could promote baseball pitching specifically. 

This can, of course, be niched-down even further to focus a whole account on something like baseball pitching curveballs, where you show the filthiest in-game and bullpen hooks from major leaguers down to amateur ballplayers. 

Or you could focus exclusively on baseball or softball equipment. Choosing training equipment as your micro-niche lends itself particularly well to being an Instagram influencer.

When you do eventually promote products it’ll feel more natural to your audience, and brands are likely to see the value in working with you a bit quicker than other types of personal brands. 

Regardless of what niche you choose, make sure that it’s one that you’re truly passionate about. 

To be a thriving influencer, you have to live and breathe your brand. You should know the ins, outs, and latest trends in your niche so you can deliver quality, informative content to your audience. 

If you don’t care about the topic or topics you're covering and you only post half-heartedly, audiences can usually tell from a mile away.

2. Grow your audience

This next step is obvious, but instead of just repeating ourselves, we’ll use it here to reiterate how important it is to keep your brand’s promises. 

Your posts should deliver exactly what you’ve promised fans.

If you say you post a new hitting drill every Wednesday, then post a new hitting drill every Wednesday. 

When you clearly articulate the value you offer to your followers and regularly deliver on it, they’ll see you as reliable and your influencer status will improve.

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@cjbeatty44 delivers constant motivation and instruction to his followers both in-person and online.

3. Partner with brands

To be an influencer definitionally, you need brands to promote. 

Of course, you can always just put out great content and wait for a brand to approach you. 

But, have you ever heard the idiom “The squeaky wheel gets the grease?”

If you want to be that squeaky wheel, you can do one or both of the following things:

  • Pitch companies directly
  • Sign up for an influencer marketing platform. 

Pitch directly

Is there any baseball or softball gear or gadgets you’ve used that you particularly liked?

What about a trainer you’ve worked personally with or an online or in-person course that you’ve taken? 

Try contacting these brands directly first. 

Send them a pitch asking if they’d be interested in having you promote their products or services on your Instagram. 

Here are a few tips for making the perfect influencer pitch:

  • Your email subject line should be clear, concise, personalized, and out-right state the benefit to the brand.
  • The only hyperlink you’ll want to include in your email should be to your Instagram profile.
  • Include stats like engagement rate, monthly views, follower growth, and conversion rates – screenshots can be very helpful for building trust here. Brands want to see these numbers to confirm that you’re worth their investment.
  • In your message, show that you understand why this brand is relevant to the audience of followers that you’ve grown. Do this by giving an idea of how many people you can reach, and estimate how your content will resonate with this brand’s own audience.
  • Give any examples you might have of past partnerships, including names of brands, how you worked with them, and successful outcomes.
  • Include a few details on how you’d like the partnership to go? This is a good place to say why you like this particular brand and want to work with them.
  • Your signoff should include steps the business can take to contact you and move the potential partnership forward. 

Following these steps will show potential partners that you are extremely serious, organized, and professional – making you very difficult to ignore.

Sign up for an influencer marketing platform

The second way to find partner brands is by joining a marketplace that connects brands and influencers.

Some good platforms to get you started are:

But what happens once you’ve partnered with a brand as an influencer and begin doing sponsored posts?

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4. Clearly identify ads

You’ve picked a niche, you’ve grown your audience, and you’ve partnered with brands. 

The last step in your strategy to become an Instagram influencer – and an important aspect of executing sponsored content – is identifying your ads as ads. 

In some countries, like the U.S. and U.K., influencers are required to mark posts as sponsored if they’re receiving any form of remuneration for them. 

The most common way to designate sponsored content is with the simple hashtag #ad

🧢 Pro Tip: When it comes to disclosing your affiliations with sponsors on Instagram, you don’t want to mess around. 

Make it clear that it’s an #ad, don’t use another hashtag that could have a double meaning. 

And mention that your post is sponsored within the first three lines of your post. Otherwise, users will have to click around for it.

If you’re making money from your Instagram posts and being shady about it, you’ll lose standing in the influencer community, with your hard-won audience, and with brands. Not to mention facing possible penalties from Instagram itself.

5. Post great content

We’re sure you’ve heard elsewhere that your fanbase won’t grow without solid content. And it’s undeniably true.

Always use high-quality images and videos for your Instagram account – nobody likes a blurry video that’s difficult to watch on a smartphone screen. 

Videos, either as feed posts, on Stories, and, of course, Reels, tend to perform better than static images.

6. Collaborate with other influencers

You’re not the first baseball or softball influencer on Instagram. There are others, and you should reach out to them.

Build relationships with other content creators.

You never know how being genuine and giving others positive feedback may end up helping you reach your own goals some day. 

In addition to making contacts with other persons of influence, you should try to collaborate with them as well.

You can create a video or take a photo together to help tap into each other’s followings.

🧢 Pro Tip: It’s particularly smart to link up with budding influencers who are around the same size as you, and to begin growing together. Besides growing your following, such collaboration can also open the door to paid partnerships by introducing you to new contact networks and garnering new eyeballs on you and your brand. 

Okay, that’s a big check mark on our first method of monetizing a baseball or softball Instagram account, let’s move on to strategy number two. 

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How to Become an Instagram Affiliate Marketer as a Baseball or Softball Creator

A second strategy for earning on Instagram is through what's called affiliate marketing. 

Brands that have a baseball or softball product they want to sell will often use promoters to market that product for them and, in return, offer these promoters a small portion of the profit from that product’s sale. 

Ideally, if you’re participating in such an affiliate program as a promoter, you’d want to find products you actually like or that you already use and then promote them on either a website or your social media.

Here’s a more in-depth breakdown with the rough mechanics of how affiliate marketing works:

  1. Usually, as an officially recognized promoter, you would be provided with (or able to generate) a unique affiliate link for each product that you promote. 
  2. You can then place this link wherever you’d like to promote it. Common places for such a link are in your bio on social media, in your YouTube video descriptions, in your emails or subscriber newsletters, on a blog post, in your cold outreach DM’s on social, and you can always just text it to your in-person lesson clientele. 
  3. Ultimately the more people who click that link and purchase the product that you’re promoting, the more money the company makes – and the more commission dollars you’ll earn in return. 

As an affiliate marketer, you’re not just promoting a brand with a flat rate upfront for a certain number of sponsored posts as pure influencers do – you have to make actual sales. 

You only earn money when the brand you’re partnered with sells its products. 

To pull off affiliate marketing on Instagram, you need a sound business strategy because it’s a bit more difficult to grow an audience if you start out as an affiliate seller. 

Most baseball or softball space influencers slowly incorporate affiliate sales after having already gained an audience and credibility. 

Some people have ethical qualms about affiliate marketing, but it’s similar to being an influencer. As long as you’re smart, transparent, and not spammy, affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn money on Instagram. 

Here’s how to get there.

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1. Pick a niche

Just like with influencer marketing, you need a niche. As an affiliate marketer, however, your niche should be more product-focused. 

For baseball and softball profiles that could mean selling gear, themed apparel, or instruction. 

A great place to start as an affiliate marketer is with product reviews. You could also do product comparisons or "How-to" tutorials. 

Again, think of your favorite baseball or softball tools and products. Is there something you’ve used before that you really loved? 

There’s no better endorsement for a product or service than someone passionate about it.

2. Find affiliate merchants

Once you’re set on your niche, you need to find merchants willing to partner with you. 

You have two options for finding businesses to be an affiliate with:

  • Contacting brands directly 
  • Joining an affiliate network

Contacting brands directly

Go back to step 1, when you were choosing products to review. If you have some favorite products, then you already have some favorite brands as well. 

Try contacting these brands to see if they’re interested in taking you on as a brand ambassador.

For this approach to work, again, you usually need a solid and dedicated fanbase on Instagram.

Brands want to see that you have enough followers to convert into leads or customers. If you’re just starting out and you’re still growing your audience, then wait to contact brands directly. 

With a small following and without proof that you can deliver sales for them, brands might hesitate to partner with you.

Joining an affiliate network

These are completely different from the influencer marketplaces we went over earlier. Affiliate networks are platforms that connect merchants to affiliate sellers. 

These networks help large corporations find many affiliate marketers to promote their products. When you market for one brand directly, you’re usually limited to one or a few products. 

With an affiliate network, you have a wide range of products to choose from.

Some networks are general, like Amazon Associates, which lets you market anything that appears on Amazon’s website.

Other than Amazon and the other big general networks, there are also baseball and softball brands with affiliate programs of their own worth looking into and considering signing up for:

Once you have an agreement set up with an individual merchant or have registered with an affiliate network, you can finally start promoting products. 

Ideally, you’ll both contact brands and join affiliate networks.

🧢 Pro Tip: When you’re starting out, you should give yourself as many opportunities for merchant partnerships as possible. 

The more products you promote, the more you sell. The more you sell, the more you earn.

3. Create posts about products

Once you’ve partnered up with brands and been approved for your desired affiliate networks, you can start posting on Instagram. 

Most of the same rules apply here as with influencer marketing. Use high-quality images and clear, engaging copy for your captions. 

Add the relevant industry, niche, product, and branded hashtags. And videos are always more engaging. 

However, since Instagram introduced Instagram Checkout, users can now purchase products directly in the app. 

This feature is beneficial to influencers, but especially to affiliate marketers.

Because you work with personalized links to earn your affiliate commission from product sales, you can now put that link directly in your post, rather than in your bio. 

With such “shoppable” Instagram posts, you can save space in your bio for more interesting copy that helps identify your brand. Plus, you give users a more direct buying experience.

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Casey Smith, again, above from @outfronthitting uses the HitTrax system for his hitting lessons, so he created a post about it and tagged the HitTrax brand account. 

Smith’s post is a great example of finding inspiration from products you already use when looking for affiliate partners.

The best content for affiliate marketing

One of the easiest ways to create engaging and profitable content around affiliate products is by doing unboxings and in-depth product reviews. 

Athletes, parents, and coaches are much more likely to purchase the tools you’re promoting if they see them in action. 

That’s why filming yourself or others demonstrating how the tool works is a great way to make an affiliate sale. 

But you can also do a comparison video of your promoted product with one of its competitors, as these consistently draw viewers’ attention. 

Believe it or not, this affiliate marketing section just scratches the surface of this powerful path to monetization. 

We wrote an entire dedicated guide with tons more tactics and real-world baseball and softball examples that you’ll definitely want to check out if this strategy even remotely appeals to you.  

But wait, there are still more ways to leverage your Instagram account into a profitable business, so let’s keep this thing going. 

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How to Earn Money as a Baseball or Softball Instagram Entrepreneur

The third strategy for earning money on Instagram is to become a more traditional entrepreneur and promote your own products and services. 

Instead of relying on other brands and businesses to account for your revenue, you can be your own exclusive boss. 

Starting an ecommerce business gets simpler everyday thanks to platforms like ours and Shopify. You can now set up a profitable retail or service-based business completely online. 

But going the traditional entrepreneur route will take more infrastructure and risk than the influencer or affiliate marketing methods. 

You may have to contend with things like production and distribution as well as marketing. 

You also usually can’t get away with having an Instagram profile only – although for selling physical goods, Instagram's shopping capabilities are getting better each quarter.  

At the very least, you’ll likely still want a website or a SeamsUp profile (or both) depending on what products or services you’re providing customers or clients. 

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1. Brainstorm a baseball or softball product idea

To sell your own products you need to know what you’re going to sell. 

Did you come up with a way to make baseball bat grips scented? Do you want to develop sunflower seeds in wacky flavors and ship them to dugouts all over the world? 

The sky’s the limit when it comes to new product ideas, but, ultimately, you want to create something that will sell. 

Fortunately, there are established methods for researching product ideas, as well as testing them.

Developing product ideas

When brainstorming product or service ideas, consider existing products and how you can improve upon them. 

Can you develop a more durable bat grip? Do you have an approach to baseball or softball instruction that isn’t common? 

Your new offering could be location-based as well. If, for example, there are only a few other pitching coaches of your caliber in your town or city, your pitching lessons could be filling a major need. 

Filling a major need is the key element of devising any new product or service offering.

You should seek to solve the so-called “bleeding neck” problems of your target audience. 

This graphic phrasing, often employed in the tech sector, just means finding a problem that is dire, urgent, and needs to be solved for a specific group of people – as opposed to a small scratch or paper cut equivalent problem that your target audience can afford to ignore. 

Besides the obvious case of being the only one in your geographic area to offer something, how can you tell what people’s needs are and how do you eventually fill them? 

🧢 Pro Tip: An early and effective technique involves reading online reviews of existing products similar to your ideas. Is there a common thread running through these reviews, pointing to an area that can be improved?

If yes, then that’s where you might consider starting when developing your new product.

Another way to see if your idea could be popular is by researching it with something like Buzzsumo.

Buzzsumo is a platform that shows you which content is popular based on social shares, but it’s just one of many solutions for accomplishing this same goal. 

You can also check your idea out for free on Google Trends to get further national or international validation of your emerging concept. 

Google Trends will tell you roughly how many people are searching for specific terms – like how one might describe your new product idea. 

If you want to offer online pitching lessons to young softball players, for example, you can search for this topic and see some of the recently popular content. 

If, continuing this example, you see that YouTube videos with pitching tutorials are shared a lot, then you could incorporate short videos of pitching drills into your online service, or, at least, into your marketing plan.

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Validating a product idea

You’ve researched your product or service idea, but now you need to know if it will actually sell. You have to test it by trying to sell it to a small number of people first. 

If this test is successful, you can expand. 

How do you find people who might be interested in purchasing your product?

Use your research from your product brainstorming session as a starting point to decide how best to tackle this validation problem. 

It’s challenging for us to give you an exact validation roadmap, because different kinds of ideas have different validation best practices. 

You, as baseball and softball entrepreneurs, may be looking to validate:

  • A pure software idea for training, productivity, or team management
  • A software as a service (Saas) product for coaches, tournament organizers, or parents
  • Hard products, like hitting or pitching gadgets, branded apparel, or athletic gear
  • Hybrids products featuring both digital and physical components, like wearable tech for taking in and making sense of ballplayer different data points.

Unfortunately, there’s not really a catch-all that’ll work regardless of the product or service you’re considering. 

Also, validating product ideas could be its own entire book – in fact, there are many entire books on the topic.

But, with all these caveats acknowledged, here are three common ways all entrepreneurs can accomplish this validation step:

A. In-Person Interviews

Once you’ve figured out who your target audience is and where they hang out in the real world, there’s often no better way to validate something than to speak directly with potential clients or customers. 

Luckily, as a baseball and softball product creator, it’s not very hard to find where local rec leagues, travel ball tournaments, batting cages, and training facilities, and industry events take place.

You probably already know off-hand. 

But you want to approach these validation interactions more as scientific interviews than product pitches. 

In fact, you may only talk specifically about the details of your product idea much later in the interview, if at all. 

As a reminder, what you’re really trying to do at first is assess whether your product idea is meant to solve a “bleeding neck” or “small scratch on the arm” type of problem. 

Basically, you need to learn both the severity of the problem you’re solving – hopefully it’s very high, like a person with a bleeding neck looking for a doctor to patch the wound – and then, secondly, all the ways that your target audience is currently going about addressing this problem. 

If you’re curious about why we keep bringing up this “bleeding neck” stuff, it’s because if you are trying to sell people on the fact that there’s even a problem in the first place and also trying to sell them on your specific solution to that problem, the one they just learned they had from you, you are attempting a nearly impossible feat – unless you have many millions to spend on advertising. 

🔑 Key Insight: You need base reality to have already made the problem very real in potential customer’s minds, without your intervention or coaxing – this is validation. Once you find a bleeding neck problem like this, you can then focus all your energy and resources on solving it. 

The latter bit of what you should seek to learn from interviews, about how your audience is solving their problem before your life-changing product’s existence, is important to see what you are up against from a current competitor standpoint.

And it’s good to keep forever in mind that all products in the world must compete with both limited attention spans and natural human apathy, AKA, people not really caring about a given problem enough to do anything about it. 

🧢 Pro Tip: Try and interview strangers who do not know that you are actually the creator of the product idea. 

In fact, many entrepreneurs tell these initial interviewees a small fib that they were “just hired to conduct some research” instead of identifying themselves as the origin of the idea in question.

This is because empirical feedback and evidence are all but ruined if the person being interviewed is afraid to hurt your feelings or be considered rude in regards to your product idea. You need honest and brutal feedback to truly validate any product.    

Finally, you’ll want to thoroughly document these in-person interviews with either audio recordings or, even better, video recordings – always asking the interviewee for permission, of course. 

Trying to both take detailed notes and conduct a meaningful and personally comfortable interview all by yourself is a fool’s errand. Trust us. 

🧢 Pro Tip: It’s much easier to record things during the interview to review later and instead focus your attention during the actual interview on making your potential customer feel at ease while mentally clocking their subtle body language and tonal shifts during their answers. 

If your product idea is validated, then you will thank your past self for recording these interviews when you have to write up your first sales landing page, social media posts, or paid ads. 

Any words and phrases used by your target audience in interviews are solid gold to you. 

🧢 Pro Tip: You’ll want to take the language that these target audience members use when talking about their problem – and your potential solution – during your interviews together and almost exactly mirror it back to them in all of your product’s written copy. 

This is one of the secrets of professional brand experts and copywriters.    

Here’s a great resource to help you learn more about this admittedly huge topic.

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B. Landing Page

📚 Definition: A landing page is a web page designed to convert visitors into business leads that can be followed up and made into customers. 

Landing pages usually have a form that allows its creator to capture a visitor’s information, like name, email, or phone number in exchange for the desired offer. 

Validating a product idea with one of these landing pages means creating a sales page with your new product or service offering on it – as if it were already totally real and finalized

Here's a step-by-step on how to make that happen.

You must have some call-to-action (CTA) button on this landing page that helps you establish a visitor’s true intent to buy this product – as they’ll be thinking that it’s already real.

You must make sure to install Google Analytics on this landing page and track how many and what percentage of visitors click your buyer intent call-to-action button.

Then, you will drive visitor traffic to your landing page with Facebook ads put in front of your exact target audience online. 

If these visitors show interest and click the button that shows intent to buy your hypothetical product, then you know there’s a real market out there for your idea. 

This is a great way to validate a product concept that can be coupled with the in-person method already described above. 

🔑 Key Insight: The in-person interviews are still important, as explained above, because they give you the words and phrases needed to craft both your ads and your landing page.

If everything that you just read sounded super-advanced or just plain confusing, do not be worried. 

Even for the most non-technical baseball or softball entrepreneur, creating a landing page and installing Google Analytics can be done with a few hours of work, using site builders like Squarespace or Wix, or any of the free landing page builders from this list

And you can create simple Facebook ads using your phone to film short videos or Canva to create graphics for your hypothetical product or service. 

And, if you don’t want to go for this DIY option, you can easily hire a freelancer or two to do everything we just described for a few hundred dollars. 

These landing pages are just quick tests that need not be perfect aesthetically, so any junior developer or marketer within your budget can help you.

A slight variation of this same idea that’s pretty time consuming, but that’s also free and saves you money on those Facebook ads, is to make a spreadsheet list of a few hundred to a few thousand individuals who are firmly within your target audience. 

You can do this by combing social media and manually plugging in their names and social account addresses. 

Then you can reach out to them via social media direct messages or by email to tell them about this new product or service of yours and link out your newly created landing page. 

You would still need to have Google Analytics installed properly to see how many of these personal messages caused your potential users to go to the landing page and what amount and percentage of total visitors clicked your buyer’s intent CTA.   

🧢 Pro Tip: You can get almost anyone’s email address by using products like RocketReach or Hunter.io.   

The most famous and potential originator of this now universally used landing page validation tactic is Buffer.

Buffer is a hugely successful social media post scheduling company. 

Here’s an article by Buffer’s CEO and Co-Founder, Joel Gascoigne, explaining exactly how they used this validation method.  

🚨 Important Note: Spending $100-500 just to validate your new product idea before it’s even built may sound crazy to a few of you. But you should think about how much personal time, money, and energy you might waste otherwise on creating and launching a product that no one wants to buy. 
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Buffer’s landing pages. Graphic by MintyMint.

C. Surveys

Creating and executing empirically effective surveys in order to validate products is another book-length topic that we’ll just briefly introduce here. 

If you’re currently deep in the Instagram ecosystem, your first thought when we mentioned surveys may be their Stories stickers. 

However, Story surveys on Instagram are often most helpful when you have a fairly large and well-engaged audience – which you may be still building at the moment. 

🧢 Pro Tip: Instagram Story surveys are effective for gauging general audience interest – like, “Would you guys want branded tee-shirts?” And they're also great for deciding between a couple simple options – like, between two different logo designs.

But, if you have a large email list or some money to invest in paid survey product validation, a more robust and scientific survey can be created easily using something like SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey has tons of resources on their site to help you learn more about crafting effective surveys. 

If you already have a large list of email subscribers that are representative of your target audience, you can create a survey, send it to your email list, and get feedback on your product idea all on the same day. 

SurveyMonkey has ready-made professional product validation survey templates to customize as you like and an AI-powered question assessment to make sure you’re not introducing unwanted bias into your survey questions. 

If you don’t have a large email list, there are many companies, again like SurveyMonkey, that also allow you to create a target persona with the demographics and interest-based psychographics of potential users for your potential product within their platform. 

Then, you pay the company to put your survey in front of these targeted users and get your feedback results. 

But, this is honestly pricey for those just starting out.

If your budget is limited, we’d strongly recommend saving your money and opting for one of the other two validation methods we’ve gone over so far.   

Once you developed your product idea and validated it, you can finally start creating it.

Survey Monkey B P052

2. Create the product

We’ll start with addressing physical products. 

If you’re building a new physical product – not an online or digital one – you need to find a supplier. 

This part of the process might seem daunting, but you just have to follow a series of steps to get it done.

  • Distribution channels – For your industry, baseball and softball, determine which type of supplier will meet your needs. You can buy directly from a manufacturer, an exclusive distributor, a wholesaler, or a jobber.
  • Approach the manufacturer – When going into business, you need to cut out the middleman as much as possible. Instead of paying for wholesalers or distributors, try to buy directly from the manufacturer first. When you contact a manufacturer, always ask them to create a sample of your product based on your design specs so you can review and thoroughly test it.
  • Contacting wholesalers – If you can’t go with the manufacturer directly, you’ll have to contact a wholesaler. When looking for a wholesaler, you have to evaluate their minimum order requirements, wholesale unit prices, and their region – i.e. their local laws and shipping costs. 

If you’re selling a digital product, then you don’t need to find manufacturers or wholesalers to build it for you. 

Digital products tend to be easier to launch than physical items since they often require less up front cash investment. 

In most cases, you can also develop digital products yourself, saving on costs. 

What kinds of digital products can you create to launch your new business?

Give online lessons for baseball or softball

Break free of geographic barriers and pass on your knowledge to ballplayers from around the world in one-one-one private lessons. 

You can leverage your experience and success in the game into a truly successful premium business. 

Online baseball and softball lessons are a new frontier of growth potential for all baseball and softball professionals. 

Online Lessons Baseball Softball B P052
Shows a Full Remote Lesson flow for coaches, just one of the many lesson types instructors can offer through the SeamsUp App. On the left is how the client’s lesson request looks prior to adding your video analysis (as seen in the center screenshot) and additional feedback resources into the completed package, as seen on the far right. 

Create online courses

Courses will probably be the next most common digital product for baseball and softball entrepreneurs. 

Such courses allow you to film and package your knowledge into a product with no real overhead or shipping costs – just video or website hosting – and sell them as one-time or subscription products. 

The only downside is how oversaturated the current baseball and softball market is on great free video information – ever since cell phone video improvements made course creation possible for anyone with a phone.

These realities mean that justifying player and parent payment for online courses, without growing a substantial and engaged audience first, is not as easy as it was 10 years ago or so.  

Write Ebooks

If videos aren’t your thing, you can create ebook guides on baseball or softball training. 

You’re not limited to training, though. You can create an ebook about anything related to baseball and softball. 

For example, a how-to guide for playing in college or a full run-down of the in’s and out’s of travel ball for parents would make great ebooks.

Create podcasts

Podcasts are a low-cost digital product that you can eventually monetize through things like sponsors. 

It takes lots of hard work and persistent dedication, but baseball and softball audiences are still receptive to new and great podcasts.   

And our games feature loads of colorful characters, great stories, great debates, complex training methodologies, and passionate fans. 

This makes baseball and softball uniquely suited to this emerging medium – which is probably why a quick search of “baseball” podcasts alone on Listen Notes yields nearly 5,000 results. 

The hard part is almost over. You brainstormed, validated, and created your product.

Now, if you want to sell it, you have to promote it on Instagram and elsewhere. 

3. Make your Instagram account shoppable

Thanks to Instagram’s shopping features, users can buy physical products directly from your account. 

Doing this is an absolute must for selling any physical product these days. 

There are few things you need:

  • An Instagram business account
  • A Facebook profile connected to your Instagram account

If you meet these initial requirements, then you can move on to the next steps.

  • Create a product catalog on Facebook. You’ll tag items from the catalog in your Instagram posts.
  • Submit your account and catalog for approval. It could take a few days.
  • After approval, turn on shopping in the Instagram app.
  • Make your first shoppable post. You can tag up to five items per post. 

You don’t need to tag items from your catalog in every post. But give your audience as many chances to purchase your products as possible without being too spammy. 

Ringor sells softball products and uses their Instagram account @ringorsb to promote their gear. They make shoppable posts where you can view and purchase the items that appear in the photo.

Instagram Account Atringorsb B P052

If you’re selling any other type of digital product that we’ve mentioned above, you’ll want to set up a link in your bio to either a sales-optimized web page or personal profile to sell your private lessons, courses, ebooks, or podcasts.  

4. Build a website, landing page, or profile

You could sell your physical products through Instagram only, but it’s usually good to have a second place to send those interested in your products as well.

For digital products, having this off-Instagram second place is actually a must. 

Potential customers want to read more about you, your business, and the products or services that you offer on a website, a simple landing page, or a professional services profile – like the kind you get completely free with SeamsUp. 

And it really isn’t a choosing “one or the other” type of scenario. 

Many coaches maintain a professional profile for offering private lesson services or online courses, while also having a website for their physical training products, or in-person group clinics, or batting cage facility, or apparel, etc. 

Another reason it's worth strongly considering offerings outside of Instagram, is that the rules and algorithms of Facebook, owner of Instagram, change constantly and are completely out of your control. 

Websites are something that you own and control.

Smart brands and marketers know that diversity of where you are found online is a key to success. Don’t put all your eggs into any one basket. 

If you want to sell physical items from your website in addition to your Instagram account, you’ll have to set up some online e-commerce infrastructure to make it happen. 

Tools like Woocommerce, can help you handle processing orders and payments on your website. 

But, these days, most nontechnical entrepreneurs look to full suite website builders with built-in, advanced e-commerce capabilities, like Squarespace, Shopify, or Wix to DIY-solve this previously challenging problem that once required finding, hiring, and managing software developers. 

If you’re redirecting potential customers to your site from Instagram, especially with paid ads, you should consider making separate landing pages as well. 

A particular landing page can be made to focus your audience to a single deal, promotion, product, or service and get them to buy that item quickly – whereas your website’s homepage might be less focused on a single item and overall less sales-optimized. 

And you don’t want to pay for specific ads to send potential buyers to a website homepage that’s more general – as it can be a huge waste of money. 

A professional baseball or softball lessons services profile page on SeamsUp is automatically sales-optimized in the way the best landing pages are and, thus, it’s also a great place to send ad traffic to. 

Chase D Arnaud Seamsup Profile Insights B P052

5. Fill product or service orders

When people order your products, whether physical or digital, you need a fulfillment process in place.

How you structure order processing will depend on your product. 

Online lesson or course payments will be easier to fulfill than physical products, for instance.

The platform, albeit Instagram, Squarespace, Wix, or SeamsUp, will handle everything for you once you’re set up to sell digital goods or services. 

But you have three options when it comes to filling physical product orders:

  • Do it yourself
  • Outsource to a logistics company
  • Dropshipping, in which the manufacturer sends it directly to the customer, all you do is promote and sell 

Keep in mind that the more orders you have, the more time you’ll have to invest. If you’re receiving a high volume of orders every day or every week, then be realistic about fulfilling them yourself. 

Again, being an entrepreneur on Instagram is often more work and more risky than being an influencer or an affiliate marketer. 

But when you promote your own products, you don’t have to rely on other brands for your income. 

One online product we’ve mentioned deserves some special attention here in terms of how it can be used to monetize with your Instagram account. 

How Baseball and Softball Experts Can Sell Online Courses Thru Instagram

Since many baseball and softball entrepreneurs on Instagram are already selling courses as their main product, we’ll go into even more detail on Instagram monetization with this method. 

If you want to sell or promote online baseball or softball courses on Instagram, then you need to create your course first. 

There are three basic steps to making an online course: 

1. Workshop your idea

First, dig into your target audience. 

What will your courses be about? Will you make training videos for pitchers? Hitters? What skill or experience level are these courses designed for? 

Then, once you find a target audience, consider your course layout. 

Will you make long, in-depth videos or short, bite-sized lessons? 

You have countless options when it comes to the format of your course, just keep your audience in mind when designing it. Always ask yourself what style would your students benefit from the most? 

After you have a layout, you can start recording your content – if you don’t have it already in social media post form. 

Before releasing your course, it’s ideal to do some limited beta testing – meaning release clips of your lessons or teasers to people who might be interested and ask if they’d be willing to pay for a full lesson of the course.

Validation should be a part of every step you make. 

Workshop Idea B P052

2. Set up your course

To host the video content in your baseball or softball course, you need a website or dedicated platform. 

If you create a website with WordPress.org, you can choose from many great plugins designed for hosting and selling courses. You’ll also need something set up that can register users in your course and process their payments securely. 

These necessities can be attained by purchasing and installing further WordPress plugins or getting a software developer to help you install various API’s and custom scripts. 

Though this route is harder work and significantly more expensive upfront, it gives you total control of your courses and your website, and you can often save a lot of money in the long run when compared with most “done for you” course building site options.    

As alluded to, the second option is the “done for you” course builder website that has everything you’ll need to create a course, manage your community, and accept payments. 

Sites such as Teachable or Thinkific are fantastic in their features and capabilities.

Of course, you’ll pay for this convenience. 

Though option is a breeze to set up and get started, you’ll be on the hook for monthly subscriptions and upsells as long as you want your online course site working. 

These services keep your site running contingent on your ability to pay between $40 and $400 – depending on the service and tools you need – per month. 

These problems have led my team and I to work on a free alternative for baseball and softball coaches to quickly create and sell video courses to their audience without all the fuss and none of the cost.

We hope to have this feature released soon, so stay posted.    

3. Market and sell your course

Once your course is created and set up, you can start promoting. 

If it’s your main focus online, your Instagram profile will likely be the best place to market your course. 

You can release short video clips from your course lessons as feed posts, Stories, or Reels. But this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how best to go about promoting your new video course.

We have penned the ultimate guide to baseball and softball course creation, that you need to check out if this monetization method interests you in the slightest. 

In it, we go into significantly more detail on everything covered here, which includes an entire blueprint on exactly how to create and market your online course today.

Prolevelpitching B P052
ProLevelPitching sells pitching lessons, workouts, and training programs. The owner, Jeremy Dyzenhaus, promotes his courses with the @prolevelpitching account, showing occasional videos from his programs.

Baseball and Softball Coaches Earning Money on Instagram: Best Practices

Here are some general things baseball and softball creators monetizing on Instagram should keep in mind. 

1. Know your rate

Regardless of the monetization method explained above that you choose to pursue, you’ll need to know your worth.

As an influencer, you need to know how much to charge people. 

What do Instagram influencers usually charge for a post on an account with 10,000 followers? Do some influencers charge more for a micro-niche product post that has a high engagement rate? 

You need to know what others are charging on Instagram, so you can set your rates accordingly. 

To do this, research common influencer rates, because the brands you want to partner with will research rates too. This guide from WebFX is a great place to start.

The same goes for setting up affiliate sales.

Though larger affiliate networks like Amazon and YouTube’s ad network won’t negotiate rates with you, you need to know the profit margins of your business. 

📚 Definition: By profit margins, in this case, we mean that you need to calculate the exact time and money that you spend on creating content relative to your actual affiliate revenue percentage to make sure that you’re profitable. 

Of course, this common rate research applies to launching online courses as well.

Make sure your course price point is within reason, while also not leaving money on the table by being too affordable unnecessarily. 

The best way to do this is a mixture of interviewing potential customers and researching the competitive landscape on similarly qualified coaches and online programs. 

Lastly, you can compare your SeamsUp lesson offerings to what other coaches are charging for their private lessons on the platform, and correct your pricing to best compete. 

2. Research competitors

This often goes hand in hand with the previous recommendation to know your rates.

While you’re considering rates, compile lots of competitor data as well. You can use social media monitoring and listening tools to stay up on the conversation in your niche. 

See what other top baseball and softball influencers are posting about and apply those insights to both your Instagram content and product pricing.

3. Be responsive

When customers have questions or problems, they don’t like to be kept waiting. 

Twitter research saw that 71 percent of people expect a customer service response within an hour when they post on social media. 

When you receive a notification about a customer question or complaint, prioritize it. If you want to successfully monetize your Instagram, then you need a customer support strategy. 

🔑 Key Insight: Responsiveness helps your brand’s reputation and good customer service leads to both repeat customers and referrals.
Instagram Insights B P052

4. Act like a business

Treat your Instagram profile like a business. When people, whether they be followers or business partners, invest money in you, they expect professionalism. 

Don’t miss deadlines, don’t ignore contracts, always respond to emails, and be courteous. 

Even if you have many thousands of followers and a loyal fanbase, brands eventually won’t partner with you if you’re a challenge to work with. 

And if you’re going the traditional entrepreneur route, this point is even more relevant.

5. Don’t use bots

Use organic, authentic methods for growing your Instagram audience. You could also risk costing your partner brands a lot of money for this fraudulent practice.

It’s not worth it. 

6. Use the right tools

While you shouldn’t use bots to get you fake followers, there are several legitimate tools you can leverage to make running your Instagram business easier. 

Here are some of the best apps and programs you could consider trying:

  • Post Automation: Hootsuite, SkedSocial, and Later, or Buffer
  • Photo editing: Boomerang, Canva, or the Adobe Lightroom CC app
  • Creating beautiful Stories & Reels: Canva, Impresso, or SeamsUp's free video editor
  • Tracking ad campaigns: Adspresso or Keyhole
  • Analytics and reporting: Hootsuite Analytics, Unmetric, or Keyhole
  • Audience management: Social Rank and HypeAuditor

This list is a great place to get started if you’re unsure which tools are best for you. Try them out to see if they’re a good fit for your specific needs. 

But keep in mind that most of these tools are nice to have, but not need to have – especially when you’re just getting started. 

Wrapping Up This Ultimate Guide

If you want to earn money from your Instagram following, there’s more than one strategy to achieve it. 

As a baseball or softball brand, decide if you want to be an influencer, affiliate marketer, or entrepreneur. 

When done properly, any – or all three – of these options can help you turn your Instagram fanbase into meaningful income.

Wanna grow your baseball or softball coaching brand?

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About the Author

Mike Rogers

Co-Founder & CEO

Mike Rogers has spent a lifetime entrenched in baseball and softball as a player, a private instructor, a training facility owner, and the son of two college-level coaches.

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