How This Brand Coach Went From Frustrated With Low Engagement To Selling Out Her Event Using Reels… In Just 7 Days

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June 23, 2022 BY Elise Darma

Hilary Hughes Started Creating Content That Converted While Working A Full-Time Job AND Being A Momma

By now, most small business owners know that showing up on video is a non-negotiable when it comes to growing their visibility (and sales).

But if you don’t have a strategy in place for HOW to show up, it can be draining and daunting, to say the least.

Gif: woman saying I have a lot in my plate

So today I want to cut right to it and give you some clear-cut tools you can use to see results fast. Like, ~really~ fast.

Allow me to introduce you to the Reels strategy that corporate brand strategist Hilary Hughes (Hil, for short) used to SELL OUT her live event in just 7 days…

…with under 2,000 followers.

Elise, I'm using your On Video and booked out an in-person event in 7 days with reels.

Yep, you read that right. Hil was able to sell out her event (generating over $1400) in one week WHILE balancing a full-time corporate job and a baby at home.

Let’s dig right into exactly what she did that worked.

1. Stop Only Following Trends

Like a lot of small business owners, Hil had tried her hand at Reels before… but she wasn’t seeing a lot of results. People were watching her content, but not acting on it.

Doctor saying I won't lie I was expecting more.

But rather than chalking the whole thing up to a failed experiment, she was determined to crack the code. That’s when she found a Reels challenge I was running!

On the first day, she realized she was only posting trending Reels rather than doing “talking head” style tips that provide value to our audiences.

How This Brand Coach sold Out Her Event Using Reels… In Just 7 Days

Hil started offering her services as a brand strategist during the pandemic to help struggling small businesses in her area. She is chock-full of knowledge and loves to share it!

The problem was, no one could see that in her 15-second lip-syncing videos…

She needed a place to show off her expertise so her audience could start to view her as the expert she is.

2. Take Action Fast To Get Results Fast

After just a few days in the Reels challenge, Hil had batched up 30 – yes, 30 – videos (a feat I’m not even sure I have accomplished before!)

These videos weren’t the typical trend-style ones she was doing before… most of them were just her providing value to her audience in about 30-second chunks.

screenshot of Hillary's reel with text 10 tips to create strategic content to monetise your efforts.

While she did keep about 10 trends in the mix, her new videos were more like the Instagram LIVES she had been doing weekly–she just was never sure how to translate that kind of content into Reels.

Sure enough, as soon as she started posting this mix of talking-head tips and trending videos, she started to get results… to the tune of 4 sign-ups in ONE DAY!

3. Leverage Plans And Systems

Hil acknowledges that she has a lot on her plate, but she’s also quick to point out that if you have a system in place, it’s easy to execute.

Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel or scroll Instagram for hours upon hours to get content ideas, she subscribes to programs that round up prompts for her (like On Video).

“When you have a plan and you know what you’re doing, it’s easy to execute.”

Now, she only needs a few hours to create enough videos to last her several weeks. That way she can focus on her family and her full-time job during busy seasons without worrying about running out of content.

4. Offer Your Audience What They Want

The idea to run a live event wasn’t Hil’s… it came from her audience. After a few requests, she decided to set up a very simple offer.

And the second she started creating content around it, people started buying. In fact, on one of her videos, there were two comments, both from people who ended up booking a spot at her event. That’s a 100% conversion rate!

gif woman saying That's Insane.

Going back to taking action fast, that’s exactly what Hil did here too.

In fact, once the event sold out, she ran out to buy two more chairs and offer two more spots – just to test it. When she gets an idea (or her audience gives her one) Hil isn’t afraid to take action on it.

Her video strategy was simple: Offer value, and add a call to action.

While her content wasn’t going viral, it was consistently converting. That reaffirms what I’ve always said – oftentimes, smaller accounts are more lucrative!

“I used to get disheartened with low engagement. But when I sell, people buy, and that’s what matters!”

In fact, one of her Reels had 40,000 views, but actually led to fewer signups than a different Reel with 500 views (that generated 2 paid clients).

Quality of views *always* matters more than quantity.

5. Test, Test, Test

Now that Hil has had a taste of success on Instagram, she’s only ramping up from here. She’s now in the process of filling up a SECOND COURSE using this same video strategy.

filling a second course with reels... you also don't need crazy followers or views to make money! Direct booking from this.

On top of that, with the release of Instagram’s 90-second Reels, she’s going to test those next to see how they perform on her account.

(Hil doesn’t waste any time, are you catching on to that??) 📈

Tips From Hil To Sell Using Video

  • Step back and think about the gap between what they need to know before they work with you and create content around THAT.
  • Don’t be afraid to test content and see what resonates.
  • 15-30 second trending Reels are great for new audience members, while 60-90 second Reels are best for talking head tips that keep and convert them.

Want To Start Using Videos On Instagram To Boost Your Sales Like Hil Did?

Know you need to be showing up on video, but not sure what to post that will actually make a difference in your business?

Get a weekly round-up of trends AND talking head tip ideas for your business (plus captions!), delivered directly to your digital doorstep with On Video.


  • Get MORE visibility
  • Drive steady traffic
  • Transform strangers into leads and leads into customers
  • Connect with your audience in a way that suits your personality


June 23, 2022 BY Elise Darma

Meet Hilary

Discover how she sells out her live events with less than 2,000 followers.

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