So, you’re an entrepreneur who has finally decided to start investing in video content — more specifically, a YouTube channel. Congratulations! Video is only going to continue to grow in dominance for the foreseeable future. In fact, roughly 33% of all activity online right now is spent watching videos, and an estimated 85% of the U.S. internet audience watches online videos.
But you probably already knew that if you’re reading this article. So, instead of selling you on the merits of video, let’s take a look at how to get YouTube subscribers for your new channel.
How to get YouTube subscribers for your new channel
This article will take a deep dive into how to get YouTube subscribers on and off YouTube. The topics we’ll discuss include:
- Adding a brand watermark to your videos.
- Creating a killer YouTube channel.
- Optimizing your individual videos for conversions.
- How to get YouTube subscribers away from YouTube.
- Using social media correctly.
- Leveraging marketing emails for low-hanging fruit.
- Taking advantage of digital marketing tools and resources.
- Bonus tips to grow your YouTube subscribers list.
Ready to start building your YouTube subscribers list? Let’s dive in.
How to get subscribers on YouTube
YouTube has every reason to encourage users to stay and engage with content on its platform. The more time viewers spend watching videos on YouTube and interacting with its platform, the more money it makes.
As a result, YouTube provides creators with a variety of tools and techniques to help them grow their subscribers within the YouTube interface.
Related: Making money on YouTube
Add a brand watermark to your YouTube videos
YouTube allows creators to add a dynamic, linkable icon to all their videos in the bottom right corner of the video. This linkable watermark is a call-to-action (CTA) that when clicked on, allows the user to subscribe.
By adding a watermark to your videos, you can increase the likelihood of converting viewers to subscribers — and best of all, YouTube shows analytics on your branding watermark to track its performance.
If you’re adding a brand watermark to your YouTube videos, there are a few things to consider.
Choose the right image
Your watermark is displayed on every video — so, you need to pick one that represents your brand and generates clicks.
YouTube suggests using a transparent image to not distract from the video, but the choice is entirely up to you.
Instead of using a logo or transparent image, some YouTubers choose to go with something less subtle like a bright, subscription button.
Pick a good start time
You can also determine when you want your brand watermark to first appear.
There are pros and cons to the timing.
For example, if you start it right away, it will run the entire duration of your video but might distract the viewers from your introduction. If you start it after your introduction, you risk losing the people who don’t stay beyond the first 15 to 30 seconds.
Remember your watermark during video production
Because your brand watermark is universal for every video, you cannot stipulate its visibility video by video. As a result, you should avoid having an important message, text or action appear in the bottom right corner, which is where the watermark will be placed.
Create a killer YouTube channel
Another technique to get more subscribers on YouTube is to create a killer channel.
When you’re thinking about how to optimize your channel, focus on creating a unique and memorable experience for your viewers.
If you emphasize creating a channel that adds value to the viewer, you’ll see more activity and subsequently, more subscribers.
Below are some simple ways to create a killer YouTube channel.
Pick an awesome channel icon
Your YouTube channel icon is visible no matter where you are on the site. Whether someone is watching your video or reading one of your comments, your icon will be what that user sees.
Pick a channel icon that is memorable, legible and relevant to your channel’s identity.
Create a powerful channel trailer
A channel trailer is an automatic video that plays when a viewer lands on your YouTube channel.
Create a completely custom 30- to 60-second trailer that has a clear and direct call-to-action. Consider taking clips from some of your most popular videos and creating a high-impact highlight reel channel trailer to convert viewers to subscribers.
Customize the page experience
YouTube gives its creators a lot of flexibility with the layout and design of their channels.
For example, you can upload a custom header image with your logo or channel name to improve brand recognition. You can also control the page structure and select videos or playlists that you think new users might enjoy.
By taking a strategic approach to the layout and design of the page, you can increase the viewer engagement and likelihood of a user subscribing.
Related: How to design your own logo
Write a compelling channel description
The channel description is an often-overlooked feature you can use to grow your YouTubers subscribers list. The channel description is a way for you to tell the viewer what your channel is about while also convincing them to take action — either to subscribe or watch your videos.
Optimize your individual videos
With your channel ready to go, the next area to address is how you optimize the individual videos.
Video optimization is one of the most important techniques for increasing your viewers and subscribers.
YouTube is a search engine first and foremost, which means that it’s focused on delivering the most relevant and valuable videos to its users when they search for a topic or query.
YouTube uses an algorithm to determine which videos are most relevant, timely and valuable. As a result, you can do a few things to increase the likelihood of your video showing up for a search term — aka search engine optimization (SEO).
To start, create titles that are written with the searcher in mind and include relevant keywords and search phrases that your audience might use.
Then, try to include transcripts on your videos. Transcripts provide value to your videos by giving YouTube’s algorithm more physical context about what your video covers.
Also, write engaging, SEO-friendly video descriptions, use appropriate video tags, and include a clear CTA in your copy. Finally, choose a winning thumbnail that will help you increase click-throughs on your videos.
While optimizing your video for YouTube’s search results won’t immediately lead to more subscribers, it can help you drive more views, which should help you grow your subscribers.
Beyond SEO tips, there are other techniques you can use on your video page to grow your subscribers.
Related: What is a meta description?
Respond to your commenters
If your audience is taking the time to watch your video and leave comments, you should prioritize responding to their comments. This will help your viewers feel more connected to your channel and will increase their loyalty — and your subscriber list.
YouTube also has a Creator Hearts feature that allows you to designate comments you love with a heart.
Use your video real estate
Similar to the brand watermark, the real estate on your video can be a useful place for you to entice viewers to subscribe.
Creators have the options of tools like end screens and cards to drive viewer actions like subscriptions.
An end screen is a pop-up over your video that you can activate to share similar videos or ask for a subscription.
Cards are interactive elements that you can place throughout your video. The user has to click an “information” icon for the card to appear.
Test different tools and techniques to see which activities lead to the best result.
Ask for subscriptions in the video
The time for subtly is gone on YouTube, and viewers are now accustomed to an obvious CTA within the video.
Don’t be afraid to ask your viewers to subscribe — it’s one of the main reasons you made the video.
Knowing that 20% of viewers stop watching a video within 10 seconds should indicate that your subscription CTA should appear early on.
How to get YouTube subscribers away from YouTube
Using YouTube to grow your subscribers is an obvious choice; after all, they are already on the platform, which decreases the obstacles. However, we must not forget that there is an entire world wide web outside YouTube with billions of possible subscribers just waiting to see your awesome videos.
Many YouTubers take shortcuts when starting out and will resort to buying YouTube subscribers.
This kind of strategy is dangerous to the integrity of your brand and completely defeats the purpose of growing a subscriber base.
Instead of buying subscribers or using some other sketchy tactic, focus on using organic strategies to grow an engaged audience of your target market.
Use social media to promote your videos correctly
Unfortunately, YouTube and other social media platforms don’t play well together. Sites like Facebook and Twitter don’t like to send users to YouTube because it takes that person away from their site. You might notice that your social posts with just the YouTube link never seem to perform as well as your other posts. That’s because those social sites devalue your posts if it has external links like YouTube.
While this might seem like a negative, it’s quite the opposite.
Few YouTubers take the time to use social media appropriately, choosing to only share their YouTube video link with their social followers.
So how do you take advantage of social media to drive more YouTube views and subscribers?
Simple: Take advantage of the posts that social sites like Facebook do value, which is native videos and images.
While the YouTube link will get buried, Facebook and other social sites will weight posts with digital media elements more heavily.
Cut a short clip from your larger YouTube video and upload that onto the social site. If your main video is 10 minutes long, your clip might only be 2-3 minutes. When you add the video, include a short introduction and CTA to visit the link for the full video.
This simple strategy will increase the organic views on that social channel, which will help you drive more eyes to your YouTube video and hopefully, more subscribers.
Send marketing emails to convert low-hanging fruit
Most entrepreneurs or small business owners are not growing their YouTube subscriber list to become full-time YouTube personalities. They want to grow their subscriber list so they can have a direct line of communication to a targeted audience that is relevant to their business objectives.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is — this is essentially an email list.
If your business already has an email list, it’s quite possible that there is an interest overlap in your email and YouTube subscribers. Because these people are already subscribed to your email marketing lists, there’s a high probability that they would be interested in your YouTube videos.
Because it’s not easy to see when an email subscriber has also subscribed on YouTube, it’s not advised to send blatant emails about subscription or multiple drips for subscriptions as it could annoy someone who has subscribed to both already.
Instead, get creative with how you approach emails to entice YouTube subscriptions.
Try including your most popular video in your monthly newsletter, add your subscription CTA in your email signature, or run competitions that require staying updated with your channel.
Use digital marketing tools and resources to scale
If you really want to grow your YouTube channel, you may not have a ton of time to devote to the external marketing efforts.
Fortunately, there are many options available to help you streamline your digital marketing efforts. For example, GoDaddy’s suite of Online Marketing tools include easy DIY solutions like email marketing and managed services like SEO.
Finding software and tools can help you quickly and easily scale your digital marketing efforts, and expand your YouTube subscribers list. Learning the subtle nuances of search engine optimization or inbound marketing can take many hours of research, but finding other vendors or software solutions can mitigate that commitment while generating similar results.
Bonus tips to grow your YouTube subscribers list
By now you should have a good start on how you can grow your YouTube subscribers on and off the platform. These techniques should be the foundation on which you build an entire marketing strategy for your channel.
Here are a few small tips to keep your YouTube subscribers growing.
Always use your channel’s auto-subscribe link
There is a nifty little code you can add to the end of your channel link to automatically trigger a subscription popup once clicked. By modifying your channel link to include this code “?sub_confirmation=1” the user is prompted to subscribe to your channel once they click your link.
Post great content often
All your efforts to grow subscribers will be in vain if you’re not posting high-quality content on a regular basis.
Subscriber churn is natural, but it’s more prevalent when the subscriber is not getting value by following your channel.
To keep your subscriber list growing, you will need to continue to produce content that can keep your followers engaged. Moreover, a channel with only a few videos is less likely to convert than one with several videos and subsequent playlists.
Highlight your best performing videos
Data analysis is a critical step in any effective marketing initiative, and there is much you can glean from the analytics within YouTube.
One of the insights you can use to grow your subscribers is to find the video that generates the most subscribers and feature it early and often. You can find it by visiting the “YouTube Watch Page” inside the “Subscribers” section. Here you can view a breakdown of the videos that have generated the most subscribers over the last month. You can then take that video and feature it on your channel home page, make it the first video in its relevant playlists, or even use it in your offsite marketing efforts.
Start building your brand on YouTube
YouTube is one of the world’s most powerful communication channels, with more than 30 million visitors every day. It’s no surprise then that entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even corporations, want to make their mark on the platform.
Figuring out how to get YouTube subscribers and grow your channel takes commitment. But if you can keep the advice above in mind as you start building your YouTube brand, you will put yourself in a better position to get more YouTube subscribers for your new channel.