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How to get subscribers on YouTube: 10 tried-and true tactics

How to get subscribers on YouTube: 10 tried-and true tactics Blog Feature

Myriah Anderson

IMPACT+ Community Manager, 6+ Years Marketing Experience, Track Record of Helping Clients Double Their Traffic and Leads

April 12th, 2019 min read

Thanks to YouTube, everyone can be a director or producer these days.

Perhaps your brand isn’t creating major motion pictures, but essentially a lot of the same marketing tactics come into play.

Whether it’s determining how to create an effective channel trailer or planning the content for your video series you’ve got to think like a director and producer, you need to know what are people going to be drawn to and entertained by in order to build an audience -- or in this case, subscribers.

YouTube is a place where you can set yourself up as the industry expert and become an educational resource as your prospective customer makes their buying decision.

I mean think about it - about 5 billion videos are watched a day on YouTube. Ignoring this active audience and not establishing yourself on the platform is a huge misstep.

You want to find a way to get these viewers to be subscribers on your page. Having subscribers means that when you upload a video they’re automatically updated.

You want to keep your prospective customers and current customers in the know. Staying top of mind is how you generate new business and retain your current customers.   

1. Create consistent and frequent video

Whether you’ve been active on YouTube for a while or you’re just getting started, one of the number one things you can do is post videos consistently.

This is how you begin to build a long-term, reliable relationship with viewers.

In fact, when determining when and how frequently you’re going to post, you should pick a day when you can dedicate to it, so viewing  becomes a regular habit for people.

Think about what Moz does with Whiteboard Fridays. The company  consistently posts on Fridays so people expect it  and set aside time to tune in.

It’s important to remember though, that if a viewer sees you haven’t posted in over a year, it probably doesn’t make sense for them to become a subscriber. They aren’t going to subscribe to a channel unless they know you’re regularly producing content.

Consistent publishing/broadcasting also means more content.

The more video content you have out there, the more topics you’re like to cover and create an opportunity to get found. A robust video library, shows you have a wide range of expertise and that maybe they should keep an eye on your channel for future videos.

If you’re having trouble putting together a video content calendar, think about a common pain point and how you can break it up into smaller pieces. For the most part, people have a short attention span so this will give them digestible information and keep their attention longer.

Leave your viewers wanting more with your videos - don’t give up all your knowledge and expertise at once. If you create a  series, people will be more willing to be waiting for the next video to come out, and more likely to subscribe so they’ll be notified when it does.

Also, don’t be afraid after a while to repurpose videos. Just like you should consider repurposing older blogs and optimizing them - don’t be afraid to revisit a topic and maybe put a different twist on it, provide updates, or add additional pointers 

2. Create a channel trailer

When people arrive on your channel, hook them!  A channel trailer is a brief highlight reel  of who you are, why your videos are valuable, and why they should continue to be interested in what is coming out.

Use it to build curiosity. Your trailer should leave the viewer intrigued  and interested in watching more. You don’t want to give away all your information but you don’t want to let them know a range of topics you will be covering in your video content and things to keep an eye out for in the future.

Make sure you speak to each of your buyer personas in the video. You want your content speaking directly to their pain points and explain how it will  solve their problems.

Over time, don’t be afraid to change up your trailer. If you’re noticing that you’re not getting many views and the number of subscribers isn’t increasing, this could be a possible reason.

Look at the channel trailer as a movie trailer. You aren’t going to go to the movies if the trailer wasn’t interesting to you - same applies to your channel trailer.

Like your thumbnails , check out your competition when it comes to creating your channel trailer as well.

Take a look at your successful competitors - what are they doing in their channel trailer that is getting them so many viewers and subscribers. Look at the key takeaways and identify how you can incorporate them into your channel trailer. 

3. Make it easy for people to subscribe

While people are interested in your video (and not off to a recommended one), make subscribing as easy as possible.

Include annotations allowing people to click on a button to subscribe throughout the video.

In addition to placing annotations throughout your video, make sure you also verbally encouraging people to subscribe to your channel. This is a more personal way of connecting with your audience and giving them a reason why they should subscribe.

Make sure to provide a few opportunities for your viewers to subscribe in case they aren’t ready when you initially ask.

4. Ask your audience what they’re interested in

SproutSocial posted an awesome blog on how to promote your YouTube channel like a pro and in it the team mentions the importance of getting to know your viewers and what they would be interested in.

Like your written content, this insight is going to help in you create  video that your target audience has issues with or questions about.

If you’re creating content  your viewers find actually valuable and are seeking, there is a higher chance that they are going to be willing to subscribe to your page as a future reference.

5. Use eye-catching thumbnails

This may seem like a pretty minor tip, but it could be the very reason your number of viewers is decreasing and you aren’t seeing a spike in subscribers.

Think about it - when someone is going through YouTube’s search results or even sees a YouTube video on another social media feed, the thumbnail is one of the deciding factors in if that video gets clicked. Don’t deny it! You too probably judge a book by it’s cover!

(Also, shameless confession: I choose wine on how cool and fun the label is.)

Your video thumbnail is your opportunity to stick out!

I mean think about it, this is essentially a movie poster for your business.  

When creating yours, check out the competition - what kind of thumbnails do they have, which ones intrigue you the most to want to check it out?  Those are things you should consider  incorporating into your strategy and testing.

Secondly, your thumbnail needs to be related to your content. The last thing you want to do is confuse or mislead anyone with a misaligned image..

Think about taking shots during filming that you can use as thumbnails.Taking photos will give you much cleaner and crisp images to use for your thumbnail than taking a screenshot of after-the-fact. Quality image gives the association that you have a quality video.

Don’t forget to track the analytics of your videos. Look at which videos have a higher click through rate. Chances are there is something about that thumbnail that got someone to choose it out of all the other results. You should take this insight and use it as inspiration as you continue to create thumbnails of your videos.

6. Lean on influencers

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying how jealous I am that there are people who make a living by posting photos and videos on social media endorsing a product.

I’m also sure I’m not alone in saying I’ve probably made a purchase based on a post I saw by someone I follow on Instagram or YouTube.

In fact, “40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or YouTube.” That being said, never underestimate the power of influencers and how they can help you reach your goal of increasing your subscribers.

If you haven’t thought about using an influencer to help grow your viewership and subscribers you should look into it. YouTube Influencers, with their established audiences and reputations, can help grow brand awareness around your channel quickly, especially if they are in your industry.

Finding YouTube influencers

You may be asking yourself - where do I even begin? How do I find someone who has a similar voice and can represent my brand in the way I want. There’s a couple ways to get started on finding an influencer to work with.

Start by searching through topics within your industry on YouTube that have to do with your product or service.

Check out who is posting about it, do these people have a large amount of followers or interaction with their videos? If they do is the influencer interacting with their viewers consistently and how are the followers interacting with the person.

You want to make sure that there is a good relationship between the followers and the influencer to make sure your brand is represented well.

Once you’ve evaluated their activity, don’t hesitate to directly reach out to the person. Influencers tend to list out their email for business inquiries in their About Us section.

When you’re  backed by an influencer who has a strong relationship with their followers, people will be more likely to check out your channel.

With millions of new videos posted on YouTube a day, having someone who is already known and trusted in the game helps you rise above the competition

You can also approach these leaders in the space and see if they would be interested in doing a video with you - whether it’s an interview you conduct to get their tips and insights into a particular area.

Not only is this extra exposure for the industry leader in front of your audience, but it also provides you with great content and helps build your reputation as a reliable source of information.

7. Check out your competition

We mentioned this a little before in terms of deciding on thumbnail videos and channel trailers, but it’s important in every aspect of YouTube marketing.

When it comes to strategizing your YouTube channel and getting more subscribers, take a look at your competitor’s video content. How are their viewers reacting? Which topics tend to resonate more with their audience?

Don’t forget to take a look at how they are interacting with their viewers as well. Are they even getting feedback?

If a topic isn’t resonating with viewers and there isn’t much interaction, that should be a topic you either avoid or figure out what they did wrong that maybe missed the mark with their audience.

8. Show personality!

You’re not going to get subscribers if you or your content is boring. You may be producing informative content but if you aren’t doing it in a way that keeps your viewer’s attention  they aren’t going to be interested in any future material you’re producing.

The best way to get people hooked on your content is by getting them hooked on you -- show personality!

Don’t just talk at the camera and read off a script - be animated, passionate, and genuinely excited to share the information. You want to get your viewers excited about what they are learning and watching. If you’re monotone and clearly reading a prepared speech, your bounce rate on the video is going to be high.

Don’t be afraid to be fun and quirky - people are more intrigued when something is outside of the box.

Of course it still needs to explain to the viewer what exactly you’ll be discussing in the video, but you can have fun with it. Viewers want to be educated on the topic they are searching - but they wouldn’t mind being entertained along the way.

Also, interact with you viewers! Get them to ask questions and look inside themselves to specific pain points. You want the video to feel relatable to them and that you get what they’re going through; this is how you build a rapport.

I mean, if I’m going to take that next step and subscribe to your channel, you better bet I'm not going to do that unless your videos are valuable, engaging, and entertaining to me.

9. Keyword optimize your video descriptions

Before you can even think about subscribers, you need to get them on your videos and channel.

You need to make sure you’re covering some simple foundational pieces like SEO. That’s right — SEO isn’t just for your website. With YouTube owned by Google, you need to incorporate it into your YouTube video titles and descriptions as well. In fact, YouTube videos are often given priority over other search results.

To take advantage of this, pull up any keyword research you’ve done and see what has the highest amount of traffic.

This will help you figure out topics you can focus on because you know these are of interest to your audience and highly searched.

When putting together your video descriptions and titles, make sure you are including these keywords -- especially those that are long-tail. This will help you get the right eyes on your content; those interested and most likely to convert.

When creating your titles also make sure to include actionable words - just like you would for page titles and meta descriptions for your website.

Your title should be explaining to YouTube world why your video is of value to them. If your title isn’t standing out the likelihood that someone will be clicking your video amongst all the other thousands of results they come across is pretty unlikely.

10. Cross promote your YouTube channel

Last, but not least, share your YouTube channel on your other platforms or channels.

There might be prospective customers looking through your other social media profiles or followers who don’t even know you have a YouTube channel. Just as you promote your blog on your Facebook and Twitter, you should do the same with your YouTube channel.

Anytime you post a new video, let your social media followers know or even publish an article around it on your blog.  Some people might be more interested in receiving updates via video than blogs and this helps them know there’s an option.

The more consistently you are doing this the more traffic you are going to be generating to your YouTube channel.

You too can YouTube!

Conquering YouTube and finding ways to be successful can feel overwhelming whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been using YouTube for a while but aren’t seeing the results you wanted. Increasing the number of your subscribers is possible but you have to put in work and effort to reach your goals.

If you break down the process and focus on the tactics we went through above you’re sure to see an increase in subscribers.

A huge takeaway from all of this is that you constantly revisit your content and analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t. This is the only way you will continuously improve and provide quality content that your audience is actually interested in.

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