How to Get More YouTube Subscribers and Take Your Channel to the Next Level

How to Get More YouTube Subscribers

YouTube has over one billion active viewers—that’s almost 1/7th of the world’s population.

As the owner of a YouTube channel, capturing some of those viewers is how you grow your audience for the long term.

But getting views on YouTube isn’t enough. You want to learn how to get YouTube subscribers who will watch, share, and engage with your videos as you continue to create more over time.

Table of Contents

Why are YouTube subscribers important?

YouTube subscribers are important because they’ve elected to see your videos in their feed. These are loyal viewers—the people who ultimately will share and spread the word about your videos and help you continue to grow your subscriber base.

When someone subscribes to your YouTube channel, they’ll see your recently published videos in their main feed every time they log in. And if they choose, they can also receive notifications each time you publish a new video.

Think of YouTube subscribers like you would Facebook likes, email subscribers, or Instagram followers: these users are choosing to prioritize your content over other content available on that platform. It’s another place to nurture existing connections and build new ones.

Not to mention, if you’re learning how to make money on YouTube, subscribers can be the key to more views and, effectively, more revenue.

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Why consistency is key to getting more YouTube subscribers

The key to any successful YouTube channel—the key to building an audience anywhere, really—is consistency.

Not only do you need a recurring theme across your channel’s content (like the format, the subject matter, or the niche you’re speaking to), you also need to communicate what that is to viewers. You need to build a brand for your YouTube channel.

Viewers don’t have time to figure you out and what you’re about. And when you think about it, people don’t subscribe because of the video they just watched but because of the expectation of more content like it in the future.

Even massive YouTubers that don’t seem to have a specific “thing,” like PewDiePie and Casey Neistat, needed to have a consistent brand of video content before they could branch out and thrive on their personality alone.

So, especially when you’re starting out, decide what the premise of your channel is—what your promise is—and communicate it at a glance. This is especially important if you want the YouTube algorithm to recommend your content.

It’s also important to pay attention to your YouTube analytics over time. As much as best practices provide guidance and direction when starting out with your own channel, once you gain traction, you’ll want to use your own metrics and benchmarks as well.

How to get more YouTube subscribers

You can get more subscribers for your YouTube channel by employing some of the same tactics that many professional YouTubers use:

  1. Create a channel trailer
  2. Come up with a pitch
  3. Design eye-popping video thumbnails
  4. Collaborate with other YouTubers with similar audiences
  5. Cover the hype, but don’t try to create it every time
  6. Share your videos in niche online communities
  7. Encourage binge watching
  8. Use YouTube Cards to suggest other videos

Many of these strategies prioritize three things: communicating what to expect from a YouTube subscription to your channel, tapping into other audiences, and encouraging binge watching.

Whether you’re using your YouTube channel to market your business or share your passion for creating things on the Internet, these timeless approaches can help you go beyond getting views and start growing your audience on the most powerful video platform around.

1. Create a “channel trailer”

After you figure out how to start a YouTube channel, you want to create a teaser video or trailer to promote it. Many YouTube channels show this channel trailer at the top of their page, and it automatically plays when visitors check them out.

Create a YouTube channel trailer to get more subscribers

Create a trailer video of your own that you can show to unsubscribed visitors to quickly tell them what to expect from you.

The benefit of creating a unique trailer for this spot is you can stitch together footage from past videos or deliver your “pitch” directly to your audience and ask them to subscribe.

Here’s a great example from Purple Mattress that conveys the channel’s focus (enhancing sleep), tone (playful yet authoritative), and personality (passionate about sleep).

2. Come up with a pitch

An elevator pitch is an often underestimated tool that’s relevant to all self-starters, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a freelancer, or a creator.

YouTubers are no exception.

If you want to know how to become a YouTuber, use this pitch in your About section, your intro, your closing, or wherever you need to quickly communicate what your channel is all about.

Most YouTubers already end their videos with something along the lines of, “If you liked this video, please hit the thumbs up, leave a comment, and subscribe.” But this call-to-action is stronger with an outro that teases the content to come rather than what viewers just watched.

Your pitch to potential subscribers can be as simple as: “I post [videos you post] every [when you post]” followed by a teaser for what’s next. These few seconds capture your channel’s essence in a way that gives new viewers a reason to hit the Subscribe button.

3. Design eye-popping video thumbnails

Thumbnails, in some ways, are more powerful than titles when it comes to gaining YouTube subscribers.

It’s worth investing time to make sure there’s consistency because it makes your channel look coherent.

YouTube lets you choose which frame to use as the thumbnail for each video, but you should look into designing your own.

Use Canva (a free piece of software) to create custom YouTube thumbnails for each video to grab attention and create a sense of cohesion across all your videos at a glance.

You can see the difference it makes below. Not only is each individual video clickable, but they communicate what the brand is about, which every potential subscriber wants to know.

Create eye-popping YouTube video thumbnails to get more subscribers

Source: How to Cake It

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As a creator, it’s easy to get lost in the creation process and lose sight of distribution: how will people watch your content if they never see it?

YouTube’s built-in audience will get you some viewers, but it’s worth looking into audiences outside of your own channel and even the YouTube platform.

4. Collaborate with other YouTubers with similar audiences

Collaborations aren’t uncommon on YouTube and are a great way to get exposure to a new audience.

Reach out to a YouTuber you know or would like to partner with and suggest an idea for cross promotion. A common approach is to have your proposed partner appear in one of your videos and vice versa, with each of you getting an endorsement in front of the other’s audience.

Here’s an example of when Sean Evans of Hot Ones interviewed Harley Morenstein of Epic Meal Time over hot wings. Sean then appeared on Epic Meal Time to cook up the spiciest ribs ever. Both channels are about taking food to the next level and both entertain you in similar ways—it’s a match made in heaven.

5. Cover the hype, but don’t try to create it every time

As part of your YouTube strategy, consider making videos that go after existing hype because you know there’s already an invested interest there.

Creating a video based on a current trend or celebrity can be a great way to bring some of that attention back to your channel and win new subscribers—if you can find an appropriate overlap with your content.

Some examples include:

  • Covering existing songs instead of always posting your own original music
  • Parodying whatever is going viral at the time (like Pokemon Go or fidget spinners)
  • Responding to another YouTuber
  • Reacting to a viral video
  • Newsjacking a story that the media is talking about

Timing these posts right can help you be relevant in the eyes of people who might not consider your videos otherwise and introduce them to your channel.

6. Share your videos in niche online communities

You probably already share your videos on Facebook or Twitter. But have you explored other online communities, especially the ones where you know your audience spends their time?

Niche communities—on Reddit, Facebook, forums, and elsewhere—that relate to your video's audience might appreciate what you created and opt-in to get more once you’ve optimized your channel to increase your subscriber base.

Try to aim for relevancy instead of just the size of the community when you post in subreddits or in Facebook groups.

Remember that these are communities and, as a YouTuber, you should be transparent about who you are and what you do (use your pitch from above). Users are protective when it comes to maintaining the integrity of discussion in these communities, so be sure you’re adding value first and foremost.

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7. Encourage binge watching

It stands to reason that the more of your videos a person watches, the more likely they are to become a subscriber. Not only are they presented with more opportunities to follow you, they have a better sense of why.

Playlists are a great way to not only organize YouTube content for users but also encourage them to watch more. This is good for YouTube SEO and showing up in search results, depending on what the playlists are called. Use the Keyword Tool to see recommended keywords. You can upgrade to the paid tool to see search volume, trends, and competition.

Use the keyword tool to get more YouTube subscribers

If you have enough content, consider organizing it into playlists. Not only does this help segment your videos under themes, but it gives you control over the next video that plays instead of letting YouTube show someone else’s content.

Whenever you can, share a link to your video from within a playlist. This way, viewers are met with video after video from your own channel that relates to whatever video brought them there.

8. Use YouTube Cards to suggest other videos

YouTube Cards are your best bet for recommending other content within a video. These are clickable interactive elements that appear like thumbnail overlays within the YouTube video. Use them to suggest playlists, specific videos, channels, links, or even products.

Use YouTube cards to recommend content within a video and get more subscribers through engaging viewers

 

Should you buy YouTube subscribers?

It should go without saying that “grow-quick schemes” like buying subscribers won’t help you in the long run. You don’t need a million subscribers to have a valuable audience. All you need is a small group of super-engaged fans who love what you put out into the world.

So while technically you can buy YouTube subscriptions, it’s not necessarily a good idea.

Purchased YouTube subscribers run the likelihood of being less engaged with your channel and content. So while your subscriber numbers might go up, your engagement metrics may suffer as a result.

Plus, buying followers and subscribers is largely frowned upon in digital marketing.

YouTube does crack down on the use of bots, automation, and misleading messaging. From its terms of service: “You agree not to use or launch any automated system … that sends more request messages to the YouTube servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional on-line web browser.”

If anything, YouTube has proven that there’s an audience for almost anything on the internet.

Whatever it is you create, you can go out and find yours.

Build yourself a loyal subscriber base

Like most content initiatives, gaining YouTube subscribers takes time and consistency. There are no overnight results. But when you focus on creating engaging content and encouraging deeper interactions, viewers will hit Subscribe and you’ll be well on your way to growing a loyal fan base.

Thank you to Amir Jaffari, Growth Marketer at Shopify, for sharing his experience growing YouTube channels for brands and YouTubers.


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