YouTube is still king of online video content, and as such it’s a great forum to get your website or business’ content or offers out there in front of a ready and willing audience. You’ve got great content, but now the only problem is that you’re not getting that content in front of enough people. The solution, in addition to a few basic YouTube SEO tips to make sure that your videos have a chance of ranking well, is to get more subscribers. After all, every time you create new content, it automatically shows up in your subscribers’ feeds, and consequently has a much higher chance of being seen. So let’s break it down and cover how to get more subscribers on YouTube.
How to Get More Subscribers On YouTube
1 – Ask
One of the most overlooked and simplest ways to get more subscribers is simply to ask for it. Now I’m not of the mind that you can will someone to subscribe just because you asked for it/you want them to, and I won’t oversimplify it to that end (that may work on a few extremely submissive people but not the vast majority).
What I will say is that if you ask someone to subscribe and couple that with a STRONG call to action, well then we’re talking about a very different thing. All you really need to do is explain and layout clearly and concisely the major points which they’re interested in: how often you upload new content and what sorts of topics you tackle. You can also mention any credentials you have or awards your channel or blog may have won.
Pick and choose the right time to hit them up for a subscription, as well. Maybe don’t do it right out of the gate because you haven’t proven your channel’s worth to most newbies. Instead think about putting it either:
At the End of the Video – Hitting them as soon as the topical part of your video has finished at the end is always a good choice. You‘ve given your viewer a good idea of what they can expect from one of your videos in full, so ask for that subscription as soon as it ends, describing for the viewer how often you upload new content and the variety of topics which you tackle.
After a Great Tip/Moment – This will vary with the theme of your channel, but a great point at which to ask someone to subscribe is right after you deliver the biggest payoff of your video at some point midway through. Example: you have a video giving “5 Ways to Nail an Interview” and you know that your number one lead off tip is something really clever and effective which most people don’t think of.
As soon as you mention that first tip, hit them with a card/annotation asking them to subscribe with an easy to click link. In this case you don’t have to make a case verbally for why they should subscribe as your big tip just did it for you.
Subscribe Button – Some channels you’ll notice have a little custom watermark button in the bottom right hand corner of all of their videos which, if clicked, takes you to their subscribe page.
This is a feature which you can turn on and off and can even choose a custom image for that subscribe button, so you may just think about leaving this watermark/subscribe button on for the entire video if it doesn’t distract from the video. Then you can just point it out whenever you’re asking for someone to subscribe rather than having to align calls to action. This is more of a set it and forget it option.
2 – Collaborations
Just like with email list building, doing a collaboration with another channel owner in your niche is a great way to expose your product to a whole new audience. Ways to collaborate:
Do a Video Together – Tag-teaming a particular subject in a video whether through a discussion or trading off on specific aspects according to your individual knowledge and strengths is a great way to pool your collective audiences and put them all under one roof for a video (or several). Urge your subscribers to subscribe to their channel and they can do the same for their audience all in the confines of that one video and you can see your subscriber numbers take a massive leap from a one off video. Then pursue another channel owner in your niche, tell them about your experiences last time and the growth you both experienced because of it and they’ll be very perceptive.
Mentions – Mentioning a channel of one of your peers is a great way to build synergy and get them to reciprocate. Mention that so and so does a great video on something related to what your current video is on and they can do the same thing in that video regarding yours.
Link to Each Other’s Channels – Linking to each other’s channels is an even better way to see your subscribers jump. This way you’re not just mentioning, but you’re making it easy for your subscriber/viewer to check out this other person’s channel or video and they can do the same for you. And unlike with reciprocal link building, you don’t have to worry about Google frowning.
Featured Channels – Like a blog roll, every channel has a “featured channels” section on the right of their channel page where the owner of the channel can add any other channels they like. So instead of mentioning someone or linking to them in one of your videos, you can do them one better by adding them to your featured channels section. Think about approaching other channel owners whose content is similar to yours or just whose content you appreciate and asking for a featured channel exchange where your channel is on their featured section and theirs is on yours.
You can also rename the heading for the “featured channel” section to be whatever you want to better reflect your feelings on the channels contained therein (not to mention make it pop a bit more).
3 – Have a Good Trailer
A trailer is basically the video which automatically plays when someone visits your channel. You can have a separate video playing here for both your subscribers and your non-subscribers, so make sure that the non-subscriber video which plays for them pulls them in right away. Similar to the pitch you’d make when you ask someone to subscribe at the end of your video, you’re using this video to explain who you are and what you do and why they should subscribe. Shorter plays better, so try to keep it under a minute. The more quickly and easily you can convey why someone should subscribe, the more likely they are to.
The other option is to just use what you regard as being your best video here to give them a perfect example of the kind of stuff you do on a regular basis so they know what they can expect. Again, I believe that shorter is better here, so stick with your best 5 or 10 minute video and stay away from the sprawling hour long part of a series videos.
4 – Effective Use of Annotations/Cards
Annotations are getting phased out in favor of the universally friendly cards, but the point is to make effective use of these whenever possible to encourage people to sign up.
Creating fancy sign up and call to action graphics then superimposing blank boxes around them with the appropriate link gives your video a much more professional quality than simply using the basic and bland color boxes annotations offer. Keep in mind, however, that annotations are going the way of the dinosaur in time (there’s no timetable but YouTube has said that cards will fully replace annotations once they can do “everything annotations can do and more”, whenever that is), so you need to start think about making cards the focus.
Right now, the best thing you can say about cards is that they’re functional. They don’t draw nearly as much attention to themselves as annotations do, so while they look better than the basic annotation, they’re easier to miss. We’re still in the salad days of YouTube cards, but for now you could be using both cards and annotations right now to cover all your bases, but still keep in mind that cards are the future.
I’ll be doing a post on how to use YouTube cards more effectively in the next few days, so I’ll link to it here once it’s live.
5 – Leverage Social Media and Other Sources
Leverage the power of social media to remind people on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and other social networks that you have a YouTube channel. You can ask them to subscribe here, but at the very least make sure to post whenever you put out a new video so people can notice your channel in the first place as well as get a feel for your upload rate. Plus you never know when one of your videos may catch their fancy and encourage them to subscribe.
Make sure to have a prominent link to your channel or even a link right to your subscribe page on your blog or on your blog’s “about me” page. If you have shown historically to be an authority in your niche on your website, then people will be very inclined to subscribe to you on YouTube and be alerted of your latest video content, as well.
6 – Incentives
Incentives are powerful ways to reach your subscriber number goals. Say you’re at 1800 subscribers and you create a goal of 2000 subscribers. Promise some sort of incentive for once you reach that goal and you’ll see both your current subscribers work harder to encourage other people to subscribe and you’ll see the casual viewer subscribe when they normally wouldn’t otherwise because they want to get that incentive.
Silly incentives like shaving your head or drinking a bottle of hot sauce on camera once you reach your goal.
Content based incentives such as promising to double your upload frequency once you reach your goal, making a specific video your audience has been asking for, or giving away a freebie like an eBook.
Once you reach your goal, share it with your channel. This really makes people feel like they’re part of the team if they get to see the whole thing through and helped you achieve your goal, thus making them more passionate and committed subscribers moving forward.
7 – Interactions
Engaging with your viewers is a great way to encourage subscribers. People like to subscribe to channels where the owner is very approachable and down to earth. This means creating lots of genuine content but also taking the time to respond to every comment, message, or question that you get in a timely manner. When people see how you’re quick to answer questions people might leave in the comments and that you’re not just uploading a video then ignoring any engagement which goes on with the video, they’ll be much more inclined to subscribe and be a part of your channel.