YouTube has become one of the most popular websites on the Internet. It’s chockful of videos consumers love to watch, so why not join the craze?
Getting subscribers is a lot more difficult than starting a YouTube channel, though. You can make videos until the cows come home, but if people don’t subscribe, you won’t get the reach your channel deserves.
Using YouTube to host live webinars, post recorded videos, and direct viewers to your website are all great strategies. You just need a way to convert viewers into subscribers.
That’s what we’re going to help you with today. The more proactive you are about getting subscribers, the faster your channel will grow.
Plus, subscribers often turn into customers. They’re already invested in your content, so they’ll naturally want to know more.
Let’s dive into the 21 tips we’ve prepared for getting more YouTube subscribers for free. If you’re still struggling, we’ve also come up with a list of ways to troubleshoot your channel for better results.
1. Continually Post Useful Content
We’ve mentioned before that consistency matters for marketing strategies like blogging and email marketing. However, it’s also essential when you create videos for YouTube.
There are lots of YouTube channels out there. You’re competing against all of them for your target audience’s attention. If viewers don’t know when to expect your next video, they’ll stop looking for it.
Maybe you create a new video every day. That’s a pretty aggressive content calendar, but it’s doable.
Or perhaps you only post once per week. Make sure it’s the same day every week, whether it’s Monday morning or Friday afternoon.
You can maintain your posting schedule by creating several videos in advance and scheduling your content calendar accordingly. Keep your calendar organized so you never run out of video content.
But don’t forget that you should never create a YouTube video just because your audience expects it. Every video should contain useful, actionable content. Otherwise, you’re just wasting people’s time — and turning them off your brand.
2. Choose Accurate, Clickable Titles for Your Videos
You’ve heard the term clickbait, right? It’s popular because it works. Clickbait titles can get you more views, but they won’t necessarily help you get more subscribers.
What will help you gain subscribers is accurate, appealing titles. You want people to know what to expect from your videos just by looking at the video names.
This doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. Mixing in a few clickbait-style words won’t hurt as long as you’re accurate.
It’s also a good idea to stick to a familiar format. For instance, maybe all of your videos include lists or steps. Make sure that’s reflected in each title.
You could also give your channel a name and start each video with the name. That way, people who stumble on one video will know how to search for the others. When consumers know you’re consistent, they'll subscribe more reliably.
3. Give Your Channel a Redesign
Every YouTube channel looks the same. Yours doesn’t have to follow suit. While YouTube limits the customization options available to channel owners, you can still leave your mark.
It starts with the masthead at the top of your channel. Keep in mind that people will see it on desktop as well as their mobile devices, so it should be friendly to all.
The masthead sets the tone for your channel and helps communicate what you teach. In other words, it’s like a billboard for your brand, so it deserves special attention.
Start by coming up with a list of adjectives to describe your brand. Let’s say that you teach people how to do yoga, for instance. Some of the adjectives you might list could include:
Armed with this list, you could create a fairly simply masthead or banner with soothing, cool colors, a single minimalist image, and a positive message.
Of course, the qualities you list should actually reflect your brand. You could easily teach yoga, yet have a bright, energetic brand that isn’t afraid to get loud. Your masthead should reflect those qualities.
4. Don't Be Afraid to Be Human
It’s easy to start adjusting your tone of voice, pitch, and language when you’re on camera. If possible, however, you want to avoid sounding like a robot.
Practice talking into your camera a few times. Vary your speech patterns, use slang words, and add in some humor. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
If it helps, think of making YouTube videos as having a conversation with a friend. The only difference is that your friend doesn’t talk back, so you’re the one who has to fill all the spaces in the conversation.
When you imagine someone you trust on the other side of the camera, you’ll be more likely to communicate honestly, openly, and without discomfort.
Why is this important? Because you need to humanize your brand for potential customers. When they see you’re a person just like them, trust will blossom.
5. Change Up Your Shooting Locations
Variety is the spice of marketing, right? It makes sense. If we’re exposed to the same thing over and over again, we stop really seeing it.
It’s fine to shoot most of your videos in the same location. You might use an infinity wall, a green screen, a blank wall in your home, or even the background of a local park. However, changing up your shooting locations can make your videos feel more fresh and interesting.
You could shoot in a local coffee shop, for example, or select a different room in your home. Some entrepreneurs have even used a body-attached tripod to film themselves while they take walks around their neighborhoods.
Get creative. You want each video to seem like something new and innovative, and varying your shooting locations is just one way to accomplish that.
6. Create a Clear Custom Thumbnail
Your thumbnail is arguably the most important branding element of your YouTube channel. It shows up on the channel itself as well as on the videos you create.
A clear, easily identifiable thumbnail is essential. When people see it, you want them to automatically connect it with your brand and videos.
The type of thumbnail you should create will depend on what you want to achieve. For instance, many entrepreneurs use headshots of themselves. That’s a great way to put yourself forward as the face of your brand and to build brand equity.
Others use the company logo or some other graphic that represents the brand. It’s not as personal, but it can work well if you want to push the business over yourself.
Just make sure it’s not distorted and that it follows YouTube’s guidelines. Thumbnails are perfect squares, so make sure the dimensions are correct.
7. Make Playlists to Encourage Viewers to Subscribe
A playlist is a little different on YouTube than it is on your MP3 device, but it serves the same function. It’s a group of videos that are related to one another in some way, such as because they deal with similar topics or because they’re part of a series.
You can create as many playlists as you want. Often, viewers can’t watch every video in a playlist in one go, so they subscribe to the channel. Later, when they want to return to the playlist, it’s easy to find.
We’ll talk about increasing your production schedule a little later, but it stands to reason that you’ll need lots of videos if you want to create playlists. When you’re organizing your content calendar, choose topics with playlists in mind.
- How can several videos be arranged in a playlist based on a shared theme?
- What videos go best together?
- In what order should you arrange the playlist?
If you start out thinking about playlists, they’ll be easier to create down the line.
8. Employ Annotations
Videos can be interactive as well as entertaining and instructive. If you use annotations, you can communicate more easily with your audience and provide resources they can use to get more information.
For instance, maybe you reference a recent blog post in your video. Using the annotation feature, you can include a link to the blog post in the video.
Annotations serve lots of other purposes. You could include a link to another related video, add text to clarify a point you were making, use text to correct a mistake in your speech, or add funny overlays.
The point here is to maximize every video for its greatest potential. Although annotations don’t appear on mobile devices, they’re accessible from larger gadgets.
9. Ask Viewers to Subscribe
It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Why would someone subscribe just because you asked them to?
It happens more often than you think. Subscribing to a YouTube channel takes a simple click of the mouse or tap of the finger, but many people won’t even take that step unless they’re verbally invited.
At the beginning and end of your video, ask viewers to subscribe. You can also add a benefit. For instance, if your videos often contain coupon codes or other value-added bonuses, you can mention that in your CTA for subscribers.
Some entrepreneurs assume that subscriber counts are mere vanity metrics. There’s some truth to that. However, increasing your subscriber base gives you access to more potential customers. Even if some of them never visit your channel again, it’s a numbers game. The more subscribers you have, the more likely people are to watch your videos.
Plus, when people see that you have a high subscriber count, they’ll automatically view your brand as more authoritative. After all, if hundreds or thousands of people have subscribed to your channel, you must be offering something of value!
10. Be Yourself
It’s not enough to just talk like a human. You also need to talk like yourself.
“Think of your brand as your greatest asset. It’s what people recognize about your business, videos, courses, and other online activities. You have to nurture and protect that brand at all costs. #Kajabi — Tweet this!
Think of your brand as your greatest asset. It’s what people recognize about your business, videos, courses, and other online activities. You have to nurture and protect that brand at all costs.
For Knowledge Commerce professionals, the brand often revolves around the person behind the knowledge. That’s you.
People might like consuming your content because you’re funny, smart, witty, humble, generous, kind, or goofy. Insert whatever qualities you possess here.
However, if you don’t embrace your singular voice while creating videos, you’ll struggle to get more YouTube subscribers.
Why? Because when you don’t sound like yourself, people sense deception. They want to know why you’re presenting yourself in a way that contradicts their previous encounters with you.
And that’s not a good thing.
Again, practice is the key to finding and honing your voice. If you’ve created past videos for your online courses, go back and watch them. Focus on maintaining consistency with everything you release for public consumption.
11. Create an Engaging Channel Trailer
You might have seen other people’s and brand’s channel trailers before. They’re the first video to appear on the main channel page, and they often autoplay.
Think of your channel trailer as the introduction to your brand. You want to create a brief, engaging video that helps viewers understand what you offer.
It’s like an elevator pitch. You have a short time to convince people they should listen to you further. If you’re not engaging or informative, people will likely click away.
You can also link to and embed your channel trailer elsewhere. It becomes a handy introduction tool, especially as an increasing number of consumers have begun to appreciate video over text.
12. Promote Your YouTube Channel Through Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups are a great place to talk about your YouTube videos. It’s not really promotion since you’re not asking fellow group members to buy anything.
The trick is to mention your YouTube videos in contextually relevant situations. For instance, if someone asks a question and you have a YouTube video that provides the answer, link to it. You’re being helpful — not overly promotional.
13. Use Subreddits to Promote Your Individual Videos
Reddit can also prove useful when it comes to promoting your videos. If you link out to individual videos rather than your main channel, you won’t irritate fellow Redditors with promotional content.
Again, like with Facebook Groups, you want to make sure every video you embed or link to adds value to the conversation. Don’t just post links in random subreddits in the hope that someone will actually click through and watch.
Keep in mind that Redditors have far less tolerance for promotion than other social platforms. People who use Reddit are in it for the conversation and exchange of ideas. Make sure you’re using it in the same way.
14. Translate Your Most Popular Videos Into Other Languages
Your data can tell you which of your videos garner the most views. These are the most popular videos, so they deserve special treatment.
Translation can elevate those videos to provide even more reach among your target audience. People who speak Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and other languages might appreciate your content, too.
You don’t have to create an entirely new video. Nor do you have to learn a new language. Instead, you can hire a translator to create a transcription of your video in whatever language you choose.
When viewers click on the CC (closed caption) button on the YouTube videos, they’ll be able to change the language in the settings menu. With a simple translation, you’ve expanded your potential audience by a considerable margin.
15. Increase Your Uploading Frequency
More content generally translates into more views — and more subscribers — on YouTube. It stands to reason that you’ll reach a larger audience because you’ll appear in more search results as well as video recommendations.
It can be hard to scale video if you don’t have a plan in place, though. You must figure out a time-efficient way to create more content while still running other aspects of your business.
One great way to produce more content is to record several videos — twenty or more, perhaps — in the same session. If each video is just six or seven minutes long, you can knock them out quickly.
Afterward, you can attend to post-production in batches, too. Then, you’ll release the videos on whatever timetable you choose.
One benefit to this strategy is that you’ll get into a rhythm. Instead of psyching yourself out to create one video, you’ll knock out several in a row — and likely grow more confident with each new start.
It’s a great way to build your comfort level in front of the camera and to save time and money.
16. Expand Your Reach on Other Social Platforms
YouTube is an extremely user-friendly website. It allows you to embed your videos on just about any other platform.
Let’s say, for example, that you have an active audience on Facebook. Simply embed your YouTube video in a Facebook post to share it with your audience there.
When people see your videos on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social platforms, they might click through to see what other videos you have available. Those viewers can then become subscribers.
However, you don’t want to miss a fantastic opportunity. When you post a YouTube video on another channel, make sure to mention that there’s more on YouTube. That way, people know to search for you on YouTube or to click through and watch it there.
17. Design Call-to-Action Annotations
We’ve already talked about basic annotations that might appear throughout your YouTube videos. However, don’t forget about the all-important call to action.
A good CTA annotation should appear at the end of your video. This is your chance to get people to subscribe to your channel and to tell them why they should take that next step.
18. Optimize Your Video Descriptions
It’s tempting to assume that videos will speak for themselves. After all, if consumers watch videos so they don’t have to read, why should you bother with lengthy video descriptions at all?
There are actually two reasons:
- A solid video description helps viewers learn whether or not they want to spend time on your video. They can quickly ascertain what the video contains and how it will be useful to them.
- Search engines can’t “read” video. They can read descriptions, though. When you optimize your descriptions for SEO, you increase the chances of your videos getting found via search.
A good video description should contain relevant keywords as well as related keywords. Keep it short and sweet, but use bullet points or numbered lists to break up more complex content.
You can even include a transcription of your video in the description. People who can’t watch the video because they’re at work or in a public place can still read what you said in the actual recording.
19. Collaborate With Other YouTubers
Some of the most popular YouTubers get together every once in a while to expose themselves to each other’s audiences and to create more dynamic video content. Maybe you know another Knowledge Commerce professional who would like to make a video with you.
These days, you don’t have to live in the same city (or even the same country) to collaborate with someone else on a video. You can communicate remotely, with you both in camera in separate locations, to create a cohesive final product.
Best of all, you can both publish the video on your respective channels and link to one another. That’s great for SEO as well as brand exposure.
20. Run Giveaways and Video Challenges
Giveaways and video challenges are highly beneficial when it comes to getting more YouTube subscribers. People love to win free things.
A giveaway involves giving something away for free, such as a free month on your membership site or free access to your mini course. A video challenge pits subscribers against one another to create the best video. The winner gets a prize.
21. Tease Your Next Video
Another way to boost your YouTube subscribers is to tease your next video at the end of the current one. Give your audience a little taste of what’s to come.
This is an excellent strategy because viewers won’t want to forget, so they’ll subscribe. That way, they get a reminder about your next video and they’ll remember they wanted to watch it.
You don’t have to go into great detail. Just mention the topic of the future video, when it will air, and why your audience will find it irresistible.
22. Troubleshoot Your YouTube Channel
It can take time to amass lots of YouTube subscribers. Some YouTubers spend years putting out great content before they start to expand their reach.
We don’t want that for you. Faster channel growth often leads to faster sales growth. So what do you do if you’re not getting subscribers fast enough?
- Poll your existing subscribers to make sure you’re creating content they want to see.
- Visit other channels in your industry to find out what they’re doing and how you can capitalize on those strategies.
- Participate in conversations on other channels to build brand exposure and to learn what questions people are asking.
- Ask people to subscribe in a different way. Adjusting your language just a little can have big rewards.
- Do more of what you’re already doing. More effort can lead to more subscribers.
The more you experiment, the more you’ll come to understand your audience. Eventually, you’ll find the secret sauce that works for your Knowledge Commerce business.
Use Kajabi to Turn Your Knowledge and Content into Products You Can Sell
We know that you want to be successful on YouTube. Fortunately, we can help you get there.
Kajabi offers industry-leading analytics, myriad integrations, and a fantastic native platform that allows you to build your business from the ground up. If you don’t believe us, take advantage of our 14-day free trial. You’ll believe us then.
Once you’ve set up your Knowledge Commerce products for sale, you can begin generating revenue right away. We give you all the tools you need to find and woo your audience. Plus, you won’t have to pay for a bunch of third-party tools to reach your goals.
Running a YouTube channel is fairly easy. Getting more YouTube subscribers, however, takes strategy and planning.
Fortunately, we’ve given you lots of ways to increase your YouTube subscribers and to develop a more prominent presence through video.
Start by posting lots of useful content. Create a reputation for putting out valuable information on a regular basis.
Optimize your title, channel design, shooting locations, and custom thumbnails to encourage subscribers. Make sure to be yourself and communicate like a human.
You can also use playlists, annotations, promotion on other social channels, and translation to accrue more subscribers. Many of the most successful YouTubers also post content more frequently, write detailed video descriptions, and collaborate with other YouTubers. Finally, run a contest or giveaway to spark interest.
Gaining a healthy YouTube following can make your business thrive.
What have you done to get more subscribers on YouTube?
Find more related blog posts:
How to monetize your YouTube channel
How to start a podcast on YouTube
How to start a YouTube channel for beginners
How creators are leveraging YouTube to grow their audience