Getting Good with YouTube: Gaining Subscribers [Part 3]
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Now that you’ve overcome the hurdle of producing video you get to face a new challenge: getting views and gaining subscribers.
Anyone can produce a video and upload it to YouTube but it doesn’t necessarily mean that people are going to watch it. You may get the one-off view here and there just because someone was stumbling through the site or happen to have found the video linked in search results.
You really do need to treat YouTube much like your website – where you’re pushing offers, trying to build a following, and keeping it updated with fresh content.
Throughout this week I want to take you from the very basics to a comfortable level with using YouTube in your business. We’ll start with an explanation of the platform and what it has to offer and move through the process of creating videos, gaining subscribers, monetizing the work, and growth.
In part 3 I’m going to take you through some of the various ways to gain views and subscribers.
Q: What are Others Doing?
Why do all the heavy work in research when you can just pop into some popular channels (or your competitors) and get a good sense of what’s working?
Let them do the experiments.
Eventually, of course, you’ll want to step up your YouTube game by exploring strategies that you discover along the way but … for now … go with what’s working because that’ll point you in the right direction.
Doing a quick glance at the most popular YouTube channels you can find a few similarities:
- They generally push on the branding aspect which includes a nice banner image for their channel, an easy-to-spot thumbnail, and their video stills are noticeable.
- They push their social channels like Facebook and Twitter. They also push their websites (if they use one) but they don’t always push hard on the affiliate offer.
- They generally have a short, engaging introduction either showing off the brand or having some kind of “what to expect” type of chat before digging into the content (and title sequence).
- They use the later part of the video to ask for subscriptions (either directly stated or via stills); they also suggest following on social platforms, and then show links to other videos in their library (which use annotations for easy internal links).
- They have an engaging story within their about section and additional contact information (sometimes phone numbers for media inquiries).
Pick and choose which of these you want to include in your growth strategy (they’re not all going to work for your brand but they’re worth testing). Find one or two that really gives you a nice ROI on your view/subscriber efforts, and then repeat the process over and over again.
Applying your Existing (Marketing) Skills
The good news is that even if you don’t really “understand” the YouTube platform you can use your knowledge of marketing to gain a good deal of views and subscribers.
Running through a list – here are my suggestions:
- Work with a graphic designer and videographer to create a great intro for your videos.
- Put in the time to increase the production value like adding video clips, overlays, sound bites, transitions, and even green screens to make your videos highly engaging.
- Use annotations as a call-to-action when you make mention of a product or service.
- Do the rounds on the platform and exchange subscriptions with those you follow.
- Embed your videos onto your website and also include copy (in the post) asking for people to subscribe to the YouTube channel.
- Use the video in your email marketing campaigns (embedded or linked) which works wonders for sharing content but also increases those views and potential subscriptions.
- Spend money on paid advertising within the YouTube platform and on others like Google Adsense, Facebook promoted posts, or even StumbleUpon.
- Try adding your content on one of the many sub-reddits but do so in a manner that doesn’t come across as being spammy.
Yes, basic in the sense that they’re overviews but you should know the process behind these activities so go ahead and put them to good work!
Otherwise check out this guide to promoting videos.
Giving them an Experience
The last time you subscribed to someone’s channel what happened?
Probably not much of anything. No one bothered to send you a simple thank you message or came back to one of your videos to exchange the subscribe (or comment).
Once someone hits subscribe on your channel you should go into customer service representative mode. Treat it like you just sold them a product (the content).
Well, what would you do in the regular business?
- You thank them in a message
- You’d ask if they had any feedback
- You’d try to keep up to date with their activities
- You’d try to include them into your work
Give them an experience.
YouTube is a very social platform so use it for so.
You’re probably not going to build one of those channels that has millions of subscribers. Get real. You’re more likely to have one that has a few hundred but that’s perfectly fine because it’s just small (and large) enough that you can interact with the community without feeling bombarded by too many comments, requests, and emails.
Build a small, passionate following and they’ll be passionate about what you have to offer. Do this by giving them an unforgettable experience ON TOP of the great content you’ve delivered.
Things take time.
Sure, there are those channels that suddenly blow up in popularity but it’s not really something we can look at and see a pattern to replicate. Instead, you should strive for predictable growth.
You should set goals such as:
- Get another 100 views on this video by the end of the week
- Gain 2 – 3 new subscribers each day
These goals begin to build momentum. Once you reach a tipping point and your channel is known well enough it’ll start taking care of itself but in the beginning you have to push really hard to get noticed.
Build the community you want to see. Turn your YT experience into one that caters to those community members that exist on your website, customer list, and social channels. This builds a stronger bond and with that bond comes a greater sense of trust. Once you’ve developed that trust, and deliver great content on a regular basis, it’ll be easier to pitch products and services.
Go forth and subscribe.