In March 2018, we revived our YouTube channel and expanded it from 14,000 subscribers to over 180,000 subscribers.
To do this, we followed a list of proven strategies that we could use to get more subscribers to our YouTube channel.
In this post, I'm going to share these strategies with you.
- Target topics to be searched for
- Record the theme of your channel
- Give people what they are looking for
- Double the working formats
- Publish on a consistent schedule
- Add your videos to a playlist
- Link to your YouTube channel from external sources
- Use the interactive functions of YouTube
- Ask your viewers to sign up
1. Target topics to be searched for
If nobody is watching your videos at all, nobody will be subscribing to them. Views are a prerequisite for attracting subscribers.
How can you get more views of your YouTube videos?
Create videos on the topics people are looking for and rank in YouTube search.
How do you find these topics?
Use our free YouTube keyword tool. Just enter any topic and up to 150 keywords and their estimated monthly search volume will be displayed.
Are you looking for a larger pool of ideas?
Use Ahrefs' Keyword Explorer to pull up all the ideas from our database of over 800 million YouTube keywords.
Once that's done, you'll need to create an optimized video that will rank in YouTube search results. Follow this tutorial to learn how to create it or watch this video:
If we assume that a percentage of all viewers subscribe to your channel, it stands to reason that more views correspond to more subscribers.
2. Record the theme of your channel
Just because people are looking for something doesn't necessarily mean you should make a video about it.
For example, 3,000 people search for "Hainan chicken rice" every month in the US:
While we could post a video on the subject, rank in search, and attract tons of viewers and subscribers, it wouldn't be a smart move as it has nothing to do with it SEO, the topic that our subscribers care about.
This is not good for two reasons:
- You will log out. In this case, what is the point of gaining subscribers?
- You will mess with the engagement of our video. Dislikes, negative comments, short watch times – expect all of these and more if your subscribers don't like your video.
If you're wondering why this second point has anything to do with subscribers, the engagement (or lack of) your video can affect its rankings in YouTube Search. This can also affect whether it appears as a suggested video in the sidebar.
These two traffic sources tend to send the most consistent views, resulting in a constant stream of subscribers.
Because of this, you should keep the theme of your channel as narrow as possible – especially in the early days of your channel.
We did that. We initially focused exclusively on topics SEO.
This made it easier to earn our subscribers' commitment, let YouTube introduce our videos to a new but similar audience, and get more subscribers.
3. Give people what they are looking for
If the title of your video is "Tesla Model 3 vs. Tesla Model Y" but the first three minutes of your video are about BMWs, your viewers will ricochet and won't sign in.
A good YouTube video fulfills the viewer's wants and needs.
How do you know what your viewers want?
For some subjects, this is pretty easy. A topic like "How to Make Scrambled Eggs" means that viewers will want a tutorial on how to make scrambled eggs.
YouTube agrees as all of the top results are exactly:
It's not so easy with other topics. Take the Nintendo Switch Games theme as an example. Do people want to see reviews? A list? Gameplays?
To find out, enter this topic on YouTube and see the ranking. In this case, they're mostly summaries of the best games of all time:
If YouTube is predominantly rating a particular video format as described above, you will almost certainly need to create something similar to stand a chance of ranking.
4. Double the working formats
It appears that our subscriber base's growth was all sunshine and roses, but it wasn't. We still made mistakes.
For example, Sam Oh, our YouTube guy, had the opportunity to travel to Ahrefs' headquarters in Singapore in 2018. At that time we had around 30,000 YouTube subscribers.
We thought our audience might enjoy a vlog of Sam's experience in Singapore.
We were completely wrong.
Sam's Singapore Vlog was the only video on our entire channel that resulted in net-zero subscribers.
So we didn't list it.
The reality is that our subscribers only care SEO and digital marketing tutorials to help them get results for their websites, YouTube channels, and businesses. And you'll see, that's all we're going to release now.
While this doesn't mean you shouldn't experiment with new formats, it is a reminder to stick with it once you find one that works.
5. Publish on a consistent schedule
It wasn't until we started posting one video a week in 2018 that our subscribers really started to grow.
By following a weekly release schedule, we were able to produce more content. More content meant more views. More views meant more people would subscribe to our channel, and as a result, our number of subscribers grew.
So if you want to get more subscribers on YouTube, find a publishing plan that you are comfortable with and stick to it.
This way you will avoid making the common beginner mistake of posting once and disappearing for a few months.
The good thing is: It doesn't have to be a weekly video either. All that matters is that you can consistently stick to your schedule.
6. Add your videos to a playlist
You can add your videos to multiple playlists on YouTube:
While playlists don't earn subscriptions directly, they do increase the chances of someone watching more than one video. And the more contact they have with your content, the more likely they are to hit the subscribe button.
Playlists are a win in every way. They improve user experience, user engagement, and lead to more subscribers.
7. Link to your YouTube channel from external sources
If we look at our channel analysis, it is clear that our channel homepage is our second largest subscriber driver.
In other words, the more people we can drive there, the more subscribers we're likely to get.
This is one of the reasons we link to our YouTube channel homepage from our other marketing channels. For example our homepage:
And many of our blog posts:
We don't just limit ourselves to the assets we can control, however. For example, if someone on the marketing team is being interviewed (or lectured) on a podcast and the host asks where their audience can learn more about us, they are often advised to search for Ahrefs on YouTube.
And of course, podcast presenters will link to our channel from the episode we did together.
8. Use the interactive functions of YouTube
YouTube has some interactive features that you can add to your video to encourage users to subscribe. For example, you can add watermarks:
When a viewer clicks the watermark on any of your videos, they'll see a Subscribe button. You can also add subscription buttons for the end screen:
Now, those features were only responsible for around 1.5% of our subscribers in 2020. So don't raise your expectations and magically expect them to skyrocket your subscription rate.
Since it only takes a few minutes to add and contribute to your entire subscriber base, it's still worth adding to your videos.
9. Ask your viewers to sign up
Not all of your viewers are subscribers. So don't forget to ask them to subscribe.
The general format we use is pretty straightforward – we add the "question" and tell them why. For our regular videos, we just say, "Subscribe to get more action." SEO and marketing tutorials. "
And when we do a series of videos, our "question" is "Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss the next video in the series".
Just be careful not to overdo it. Many YouTube creators spam the "asking" in multiple parts of the video: at the beginning, a few times in the middle, and at the end.
Not only is this unhelpful, it's annoying which can keep viewers from subscribing. That's why we keep demand to a minimum by adding them at the end of our videos.
We have used this tactic on our YouTube channel with great success. There's no reason why they shouldn't work for you.
Need More Tactics to Get More Views on YouTube? Read this post.
Would you like to learn how to rate your videos on Google Search? Check out this post.
Did I miss a cool tactic to get more subscribers on YouTube? Let me know on Twitter.