Online video is here to stay, and YouTube is the premier social platform for digital marketing with videos. More than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube each day, and that stat is already a few years old! And as early as 2011, 85.3% of US Internet users viewed videos online.
Perhaps best of all, 52% of marketing professionals worldwide reported that video had the best ROI of all their marketing content, and that was back in 2015!
I know I watch videos on YouTube all the time. So when I need services and products, some of those YouTubers are the first people I think of!
Of course, one measure of success on YouTube is the number of subscribers you have. And investing in building your audience can be a good idea. But if you’ve seen places online to purchase subscribers, you may have seen that as a shortcut to building your audience.
Bad idea! Buying subscribers is a horrible idea!
So what should you do instead, and when should you do it?
When to work on your subscribers
In Tim’s book—Online Marketing Mindshift—he talks about doing your digital marketing in the right order. Specifically, here’s the order he recommends:
Step 0 – Build Your Plan
Step 1 – Build Your Platform
Step 2 – Build Consistency
Step 3 – Build Your Audience
Step 4 – Build Engagement
Setting some goals or milestones around your subscriber base should be part of building your plan. But you shouldn’t invest too much in it until you’ve already invested some time, money, or other resources in building up your channel’s home page and consistently publishing videos for a few months.
Of course, you can get some friends and family to subscribe before then, just don’t sink a lot of resources into getting your ideal subscriber on board yet. You want a history of consistently publishing high quality, value-packed videos so they’ll be more likely to subscribe.
Why you shouldn’t buy subscribers
Okay, now you’re ready to build your audience. So why should you not buy subscribers?
Most subscribers bought through services that sell subscribers are not legitimate accounts. So not only do they have a chance of disappearing over time, but you may end up being in violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.
YouTube says that “gaining subscribers through artificial means,” and specifically “purchasing subscribers from third-party websites” violates their terms of service.
Violating that rule can result in your channel being deleted. And if you’re planning on using it as a key part of your digital marketing, that’s not a good thing!
How should you build subscribers?
There are plenty of alternatives to buying subscribers, both free and paid.
- Promote on your other social media platforms. Both by sharing specific videos and promoting subscribing to your channel.
- Consider boosting those promotional posts.
- Utilize video ads on YouTube to promote your channel.
- Highlight specific videos as part of your email newsletter.
- Have guests on your videos that can provide value to your subscribers and have a large online following.
- Guest star on other channels where you can provide value to their subscribers and they already have a large subscriber base.
- Add a YouTube link to your website, email signature, email newsletter, etc.
- Create a compelling channel trailer video. It should be a commercial for your channel, not a sample video.
- Send people you’re already connected with online a short message asking them to subscribe it it makes sense for them. Be sure to tell them it’s okay if they don’t want to subscribe! Giving people permission to say “no” actually means they’ll be more likely to subscribe.
When we started a YouTube show we ran for a couple years, PixelTV, simply announcing it on other social channels and through our email newsletter doubled our subscribers in just a few weeks.
Of course, all of those should be done after you’ve already been consistently publishing quality videos over a period of time. Depending on the frequency, several months to a year can be helpful.
Thankfully, there are plenty of YouTube and video related resources out there. Here are a few articles we’ve written in the past:
- Best practices for your homepage video
- Five tips for creating awesome cell phone videos
- 5 annoying YouTube habits
- SEO with YouTube transcriptions
Second, YouTube has a great help section on managing your channels. They’ve got over twenty articles on the topic.
Finally, you might check out our latest ebook Tim put together. It’s called Improve Your YouTube Channel in 30 Minutes.
If you need help with videos as a part of your digital marketing strategy, we’d love to talk! We provide training, consulting, one-time help, and ongoing management with strategy and production. Reach out to have a conversation!