How to Get Subscribers on YouTube in 2023
The real possibility of monetizing your social media presence can raise many questions: Do you want to make money on YouTube? Or maybe you want to market your brand? Are you trying to become a content creator or YouTube influencer? Wanting to shine on the platform is a no-brainer, but how do you get more YouTube subscribers and grow your social channels? Since you should never buy YouTube subscribers, so how do you get more channel subscribers organically? Even the highest quality videos won’t get plays without first instituting a strategy for attracting new viewers and subscribers. Follow these five strategies to get free YouTube subscribers, and you will be hitting follower milestones in no time.
1. Offer consistent content
People want to watch videos that are easy to watch. Your videos don’t need to be perfect, but putting in a legitimate effort to create quality content will help create a following that rewards you with their loyalty. However, in building a loyal YouTube following, it is important to create a consistent brand for your channel and release content on a regular schedule. To gain a steady following on YouTube, you must build a community, and the first step to creating that is through consistency. Here are some tips for delivering consistent content:
- Upload videos on a consistent schedule. Scheduling tools are a must — consider using a content scheduler to keep yourself on track when posting videos. Being consistent with video publication and letting people know what to expect gives your followers clarity as well as something to look forward to. Remember that if you stay organized, it is possible to speed up video creation without sacrificing quality.
- Be true to your brand. If you’re all about hand-making fly fishing hooks, don’t suddenly throw in a video about stocks and bonds. You can lose viewer trust and interest. Post content that aligns with your channel.
- Create a mix of evergreen content and of-the-moment content. A widely accepted ratio is 80% evergreen to 20% current content. That said, topical content can boost your numbers.
- Use Adobe Express for all of your video editing and social media marketing needs.
2. Create an eye-catching channel banner and channel icon
Effective channel branding aims to visually pull people in. People come to YouTube for so many reasons — entertainment, education, news, and shopping among them — and there are literally billions of hours of videos they can watch. Make sure people want to come to your channel by designing a good-looking YouTube channel; use professional designs and unified color palettes to create stunning, high-quality channel art. The visual aspects of your channel can be just as important as your actual content when it comes to drawing in potential new followers. People are immediately attracted to things that catch their eye. Want to increase your subscriber count? Make your channel shine with an eye-catching channel banner and channel icon.
Custom channel banner:
Welcome people to your channel’s homepage with a stunner of a channel banner. A good banner lets people know who you are and what your channel is about, and encourages further subscription. It makes your overall channel a cohesive landing page where a viewer knows who you are, what you’re about, and the value you offer. Get a professionally designed look using the free and easy-to-customize Adobe Express YouTube banner maker.
Custom channel icon:
Create a channel icon that resonates with your brand. A channel icon is like a logo — it is a visual representation of your brand that appears on your channel and wherever you comment. The more professional your icon, the more legitimate you seem. Make sure your logo is recognizable, especially in small sizes. If you want to create your own YouTube logo, consider using Adobe Express’ YouTube logo maker.
3. Create thematic thumbnails
People are more likely to click on a video with a creative and custom video thumbnail. Help your videos stand out from the crowd by creating visually consistent thumbnails that are true to your brand. Consistency builds credibility and brand recognition, so create templates that have a common theme when it comes to font, color, and design elements. Also, consider size. Be sure your custom thumbnails and banner art are mobile-responsive, in that they look good on both phones and computers. Try Adobe Express’ free YouTube thumbnail maker for no-stress perfection.
4. Directly ask viewers to subscribe
You have to market your channel to get more YouTube subscribers. YouTube is not the place to be shy, so include a call to action in your content and invite your viewers to subscribe. People love an invite! They want a reason to connect. Your viewers are busy, so unless you prompt them, they might not even think to click subscribe.
Directly ask for subscriptions in your video intros and outros. That ask can be as simple as: “If you like my content, please subscribe to my channel!” or “If you’re new here, hit the subscribe button so you make sure to never miss my weekly videos.” If you want to be a bit more natural about it, consider teasing your next video during the outro to promote subscriptions: “Thanks for watching — be sure to subscribe so you get first access to my new video coming out next week about….”
5. Add subscription links to your videos and descriptions
Use YouTube’s clickable subscription buttons in your video. During the intro, outro, and end screen of your video, motivate viewers to subscribe by having a clickable “subscribe” button pop up. This visual queue prompts your viewers and is a really simple way for them to subscribe. To do this from YouTube Studio, go to the menu on the left and click on “Customization” and then “Branding.” Next, c hoose your display time (end of video, custom start time, or entire video) and click “Change.” Finally, select an image (e.g., a subscribe button or a watermark) and click “Done” and then “Publish.”
Additionally, add a separate subscription link at the end of your video description. Although it may seem like overkill, you never know which link will prompt people to actually subscribe, so cover all your bases by putting a subscription link in any place your viewers could look.
6. Promote your channel across social media
Asking viewers to subscribe is a great first step, but that only encourages subscriptions from people who have already seen your videos. If people don’t know you’re there, then people won’t ever subscribe. Build on your existing marketing efforts to help your channel grow. To reach a wider audience and get your channel noticed, you’ll need to branch off from YouTube and promote your videos and channel on other online platforms.
Other social media platforms:
Bring over your audience from other social media channels by using all your platforms as a funnel to your YouTube channel. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn — wherever you have followers, let them know about the amazing videos you are creating on YouTube. Ask your followers on your other social channels to subscribe to your YouTube channel. People want to love you, so help them do so!
Use your business website or blog as a way to showcase your YouTube videos. Let your audience know just what they’re missing out on. Embed your entire video — or just a teaser clip — on your blog or website, along with a link to your channel and an invitation to subscribe. Posting these backlinks will boost your video SEO. Additionally, consider promoting your content to other relevant communities; post a link to your channel on related forums or in comments sections to get your name out there.
7. Optimize your videos for search
It is important to create videos that align with what people are searching for. Optimizing your videos for YouTube SEO (search engine optimization) helps people organically find your videos. The best way to optimize your videos for search, get new viewers, and align with the YouTube algorithm is to do your keyword research.
Say you have a YouTube channel about running your own small business, which is obviously a very broad topic. You could take a guess about what content may be helpful for your audience, or you could do keyword research and find out that people are searching for topics specifically related to your channel — including how to create their own logos, how to advertise their businesses, and how to start a small business from home. Each of these topics could be its own individual YouTube video or video series. Creating content around topics that people are searching for gives you the best chance of getting more views and followers.
It’s not enough to just create YouTube content around highly searched terms — you need to optimize your videos for them as well. Don’t underestimate the importance of using trending and relevant keywords in your video titles and descriptions. Including highly searched keywords and relevant hashtags will help your video show up on Google and YouTube search results. Use free tools like Google Ad’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends to research keywords. Use YouTube Analytics to understand which content your audience resonates with the most.
Adding transcripts and captions to your YouTube videos not only give your viewers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing a chance to enjoy your content, they also optimize your videos for YouTube and Google search. Additionally, many people simply enjoy watching videos with captions. You can either take advantage of YouTube’s automatically-generated captions or you can upload your own transcript. To use automatic captions, start in YouTube Studio and in the left-hand menu choose “Subtitles.” From there, select the video that needs captions, review YouTube’s automatic transcription, and make any necessary edits. If you want to upload your own captions, start from your channel homepage and click “Manage Videos .” From there, click on the video that needs captions and select “Subtitles.” Choose which langage you want and click “Add.” Click “Upload” and choose “With Timing” or “Without Timing,” then click “Continue.” From there, select the transcrupt file from your computer and click “Open .” Check out the example below:
8. Be deliberate about your channel description
Your channel description is featured on the “About” page of your channel. You have 1,000 characters to let people know what your channel is about and why they should subscribe. Be very deliberate with your channel description and make sure to choose keywords that represent and categorize your content. Use the recommended tools to find highly searched keywords and ways to fold them into your description. Keywords in your description help YouTube to understand what your channel is about and display your content to relevant audiences. Doing your keyword research is a crucial part of making sure your channel is discoverable.
9. Interact directly with your audience
Building an engaged following is the key to building a community on YouTube. People want to feel appreciated and a part of something. To build an engaged following, you have to build community — and to do that, you must make your followers feel appreciated and understood. The first step to building a YouTube community is to interact with your audience and make friends. For example, meaningful engagement with commenters not only validates the original commenter, but it also demonstrates to new visitors that there's a human behind the brand, and you’re investing in viewers. Here are a few ways to get this going:
- Respond to comments with thoughtful replies.
- Acknowledge to viewers in your videos that you are reading their comments.
- Ask viewers what kind of content they most want to see.
- Celebrate subscription milestones with a video thanking subscribers.
- Do a live stream.
10. Host a contest
Want to attract some new followers and get a bump in engagement? Consider hosting your own contest on YouTube. Make a video explaining the parameters of your contest. As a caveat for participating in the contest, make it so that viewers must be subscribed and turn their notifications on. Make sure you choose a prize that your audience will legitimately want. Consider hosting a giveaway or a talent contest. Check out this example below:
11. Create a channel trailer
Each YouTube channel has a space at the top of the channel page to feature a video. The best thing about this feature is that you can choose to feature two separate videos — one for your existing YouTube subscribers and a different one for non-subscribers. For non-subscribers, consider creating a channel trailer, which is a short video that lets people know what your channel is about and the types of videos you post. Channel trailers are a great and simple way to introduce yourself to potential followers. From YouTube Studio, select “Customization” and then “Layout.” Under “Video spotlight,” click “ADD” and choose your channel trailer. When you are finished, click “Publish” and voilà!
12. Customize your channel URL
Your basic YouTube channel URL looks something like this: https://www.youtube.come/channel/UBIFgnw1785032WBFnwp73Ybfw.
People might not want to click on a random long-form URL. Instead, customize your URL to your channel. You need at least 100 YouTube subscribers to customize your URL, but after you’ve hit that point, the edit is easy. In YouTube Studio, go to the left menu and choose “Customization.” Click on “Basic Info,” and then click on “Channel URL.”
Change your URL to something short and recognizable like this: https://www.youtube.com/c/AdobeExpress
13. Create binge-worthy playlists
When creating content, it is a great idea to think in terms of playlists. YouTube playlists are a set of videos that autoplay in a set order. Viewers can sit back and enjoy your playlist without having to click around to find another video. Many people love to binge-watch content, so creating thematic playlists gives your audience a list of videos to watch or look forward to, and is a great reason for them to subscribe. Playlists increase your channel’s watch time and engagement. For more information on how to create, edit, and delete a playlist, check out this article on Google’s YouTube Help page.
Check out an example of a cohesive playlist with thematic thumbnails (remember tip #3!) below:
14. Collaborate with other creators
Collaborate with other YouTube creators to gain exposure and take advantage of each other’s audiences. Do your research to find potential YouTuber collaborators that post content in a similar field as yours. Your followers could suggest a collaboration with a certain YouTuber — listen to them! Collaborating with YouTube creators is a great way to promote your channel by generating cross-channel appeal between your two audiences, which is an essential way to getting noticed and gain more subscribers.
Check out when Adobe Express collaborated with Dysturb!
15. Take advantage of YouTube Shorts
YouTube Shorts are one of the newest additions to YouTube. These videos are vertical short videos (similar to TikToks and Instagram Reels) that are created using your smartphone and uploaded directly to YouTube. YouTube Shorts are 15-60 second-long videos that help creators drive engagement and convert viewers into subscribers. They are a place to express yourself and let your brand’s personality shine through. To make YouTube Shorts you need to first download the YouTube app. From the homepage, click the (+) icon and then click “Create a Short.” To record, hold down the red record button and get started! There are lots of things from that point on that you can do to customize your YouTube Shorts (think special effects, speeding up or slowing down, light filters, etc.). For more help on how to customize your YouTube Shorts, check out this helpful article from Google’s YouTube Help center.
16. Leave your viewers wanting more
End your videos by teasing your next project; you don’t want to just post one-off videos and hope they randomly go viral. The goal is to build an engaged following that wants to keep watching every video you post. To bring people in and gain new subscribers, end each video by briefly describing what’s next for your channel. Consider ending your video by saying something like “Be sure to subscribe so you get first access to my exciting new video next week about...” Clue your audience in on any new or big developments. Don’t spoil the surprise — keep your audience on their toes and curious about what is coming next. All this ties back to tip #1: offer consistent content. Once you have a consistent posting schedule, this step will become much easier.
And just like that, you have the basic tools needed to build your brand on YouTube and get more subscribers. So what are you waiting for?
This blog post was updated on August 24, 2023.