Getting traction on YouTube is HARD. I’m not sure why exactly, but getting people to subscribe is like pulling teeth. This is true even if your content doesn’t suck. For the rest of this post, let’s just assume you are putting out awesome content. When you started, getting to 100 or 1,000 subs seemed easy right? But you’ve been working your butt off for months and it turns out that gaining subscribers is way harder than you expected!
It is 2018, everyone has a Google account right? Subs are free and easy. Why is it so hard to get people to click that red button?
I think it is helpful to try to get into the mindset of a person who hasn’t subscribed yet and try to think about the things that might stand in their way. Remember, not everyone uses YouTube or the internet in general in the same way you do.
Some reasons people might not subscribe:
- You can watch YouTube without being signed in
- People don’t remember their Google password (they just have it saved on their main device, or use apps to access things like Gmail)
- Signing in is tedious (might require 2FA or other hoops)
- They don’t have the YT app and don’t have time to install it right now
- People don’t realize that their Google/gmail account means they automatically have a YT account
- They don’t want others to know they subbed to you
- They want to keep a very curated feed and they only sub to very specific kinds of channels
- You only have one video that interests them or you have too much variety
I’m sure there are a hundred different reasons, and that may be a fun case study for another blog post, but let’s get back to how to get more subscribers.
Because getting subscribers is difficult, I see too many people who say “just keep creating great content and subscribers will come.” I’ve seen FAR to many channels where that just isn’t the case. I look back and see dozens of amazing videos and under 1,000 subscribers.
The truth is, getting traction on YT takes hard work. Hustle, consistency, and maybe a bit of luck are all key ingredients. Casey recently said that getting to 10,000 is the hardest part. So I want to brainstorm and practice some ways to get more subscribers. Instead of focusing on really huge ideas like getting 10,000 subs, I want to break it down into ideas that should be able to get 100 subs. If I can come up with 10 of those, I can hit 1,000 and that is a great start.
I’m going to keep a running list of ideas, invite other people to help brainstorm new things to add to the list, and then go and try them myself.
One more side note (and another idea for a future post): I do understand that having more subs who don’t care about your content isn’t as helpful as having fewer and more loyal followers. Numbers aren’t all that matters, blah blah, I get it. That being said, getting some traction in the beginning is absolutely critical. I see way too many people who are suffering and struggling to hit 100 when they should be blowing past that milestone and pushing toward bigger goals. Again, in the long term it is going to be very important to create content that people like to consume, and to cultivate relationships and human connections. That will almost always be more important than subscriber counts. However, let’s be real. There are tangible benefits to getting more than 1,000, 10,000 or even 100k subs. YouTube gives you new features, brands are more likely to be willing to even start a conversation about sponsorship, and you have the social proof that lets people know you are serious about this YT thing.
So while I think in the beginning (especially pre-100) you should just do whatever it takes to get those numbers up, I’m also not going to be adding ideas like buying subs, sub4sub, or any other crap like that. Some of my ideas might not bring 100% qualified and loyal visitors, but they are all ideas that should bring real people who at least want to give you a shot.
Top Ways to Get 100 Subs on YouTube
The first group of ideas are things that you can do by putting in the elbow grease yourself. You don’t need to depend on other people to promote you, you will be promoting yourself. Some will get you 100 subs in a day, and some will get you 100 subs over the course of a few weeks or months.
Just ask your friends and family
You probably have far more than 100 people in your social networks. I just checked and I have over 1,600 friends on Facebook and over 500 Instagram followers.
To get 100 subscribers, first go for the low hanging fruit by making a public post and asking people to subscribe.
Then make a really quick Facebook video showing HOW to subscribe (many people don’t know).
After that, reach out to people directly by sending a message that says: “Hey! I started a YouTube channel and I’m working really hard to get 100 subscribers so I can access new features for my channel. Do you mind checking it out and clicking subscribe while you’re there?” Obviously personalize this for your needs, but you get the idea!
Randomly ask 500 people
Run hyper specific ads
Join (or create) communities of other creators and interact regularly
Host a giveaway
Obvious places to plug your channel
Break videos into a series/playlist that gets updated over time
Present at local meetups
Make something you can send to 100 people for cheap
Say you’ll do something at ___ subscribers that all of your friends would love to see you do.
Do a local treasure hunt
Twist on the giveaway, get local businesses involved
Local market, tradeshow, festival where you can get a booth
Do a local show with a series on the best places to find ___ in your city
Collab with another YTuber
Make a funny video for a really popular FB group/page
Make a video testimonial for someone who is likely to share it
Get on podcasts as a guest