How to Get YouTube Subscribers When All Else Has Failed

Business June 2, 2019 5 min read

If you’ve been hustling away on YouTube for a while now, chances are you’re already well up to speed on all the major tips for growing your subscriber base. (Publishing videos on the regular, cross-promoting on social media, making primo content, etcetera, etcetera).

But what if you’ve tried all of those things and you’re still flailing around in sub-1000 subscriber territory? And now you’re asking yourself “how do I get YouTube subscribers and push the needle forward?”

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tactics to step on the accelerator and gain a broader following on YouTube.

How to Grow Your YouTube Subscribers

1. Enable YouTube’s Automated Pop-Up Subscription Link

For a while now, YouTube’s been offering a way for creators to modify their channel’s URL so that the second a visitor lands on their page, they’re automatically met with a pop-up subscription link that looks a little something like this:

Confirm Channel Subscription

Needless to say, this super effective feature is one you should DEFINITELY be using. And here, dear friends, is how you do it:

1. Take your YouTube channel’s URL.

Example:  (https://www.youtube.com/user/MotionArray)

2. Add   “?sub_confirmation=1”  onto the end of it.

Example:  (https://www.youtube.com/user/MotionArray?sub_confirmation=1)

3. Then use this new URL link to promote your channel at every possible opportunity.

4. Sit back and watch your subscriber count soar!

2. Collaborate With Other YouTubers

Teaming up with other YouTubers is a great way to gain more exposure, build valuable connections in the biz, and rack up more subscribers. This is because whenever you buddy up with another creator, you immediately gain access to their audience which, if you’re lucky, could rank in the tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands.

What’s more, teaming up with another YouTuber, especially one that’s more established than you, has the potential to do wonders for your rep. By choosing to work with you, your collaborator is essentially giving you their personal stamp of approval and signaling to their audience that you’re worthy of a subscription.

While finding the right person or people to work with can be tricky, there are several online communities designed to connect YouTubes to one another. The YouTube Community is one, but we recommend hitting up YTTalk first as it allows you to more narrowly target your search by the genre of videos you make.

If you go this route and have no luck, there’s always the option to reach out to any YouTubers you admire directly? Most creators offer up ways to contact them directly via their channels. And if they don’t, you can always lay it all out on the line in the comments section.

3. Use Playlists To Retain Viewers

Playlists are a really clever—some would say essential—way to retain viewers on your channel and boost content consumption!

If you’re yet to venture into playlist territory, we suggest you start by making a playlist targeted at first-time visitors to your channel to show them what you’re all about and why your worth subscribing to. Ideally, this will be a line-up of your best content and will go by the name of something like “First time stopping by? Watch these first!” or “Channel Highlights.”

Once you’ve gotten the hang of things, start branching out and creating playlists focused around other themes. For example, if you can identify any video topics or genres that proven especially successful in drawing viewers to your channel (e.g. How-to tutorials, sketch comedy videos, vlogs) then you should 100% be making a playlist dedicated to them.

For step-by-step instructions on how to make a playlist on YouTube, check out this resource!

4. Make Your Thumbnails Simply Irresistible

Thumbnails are like the ultimate gateway to your YouTube channel. They’re usually the first thing a viewer sees and they play a big, if not the biggest, role in determining whether or not someone clicks one of your videos.

When it comes to making thumbnails, there no shortage of golden rules. And the ones you should absolutely be following are:

  • Make sure your thumbnails are bursting with color—this especially applies for image backgrounds.
  • Keep your titles short, bold, and BIG!
  • Always ensure that the color of your titles contrasts well against your background image.
  • Put a face in it! Humans are hardwired to respond well to faces so by including a peep or two in your thumbnail image, you’ll be way more likely to nab them clicks.
  • If your channel has a brand bug or logo, include it!
  • Avoid positioning titles or logos in the bottom right corner of your thumbnails…as this where the time code goes. Duh!
  • Try to keep your thumbnails consistent. While this might get boring after a while, it’ll definitely be worth it from a branding perspective.

5. Self-Promote in Facebook Groups, Subreddits, and Amazon Reviews

A little bit of shameless self-promotion can go a long way. And thanks to the advent of social media, it’s now possible to toot your own horn all from the comfort of your couch.

This really is as simple as jumping on Facebook and Reddit, searching for groups relating to any one of your video topics, ingratiating yourself on these unsuspecting communities, then BOOM—hitting them with a link to your video.

If you happen to be in the business of making product reviews or unboxing videos, feel free to go even further by posting links to your videos in product listings on Amazon or other e-commerce sites. By doing this, you’ll help dozens, if not hundreds of people make up their minds about whether or not to purchase a product, scoring loads of brownie points along the way. And as we all know…brownie points have a strong record of translating into subscriptions!

6. Fill Your Titles With Super Relevant Keyword Phrases

In order to be found, your videos are going to need searchable titles that rank well. And the best way to achieve this is with a little help from Google Ads.

Before throwing any old title onto your videos, jump onto Google Ads’ Keyword Planner and play around with the keywords relating to your video topic until you identify a phrase that’s both a) relevant, and b) ranks well.

As an example, let’s say you’ve made a how-to video on cleaning white Converse All-Stars. From a quick Google Ads keyword search, you’ll be able to see that the phrase “clean white shoes” ranks much higher than “clean converse,” “clean white converse,” or any other variation of this subject. So the title you’re going to run with? How To Clean White Shoes.

Sure, this mightn’t be the most exciting title. But it’s the title that’s going to result in your video being more easily found and more widely watched. And the good news is, you don’t have to live with this lackluster title forever. Once your video starts driving views and working it’s way up in YouTube search rankings, you can always go back and add in some more keywords to spice up the title, changing it something like How To Clean Your White Converse or How To Clean White Converse All-Stars.

But for the beginning, when your video’s still fresh on the Tube, you’re better of playing it safe by keeping your titles a short, relevant, and searchable.

7. Make Video Intros a Standard Practice

If you’re not in the habit of including short, snappy intros at the beginning of your YouTube videos, then it’s time you got into one. Video intros help boost your watch time, which helps boost your rankings, which—yup, you guessed—help gain subscribers.

From a brand awareness perspective, video intros also make a lost of sense as they help set the tone of your channel for first-time viewers and promote brand recall among those returning.

What’s more, they’re insanely easy to make! For a rundown on how to make a quick, brand-oriented intro your audience is gonna love, check this out here.


Okay kids, there you have it! Hopefully, these tips will be enough to help you get more YouTube subscribers and hit your channel goals, whatever they may be.

And for anyone still hanging out for more insider advice, we definitely recommend checking out our interview with the super successful Arkadian on How to be Successful on YouTube.