I run a Youtube channel in a specialized technical sub-niche (epoxy flooring) of the construction industry. My channel gets 60 thousand views and 3000 hours of watch time every month.
I attribute most of this continuous growth because I run an automated email sequence for my subscribers. In this article I want to explain to you how to grow a youtube channel.
I started this channel in 2015, entirely by chance. I had done a voiceover on one of my PowerPoint presentations. I needed a place to post the presentation for people to watch, so I uploaded it on Youtube. I then emailed the link out to customers and subscribers.
The video was in a horrible 4:3 screen format. The choice of color and fonts left much to be desired. However, a few weeks after posting this video, I noticed that the video had started acquiring momentum. People were liking, commenting, and sharing the video. The video has to this day, collected over half a million views. Honestly, I never thought that many people would even be interested to learn about the subject.
Typical advice on how to grow a youtube channel does not work for my channel
Most of the advice on growing your Youtube channel sounds something like this: Find your niche, publish several times a week, and you will increase your following. Eventually, some videos will go viral, and people will subscribe in droves.
In my case, I do not post a new Youtube video every week. It’s been six months since I last uploaded a video. Since 2015, I have posted a total of 46 videos! My industry is not exactly fast-moving. New products and new developments take years, if not decades, to emerge. I sort of feel that I have exhausted most of the topics there are to talk about. But despite the lack of new videos, I still add another 400–500 channel subscribers each month.
How an Autoresponder Sequence grew my channel
I offer my email subscribers a free 5-day email course on how to improve their epoxy flooring skills. Once the sign-up is completed, my email subscribers get added to my autoresponder sequence. For the next five days, they get one email per day. Each day is a separate lesson.
At the end of each email, I point my subscribers to further resources.I invite them to watch a video or to read an article on my blog. If they click on the article, they will see at least one of my Youtube videos embedded in my blog post.
Setting up the 5-day email course can be done relatively easily through most email service providers. In my case, I use Convertkit, but most paid tools tend to have similar functionality.
After the five days of the email course have passed, subscribers continue to receive some bonus educational emails. I no longer send them emails daily since that could get exhausting and annoying.
But I make sure that every 3–4 days, they receive more content and more links to videos. I keep close track of my open and click rates to see which emails and subjects are the most engaging for my subscribers.
The email sequence is part of a larger strategy to pitch my subscribers other products. I did not expect, however, what an impact this strategy would have on the Youtube algorithm and the growth of my channel.
Two key factors drive the algorithm
I have come across two factors that will greatly influence your success on how to grow a Youtube channel.
The first factor is external traffic. Youtube wants you to drive people to the platform and then get them to start binge-watching your videos.
The other major factor that influences the Youtube algorithm is how much time people spend watching your videos. This means you need to get people engaged and interested in your videos. And once they have watched one video, you get them coming back for more. The more time people spend on the platform, the more ads Youtube can show them.
This is why a properly executed email sequence can work wonders for your Youtube channel. By getting people to sign up for my email course, I was getting engaged video watchers. These were people who had raised their hands and said they want to learn more. When I drove those people to Youtube, I noticed that the average watch time of my videos would go up. Most of these people would then go ahead and click on other videos of mine.
Once average watch time started rising, the Youtube algorithm started showing more of my videos. This created a virtuous circle. As more people discovered my channel, they would seek out my blog and sign up for my 5-day email course. The email course would drive people back to my Youtube channel again. These subscribers became superfans, consuming more content, leaving more comments, and sharing the videos with their peers.
I should also mention the interesting effect that Facebook ads had on my Youtube channel. When I tried driving Facebook users straight to a Youtube video, the results would bomb. I spent a lot of money to get people to click on a video, but the engagement was poor. Most people bounced after a few seconds of watching the video.
But then I switched my strategy. Rather than sending Facebook users to a video, I got them to sign up for my email course instead. I could get leads at a fairly decent cost (under $2), and these people were far warmer and engaged. They were far more likely to subscribe to my channel and watch my videos till the end.
Study your Analytics relentlessly
The strategy that I have outlined above will work best if you use the data that Youtube and your Email Service Provider provide you.
Youtube analytics gives immense amounts of data for creators. The analytics will tell you which videos are engaging and where people are spending their time. You need to drive people to your popular videos, as that is where the potential for most growth lies.
I used to send subscribers to my less popular videos in the past, thinking that I need to get more views on them. These were excellent videos where I gave away amazing information. And yet people did not seem interested to watch them. I was obsessed with trying to get the video to take off. I tried and tried, but nothing happened.
I have since realized that this is a lost cause. The analytics will always tell you which videos are best. If people are abandoning after 15 seconds, this means that your video is not inspiring viewers. Instead, send people to the videos that get the highest engagement.
Some of your videos are already achieving exponential growth. You might as well send dedicated subscribers to those videos and multiply your exposure even further.
Also, track your open and click rates in your emails. I aim for an open rate of over 45% on my autoresponder series. These are new, fresh subscribers who just signed up to receive emails from you. If your open rates are lower, you may want to experiment with the subject line or the email content.
A properly executed email series is capable of driving high-quality traffic to your Youtube channel. Increases in watch time lead to Youtube recommending more of your stuff in the suggested videos sidebar. Study your data and find out which videos are the most successful. Don’t just focus on views; look at factors such as watch time, engagement, and new subscribers.
Then, set up your autoresponder by sending people to these videos. These are the videos that move the needle. These videos are most likely to be shared and forwarded. Slowly the Youtube algorithm will notice this hyper-focused engagement. And Youtube will seek to find similar viewers to the ones you are already driving to the channel.
I hope, that with the tools that I have provided you I have given you some answers in how to grow a youtube channel. If I can get 3000 hours of watch time every month teaching people epoxy flooring, imagine what you can achieve with a subject that has a much broader reach.