Neil Patel

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YouTube Marketing Strategies: 19 Tips to Grow Your Channel

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If you’re looking to get into video marketing, there’s no better channel than YouTube.

It is the second most visited website on the entire internet with over 2.5 billion users, has few competitors, and is second only to Netflix in its share of the digital video market.

Yes, the website where you can watch Charlie bit my finger! is almost as popular as a streaming service that produces Stranger Things and Ozark.

If that wasn’t enough, people are watching more online videos than ever before. According to Wyzowl, consumers watched an average of 19 hours of online video per week in 2022. That’s an increase of 1 hour per week compared to 2021 and an increase of 8.5 hours per week the four years before.

With this flood of consumer attention, it’s no wonder companies are putting more of their ad dollars into digital video advertising.

The good news is you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars in YouTube advertising to be successful. If you create a good channel that constantly puts out quality content that people want, you’ll get the attention and eyeballs you need to drive customer acquisition through YouTube.

Here’s how to do just that.

Part 1: Find Your Place in The YouTube Landscape

There are a heck of a lot of YouTube channels out there—more than 51 million, in fact. These channels cover virtually every topic imaginable, from health and beauty to marketing and entrepreneurship. There’s even a channel about a lawyer that picks locks!

With so many channels to compete with and no end of possible topics, it’s essential to start your YouTube marketing strategy by finding out where you belong on the site.

That means:

  • Finding your target audience
  • Deciding which kinds of videos you’ll create
  • Identifying your competitors and learning from them

Let’s look at each of those points in turn.

Figure Out Your Target Audience on YouTube

You need to find your niche on YouTube. Target really broad topics like fashion or beauty, and you’ll struggle to compete against really large channels. Target topics that are too niche, and you won’t have enough people watching your videos to make them worthwhile.

Finding your niche starts with figuring out your target audience. Who are the people you want to create videos for, and what kind of content do they want to watch?

The good news is you’ll find a target audience on YouTube no matter what your business is about. In many cases, it will be the same target audience as your website.

In fact, the best way to figure out your target audience on YouTube is to look at the people who are already visiting your website and other social media platforms. Use my guide on using Google Analytics to shape your marketing strategy to learn more about the target audience of your website and see if they’re a good fit for your YouTube account, too.

Hint: they probably are.

See What Videos Your Target Audience Likes

It’s not enough to know who your target audience is, you need to understand what kind of videos they like to watch. Don’t forget, there are hundreds of different types of videos on YouTube like:

  • Tutorials
  • Reviews
  • Unboxings
  • Ask me anythings
  • Challenge videos
  • Listicles
  • Behind the scenes
  • Product demos

Which kind of video you create will depend in part on your business, but you’ll also need to put yourself in your target audience’s shoes.

Think about how old they are, what kind of content they watch, why they watch it, and what they want to get from watching them.

In some cases, audiences will be watching videos to be entertained and escape everyday life. In others, they’ll be watching YouTube to learn something.

An easy way to do this is to look at other videos about your niche on YouTube. What kinds of videos are people creating? What topics are they focusing on? You can use viewer numbers to give you an idea of what’s popular and what’s not. But if there are a lot of similar types of videos or videos on a specific topic, it’s probably worth exploring.

Try to ignore videos that have gone viral, however. Your YouTube marketing strategy shouldn’t be about driving huge amounts of traffic as much as it should be about building a loyal audience.

Check Up On Your Competition

It doesn’t matter what kind of videos you create or what topics you choose, you’re certain to have at least a handful of competitors on YouTube. Your next job is to find out who they are and keep tabs on them.

This is important for a couple of reasons. Because they’ve already established a channel in your niche, you can use their accounts to understand what works. But you also need to know what they do so you can differentiate your own channel. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but you do need to give viewers a reason to watch your channel rather than your more established competitors.

Part 2: Create a Great Channel Layout & Organize Your Youtube Content

This blog post won’t get into the weeds of how to upload a profile picture, cover image, or the steps to upload a video. YouTube already has those steps. It’s easy, and you don’t need any instructions from me.

But I will show you how to optimize your channel’s look and feel.

It’s important to have a great channel layout. When people come to your channel, they need to know what you’re about and what types of videos you have.

Here’s how my channel looks:

neil patel youtube channel layout

My value proposition and color scheme are simple and match my website. The CTA says how often I publish new videos. My trailer is like an extension of the value prop.

People want to learn SEO and social media marketing from me. So, I’ve created a ton of videos on those topics and organized them into different sections:

search engine videos neil patel youtube for marketers
social media videos youtube for marketers

This organization makes it easy for people to get an idea of what types of content I publish. If you have a lot of videos, I’d recommend you do the same.

Create Regular YouTube Video Content

Consistently updating your channel with content will keep your channel feed active, increase your presence on YouTube, and help you build an audience.

You should aim for a minimum of one video per week, but the right amount of content depends on your audience, your goals, and your content.

One simple way to create a steady stream of content is to produce shorter versions of long-form content. Build a theme around a topic and then post bite-size versions of the theme on a weekly basis. This will keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

How to Write a Great YouTube Title

This is one area you cannot ignore. Titles are very important on YouTube. No matter how great your video content is, it won’t matter if you can’t get anyone to actually click on your video in the first place.

There are a few different tactics I see marketers and creators using on YouTube.

The first one is the sports gossip outlet TMZ Sports. They’re not marketers, but they know how to get attention. Let’s see if you can find a trend in their titles:

tmz sports youtube video titles

Business Insider follows a similar formula. Let’s see some examples from their YouTube channel:

business insider youtube video titles

What TMZ Sports and Business Insider essentially do is write half a sentence and leave it as a “….”. This means that if you want to find who said what, you’ll have to click on the video.

None of these titles are mistakes. They are intentionally written this way to get you to click.

Is it clickbaiting?

A little bit. But you shouldn’t completely avoid clickbait, because sometimes it works.

Here’s how to do it yourself.

YouTube’s title character limit is 100, but right around 50-55 characters is where they start to cut off the text on the desktop. This is where you write your cliffhanger. Look what TMZ Sports does when they write their titles.

If I had a video about my SEO hacks, I may write a title like this:

Search Engine Optimization | These four SEO hacks will skyrocket your traffic

The part in italics is what will show as the title on YouTube. You see that I leave a cliffhanger that will make people want to click. I also put in the keywords search engine optimization and SEO in there to make it clear what the video is about.

I’d then put the Google logo in the thumbnail to catch the eye and make sure people know it’s about Google SEO.

Keywords are the other important aspect of YouTube SEO. You need to make sure you put those keywords in your title so it attracts the right audience. Keywords like social media marketing, search engine optimization, conversion rate optimization, ROI, and blogging are all keywords you’ll find me using. If you know your niche, you’ll know what keywords you need to use.

Now that we have the title, let’s move on to the visual title – the thumbnail.

Design The Right YouTube Thumbnails

Don’t skip this part. Choosing your YouTube thumbnail is just as, if not more, important than crafting a great title.

Let’s first go through a couple of the goofy hacks marketers use on their thumbnails.

Use Arrows and Circles

Marketers are increasingly using red arrows and circles in their YouTube thumbnails and their social graph images. Here’s what I mean:

elon musk business insider youtube

There is clearly no need for a red arrow here. So why do they add it? Because it draws eyeballs and clicks.

I’ve used this tactic as well.

You may want to give it a shot and see if it increases your views!

Include Your Logo to Boost Brand Awareness

Here’s another hack that marketers like to use: putting your logo on the thumbnail. That way, even if no one clicks your video, you’re still drawing awareness and spreading your brand.

CNN puts its logo on every thumbnail:

CNN youtube thumbnail exampe

Look how big that logo is. Does it need to be that big? Of course not, but it spreads the CNN brand, even to people who won’t click and watch the video.

I do the same thing, but instead of a logo, I use my face and include my brand colors.

Neil patel youtube thumbnail examples

I don’t need to put my face on this thumbnail, but it helps my fans recognize me. And if people aren’t familiar with me, they’ll see the title of this video and wonder who the heck that guy is and may click a video and be introduced.

Just remember that viewers shouldn’t feel like they’ve been tricked into viewing your video. Your thumbnail needs to accurately represent the content of your video.

Cross-Promote with Other Channels

To increase your reach on YouTube, make it a priority to identify and reach out to other similar channels to cross-promote or collaborate in a mutually beneficial manner.

This doesn’t mean that you need a huge following on YouTube already. You can use your email list, social following, or even embed videos on your website to drive traffic.

We’ve covered how to get people to click on your videos and cross-promoting. Now let’s go on to another facet of marketing on YouTube, which covers optimizing your videos for YouTube search.

Part 3: Use YouTube SEO To Increase Traffic

YouTube is the second most popular search engine, and with 500 hours of video uploaded every minute, you have your fair share of competitors.

Here’s how to put your best foot forward to get near the top of YouTube’s search results (without having to pay for it):

Writing Great Descriptions

YouTube has a great section detailing how marketers and creators can write great descriptions. I’d recommend you take a look at that if you need a full guide.

The part that I want to emphasize is the importance of using keywords early in your description. Here are the keywords I put in one of my videos:

keywords early in youtube description

When you know what keywords you’re trying to rank well for, you can put those in the title and description. You can also mention those keywords in the video and put those in your closed captions.

Just never force anything and keyword stuff. It just makes you look spammy and untrustworthy.

Your descriptions should be at least one paragraph. YouTube gives you 5000 characters to write. Don’t be bashful. Use as much of it as you need to.

I use my description as a transcript. But I also put links to my blog and social media pages above the fold. So even if people don’t read the entire description, they still see links to read my blog or get in contact with my social:

neil patel youtube video description tips

Write descriptions with keywords. Make it easy for people to find more information about you.

Add Closed Captions on Videos

Ever remembered a great line from a TV show, typed it into Google or YouTube, and found the exact clip on YouTube?

If that great line wasn’t in the title or the description, then you found that because the search engines used the captions to find the video.

That alone should convince you that you need to have captions available for your videos.

You can use automatic captioning to make this easy. Then, you can take those and edit them, or add your own.

Use YouTube Tags

The key to optimizing your tags is to place your important terms first. Use quotes for keyword phrases such as “video production” and provide a blend of common and long-tail keywords.

You want to provide enough tags to thoroughly and accurately describe your video. If you get stuck, think about what your potential viewer may be searching for on YouTube.

Drive Comments, Likes, and Subscriptions

When watching a video on YouTube, how often near the end of the video do you hear the phrase, “If you liked this video please give it a thumbs up or leave a comment”?

That’s because more likes and comments signal to YouTube that the video is getting audience engagement. People are talking about it and rating it. It struck a chord with them.

As a result, YouTube will rank it higher in their search results.

Another thing that will get a higher ranking is a large number of people subscribing to your channel, and most good YouTube creators and marketers know this. That’s why they ask you to subscribe.

I could write an entire article on getting more YouTube subscriptions. And fortunately, I have. Take a look if you want more subscribers.

Part 4: How to Produce a Great YouTube Video

This is the penultimate part of this blog post, but you should treat it as the most important part of your YouTube marketing strategy.

Create a Great Opening and Sustain Viewer Attention

If you’re relatively unknown, then the first few seconds of a video are absolutely crucial to get exactly right. They “hook” the viewer in so they want to watch your entire video.

I’m sure you’ve all seen some content from Tai Lopez. But have you actually watched them to truly understand what makes him such a great creator?

This was one of Tai’s videos:

When creating a video, you have five seconds to hook the viewer in so they watch more of your video. You see what Tai Lopez does? The background is him standing in a mansion, and the first thing he says is that he’s going to give you a tour of his mansion.

Then he introduces himself. To keep you watching, he gives you a video tour of the mansion while he talks about himself and what he offers. This is great marketing that few people have done.

Who would want to click “Skip Ad” on this video?

Can you imagine if he was sitting at a desk with a white wall as his background giving the same talk? No one would watch it.

Your videos should work the same way. Even if they aren’t ads, you should treat them as such. Hook the viewer in with visuals and a few great opening lines. Then keep them entertained. Watch what I do in this video:

My hook comes in with high-energy naming companies I’ve ghost-written for. The rest of my intro (which is only 15 seconds) outlines what the video is about and why you can benefit by watching the rest of my presentation.

Create Calls to Action

annonying orange cta youtube

The key to a successful marketing campaign, even on YouTube, is creating clear and concise calls to action. Depending on the message, you can use the beginning, middle, or end of a video to direct the actions of your viewers.

Having too many prompts can cause confusion, so keep your CTAs minimal and simple. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for viewers to perform an action.

Here are a few important actions to use on your videos:

  • Subscribe: Give your viewer a reason to subscribe (e.g., new videos every week or never missing an episode).
  • Like / Add to Favorites / Share: Ask your viewers to “like,” “favorite,” and “share” the video so your content appears in more places across YouTube. You’ll be amazed at the reaction you get when you simply ask for it.
  • Comments: Encourage your audience to participate by asking a specific question or requesting a topic they’d like to see covered in an upcoming video.
  • Video Graphics: Create a video “end slate” that appears at the end of the video to direct viewers to your website.

Which calls to action you use will depend on your audience and goals. If you’re trying to build a YouTube audience, for instance, it makes more sense to direct viewers to another video rather than your website. If you feature products in your video, however, linking to your product pages is ideal.

Part 5: Promoting Your YouTube Channel

While YouTube will do a lot of leg work promoting your channel to users through recommendations, you need to promote the heck out of your channel to get it in front of as many people as possible.

Below, I outline three ways to do so:

  • Cross-promotion with social media.
  • Influencer marketing
  • Community building

Using Cross-Promotion With Your Other Social Media Accounts

If you already have a following on other social media accounts, it’s time to put them to use. Create a post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and whatever other platforms you use to share your new channel. That should help you get a few early subscribers while your page is still in its infancy.

But don’t stop there. Every time you release a new video, create a social media post about it and link back to your YouTube channel. On many platforms, you can even embed the video into your post. Doing so will help get your viewing figures up and remind your fans to follow your YouTube account, too.

If you want to get really serious with cross-promotion, think about how you can repurpose your YouTube videos into blog posts and other pieces of social media content. Post them to your website as blog articles, and you’ll be getting as much mileage out of every video as possible.

Consider Influencer Marketing

One of the best ways to promote your new YouTube channel is to leverage the audience of larger, more established YouTubers. This is a variant of influencer marketing, and it’s a great way to get massive exposure for your fledgling channel.

The best way to use this strategy is to create one or more collaboration videos. These are videos that are shared between several YouTubers in a way that benefits everyone. Maybe you meet up and create one video together. Or you work together remotely to create a series of videos that each collaborator is responsible for. There are plenty of ways to make this strategy a success.

You can’t collaborate with just anyone, though. You want to collaborate with YouTubers who have similar audiences to you but who create different content. You also want them to have a larger audience than you, but not so large that it’s not worth their time.

One way to find these YouTubers is through good old competitor research. Simply browse YouTube for a few keywords and see what comes up. An alternative method is to ask your audience who else they follow. Ask them to leave comments in a video about who they’d like to see you collaborate with and who else they watch, and then reach out to these channels directly.

Don’t forget to return the favor to smaller YouTubers when your channel starts to gain traction, either. Small channels may have a hardcore following who could also become hardcore fans of your own.

Build A Community on YouTube

The final way to grow your YouTube channel is to build a community. The best YouTubers understand that the platform is not a one-way conversation. It’s a fantastic chance to connect with your fans, answer their questions, and work with them to create the best channel possible.

There are a couple of reasons you should prioritize your community. For one, the more you engage with your community, the more often YouTube will recommend your videos. At the same time, viewers will be more likely to comment if they see others receiving replies.

One of the best ways to interact with your community is to hold a live-streaming event. This is a much more candid approach to edited videos where you can hold Q&A sessions with your audience and have them get involved with the video.

Another strategy is to ask for their advice and act on it. I’ve already mentioned about how you can ask your viewers which channels you should collaborate with, but what about asking your audience for content ideas? Think how cool it would be for a viewer to see their idea come to life. The Community Tab is a great option to pose these types of questions.

How to Grow Your YouTube Channel

Want to grow your business with YouTube? Here’s a complete guide to building a successful YouTube channel to market your business.

  1. Find your place in the YouTube landscape.
    Work out how you can stand out from the crowd.
  1. Find your target audience.
    Use your website and existing social media profiles to work out who you should be targeting.
  2. Discover what videos your target audience likes.
    Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Copy what’s working for other people.
  3. Assess your competition
    Make sure you differentiate your channel from other people in your niche.
  4. Create a great channel layout.
    Use branded images, a video trailer, and organize videos by topics.
  5. Create regular YouTube content.
    Aim for a minimum of one video per week, but the right amount of content depends on your audience, your goals, and your content.
  6. Write great YouTube titles.
    Write a cliffhanger, but make sure to include key terms.
  7. Design the right thumbnails.
    Use arrows and circles to draw attention to your video and consider including a logo to stand out.
  8. Cross-promote your channel on other platforms
    Make it a priority to identify and reach out to other similar channels to cross-promote or collaborate in a mutually beneficial manner.
  9. Get your YouTube SEO right.
    Use your title and description to target important key terms and increase your visibility.
  10. Add closed captions to videos.
    Ever remembered a great line from a TV show, typed it into Google or YouTube, and found the exact clip on YouTube? If that great line wasn’t in the title or the description, then you found that because the search engines used the captions to find the video.
  11. Optimize YouTube tags.
    The key to optimizing your tags is to place your important terms first. Use quotes for keyword phrases such as “video production” and provide a blend of common and long-tail keywords.
  12. Ask for comments, likes, and subscriptions
    More likes and comments signals to YouTube that the video is getting audience engagement, and YouTube will rank it higher in their search results.
  13. Create a great opening.
    The first few seconds of a video are absolutely crucial to get exactly right. They “hook” the viewer in so that they want to watch your entire video.
  14. Create calls to action.
    Having too many prompts can cause confusion, so keep your CTAs minimal and simple. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for viewers to perform an action.
  15. Promote your YouTube channel
    YouTube will recommend your videos to other users, but take matters into your own hands to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
  16. Cross-promote your channel on other social media platforms
    Use your other profiles to spread awareness about your new channel and share your videos.
  17. Collaborate with influencers
    Leverage other YouTubers’ larger audiences and collaborate on projects to grow your subscribers.
  18. Build a community
    Interact with your viewers, ask them questions and act on their feedback to create a highly engaged audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a YouTube marketing strategy look like?

A good YouTube marketing strategy starts with knowing who your audience is and what they want. Create great videos and leverage YouTube SEO to make sure your video gets as much exposure as possible. Follow this up by working with other YouTubers and promoting your YouTube channel on other social media platforms.

How is YouTube useful for marketing?

YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine, and pages from the website are regularly found in Google’s search results. Having a solid presence on YouTube can help you significantly grow brand awareness and drive huge amounts of traffic to your site.

How do you attract subscribers on YouTube?

Creating highly engaging videos is the first step to attracting subscribers. But you also need to write great titles and descriptions, work hard to promote your videos, and collaborate with other YouTubers to raise brand awareness.

Why is YouTube best for social media marketing?

YouTube has over 2.5 billion active users and is the biggest video platform in the world. This makes it a great place to build a large online following. YouTube also makes it easy to interact with your fans through the comments section so you can build a large, dedicated community.

What are the best types of content for YouTube?

There’s no shortage of video forms you can use to grow your YouTube account. Some of the best forms of content include product reviews, tutorials, educational videos, and Q&As.


Congratulations, you made it all the way through this massive guide. Now you are set to become the next YouTube star! Or, at the very least, build a relationship with your target audience through this massively popular platform.

Apply the principles outlined here and grow your presence on YouTube. Remember, you may not see success after the first video, but continuing to produce high-quality content on YouTube can deliver amazing results.

Success on YouTube comes with time and practice, so get out there and start shooting your video!

What YouTube marketing techniques have you learned?

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