Shan Ruthra

How to Get Your First 1000 Subscribers on YouTube For Free

It often seems like the most difficult part of starting a YouTube channel is getting your first 1,000 subscribers. I understand how discouraging this can be because I've been in your shoes. Fortunately, there are 23 different ways in which you can build up your subscriber count and see some success fairly quickly.

If you're just starting out, it's not necessary to use all 23 ways - choose a few that work for you and always be sure to add your own creative touch! Let's get started:

1. Leave a subscription link in the description of every video

So we all know about the red subscribe button on YouTube, but did you know you can create your own customised subscription link? These links often outperform the red subscribe button if done the right way. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to create a subscription link:



After you've created your subscription link, just leave it at the top of your description with a call to action. When they click on this link it'll come up with a prompt asking them to subscribe.

Subscriber Prompt

2. Embed your videos on Forums

Embedded videos can be played outside of YouTube, rather than making them leave the forum and come back again. When people view your videos from outside of YouTube, the videos will be recommended to other YouTube viewers and lead to higher subscriber rates.

In order to do this effectively, I recommend that you just spend some time reading some of the threads on relevant forums and waiting for opportunities to arise where either people complain about a subject or ask questions about it. Then post your videos in those threads along with a brief explanation. For example, if you were making a video about how to learn Photoshop for beginners then you could write something like this:

"People keep asking me how I learned Photoshop in such a short period of time, so I made a video... [YouTube Video URL] ...if I can do it anyone can!"

You can then just leave your post and wait for others to browse that thread. If they want more information about the subject then they'll click through to your YouTube Channel.

It's also a good idea to write interesting comments in other posts on forums as this will encourage people to come read what you have written, and if it's related or relevant to their interests they might click through to your videos.

3. Create a video series

You could create a video series that's about 10-15 videos long. For example, if you're a channel that teaches people how to use Photoshop, you could make a series of videos on how to edit portraits with Photoshop or how to edit travel photography with Photoshop. You want to make a series of videos that people are anticipating. So in the video title, add numbers--1, 2, 3--that indicate these are part of a series about editing portraits. Then you can tell viewers that when you upload parts 3 and 4 (in this case), they should subscribe because those will be uploaded soon as well.

Create a video series

4. Incentivize your audience to subscribe - Use contests/giveaways

When you want to incentivize people to subscribe, a great trick is to use contests and giveaways. To get more subscribers on YouTube, you could offer a free giveaway that only subscribers and people who share the video are eligible for.

For example, on my channel Dreamcloud, most of the videos I upload give the viewers the chance to be in the draw to win my YouTube Masterclass course. So to be in the draw all they need to do is subscribe to the channel, hit the like button and leave a comment on the video. I will then come back next week and pick a winner. Usually, I use this website called Pick a Winner to pick a random comment from last week’s video.

5. Optimize your video for SEO with titles, descriptions and relevant tags

In order to maximize the amount of people who will see your video, it is important to optimize your videos with keywords. Rewording titles and using tags that you think will be most relevant for the video will help it show up in more searches.

The use of keywords should be within the title, description, and tags.

For example: "Introduction to Massage Therapy" is a strong title for a massage video. The words "introduction" and "massage therapy" could be used as tags because they are related to the subject matter in some way.

Avoid using things like "Click Here" or "Check This Out". Your video will most likely never be associated with these types of keywords and you could be missing out on viewers that would have otherwise been interested.

The best way to improve search engine rankings for your videos is to optimize the content. Here's a video on how you can do it:

6. Be consistent with the content that works

When you first launch your channel and upload about 10-15 videos, you'll notice that a few of them will have the majority of your channel views. The first few videos you upload to YouTube are an experiment. You don't know what kind of content your audience wants to watch until you've uploaded and tested the type of videos that get the majority of the views, then adjust your channel accordingly and scale.

When I first started my channel EQ Systems I was uploading videos on graphic design, creative thinking, Illustrator, etc. However, I realized that people preferred to watch videos about Photoshop tutorials. So I focused exclusively on Photoshop tutorials. I figured this would be the best way to reach my audience and let them know that this channel is all about Photoshop. This helped me reach my first 1000 subscribers.

Be consistent with content that works

7. Chunk your subscriber goals into smaller, more achievable goals

Getting your first 1000 subscribers might seem daunting at first, but interestingly enough, getting your first 50 subscribers is the hardest part. The process only gets easier as you grow. Once you gain more than 500 subscribers on your channel, you'll find it much easier to attract your next 500 subscribers. You will need to make a list of smaller, more achievable goals in order to meet your larger goal. Your first goal should be to gain 100 subscribers, which would then lead to exponentially more views on your channel and more views mean more subscribers.

Breaking down subscriber goals

8. Create an email list with the goal of getting 1000 YouTube subscribers

Building your email list is a very important step towards building your business online. Your email list is much more personal to you and easy to contact than the followers you would have on social media. Typically marketers grow their email list with the goal of getting sales or building a sales funnel, but they can also use it to boost their current YouTube subscribers.

You've probably seen pages where you enter your name and email to get something for free. However, people are starting to learn that these days you don't always get something for nothing. Usually there's a sales pitch right after. Instead of asking them to buy your products, give them more information about their favorite topics by encouraging them to visit your YouTube channel for free content.

9. Add a subscribe link at the end of your videos.

Make sure you add a promotional link at the end of your videos. This is called an end screen annotation and it has been proven to increase engagement, time watched, and can get viewers to visit your website or subscribe to your channel. If you're still struggling to get your first 1,000 subscribers, make sure you add the subscribe link right in the middle of the video, towards the last 30 seconds!

10. Give your audience a sneak peek into your next video

Building up your audience's expectations for your next video is a great strategy for ensuring that they are as engaged and interested in your content as possible. By keeping them looking forward to the next video you upload, they will be sure to check back on a regular basis, and they will be more likely to subscribe too!

11. Optimize videos for trending topics

The best way to grow a new YouTube channel is to capitalize on trending topics. Doing this will increase your probability of going viral and increasing your subscribers. This video shows you how to use Google Trends to find trending topics:

12. Hide the number of subscribers you have, then reveal it once you reach a 1000 subscribers

The number of subscribers you have on your YouTube channel is a status symbol. It can be a way to show off how well-known your channel is, and even lead to more views. People are less likely to subscribe to channels that have a low status and if you have less than 1000 subscribers your channel will be perceived as low status by some viewers. There's a way to get around this problem. Hide the number of current subscribers until you reach 1000. Here's how you hide the number of subscribers:

13. Experiment with different sub-niches

As I said earlier, you need to take the time to figure out what niche is the perfect fit for your target audience. Once you've done that, don't be afraid to experiment with different sub-niches! You never know how large of a following you can grow if you're willing to explore new options.

For people who have a strong expertise in one specific subject, it can be challenging to keep providing quality content that relates to this subject. If you specialize for too long in a certain sub-niche eventually you might run out of ideas or your audience will be sick of hearing about the same ideas over & over again. So make sure you experiment with new sub-niches.

When I first started my YouTube channel in 2018, it was mostly about e-commerce and Facebook ads. Then, as time passed, it became more focused on growing an audience on YouTube. Now it's mainly tutorials on content creation with a mix of some specific sub-niches that have helped the channel grow to over 100k subscribers.

14. Increase your watch time

Increasing your watch time directly correlates with increases in subscribers. People who watch at least 3 minutes of your videos are much more likely to subscribe. Here are three ways to increase watch time on YouTube.

  1. Contest/Giveaways - Place your logo or icon in the corner of the video then make it appear and disappear 10-30 times within the footage. In the end, ask people to count how many times they saw said logo and email you with that answer once they’ve finished watching. If they guess correctly, they will be included in a prize drawing.
  2. Timestamps - Use timestamps in your videos to help viewers find the information they want. Timestamps are a great way to break down long videos into shorter, more manageable pieces.
  3. List Videos - Create list videos that are themed around individual items. Videos titled Top 10 destinations or 5 tips for increasing your productivity give viewers an opportunity to explore multiple topics in-depth which increases watch time.

15. Tease a new secret to be revealed once you reach 1000+ subscribers

Make sure to save your best content just for your 1,000th subscriber! Once you've reached the landmark of having 1,000 subscribers you'll be able to unveil a valuable video that is much more valuable than the type of content that you've been giving out up to this point. The secrecy of this video has been kept under wraps, but it's just a matter of time before people catch on and subscribe to find out the secret.

16. Start your own Facebook group & pin your YouTube channel link at the top

Starting an online community is a great way to engage with your YouTube audience. With Facebook groups, you can easily start and manage a community of like-minded people. Just make sure the title of the group reflects what you provide on YouTube. For example, if your channel is about Photoshop tutorials, start a public Facebook group called "Photoshop for Beginners." The description and title of your Facebook group should include relevant keywords in order to increase the chances of people finding it.

After you created the group make a post with a call to action asking people to subscribe to your channel and pin the post at the top. Now anyone who joins your group or simply views your group will see this call to action.

17. Do not upload videos that are not related to your niche

The purpose of any YouTube channel is to contain videos that are related to the niche and have a similar vibe. If you upload videos that do not fall into this category, it will be harder for your viewers to find and subscribe to your content. In addition, if a viewer subscribes because he or she liked one video, but sees that there are no other videos in the same vein, he or she may unsubscribe.

Focus on what your audience wants by uploading videos that meet their demands while also sticking within the restrictions of your niche guidelines.

Upload videos that are relevant to your niche

18. Create a YouTube channel trailer aimed at getting subscribers

A YouTube channel trailer is a video lasting anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds that shows viewers what you're all about and why they should subscribe. Adding a channel trailer will help boost your subscriber rate. The more engaging the trailer is, the higher your subscriber rate will be. Here are some tips to create an engaging channel trailer.

-Establish why viewers should subscribe by sharing some tips or advice on how they can use your channel as a resource. This will help make potential subscribers feel like they'll get something out of seeing more from your channel.

-Include a call to action at the end of your video encouraging potential subscribers to subscribe now. You can also make it more enticing by offering something for subscribing, like discounts or free downloads once they've subscribed.

If you follow these tips for creating a YouTube channel trailer, it will give your subscribers an idea of exactly what to expect from your channel and make them more likely to stick around as loyal viewers.

19. Tell your audience the stats about your subscriber rates

This tip might sound strange but it works! Most YouTubers get a majority of their views from non-subscribers. Even channels with millions of subscribers get the majority of their views from non-subscribers. This is used as a marketing technique to get more followers by some YouTubers. For example some YouTubers use this information in the following sentence:

"I noticed the majority of those watching aren't subscribed to this channel. If you want to see more videos like this, please subscribe and I would be happy to make more in the future."


"My YouTube channel is showing that you are not presently subscribed to my channel. There's nothing stopping you from hitting the subscribe button and, in doing so, being entered into a drawing for a free copy of my book!"

Try this and you'll be surprised how well it works!

20. Add 'subscribe' animations multiple times into your videos

All YouTube channels benefit from using a 'subscribe' animation on their videos. You can download these animations for free from YouTube, and this will instantly boost your subscriber count. Here's the one I use:

When to use these animations is important. Never overuse them, as they should be used no more than once every 3 minutes.

21. Share your videos on Facebook groups

This is not the same as creating your own Facebook Group. When you launch a new Facebook group for the first time, you will start with zero members. This method is mainly about joining other groups that already have 10,000+ members and leveraging off those members.

Sharing videos on Facebook groups has always been a great way to get more subscribers on YouTube. It also helps that I share my videos on the right Facebook groups. There are certain groups where posting your content will be accepted, but if you're posting it in the wrong group, it won't get any views and you might even be banned from the group.

When I first started my YouTube channel EQ Systems, the majority of my views came from Facebook groups. I joined about 15 - 20 groups and every week I posted a link to my latest video. If you want to learn how to do this properly, take a look at YouTube Masterclass.

22. Answer questions on Q/A sites with your videos embedded in the answer

Answering questions asked on Q/A sites like Quora has been awesome for getting my name out there. To use this strategy for yourself, you need these two things.

First, sign up and create a profile to Quora or any other Q/A site with your YouTube channel linked to it

Second, embed your YouTube videos into the body of your answers. When you do people can watch it right from Quora.

To learn how I figured out this method for success, see some of the videos I've embedded on Qoura here.

23. Send a tweet with the link to your channel and pin it to the top of your Twitter page.

To grow your YouTube channel on Twitter, you need 3 things - an eye-catching bio, an engaging tweet with a link to your video (or videos) and a pinned tweet at the top of your page. The best way to catch someone's attention is by having an eye-catching bio. The first step I take is looking at the bios of other people on Twitter and using practices they've found effective in their own channels.

The next thing you'll need is an engaging tweet with a link to your video. Use hashtags such as #YouTube, #videos, #vlogs and other related hashtags when posting a video.

Third, I think every YouTuber should have a pinned tweet at the top of their page. Pinning a tweet means that people who visit your Twitter page see the tweet you've chosen to pin before looking at any others that you might have tweeted or retweeted on your page.

For an example of how this works in action, check out my video How To Get More Subscribers From Twitter.


In conclusion, there's no single way to get your first 1,000 subscribers on YouTube, but there are clearly some proven strategies you can start with. I hope this post has helped you identify a few things that will help you become a successful YouTuber!

Have a great day... and if you're looking for an in-depth tutorial on how to grow your YouTube channel, make sure to check out the YouTube Masterclass.