It’s the question we all have at some point running a business.
Someone recently noticed that I have a larger YouTube subscriber count then they expected, given my channel’s newness and the relatively small number of views so far. Their channel was getting a ton of views from some neat niche content, but he was having trouble getting repeat visitors and subscribers.
What was I doing differently?
I don’t like my wedding photos. It’s been 15 years! And I still remember how much I hated the haircut I got two days before the event.
I don’t spend much money on things other than camera gear and computers. Most of my clothes look like someone else had them during their good days 🙂 But soon after my wedding, I decided to find a fancy salon and pay fancy prices to someone who knows exactly how I’d like to cut my hair.
I met Valerie.
Valerie has been awesome. I’ve been seeing her for years. And when I heard Valerie opened her own salon, of course I followed her.
Her business is solid. Given her skill and personality, she’s created a loyal customer base who will gladly go where she goes. But I’m sure at some point, she and her partner will find themselves in the situation all of us business owners find ourselves.
How do we get more?
James Corden might be my favorite late night talk show host. For all sorts of reasons. But he really caught my eye with Carpool Karaoke, where he drives along with a celebrity and they break into song.
When James first started the show and particularly this segment, success didn’t seem likely. They couldn’t book anyone. With sheer willpower and luck they booked Mariah Carey, who refused to sing when it was time to tape Carpool. Somehow James and his charming personality convinced her to sing. He had to start first.
Today, he’s blown up. Every A-lister wants to be on Carpool.
As I watched James videos, I spotted something interesting:
At the end of every single video James posts on YouTube, he asks folks to subscribe and check out other videos. He even points in most videos to exactly where he would like them go next.
You wouldn’t think he’d have to do this. Doesn’t his fame carry him enough? He already has almost 11 million YouTube subscribers.
But you do this long enough, and you realize how much you have to encourage people to do the thing you really need them to do. You can’t make them guess you need more subscribers or likes or followers.
You need explicit calls to action.
At the end of my first haircut with Valerie at her new salon, her partner Anna caught me filming the haircut for my vlog.
When she heard I’d be posting the video to YouTube, she asked that I tag their page and link up their site. Of course I would. And a week after the haircut, I gave them positive reviews on Yelp and Facebook too. I don’t think I’ve ever given anyone a Facebook review. I haven’t reviewed anything on Yelp in years.
But that call to action from Anna at the end of the appointment really stuck in my head and got me to… act.
I think far too many people feel embarrassed to ask for action. They don’t want to “put people out”. But what’s really happening is that most people watching content, reading your articles, trying out your stuff, might like to subscribe or share, but don’t realize that’s important to you until you ask.
You aren’t putting people out. You don’t have to be a pest. And they can ignore you. I didn’t have to link up anything about my salon.
But I love what Valerie does, and of course I’d want to help spread her new salon. Since Anna made it clear they could use all the love possible, I’m even more inclined to do it.
Almost every video, every blog post, every email I send out, I make sure I explicitly call out what I could use the audience to do next: please like the video, heart the post, visit Highrise. And the numbers speak for themselves. When I add those calls to action I see the traffic, likes, followers, spike compared to versions where I don’t.
Want more followers? Ask for them. If James Corden does it, no reason you shouldn’t.
P.S. 🙂 Please help spread this by clicking the ❤ below.
You should follow my YouTube channel, where I share more about how we run our business, do product design, market ourselves, and just get through life. And if you need a no-hassle system to track leads and manage follow-ups you should try Highrise. And if you need a new hair stylist in Chicago, go say hi to Valerie.
How do we get more subscribers, followers, and signups? was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.