Issue #14

The 3-step formula to grow your email list with YouTube traffic

Content Marketing Video YouTube
8 min read

When most people hear the word YouTube they run and hide because A:) they don’t want to be on video or B:) it’s another platform they are going to have to manage in their already time-strapped day.

Video is the best platform to create a know, like, and trust factor with your audience and it’s the quickest way to solidify yourself as a subject matter expert. Let’s face it, people are more likely to remember you if they see and hear you, right? A picture is worth a thousand words but video… how many words is a video worth?

Just take a look at all the social media platforms. They are pushing video! Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, Twitter video– video content is clearly here and here to stay.

But how can you use the super power of video to grow your email list? And how are you even going to use YouTube to grow an email list?

Lucky for you, YouTube is owned by the largest search engine in the world (Google) and YouTube itself is the second largest search engine in the world. By creating YouTube videos you get to kill two birds with one stone and have the potential to show up on the front page of the two largest search engines. Think of all the eyes on your content and traffic to your site!

youtube viewer illustration

You just need to make sure you are using YouTube properly to see an amazing return from your videos. It’s not about just throwing a video up– you need to create content specifically for YouTube. Today, I’m going to show you how to do just that.

How to use YouTube to grow your email list

Let’s discuss a few statistics coming out of YouTube headquarters.

  • As of right now, YouTube gets over 30 million views a day. Think your audience isn’t on YouTube? I tend to think they are.
  • In an average month, eight out of ten 18 to 49-year-olds watch YouTube!
  • And the one I love the most, as of early 2017 only 9% of small business are on YouTube, hello unsaturated frontier!

Now let's break down how you can use YouTube successfully to gain more email subscribers.

Find the right content to create

You can’t just create a video you think people want to see. You need to validate that your video will do well on YouTube. This means it’s time to do some research before you even hit the record button on your camera.

The easiest (and free) way, to do this is by opening an incognito window from your Internet browser and head to YouTube. YouTube tracks your search history and your search results will vary based on your previous search history. In an incognito window, your search results will be unbiased based on your previous searches.


Once you are on YouTube simply go to the search bar and start typing in a video idea. YouTube will try to predict what you are going to say as you start typing. The results that pop up are actual search phrases people are typing into YouTube, with the most popular searched phrases at the top.

What are the phrases people type into YouTube for your niche? Is this the video idea you initially thought you were going to do? Do you have new video ideas now?

Have a clear strategy for video series and creating playlists

Yep, playlists are the secret strategy for Youtube success.

YouTube loves when people watch more video minutes (not just views but actual minutes). By creating a video series or playlist you are creating binge-able content. Each video in this playlist will play one after another.

Think Netflix and how easy it is to watch one episode after the other. This is what you want to create with your video series.

If you can get people watching more minutes on your videos and your channel, YouTube is going to reward you by promoting your videos to more viewers.


The best way to utilize YouTube in your content strategy is to think about it in a five to six video series. The reason I say that many is because this is the number of videos that fit across your Youtube channel page in a playlist. You want to turn your video series into a playlist featured on your channel.

Play nice with the platform

Ok, you have your video series, you have your binge-able content, but how are you going to use these videos for the benefit of your business and grow your email list?

YouTube wants people to stay on YouTube and watch more YouTube videos. That means it’s not going to be a good idea for you to send people off the platform to your opt-in for every single video. Once YouTube sees people are ending their viewing session with your video and leaving YouTube, your video isn’t going to be recommended to new viewers.

What you want to do is promote other videos or playlists you have in the first four videos of your video series. This way you are getting people to watch more content, stay longer on the platform and give you YouTube bonus points!

Now in the last video of the series, wrap up by sending viewers to your opt-in, sales page, website, or wherever you want people to go. Think of how you can create an opt-in that compliments your video series and provides additional value if the viewer downloads it. That flow and consistency is very important to building trust with your audience.


You can easily add the link to sign up for your email list in the description box of your video. Make sure you include the “http” of the website to make it clickable within the description box.

You also want to have a strong call to action in your video to grab your opt-in or get on your email list by clicking the link in the description box.

Viewers will not know what to do if you don’t directly tell them to “Click the link in the description box below” and actually point below in your video. This will increase your likelihood of conversion.

If you have over 10,000 views on your channel you can add an associated website. With this, you’re permitted one associated website per channel. In most cases will be your website and you will be able to use cards and end screen elements to link to your website.

These cards and end screen elements are clickable options on the actual video. You can add them to your video once it’s uploaded to Youtube.

Here are a few more tips to ensure people watch your YouTube videos

Be consistent.

YouTube loves content creators who are uploading new content to the platform. This means posting a video at least once a week to get YouTube’s attention to promote your videos to a new audience.

Watch other YouTube videos.

What are they doing in these videos that make you want to watch more? What are they doing that makes you click off? The more you watch YouTube videos the easier it will be for you to create enticing videos of your own.

Create a custom thumbnail for every video.

Creating a custom video thumbnail that makes people want to click on the video will make or break your channel. You can have the best video in the world with the best equipment and editing, but no one is going to watch it if the thumbnail doesn’t make them click.

This also does not mean putting text on the thumbnail just repeating the title. The thumbnail and title should complement each other and tell a story

Optimize your videos.

Decide on the keyword or phrase you want your video to show up for. Make sure you use this keyword in your video title, your video description box, and in your video tags. All these parts are essential in telling YouTube what your video is about so they know who to recommend it to.

Promote your videos to your current email list.

If you can bring people to the platform to watch YouTube videos, YouTube will kindly reward you. By sharing your video to your current email list and social media followers, you are bringing someone who isn’t on YouTube at the moment over to YouTube. The more you can do this, the more YouTube will recommend your video.

What videos will you create to build your audience?

YouTube doesn’t have to be an all-consuming time trap. Instead, try to think of it as your content hub.

Once you’ve created a high-quality video for your YouTube channel, there are so many ways you can reuse that content. For example:

  • Use your YouTube videos transcript as a blog post.
  • Use a clip from your video as an Instagram post.
  • Upload the video to Facebook.

So many things! You now have multiple pieces of content working for you, building your visibility and growing your email list.

So now that you know how YouTube works and what you need to do to create a YouTube strategy, start making lists for your video ideas.

Head over to the YouTube search bar to look for topics by checking out what other leaders in your niche are talking about and even going to Google trends to see if anything is currently trending in your niche that could make for a good video.

In no time you’ll be filled with inspiration and ready to start building your email list with your YouTube videos.

Take the next step on your creator journey

Enter your email to get the free I Am A Creator printable pack, featuring inspiring digital wallpapers for your desktop and phone and a printable journal sheet to help you get started or unstuck on your creative dreams. Your story could be next. And it’s what you do next that makes all the difference.

Trena Little

As a MBA graduate and Youtube strategist, Trena helps online business owners create a Youtube content strategy that works for their business. Being a busy business owner herself, she understands the importance of making video simple and painless but effective and lasting. Her Youtube videos are her sales team and they do the heavy lifting for free!

The future belongs to creators

ConvertKit helps creators like you take their projects from idea to reality. It's never been easier to build an audience and grow a business. And you can do it all for free.

Launch your next project