How to Build a YouTube Email List (7 Easy Tips)

Are you considering investing in video marketing to improve your online brand presence? Want to learn how to build a YouTube email list to attract more people to your videos?

With over 2.49 billion monthly active users, or 47% of internet users across the globe, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, next only to Google.

SimilarWeb’s 2024 findings also show that YouTube is the second most visited website after Google.

In the business domain, 90% of marketers use YouTube, making it the most widely used video marketing platform.

If you aren’t leveraging YouTube in your content marketing strategy, you are leaving a lot of money on the table.

In this guide, I’ll share how you can build a YouTube email list to reach more people and maximize your marketing potential.

But why focus on growing a list of email subscribers?

Because email is the #1 channel that people use daily and prefer for both personal and professional communication. If you want to use your YouTube channel to sell your products or services and grow your business, you’ll need viewers off of YouTube and onto your email list.

If you want to learn more, check out our beginner’s guide on email marketing to understand how email offers the highest return on investment (ROI).

With that said, let’s take a look at 7 easy ways that you can build an email list on YouTube.

7 Ways to Grow Your YouTube Email List

Here are the strategies I’ll share to help you grow your YouTube email list:

  1. Create a Lead Magnet
  2. Add a Call to Action (CTA)
  3. Link to Your Lead Magnet Everywhere
  4. Add Annotations
  5. Create Playlists
  6. Add Cards
  7. Run YouTube Ads

1. Create a Lead Magnet

Offering lead magnets is one of the best ways to grow your email list quickly and improve your lead generation.

A lead magnet is a valuable piece of content that businesses offer to potential customers in exchange for their email addresses. It can be an ebook, a template, an infographic, an online course, or other freebies that people can download from your site.

Here’s an example of a lead magnet that James Wedmore promotes to his viewers through YouTube videos:

youtube email list

Lead magnets are known to improve conversions because people don’t give away their email addresses for free. They need an incentive that they love in exchange for their email addresses.

In digital marketing, offering content upgrades is one of the most effective types of lead magnets. A content upgrade is a lead magnet that you create specifically for a particular YouTube video.

Let’s take James’s lead magnet for example. He offers his viewers a chance to download the long-form, PDF version of ‘8 Steps Sales Video Formula’ as a lead magnet on his video on the same topic.

It makes perfect sense for someone to be interested in downloading the longer PDF version after watching James’ full video.

This means creating a lead magnet can be as easy as transcribing an existing video into a PDF format and adding more meat to it.

Want more ideas for different kinds of lead magnets you can create? Read our step-by-step tutorial to create a lead magnet from scratch (with examples).

2. Add a Call to Action (CTA)

After you have your lead magnet ready, you’ll need to promote it by adding a relevant CTA to your videos.

A CTA is when you ask your viewers to do something specific, such as adding a button that asks people to ‘Please like this video’ or ‘Subscribe to our channel.’

A CTA is typically a button, link, or message that prompts users to act immediately, such as purchasing a product, subscribing to a newsletter, or signing up for a service.

In our case, you’ll need to specifically ask your viewers to download your lead magnet.

Here’s an example CTA from one of HubSpot Marketing’s YouTube videos:

how to build youtube email list

Remember to make the CTA message visually prominent, use action-oriented language, create a sense of urgency, and highlight the benefits to make your CTA effective.

Want to learn how to come up with killer CTAs? Here’s our guide on how to write great CTAs with plenty of examples for you to take inspiration from.

3. Link to Your Lead Magnet Everywhere

Once you’re confident of adding a compelling CTA to your lead magnet, it’s time to promote it everywhere across your YouTube channel.

For this, you’ll first need to create a landing page on your site for viewers to access the lead magnet content. This will help you drive traffic to your site while letting you capture more leads.

You don’t have to create a fancy landing page to include your lead magnet. Just include the following elements to create a perfect landing page:

  • Headline
  • Subheadline
  • Copy
  • Image (or other media assets)
  • Lead magnet
  • Social proof
  • CTA

You’ll also need to add an optin form on the landing page for people to enter their email addresses. For the best results, I recommend using a 2-step optin form because it improves the chances of conversions.

Once you have a landing page with an optin form, here are all the places you should include the link to your landing page:

Video Description

This is the most obvious place that gets a lot of views. Adding the link to the video description improves your chances of more people clicking on it and joining your email list.

Remember the example we saw earlier from James? Here’s how the link to his lead magnet appears in his video description:

grow youtube email list

Channel Header

The header of your channel page is a great place to link to your lead magnet. This can help you convert new subscribers who land on your channel even if they haven’t viewed any of your videos.

Here’s an example from Wes McDowell’s YouTube channel:

how to grow youtube email list

Note that a link won’t be clickable in the header since it’s an image. It’s just a space for you to draw people’s attention to what your lead magnet offers.

You can add the clickable link in the ‘Links’ section under the ‘About’ section. You can access the About section right under your YouTube channel’s header which expands when you click on it:

youtube email list tips

Pro tip: If you are an entrepreneur or a vlogger with multiple lead magnets catering to different audiences, you can create a universal link and add it here. Use tools like Linktree or Linkin Bio to create universal links.


YouTube has a ‘Community’ tab where you can post text, images (including GIFs), polls, videos, and links to your lead magnets. Here’s an example from OptinMonster’s YouTube channel:

youtube email list hacks

It’s a place for you to connect with your most engaged audience. However, they don’t necessarily have to be your channel subscribers to view the posts in the Community.

When you have a new lead magnet published on your site, you can create a post in the Community asking people to download it from there.

Here’s an example from Kenny Gunderman promoting a lead magnet to his YouTube community:

tips to build email list from YouTube

Replies to Comments

This one requires you to be a bit more proactive (and careful) with your social media presence. To insert the link to your lead magnet in the replies, you’ll need to keep a tab on the comments that viewers leave on your videos.

You may not get the opportunity to do so every time, but sometimes people leave comments asking you for more information about a topic covered in your videos. Use this chance to reply with a link to a relevant lead magnet.

Just a word of caution: don’t drop links in comments under irrelevant videos that others have posted. It positions you as a spammer and does more harm than good.

4. Add Annotations

YouTube Annotations allow you to layer text, links, and hotspots over your video. It’s a YouTube feature that comes in handy in affiliate marketing.

You can leverage annotations to add a link to your lead magnet with a CTA within the video space. You can customize the way it looks to make it stand out and get more clicks.

Here’s an example of YouTube annotation from James:

youtube list building tips

Unfortunately, YouTube sunsetted its native Annotations feature a few years back. To add annotations on your YouTube videos, you’ll have to use external apps like Speechify’s AI Video StudioKeylabsVEED, or Adobe Premiere Pro.

5. Create Playlists

Creating playlists on YouTube allows you to attract the right audience to the right videos. To viewers, it’s a great way to find videos and topics that are most relevant to them.

Here’s an example of a YouTube Playlists from Patrick Dang:

youtube email list tips and tricks

Treat playlists like categories to organize your videos into different topics. For instance, if you are a B2B content creator, you can have different playlists for:

The ideas are endless!

Once you are able to attract more visitors to your playlists, track your analytics data on playlists to understand what viewers are most interested in. That way, you can create more relevant videos and lead magnets that will help you grow your email list.

6. Add Cards

Annotations are a great way to add CTA links to your videos for desktop viewers. Unfortunately, with the sunsetting of YouTube Annotations, they don’t work on mobile devices as well.

The good news is, over 63% of all YouTube views come from mobile devices. So here’s a great hack to work around the lack of YouTube Annotations on mobile: use YouTube Cards.

Cards add a box to the upper right-hand corner of your video with a brief description:

how to grow email subscribers from youtube

Once a viewer clicks on the card, they’ll see more information about your links. They can click on the link to go to your lead magnet page:

ways to grow youtube email list

To add cards to your videos, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left menu, select Content.
  3. Click the video you want to edit.
  4. From the left menu, select Editor.
  5. Select Info cards and select the card you want to add.
  6. Click Save.

You can learn more about Cards here.

7. Run YouTube Ads

Growing your YouTube email list organically takes a lot of effort and time. If you want to achieve results faster, and if you have the right kind of marketing budget, you can take your list building further with YouTube Ads.

A lot of entrepreneurs, bloggers, and podcast hosts use YouTube Ads to promote their content on YouTube to a wider audience.

YouTube Ads can appear in a variety of places. Here are some of the main ones:

Directly below the search results:

youtube email lists

As skippable (or non-skippable) in-stream ads in other videos:

youtube email list

In the sidebar:

youtube email list

You can target ads on YouTube based on age, gender, location, interests, or device. You can also use YouTube ads to remarket your lead magnet to people who have visited your website but didn’t optin.

And the best part? YouTube’s algorithm is programmed to show ads on its platforms to users who are most likely to engage with them. This means your ads will reach the relevant audience and increase the odds of them opting for your lead magnet offer.

Ready to Grow Your YouTube Email List?

YouTube is a powerful channel to help you improve brand awareness, grow your audience, and convert visitors into business leads.

If you want to get the most out of your YouTube channel, check out the following resources:

Next, it’s your turn. If you are ready to build an email list from YouTube, start by creating a lead magnet.

Create a Lead Magnet with OptinMonster!

Hi, I'm a writer and content marketer with 10+ years of experience. Over the years, I have helped several B2B SaaS brands grow their online presence and get more customers. At OptinMonster, I write about all things marketing — ranging from how-to guides to the best-of tools to help you improve your email marketing, lead generation, and website conversion campaigns.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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