At Vimeo OTT we see time and time again that publishers who build their audiences early are the most successful. Growing and nurturing a following on YouTube, social, or other platforms prior to a subscription launch helps with acquiring subscribers early on. Here are some tips to help you get a head start with pre-launch audience building.

Promote your site plans on social media

Use your social feeds wisely. Link to your site in your Twitter and Facebook bios, so you can establish credibility and build a baseline awareness with your social fans. This will come in handy when your launch date approaches, because you’ll already have a fanbase. In the meantime, you can start building momentum and engaging with fans.

Make your social accounts visible on your site. That way your fans can easily follow you, and then give you all kinds of likes/retweets/faves. This will also help you post-launch, as customers will be able to tweet or post to facebook at check out that they are now subscribing to your network. Their post will tag your social accounts so others can discover you, too.

Don’t forget to incorporate videos into your social strategy. Videos engage and convert more than static posts, which is why it’s wise to have your trailer embedded everywhere. If you have followers on YouTube you can use that to your advantage too. It’s all about easy discovery! Use cards to link fans back to your site. We’ve found that traffic from YouTube tends to convert 2X better than traffic from Facebook or Twitter.  Don’t forget to put your trailer on Vimeo and your social accounts, too.


Rally your base

If you have a blog or website people have been signing up for, you’ll already have an email list of followers built up. You can start sending that list updates pre-launch and let them know when your subscription service is available. A great example of this is how Adriene Mishler of Find What Feels Good uses her newsletters to inform and encourage her fans.

Adriene built up a following on YouTube and other social channels prior to launching her subscription channel. She uses her weekly newsletter to inform fans what’s new across all of her channels. She let her followers know when she launched her subscription, and continues to let new fans know when there are updates or new content available on her network.

She doesn’t limit her updates just to her subscription channel, though. She also lets fans know about new releases on her free platforms, her upcoming live events, and provides general tips and encouragement. Her messages are authentic and not salesy.

Utilize site forums

Did you know that your Vimeo OTT site includes forums? They are a great way to connect with your fans even before you have your subscription launch. You can start threads around production updates, promotions, or fun topics related to your content. It’s a way to engage in conversation with your fans and keep them coming back to your site.

Once you’ve launched you can set up private boards. These discussions can only be accessed by subscribers. It’s another way to incentivize followers to become customers.

Post-launch your private forums can also help retain your customers by keeping them engaged with your network. Black&Sexy TV uses forums in a couple of different ways. It’s a gathering space for their customers to discuss their favorite shows. Forums are also a sounding board for fans to share what type of content they’d like to see in the future.

Send out promo codes

If you are getting ready to launch a subscription, set up a special promo code for your existing followers. Send it out once your subscription is available. This allows your fans to receive a temporary discount for trying out your subscription. Remember when we talked about building up followers on social? You can create special promo codes for audiences on specific platforms as a way to reward them for following you from day one.

Look to Criterion Collection for an example of this strategy in action. They announced in February that they’d be launching in April. They messaged their fans that if they signed up pre launch they’d be locked into a lower monthly or annual price as long as their subscription remained active. They released a film every week during this pre-launch period so early adopters could start enjoying content right away.  

Black&Sexy had a similar tactic. They had their network set at a lower price during the first week of their launch so many of their YouTube fans subscribed right away to take advantage of the savings.

If you are thinking about starting your own SVOD, head to our resources page for more tips and inspiration before your subscription launch.