I believe I received a YouTube invitation from fitnessfactor overnight because I already subscribe to another fitness video channel (if only I was better at making time to stay fit!). I am betting that they scoured related channels, and invited subscribers of those other channels to check out fitnessfactor.
A bit spammish in practice, but it did entice me to click through and check out the videos.
One weakness of the fitnessfactor invite was it was not personal. They just used the default YouTube text:
I've got social networking profiles all over the Internet. It's not that hard to learn a little bit about me, and a personal touch would go a lot further when it comes to recruiting me to subscribe or otherwise participate in what you're trying to accomplish.
I've been using YouTube to share personal videos with my friends and family. I'm inviting you to become my friend on YouTube so I can easily share videos with you in the future.
To accept my invitation, please follow this link and login. If you're not already a YouTube member, you can sign up first.
An alternative approach:
Hi Sean,Now, not every potential user is as visible as I am on the Internet. But take out the executive and father details, and it would still be a lot more personal than the default text.
We noticed that you subscribe to cbtrainer's videos, and as a busy executive and father of three, I am sure you are looking for any tips you can get to stay healthy and fit efficiently, while resisting the urge to indulge in fast food and unhealthy snacks, especially when you are on the road.
Check out our videos by following this link, and if we can fit into your video and fitness life, we'd love to have you as a subscriber.
Don't forget what you're up against. I received another YouTube invitation last week that was much more like a typical MySpace invite. "Hi, you looked interesting to me, and you should come over to this other Web site to check me out." They've become so numerous, it's become just noise. The fitnessfactor invite was a lot closer to that noise than it needed to be.
It's all about the signal-to-noise ratio. You need to amplify your signal to rise above all the noise. A little extra effort and a personal touch can go a long way to achieving that.
For related thoughts, check Lee Odden's "Blogger Realtions 101." While it refers to bloggers specifically -- and bloggers will be a specific focus of a chapter in the Audience Development Playbook -- Odden offers some pretty good tips on outreach in general that will be helpful regardless of platform. Also see his more recent post, "How NOT to Pitch a Blog."