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Marley is the co-founder of The YouTube Lead Machine with Steve J Larsen. Their mission is to help entrepreneurs unlock the immense business-building power of YouTube and transform their businesses into daily lead generation engines and money-printing machines!


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How to Make Great YouTube Thumbnails


How to Make Great YouTube Thumbnails


How To Create 60 Days Of Social Media And Video Content In 8 Hours

You better believe that a picture is worth a thousand words.

So, your YouTube thumbnail is worth a lot more. This is the first impression for your audience that’s going to get you those clicks, views, subscribers, exactly what you want.

In a sea of YouTube videos, how do you get yours to stand out among the clickbaity titles, the YouTube celebrities, and the obviously hilarious cat videos? Well, in this blog post I’m going to show you exactly how.

How do you get your videos to stand out and make people click on yours instead of all the others? Well, today I want to talk to you about why your YouTube thumbnails are so essential to your long term and overall YouTube success. And if you want to skip the guesswork and be so efficient on YouTube like me, I’m going to show you how we create 60 days of social media video content in only eight hours.

So, here’s the thing, you’re scrolling on YouTube, you’re searching for a video and you see all these options. Like, there are over 4,000 hours being uploaded to YouTube every single minute, which can be really overwhelming when you’re trying to find something that you want to watch. So, how do you pick what you want to watch? Typically you can go with a name that you recognize and if there’s not a name you recognize then what do you look for? The thumbnail. You look for that engaging image that caught your attention, that maybe you get to see some of the personality or get a glimpse at what the video is going to be about.

Now, there are some key elements you need when creating a thumbnail and I’m going to show you every single step of the way how you can do it yourself, how you can outsource to find someone to do it for you, and how to get the video thumbnail that gives you the best click-through rates.

Now, before I go into all that, what does that even mean? What’s a click-through rate? Why is that important? Now, here’s the thing, when people are looking at their YouTube analytics, they’re looking at typically the views, the subscribers, yeah that’s all great. It shows us that people are watching. But what’s more important is looking at your click-through rate and your watch time. That means the retention.

How long people are actually watching your videos. That’s also the metric that YouTube is looking for to make sure that these videos actually have authority, that they’re keeping people on their platform.

Why is that important? Because YouTube is going to reward the channels and the content creators that keep people on the YouTube platform. So, when they see that people are watching a lot of your content all the way through, and when they see that people are clicking your thumbnails compared to everyone else, it’s going to boost your videos in the ranking and allow you to show up in front of more people when they’re searching for content like yours.

So, the goal you want to aim for when it comes to a click-through rate on your thumbnails is 4%. And if you look at your analytics and you don’t see that 4% number, time to go back, redesign the thumbnail, and try again.

The great thing about YouTube thumbnails is you can change them out. With YouTube videos, learn from it, see where people are dropping off, and make a better video next time. You do not want to delete a video and re-upload it because we want to retain all of the ranking stats we have, the likes, the comments, the views, so hold on to that.

So, what makes a thumbnail click-worthy? I’m so glad you asked. You want to have a big image of the subject or whatever it is you’re talking about or if you’re the face of your videos, have a picture of you. And then the title next to you or another image that demonstrates what the video is all about. Now, when it comes to the text, also make it big. And know that your thumbnail is pretty small. So, if you have anything that’s too small of text, you’re not going to be able to catch that person’s attention. Now, when you’re putting words on your thumbnail, also know that you do not have to put the entire title of your video as the words on that thumbnail. So, if you have a video, for example, that’s like, how to train your dog. You don’t have to have the full, how to train your dog. You could have, puppy training, or you could have a picture of your puppy sitting and maybe a little speech bubble that says, sit. Or something like that, that it demonstrates what the videos about without having to take up all of the space.

A really great channel to look at how they do their thumbnails is Russell Brunson’s YouTube channel. His thumbnails are my favorite to study and to look at for inspiration.

So, to recap, you want to have a big picture of yourself or whatever the subject is of the video, and words or demonstration that reiterate what the video is about.

Now, if you’re someone that’s like, I’m not that good at graphic design, I don’t know how to design a thumbnail, I’m going to show you how you can either do it yourself with little to no graphic design training, or outsource it while still not spending a lot of money and saving your time.

One of my absolute favorite programs to use is Canva and you’ll see on my YouTube channel, I have tons of Canva tutorial training videos. So, that if you want to learn how to do graphic design, or if there are little projects you have to do that you don’t want to outsource, or just want to be able to do it in house, they will teach you exactly how to do that. Canva has already YouTube thumbnail designs, templates, that you can use and just replace the words, replace the pictures with exactly your branding.

Now, if you’re someone that you’re like, I’m still not interested in doing that, I’d rather outsource it and save my time. You can use sites like UpWork or Fiverr and find people who are so skilled at this, that who are amazing at making thumbnails.

All you have to do is put up an ad, exactly what you’re looking for, or there are tons of people on Fiverr who are already advertising their services as YouTube thumbnail experts, and you can pay them as little as $5.00.

Now, one last thing, when you’re uploading a video and if you don’t see the option for how to upload a custom thumbnail, it’s because you haven’t verified your channel yet. So, all you have to do is go to, enter your phone number, it’s going to send you a text to make sure you’re not a robot and voila, you’ll have the ability to upload your custom thumbnail, every single time.

So, this is really important to remember, getting that 4% click-through rate on your videos, is what YouTube is going to see to know that your video is successful, has authority, and keeps people on their platform. And as a result, it’s going to boost your videos in the rankings and show it to more people. Which, ideally is what we want. We want to use YouTube as the search engine it is, that when people are looking for the content that you provide, the value that you can give them, then they’re going to look at your videos every time. Potentially binge watch your other videos and then become a raving fan, maybe even a customer, and love your content for as long as you’re putting it out.

So, I can’t wait to see all of your amazing thumbnails and the success on your YouTube channel once you crush it with your thumbnail design. And if you need more support, I have a Canva guide here, how to make amazing designs and save your time and money in the process and also, we’re going to teach you how to create 60 days of social media and video content in only eight hours.


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