Make Your Own Online Movie Marketing Machine

When I first got into filmmaking there was no talk of online movie marketing. After making a movie, every filmmaker I knew focused on one thing –  Landing a film distribution deal and then moving on to the next project.

“We are going to sell our movie, and use that money to make our next movie.”

Back then many filmmakers also learned a hard lesson. Just because you made a decent indie, doesn’t mean that a distribution deal was guaranteed.

If you failed to land a distribution deal… You failed.

Fast forward to today. We have so many options for getting movies to market, that the mere idea of landing a traditional distribution deal has fundamentally changed.

What does it even mean to have your movie “picked up?”

Unless your distributor has access to foreign territories, the odds of getting a minimal guarantee are limited. And even if you do garner an MG, the amount will be less than you anticipated.

Add the fact digital platforms are easily accessible, and you may find that instead of an upfront cash advance, many film distributors will simply grab the rights for your movie and throw it into the platforms to see what sticks.

“My distributor is going to put my movie on iTunes and said he may be able to get me special placement.”

That’s great.

But what else?

What is the plan for online marketing after the special placement ends?

“Ummmm… I think we will put the movie on Amazon?”

Here’s the thing. Getting your movie into popular marketplaces it not the problem! The real challenge is letting people know that your movie is available and getting them to buy now.

This means you need an online movie marketing strategy.


Online Movie Marketing Is Essential

You need to start thinking about your online movie marketing strategy today.

The reason for this is simple. The world is changing. Audience viewing habits are evolving. The ways in which peopled watch movies is no longer limited to movie theaters or renting a video from a video store.

In fact, if you think in terms of viewing habits, you’ll realize the following:

1. People watch stuff online: We know that more and more people are watching movies on internet platforms like iTunes, Hulu, Amazon and a bunch of other platforms as well. We also know that most sales agents and traditional distributors are working to grab your rights so they can manage your digital distribution.

It is also now possible to carve out and keep your digital distribution rights, enter the marketplace yourself – And get your movies seen and selling without signing a crazy distribution deal!

2. You can sell your movie in the popular online platforms: While getting on these platforms is essential, it will not guarantee your movie will get seen. Think about it, there are millions of other movies competing for the same eyeballs.

Your online movie marketing plan needs to focus on driving targeted visitors to your point of sale.

3. The internet offers a simple way to find your audience. A lot of people (from all over the world) search the internet for movies. Here are examples I pulled from the free Google Keyword tool:

– Zombie Movies – Roughly 40,500
— Romantic Comedies – Roughly 60,500
— Action Movies – Roughly 90,500
— Horror Movies – 201,000
— Documentaries – 110,000

4. Make it easy for people to find your movie. If we know people are searching for these search terms, what are you doing to make sure that your movie comes up in the search results? One aspect of online movie marking is making sure you optimize your website for search results.

This is called search engine optimization. There are both on-page methods and off-page methods.

5. Optimize your movie website for maxim sales. Once your movie does come up in the search results, what are you doing to make sure that your site “funnels” people to the various marketplaces like iTunes, Hulu, Amazon and (the others…)

In online movie marketing, we call this a conversion funnel. And optimizing your funnel to maximize sales needs to be the primary objective of your movie website.

Sell Your Movie System

sell your movieIf you’re interested, I put together a system specifically designed to put you in charge of your own distribution, so you can get your movie seen and selling around the world.

The system is based on my years working in video on demand distribution. And it will provide you with real online movie marketing tips from the trenches. If that sort of resource would help you, go here: How To Sell Your Movie

Why Do Filmmakers Need A List?

Like it or not, many social networking sites run the risk of going out of vogue. So as a filmmaker, if you are working to build a relationship with your audience – From day one, you will want to migrate your fans off the social networking sites and get them into your own email, mailing list.

For this, I recommend using a reputable third-party email marketing service such as

In full disclosure, the company does pay me to promote, but it is the company I utilize for my own business.

With this tool, as soon as you sign up for one of their inexpensive accounts, you can easily create ways for your movie fans to connect with you. For an example of how this works, STOP: If you would like over $47 dollars in useful filmmaking tools for FREE, sign up below:


If you just clicked that link, you probably got an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Assuming you clicked, you were then redirected to a “Thank You Page.” And on that page you were able to download all sorts of premium filmmaking tools, for free. This is what legitimate email marketers call the “double-opt-in” process.

While I am obviously utilizing list-building to create a more meaningful relationship with filmmakers (and YOU), this model can be (and should be) applied to your own movie business.

The major difference between email marketing and traditional movie marketing methods is that members of your target audience find you, and give YOU permission to email them. This is important, because unlike traditional movie marketing methods, with email marketing, you will only communicate with people actually interested in your movie.

To make this easy, your audience list is simply a collection of email addresses. Most filmmakers will also collect the person’s first name with the email address so that they can personalize the email. So instead of saying “Hello Zombie Movie Lover”, you can say “Hey, Jason!”

While I usually stick to just collecting a name and email address, also makes it easy to collect information such as the address and phone number of your site visitor. While this extra information may help refine your  marketing strategy – the truth is, most of your movie website visitors will not take time to fill out an extensive opt-in form.

An opt-in form is a little box that asks visitors to provide you with their name and email address. Here is an example:


With services like, as soon as your visitor opts-in, the contact information is added to your database and managed for you, automatically! These subscribers are now part of your “list,” and you can email them with updates, deals and movie festival screening times – to name a few examples.

The other week I gave a talk at the UCLA film school. And someone asked me why I emphasize audience list building so much – So this is important. Given the disruption to traditional distribution sales channels, building an audience list for your movie and your career might be one of the most important decisions you ever make. Why? Because regardless of how the independent movie industry changes, one constant will always hold true. YOU will need to get people to sit down and watch your movie, and hopefully pay you for this privilege. can help you get started.