Today I am supplying free marketing advice to filmmakers. (On this website, I usually always provide free advice of some sort.) And before you read another word, know this: The marketing tactics I’m about to share only work for smart, ambitious, entrepreneurial filmmakers.
So if you’re still living in a 1995 filmmaking paradigm, stop reading now. I’ll see you when your movie wins Sundance! For everybody else, I have news…Photo © Melpomene / Dollar Photo Club
Free Marketing Advice For Filmmakers
Film distribution is changing. I know this because I’ve been working in film distribution for the better half of my career. And one thing is for sure, there are a lot of movies being made each month.
Thankfully, there are many film distributors who will happily pick up your movie, touting the fact they have direct relationships with all the major digital platforms. But this is the same deal most every distributor offers. And it’s far from the six-figure payday or 3-picture deal you once dreamed about.
Don’t get me wrong. Landing a six-figure distribution deal is still possible. But in order to land one, you will need to have a low risk movie. And ironically, a low risk movie is one that doesn’t necessary need traditional distribution.
Let me explain.
The world is increasingly digital. As a filmmaker, it is not enough to simply get you movie into iTunes. I mean, anybody can do that. What you also need to do is pinpoint places where your target audience hangs out online and then have a method for inexpensively driving people to your big BUY NOW button.
One easy way to do this is by simply casting famous people in your movie. This allows you to leverage other people’s popularity and build buzz. Studios have been doing this forever. And despite what you might otherwise think, smart indies do this too. And the good news? As a smart indie filmmaker, you don’t need to hire Tom Cruise. A popular social media star will work just fine.
While having a social media star is a great first step, you can increase your odds of success even more by growing an email list of clamoring fans. To do this, I HIGHLY recommend that you use a reputable 3rd party email marketing company to help grow your list.
While there are many good companies, I personally utilize a service called Aweber. This is a reputable email marketing service… And yes, they DO pay me to promote – And the reason I promote this service over other services is this: Aweber adheres to spam laws, which helps my email stay out of spam folders.
As part of the service, you are also able to set up something called a sequential email auto-responder. An auto-responder allows you to pre-write and create multiple emails for your audience.
Let’s say you were trying to sell your Zombie movie… After someone signs up, your first email could tell your subscriber more about your movie. And over the following weeks, subsequent emails could provide more value – the result of which eventually compels your fan to BUY NOW.
Once your prospect makes a purchase, you could automatically migrate this person to your customer list. You could then promote another zombie movie (from another friendly filmmaker). And because you “sourced a zombie audience member,” the odds of getting a second sale are greater.
Most filmmakers don’t get excited about the wonders of movie marketing. But again, most filmmakers do not realize we are in a new era of independent filmmaking. The good news is for you is, with a website, some creativity and an email marketing mechanism, you can start sourcing your audience TODAY.