A few weeks ago I spoke at a filmmaking event on how to grow your audience. After my talk, a filmmaker approached asking what I actually meant when I say “grow your audience.” This got me thinking. While social media is great, you don’t actually own your audience long term.
What if there was a better way to grow your audience and own your audience?
Before we talk about tools and techniques used for audience building, we need to first define your audience. Since you’re not a major studio with a huge marketing budget, you cannot possibly target everybody on earth. As a result, we will have to break your audience into smaller niches.
Here are three important questions you need to answer before growing your audience:
1. What is the genre of your film? Where would you find your film on Amazon? Is it a comedy, action, horror or another genre? If you aren’t sure, pick the genre closest to your film and own it.
2. Who is in your film? Having a film with known actors allows you to leverage star power and further promote your film. If you can’t afford Tom Cruise, then emphasize actors with strong social media followings.
3. What is the subject? When it comes to grass roots promotion, controversy sells. What can you emphasize in your film to make sure the story is memorable at parties?
Once you answer these questions, the next step involves finding out where your audience congregates online. For a cost effective promotional strategy, I suggest you conduct an online search for keywords related to your film. You will quickly find hundreds of relevant websites.
Take out a notepad and jot down contact information for the top 50 websites. Then send a brief, personalized email to each contact introducing your film and asking for a review. This is a numbers game. Expect rejection.
How To Grow Your Audience (For Filmmakers)
Once your film is featured on several relevant sites (all linking back to your film website), you will most likely see an increase in traffic. At this point, your website should be optimized to do two things. Either you will drive visits to your movie’s BUY NOW button or you will capture contact information.
To grow your email subscriber list, I recommend you utilize a reputable third-party email marketing service. I have tried multiple solutions and I personally utilize Aweber. (In full disclosure, the company does pay me to promote. So make sure you conduct your own research.)
This email tool, combined with a simple web page (known as a landing page) allows you to easily create ways to grow your audience. For an example of how this works, click here to download my filmmaker checklist.
If you click the link, you will be asked for an email address. Assuming you submit your info, you will be redirected to a “Thank You Page.” And later, when you return to your inbox, you will be asked to confirm your subscription. Clicking the confirmation link will direct you to the download.
This process is what professional marketers call the “double-opt-in” process. While I am obviously utilizing list-building to create a more meaningful relationship with you, utilizing email marketing will help you grow your audience. Click here to download my filmmaker checklist.