A few weeks ago, I spoke at a filmmaking event about growing your audience. After my talk, a filmmaker asked what I meant by saying, “grow your audience.” This got me thinking. While social media is excellent, you don’t own your audience long-term.
What if there was a better way to grow and own your audience?
Before discussing tools and techniques used for audience building, we must 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 essential questions you need to answer before growing your audience:
1. What is the genre of your film? Where would you find your movie 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 movie. If you can’t afford Tom Cruise, emphasize actors with strong social media followings.
3. What is the subject? When it comes to grassroots promotion, controversy sells. What can you emphasize in your film to make the story memorable at parties?
Once you answer these questions, the next step involves finding 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. You will drive visits to your movie’s BUY NOW button or 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 use Aweber. (In full disclosure, the company does pay me to promote. So make sure you conduct your research.)
This email tool, combined with a simple web page (known as a landing page), allows you to create ways to grow your audience quickly. For an example of how this works, click here to download my filmmaker checklist.
You will be asked for an email address if you click the link. After submitting 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 utilizing list-building to create a more meaningful relationship with you, using email marketing will help you grow your audience. Click here to download my filmmaker checklist.