The Minimalist Guide to Internet Marketing For Filmmakers

If you want success in the film industry, one key area to study is internet marketing for filmmakers. This is because the DVD market is dead, replaced by smart television apps in an ever-growing digital marketplace. Direct to consumer marketing is the norm. You must treat your independent film business just like any other small business.

Your product is your film and YOU must figure out how to sell enough units of your product so you can make a profit. And in order to sell your product, you must find a customer and convince them that your film is worth more than their money. Obvious right?

There are many complicated tools dedicated to helping you find new customers. And if you try to learn all of them, your head will spin. So lets keep this simple. Your film marketing plan will revolve around HOW you’re going to recoup the film investment and exit the deal.

internet marketing for filmmakers

Learn Internet Marketing For Filmmakers

One major place to find customers is the internet. But when it comes to marketing, most filmmakers have no idea how to get started. If that describes you, it’s not your fault! Filmmakers are taught to concentrate solely on making film, without considering how to sell it.

Think about it. Filmmakers traditionally depend on some sort of middle-man distributor to come in deus ex machina style to provide a big fat minim guarantee. But that was the old days…

Now, as a result of DSLR technology, you have a whole world of filmmakers flooding the market with awesomely good-looking backyard indies.  It’s an example of supply and demand. There are too many movies! And there are too few traditional deals.

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Sadly most filmmakers have no idea how to get their movies seen and selling. As a result, the entire world of indie filmmaking is belly-up. So the only way you can compete and succeed is to find creative ways to produce movies inexpensively and spend tremendous effort (and little money) identifying places where your audience congregate online.

Great… What’s The Plan?

If you’re still working to raise money, depending on your budget (in addition to the tax incentives and soft-money) you’ll need a strategy for both domestic sales and then foreign sales. In both instances working a reputable distributor and/or sales agent NOW can help you calculate projections.

Digital TVOD marketplaces (like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Fandango and others) operate on a B2C (or direct to consumer) model. This means that utilizing comparables during the TVOD window may not be reliable. So it behooves you to emphasize your promotional strategies and then make uber conservative assumptions (in ways akin to how one might manage a direct marketing campaign.)

One key performance metric would be your conversion rate. Out of the gazillion people who see your ads, what percentage converts? And what is the profit margin of each conversion? I wrote this article on VOD sales projections that may help.

Hire Name Talent (Seriously.)

The other thing that helps is obviously having a strong NAME cast. Casting a star in your film is one way to pay a marketing expense upfront. And if those performers are also good in social media, and willing to promote, this can also help drive consumers to the buy button.

But even if you don’t have a major star, you still have an obligation to identify an audience for your film. If you take time to do this, and figure out the top 100 sites where your audience congregates online, you’ll be in better shape than the filmmakers who ignore this, period.

  1. Identify 100 top sites where your audience congregates online.
  2. Make a list of these sites and site owners in a CRM like Pipedrive.
  3. Research sties for engagement stats. Visitors? Members? Subscribers?
  4. Compile this data so you can create conservative conversion estimates.
  5. Reach out to site owners and inquire about promotional opportunities.

Out of all of this, remember that people are people. Your goal is to find ways to promote your work so you can bring value into each person’s life. And if you like this sort of stuff, make sure you check out The Indie Producer’s Guide to Digital Distribution.

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ARTICLE BY Jason Brubaker

If you'd like more tactics like the article you just read, make sure to grab a copy of the filmmaker checklist. You'll get 65 useful steps you can employ to produce your next feature film.