This 12 week movie marketing plan will help you sketch out a way to promote your film. While there are no guarantees that your movie will become the next viral, breakout hit, doing something is better than letting your movie collect dust. This plan provides grassroots strategies you can implement over a 12 week period.
Movie Marketing Plan Overview
The first step in your movie marketing process involves setting realistic goals about your project. Take a moment to answer the following questions:
- How many movie views / unit sales must you sell to break even?
- Who is your general target audience?
- What do you hope to accomplish over the next 12 weeks?
There is a saying in movie marketing that everybody is nobody and niches make you riches. With the democratization of film distribution, it is now essential to define your target audience before you even put pen to paper. Is there an audience that already exists for your movie? Where does your audience congregate online?
We will provide you with some tips on how to define your market.
- Make a list of 5 ideal movie fan categories for your title.
- Figure out why these fans should watch your movie.
A large part of movie marketing involves internet marketing. The reason for this is simple: We are quickly approaching a time where there will be no delineation between your computer and your television. Everything will be on demand and accessible. As a result of these changes, you will need to drive targeted Internet traffic to your desired point of sale and convert these visitors into customers.
In your second week, we are going to cover the following topics:
- How to create a promotional movie website (ad) fast.
- The purpose of an audience list (ad) and why you need it!
Week 3 – Know Your Prospective Audience
While there are no hard and fast rules in the brave new world of indie filmmaking, without retail DVD distribution, your most important goal (aside from making the movie) is to seek out your audience for both your current project and your filmmaking career. To many, this type of audience engagement represents a paradigm shift.
Your audience is your movie business. Without an audience, you simply have no business!
Here is what we are going to investigate in week three:
- Discover where your fans congregate, both online and offline.
- Create as list of popular publications that cater to your fans.
Week 4 – Track everything
In movie marketing, it is very common for everybody involved in a project to present a gazillion ideas on best marketing practices. But the truth is, the only good marketing idea is the one that works. And the only way you know if your strategy is working is when you test it.
In your fourth week, you will set up tools so you can understand user behavior:
- Add tracking tools to your website.
- Modify your website to influence user activity.
Week 5 – Refine Your Movie Marketing
Have you ever noticed when a big studio releases a movie, they sometimes first push it as an action flick. Then later, the advertisements shift to a love story? Why does this happen? These changes take place because movie marketers are consistently testing the movie messaging in front of sample audiences.
And it is usually the audience, not the filmmaker who reveals what aspects of the movie are most interesting and memorable.
During week 5, you will focus on the following:
- Refine movie messaging based on audience feedback.
- Create your hook and refine it to emphasize your unique story.
- Get your movie in front of influencers in your target market.
Week 6 – Search Engine Optimization For Your Movie
Since you do not have a multi-gazillion dollar movie marketing budget like the big Hollywood studios, you will focus on the internet. Your goal is to implement inexpensive marketing strategies so you can drive targeted traffic to your website (in the hopes these visitors will buy your movie). There are quite a few ways to do this, but one of the most effective ways of attracting traffic is by creating useful content, aimed at your target audience.
In week 6, you will complete the following tasks:
- Conduct keyword research relevant to your audience.
- Implement your movie website, with SEO friendly framework.
- Define your content strategy, based on keyword research.
Week 7 – Create Relevant Content
When it comes to movie marketing, creating relevant content is essential for attracting visitors to your movie website. It is at this point when most filmmakers start to feel overwhelmed, thinking they need to focus on busting out a gazillion blog articles.
While writing keyword specific, relevant content is a useful way to attract visitors, writing is not the only way to create content. Internet content can be created and delivered as audio, video and text. Since each prospective viewer has preferred modality, your goal is to create a content strategy that incorporates all three.
In week 7, we will focus on fulfilling the following objectives:
- We will create and outline a content strategy based on movie/story/genre specific keywords.
- Then we will figure out timeline for how frequently we will deliver the content.
Week 8 – Spread The Word and Build Buzz
Here is the thing. Lets say you are making a zombie movie and you decide to conduct an internet search for zombies. You will very quickly find thousands of websites devoted to zombie movies. Unless you have all the time in the world, contacting the owner of each blog or website is going to be impossible.
During week 8, your goal is to sort through the noise and focus on activity that will garner us the greatest potential for results.
- Build a database of the top 50 publications in your niche.
- Test several low cost ads to drive targeted traffic to your movie website.
- Refine your trailer and post it everywhere!
- You might also want to distribute a press release.
Week 9 – Leverage Social Networks and Blogging Community
A lot of filmmakers are stupid when it comes to social networking. They look at the tool and say “I HAVE A MOVIE. PLEASE (potentially) WASTE 2 HOURS OF YOUR TIME AND WATCH IT!” While you know that your movie is way better than most the other crap out there, the rest of the social community does not. And if you utilize a crappy social networking strategy, the best we can say is: Good luck!
In week 9 your goal is to implement a social media strategy that encourages word of mouth.
- Engage with potential users via social networking channels.
- Implement a guest posting strategy on several blogs.
Week 10 – Hit The Red Button (and launch!)
If you spend all sorts of time and effort and money making your movie, the last thing you want to do is wait around. You want to get your movie seen, sold and if possible – maybe you can find a 3 picture studio deal in the process. While movie marketing is not totally a science, your results (both good or not so good) will be easy to measure.
In week 10, we will hit the red button and see what works.
- Divide our launch strategy into several tiers and milestones.
- Send copies of your movie to popular review websites and schmooze for good reviews.
Week 11 – Utilize The Power of Email.
If you subscribe to the exclusive Filmmaking Stuff Newsletter, you know that I really believe in email marketing. I think it is a great way to stay in touch and to build a relationship with your audience.
In week 11, we are going to focus on creating and executing an email marketing campaign (ad).
- Write a half-dozen targeted emails and send at pre-determined intervals.
- Reach out to other filmmakers and see if they would send similar emails to their list.
Week 12 – Grow Your Community!
By now, these words should echo in your filmmaking mind: “My audience is my business. Without an audience, I have no business.” When it comes to modern film distribution, you can no longer plan on simply selling 10,000 DVDs to the big box video rental chain, because that doesn’t exist anymore. Instead your audience is your business – not just for your current project, but for all future titles as well.
In week 12, we will focus on creating long term community engagement.
- Establish a community for your fans.
- Get fans into a database that you control.
So there you have it. This is a broad overview of a 12 week movie marketing plan that you can implement for your next title. If you know someone seeking film distribution, you might also want to check out my sell your movie system.