Your movie website is one of the most important components of your movie marketing. This is because film distribution is shifting away from theatrical and DVD into video on demand. Your audience will most likely find out about your movie through the Internet. And it is important that you optimize your movie website for sales.
Before we get started, one of the most important components of a good movie website is hosting. Over the years, I have utilized MovieSiteHost (WPEngine) for most of my websites and I happily promote the company. (Bluehost pays me as an affiliate.) That said, any time I have a customer service challenge, the kind folks at Bluehost were quick to answer my calls.
Working with a great hosting company is essential. Doing so can help you avoid movie website madness. Especially when your movie business depends on someone clicking your BUY NOW button.
How To Optimize Your Movie Website For Sales
If you have a movie website promoting your project, odds are good your site is NOT optimized for sales. If you’re like most filmmakers, you are trying to jam too much info into the site. So the first thing you need to do is remove all distractions.
Whenever I mention this in my film distribution coaching, invariably a client asks how to determine which aspects of the movie website are most distracting.
Optimizing your movie website is all about knowing which stage your project is in and creating appropriate goals. Most filmmakers have two objectives:
- Stage 1 – Build buzz for your film.
- Stage 2 – Sell your film.
If you’re still in building buzz, chances are good you have press kits, actor bios, reviews of your movie and anecdotes from the production. You probably also have about a gazillion other pages, including a behind the scenes photo gallery.
These sorts of website extras are fine for promotion. But once you finish the festival circuit, you need to optimize your movie website for sales. This means you will want to start funneling web traffic towards your BUY NOW button.
To understand this process, I suggest you install Google analytics on your movie website and monitor your traffic. Here is an example from a feature I worked on:
If you look closely, you’ll notice that many visitors ended up visiting pages that did not lead to a sale. This is like keeping money on the table. So to counter the confusion, I suggest simply removing distracting pages altogether.
When promoting your movie, the goal is to remove extra crap and keep what matters.
In this example, the end result is a very simple page that “funnels” people to our desired destination. When visitors click on “Buy NOW” they are redirected to our film on Amazon.
If you have a movie website, here are 5 movie website thoughts to help you avoid common movie website blunders:
1. Nobody cares about cast and crew bios – unless you are trying to get people to BUY NOW. If that’s the case, you can rest assured people won’t BUY NOW. They will spend all their time reading about your cast and crew… And after they read about your actors, they will exit your site.
Action Step: Cut the cast and crew bios. (Or at least make sure there is a BUY NOW button on the page.)
2. You have a bunch of reviews on your site with links to the review sites. You can now send your prospective paying audience to another website… Where they can not only read your reviews, but they can also read the reviews of other, competing movies and BUY THERE. Awesome!
Action Step: Cut the reviews. (Or make sure there is a BUY NOW button on the page.)
3. You decided that paying for a 3rd party email service is not worth the cost. So you decide to forgo all list building efforts. Because, after all – your list is your business. And without a list, you have no business. But somehow the $19 dollars a month for your Audience List is still too expensive (Aweber pays me to promote. But there are others, like Mail Chimp and Constant Contact and Vertical Response.)
Action Step: Make sure visitors have a chance to subscribe to your newsletter.
4. Google Analytics is too complicated. So you decided not to include it or track visitor data. As a result, you think people are coming to your site. But you aren’t sure where they come from, what pages they visit and most importantly – you have no clue which pages your visitors exit from.
Action Step: Please put Google Analytics on your site so you know your stats.
5. Instead of paying to have your site optimized for SEO, you decided instead to have your kid cousin create the site. It looks awesome, by the way. Full of all sorts of stuff that increases load time and confuses search engines. Nice work!
Action Step: Make sure your site is lightweight, fast loading and easy to navigate.
Obviously, I am taking on a satirical tone. But if you take time to optimize your movie website for sales, I think you will see a smoother visitor experience. And if you would like, I can personally review your movie website. Sign up for my film distribution coaching,