I received a very useful e-mail from Jason Brubaker about online film distribution and I’d like to share it to all of you. I think filmmakers should do all the 25 things he’s suggesting. The following “How To Sell Your Movie” checklist will provide you with a broad overview of how to market and sell your movie without the middle-man. Brubaker also provided links to certain useful websites which you may check out or ignore. They are just his suggestions.
Anyway…here’s the list.
1. Create a website specific to your movie. Go to www.MovieSiteHost.comsite and reserve your domain name there. When you purchase your hosting, a domain name is usually included in the purchase price.
2. Branding is the marketing equivalent of matching your belt with your shoes. Don’t make your marketing complicated. Make sure your colors, logos, posters and fonts are consistent.
3. Most filmmakers make a crazy website with all sorts of bells and whistles. Your website should be simple. You should have a trailer, an about page, a buy now button, links to your social networks and an audience list.
4. Out of everything I mention, getting people onto your audience list is most important. An audience list will allow you to collect a name and email address of your visitor. To build an opt-in list, which is FREE for the first 500 subscribers, check out: www.AudienceList.com
5. Take a moment to think about your target audience. Hopefully you have a marketable hook for your movie, and a plan for reaching your target demographic. If not, figure it out!
6. Get your movie selling as a Video on Demand rental and download. To do this, upload your movie to the many VOD marketplaces, such as iTunes, Amazon and NetFlix. For an easy way to accomplish this, try www.MovieSalesTool.com
7. You can sell DVDs too. Amazon’s Create Space makes this easy. And even though it’s more expensive, I advise you to stay out of the shipping business. Let CS manufacture your DVDs and fulfill your orders on demand. This way, you can focus on increasing your sales, as well as your next movie projects. Not shipping.
8. Your trailer is your sales tool. Upload your trailer to YouTube as well as other, popular video sites. Make sure your trailer mentions your website. Put your focus on optimizing YouTube. Why? Because YouTube is both a social network and the second largest search engine on earth (also owned by Google.) It’s worth it!
9. Write press releases related to the availability of your movie. Include back links to your site. Send the release out via one of the online press release submission sites. In addition to this, don’t be afraid to call magazine editors and journalists who write for your target audience. As they say, if you don’t ask – you don’t get!
10. Join online forums related to your target market. Create a profile, complete with a signature link to your website. Now, whenever you join a conversation, you’ll spread your links.
11. Just because you’re in a forum doesn’t mean people care about you or your movie. If you join conversations without adding value – or if you become one of those spam happy people who talk about your movie and fail to add value to the discussion, you will be seen as a spammer.
12. If the idea of contributing to forum conversations annoys you, then just pay for advertising on the site. The whole point is to increase awareness of your movie and get prospective audience members to your site.
13. Create a facebook page, a Twitter account and join the popular social networking sites. Again, you’ll want to build a fan base for your movie. And to manage it, try www.Ping.Fm This tool allows you to update all your social networking sites at once, which is cool!
14. The purpose of using social networks is to connect with your target market, spread word about your movie and once again, lead people off the networks and onto your Audience list.
15. The reason you cannot rely solely on social networking for your audience list, is because many of those sites have gone out of vogue. I lost 10K “friends” on one of them. As a result, I estimate this tip is worth $100,000.00.
16. Additionally, have your webmaster put a button on your website so people can tweet, bookmark, and share your movie website with friends on their social networking sites. (Can you please click the tweet button at the top of this article?)
17. If you have the budget, purchase some offline advertising in publications related to your movie. To find related publications, go to a book store and look for magazines. Also, try Google.
18. All of these methods are intended to get people back to your website. The purpose of your site is to get people to watch your movie trailer and click the BUY NOW button. Anything that distracts these visitors must go!
19. You’ll soon realize that most people will not buy your movie on their first visit to your website. If they don’t click, then at least try to get them to opt into your audience list. Then you have a chance of getting them to buy later.
22. Out of all the people who click the BUY NOW button, many won’t buy. But some will!
23. Consider using that money to purchase more advertising and then repeat the cycle. The goal is to keep investing and reinvesting the money until you produce a self sustaining machine.
24. Sales will tend to level off after a few years. This is the normal. When this happens, find some other filmmakers with a movie geared towards the same target audience. Offer to promote their movie to your audience list. If these other filmmakers have an audience list too, ask them to promote your movie. Be willing to pay them a cut of your profits.
25. Time for your next project. But unlike before, you’ll have a strong mailing list at your disposal. And as a result, you can now ask yourself the following magical questions: “How many VOD downloads do I have to sell to recoup my investment? And how am I going to sell them?” Answer those questions, and you’ll also be talking the talk with your investors.
Jason Brubaker is a Hollywood based Independent Motion Picture Producer and an expert in Video On Demand distribution. He is focused on helping filmmakers make, market and sell movies more easily by growing your fan base, building buzz and creating community. Visit his website: Filmmakingstuff.com