Have you assumed control of your film’s distribution?
Or put another way – is self-distribution a part of your overall Distribution Strategy?
We’ve seen some terrific case studies lately of filmmakers who have embraced traditional distribution and are enjoying the rewards associated with that. But what about those of us who either can’t get traditional distribution or do not wish to go down that path?
Lucky for us, we’ve got tons of Alternative Distribution options! Everything from direct-to-consumer DVD and digital sales, to working with a digital aggregator for a multi-platform rollout, to doing a theatrical self-release or theatrical tour. There’s lots to keep us busy.
But the common denominator for ALL of these choices is this – since you’ve assumed control of your film’s distribution, you are effectively acting as the distributor, and therefore are fully responsible for the marketing and sales of your film.
What? But I didn’t sign up for that I hear you screaming!
To keep things simple, there are a few key elements though that you should stay focused on when honing in on your marketing strategy. I can tell you from experience and working with many private clients on self-distribution that the devil is indeed in the details. Meaning – if you don’t have an email database or Social Media following to market to, you’re kind of out of luck in getting the word out.
So let’s back up and see – how DO you start getting a database of potential customers together then? Well there’s four ways I like to focus on:
Advertising – FB advertising has worked wonders for a few clients in building up their fan bases fast. Others have successfully advertised on third party ‘affiliated’ websites (ones with a similar target audience to the film)
Off Line Promotions – I have one client now in the midst of a massive post card campaign to local cafes, night clubs, and restaurants where his target audience hangs out, and getting a healthy 20% conversion rate on email sign-ups from the special link provided on the post card
Crowd Funding – yes, in addition to financial gains, crowd funding campaigns are a terrific tool for growing your audience since you get access to the email addresses of those who donate to your campaign
Film Festivals/Other screenings – I’ve had clients gain thousands of new email sign-ups from gathering email addresses at film festival premiers and other targeted screenings of their films
Why care about building your list of potential customers in the first place?
Because that’s who you’re going to sell to later! Whether you’re selling a DVD off your website…. or an iTunes premiere that you need to drive traffic to….. or a theatrical tour you’ve spent all that money on….. you need people to sell to.
It’s for this reason that many filmmakers DON’T go down the self-distribution path because they realize they don’t want to spend their time or energy building up a list of potential customers, and then marketing and selling to them. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – and many filmmakers actually prefer doing self-distribution so they can keep control of their earnings. And then others of course, dabble in a little of both and do a hybrid distribution strategy.
So what is it for you then? What has worked well and what hasn’t? And do you have any other creative ideas you’d like to contribute on driving traffic to your site and building up an email list and fan base? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments section below!
Can I Help You With Distribution Of Your Film?
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