The art of marketing has many broad brushstrokes that can be applied from industry to industry. After all, whether you’re marketing boots to millennials or homeowner’s insurance to newlyweds, the essentials are the same. Know your audience. Know your product and what makes it exceptional. Know how to get said product in front of said audience. Drive engagements and ultimately, conversions.
However, the difference between good marketing and great marketing is understanding the similarities in general while still being able to carve out the nuances that make reaching each industry so unique. As such, film marketing no exception.
When it comes to marketing your film, there are a few mistakes that might threaten a successful release. Don’t fall for them. These are the seven common mistakes people make when marketing films, and how to avoid them.
1. You don't know your audience
Few films define an entire generation. And even those that do have a target audience. Knowing your target audience is essential to marketing your film, as you want to get it in front of as many people as possible who will want to watch it. Whether you’re utilizing paid media, organic social media, grassroots efforts or PR (and you should be utilizing some of each), you need to ensure that your film isn’t just being marketed in general, but correctly marketed to those who will engage with it.
First off, where is your film showing theatrically? In which states or countries will it be released on VOD? These questions can help define your location. Then, consider consider demographics such as age. Interest targeting cannot be undervalued either--understanding the psyche of your audience and what they’re already engaging with will open your eyes and place your film in front of the right accounts, particularly with paid media efforts. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube make target marketing an incredibly powerful tool that can see incredible ROI when deployed properly. Having a digital marketing team at your beck and call to build these target audiences for you will make a huge difference in your film’s marketing campaign.
2. You don't invest in awareness marketing
Seeing a tactile return on your marketing efforts is wonderful, but awareness marketing isn’t quite that simple. If you’re familiar with the cardinal rule of advertising, then you know it takes an average of seven times for a person to see your ad before it makes a lasting impression on them. Which means that the time to start getting your film’s artwork, copy and ads in front of people is sooner rather than later. By getting your film in front of the correct target audiences--and often--you’ll build an awareness campaign that puts your film on people’s minds. When they see it coming to a theater near them or being released on VOD, they’ll already be familiar with the story.
While awareness marketing is still not a perfect science, there are measurable goals you can reach utilizing digital marketing tactics versus traditional methods like billboards. With paid ads, you can measure your reach and the impressions it makes on an audience. These are crucial metrics as you gauge and optimize your campaigns throughout the release, as you can measure what is working from an ad point of view and continue to refine your strategy.
3. Your trailer is missing the mark
What is your movie about? And more importantly, why should anyone want to see it? Your trailer should answer these questions succinctly. Now, that doesn’t mean the trailer needs to reveal everything, but it should be true to the film and highlight the elements that make it a thrilling must-see.
With that being said, you should cut several versions of your trailer. From the advent of Instagram story ads to more commonplace pre-roll, the format and length of your trailer should be tailored to the medium on which it’s displayed. And don’t forget the benefit of starting strong and getting to the point quickly; if you can captivate your viewers in the first 5 to 15 seconds, the chances of them actually watching the entire trailer are much greater. And, by default, the chances of those viewers wanting to watch your film will also increase.
To give you some context, the average pre-roll video on Youtube must be viewed for 5-seconds before the viewer can navigate away, and Idea Rocket reports that the most effective videos are in the 15-30 second range. You’ll want a standard 16x9 cut. For Instagram Stories, you’ll need a 15-second 9X16 cut, and there’s always the option to add in creative graphics as well. Facebook allow square or horizontal cuts, and so on and so forth.
4. Your website isn't working for you
Maybe you think having an IMDB or Fandango listing for your film is enough, but such is not the case. While having a digital presence on film websites is hugely important, you’ll need a website that acts as the one-stop-shop for anything a view might want to know about your film.
Each film’s website should be unique, and should house the trailer, a synopsis, and a way to purchase tickets or a digital download. Having a digital marketing strategy that assures your website is SEO-optimized and Google-friendly will make sure that it ranks at the top of the search page.
5. Your assets are falling short
Don’t let your film suffer from poor assets and a lack of creativity. If your social media posts look sloppy, your captions are thoughtless and/or your advertisements are weak, how can you expect anyone to engage with them? Keeping your quality high across the board will create strong branding for your film and, in turn, will drive awareness and funnel your target audience toward conversions.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, either. Seeking a digital marketing agency to help craft copy, create ads and deploy a thoughtful social media calendar can add great value to your campaign, solidifying your brand, and open your film to even more qualified audiences.
6. Your campaign lacks Calls to action
This may seem intuitive, but many film campaigns lack the direct calls to action that direct audiences toward the intended action. Ask yourself: at this phase in your film marketing campaign, what action do you want your audience to take? Do you want them to purchase tickets to see it in theaters? Or would you like them to purchase a digital download?
Once you’ve established your current goal, all of your content must support said goal. Be it organic social media or (namely) paid ads, you’ll want to craft copy and artwork that points your audience toward your goal and encourages them to take action now.
7. You haven’t taken the time to develop a road map
Take the time to set yourself up for success from the very beginning by taking the time to create a roadmap. By laying out the big picture and setting incremental goals and benchmarks for your campaign, you’re creating a feasible plan that can be put into action bit by bit. By planning ahead, you’ll avoid any unnecessary scrambling and painful time crunches, and give your film the best shot at success.
When creating this road map, lay down your objectives first, your strategy to achieve them and the tactics you will put into play to drive that strategy. Then, create phases in which to implement your strategy, deploy your tactics, and ultimately achieve your objectives. Along the way, consider how launching your website, trailer, social media presence, paid advertising, grassroots outreach, publicity, etc. will fit into the puzzle; all of these elements (and likely more) will need to have a place on your roadmap to success.
Do you need helping marketing your upcoming film? Then you owe it to yourself to set up a consultation with Vanquish Media Group—it’s completely free, and we can set you craft and deploy a successful campaign that fits your unique needs.