After grueling months of filming, editing, and cuts, you have finally completed your film. Now what? Despite seriously needing sleep, you’re not there yet. The finished film isn’t the finish line. The marketplace is oversaturated with new content releasing daily and the film industry is under constant evolution. Audiences increasingly enjoy watching quality content from the comfort of their own homes. According to Deadline, movie ticket sales decreased by 5% in 2019 and the declining trend continues. The good news… your film can be successful without selling a single ticket by generating pre-orders on iTunes. Did you know that these pre-orders count towards the total sales for the release day? Your film can premiere in the algorithm’s ‘sweet spot’ and be promoted to a wide audience!
THEATRICAL VS. VIDEO-ON-DEMAND
In the past, the one clear solution to recouping investment in your film was through ticket sales. Luckily for you, the market is evolving. Despite many films still going through this traditional path, Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services are disrupting this model. Take this year’s award season for example, both Marriage Story and The Irishman never had a theatrical release but were nominated for multiple awards and highly regarded by critics. Theatrical releases are not the only way to have a successful film; your film can still thrive with a VOD release.
Common Misconceptions About Distribution
There is an illusion in the film industry that you need a distributor to make it onto the major streaming platforms like iTunes or Amazon Prime. This is not the case, but distributors don’t want you to know that. Distributors take the first cut of all revenue and it can add up to 20-70% of film sales. In addition, their marketing is often ineffective and sometimes not included in their hefty price. Deciding to go with a distributor and which one should not be taken lightly. If a distributor’s offer is: “We can get you on Amazon,” your response should be “I can get myself on Amazon, what else do you have to offer to me?”
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
A good rule of thumb is to start promoting at least 30-60 days before the release. This helps your film gain enough traction to reach number one in its genre. One pro tip is to offer flash sales on pre-orders. Most viewers don’t want to purchase media they can’t immediately consume, however, by offering your content at a reduced price to engaged followers, audiences are incentivized to take advantage of the sale and pre-order your movie. Our team of experts recommend that you offer two pre-order flash sales in anticipation of the release. For example, our campaign for ARMSTRONG followed this method and earned hundreds of pre-orders, which placed them #1 in Documentaries.
WHY MARKETING IS NOW MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
With thousands of new films released every year, marketing your film is essential. Having marketed dozens of independent films, we have discovered the secret sauce of reaching #1 on iTunes. There are 4 proven elements that will help you successfully target customers suited for your film and turn them into paying customers.
#1 - AN ENGAGING DESTINATION
How do potential audience members find when your movie is coming out? How do they know where they can stream it? This is where your website plays a critical role in serving as the hub of information for your audience. A sleek, branded website like what we developed for Assimilate, informs the viewer about your movie, engages them with customized content and converts them into sales. We have developed a streamlined funnel from awareness to sales that reaches your audience around the web and drives them to purchase.
#2 - STANDOUT SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media allows you to form communities around your films interest. Implementing a comprehensive social media strategy builds a robust community of engaged brand ambassadors and elevates brand awareness, which leads to cost-effective conversions. Consistent posts with clear and authentic messaging is crucial to being #1 on iTunes. As a film, you have already created compelling content that can break through the white noise such as behind-the-scenes, exclusive clips, and more that audiences love engaging with.
#3 - EFFECTIVE GRASSROOTS
Grassroots campaigns allow you to build a loyal fan base that organically promotes your film, building a stronger fan base than any advertising gimmick could. To foster grassroots promotion you must identify strategic partnerships with brands, organizations and influencers that align with your film and amplify your movie to a larger engaged audience. This approach allows you to ‘pull’ aligned audiences into your community instead of ‘pushing’ your content onto them via your website and social platforms.
#4 - PAID MEDIA
Paid promotion promotes your film to customized audience segments that share similar interests to your movie. Creating generic ads to run across Facebook, Google, and Youtube isn’t enough. The key is to strategically target ads with location and keyword targeting while refining your messaging and creative with the data. Then you begin to ‘pour gas on the fire’ with the ability to reach relevant audiences based on a variety of demographics and interests. Take your organic reach from the hundreds/thousands into the millions by investing in paid media. It is the most critical ingredient to ensuring real ROI and conversion for your film.
Finishing your movie isn’t the final step; it’s the beginning of your film’s promotion. Even the best distribution can fall flat without proper promotion. A customized marketing strategy that’s effectively timed and includes the essential elements helps break through the crowded market to reach the coveted #1 ranking on iTunes.
Vanquish Media Group has helped numerous FILMS COME to life.
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