With our movie, Fissure, we utilized a variety of online services and tools to market our film. Below is a list of the things we tried, along with what worked and didn’t work for us.
This is one of the most important online tools you need for your film. Websites are easy and cheap to get online. They are working for you 24/7, and can reach all the way around the world.
Your movie website should have the following:
- An easy to remember name like GoneWithTheWindMovie.com
- Your trailer should be very, very easy to find.
- A synopsis or summary of your film.
- Prominent display of festivals, awards, recognition, etc.
- Photos from both the movie and behind the scenes.
- Cast and crew information, with links to IMDB.
- Registration page to gather fans and email addresses.
- Links to other social media and online resources.
- A very clean, easy-to-use interface.
We used WordPress for the Fissure TV website. WordPress was perfect for what we needed:
- It’s free.
- It allows viewers to post comments.
- Embedding YouTube videos is easy.
- We could skin the system with our own themed template.
- It comes “out of the box” SEO ready — Search Engine Optimized.
- Oh, and did I mention it was free.
Facebook has been a solid success for us regarding marketing. Using a Facebook Fan Page (http://www.facebook.com/FissureMovie), we’ve been able to communicate to fans, post events (screenings, DVD release, etc.), and keep a good general awareness of the movie.
Using Facebook Ads, we were able to fill up an otherwise empty theater for a screening in Portland. We created an ad to promote a “Free screening of an award-winning, indie film”. Then, we targeted film enthusiasts and sci-fi fans in the Portland area. We limited our spend to $10 a day, and paid about $0.50 per click. We had quite a few impressions.
Here’s a chart of our Facebook Ad metrics:
Impressions: This is how many times the Facebook Ad ran. As you can see, the ad was in front of more than a quarter million people at a cost of about $100. That’s cheap advertising!
Clicks: This is how many times the ad was clicked. This is where we paid. Each time the ad was clicked, we paid about $0.50 per click. But, even when the ad was clicked, the clickee still hasn’t taken action, which for us was to register for the free screening event.
Actions: This is the action that was taken–register for the free screening.
While you may think the number of actions is small (a total of 6), there is a lot of exposure and impressions going on. Again, all for about $100.
We also had some great experience with Twitter. We setup a custom-themed Twitter page for FissureTV and started following anyone connected to, or related to the entertainment industry. And, a quite a few followed us back.
With those who followed, we would often DM (direct message) to give updates, especially when we released a new webisode each week. Twitter was very successful in helping us get the word out.
We also setup a Twitter “retweet” (RT) contest. Retweeting is where you take a tweet and re-send it with the name of the person who originally tweeted the message. Each week, when we released a new webisode, we tweeted the following from the @FissureTV Twitter account: “Check out this week’s episode, ‘The Call’ at http://fissure.tv and RT to be eligible for prizes.”
Those who retweeted the message were automatically entered into a drawing for a variety of prizes — iPods, DVDs, autographed headshots, etc. The retweeted message looked like this: “RT @FissureTV Check out this week’s episode, ‘The Call’ at http://fissure.tv and RT to be eligible for prizes.”
Using Twitter’s Advanced Search combined with an RSS feed, we were able to capture everyone who was talking about FissureTV on Twitter. And, it was all free!
Interestingly, here’s something that didn’t work for us. We had a grand prize giveway — a flat screen television. All you had to do was register at FissureTV and simply gave us your name, email and zip code. Then, you were entered into this free giveway. After 10 weeks of this, we gathered a whopping 20 names. Twenty! Fail.
Here’s what I learned: anytime you give away something for free, people either don’t believe you, don’t believe they will win, or there’s a catch. People have been burned by “free this” and “free that”. It’s near impossible to rise above the clutter. One way is to give away something cool, like a new MacBook Pro, but now we’re talking expensive.
We setup a MySpace page (http://myspace.com/FissureTV), and gathered some fans and friends, but in all honesty, I don’t like MySpace–too busy, too cluttered, too hard to find the good content there. So, we didn’t spend a lot of time building our MySpace network.
As we got ready to launch the DVD, we used YouTube to post all of our videos on the movie: trailer, behind-the-scenes and the webisodes. And, right before we started posting videos, YouTube added an HD option, which was great because Fissure was originally captured in High Definition.
We also tried running a YouTube keyword ad to see if would have any success. The “action” was simply to watch the movie trailer in hopes of getting them over to our movie website.
First, we chose our keywords: “film, movie, indie, thriller, drama, etc.” and then created the add. We started monitoring the impressions. At first, it was pretty much the same, averaging about 15,000 to 20,000 impressions per day, with a few clicks. Then, one day, all of sudden, the impressions jumped to 950,000 impressions! Almost a million impressions in one day.
What was going on? I couldn’t figure it out until I went into the keyword details and saw that one keyword was driving all those impressions–thriller. It was the day Michael Jackson died.