How I'd Market And Sell An Indie Film Online

I recently came across someone who was looking for help getting their indie film more exposure online. I haven't had many clients in the entertainment space like this, but I have had a couple. I happen to have a very strong opinion on how an indie film should be marketed and sold in our digital age.

A few years back I helped advertise an indie documentary via Google Ads. The film was available on iTunes and Amazon but we also made it available via their website using 3 different priced offerings:

  1. 'Pay what you want' streaming rental

    This was handled using Gumroad and I was amazed at how much people willingly paid to stream it. Sometimes they paid $10+ just to stream it online right there. Sure, a good percentage of people just stream it for free but that's actually a feature, not a bug. This will help lead to more word of mouth buzz for the film as this segment of the market most likely would've never paid for your film anyways.

    This offer was the 3rd most popular offer on the website in terms of revenue generated. In terms of users, however, it was the most popular considering it could be streamed for $0 technically.
  2. DVD, Online Streaming and Soundtrack CD Package

    This was priced in the $30 range and saw the most sales/generated the most revenue out of all of the offers.
  3. DVD, Online Streaming, Soundtrack CD & PhotoBook Package

    This was priced at around $70 and this package was the 2nd most popular in terms of revenue generated.
  4. Last but not least, we linked to the streaming platforms the film was available on; Amazon and iTunes. We didn't push this option first, however, because the client made more money from the 3 different priced offerings being sold directly on the site.

    Also, the client got to build an email list of customers when they bought/rented directly from the site, which comes in handy when you have a new film to promote.

I don't have the exact ROAS figures for this campaign anymore since it was a few years back. I know the client was very happy with the results.

As I mentioned already, we advertised the website via Google Ads which is great for promoting a film because you can put your ad in front of people who are searching for movies to watch in the same genre your movie is in or when people are searching to watch films similar to yours.

This strategy is assuming you're not able to get your film on Netflix or some similar platform. If you are, and they require you to have certain pricing then this would definitely change the strategy a bit. I still believe Google Ads would be a great way to help increase exposure to the movie and having some kind of tiered package offering that includes some physical merch is a great way to maximize profits from the campaign.

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