Back in the late 90’s I created my first e-mail newsletter. It was a film news and reviews newsletter, very basic and in plain text. I gained subscribers through friends and acquaintances. Before long, I had around 300 subscribers- not many in today’s terms, but not bad! I would scour the Internet for film news, do reviews of favourite films, and so on. When I look back, it was sort of a foreshadowing of what I do now!
E-mail marketing has thankfully come a long way from my rudimentary attempt in the 1990s, and it’s something that can be extremely useful for connecting with your audience as an independent filmmaker. It can also be integrated into your film’s publicity strategy in some very fun ways.
If you’ve had the experience of crowdfunding before, you’ll know that many of the various crowdfunding platforms provide a space for updates. When you post an update on your crowdfunding page, it’s also e-mailed to donors who contributed to your campaign. E-mail marketing is not all that different to providing those updates on your crowdfunding page. If you haven’t had the experience of providing updates to crowdfunding donors- no worries! E-mail marketing is easy, it can be incredibly fun and is a great asset to have as part of your film’s publicity strategy.
Where do I start?
It’s a good idea to pick an email marketing platform, like Sendlane or Mailchimp. I don’t recommend just sending out e-mails from your e-mail account as people won’t have the option to opt out of receiving your e-mails unless they e-mail you back. Email marketing platforms generally have the option of a free account provided you have under a certain amount of subscribers which is perfect for when you’re just starting out.
In order to grow your subscribers you can create a landing page for your film’s website or share the link to a sign-up form via your social media accounts.
What about content?
When it comes to the content of your newsletter, the choices are endless! Here’s a few ideas:
- Provide subscriber-only exclusives, like behind-the-scenes videos or giveaways (signed film posters, a prop from the film, etc)
- Update subscribers with the film’s progress via short vlogs that can then be re-purposed via social media at a later date
- Mobilise your subscribers to spread the word about the film (especially in the lead-up to release) by providing them with digital assets they can use on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These can be housed in a dropbox and subscribers can download them via a link in your newsletter. You can also provide sample tweets they can copy and paste
- Let people into your filmmaking world: is music particularly important to your process? Share a list of songs or albums that have influenced you. Found resources that you know fellow filmmakers and filmmaking fans would love? Share them!
Experiment. Have fun. See where the mood takes you and what your audience responds to. It’s another way to connect with your audience from production onwards in an intimate and rewarding way.
And speaking of mailing lists….yes, we have one now. Sign up to our mailing list to receive film publicity, social media marketing and crowdfunding hints and tips, exclusive content, and occasional FREE resources. You’ll also be the first to be notified of discounted service rates. You can sign up HERE.