Judith Dancoff NewFilmMarketing is a breakthrough consulting service for do-it-yourself film distribution to universities, K-12, libraries, and specialty markets.

We are impassioned to establish the right distribution platform to meet your film's needs and to shape the right strategy. In addition, we offer hourly consultation, coaching, workshops, and an informative blog. Contact us for a free consultation and dates of upcoming workshops. Our focus is on educational and specialty distribution but will share whatever useful information comes our way.

We believe the strongest market and viewership for most documentary filmmakers lies in academic and specialty markets. Let us help you transform that promise into a reality.

Tip 4-2Day: How Effective Are Your Sales?

November 26th, 2010

Sales effectiveness on the Net is called the “conversion rate”.  Your website’s conversion rate is the ratio of unique visitors to your site versus the number that actually buy your film.   You can compute this for a week, a month, a year.  Obviously, the longer the time period, the more accurate your statistics.  If you have a low conversion rate, then a lot of the effort that you put in to get visitors to your site is being wasted! Think of a site with a bad conversion rate as a bucket with lots of holes in it. The faster you get visitors pouring into your site, the faster they will escape through the holes, without buying anything.  So achieving success in web marketing is not only based on getting people to your site–you also must get them to buy.

To work out your conversion rate, divide the number of monthly sales on your site by the number of monthly visitors to your site, then multiply by 100 to get the percentage. Good conversion rates tend to hover between 1% and 3%. If your conversion rate is much lower than 1%, or 1 in 100 visitors making a purchase, then there is room for improvement!

So how can you improve the conversion rate?  It helps to think of your website’s sales process as a funnel. Visitors enter the funnel at the top–either your homepage or even earlier with the “cover letter” that you send to librarians and professors, guiding them to the homepage. Each step in the sales process (cover letter, homepage, about page, trailer, purchase link) moves shoppers further down the funnel until they pop out of the end (the sale). Shoppers can abandon the sale at any stage in the funnel, so look at each stage in turn and see what you can do to improve it.

Successful sales are based on fulfilling your buyer’s needs.  Understand the academic market you are selling to and shape your campaign accordingly. Work on plugging the holes!

For more great tips and an overview of the DIY process to the academic market, come to my free class at the Santa Monica Public Library on January 8th.  Space is limited, so email to reserve space.

Eyes Wide Shut – Why Does It Hurt So Much To Sell Our Work?

November 11th, 2010

The best thing I’ve ever heard about the struggle of selling one’s work was at a class I took at the Center for Cultural Innovation in downtown Los Angeles.  The speaker, a business consultant who specializes in helping artists, explained that too many artists visualize the distance between their work and their buyer as a simple, straight line, from A to B. Just hang the painting on the wall, mail the screenplay to an agent, or send information about your film to a university professor, and, fingers crossed, they’ll buy.

Too much of the time, of course, they don’t, or not for the right price, and the artist scuttles back to the drawing board, since they’re artists afterall, and all they really want to do is make their art  The problem, of course, is that the mystery of how one succeeds then becomes even more hidden, and for independent filmmakers with fewer traditional distribution outlets to fall back on, more daunting.

Luckily, the CCI consultant had an answer, for those of us with the fortitude to listen: the A to B line was not a straight line after all, she said, but rather a graph of hills and valleys, peaks and low points, that mapped a journey fraught with rejection and dead-end turns.   Each wrong turn, however, was a precious tool for re-calibrating our compass if we just had the courage to learn from it.

How does this relate to DIY distribution? Too often the first and last thing filmmakers do in DIY distribution is to buy educational email lists (i.e., addresses to point “B”), without ever considering how their website and advertising will attract their specific academic market.  They want to go from point A to B as quickly as possible (almost with their eyes shut, I sometimes think), and then if they don’t make sales, as many don’t, they can blame the list provider, or better yet, just give up.

Success in DIY distribution is the same as success in any sales field: know your buyer, satisfy his or her needs directly, and you will have a shot at making the sale.  And to find this direct link takes market analysis, testing, and understanding of one’s market.  Simply buying bulk addresses of librarians and professors is the last step, not the first, in a detailed process.

Traveling the road to successful sales can be painful, but the only real way to achieve success.  Eyes wide open is the rule.

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