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How to set your film marketing budget

A successful premiere requires planning all promotional efforts and securing a budget to put it in motion.

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by Vicent Llopis in Indie Films
film marketing budget

A film marketing budget is an integral part of any business plan geared towards selling a movie or show project. The amount of money allocated for this purpose will be determined by factors such as territories, channels, and period of time.

It requires a media plan, with distributes the budget per territory, channel, and over a specific period of time. Other than this, there are also certain associated expenses you might need to anticipate, like social media management, website development or artwork design (unless you’re doing it yourself.)

WHERE WILL YOUR MOVIE BE AVAILABLE? BUDGETING TERRITORIES

Territories are basically the regions where your film will be available. In the digital age, it’s easy to think about making it available worldwide. But that has serious financial implications – you can’t promote a global launch unless you have a hefty budget.

Therefore, your first step is to segment the regions so you can analyze the costs of reaching audiences in that space. In general terms, it’s safe to consider a national campaign, since language and culture tend to be a common ground, mainly when we’re using digital channels to reach our target.

Undoubtedly, the internet offers the most cost-effective ways to engage with potential consumers at a low cost per impact (eg. What you pay for them to see your ad.) The wider your territories (and bigger your target audience), the more sense it’ll make to go for mass media channels such as TV, newspapers or magazines, but remember that even in these cases, you can go with regional stations versus nationwide.

HOW WILL YOU REACH YOUR AUDIENCE? BUDGETING CHANNELS

Channels are the specific media you’ll use to reach your target audience. Your choice of territories will determine appropriate channels. For a national launch, mass media might make sense, but for regional or local premieres, you’ll need a focused approach on those markets.

Digital media audiences can be pinpointed as close as a zip code, while local TV stations have a wider audience in that area. Radio is inexpensive, but you need to be smart to promote a visual show in an audio-only environment. Posters are affordable and always a good bet, and flyers are incredibly easy to distribute. Social Media is also a great tool, and that includes social ads as much as properly managing owned social media properties.

Press releases are typically a great way to get the word out. However, simply writing a note about your film won’t cut it. You need to understand what’s in it for the media, why would they publish your story about your new film? Finding that angle is the first step to crafting a powerful press release for your film.

Determine what the best media channels are in your targeted territories, so you can start getting an idea of the budget you might need. After that, it’ll be a matter of reducing territories or switching channels to make it fit within a reasonable weekly or monthly budget.

WHAT WILL THE DURATION OF YOUR CAMPAIGN BE? BUDGETING TIME

Next step is figuring out for how long you’ll be sustaining this campaign. This is key to establish the overall budget. For how long do you plan to promote your film in your desired territories through your required channels?

How you spend it also depends on whether you’re planning a big premiere or a phased-out launch. For a big premiere, you might use up to 70% for it (big studios might go as high as 90%), and the rest you can spread it during the following months.

In the case of mid-to-low budget indie films, it’s recommended to spread the money for the duration of your set promotional period, with extra promotional efforts at specific times, such as the initial launch or during featured film festivals or key events.

 

There isn’t a perfect formula to determine your movie marketing budget, other than focusing on your expected results and, more importantly, your return on investment. But when you do have an idea of the territories where you’ll be promoting it, it’s just a matter of figuring out which channels to use in order to reach your audience, and for how long. That’s the only way to guarantee you will have enough funds to promote your film once it’s ready.

FREE GUIDE: INDIE FILM MARKETING 101

WHAT EVERY INDIE FILMMAKER SHOULD KNOW BEFORE LAUNCHING A FILM!

Download Now