Here’s a pro tip for you…
So you’ve got your domain name, right? Check. You’ve got your site tricked out to the nines with all required elements for maximum audience engagement, just like your PMD told you to do, right? Checkity-check.
Then you’ve got your mailing list function plugged in (MailChimp RULES!) and clocking away at full tilt capitalizing upon every single visit, capturing the email addresses from visitors which you’ll later be using to inform everyone of your latest moves and shakes, especially on the sales front. Got that I hope, right?
Then you’ve got your social share buttons firing off on all cylinders (the Facebooks, Twitters, and Pinterests), just in case people want to make kind mention of your latest marketing gambits over on their respective outposts. If you’ve covered this aspect, then we don’t have to worry about that one. With your CSS code tight as a drum, if you’re playing your cards right you’ve probably got your web guy running all those critical metrics at your site to demonstrate to your production staff where visitors are spending most of their time, what they’re doing once there, how they’re converting (expressed as a number), and then an overview of your sales trending over a given time horizon.
But so far, all I’ve been talking about is the boring stuff…
Here’s a question for you:
How do you encourage the above audience actions from just a single website?
Sure, you could use nested domains like:
but wouldn’t it be better to actually name the action you seek to encourage or boost?
British indie Chris Jones does this really well. Clicking on over to his:
reveals just how much forethought has gone into Jones’ intrepid approach to sales of his Oscar-nominated short, Gone Fishing. The domain name he’s chosen draws attention to precisely the sort of action he wishes you to perform, and there’s little else besides to distract your attentions away from the glaringly obvious.
Sites like this one are precisely the sort of hi-octane booster shot your film’s DIY distribution campaign needs. The singular “Luke in the X-Wing Fighter Aiming for the Death Star” laser-like attention to detail your film’s revenue-generating campaign requires at all times. One name says it all. One name asks for the desired action. One name gets you results.
While we’re on the subject of domain names…
Don’t get caught with your socks down…
The fact that unscrupulous operators and people with too much idle time will actually squat on variations of your domain name (or the ones you’ve neglected to secure) and possibly misdirect would-be fans there intentionally or by accident is an eventuality you want to work hard to avoid at inception. This is especially egregious and comes into stark focus when random viewers happen across your project as part of what we call serendipitous search (for particular keywords), or succeed in finding you as part of an organic Google search in the Search Bar.
These operators may inadvertently manage to divert potentially important traffic away from your primary site, instead capitalizing on the brand equity it’s taken you so long to grow.
Sure, statistically it doesn’t happen too often, but with domain registrars like GoDaddy offering attractive bulk pricing on variations on your preferred central brand, it pays to snap all variations up at the same time — including the all-important prefixes, like “buy,” “follow” (with an automatic redirect to your business Twitter page), “fan” (ditto to Facebook), “friend” (Facebook), and “support” (with a direct link to your Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, for instance, rather than the need to memorize all of those complicated URLs through most of the bespoke sites). And the formula here is a simple one: the action you seek which precedes the primary domain name of the project, followed by a dot-com. Clicking on these links supplies all relevant information at that particular site for that particular film.
Still with me?
When it comes to any initiative you’re cooking up, think about the possibility of incorporating any sort of action into a domain name and then designing a web presence around that.
It pays to not only buy the cheap (under $10) name, but if the revenue upsides are substantial, then it also pays to have a web designer on some sort of retainer situation tasked with the job of whipping up these supporting sites relatively quickly, and by this I mean with a one-week turnaround, if at all possible.
Give it some thought…
Domains are cheap, but don’t just buy them like a drunken sailor on shore leave.
Assemble the sorts of marketing initiatives you have in mind into some kind of workable list, or a rough idea of the sorts of standard marketing activities you’ll encounter during the course of your production cycle, and hop to it with those.
Trying to squeeze a few more shekels out of the tight budget by avoiding critical “defensive” branding expenses like these certainly will not help your cause because even if you don’t use them, at least you won’t lose them.
Adam Daniel Mezei, PMD | Producer of Marketing and Distribution
Indie Audience Engagement Services for Independent Feature Films and Documentaries
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