Building an email list of followers

Why do I need a mailing list?

As a filmmaker, you will be facing seismic shifts in how visual content is distributed and consumed.  No longer do you have to struggle to get a distribution deal or pay huge aggregator fees instead, you now have to actively market your work.

One of the best tools for marketing is a mailing list.  If you are serious about building your production company then you should begin TODAY on your list.  What you will learn here can be done by you and to begin with can be free and only cost you money once you scale up the numbers on your list.

The benefits of an email list

Amazon’s open platform strategy is not to create another youtube but a replay of the strategy they used to dominate the publishing industry. Independent authors learned while they could now publish without an agent or traditional publisher they had to drive the marketing process to find their audience, then develop them into fans.

An email list is a powerful tool

  • If someone gives you their email it is a signal that they like what you’re doing and want to know more.

  • You can directly market to that person .

  •  Your list is 100% yours and in your control, social media comes with terms of service.

  • Social media and distribution terms change and having a 1:1 contact with your audience allows you to always communicate on your terms.

  • Email will be the best method to convert your audience to fans.  Nurturing your fans is so important!  Remember these are real people.

  • Your fans are a huge resource.  The number of fans will tie to viewership, but more important your fans can be a source of inspiration and funds for future projects.

How to get started

You will need an email service provider.  There are dozens of these companies out there and they all offer some basic services and then scale up to full blown marketing systems that cost big bucks.  We need to do this on an indie budget.

I suggest you pick one of two services to host your mail list.  You could do this manually but that is a time suck and you won’t do it well.  Use one of these services or do the research on the other out there.  Here are my suggestions;

Mailchimp – Free for the first 2000 names with limited functionality.  For what we are looking to do it is more than adequate.  Once you begin to pay they release more functions.  One great thing about Mailchimp is it has the most plugins and integrations with other tools and social media to help you capture addresses and initiate emails.  I used mailchimp and many of my customers use it.

Drip I use drip.  It is free for your first 100 emails then they charge.  You get all of the functionality from the start and it allows you to build complex multi email campaigns to nurture customers.

Here are links to both



List building strategies

Get our FREE mini course on finding your first 100 fans

This is by no means all of the strategies available for you to capture emails but a good start if you don’t have a list.  In “It All Begins With A Website” you will learn how to set up a website for your business.  With a website it is easy to have a page where you collect emails,  there are sections in both drip and MailChimp that create forms to embed in a page, as well as create pop-up and exit email captures, but what if you don’t have a website?

Create an email capture form in your email service and then paste the text link for the form where you want people to find your sign up.  This can be on your Instagram, twitter, and facebook pages.

The lead magnet:  Indie authors built their lists by offering readers a free book or short story when they signed up, at the same time most also made at least one book available on Kindle for free so readers could sample a writer’s work.  Since you will be distributing at least one of your movies as part of Prime you have a means for those who have Amazon prime to see your work for free so we need to close some loops here.

  1. In your key art and promotional material for all of your prime movies have the link to your sign up. This gets the people that find a film to sign up.

  2. Have a special content offer for those that sign up for your email.  If you have a short, outtakes, or additional scenes you can serve via Wistia or Vimeo.  Make it clear in your form that as part of signing up they get the extra content.

Reach out to friends and family.  I know you have likely already done this but do it again asking them to sign up on the list.

Create an email with your trailer embedded and send it to people you have as friends in social media asking them to forward it to a friend or two.

If you have further list building strategies please email me at jsolari (at) cuxllc dot com and I will be sure to share them along with details you give me on your movies.

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