Online marketing for the documentary was ramped up around November-December 2007, in anticipation of a January 2008 premiere for The Fair Trade. Since then dozens of screenings have taken place, countless smaller-scale screenings have occurred, and the film has shown at several festivals. Fortuitously, FilmBaby inked a partnership with Ryko Distribution that we were able to exploit to move TFT into retail channels.
Every step of the process of rollout, screening, and distribution, has been documented online through blogs, a re-designed website, and presence on several social networking sites. Through a continued attention to these avenues, TFT’s online buzz continues to grow. For a very small amount of money, we have achieved an incredible level of online recognition. This movie is a textbook case on how to accomplish online promotion of a small movie with almost no budget.
Moving forward, several challenges remain. As the DVD rolls into retail channels in November, some amount of support or marketing should accompany the release date. Additionally, attention needs to be paid to how best to boost 1) sales and 2) user ratings on each of the retail sites. We would like to see a continued increase in web traffic to the blog, website, and then move each of those visits to a sale.
Finally, a long-term online strategy needs to be envisioned: will the website stay up indefinitely? Should the blog have a termination-date, or transition to a multi-user forum instead of the blog? How can we best market the movie in the long-term, with a minimum of involvement from the BH team? These questions will need to be addressed as the online presence for the film moves into maturity.
A successful website was launched in Q4 2007, designed by Travis Hardy, that supported the rollout of the film in Q1 2008. With the maturation of the movie and the impending DVD rollout, the site was redesigned in September 2008, integrating new reviews, festival announcements, additional video content, and the integration of social networking tie-ins to maximize the movie’s (and site’s) exposure.
In the beginning, the site was the primary online method for disseminating information about the movie. As time goes on, the site’s function will change to be that of secondary “repository” of rich media and static content; dynamic content will be added to the blog and social networks.
Nevertheless, the website has been an excellent marketing tool.
Tomorrow: website traffic, blog traffic, and search engine optimization (SEO).