What Is "Inbound Marketing?"
If you're a filmmaker selling your films on the internet, you may have already encountered the term "inbound marketing."
But isn't that an oxymoron?
If you're marketing it, isn't it always about the messages you are sending OUT.
And let's be honest. Who among us is really selling their films online?
Because we are still at the beginning of the revolutionary changes in how films are discovered and circulated online, many (most?) filmmakers are not yet really selling anything substantial online. Most of us are still trying to figure out how to publicize our films (break through the sea of content and get noticed) and get money from the internet.
So what is inbound marketing? And is it worth learning another new (oxymoronic?) term?
Can understanding inbound marketing really help to sell our films in this confusing New World?
In a short, readable and (yes!) very helpful post, marketing veteran Jonathan Salem Baskin defines inbound marketing as efforts by the seller where the goal is to "encourage consumers to seek additional content that, ideally, would move them closer to buying something."
As Jonathan Salem Basking explains, "[t]here is no inbound marketing without some sort of outbound marketing effort... [and the] best marketing has always been that which delivers truthful, meaningful, and useful information to people who're not just most likely to respond to it, but who've demonstrated a willingness and desire for it."
So inbound marketing for filmmakers might include any funny and/or useful content posted online that doesn't necessarily "sell" your film, but that builds a relationship with members of your potential audience that will make a sale more likely in the future. The examples are endless, but often inbound marketing is based on something that users will share online because it serves a purpose (even a darkly twisted one, like wishing your friend a happy birthday via a psychotic killer's moaning).
OK. But why all the fuss these days about inbound marketing?
Hasn't getting users to seek you out always been the goal of marketing?
But "[d]igital communication makes establishing this connection easier..."
So let's review.
Inbound marketing is an apparent oxymoron. (At first, inbound marketing may seem like a contradiction in term.)
But inbound marketing is a term used by professionals to describe a particular strategy or goal for their outbound marketing. In other words, inbound marketing simply describes a form of outbound marketing that is intended to engage the audience in ways that will encourage an (online) interaction.
As Jonathan Salem Basking elegantly puts it, the term inbound marketing really "speaks more to the tone and purposes of outbound marketing."
And inbound marketing is how many of the most successful online filmmakers have made their reputations and incomes. If you're making content that is intended to spread from user to user - that carries a subtle message about your filmmaking - and you provide opportunities for fans to buy your stuff through links, etc. - then you're probably already engaged in inbound marketing.
And understanding inbound marketing is one of the ways that New World filmmakers can distinguish themselves from all the other Old World filmmakers.
Simply building a website, a Facebook page or pushing out traditional advertising messages via Twitter isn't enough. You need to brainstorm and execute a campaign that "encourage[s] consumers to seek additional content that, ideally, would move them closer to buying something."
You need to inbound market.
Thanks to Brian Clark for the link.
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Thoughts from a film producer about making and distributing films.