Marketing your project: Lessons we learned, you can apply today

Marketing your project splash

By Emil Villumsen

Co-founder of Craft

Marketing

“How can I get more attention to my project? We don’t have the time to market it”. This is what we hear from almost every artist and studio.

In this post we’ll share what worked in marketing our project. And hopefully you can build upon our experiences.

Craft isn’t exactly a feature film, short film or game project, but our audience is visual artists and we play in the same industry. We’ve talked to hundreds of artists the past year, since launching May 2016, and our lessons learned can surely be applied to your project as well.

It’s a shame that your beautiful projects have such a short life in the spotlight!

Reddit

Reddit is a great driver of traffic for visual artists. Since day one we’ve got a solid 25% traffic from Reddit. And with a moderate effort. The beauty of Reddit is that if you find appropriate subreddits, your posts will get a lot of upvotes and have even more clicks, without spending half a year to get an audience (damn you Twitter). Remember to 

  1. Keep an okay comment/post ratio 
  2. Contribute to the channel first 
  3. Get in contact with the admins and introduce yourself 
  4. Read the guidelines for Reddit and the subreddit carefully 
  5. Post authentic and human titles for your posts, people spot marketers miles away 
  6. Post only once every 2–3 days

Here’s a guide to get you started..It requires your email to get the e-book, but Vyper generally sends useful emails on marketing and you can always unsubscribe. 

There’s most likely a subreddit specifically for your craft; Illustration, Animation, Storyboarding. Spend time in those, get to know people, comment without mentioning yourself, contribut and create value.

Many recommend never posting links to your own content. We haven’t followed that advice, as we don’t subscribe to the, in my opinion, elitist approach to content on the internet. It’s given us some harsh comments, but overall hasn’t been too big a problem. I’d rather post links to our site → get traffic → earn money → be able to create much more content that help people on a sustainable business model and give back to the same channel. It’s a strategy where you’ll meet resistance, but it’s worked for us so far.

Contests

Run a contest. We’ve had great success with various types of contests; great feedback, good traffic, happy people all over.

  1. Use Vyper.io (paid) or Rafflecopter.com (free)
  2. Give away something you know your audience wants
  3. Partner with someone else to increase your reach, e.g give away something of theirs as a prize too
  4. Create a viral incentive, people inviting their friends to get rewards or simply tweeting to gain entries
  5. Share it across several channels, also Google+ and Reddit
  6. Keep it authentic to who you are and don’t use commercial lingo…contests can come off as commercial right off the bat

Here’s how we set up our most successful one to date.

Ask people directly on Twitter or LinkedIn

You’d be surprised how willing people are to help you out.

Simply ask them.

Here Twitter and LinkedIn work much better than cold emails.

Perhaps you want them to share, do a guest blog post, become an alpha-tester, simply seeing your film or purchasing your merchandise. 

Just keep it authentic, like you’d ask someone you met on the street.

Talk to people

Asking to get to know people

The best type of marketing is giving people something they really want. Instead of talking about what they’ll get if they do X. This means you must know what they want. Entailing a real conversation with real people hehe. 

We ask our users a lot — to the point where it feels embarrassing and as if we have no clue what we’re doing. Sometimes there are quite a few responses, a lot of the time one or no replies. This hurts! But it’s painfully normal, and the responses you do get make up for all the tumbleweed-posts. 

So, dare asking people what they’d like to see!

Even if they reply with just a few words, there’s a good chance you get to know them better and they’ll talk in favor of your project in the future.

And when? All the time:

  1. When you got your first idea
  2. During production
  3. When you’re in doubt, when you’re thrilled, when you feel like sharing
  4. Launching your project
  5. In the aftermath
  6. If people aren’t coming back

This is a message that goes out on Craft, when people haven’t been all that active. It’s actually got a pretty good reply rate, asking people to say what we could do to help them.

Asking for feedback

What did you do right? What could you improve on? And what outright sucked? If you don’t ask your audience, you’ll never know for your next project. And you won’t improve.

Note that there’s a fine line between asking What do you want vs. How did we do. One is about them, one is about you.

Both are fine and should be paid attention to equally. 

Shameless plug: You can get feedback, find alpha-testers and get to know people in the industry on our recently launched Craft Community 🙂

What didn’t work for us (so far)

Influencer marketing. Giving influential people something free and asking them to thoughtfully share something about you. This failed for us so far — bad response rates, bad feedback from their followers, little to no traffic in return.

Relying on SEO. This craft requires an expert. You can get the basics right, which will help you, but our experience so far is to not spend much time on it unless you know what you’re doing.

Share what worked for you below — #ShareYourProcess and #PayItForward