There's something to be said for free content
It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s actually a great marketing strategy to get your title out to a wide audience. First-time filmmakers Kung Fury released for free on YouTube, but they still sold thousands of copies. The free video on YouTube was linked to their Vimeo OTT site, which attracted those superfans who wanted a full download, additional bonus material, and access on iOS and Roku apps. The principle is that giving your viewers a taste (or sometimes more than a taste!) can get them to buy or subscribe. Even offering the first ten minutes of your content for free can have this same effect.
If you’re not ready to go free right away, try it as a way to boost sales down the road. Documentary Minecraft: The Story of Mojang noticed their sales flat-lined after eight months, so they put it up on YouTube. They doubled their monthly sales.
Free content as a network-building strategy
Starting your email list from scratch? One way to gather interest for a new project is by giving away free copies of an old project. This is what the Ugandan filmmakers Wakaliwood did with their first action film, Who Killed Captain Alex? They grew their email list from zero to thousands in just 6 months. All you had to do to get a copy of the film was enter your email address. This allowed the audience to see if they liked what Wakaliwood was offering. Now, when the producers release their next film, they have a long list of fans to re-engage.