Thursday, September 30, 2010

What Motivates People to Buy? (Part I)

Believe it or not, getting people to buy something they like is relatively easy. For the most part, if the price is right, they will buy any given product, if the time is right that is, or they might even buy when the time is not so ideal for them. It all depends on how urgent their needs and wants are.

As you can see, there are many variables that lead to a sale. Many conditions that must be “just right” in order to make a sale. But let me cut to the chase. Here’s a scenario that practically guarantees a sale every time. Wow, I’ve got your attention now! That’s right. I’m going to reveal the one offer that almost guarantees sales in high volume, just about every time a prospective buyer comes across it.

Here’s the offer: Send no money now, pay later.

That’s it! That is the one offer that will almost always produce a sale with just about everyone that reads it. The reason being is that this sale requires no money transaction at the point of sale, which eliminates the number one obstacle of making a sale in the first place: price.

Here’s proof: If I offered you a book priced at $24.95, you would immediately start looking for ways to justify the price of that book. You would ask yourself, “How much do I get for $24.95?” You will make comparisons to other books and other offers. You will want to know that the quality of the writing, printing, binding, and all the rest is worthy of that price.

“It’s much more a question of not losing your $24.95 as opposed to gaining whatever information the book has to offer.”

Now what if I removed the price (obstacle) and offered that very same book for free? Just about every question you had will disappear because you have nothing to lose. Since you have nothing to lose, (money) and everything to gain (the book you want) you are suddenly much more willing to place the order and get the book. The only problem with this offer is that you think there is a catch. Why would I give away this book? Is there something wrong with it? (damaged, inferior writing) In what way am I committing myself to the seller? What does the seller want in exchange for this transaction, if not money?

So you see, a new set of questions and obstacles arise once again that might prevent someone from ordering the book. All this jostling for the right price-point is what marketing is all about. This is where the science of selling meets the art of offering. This is where the right offer (formula) will yield the highest volume of sales at any given time, every time.

But what is this magic formula? How do you know what the best price is for your book and how do you overcome the many obstacles in the long chain of events that lead to a sale? The answer is fairly simple. You must remove every obstacle in your way. Every red light in the path that leads to your book, must be turned to a green light, a go. In short, here are the green light conditions that lead to sales:

  • Product Awareness: (via advertising or publicity) Prospects search for or stumble upon your online advertisement, are intrigued with it, become curious and want to know more about it, so they click.
  • Buyer interest (needs and desires) Prospects are looking to break the boring routine in their lives. By nature, human beings constantly need interesting events that offer them happiness.
  • No Concerns (fear, apprehension) Assure buyers you’re not ripping them off. That they are getting their money’s worth.
  • Product Benefit (quality, worth, inspiration) What’s in it for them? How will this book enhance, or change their lives?
  • Emotional Connection (buyer identifies with it) Buyer finds an emotional reason to bond with your book. (Via book cover, themes, premises, quote, etc.)
  • Buyer Motivation (intrigue, excitement, action) Prospects reason they want your book and they must have it. This reasoning moves them from passive observer to interested buyer.
  • Product Accessibility (easy, fast purchase options) Make buying the book as easy as possible for them to pay for it via credit or debit cards, Paypal, etc.
  • Right price (not too high or too low) The perfect price point. Most of the time, you can guesstimate this price by comparing similar books sold in different venues, usually by trial and error. If your price is much higher than similar books, it will seem unfair or greedy. If it is far lower, it might be perceived as inferior quality.
  • Fair or free shipping and handling (price) Ideally, shipping should be free (shipping costs included in the cost of the book if possible) or should be the same or even lower than most average shipping costs.
  • Tax fee (depends on the state) If the book you want to buy is manufactured in the state where you live, you must pay the appropriate state sales tax. Otherwise, no sales tax is imposed.
  • Speedy delivery (How soon will buyer receive the product?) Once the buyer orders your book, they want it as fast as possible, without major delays. Usually within a week or less.
  • No strings attached (No commitment is expected of buyer) The buyer wants to be left alone to enjoy it without further exchanges or expectations of any kind. (Reviews, feedback, etc.)

These are the primary conditions (yes, there are variables) that need to be in place, every time. There are no exceptions to these sales conditions. Every link in the chain of sales events must be green for go, otherwise you risk losing the sale.

What are the variables? An interruption, a lost internet connection, a distraction, sleepiness, pain, nature calls, a black-out, your favorite show is on, you name it. There are numerous reasons why a perfectly good sale might be abandoned by an interested buyer. But these variables are not set in stone and account for only a small percentage of lost sales.

Check out Stephen King's "Under The Dome" Teaser: I'll be commenting on it after Part II.
Meanwhile, here's another Stephen King classic Book Teaser: "Duma Key" with my commentary and analysis.

Stay tuned for Part II, next Monday. There's a lot more ground to cover and this is just a sampling of what's to come. Check back often or subscribe and stay informed with more eye-opening marketing exploits in the works and on the way.

This article (excerpt) was swiped from Alberto’s upcoming book, tentatively titled, “Don’t Freak Out” Fearless Marketing: Proven Techniques For Promoting Your Novel

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Book Teasers Pub! Behind The Scenes

What is the one thing that motivates prospects to buy your book?  Good question, and I’m sure that every buyer has their own particular reason, other than liking your story, for buying your book.

Here are a few hard facts why people buy books:
  • They are bored. (They’re looking for something new and exciting to read.)
  • They love books. (They’re constantly searching for great stories.)
  • They like the book cover and title (Collect books for the art.)
  • They like the premise of your story (They believe in the story concept.)
  • They identify with your protagonist or other secondary character. (They can relate to the character’s circumstances and want to take the journey of discovery along with them. They want to become your character.)
  • They recognize you, the author and like your work. (They enjoy the author’s writing style/platform.)
  • They’ve bought books from a particular author before and were happy with the outcome of the story. (A repeat customer, a fan.)
  • They are curious about the story. (How will it end?)
  • The book reminds them of something emotional. (They’re attached by sentimentality.)
  • They like the price. (They think the price is not too high, maybe even a bargain.)

  • They are attracted by its title (They like what the title implies.)
  • They are convinced (by its title and back copy) that your book can solve their problem(s).
  • They like the wit and candor in which you deliver your message. (They like the hook or angle of your approach to their problem.)
  • They agree with the price. (They don’t feel like you’re picking their pockets.)

This by no means encompasses all the reasons people like to buy books. I’m sure you can add a few reasons of your own. It’s all subjective, but notice how much more authors of fiction have to offer by way of benefits (entertainment value) as opposed to non-fiction books, which are capable of not only entertaining, but of solving a particular problem, even though they might be priced higher on average and by comparison.

That’s good news for novelists, in particular because if they write a great classic story, they are practically guaranteed to succeed by public approval and its marketability is assured. Ever hear editors, publishers, or lit agents say that they like a story but they’re unsure how to market it? That’s code for “Your story has no hook, and it’s not commercial enough.” That usually happens with literary work, and why they love genres so much, since genres are for the most part, proven canned formulas, or “high concepts” that work every time. Meaning the concept has built-in marketing, such as, a tidal wave hits Manhattan, an asteroid is headed for Texas, or zombies take over the planet--something to that effect.

These “no brainer” concepts are easy to market and why they have all been done before, in different ways. They are easy to sell not only to movie studios, but to global audiences. Ca-ching! Get the idea?
But what happens to the unusual story? You know, the one that that’s been peddled for ages and nobody seems to want it because it’s not mainstream enough. Great stories like Robert Duvals’ “The Apostle”, or Kevin Costner and Michael Blake’s, “Dances With Wolves.” Blake’s novel Dances, was virtually unknown until Costner turned it into an academy-award-winning movie.

Promotion doesn’t always come easy. That’s the point. What does any of this have to do with book trailers? Everything! You see, marketing is about one thing and one thing only--has been, always will be. Marketing has always been about an emotional connection between spectator and story form, whether the story comes in cinematic form, literary form, or the words and acts of a playwright. It all starts with that one emotional attachment. No attachment? No connection, and no possible sale.
So, how do we turn book trailers into bundles of emotional content? 

Drum roll, please…Easy…you find the story hook and play it up. (Come on, what did you expect?) Let’s remember, all stories have a certain angle, some are stronger than others, but an angle nonetheless, otherwise they wouldn’t have been written to begin with. This angle, or hook is what the reader, in our case, will identify with and latch on too. (BTW, on an upcoming Post, I’m going to talk about “story hooks,” and how to develop a stronger angle if yours happens to be weak and rather undefined. You don’t want to miss this, because it will change everything about your writing.)

Strong angles are the main reason audiences/readers will consider buying your book. They feel as if your story is already an emotional part of them and they begin to develop an attachment to it in ways they cannot explain.  Yes, it’s psychological, but it goes beyond that, insofar that if they don’t buy your book, they’ll be missing something that is already part of their psyche. Suddenly, they must have it, and hopefully, they want it right now!

People wanting things has always been what selling is all about. In a word, DESIRE. Desire is something you feel that you cannot live without because the connection you have made with a certain object, product, or book, must now become tangible and real. It must move from infinite space, from the fantasy realm into your mailbox and into your hands, so that you can internalize everything it has to offer, until you and the book are one.

How funny is that? I’ve just unleashed a small part of the dynamics behind the science of marketing so that you can see how experts use marketing techniques to make a sale. Sounds complicated but when all is said and done, properly, that is, your book trailer must adhere to certain scientific, proven advertising principles that have been around for ages.

I’ll bet you’ve never quite heard it like this before, but that’s only because I’m distilling a behind the scenes account of the making of effective promotion material, not just book teasers. These principles apply to all marketing in all of its forms: display ads, classified ads, print and media ads, brochures, media kits, you name it.

Okay, enough of that. Just thought I’d blow your mind with something offbeat just to get your attention, which is the first thing your teaser must do. That’s relatively easy depending how you look at it, especially in this over-saturated age of mass advertising--ads that you see on just about every empty space. Nothing is sacred. Wherever you look, advertising is there. And just like a life-threatening onslaught, your senses shut down and tune out to avoid the pain.

In this case, the pain of advertising and information overload. Too much, is simply, well…too much. People start to tune out everything around them in order to make sense of whatever is left. Although your brain is capable of processing billions of bits of information at any given time, it also needs rest to catch up from all the processing so it can formulate ideas and thoughts into comprehensible bundles of information. (What?) Otherwise, we go stir-crazy.

Okay, I’m always stir-crazy, but that’s another story. What I’m trying to say is that once you get their attention with either imagery or sound, then you must entertain them for the next 30 seconds or minute and a half at most. I don’t recommend putting together a long teaser, for over 2 minutes let’s say. Most people have very short attention spans in this digital age of instant access and dual core processing speeds. People just don’t have the patience to sit still for several minutes at a time. Even Time Magazine, many years ago, started to shorten all their stories to one page. Readers have become either too lazy or too shrewd to turn through page after page of advertising to get to the rest of the story.

The same holds true for just about any advertising medium these days, especially the internet. Everyone is accustomed to whisk by at lightning speed and take in loads of pithy information and just move on with the busy lives. There’s simply too much to get to and apparently very little time to do it. So, in short, your book teaser must open with a bang of sorts. And that doesn’t literally mean with anything loud, but it does mean to open with something relevant and possibly meaningful to the viewer. There is no time to waste. You must get right to the point and as in speech, you must avoid repeating yourself. That goes mostly for imagery. Repetition in text or sound is sometimes acceptable or even necessary, but repeating images is dull and grounds for clicking right out.

What follows all this madness, is that you must never lose sight of your core message, which is, “Here’s an amazing story you’re going to like, written by an extraordinary writer. You can now order this book!” Everything else is subjective and open to interpretation. You certainly don’t want to say too much. You don’t want t give away too much of the story, especially important parts, and you want to avoid mentioning price at this point. 

The only thing you want to do is to excite the viewer and motivate them to find out more by visiting your website, or going directly to Amazon or any other bookstore, and buy your book.
 It takes a lot of effort to work-up excitement and emotion (in a book teaser) to turn a prospective buyer into a paying customer. That’s the goal, plain and simple. Building excitement into every book teaser is the main criteria when I sit down, write copy and select images for your trailer. Without that, there’s nothing left but a bunch of pictures and music.

But pretty pictures and music and a shot of your book cover is not enough. That’s just what book teasers look like, and sound like. What they must do (motivate readers to buy your book) is what I specialize in and strive for in every trailer. That’s the BookTeaserPub! difference.

Just see for yourself. Log onto YouTube and search for any of the trailers you’ve seen on this site, and see what viewers and book buyers have to say, and email me with any questions. I’ll be happy to get back to you promptly with the answers you’re looking for.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Welcome To Book Teasers Pub!

Hi folks, welcome to my new site!
I'm Alberto Rios and some of you may know me as the author of the popular historical mystery novel, A Death for Beauty or An Immortal, while others may also know me as a copywriter/graphic designer with over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising. Either way, I've put all my marketing exploits in one basket and I'd like to share with you my most recent offerings regarding the wonderful world of book promotions.

More and more authors are promoting their books with book trailers, book videos, or book teasers, (whatever you'd like to call them) which today are essential for getting the word out about your books. When book teasers are done right, they work wonders. When done haphazardly, they can turn on you and bite you hard, right where it hurts, in your wallet, and maybe even your ego.

Let's talk about how properly produced Book Teasers can help you accomplish two very important goals when promoting your books.
  • Firstly, your book trailer should help you promote and sell your books. To accomplish that, your trailer must not only captivate the reader's attention, but it should motivate them to want to buy your book(s). (More about motivating prospects soon!)

  • Secondly, your book trailer must elevate your platform as an author. To do that, it must present you in a friendly, flattering light, as an authority in your field, or an experienced storyteller that knows how to write entertaining stories. (Upcoming article about the difference between promoting fiction and non-fiction.)
"The main problem with most book trailers is that they are filled with boring, self-serving imagery and horrible music that does nothing but grate the viewer's sensibilities.

From my point of view, as a copywriter, book trailers are much more than a series of pictures accompanied by bad music. The only thing that will get you is a quick click away from your message; the opposite of what you're looking for.

But your Book Trailer is an advertisement with this specific message: "Check out this amazing book, written by an incredible author. Here's where you can buy it now!"
Remember that presenting you as a good writer will enhance everything your book has to offer, and conversely, presenting your book in an exciting way, elevates your status as an author. They go hand-in-hand, and producing a book trailer with anything less is a disservice to both your book and to you as a writer.

Take a look at the Book Teaser Samples I've produced for a major Book Promotional Agency, plus one of the Book Teasers for my own novel. I encourage you to compare prices, quality, and overall message effectiveness, with other Book Video production companies to see the difference.

This Blog is a work in progress, so please bear with me as I put all this together. My goal is to offer you an effective and amazing Book Teaser at an affordable price. Thanks for watching!

The actual size of all Book Trailers is about the width of this column.
Widescreen HD but I can customize yours to any size or format you need.

* * * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Here are general specs and particulars, but each book trailer is different and all prices are flexible.

Prices start at just $595 for most trailers like the samples you see here. Voice-overs might add about $200 each, depending on how many lines and other criteria. Stock Motion Footage is priced accordingly. The average length is about 1:30 seconds per trailer.

I customize each trailer according to the overall look and feel of your book, along with writing the ad copy and matching the proper musical score. Sound effects, Book Cover image, color correction on Photoshop, special effects filters, everything is included for one low price.

If you'd like to see more trailer samples, please drop me a line and I'll post more samples here or direct you to a link where you can watch them.

Soon I'll be posting more in-depth articles to help you promote your books with Book Teasers.
Please email me with any questions: ariosjr@writing(dot)com