Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book Trailer Tutorials: How To Improve Your Teaser

The following is a three-part book trailer tutorial. Here's what you'll learn:

  • You'll learn what the most important element in your book teaser is and how to make it work for you. 
  • The number one reason book trailers fail to sell books.
  • How to build an exciting book trailer readers will love.

PART ONE: What Makes Book Teasers Tick?

Book Teasers are like perpetual marketing machines. Set ‘em up and let them work their magic. But, to understand how this kind of marketing really works, we have to see our marketing machine in slow motion and study all its moving parts, one by one. Let's take our machine apart and get familiar with everything that makes it move. We'll then rebuild it, stronger, faster, and design it to work effectively, persuasively.

If one picture is worth a thousand words, than many pictures are sure to be worth much more. But there's a big difference between one picture and a motion picture. Yet, each has to tell a story, which means that your book teaser must focus and center around one concept, just like a movie, except that it’s more than a movie. It’s a visual presentation wrapped around a sales message. Sorry to break the news to you, but yes, book teasers are not just eye candy. They should be appealing but you must also design them to sell, and that means you must design them to function as effective sales tools.

Your message must be short, powerful, and persuasive. Your teaser is not an epic movie or a novel. In fact, it's a very short story. Ideally, about 30 seconds short, to be exact, and certainly no longer than 90 seconds. Why so short? Two main reasons: One is because of people's short attention spans, especially on the internet where readers click at the speed of light. People are in a hurry. They're busy. They have much to read and see during their limited time surfing the web. There’s just too much to get to. Every second counts. Every moment is limited by a myriad of interruptions outside the world wide web. So you have to hit ‘em and hit ‘em hard. No mercy, and by that I mean, your message must be on point, like a laser.

Secondly, and unlike sales copy, the less you tell, or say, the more readers will want to know, as long as it's relevant. That's what teasers do, they tease the reader's imagination and leave them wanting more. That wanting curiosity is what leads readers to keep on clicking. You must instill an urge to find out more about your book, but that happens only if you've raised a question they want answered. That question, or series of questions you've planted in the readers mind with a series of photos, words, and audio must be backed with the right soundtrack and sound effects too. That's a heck of a lot to accomplish in 30 seconds flat. Let's break it down.

"Your sales message must 
be subtle and unobtrusive."

You’re probably thinking, “sales tool?” or “sales pitch?” That’s tacky and so transparent. Surely you don’t want me to say something that sounds like an advertisement. Absolutely not. That’s the whole point. When you watch a movie, the director doesn’t want you to think about the movie-making process. The director wants to involve you in their carefully written story. They want you to take the journey, not just with the protagonist, but the director’s goal is to get you to become the star, or inhabit the protagonist’s mindset.

They want to wrap you inside their story bubble, the protagonist’s world, his or her wants, needs, desires, and dreams. Wow, now we’re talking. When you walk out of a movie theater and hit the streets after inhabiting someone else’s world for 120 minutes or more, you might feel a bit foolish and realize it’s all been a “clever ruse” on the director’s part. He had you hooked for almost 2 hours. Not only were you entertained, but you’ve been sold something other than a movie ticket. You’ve been sold a location, a city or a country, a way of life, the products used by the actors, and so on.

Hey, this is commerce folks. Everything’s for sale, including your books. Your sales message must be subtle and unobtrusive. It cannot be an obvious sales pitch. If we take a clue from our movie analogy, aside from a few cleverly presented product placements, nobody screamed a sales pitch at you. What the director did, ever so slyly, was to stir your emotions in such a way that you might respond to the movie in a positive way.

"If you remember nothing else 
about marketing, remember this: 
Sales is all about 
emotional responses and nothing else."

The difference between a movie and your book teaser is that nobody expects you to run out of the theater and buy something you saw in the movie. But that’s exactly what the purpose of your teaser is. It’s not a mini movie. Your book teaser needs to sell your book, or at least get readers to think about buying it, and there’s only one way to accomplish that.

Just like a movie trailer, your teaser must grab the viewer’s attention with something entertaining, interesting, or curious, and then, it must persuade them to buy. Not a movie ticket, but your book. That decision to purchase comes only when you’ve moved your viewers on an emotional level, in their gut.

Come on, on top of everything else, an emotional investment in 30 seconds? What’s next? Good question, and as far as your teaser goes, a moving presentation is all you need. That’s a mouthful. Here’s how to get it:

If you remember nothing else about marketing, remember this: Sales is all about emotional responses and nothing else. No emotion means no response and no sale. Sound simple enough, but it’s not so simple to execute. Here’s what you need to know.

Evoking an emotional response from your reader means that you must trigger a desire in their mind. Without getting too heady on the psychology of buying, we all have needs, wants and desires. Feeding ourselves is a need. Craving a hamburger is a want. The search for happiness is a desire. Not only is the search for happiness a desire, it is the ultimate human desire. It’s the one desire human beings are constantly searching for and funny thing is, just when we think we’ve found it, something or someone comes along and bursts our happiness bubble, or maybe our perceived happiness fades, and we’re back to square one, searching for that elusive moment, all over again.

"The endless search for happiness 
is the reason we buy stuff..."

The endless search for happiness is the reason we buy stuff and try to acquire whatever we think will bring us all this elusive happiness. Our quest is endless, and as part of the scheme of things, your book can be part of that quest.

People try to fulfill their desire for happiness in many ways. Through love, acceptance, friendship, favorite foods, fine wine, vacations, products of all kinds, like fast cars, fancy houses, flat screen TV’s, computers, books, maybe even your book. Wow, that’s a long way around just to get to your book, isn’t it?

Well, yes and no, because considering how important emotional responses are to your marketing, all or nothing, in fact, it’s certainly worth mentioning. Okay, now that you realize how important people’s emotions factors into our perpetual marketing machine, next week we’re going to get to the business of evoking those feelings so that we can trigger those emotional hot buttons and persuade readers to click and buy your book.

Come back for Part Two of this exciting tutorial next Monday.
Here’s what we’ll cover:

1.     Find the hook: We all know what a hook is and what it does, right? Well, I’m going to demystify that term and break it down so you get what it really means.

2.     Translate words and images into meaningful concepts: Putting together a video presentation that conveys your sales message is easier said than done. We’ll cover everything you need to know.

3.     How long should your book teaser really be? I’m going to lay this one to rest once and for all. I’ll cover all the reasons for both short and longer trailers and which format is best for your trailer and why.

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