Thursday, March 8, 2012

Impulse Buying Triggers - How To Set Them Up!

Impulse Buying - Part II

My cheap husband made me do it!

Last time we talked about "triggers". What triggers, or motivates people to buy? That's a question with complex answers, or multiple answers at least. Let's simplify it by flipping it around. What deters people from buying? That's easier to answer. High prices, inferior products, lack of time, lack of money, unappealing products, price too low, price too high, out of sight, out of mind. These are the most common reasons people might put off a purchase either temporarily or indefinitely.

Overcoming all these obstacles will help but it's not always enough. Once you find the right price point, jazz up your product appearance and presentation, its overall quality, and bombard prospects with your relentless message, you're still left with a multitude of possible objections or reasons consumers might be reluctant to buy.

Let's make a distinction. The difference between product X and your book, that is. Product X can be anything and all the scenarios explained here apply to selling any product. Books, however, are a very different kind of product because they are classified as entertainment and therefore must appeal to readers exclusively on an emotional level. That's the whole point. You must set up, present, and sell your book within the parameters of an emotion-packed sales pitch. You must mine your story for emotional connections, or ties with your readers.

First things first. You must create a desire for your book in the consumer's mind. Working off our 3 golden rules, emotion was the first thing on the list. The only way to sell your book is to attach an emotional connection, bridge an emotional gap between your book and a potential buyer. You must find a way to engage the consumer with their emotions leading the way. Problem is, we don't always know what particular emotion will trigger a response in a consumer. But not to worry, that's why there are only several emotions you need to work with.

"Love is the absolute emotion but in the world of sales,
desire is the emotion of choice."

More than anything else, people want to make a connection with your book. By that I mean they want to find what they have in common with your story. Are they familiar with places mentioned in your book? Do they live or have they traveled to locations mentioned in your book? Can they relate to other authors or books you mention? Have they experienced some of the things your character is going through or is about to encounter? These questions are limited only by your imagination, but the broadest of these questions and by far the most relevant is the first because making a personal connection with your book automatically includes many other questions that go along with it.

This kind of connection is not always known but it is essential to giving the buyer a reason to want, a reason to desire your book because without it, their questions and answers remain unfulfilled. It is this level of curiosity that you must tap into and play up. This is the main reason a potential buyer might become interested in your book and why they will want to buy it. It is this question, this curious detail, you must feature and open your book or your book trailer with.

This is where your all-important hook comes in. In Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, (the film version) the hook is a murdered man splayed on the floor of the Louvre with strange symbols scrawled over his body. A very curious detail which raises plenty of questions. Questions that demand answers. The book does not open with this scene as in the film, but it is not far off. The book trailer opens with the location and the second frame is a shot of the victim on the floor. Readers want to know. They want to find out what has happened, how did it happen, who did it, and why. It's an irresistible set of questions and to find the answers they must buy the book. Ingenious isn't it?

Okay, your book is not the next Da Vinci Code, neither is mine. Go figure. All hooks don't have to be this deep and multi-layered, and most of them are not. That''s OK. As long as you open with something that incites curiosity, you're on your way. Check out the Da Vinci Code Trailer:

Let me say that I think this teaser runs a bit long. It has too many drawn out text shots and overall its pace a bit slow for such a thriller. Nevertheless, it is effective and sticks to the hook and all its salient points. I'd quicken the pace, shorten the huge text shots, and ramp up the sound beats for a more exciting presentation.

Now think of the hook in your story. What's the most important shot you need to show that will instantly pique the viewers curiosity? Lead with that shot after you've established a location and/or point in time. When running text. Make sure you give readers enough time to read (consider people read at s different pace) but don't linger on these shots, especially if you're also using voice-overs.

Take your time to study this Da Vinci Book Trailer and see for yourself just how they set it up and followed through using all the techniques I've outlined here. These principles hold true regardless of the pace or genre of your book. The only thing that changes is slower music, longer frame shots and text shots, but a sense of urgency should always be present.

Here's the Official Teaser: A much slicker presentation that focuses on decoding the mystery. Nice effects!

The third golden rule is a special offer. Offers can be made any time during your presentation but at the end is probably best because it will be the last thing viewers remember. What's important is that you don't linger by showing sales deadlines or cut-off dates. This is something you must finesse and flash without making it too obvious. You want a seamless, cohesive, unobtrusive, and exciting presentation, not an overt sales pitch.

Never make it obvious you are trying to sell something. Your focus should be on creating excitement, motivation, and to persuade readers to buy your book because without it, they will be missing the answers to the curious questions your trailer has posed.

Your goal is to present your book in such a way that the trailer leaves important story questions unanswered. Telling too much, or giving away key parts of your story will only kill the suspense and curiosity you're trying to build.

That's why they call them "teasers."

Setting up "the tease" is easy. All you have to do is bring up a question and leave it unanswered, or make a suggestion with provocative images. What triggers a response? What makes readers click on your trailer for more information about your story? This is the X Factor in sales. Different things trigger different folks. You might never know for certain what has triggered an emotional response, but all the conditions that trigger emotions in readers must be presented in your trailer. You must cover all your bases and open with a powerful, engaging, and curious detail that will set-off a range of emotions and questions in the viewer's mind.

When you put all the pieces of the sales puzzle together with text, images, questions, and curiosities, your sales message can and must be irresistible to readers. Then, and only then, will they be inclined to click without thinking about how much they will spend. Money will be irrelevat to them and all they want to know is what happens next. Like an itch they must scratch, the impulse, the quest for answers is on!

Make sure your trailer shines by using all the techniques mentioned here. The bottom line? Engage readers emotionally right from the start and keep building up the suspense. You must tell a very short story without giving away key parts and by showing provocative images. Don't linger. Edit your trailer for short, quick cuts. The effect you're after is this: Once the trailer comes to an end (about 60-90 seconds), the viewer should hit the replay button.

They hit replay because you've left them wanting and unfulfilled. You've witheld just the right information and piqued their curiosity. They want answers. But guess what? They can hit the replay button all day long and they won't find answers in your book trailer. They haven't missed a thing. It's all in your book, and their only option follow the link to your merchant page or your homepage where they can buy your book for all the answers.

Okay folks, we've discussed impulse buying and how to set up your trailer to motivate readers to click for more because sometimes it's now or never. Either you design and push for the sale right now, or risk losing a sale altogether for reasons unknown to you (list of consumer objections beyond your control here).

Now what? What happens next? Does your price stop them dead in their tracks? Is it too high, or too low? How can a price ever be too low? Next time we'll discuss different types of offers. Remember that people buy into your offer, not just the product itself. We'll discuss various offers plus the one offer that works 99% of the time. Like those odds? Stay tuned for my next Post and find out which offer sends consumers scrambling for the buy button.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Impulse Purchases - The Nasty Little Secrets

I love the cheddar!
OK folks, as promised, here's some of my spiel about impulse buying. You've heard me say it before and it's worth repeating because it's important. Selling is easy. Whaaat? Okay, let me explain. Selling the right product to the right people at the right time is easy. Fair enough. You know what I mean. Let's get to it.

BTW, here's my disclaimer for those who feel impulse buying is trapping, conning or otherwise taking advantage of a customer. A consumer's weakness or lack of buying discipline is their own fault, not the advertiser's. Whenever I get caught up in the hype of an impulse purchase, I blame myself, then I enjoy the product. Hey look at this way, if you don't make the irresistible offer, someone else will. Case closed. No guilt, no shame. Here goes.

Since the beginning of time. Take your pick: (Adam and Eve or the dawn of cave people.) Human beings needed things and wanted things. And guess what? At no other time in history has this been a fact more than it is now. Heck, just take a look at all those storage warehouses popping up all over the place. People just can't find enough room to store all their worldly possessions. Come on folks, there are hundreds of different cereals out there and counting. The proliferation of products is massive, and so is the purchase of these millions of products every day. Including books!

America especially is a consumerist society without bounds or limits it seems. People buy all sorts of stuff, especially online. The internet grows every year with no signs of slowing down any time soon. A tough economy? Not for everyone. There are plenty of people with deep pockets and just as many with not so deep pockets with the same desires. Guess what wins every time? Yes, the desire to want something always outweighs the sensibility of owning it. Let's face it, affording something and buying it does not always align. Does the word foreclosure sound familiar? (Sorry if I hit a sore spot. You knew it was coming.) Enough said, you get the point.

"The desire to want something always 
outweighs the sensibility of owning it."

Fact is, that most people want just about everything they see. There's no shortage of wanting and desiring. There's only a shortage of money, or in this case, the right offer. Here's something you don't hear every day.

People don't buy products or services, they buy offers.

WTF? Who the heck says that? What does it mean? Hey, it's simple. If money were no object, you'd probably own the Brooklyn Bridge, and so would I. Not to mention all the con men out to sell it to us. For example, if you could buy the Brooklyn Bridge for $50 a month, ($1.67 a day) you probably would, if for no other reason than to brag about it. Silly example, but you get the point. You'd buy because of the offer. Irresistible offers are what people buy into. How do you structure an offer in your book trailer?

Great question. Make them an offer they can't refuse. Remember that line from the Godfather? That's the basis of all impulse buying propositions. Don't give customers a way out. Make them an offer they can't refuse. Okay, we're not selling cars or bridges, we're selling books. Big difference. But are you really selling books? Well, yeah, they're not steaks. Right, if they were steaks, you'd sell the sizzle. But since they're books, you sell...the story. Specifically, the emotion of the story. Still with me?

A book is mere paper and ink. That's only part of what you're selling. People do buy and collect books because of their beautiful covers. (I'm guilty of this.) But what you're really selling is the contents of your book, or its emotional story. What if it's non-fiction? Same thing. Just because you're selling a bullet list of benefits, doesn't mean you can't attach emotion to it. Aha, now we're getting somewhere. Okay, somewhere deep inside you, you already knew this, but the difference is this time your focus on marketing will be fresh and laser-like.

Great, how do you sell the emotion in your story? Assuming you've written a killer story with plenty of twists and turns, intrigue, suspense, a surprise ending, there you have it. What's all that about? How about emotional connections? Ring a bell? Nothing new here folks. This never changes. Not now, not a million years from now. You're always selling an emotion. End of story. Readers thrive on emotional content. It's the only reason they read or watch movies or go to plays, etc. They want to experience an emotional high of some kind. It's like an addiction.

If merchants could only remember that little piece of information, their advertising and marketing would improve exponentially. But most of them don't have a clue and all they talk about is themselves and how important they are or how big their company is and so on. It's pathetic. Selling is never about the seller. It's all about the buyer. What's in it for them? Nothing else matters, except, how soon can they get your product, assuming you've presented it in such a way that readers must want it.

Okay, this is a mouthful, I'm sure. You've probably never heard any of this before, except right here because many advertisers and copywriters would like to keep this a big, fat secret. Who cares? I've told you everything and nothing at all because there's so much more it would take volumes and years to divulge. Yes, sales and marketing is a science and an art. You're not going to learn everything you need to know over night.

Let's break Impulse buying into bite-sized, digestible chunks. This may not sound appetizing yet, but it will when we're done. There's so much more to talk about, so much more to learn, and like advertising, it takes plenty of repetition before any of this sinks in.

Three Golden Rules:
1. You're Selling an Emotion
2. You Need a Special Offer
3. You Need To Create a Sense of Urgency

As I've said folks. Selling is a step-by-step process. Yet all those processes must happen simultaneously and decisively within a parameter of time in order to be effective. Stay with me and come back for more of this ongoing tutorial on Impulse Buying, The Ultimate Sales Tool.

Here's what we'll cover in my next Post: Impulse Triggers
Okay, it's all about emotion. Great, you've got that. But how do you market an emotion? How do you approach it from a sales POV? Easy, you set things up so the reader feels it. The emotional set-up, the question, or the statement that hooks readers at first sight and never lets them go.

That's our mission and what kicks off our marketing campaign in the right direction. The three Golden Rules. Without this, all is lost before we even begin. Here's where most marketing comes to a screeching halt, right out of the gate. We'll review how to come up with the best opening lines, triggers that set-off your marketing, your "sales pitch" in the most curious form that will not only hook readers, but send them scrambling for more about your story.

I'm on a roll and holding nothing back. Don't miss this!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Do Book Teasers Really Work?

The best way to answer a silly question is with another silly question.

Uh, Does marketing work?

WOW! I gotta have that!
Hmm...well, yes and no. It all depends on a multitude of reasons or obstacles. While many potential customers might receive your sales message, interested buyers could be prevented from placing an order for a number of reasons beyond your control. Anything from a lost internet connection, severe weather, lack of money, technical shopping cart problems, shipping price objections, nature calls, and so on. The list of obstacles can be endless.

The solution to that is simple. Repeat your message. Hence, all those damn Geico commercials every 5 minutes. Funny and annoying but in the world of advertising, essential to success. The good news is that Book Trailers are like perpetual marketing machines that never quit spreading your sales message. They're always on.

(Just like all those car insurance commercials. Personally, Flo is my favorite.)

Now for the not so good news. Bad marketing can work against you and have a negative effect on your sales. Obviously this is not what you want. So how do you know when your sales message, your advertising and marketing is missing its mark? Three reasons. Not enough repetition or market saturation, or if you know that not to be the case, then something's wrong with your sales approach or you're simply addressing the wrong audience, the wrong demographics.

In other words, Book Trailers, like any marketing piece, can and do work, but only if all the conditions are right. Aside from those conditions, what other factors influence a potential customer's buying decision? Glad you asked because that one question is the subject of this entire blog and what we've been distilling here for the past several months.

How do you write, design, and produce a book trailer that will inspire, encourage, and motivate readers to click for more and eventually buy your books? Or better yet, how about a killer trailer that propels interested buyers into placing an order right now, before they forget or change their minds for whatever reason (obstacle) known to humankind.

Impulse Purchases. You've heard of them, you've seen them advertised, and heck, you've certainly been a victim, uh excuse me, a customer on the "wrong end" of one of these late night infomercials. Want to be on the dealing end of an impulse purchase? Sure you do. Stay tuned for my next Post where I lay down all the golden rules to setting up and reaping the rewards of the ultimate buying scenario: Part I: The Amazing Impulse Purchase and how to Set it Off. Right here, next time.

Don't miss this jaw-dropping Post, coming soon, I promise.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fishing For Readers?

Book Trailers are excellent bait. Here's one of the most important things your book trailer must accomplish and it must accomplish this within the first few seconds. Drum roll please...
"Your book trailer must instantly create a curious desire in the viewers mind."
And what that means is that your trailer should, within its opening seconds, make a curious statement, ask a provocative question, or show an intriguing image that will immediately hook the viewer.

Now that doesn't mean you have to be outlandish or eccentric. What it does mean is that you must be interesting at a minimum. Nothing else will do. So what exactly is a curious statement, or a provocative question, or an intriguing image? Simply put, it is anything that will interest the viewer just enough to stick around for the rest of your message. Most of the time, just stating where your story takes place or when, if it's a historical or set in a different era, is enough because opening with a place and time is always a safe bet. Like characters, settings speak volumes to your core audience.

Opening with your setting is an excellent hook that leads to more interesting happenings (fill in your events here) which will unfold as the seconds tick to hopefully a bigger, even more interesting question or an open-ended answer. Take your pick. Point is, you must hook and reel in the reader to a point when their curiosity has peaked. By the end of your presentation, your reader must be so intrigued, so curious, and so eager to find out not only more about your story, but its fantastic ending as well.

Your story does have an amazing ending doesn't it? Sure it does. And if it doesn't, you can now look to its opening where you'll find the answers to that amazing ending you've been after for so long. An ending you'll just hint to or suggest in your trailer, but remember not to give away key parts of your story.

Maintaining a sense of mystery and suspense are key elements to good storytelling and just as important to your marketing concepts. So the next time you're stuck on how to open your book trailer or what kind of device to use in a banner or promotion. Think of your reader's most salient desires within the context of your story narrative and...let it fly.