Posted in business in SL, I wrote this

Advertising Doesn’t Cost… Except When It Does

You’re probably already familiar with the old saw, “Advertising doesn’t cost; it pays.” Lots of businesses, in SL and in RL, drop insane amounts of money for promotion right from the get-go, figuring that the sooner they get their name out there, the sooner they’ll get lots of customers to come through their doors to buy their products.

What the pat little saying doesn’t mention is that advertising can indeed be very costly, especially when your business is brand new. This blog at A VC talks about marketing in RL business, and it provides some important insight as to what works and what doesn’t when you’re trying to get “heard of”. Many, if not all, of the tips mentioned in the linked article can be translated into practical use for your business in Second Life.

Before dropping thousands of lindens on that magazine spread, TreetTV spot, banner ad at the Marketplace, or even classified, you need to make full use of what is available for free. Numerous tools are available for your use to get people to hear about and spread the word about your virtual business for free and cheap. Are you getting the most out of them?

  1. LMs to your shop. These are the virtual equivalent of business cards; they should be given out freely, and often. Put an up-to-date LM to your shop in with every single item you sell. At your club, have a LM giver that will hit people with a LM (once!) when they come in. Whenever you send an announcement to your group (more on that shortly), put a LM. Don’t assume your group knows where the place is.
  2. A Shop Group. I can’t harp on this enough. It’s 100L to start up. Worried nobody will join within 48 hours? That’s what alts are for. Have a prim people can click to easily join your group. Make it open membership. And send announcements regularly (weekly, if it’s a shop; half an hour before each event at a club).
  3. Marketplace listings. This is especially crucial if your business is brand new, or if it’s moving around and hasn’t settled down on a main store location. If you’re new and only have a few products, or you can’t quite swing shop rent yet, this is an absolute must for you. You may even want to shorten the URL to your Marketplace shop and include it in your group’s description. And if you have a club, have some sort of a nice goodie at the Marketplace with a lm to your club. In fact, as we go through this list, consider how to link these list items to call attention to one another.
  4. Your business name and location in your Picks. Maybe number your Picks, so that your business is the very first thing listed. Have it in the Picks of your alts and (if they will) your friends too. You never know who will be looking at your profile and when.
  5. Your business name in the name of your parcel if you own your own parcel. It can be forgotten when you’re trying to remember everything else.
  6. Events. And not just for clubs! Almost every month of the year has a holiday or two that would make a great occasion for a sale, in-store hunt, or event. Use the Events listing to make the most of the occasion. Just make sure you’re honest about what the event is; customers don’t respond well to a bait-and-switch.
  7. Twitter and/or Facebook and/or Tumblr. Link to your store by way of them; link to them by way of your store.
  8. A blog for your business. More on that here.

All of these tools can be used to build something that really can’t be bought: community.

So suppose you’ve been at the game for a while, you’ve grown a bit, and you’re ready to try your hand at advertising. What are some things you should know?

  1. Advertising doesn’t guarantee revenue. It really doesn’t. In many ways it can be a gamble. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done; just be prepared to spend money that you may not see again.
  2. Find a community geared to your target audience. See what podcasts, publications, etc. are available within this community that may suit your business.
  3. As in all things, start small. Don’t do more than you can reasonably afford. Coca-Cola grossed $50 in sales in its first year of existence; its creator had spent $70 in its creation. It didn’t become the giant it is now overnight, and neither will you.
  4. Keep track. Make a note of when the ad run started, how much it cost, and what your sales were during it. There’s nothing quite like a graph to quickly show you if the ad was successful or not.

What are your own experiences with advertising, and what did you learn from them?

This article is listed in the SL Business section of the Know-it-All Pages, where you can find even more useful information. Go now, and see for yourself!




4 thoughts on “Advertising Doesn’t Cost… Except When It Does

  1. I noticed that the free variants are the best for me at the moment.. as you said.. those social media sites can bring some success as well… but the most importend thing is to be active with a business signature in every forums. This was for me one of the best ways to easily get sales just because peoples read my posts on any forums and after it they notice my forum signature or banner which is linked to SL Marketplace.. Im sure i got muuuuch more sales about this link then about any listing enhancement of LL. I was able to proof that in some cases because some URL shortener have stats and I could see that i got more click through with my short urls then with any LL listing enhancement..

    Imo I prepare a similar blogpost since some weeks.. but its not ready yet coz im busy with some other stuff as well.. I just did save it as template.. it will be still a bit differend then your blogpost in some points but not much.

    It will be more about the webbrowser based marketing instead of inworld marketing.

    I come to the idea because a friend inworld told me its not easy to find workers for his club.. I just was suprised because there are so many ways to reach peoples of second life.

    He said he is only using inworld groups and in my opinion this is one of the worst idea.

    I also was suprised that he never heard about SLU Forums, Twitter, Blogs, 2ndhub and so much more..

    So i will target to these subjects as I have good experience with it. There are some places in the web where you only find Second Lifeérs.. so we can use it for differend purposes… find workers.. adtertising.. and much more.

    Its really suprising that some peoples with business still dont know about SL related social media apps and websites.

    So its great that you did mention it for them.. I will mention it as well as it is pretty strange that some peoples only do there marketing inworld.

    Greetings hun 🙂

  2. Thanks Miyo!

    And I hadn’t thought about the forum signature idea! An excellent one. I’m surprised more SL employers (clubs, employment agencies, etc) don’t make more use of out-of-world resources like the ones you mention. But, it may just never have occurred to them.

    So I look forward to seeing your post on this as well. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Agree.. in the case of my friend: he was quit new to SL and didnt really know that the SL fanbase which you and me maybe would call just second life users, created tons of out-world recources for second life as well.

    He was quit suprised when I told him that there are thousands of SL users who use twitter, facebook and plurk in purpose of SL. Or 2ndhub.. or forums like SLUniverse where hundreds of peoples are active every day.. There are other possibilitys.. But he didnt know.

    I think stuff like inworld groups are ok… but better be active everywhere… thats what i told him.

    Or you mentioned a business blog.. great too! I think we all dont know if we have better sales because of our blog or more visitors.. but one thing is sure.. its a great way to get known and spread out our names or brands.

    However.. we all did start from scratch and had to learn. So its just great that there are peoples like you, me and others who write guides or helpful stuff.. peoples who help each other.
    Thats the great thing on Second Life! 🙂

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