Posted in tutorial

A Faster Way to Program Your Fireworks

So if you’re a pyromaniac– er, pyrotechnician in Second Life, like me, then surely you’re familiar with the DeCuir programmable launchers. They are, and rightly so, an industry standard for blowing things up artfully.

But, if you want to program your own show, it can get a bit time-consuming. You click “queue”. Wait for the menu. Scroll from page to page. Select your effect. Wait for another menu to load to select your delay, and so on. With the Big Night drawing ever closer, you want a quick and easy way to program those notecards to put in your HUD for the show.

Well today, after rigorous testing and observation, I’ve figured out that way. I’ve cracked the code that probably many before me also have, but I’m actually going to tell you how it works.

Continue reading “A Faster Way to Program Your Fireworks”

Posted in building, I wrote this, photos, tutorial

Workaround: I can’t get to my sky platform!

This one’s especially for my friend Veyatie, new to SL, who has been having troubles lately with a glitch.  You see, her LM to her sky platform isn’t working; she keeps getting sent to the ground-level spot under said platform.

So, Veyatie, this one’s for you and for all you other new SLers.  I can’t fix your LMs (and probably LL can’t either but that’s another gripe for another time) but I can offer you this handy workaround.  It will also be a bit of an introduction to rezzing and manipulating prims, so there ya go, two birds with one stone.

First you’re going to either click your “build” button on your toolbar (if you have one) OR right-click the ground and select “Build” from the pie menu. You’ll get a cursor that looks like a magic wand. Click it somewhere on the ground near you.

Congratulations! You have rezzed your first ever prim from scratch.
Continue reading “Workaround: I can’t get to my sky platform!”

Posted in business in SL, grid-wide hunt, list, Shopping!, tutorial

Grid-wide Hunts, Revisited

Back in 2009 I wrote an article on business in SL, and near the end of it I said that Grid-wide hunts are a waste of time and not useful to your business at all. Well, times change, experiences change, and my position on that has changed somewhat.

I no longer think that hunts are completely useless or counterproductive. I do, however, still believe they’re not often done wisely (in some cases by the hunt planners and in other cases by the participating merchant). So in the interest in updating and sharing what I learn as I go, here’s some useful information on participating in Grid-wide hunts as a merchant.
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Posted in business in SL, day-to-day, I wrote this, money, SL Marketplace, tutorial

Writing an excellent Marketplace listing

Copywriting is just an industry word for writing the description and information related to your product. When you’re writing your copy, remember that this and your image are often the only impression people will get before deciding whether or not to make the purchase. So what important things must your description do?

What is this thing?

"What the hell is that thing?!"
If your copy answers no other question in the mind of the shopper, it should answer this one. I once had someone TP me into her shop to ask my advice on marketing a Big Incredible Thing she had made that nobody seemed to be buying. I went to her shop, saw that the parcel name included “Home of the [Item]!”, and waited for the shop and item to rez.

“So,” she finally asked, “How do I get people to buy this thing?”

“What thing?” I asked.

“The [Item]! It’s awesome, isn’t it?”

“What is?”

“Don’t you see all the [results]?”

“Oh, yeah, sure. So your [Item] is a [results]-maker?”

“Well, no! It’s so much more than that!” And she proceeded to list off all the amazing things her product could do.

When she was done, I asked, “How would I have known that, if you hadn’t been here to tell me?”

By now she was getting impatient, thinking I was stalling before offering some Big Marketing Secret. But the questions I was asking were really the important part.
Continue reading “Writing an excellent Marketplace listing”

Posted in business in SL, I wrote this, list, Shopping!, SL Marketplace, tutorial

Your Shop: Build and Design for your Target Audience

When it comes to your shop build and design, I’ve got some tips that may seem a bit abstract:

  • Think about your audience.  Who do you expect will buy your product? (For example, if you sell women’s shoes, you expect adult female avatars to be your primary target.  If you sell medieval weapons, you’d expect RPers with an interest in medieval things to be your primary target).
  • Ask yourself what appeals to your target audience, and what won’t. (For example, and let’s stay with the medieval weapons example: cutesy rainbow-sparkly text isn’t what will appeal to your audience; images of castles and heraldic banners, on the other hand, probably will.)
  • Ask yourself what feeling you want to create in your audience.  Again, this can be a bit abstract.  I sell food.  So what I want people to feel when they come in my store is hungry! I want them to be thinking of food, so I make my store look and feel like a supermarket.  If you sell shoes, you probably want your customers to feel sexy and confident. If you sell things for kids, you probably want them to feel happy, safe, and childlike.
  • Now that you’ve addressed that, ask yourself what things–be it colors, images, fonts, etc–help to call up that feeling.  Some examples:
    • Fonts: Make them readable first, then fitting with your shop’s feel.  A shoe shop might use a slender, sleek, trendy font to give a feeling of being modern, sexy, and confident.  A kids’ shop might use a handwritten-looking font (JUST DON’T USE COMIC SANS OMG) to give a feeling of cuteness.  A scripting shop might use a futuristic but formal-looking font to give a feeling of being professional and innovative.  A medieval weapons shop might use an ancient-looking font, similar to runes, to give a feeling of being rustic and tough.
    • Colors: Dark color on light background, light color on dark background.  People need to be able to read your signage.  Beyond that, think about what emotions can be brought with colors.  For example, earth tones tend to be mellowing and “adult” feeling (not in the “adult content” sense; in the “bookshop or cafe” sense).  Bright and pastel colors tend to be whimsical and inspiring.  Cool colors (blues and purples) can be mystical and dreamlike; warm colors (reds and oranges) can be exciting and passionate.
    • Imagery: What are some images/items that come to mind when you think of your audience?  I mentioned the castle walls and banners with the medieval weapons example.  For my shop, I’ve got shopping carts and a checkout counter (complete with moving conveyor!). Think about images that help convey what you want your target audience to feel/think about when they enter your shop.
    • Music: Have you ever gone into a Chinese restaurant IRL and heard Celine Dion?  I have.  It takes away from the intended feel of the place.  Whatever it is you’re selling, pipe in the appropriate music.  I have 80s pop and soft rock in my shop, because that’s what I hear when I shop in local RL supermarkets.

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!

Posted in business in SL, day-to-day, Shopping!, SL Marketplace, tutorial

Virtual Business: One Question To ALWAYS Ask Yourself

"Well I WAS going to come and spend one MILLION lindens... but I couldn't find you!"

Just a decade or two ago, one of the most foolish business mistakes to make was neglecting to list in the phone book. Suppose you have a pizza place. Suppose it’s even a really awesome pizza place. Suppose a handful of college students is sitting around the dorm, smoking a bowl er, studying, when they get to talking about that awesome pizza they had last week: your pizza. Only, they don’t have a menu from your pizza place (you know how things can get lost…) and so they go to look you up and you aren’t listed. Congratulations; a dormful of hungry, stoned college students just bought over a hundred dollars worth of your competition’s pizza instead.

Making the best product is only part of the recipe for a successful business, whether real or virtual. And in Second Life, or other virtual worlds, your business is just one of thousands in this great pixellated sea. The best product on the grid will only get so far if nobody can find you.

The One Big Question

At every stage of running your business– any virtual business, be it real estate, clothing, hair, gadgets, or whatever else– you need to be asking yourself one valuable question:

How can I make it as easy as possible for people to come and spend their money?

It’s simply mind-boggling to see how many business people inworld are not taking this one simple question into consideration.
Continue reading “Virtual Business: One Question To ALWAYS Ask Yourself”

Posted in business in SL, I wrote this, list, tutorial

Moving Your Business: Making a Smooth Transition

Sometimes you need more prims. Sometimes you need more room. Sometimes you need less rent. Sometimes you find yourself sandwiched in among a strip club, a casino, a glowing building full of freebies, and a chicken farm. Whatever the reason, the time has come to move your business. Fortunately, unlike in RL, you can just put it all in your pocket and relocate it. That’s not the hard part. The hard part is getting everyone to the new location. Here’s a list of some ways to make the transition easier. They may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget one or two things until after the fact. In no particular order:

  • Create a new LM to the new location right away, and send it to your group. You do have a group for your shop, right? Send that new LM right away, with an announcement saying you’ve moved. You’ll likely want to do it again in a week or so.
  • Go to your satellite locations, and replace the LM in the LM giver right away. You know, the “Visit my main store! Click here!”. You don’t want people clicking it and ending up in some empty parcel with banlines. Your potential customer will likely not do the detective work to find your new spot, and just look for the next place on search.
  • Swap all your SLURLs on your XStreetSL/New Marketplace listings. Yes, all of them. It’s tedious as hell but copying and pasting sure helps.
  • Swap out the LMs in your boxed products. Now this is where it gets tedious. At least if you use a web-based server to distribute your products, you won’t have to do it as many times as if you box them all up in vendor prims manually.
  • Change the link in your Picks. Don’t forget alts.
  • Change the link(s) in your blog.
  • (if moving servers) Reset all your servers. Ugh. If you’re locating servers anyway, this is a good chance to redo your LMs in your boxes. Set a new server in your new location, take out the inventory of the old one, and swap each LM before loading it into the new one. You may decide, if you don’t already, to keep the server in just one permanent spot (like your house, or a Data Center) so that in the future if your business moves, your server stays put.
  • Put your Business name and description in the new location right away. Don’t just leave it as “Roadside parcel for sale 4096sqm”. People won’t find it that way. Even if you have to put “New location coming soon” or “Under construction” in the description, at least change the parcel name right away.
  • Make an announcment in your blog that you’ve moved. Don’t forget the other social media too, like Twitter and Facebook.
  • Have an event. Any reason’s a good reason to have a promotional event, and a new location’s as good a reason as any. Hire a DJ, maybe get some fireworks, have some games, and make a 2-hour event of it that you can post about at the SL website Events listing.

So… am I forgetting anything? What are some other important steps in moving your business?

Speaking of SL business, make sure you also check out The Content Creator’s Supplementary Guide to Business in SL, and Why People Leave your Shop In the First 2 Minutes.

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!

Posted in building, day-to-day, Making your prims count, photos, tutorial

Make Your Prims Count Part 4: Artworks and Signage

Welcome once again to another in a series of blog posts for helping you make your prims go further in your home, club, or shop. My pub, when it was first built, had very few prims available (all of 116!) and so I had to make each one count. But what about signs, posters, neon, and all those little bits of “flair” that make a pub a pub? Sure, you can just put one poster to a prim and put them on your walls, but believe me, those prims add up FAST. So I’ve got a few ideas for cutting your prim usage in half (and possibly even more!) for signage and artworks.
Continue reading “Make Your Prims Count Part 4: Artworks and Signage”

Posted in building, Making your prims count, photos, prim torture, tutorial

Make Your Prims Count Part 3: Tables

Welcome once again to the third in a series on prim efficiency in building. These tutorials are geared especially to beginner-/intermediate-level builders; I try to make them as easy-to-follow as I can, but if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them. Let me know what you think, and show them to your friends!

OK, so, today I’ve got a handful of low prim table ideas. If you make a simple table with four legs, you’re using five prims already. Never mind if you want any kind of detail. These tables, however, have no more than two prims apiece. They don’t need any scripting–we’ll leave that to the chairs, later on–so they should be pretty simple.
Continue reading “Make Your Prims Count Part 3: Tables”