Marketing in Second Life

Properly putting an item for sale in SL is a pain in the butt.

Last night I put my new ship’s wheel for sale. It is a simple, unscripted object. It took me over an hour before it was completely ready.

Each product to be added to the marketplace must go through a number of tedious steps. Most of them are not truly necessary. But my products are not typically big sellers, so they need every advantage they can get.

The first thing I do is decide on pricing. I look at all the similar products for sale on the market. In many cases, because my items are unique, there are no real similar products to make a fare comparison too. Still, I get an idea. In the case of the ship’s wheel, there aren’t a lot of other one’s out there. I thought my wheel weighed in heavily with 23 prims. One of the ones for sale had 85(!) prims. I think mine is much better looking, but that could just be a matter of taste. This puppy sold for L$175. The other one I could find in SLExchange sold for L$25 and was a single prim—just an alpha photo. The only other one was the sold in the Astoria ship yard, which was $125 and, again, not quite as nice as mine. I chose to list mine at L$95, undercutting my two main competitors but still not breaking that L$100 barrier.

Next there was the photography. I have a full bright, white room in Ballyboo. I rezzed my wheel there and snapped a pic. I like having a pure white background because the resulting photos look great in SLX. Then I went up to my SLX box, added the wheel to the contents, and reset it. Then, as I usually forget to set the permissions properly, I had to go back, fix the perms, and reset it again.

Then I have to write up my little advertising blurb. I include a description of the item, the item’s purpose using every conceivable key word I can think of to make it findable. I also include a link to the main store that blurb so that people can see the actual item in-world. At this time I usually remember that I forgot to include the store landmark in the actual item, so I have to rez the item, put in the landmark, and make yet another trip to the SLX box to put in the new version and reset it again.

Then I convert my bmp photos to jpgs, upload them to SLX, fix a few typos and call it done. The my wife thinks of some more keywords, so I reload the SLX page, put in the new keywords, fix a few more typos, and call it done again.

Then I have to actually put the item IN the store. I create a display model of the item, which includes a landmark, the actual item, and some floating text indicating what it is and the price. If the item is too large or has too many prims to display, I will also have to pay to upload the pic so I can place it on a vendor board. If this is the case I will usually either paint shop it or have the Princess use Power Point to add item info to the picture. Depending on the item, I will also include a notecard distribution script and a descriptive notecard. Also depending on the nature of the item, I will also include an instruction manual. I set the permissions, rename the display model so that it shows the tag of the location I’m selling it from, set the price, make sure that it is set to sell the contents, and move it to the optimal position in my store. Then I take a copy of the display model into my inventory so that I have one ready should I choose to make it available at another location. If I’m running a classified ad on the store, I would go into my classifieds and add the item to the listing there.

THEN I would go to the SL forums under new product listings, make a copy of my SLX ad, add a link to my SLX ad, find the correct forum, paste in the text, upload the photos again, post it, and call it done.

With a hot seller, I will sell maybe three or four copies during a month. More typically I will sell a single copy every couple of months. I did, however, sell 10 turkey legs yesterday, and another glass of water.

So, consider this a how-to manual for how to put things on sale. If I’m doing many items at once, I can get on a roll and reduce my time per item to a half-hour to 45 minutes or so per item. I’m sure that there are still many marketing tricks I am missing, but I’m happy with what I have for the most part. The Cataporter is my biggest money earner, and the Sauna comes in a close second, but I currently have 26 items for sale on SLX, and somewhat more than that in-world. The sheer quantity of my product line is what gives me a steady-ish income. The more that’s out there, the more opportunities there is for sales. You can’t sell what people can’t buy.

I know that many of my friends are not really entrepreneurial-like, money-grubbing capitalists like I am, but just in case any of you decide to try the route of trying to earn a few extra lindens from some of the work you’ve done that you’re proud of, well, this would be a start.

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4 thoughts on “Marketing in Second Life

  1. I love ship’s wheels … I have wanted one in RL for long time to put near my ship models collection. I believe I will be a customers of yours 🙂and … since you are talking about marketing … if you take suggestions from a potential customer, I’d also love a version with shining brass decorations 🙂

  2. Not a problem. I originally had a version with more brass, but the Princess mentioned that such a wheel would get blisteringly hot on sunny days on a ship. Not a problem as just a decorative item, of course. Send me an IM with what you would like to see in brass.

  3. Thank you for the manual Alphonsus – one day soon I will actually use it. 🙂(weren’t you going to put a platter of turkey legs in the pub?) 🙂

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