Virtual world lead generation

Ever since Second Life made virtual world a common reality, people have been trying to find ways to utilize this new-found platform for unimaginable reasons. Soon enough other companies cropped providing quick similar features. These include Active Worlds and Entropia Universe. They all mainly started as a virtual social game where people could create their avatar and become part of a virtual society. However recently Online Marketers have found this virtual world a potential platform for lead generation. In this article we will discuss how you can find “Real” Leads on this “Virtual World” and grow your business.

Never market “real goods” in “virtual world”

The biggest mistake you could do in a virtual world is selling a real product. Remember, the people there are there just for fun and they want to move away from the real world into that virtual world where they can do what they want to. This is the few hours of their time they take to come out of the reality and nothing would irritate them more than anything that directly relates to the real world. So if you sell cameras, don’t sell the original cameras, sell virtual cameras.

Make “virtual goods” as similar as possible to “real goods”

Think of it this way. If you are able to sell your virtual camera to some “virtual person” or “avatar” in the virtual world and your virtual camera is very close to the reality eventually that “real person” behind that avatar is going to like that camera and might end up buying that in the real world! This is a common tactic that many auto companies utilize in the virtual world. For example you can buy virtual cars that look very similar to the real cars. And after a few weeks or months of “playing” in the virtual world, those very same people end up liking and buying that car for real in the real world.

Don’t mix “virtual” and “real” worlds

Never contact the people who buy your virtual camera and never ask them something like, “Hey, you bought this virtual camera, do you want to buy it for real?” That will not only hamper your image the virtual world but also in the real world. Instead promote virtual products and accessories in the virtual world and real in the real world. Don’t mix both of them. Let the users genuinely like the virtual product and let themselves come to the conclusion when they are naturally ready to buy the same thing in the real world.

Understand your business. Virtual world marketing is not for everyone

Lead generation in the virtual world is a whole new ball game and for now it looks like it’s going to be more time-consuming than direct lead generation in the real world. Furthermore, it’s easier to build a brand value for bigger companies in the virtual world than for a local business. For example, as a company you may create a virtual Canon camera and sell it in the virtual world and may eventually help in getting more sales for Canon; but if you are a small local hair stylist shop, it might be far difficult for you to create a brand in the virtual world and then map it back to converting those people to real customers in your real shop.

Mercedez-Benz showroom in Second Life. (Image courtesy Mercedez-Benz.)

This article originally appeared on Ellipsis Solutions’ company blog and is reprinted here with permission.

Gautam Tandon

Gautam Tandon is CEO of Bay Area-based Ellipsis Solutions, an Internet marketing company.