As the number of new grids proliferates, grid owners need to look beyond “cheaper than Second Life” as their key marketing ploy.
Instead, why not try one of these time-tested strategies?
1. Limited time offer!
You see these all the time — because they work. The limited offer could be a waived setup fee, or a choice of starter regions or avatars, or a discount on a personalized training session for your staff. Ask your customers what they want, check to see what competitors do — and don’t — offer.
2. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!
Customers not happy with their region performance? Offer them their money back, and help moving their stuff to a new hosting company. If you’re willing to do all that, then your service must be good, otherwise you wouldn’t take the risk, right?
3. Free, free, free!
Everyone loves getting stuff for free. Free avatars. Free starter regions. Free rent. Free ebooks. Free training. Check out what your competitors are charging the most for — and offer it for free.
4. Celebrity endorsement!
Do you have a brand-name merchant on your grid? A star performer? A well-known builder? Don’t hide them away or bury them somewhere deep on your website! Put their face front and center in your advertisements — you get the added credibility, and they get free publicity. Don’t have a celebrity on your grid? Don’t be afraid to use famous historical figures. If King Tut was alive today, he’d endorse your grid, right? So would Abraham Lincoln. Plus, their images are in the public domain. And don’t be afraid of the arts — you’re free to use the Mona Lisa to promote your grid or characters from books that are out of copyright.
5. Get the best — because you’re worth it!
Not every customer automatically looks for the lowest price. Some are willing to get the best, no matter what the cost. If you want those customers, you have to fight to get them, by offering a premium product, at a premium price, and letting them know about it. Make sure your brand identity reflects your premium positioning, and keep your premium brand well insulated from your discount offerings.
6. Do you want to be successful?
Ask your customers questions that they have to say “yes” to — then ask them to say “yes” to your product or service.
7. Scared you!
What will happen if your customers don’t use your product? Will they lose all their work? Will they suffer constant outages and lag? Will their vendor go out of business and leave them stranded? Go ahead and scare your customers — then ease their minds with your superior product.
8. Don’t click this button!
Did that make you want to click? Why? Were you curious what would happen? Curiosity can be a powerful motivator. Make people curious about your grid, or your company, and they will want to find out more.
9. Sex sells!
Even if you don’t run a virtual bordello, the idea of sex can bring people to your grid. Do you have a virtual health club that will help your members lose weight, and become sexier? Do you offer romantic destinations for virtual dates? Are your nightclubs popular with singles or swingers? Do you host sexy role playing communities where users can become dangerous vampires or powerful barbarians or seductive mermaids?
10. Unique value proposition
The gold standard of advertising — what really sets your product or service apart from all others. Be specific. It’s not your “community” that makes your grid different — every grid has a community. Identify what exactly it is about the community on your grid that makes it different. Is it the most involved community? The most welcoming community? The most fantastical community? The most futuristic community? Is it your nightclub culture? Your elf enclaves? Your busy shopping districts? If you’re a hosting provider, do you offer the best grid management tools? The best uptime guarantee?
Making it work
“Using the marketing triggers that address people’s pain points or greed points is considerably more effective than brand image advertising,” said Shel Horowitz, author of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green.
Horowitz, a marketing strategist for small companies, suggests that the length of the marketing campaign be tailored to fit the audience and the medium
“The general rule of thumb is that you want to have seven impressions over a fairly concentrated period of time,” he told Hypergrid Business. ” But sometimes one impression is enough and sometimes 40 impressions are not enough.”
An ad that hits a customer right when they’re about to make a buying decision and offers them exactly what they want may trigger a purchase right away, he said. But an ad that will cause a customer to make a purchase two years later, when he needs the product, can require a great deal of repetition before it makes an impact.
Once you decide on a marketing approach — or two or three — put it to work in multiple channels.
“You can use it anywhere that you’re interacting with an audience,” Horowitz said.
- Your website or blog
- In ads or guest columns on other blogs or websites
- In AdSense campaigns
- Inside your own virtual world
- In advertising campaigns in Second Life
- On Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
- In traditional media
“Press releases, articles, social media, blog, radio — both as a guest, host, advertiser — television, anywhere that you’re interacting with an audience.”