I’ve been asked for some marketing advice recently, and realized that other people might benefit from it as well.
I’ve written on this topic before, but it hasn’t made much of an impact! So I’m revisiting it again.
I truly believe that OpenSim is a great platform, and what it really needs is better marketing, so here are some more tips for how to do it. The following cliches can be used in an advertisement or in a landing page.
And speaking of landing pages — if you sell anything at all online, whether hosting, content, regions, services, anything — you should go through this free landing page course from Unbounce.
You might know me from…
Say you’ve written a post for some blog. Or were once quoted in an article somewhere. Mention that! It adds to your credibility as a service provider.
It’s called “social proof.”
As seen on…
Has your product or service been mentioned anywhere? Don’t be shy about it.
Even if it’s just a paid ad that you ran on Metaverse Week in Review or on somebody’s blog, it still counts. It reminds people that they’ve heard of your product or service before. The more familiar your customers are with it, the more likely they are to buy.
I know, it’s really cheesy when a customer gets up and says, “I used to be old, fat, ugly and broke before I started using this product. But ever since I’ve switched to this OpenSim hosting providers, I’ve lost 80 pounds, look twenty years younger, and have started dating hot movie stars who shower me with cash.”
But even the most basic customer testimonial, such as “ABC is a customer” — can’t get more basic than that — say something. It says that other people have made the decision to buy.
It’s like the old jumping off the bridge thing. Would you jump off a bridge? If you were alone, probably not. But if all your friends were jumping, you’d probably consider it. And if they were having fun, and splashing around, and the weather was really hot…. actually, there’s a bridge over a stream just down the road from where I live. I’ve never jumped off, though it’s pretty low and the stream nice and deep, but remembering all the fun local teenagers have jumping off it kind of makes me want to go. Maybe in August, when the weather gets too hot to stand it.
To recap: A customer testimonial might simply be just the customer’s name. Or a few quoted words from that customer. Or a whole video testimonial.
Customers are often hesitant to agree to testimonials, so try to catch them when they’re particularly happy with your product or service. Or appeal to their vanity — their project is wonderful, and should get more attention. Or offer them a deal. Many technology vendors offer beta customers a price discount, for example, in return for testing out a new product and agreeing to be a customer reference.
But wait! You also get…
The customer can’t quite make up their mind. Should they buy or not. They’re right at the fifty-fifty mark. Any little thing can give them a nudge over.
Such as the little bonus that you include in your offer. Free consulting and customization if they buy now. Or the same item in different colors and styles — normally sold separately.
Or a choice of starting OARs for their new region.
People have warm feelings associated with major holidays. Name drop that holiday to get some of those associations attached to your product or service.
There doesn’t have to be a logical connection. Think of mattress sales and Presidents’ Day.
Say, June is coming up. You can tell your region hosting customers they should “graduate to their own grid!”
Or an adult grid could market a “Who’s your daddy?” region sale… never mind. I shouldn’t have gone there.
Limited time only! Sale ends soon!
Making a buying decision takes effort. The easiest thing to do is postpone it until later — and later, of course, never comes. Customers forget about your product or service and go on and do something else, instead.
By putting an expiration date on your offer, you encourage your customers to act immediately, instead of putting things off.
Easy way to do this is to organize your marketing campaign by month. Pick a focus for each month, ahead of time, figure out your special offer, create an ad and landing page to go with it, and put a reminder on your schedule to rotate your marketing at the start of each month.
The following year, just tweak your previous marketing materials and you’re done. Your customers won’t mind if you hold the same sale every year. In fact, they’ll come to expect it and look forward to it.
Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!
If you go out into the real world, you’ll see this everywhere. In the virtual world, most vendors and content providers probably have the same policy — but they don’t publicly announce it. Why? Maybe because they think it sounds cheesy? Or they’re worried that people will abuse it?
Try it free…
It’s risky for a customer to try a new product or service. They could wind up losing time and money.
A free trial offer takes the “satisfaction guarantee” approach one step further. But while every vendor can offer a guarantee, offering a free trial requires adapting your product or service in some way, especially when it comes to digital content. For example, you could offer a demo version, or the first hour of consulting could be free.
99 billion served…
For some reason, though many people hate math, they’re drawn to numbers. Putting numbers in headlines — like on this post — increases readership.
Statements with numbers in them seem more authoritative, more meaningful. And when you’re selling a new, cutting edge product or service like virtual worlds, you need all the extra credibility you can get.
In the early days of the Internet, many Web sites promoted their visitor stats. If all those people stopped by, there must be something there worth seeing, right?
There’s a difference, of course, between simply publishing stats and promoting them. Burger King probably provides its customer numbers in its annual report, but they’re not splashed on billboards.
Significant stats aren’t just limited to visitors or customers. Number of locations, number of data centers, number of employees, uptime percentage, customer satisfaction scores could all become the core of your marketing if they show your company in a good light.
20 percent off sale!
And speaking of numbers… we judge prices by comparing them to other prices. A $100 region might seem expensive compared to other grids, but cheap compared to Second Life.
A region OAR file might seem expensive with a flat $200 price tag — but once we learn that’s it’s on a 50 percent off sale from its regular price of $400, we start thinking, “Wow, it must be a good region if it costs $400. I’d be saving $200 if I got it now. What a deal.”
Okay, not all of us will think that. Some will think, “Yeah, it was over priced at $400, and now it’s overpriced at $200.” Ignore those naysayers! The folks with negative comments probably wouldn’t have bought it anyway, at any price. They have their own reasons for not buying, and using the price as an excuse. For example, they might simply not need the product.
Offering you discounts gets you an added advantage. It sets the higher price as the “normal” price for your product. And there are people, people with money — or with departmental budgets — who aren’t price-sensitive and who will buy your product when they need it, at whatever price it goes for. By setting a high regular price, and offering occasional discounts, you can get both sets of customers.
Check out her author page on Amazon or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Her first virtual world novella, Krim Times, made the Amazon best-seller list in its category. Her second novella, The Lost King of Krim, is out now.