One thing that has always provided a great source of delight for me is opening the map of my viewer and seeing little green dots fill a region. Does it sound like I need a doctor? Well, it’s possible, but a good marketing plan made it happen.
Each green dot represents a single avatar driven by a human who can only be in one place at one time. Seeing these dots gather because of a new product launch or special event are one of the most rewarding moments of my time online. They represent the culmination of a lot of hard work.
Here is the outline of a basic marketing plan to help you attract visitors to your hypergrid-enabled business.
1. Start a blog
A successful grid business needs ongoing outreach inviting the world to visit, and a blog or website is one of the most cost effective ways to do this.
The most popular approach to making a blog is using Wordpress, with its simple user interface and hundreds of free templates and tools to get started.
Your blog should be considered as your external face of your grid life, themes and mission.
Your blog should be a major player in your marketing tool chest, and should connect your grid to a broad range of other social media and sites, including:
- Facebook Fan Club – Used for posting events, photos and other content about your products or services
- Twitter – Short messages promoting your upcoming events
- Google+ Communities – Live chat and postings alert your followers of your next event and more
- YouTube – Compelling in-world trailers, stories and event coverage are great ways to entice and excite potential new customers.
A bonus to using a blog for your business website is that it’s easy to keep the content fresh and new, which will help your search engine rankings. Other ways to make your site easy to find include a name that’s unique but not too hard to spell, inbound links from other sites and directories, plus, of course, all those social media mentions.
2. Nurture your groups
I’ve written before about the importance of groups to your business, and it’s worth reiterating that this also holds true on the hypergrid.
Groups aren’t just an important channel for communicating with customers, but are also an indicator of the health of your business. Are you truly offering something that makes people interested in coming back?
One of the ways I found most successful in my own business is to use my groups connect with other venues, performers, and fashion events. Publicizing events for these partners not only provides your customers with new and interesting things to do, but your partners might also give you access to their marketing channels, giving you access to new audiences.
In particular, a steady flow of well-produced events will greatly improve your business success. The reporting of upcoming events can provide content for all of the external outreach for your grid:
- Fun Event Postings & Messaging – Public announcements, notecard sends and live chat offers instant gratification for group members
- Exciting Email Newsletters & Surveys – Provide event coverage to members who may not have logged in recently but will keep them in the loop, and keep them interested
- Special Hunts & Games – These continue to provide excitement for members, since a well-organized hunt can members make friends, visit new stores and regions sims and helps build good will
- Open Group Chat – Members love to hear from owners of their favorite brands and provides an inclusive approach to growing your business
- Tour Huds – I have only seen ones for shopping regions on individual grids, but one created for visiting multiple shopping destinations on the hypergrid would be of great use to us all and I am sure must be in the works. Huds work to introduce new venues, sims and shopping opportunities.
3. Paid ads
One of the best ways to announce your new hypergrid destination is with an online ad campaign.
You can advertise on blogs relevant to your business, or general OpenSim or hypergrid blogs, social networks, and more. In particular, pay attention to:
- Kitely’s Market – If you use the Kitely Market to deliver products to customers across the hypergrid, take a look at advertising your products — especially new products, or products are on sale — on the Kitely Market itself.
- Web Sites – An ad on the Avatar Social Network runs just $50.00 a month for 100,000 views, a cost effective to introduce your grid to people who already understand avatar life.
- Other resources include ads on Google, Bing and Yahoo!
4. Customer-created content
One of the biggest signs of the success of a business is how engaged your members are. Some will evangelize their favorite brands.
This phenomenon is one of my favorite things about grid life. You usually don’t pay your customers to create this valuable content but you can still reward them — I recommend fun contests and events to showcase the best work.
For example, one easy way to do this is to ask your customers to post photos of themselves with your products, or visiting your destinations:
- Flickr Stories – Customers can contribute images for inspiration or for individual expression.
- Instagram – With a potential to go viral, this site is a great platform for image contests.
Hypergrid marketing agencies
One new and emerging industry is hypergrid marketing. Someday, metaverse marketing agencies may be huge, but right now this sector is in its infancy.
Personally, I had a lot of help from devoted group members when growing my business. It was invaluable and out of it formed a powerful team of true professionals that believe in me.
This team is now available to provide this service to you.
If you do it on your own, I suggest investing in content management software to help organize out outreach efforts. You will knowlege and tools to help you visualize what is going behind the scenes on the web, using sites like www.edgeonline.com.au is really useful in this regard. I also strongly urge you to work with other hypergrid businesses — grids, malls, stores, other designers and content creators, event venues and more.
Supporting others not only builds good will, but helps everyone’s growth and expands this exciting area for avatar life.