PostHeaderIcon Making Money Golden Rule

It's true in Second Life as it is in first life: making money requires the golden rule to be observed and practiced. Unfortunately, you don't have much control over the golden rule; only the ability to influence it.

In my last post I discussed how most merchants in Second Life do not properly utilize the tools at their disposal, specifically the search tools and how they will appear in the results of a search, if at all.

A 'merchant' is anyone with anything to sell. That 'thing' is your product, which could be a creation, scripting, service — whatever. In order to sell your product the "golden rule" must apply. That golden rule is simply a triumvirate of requirements that must be met before your potential customer parts with their money in trade with you for your product.

The parts of the golden rule are:

The customer must want your product.
Don't confuse want with need. It doesn't matter whether they need your product or not. They 'need' to 'want' your product. Otherwise, no sale. Often, the want is generated by your product quality. Not just the quality of your product, but also the quality of pre-sale information.

Too often I am on the hunt for a product and find one on XSL (X Street SL) or in-world and there is no information. It is in your best interest to provide as much pre-sale information as possible. If your product comes with an instruction notecard - how to set-up and use it - then include it in your description. Let me see it before I buy. Often the instructions will tell me if your product will suit my need or want, especially in the features category.

The customer must be willing to afford your product.
The amount you charge is a determining factor with regard to whether the potential customer will want your product. A higher price is not an indicator of quality. However, at the same time too low a price tends to give the idea of 'lower quality'.

So be sure to do your research. You must become a customer-in-mind and shop for your own product. Discover the going rates for like-products and get a good feel for what might be a fair price from the customer's perspective. Just because you work hard in bringing your product to fruition and deserving of a higher price does not mean your potential customer will feel the same way. So keep your pricing within reason. Even half a sale is better than no sale at all. You must decide if you are going vertical (low volume/high margin) or horizontal (high volume/low margin).

The customer must know you exist and be able to find you.
Hence my report of last. In your parcel description, picks descriptions and classified advertisements, you really need to think carefully on how you present yourself and your products.

I won't go into verbose detail about this as I did so in my last article. But, suffice it to say that any description that appears before your customer must sell them on the idea of at least coming to you to see your product.

The main error most in SL will make in this regard is they use a "shotgun" approach by attempting to appear in as many search results as possible by flooding their description with nothing but keywords. This is a huge mistake because there is not description of your product at all. What's worse is those on the hunt for a particular product will visit your retail space and likely not find what they are looking for. Thus, the traffic they generate is useless anyway because you receive no return on your effort. Additionally, the shopper is only made to be frustrated.

Thus, In marketing yourself, apply the golden rule triumvirate as described here - note the customer will visit this triumvirate  in reverse. So, focus first on your method of making yourself and your product known. You want quality customers, not traffic. The quality customers will buy from you again and refer their friends and acquaintances.

Because shopping in SL can be such hit-or-miss, we often return to those merchants we have purchased from before because it's what we know and easy to find, save for those purchases we aren't happy with, e.g.: quality of product.

Traffic means nothing. It simply is too easy to teleport anywhere on the grid. When a shopper is on the hunt, the traffic numbers that appear in search result have very little bearing on whether they will visit you or not. Traffic works mostly for those looking for human interaction, such as for role playing and the like.

So to become successful (which is a relative term to begin with,) you must focus on your presentation: write clear and complete detailed descriptions of your product and retails space, both in your classified and other search-related spaces and also at your retail points of sale.

I simply cannot stress this enough. There are countless merchants whom I was itching to buy from, but eventually elected not to, simply because there was not enough information. Even if I contact the creator, if they are offline I will keep searching while I wait for a reply. Often, I have found a competitor's product and purchased it before that reply comes to me - primarily because they have provided better pre-sale information.

Appearing in the result of fewer shopper searches is far better than appearing in too many, as it is more likely the shopper is looking for your product. This is a "qualified" shopper. They are more likely to actually make a purchase.

Your adverts should be designed only to get that shopper to you, not sell your product (except on XSL and your in-world points of sale) - sell the visit, not the product. Once at your point of sale, then sell your product by giving as much information about it as possible.

Align your prices to be competitive and concentrate on the quality of both your product and its presentation. Quality equals value and that always is on the mind of the shopper.

Once they find you, of course.

If you want proven techniques and ideas for business success in Second Life, read my 270-page book all about it.

art: Giuseppe Nelva; Jesteraa888
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