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Princess Verwood

Marketing Strategies?

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    I've been building for a while now and earlier this year me and a good friend decided to learn to make clothing. Now, I realize it is a large market already and competition is tough. We both have a large in world store as well as a marketplaces. While we make different style clothing, in my opinion they are equally great. She has done extremely well and I'm very proud of her. I on the other hand, me not so well. I understand that one of the things that could effect selling is how you advertise your products (pictures/ads). I feel I'm pretty ok with pictures and editing within the graphics program. I find that regardless I do not really sell any clothing. The clothing I do sell is some of my earlier items (that since making other things I'm less happy about). I've turned to making templates only because I hardly sell anything else. I realize that my prices are low for the clothing I make (as well as my friends), and from reading the forums many say that customers may think your items are cheap and it may turn them away. My prices have been affordable from the beginning and I'd hope to keep them that way. I guess sort of my thought starting out was quality clothing at affordable prices. My point is not to compare me and my friends shops but to point out the similarities and then differences we have when it comes to sales.

    I have tried finding ways to promote, advertise/market. To list a few, I've opened smaller shops in other sims, had a few items in a fashion show, rented billboards. I have my shop listed under classifieds with many keywords. I have all my items on the Marketplace and their keywords in the ads there almost all to the max text. I always get back to customers with issues within a day. I had my partner go out and try and spread word by word-of-mouth to new potential customers by offering a gift (he said that many seemed put off by being randomly contacted). I include a LM and a thank you note in all of my bags. I've also had many items on the Marketplace listing enhancements (which did not really help).

    Others that I have yet to try, but know of are searching for blogs to feature items or banner ads. I've spent some time on the forums searching for ways to market before posting, but was hoping to get other suggestions.

My question is what are some good advertising/marketing strategies?

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One problem that I see is in two areas, size and time.

Let's start with Size.  Stores generate revenues relative to their size.  More inventory and a larger foot prints means more sales.  Also more locations if you choose to do small mall locations, creates a larger footprint and therefore more sales. In all, it IS a science and you need to learn, adjust then learn more about how your product can market best in SL.

The other and clearly the most over looked is the time it takes to get established.  Word of mouth if the best vehicle to success in SL particularly where search optimization is competitive.  

In the end, take the time to let you business grow, make adjustments along the way and be patient. If your products are good, business will grow.

 

 

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I took a peek at your marketplace store and your work does look good, although, I can't remember ever "noticing" your store before. And one of the things I constantly do is browse the marketplace to see what's being done.

So, without commenting on your inworld store, because I haven't visited. I can offer a few points about your marketplace brand.

You have one thing right which is, you actually did create a brand and your logo and the frame for your items is, fairly consistent through out all your items. It's a good thing to patronize a frame (even a standard picture size), so that people quickly begin to associate the frame to the store brand. So, only word there is trying to adjust any pictures that don't quite fit your standard.

Another thing I noticed, is that you are a bit "too spread out". You sell many different things. Selling clothes and templates is fine, but clothes and buildings, not so much. Customers like to thing, if they buy from someone who only makes that: "it should be good, she is specialized". So, maybe break out of your main brand, what is "out of context", move it to an alt, make a second store. And physically separate it in your inworld store too.

Also, from the quick browse, is your background for the items. It's a bit too crowded, it detracts from showing off your product clearly. When buying from the marketplace, we have just a picture to guide us in judging if the item is good or not (this can be even worse inworld, as the pictures in the vendors can be even harder to see). So, making the model and the item worn (speaking of clothes) stand out from the picture, will help a great deal.

On a final note, still in the subject of standard, the model you use, the pose for the picture. Those are good to try to keep in a rather close pattern.

Look at some of the major designer stores, see how they do it, judge for yourself if you notice the same.

Hope that helps some. :D

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Thank you to those who have responded. This is all some really good suggestions and advice. I'm taking it all into consideration. I'd love to hear other suggestions from seasoned/newer merchants or anyone.

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Another one regarding product pictures. Harm already gave lots of very good advice.

My tip would be to start taking high resolution snapshots (3000px+) and use a nice studio Windlight setting (SL default light is a nono for me personally). Many of your pictures have jagged edges, others are quite blurry and most likely do not do your creations full justice.

Do some research into graphics settings and their workings. Enable Antialiasing and set it to the highest possible value your computer can manage. That will get rid of the jaggies. Enable Ansiotropic filtering to get the most out of your textures in pictures. Do your edits to the high resolution picture and shrink it down before adding to your poster template. When reducing size, adding a very slight sharpening effect can at times help to make things look more crisp.

 

 

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I'm going to be brutally honest.

1. You should focus less on advertising and more on your personal development. Good products basically sell themselves. (I took a look at your store and I wouldn't buy any of it.)

2. Refine your brand. You have too much stuff going on, if you're going to sell templates sell templates. If you want to sell clothes, sell clothes. Pick one and build up a strong brand people can remember you by.

3. Less is more. Your ads are way too busy, when people are browsing through the marketplace...you only have a split second to catch their attention. If you have a hundred things going on in your ad, no one will know what is going on. (You have a busy background, you font is REALLY busy. I can't even read what it says half the time because there's something going on on each letter.)

4. If you've done all of the above and are still not selling...then maybe you should go back to building.

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Over the years of selling on Ebay and craigs list I came to the conclusion it is about key words.    You have to guess on what someone will be looking for that is similar to your products.   In eBay and searching the internet misspellings, abbreviations and all in caps all in small letters and capitalize sometimes does make a difference in your keywords.

I feel my site is fairly successful because I keep the prices down and try to get the right keywords without spamming.  If you repeat the keyworld or use keywords that have nothing to do with you product that is Spamming.  I do not intentionally do that.  But if someone is searching for a furry avatar and you sell things that a furry avatar might want I feel it is OK to put in the key word for avatars.   

Also I do not have a store in SL.  The SIMs charge to much.  I understand their problem they try to support the sim with vendors but for us vendors it costs to much.  I have in the past had them and rarely even got enough to pay for the rent. 

Market place was great for us vendors but bad for SIM owners!   Some more progressive SIM owners allow appropriate vendors to put up stores for free.  It brings in people.   We still have to pay at least $50L a week for a classified. So they get free advertisement to their sim.

 

As far as the store,

I found that when I lowered prices my sales increased when I was sell none of the item.

I start up high price and if it does not sell lower the price.  If it is selling at that price I keep it there.  I am not worried about undercutting others.  I do not do scrupled prims so they naturally cost more.  My inital prices reflect what I see the same thing selling for plus my time.  I am getting faster and building and making texures so I can make things faster hence lower price.

Make a detailed description and a GOOD picture with good light.  I made a background to take pictures and Edited them in GIMP sometimes I have to change the brightness and contrast in GIMP to make it look better.

Have related items listed.

And answer any questions ore problem fast.  If someone says they did not get it take their word for it.  If there was problem fix it and give them another one.  It is not its costs you to replace it.   I was a contractor in RL and sold parts so I know about service and sales.  

All of my items are GP.  I have an alt that most is Adult.  Altogether I make about $30 USD a month for the last 6 months or so.  It pays for my premimum membership and I have saved my checking from overdrawing.   $30 does not seem like much but it is better than nothing.

Oh yes I found the hardest thing is to think of what to make that could sell.  I have plenty of items that are low price that have not sold one and others that nearly sell every day!  

 

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I notice a post or two about images. From the reviews, blog post(s) and experiences I have had....well, if you use windlight settings please, please tell us! I can understand one or two mixed in with the normal images, but really...if you don't include a default normal image people might really be upset. Gimp can be a bit to much, seems slightly dishonest if you do this to much.

If you use windlight, offering info on the setting or even offering the setting as a download might be cool! I mean, if they like the image and the light settings, then they might not buy the item BUT might download your brand named windlight setting! This will surely be a way to remember you biz, you never know. I mean, I am not saying it will turn a business around or make you a million, but it is nice to find a neat setting if you are not a hardcore windlight individualist with a strict ban on others preferances and presets!

Besides, many many use default. The ones who don't...heck, they will use thier own and they expect your object to look different anyway!

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Everyone really has some great suggestions! I appreciate the constructive critisism of my items/pics though I am looking for stategies to better get known..or to hear stories of how others first started out and what they did to get themselves out there. :matte-motes-asleep-2:

What I use is a setting I saved as my own only for pics. It is just a brighter default setting to make the skin and clothing more true to color. I find that the default is very dull and dim. I cannot see myself using any of the other Windlight settings because most seem to not really make a crisp image and can discolor skin and clothing to other colors by what the sky is.

 

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In checking a couple of your items on Marketplace I notice that you do not have any features listed. As far as I know, search on market only looks at 3 things: title, features & keywords - so you definately want to use all 3 to your best advantage. Last I heard description is NOT searched.

In-world, you also want to make sure that your shop and items are all set for search as well. In my experience that may be more important than a small classified.

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Like you, I make and sell templates, not so much clothes but  more like accessories for clothes.  Some buyers like it when you offer the PSD files so that they can customize it to fit their outfits.  You might want to try considering offering that to see if it helps your sales.

I agree with all the posters regarding pictures being very important.  If the pictures are lousy, the customers will think they are getting a lousy item.  I don't alter any of my pictures to make it look better in PS.  What my customers see is what they get.

I don't do much advertising.  I share a shop with 2 partners and they pretty much do the advertising for our store.  They advertise our new releases in their groups, participate in hunts, and hold weekly sales.  I once paid for a feature front page advertisement for one month in the marketplace which was a total waste of money.  Join groups where they will give you notice rights to send out notices about your product.

Do you have a blog?  If you don't, you might want to set one up.  You can get one for free.  Try using Flickr, tweeter, facebook, anything that will reach the public where you can show off your stuff.

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