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How to market your products


Contents

This article introduces the essentials of Second Life commerce promotion and provides links to further useful resources. There is a lot of information here, so we suggest you bookmark this page and refer to it as needed.

Copywrite to excite!

The key to making your product stand out from the thousands of other products on the SL Marketplace is creating a compelling listing. A great listing captures the attention of browsing Residents and helps them make an informed decision. 

Quality copy — the title and description of your product listing — can make or break a sale. Get the consumer excited about purchasing your product. A well-crafted description makes your product both more alluring and more memorable. Be sure to check your spelling and punctuation: a sloppily written listing can make potential buyers think your product is poorly constructed, too. Your listing should reflect the care and attention to detail you put into creating your goods.

Grab attention with a catchy headline

Titles matter! Here are some tips for making the most of them:

  • Include the specific name of your product.
  • If your product comes in different colors or versions like "Lite" and "Pro," make this clear.
  • If you have a personal or company brand, include it if space permits.
  • Include keywords to make your title more searchable.
  • Don't type in ALL CAPS; it's visually aggressive and may turn people off.
  • Some sellers use special characters like *** ~*~ to decorate their listings, but this too may be off-putting and may also hurt your search rankings. If you really want your listing to stand out, consider using a listing enhancement.

Examples:

  • Luxury Renaissance Villa - Low Prims
  • Handcrafted Bronze Anklet - Limited Edition!
  • SuperTek's Low-Lag Animation Overrider v2.0
  • Ravstyle "Lynnie" Hair - Rainbow Fatpack
KBnote.png Note: Although you can use up to 120 characters for an item name, a snappy title may be catchier and easier to read.

Connect with your customers

Generate a following by creating listings that show consumers who you are.

  • Make it clear to your potential customers that they are dealing with a caring person. They will be more likely to ask questions that could lead to a sale.
  • Let individual quirks shine through. Adding personality to your products elevates them above generic "piles of pixels."
  • Call attention to what's unique about the wild dress or wacky gadget you're selling, especially if it is (as far as you know) the only offering of its kind on the whole market.
  • Be specific. Make a clear list of features that is easy to understand at a glance.
  • Be honest about known limitations or bugs that inhibit your product's functionality. Transparency earns your buyers' trust.
  • Offer practical solutions to problems.
  • If you have a proven record of unbeatable customer service, say so!
  • If you have received positive testimonials, or a video review, let your customers know. Future testimonials can snowball as a result of early praise.
  • You should also let buyers know if your product is a limited-time offer or a special edition — but be honest. No one wants to purchase something "premium" only to discover later that it is widely available.
  • If you are open to doing custom work, make this clear. (Conversely, creators who are too busy to make customs often list this in their inworld profile.)
  • Know your target market and tailor your listings accordingly. Let potential customers know exactly how your product will help them have a more enjoyable Second Life.

Examples:

  • Fed up with belts that cut into your avatar's waist? I have a solution for you...
  • There's an interesting story behind these poseballs and it comes from my own love life...
  • This hair fatpack means you'll get all of the colors shown in the photo. The headband isn't part of the package but an included styling notecard shows where you can buy this and other accessories.
  • The easy resize HUD means you'll never have to waste time fiddling with the building tools!

Item listing fields

The following fields are in each of your item listings. They help describe your item to shoppers and can also help you organize your merchandise:

  • SKU - This stands for Stock-Keeping Unit and is a unique identifier for each item.
  • Version - If you have your own product-versioning system (for example, many scripted gadgets issue updates), enter the number here. For example, "2.0".
  • Item Status - Can be Active or Inactive. This is the same thing as Unlist/List on the Manage inventory page.
  • Maturity Level - Can be General, Moderate, or Adult. Please note that if you set the maturity level incorrectly, our automatic filter process may correct it without notifying you. For more information on how to rate your item, see the Marketplace listing guidelines.
  • Mesh - Used this setting to indicate whether your item is composed of No Mesh, Partial Mesh, or 100% Mesh. If you do not have payment information on file or have not accepted the IP terms for mesh, you may only choose No Mesh.  This setting is useful for Residents who are using Second Life Viewers that do not yet support mesh content; to them, your object may appear to be composed of flat triangles!
  • Permissions - What the customer can do with the object. Note that setting this does not change your original item's permissions— you need to set those beforehand and check the same boxes here.
    • If your item has permissions subtleties, make sure to check  note them in the Extended description below. For example, a robot toy's colors may be modifiable, while the script inside the robot is no-modify.
    • If you wish to place specific license restrictions on your item, check User Licensed and describe the terms of the license in the Extended description.  For example, you may wish to sell an object with full copy/modify/transfer permissions, but disallow resale except under specific conditions.
  • Usage Requirements - Describes how the item must be used; items may be Wearable, require Unpacking, require Land to be permanently displayed.  If your object requires none of these, choose None.
  • Clothing Works With - Choose Classic Avatars or Mesh Avatars.  For more information, see Buying clothing that fits your avatar.
  • Custom Avatar Brand - Fill in this field if your item is meant to be used with a specific branded Mesh avatar.  For more information see Buying clothing  that fits your avatar.
  • Brand URL - A URL to help customers find out more about your Custom Avatar Brand, if applicable.
  • International tabs - If you've localized your item for additional languages, click a language tab to enter that information. Each language is a separate listing, but listings in several languages can be created simultaneously.
  • SL folder name - Corresponds to what the object's folder is named in your inventory.
  • Item title - You can leave this the same as the SL object name or expand it to be more descriptive for additional visibility. This field is searchable and can be up to 120 characters.
KBtip.png Tip: Item names appear in the page's URL, which then shows up in search engine results. A well-chosen name will help you become more discoverable via higher search rankings, so be careful of using decorative Unicode and other wasted space that doesn't contribute. Learn more about search engine optimization.
  • Product features - Call out up to five specific highlights to emphasize why someone would want to buy your item.
  • Extended description - Details about your product in plain text.. This commonly includes expanded info about the Product features, Permissions, and other fields. You can also link to a video tutorial or other rich documentation. Many merchants use it to provide customer service info, although Edit Store Information is probably a better place for that. Also, product manuals should be provided as a Downloadable PDF as mentioned below. This field is not searchable and can be up to 5,000 characters. While you can have the text of a URL in these areas, the text is not linked to the page. There is room on the merchant page for links to the merchant's web page or blog.
  • Keywords - Specific terms you expect this item to be found with when customers search. This field is searchable from Marketplace search and can be up to 200 characters, including commas and spaces.
  • Category - Click Change category to get category suggestions. In the popup, search categories, then click the category that fits best from the list. If you can't find a relevant product category, include keywords  so that your product comes up when shoppers search using those keywords. You might also suggest a new Marketplace category.
  • Item price - In L$. If this item is a freebie, enter 0.
  • Prim count - The number of prims this objects is. Subtleties can be explained in the Extended description. For example, if you're selling a set of furniture in which the chair is 20 prims and the table is 30, be sure to let the buyer know.
  • SLurl - This is usually a link to your inworld storefront, or at least a place the object can be viewed in three dimensions inworld. Whenever possible, enter a specific link to the exact location instead of a generic one to the front of your store. Learn more about SLurls.
  • Video URL - Have you made a video tutorial or a marketing promo to show your product in action? This can be a delightful way to quickly show what it's all about. YouTube is the most popular video site, but there are many alternatives. The Video URL can actually be any standard URL, but the link put here appears under the listing's Details tab as View Video ».
    view_video.png
     
  • Available quantity - This is usually Unlimited unless you are selling something like limited-edition art. Limited items are often sold as no-copy so the buyer can't duplicate them.
  • Images - While this field isn't required, it's one of the most important to communicate what you're selling, so include at least one image. Click Upload an image to get info and choose a JPG, PNG, TGA, or GIF image file from your hard drive. You can have up to 8 images for an item.
  • Animated GIF - The Second Life Marketplace supports animated GIFs. They can be up to 1 MB (which means you may need to use an optimizer like Photoshop's "Save for Web & Devices") and, like other images, up to 700x525 pixels.
  • Downloadable PDF - Click Browse to choose a PDF from your hard drive. PDFs can be more beautiful and readable than inworld notecards.
    • You can include extended content in a PDF, like additional high-res images and Flash movies.
    • There isn't a limit to the size of the PDF file, but you should use your buyers' time and bandwidth wisely.
    • If you don't own Adobe software on Windows, you can use Microsoft Word or OpenOffice to create PDF files. On a Mac, almost every application can print to a PDF file.
    • We recommend that product instructions go into the PDF file. Product specific EULAs (end user license agreements) should also go there. If you only have one EULA for all items, we suggest you put this in your store policies area, linked from your merchant profile, and also duplicate it in the PDF.
  • Related Items - Related items are commonly variations (such as different colors of the same basic thing) or complementary (under a coat listing, you could have an umbrella as a related item). Click the button and then type an item name or partial name to pull up matches from your Marketplace product listings. You can have up to 8 related items. In the Marketplace, these items appear at the bottom of the detailed listing.
  • Demo Item - Want customers to be able to try before they buy? Demos tend to be clearly limited versions of the real thing you've modified in advance: for example, a skin with a "DEMO" tattoo on it. Click Add demo item to choose one. Demo items themselves can be unlisted.
  • Listing Enhancements - You can promote your item by featuring it on different Marketplace pages. Learn more about listing enhancements here.
  • Revenue Distributions - The revenue distributions feature allows payments to be automatically distributed among multiple Residents. For example, you might share profits with a co-creator of the item; forward a percentage to the owner of the item's brand, if you are a sales affiliate; or send the proceeds to an alt account you use for holding and selling L$. Distributions are based on percentages, not fixed dollar amounts. You control revenue distributions by clicking Add Distribution on the Edit item listing page. 

Photograph your products

Post a picture! Regardless of how compelling your description is, few shoppers are willing to buy a product sight unseen. Taking a snapshot in Second Life and saving it to your local hard drive is free, so there is absolutely no excuse for not uploading a picture with your listing. Here are some tips for how to use photos to greatest advantage:

  • Make images bright enough to display well in a browser. Dark images make the consumer think you have some flaw to hide. When in doubt, brighter is always better.
  • Shoot your product from multiple angles. You can have up to eight pictures per product listing, so take the opportunity to show off different angles and variations. For example, show how a building looks inside, outside, and under different lighting conditions. Show the back of a dress as well as the front.
KBtip.png Tip: If you don't have an inworld location to display your creations, it is especially important that you use multiple images to give shoppers a better idea of what your product looks like in 3D.
  • Don't skimp on image dimensions. Images are shown in preview slots, but their full-size versions can be up to 700 x 525 pixels (aspect ratio of 4:3).
  • Avoid JPG overcompression, which adds ugly blurring and artifacts.
  • Feel free to create a beautiful composite image with text and stylized graphics, but always include some accurate raws as well. Don't photoshop or hide flaws in the actual product. Some imperfections, like the visible transition from mesh clothing to sculptie attachments, are inevitable, but airbrushing them out is deceitful to the customer. Don't do it!
  • Adjust your graphics settings to High or Ultra, and let customers know  that your product will benefit from being viewed under these settings.
  • Jagged edges can be avoided by enabling antialiasing, as shown in this video:
  • Unless for intended effect (like a glow lamp that looks best at night), choose a fairly neutral WindLightsetting, such as the default midday that represents colors accurately, as shown in this video:
  • Though using a facelight to enhance the ambient appearance of skins and similar products is fine, make sure you tell your customers exactly what is and is not included the product package. 

Rate mature products appropriately

The Marketplace maturity rating system has the same categories as the inworld system: General, Moderate, and Adult.

If you sell goods of an adult-rated or moderate-rated nature, make sure that they are clearly marked as such. This helps customers looking for such goods find them while hiding them from those who aren't interested. Now that there are teens on the main grid, rating your products responsibly is even more important.

For more information on what these ratings mean, see the Marketplace Fee and Listing Policies.

Other advertising strategies

Take the time to research and try out the various strategies below to find the ones that work for you.

Featured Items

Each of your products can appear in the Marketplace Featured Items, which are shown in prominent places around the site. These listing enhancements make a product more visible and allow interested shoppers to click through and — if they like what they see — make a purchase moments later.

Learn more about Listing Enhancements for Featured Items.

Free stuff

Offering free or almost free items is a fantastic way to get your name out there. It not only makes you more visible; it makes people like you!

KBtip.png Tip: If you charge L$1 for an item, that item can be purchased as a gift. This is not an option if you charge L$0.
KBwarning.png Warning: Taking free merchandise created by someone else and trying to sell it for a profit will turn potential buyers against you. Always behave respectfully towards other sellers — your own success depends upon it.

 

Improving your search results

We keep our search relevancy formula private to prevent people from gaming the system. However, we can tell you that the formula includes:

  • Average rating
  • Past sales over a chosen time period
  • Sales rank
  • Search term matching

The best way to improve your search results is by creating excellent products and marketing them effectively. Learn more about search rankings

Sharing brands

Merchants can increase brand visibility and offer more complementary items by sharing a brand. Please note that merchant stores are categorized by merchant name, so a storefront can only be associated with one merchant.

Inworld store signs

You can create a store sign that sends inworld shoppers to your storefront on the Marketplace website. For the sake of branding consistency, we recommend adapting the same graphics you use on your Marketplace and inworld stores.

To create a sign:

  1. Create a sign object. For help creating objects, see the Building tips article.
  2. Right-click the sign object and choose Edit.
  3. In the Build window, click the Content tab.
  4. Click the New Script button.
  5. Double-click the New Script in Contents to edit it.
  6. Completely replace the script's contents with this script:
default
{
 touch_start(integer total_number) {
 // load a dialog with a URL
 llLoadURL(llDetectedKey(0), "Visit my Marketplace Store", "https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/30");
 }
}

After you've added the script:

  1. Customize the highlighted text above to specify your store. The store number is shown in your browser when you login to the Marketplace and choose My Marketplace > My store.
  2. Click Save.
  3. Close the New Script and Build windows.
  4. Click your sign object. A notification should appear with a link to your web store on the Marketplace. This is what your customers will see.

Wiki help pages

Beyond Second Life

Success on the Marketplace begins with a good understanding of Second Life culture and procedures. If you are new to selling, look closely at listings for items you yourself have purchased and take careful note of what appeals to you. Look to more experienced content creators for ideas — but don't plagiarize their copy.

Once you have a handle on the basics of the Marketplace, you might turn to external sources of inspiration. Consider the local markets you visit regularly; how do they present their goods? What about newspapers, magazines, or even tabloids — how do they grab your attention and keep you reading?

Here are a few specific links to other sellers' guides we've found helpful in crafting the SL Marketplace:

These copywriting and SEO tips generally apply to the Marketplace:

Residents have suggested these helpful links:

Useful reference books:

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User Feedback


Disagree, resell items is a an issue much more complex (and with many legal implications and many questions about permissions) than to find a yard sale. Just my opinion.

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The "Item listing fields" paragraph needs the adittion of "Usage Requirements" (between "Permissions" and "International tabs"). Sorry, edited for typo (my bad English LOL).

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