I am a big fan of Maki from DoshDosh. Maki has excellent advice on building your online presence and is the base we used in setting up the online presence for the Second Life private estate iliveisl. Having a virtual real estate business is similar to any other business. There are market factors that dictate the prices you can charge, as well as the opportunity to craft your own niche offering.
Working with Ener Hax in-world was key in creating this niche offering. However, relying solely on in-world differentiators is like advertising your restaurant to people already looking at your menu.
Creating a unique in-world virtual land offering is indeed important, but only part of our business strategy. The social networking aspect of the web is a powerful one for marketing anything and is a natural to promote endeavors such as Second Life land sales.
Social networking can effectively promote yourself for freelance, consulting, or even career advancement. And also for marketing the largest universities and corporations. There are 100s of corporate success stories showcasing the very best social networking practices.
The tools are free but your time is not.
Enter Maki’s advice. Determining your most effective channels such as Twitter, Plurk, LinkedIn, Facebook, and so on are key to effective time management. It is critical to setup all the “base” accounts in an efficient manner. From gravatar to Google profiles to those things best suited to your ideal audience.
Part of your online strategy should also look at funding itself, apart from driving more business or awareness of you, your brand, and whatever.
The iliveisl blog runs Google Ad Sense and those cover its hosting. The blog also serves up affiliate programmes. One such programme is Linden Lab’s referral one which pays out about $7.61 for any new premium members. Unfortunately, it seems that the programme is no longer in existence for new accounts. This programme helps cover the two premium accounts for me and the two for Ener Hax. Not bad for just a link that is going to be on the blog anyway (and website).
Maki had a post titled So You Want to Make Money Online: An Extensive Guide to T-Shirt Affiliate Marketing and after reading it, I approached it as yet another space that the “brand” of iliveisl and spokesperson Ener Hax could be furthered. All of these smaller accounts tend to contribute to your SEO (lol – thus our entry in urbandictionary.com – poor Ener never wanted all the online attention and would rather exist quietly in-world and create buildings and robots). But the image of a person, even an avatar, is more interesting than that of a small business (the Geico gecko and the Aflac duck come to mind – not that Ener is a lizard or duck). =D
After selecting a few affiliates, we created our own ad for the blog and had it up for about a month. The ad was for Threadless Tees and after seeing very few clicks, we took it down in favour of a little less clutter (plus Ener kept being asked in-world if the pink haired girl of the ad was one and the same – no, actually one of the 100s of customer-uploaded images on Threadless).
Well, out of the blue and a few months after removal of the ad, Ener received this via email today!
Is it a big deal? Not at all, but it is nice to see that Maki’s advice pays. =)