Metaverse marketing success for startups and small businesses
Startups and small businesses usually thrive on innovation. But what if they could apply novelty to their marketing efforts? The Metaverse is a growing marketing tool for companies worldwide. While it may seem like a domain reserved for large corporations, startups can also capitalise on it to enhance their marketing strategies, offer immersive audience engagement, and extend their brand in virtual reality (VR).
This article originally appeared in the March/April issue of Startups Magazine. Click here to subscribe
So, let’s explore how startups and small businesses can effectively employ the Metaverse for marketing. We’ll examine budget considerations, alignment with strategy, measuring ROI, partnering with seasoned experts, and selecting suitable VR platforms. Furthermore, we’ll highlight AI's role in virtual marketing and provide relevant examples of small businesses and startups that have successfully utilised the Metaverse.
Resource allocation is critical for startups and small businesses exploring marketing initiatives, including the Metaverse. In addition, companies should thoroughly research costs associated with platform fees, virtual real estate, and development expenses to ensure that the potential ROI justifies the investment.
ALIGNING WITH STRATEGY
To optimise the Metaverse, startups must align their virtual initiatives with their overarching brand strategy. Identifying the target audience, crafting a clear message, and designing immersive experiences that reflect the brand identity are essential. Moreover, startups should consider how their virtual presence complements existing marketing channels to create a cohesive customer experience.
Startups investing in the Metaverse should establish clear success metrics. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can include engagement metrics (dwell time, interaction rate, user satisfaction), conversion metrics (sales, leads, sign-ups), and brand awareness metrics (social media mentions, press coverage). Monitoring these KPIs enables businesses to evaluate the efficacy of their virtual campaigns and make informed decisions about future investments. However, at this stage, the focus should be mostly on engagement and brand awareness and gradually shift toward conversion as the Metaverse matures.
PARTNERING WITH EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS
Navigating the Metaverse can prove challenging for businesses lacking prior experience. Collaborating with a company with a proven track record in VR marketing can save time, reduce risk, and ensure a seamless launch. Experienced partners offer valuable insights, technical expertise, and creative direction to help startups maximise their virtual presence. Additionally, leading Metaverse experience builders provide the tech to measure, optimise, and monetise VR activations.
SELECTING THE RIGHT VR PLATFORMS
The Metaverse comprises a variety of VR platforms, each with unique features, audience demographics, and engagement opportunities. When choosing a platform, startups should consider factors like user base, compatibility with their target audience, data ownership, and platform capabilities. Whereas Web2 platforms like Roblox and Fortnite can offer more reach, Web3 worlds such as The Sandbox and Decentraland may be appealing thanks to their underlying principles of decentralisation and user empowerment. Beyond this, more recently, some companies have chosen to build standalone activations using Unreal Engine or Unity, host them on public clouds, and integrate them with websites.
AI’S ROLE IN THE METAVERSE
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is crucial in enhancing the Metaverse experience for both businesses and users. AI-driven algorithms can analyse user behaviour and preferences, enabling businesses to deliver tailored content and promotions. Additionally, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can facilitate seamless customer interactions, providing support and answering queries within the virtual environment.
Examples of successful Metaverse marketing initiatives by small businesses and startups include:
Toigo’s Door is a multi-phase music NFT experience from Canadian-based music visionary Toigo. To enrich the experience for NFT holders, the small firm offered holders early access to a visually-stunning custom-built Minecraft experience. This made the NFT minting and sale more engaging and successful and provided an additional channel for fan engagement.
Seedify, the blockchain gaming launchpad, also developed and plans to launch a metaverse experience in The Sandbox. Featuring fishing, jungle deathmatch, and hoverboard racing games, the Metaverse activation aligns with the company’s essence and provides immersive experiences for the community.
Lush, the British cosmetics retailer, also entered the Metaverse recently. With the Decentraland activation, the company aims to capture internal and external audiences. The gamified Metaverse experience rewards visitors with an exclusive limited edition 'All Are Welcome Always' Digital fashion T-Shirt or Hat, provided they collect five hidden bath bombs.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
As the Metaverse gains prominence, startups and small businesses have a unique opportunity to capitalise on this innovative marketing channel to reach their target audience in ground-breaking ways. By considering factors such as budget, alignment with company strategy, measuring ROI, partnering with experienced professionals, selecting suitable VR platforms, and harnessing AI, businesses can successfully navigate the Metaverse and unlock new growth avenues.
In today's increasingly digital landscape, the Metaverse presents an opportunity for startups to differentiate themselves from competitors, craft memorable customer experiences, and cultivate brand loyalty. As the momentum surrounding the Metaverse accelerates, we can expect more businesses to incorporate VR as a core component of their marketing strategies. Consequently, now is the time for startups and small businesses to explore the potential of the Metaverse and position themselves as pioneers in this rapidly evolving domain.
By learning from the successes of others and adapting to the unique challenges and opportunities of the Metaverse, startups can harness the power of VR to drive growth, reach new audiences, and establish lasting connections with their customers. Embracing the Metaverse is not merely an opportunity for innovation but also a strategic move that can help businesses flourish in the ever-changing world of digital marketing. Through a professional, knowledgeable, and critical approach, startups can make the most of the Metaverse and its potential to redefine marketing success.