I keep saying that all my techniques will be FREE to almost no cost. That means I don’t charge anything nor will it cost you anything to put the internet marketing technique into use.
Forum Marketing is a POWERFUL traffic booster that has forum members finding you for years to come from just a few posts. Become an authority forum poster and get long term consistent traffic, loyal customers, and a sense of community like nothing else. Forum members can become great friends and be your best testimonials and support.
Forum marketing might be the easiest of all internet marketing techniques because it requires almost no technical skill at all. Unless you count your forum signature, which I will tell you how to format at the end of this article. Forum marketing is a great way to make your online business stand out from the crowd. Very few small business really take advantage of the power of forum, so a business owner that is interacting on high traffic forums with internet users is a step ahead of his competion. Why would you even Google search if there was a trusted expert on the forum you visit? Especially because forum users tend to be net savvy and open to online purchases.
The basic idea of forum marketing is to interact with people in your target audience and build a relationship with them. It is extremely easy and not too time consuming and will pay off for weeks, months, and years to come. I have people coming to my site from posts I have made several years ago. There are always going to be people asking the same question. Don’t you love it when you search a question and find it already being discussed on a forum? Makes you instantly feel connected with those people. Now think if you were the one answering those questions. Everyone would be knocking on your door trying to pick your brain.
The best part about forum marketing is that it is FREE. There are plenty of heavily trafficked forums for every niche, category, or business but you must find a few that will give you a high ROI. Since your “Investment” is time, you want to make sure you are on the largest and most well respected forums in the world. Making a good impression in front of a savvy captive influential audience will spread your message and reputation, far and wide.
- Find your target market and build a relationship through repetitive interaction.
- Get highly targeted traffic to your website.
- Build links to your website from other high ranking authority sites.
- Keep on the cutting edge and up to date on what is happening in your niche.
- Create value in your niche, helping others, and showing yourself as an expert.
Below is my step-by-step guide that has helped me effectively use forum marketing.
1. Do your research and find the right forums for YOU.
Not all forums are worth the time. To be successful at forum marketing you must find an active community that is right for your business. I have seen well respected forum members sell out in a few days offering sale items to other forum members. In fact one forum I belong to has several business that have started on the forum as members WERE FORCED to provide products and services, and MAKE MONEY because their “hobbies” were so desirable to others. Look for popular forums that cover your niche topic. Search on Google or Bing (“Niche” + Forum) or (“Product” + Forum). Forum tracking boards seem pretty useless. Any major forum is going to pop up at the top of Google or Bing.
- Narrow your list to 3-5 forums. Keep your forum marketing efforts streamlined so you stay active. Posting on large busy forums will keep things interesting. Visit each forum a couple times a day with all of them open at once in your browser window (use tabbed browsing). Say hi to members you know and help members asking questions.
- Make sure you find and use large authority forums. Not only will there be more people, the larger forums will get threads listed in the top 10 of Google results. 10,000 members and 100,000 posts is a good place to start if you are in any mainstream niche. Any forum this large will be active. Make sure you are not the only one posting before you start.
- Ignore Spam & competitor forums.
2. Create an account and signature.
Use your primary email address to create your accounts once you find a few forums that will work for you. When you sign up for brand new accounts at forums, make sure you fill out all the fields within your profile. There are fields for a link to your site, social media accounts, and “about” or description of you. It’s a good idea to have two links in your signature, one to your lead capture page and one to your primary business URL. You will generate more opt-ins if you have an “Attraction Marketing” lead capture page and a follow up auto-responder to attract and build a list from traffic coming from Discussion Forums; that way people see you as a professional.
3. Read the user agreement and forum posting guidelines.
The power of forum marketing is that it’s one of the best ways to build relations and a reputation online. You must follow the rules or you will ruin your reputation immediately. Do not start by posting your ads everywhere in the forum. Actually, don’t post any ads at all. When forum marketing don’t just get on and start spamming about your business. Its annoying and will get you banned. Read the forum rules and guidelines first before posting anything.
4. Pick a memorable user name or use your real name.
Find a good gravatar (globally recognized avatar) that represents you and use it all over the internet. A picture that is clear and fits into the specifications of the forum is important. You wouldn’t want to show up at a job interview having not showered and brushed your teeth. People put a lot of weight on visual first impressions. Make your avatar memorable, make it yours, make it good. An avatar can be just a headshot, a logo, text, a nature scene, your dog. Any .jpg, .gif, .png file of the right size should work.
5. Create a unique profile and write a compelling description of yourself, products, or services.
Make sure to include a link in your profile, social media accounts, and attraction opt-in landing page. Write your profile with enthusiasm and highlight your best traits. Effective forum marketing is a long term strategy; many people will be seeing your profile and judging you immediately. Send a positive message and a call to action. Using a verb at the beginning of a sentence makes people react and take the action presented before them more frequently than other types of words.
6. Make an introduction post.
7. “Lurk” for awhile before you start posting.
8. Be a part of the community and make contributions.
The key to successful forum marketing is making valuable contributions to the conversation.
9. Be Seen! Be Professional! Be Positive!
10. Check back frequently.
#1 RULE OF FORUM MARKETING: Just be yourself. If you are sarcastic, witty, funny, angry, (maybe not) educated, let it show. Be the real you so that others can see your personality. You can tell a lot about a person from their forum posts. BE HONEST AND SINCERE. DO NOT argue and fight with people though. Comment and provide answers. Leave inspirational quotes. Tell stories from experience. Ask questions.