The rise of the internet has allowed small businesses and entrepreneurs to market their business without needing the same finances as the big budget corporations. No longer does it require tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach your target audience. In fact, there are ways in which you can reach a relevant audience and advertise your skills and services without spending a dime. One of these methods is forum marketing.
What is Forum Marketing?
Forum Marketing is exactly what its name implies – using forums in order to market your business or service to new audiences. With forum marketing, you register for a relevant forum and display your skills and expertise through discussions and personal interaction on that forum.
The Benefits of Forum Marketing
There are many great benefits associated with forum marketing. These include:
The majority of forums are free, meaning that you don’t have to pay anything in order to join and participate. This makes forum marketing an excellent solution for those entrepreneurs who have a tiny or nonexistent marketing budget. Depending on your niche, it may also make sense to join paid forums. Even most paid forums are relatively low cost, with only a few dollars per month in fees, meaning that you do not have to spend much money in order to gain from them.
Forum marketing allows you to become an authority in your niche. By answering relevant questions and discussing appropriate topics, you can display far more knowledge and expertise in a topic than would be demonstrable from a static web page.
Forum marketing is a great way to gain leads and possible clients. Simply by targeting a forum that contains a number of your ideal clients and displaying your expertise, you can get potential clients interested in what you have to offer.
Forum marketing can be instrumental in driving traffic to your site. Whether you have your site monetised with traffic dependent ads such as Adsense or simply prefer to have people interacting with you on a medium that you control, forum marketing is one way to achieve this aim. Through aspects such as signature links, you can easily and quickly send potential customers to your own personal site.
How Do I Get the Most Out of Forum Marketing?
Choose your forums and subforums wisely
In order to get the most out of forum marketing, then you must choose the forums and sub-forums that will offer you the best return on your investment, even if your only investment is time. Improper targeting means that even your best advice will receive little or no feedback or interest. Ensure that the forums that you frequent have a specific and relatable link to the services that you are offering. Also, certify that you know the aim of your forum posting (e.g. is it to gain leads, or do you want more traffic?) in order to make the best selection.
Read and follow the rules
Being banned sucks. For one, it puts a temporary halt to the effectiveness of your marketing attempts. Besides, certain infractions can have a negative reputation on you and your reputation as a forum poster. In order to avoid being banned, read and follow the rules of the forum. Make sure that you understand the rules and FAQ in order to know what behaviour is allowed and what isn’t in order to guarantee that the administrator hammer doesn’t come down on you.
Complete your profile
Make sure to fill out as many fields as possible in your profile. A fully filled out profile makes you look far more professional and trustworthy, and people are more likely to be curious about you if your profile is complete. Ensure that you enter a profile picture or logo, enter any social media links that may be allowed, your location, and any other information that would seem pertinent to the curious forum reader.
Use your signature links
Signature links are one of the most powerful ways in which you can advertise and drive traffic to your own site. One of the major aims of forum marketing should be to get people to your site to purchase your product – which of course can’t be done if they don’t know where to go! By adding your website link in your signature, you make it easier for potential clients to find and contact you. When deciding on your signature, tips such as making it stand out or linking to an exclusive offer can maximise the effectiveness of your signature.
Get a blog
Many forums offer a blog feature – use it! A blog will allow you to inject a little slice of your own personality into your marketing efforts. While your blog can and should include some content that displays your expertise, off topic and interesting posts can also make your blog attractive. The best tip here is to make your blog fun, interesting, and personal, and make sure that you include links back to your own site.
Having a daily/regular presence on the forum is essential in order to expose yourself to the maximum number of readers. While your entire day shouldn’t be taken up with posting, checking once or twice for a few minutes a day can guarantee that you stay abreast/up to date with relevant discussions.
Make sure all posts are informative and valuable
Don’t waste your time with a single sentence in promotional posts. If you’re going to reply or start a new thread, make sure that your post addresses a need or answers a question. Ensure that your expertise or knowledge shines through every post that you make, and only make posts addressing issues relevant to the thread. When posting, make sure that your posts are as detailed and informative as possible.
Start new topics
Don’t be afraid to start up new threads or topics. People tend to pay the most attention to the comment made by the thread starter. By starting new topics, you are garnering more interest and also positioning yourself as a thought leader if your topic is interesting or thought-provoking.
It can be easy to go on a tangent and speak off the top of your head when you’re in a forum, dishing out opinion as a certainty. Don’t. Instead, always confirm that whatever you say is correct and that what you say can be backed up with fact. An incorrect statement or post can make you look silly and lose credibility in the eyes of the reader. Always make sure that whatever you say can be verified.
Nobody likes a troll. Don’t go out of your way to be mean spirited or abrasive. Ensure that even in cases when you do disagree with another poster that what you have to say comes across respectfully. Being overly aggressive will result in people being turned off by you, no matter how truthful or correct you are. Not only that, but you face the risk of being banned. By being polite, more people will be willing to listen to your point of view, even if they don’t necessarily agree.
Often times, people in forums tend to regurgitate the same information without any additional thought or evaluation. Don’t be that person. If you have a unique view on a topic or issue, don’t be afraid to express it. Also, call out people when they’re acting like “sheeple” and simply following the herd by repeating the same old information. Play devil’s advocate at times, and don’t be afraid to have a view that differs from that of the majority, as long there is strong reasoning behind it.
Using these short guidelines, you can easily make a big impact with forum marketing. By effectively using forum marketing you can make a huge impact in providing great PR for your business or brand without having to splash out on an expensive marketing campaign. If you still need help or you have some questions not covered by this post, then please let me know.