It’s not just sea water that comes in waves. For some reason this week I’ve had at least five emails that refer to the advantages of forum marketing. One or two are selling ebooks, the rest are just saying forum marketing is A Good Thing.
Well, is it?
This informative article will explain what forum marketing is, look at the advantages and disadvantages, and share my own experience of forum marketing.
First – what is forum marketing, exactly? Forum marketing is where you use your answers to other forum participant’s questions to link to your website and your product or service. You may use your contributions to existing posts, or start a thread yourself. In every case, though, it is the your signature file, or resource box, that follows every one of your post, that “markets” you to the forum.
So what are the advantages? I guess two of the best that come to mind are that forum marketing is easy, and it’s fun!
Simply type your niche subject into Google followed by ‘Forum’ and you’ll be presented with every forum in that area. For example, I’ve just typed “weight loss forums” into the search box and have been presented with over 90,000 results. I think that’s enough to be getting on with, isn’t it? Scout around, register with four or five that you find attractive, and join in!
But be certain (so long as it’s allowed) to include your web page in your signature file. So far, so easy.
Another advantage of forum marketing is that you know you are talking to prospective customers. If your product is to do with weight loss, and you are a member of a weight loss forum, you know that participants have this issue in common.
Which means that you can position yourself (truthfully, I stress) as a fellow sufferer, or fellow enthusiast (if the forum is to do with, say,digital photography) or expert (if you own a vineyard in Tuscany and contribute to a wine lover’s forum. You will gain status as knowledgeable expert, and it won’t be long before you posts carry weight and are noticed. Don’t call yourself an expert, by the way, just be seen to offer intelligent solutions to problems.
And you should expect traffic which will come from the forum itself, and then from search engine spiders as they trawl the forum and index your links. You can check your web stats later and see which forums deliver the most click throughs, and concentrate on them
Briefly, then those are the advantages of forum marketing. They seem attractive and straightforward. What could be the downside?
Well, forum marketing can take time to deliver. As opposed to a one time special offer that you could expect to deliver over 72 hours, it could be three or four months before you see meaningful results from forum marketing.
And forum marketing can take a lot of your time as well. Joining a forum and participating in the community can eat into your day, so don’t be surprised. I know that I have stayed up late into the evening to post on forums – and it gets later when I’m enjoying myself!
You might need to develop a thick skin as people rarely hold back in their posts and you could upset someone inadvertently. I still smart when some replied angrily to something I’ve posted.
If people suspect that you are a spammer, or if they feel you are just a member of the forum so you can sell, you’re going to have to leave pretty quick.
On balance then, I would suggest that forum marketing is worth it, but only as part of your internet marketing strategy. It is an important tool in your internet marketing toolbox, but not the only one.