We are social beings by nature, and forums have become very popular social communities where like minded people gather to share their thoughts, ideas and strategies. Whilst many people join online communities specifically for social benefits, there are also professionals online who see the huge potential in forum marketing.
Personally, I join and interact on forums because it gives me a chance to promote my business through a signature link at the bottom of each valuable post I write. Others use forums just to gain a back-link to their website from their signature, and then there are people who are just starting out in the internet marketing business who are looking for advice and tips on which direction they should be heading in.
Okay, let’s take a look why forums are powerful for online business owners…
1) Forum Marketing- Building On Your Existing Knowledge:
Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a newbie, conversing and participating on online forums can be very valuable for the future growth of your business. Well respected forums have a lot of valuable content shared by many different marketers who approach their business from completely different mindsets. I have learned a lot over the years just from reading other posts left by like minded people in the same industry as myself. While this may not be seen as direct forum marketing, it has helped my online business grow immensely through the years.
You can pick up some great little tips & tricks just by browsing through the popular categories of a forum, but be warned, there are also a lot of bad habits you can pick up from internet marketers who have no real clue as to how to run an online business. What I really like about forums is that there are many different viewpoints shared by successful entrepreneurs, and when a conversation erupts into a full blown debate about what are the best strategies to run a business, you will begin to see who are the experts and who are the opportunity seekers very quickly.
Opportunity seekers are the ones who give advice on how to make “quick cash” online, where the seasoned business experts will highlight the importance of creating a long-term business plan that is sustainable over time. You can pick up some great little nuggets of gold from both parties.
When joining a forum with the sole purpose of learning about your industry, I suggest you take a close look at who is doing the posting, what their strategies are, and what their goal of posting is.
Learn to distinguish from the people who actually work to provide value, and weed out the ones who simply post on forums to gain a back-link to their website, or simply just to promote their online services. Marketers who post to provide value are the ones I pay attention to. I don’t trust the ones who are just posting to promote their business. This is ineffective forum marketing and I’d much rather ignore what they have to say.
I like to take notes when I go onto popular forums and I also like to write down the names of members who seem to have a strong presence on the forum. I then go through their previous posts to dig a little deeper into their overall business strategies.
You can learn a lot from these people and if you are impressed by their approach to online marketing, you can follow their posts and get to know them a little better each time you visit. Maybe I will even send a private message after a short while asking for specific answers to questions I feel they would have extensive knowledge in. This approach is very valuable and you can build valuable relationships with knowledgeable folk over time.
2) Forum Marketing- Marketing Your Online Business:
Forums are great place to promote your brand, products and services to targeted people within your niche. I use forums for many different reasons but my main reason is for promotional purposes. I have quite a bit of knowledge in the internet marketing industry and I would like to promote what I have to offer to that particular market…what better place than where these people hang out every day?
A simple little signature profile at the bottom of your posts can bring in a lot of traffic over time to your service, providing you give value to the forum that is. I have seen forum posters leave one sentence posts in an attempt to get their signature file on many threads within the forum. This is a complete waste of time and will drive very little, if any, visitors to your web space. Adding little to no value to a forum is a waste of your time, and a waste of the forums capabilities of helping you with your online presence.
If you go to the most popular internet marketing forum that exists on the net today, you will see many well known people adding consistent value to that forum. These marketers know exactly what they are doing and the reap the benefits tenfold.
Alexa Smith is a regular poster on the warrior forum and she provides incredible value to participants of that forum on a consistent basis. Alexa has marketers, and “would be” marketers, hanging onto her every word. If she decided tomorrow to launch a product within the warrior forum, she would make a boat load of cash overnight, simply because she provides valuable information every post she writes or responds too. This is how forum marketing is done effectively.
The key to making forum presence work for you is to provide as much value to the members on that forum on a consistent basis. Joining forums with the purpose of promoting your service is short sighted, your number 1 goal is to provide as much valuable advice as possible to the members.
After a short while you will notice a lot of people coming to your website from clicking on your signature link. If someone on a forum provided me with great advice on a particular question I had, I would absolutely click on the link in their signature…who wouldn’t? Even if I didn’t ask a question in the forum but got some great tip from a fellow marketer by reading other threads that I have no posts in, I would still click through to their service regardless. Remember also, your valuable posts will be on the forum for a very long time, so you can have consistent exposure to your business providing you regularly give value.
There are many ways to promote your business online, and you should be using a mixture of them all to create an online presence that reaches far out across the whole world wide web. Forums are just one of the ways to do this, but they can be very powerful if approached in the right way.
Years ago I would have used forums to gain a back-link to my website, these days however, I approach this with a much more targeted goal in mind. Back-links are of course very valuable for search engine traffic, but not as powerful as bringing targeted traffic straight to you service or product. I participate in 5 forums related to the niche I’m in, and I spend at least an hour each day providing value in each of these forums.
Not all traffic is equal, so it’s important to go where your target market is already hanging out. Forums have dramatically helped me promote my business and will continue to do so for many years to come as long as I consistently use these communities to provide value to it’s members.
I also learn a lot from forums by conversing with experts in the internet marketing field I am passionate about. Don’t underestimate the value of participating in high traffic forums…the value they can bring to your business is immense, as long as you use them to market your business in the proper manner.Forum marketing is one of my favorite free sources of traffic and it works wonderfully well if used in the right way.