Marketing Monday #11 – How to Use Forums to Your Marketing Advantage
Forum marketing is a means of marketing through the use of existing forums. Forums are online message boards where people who have like interests gather to discuss, seek and give advice regarding the shared interest. This provides an ideal environment for you show your expertise and in turn, promote your business/site. Forum marketing is not a quick hit; it takes time but is worth the effort. There are some key things to know in order to be successful utilizing this type of marketing.
Initially, you need to do some research to find forums that cater to your target market. Upon identifying those, narrow them down based on the number of visitors the forum has. For your needs it may be best to choose a forum that has over 500 visitors but depending on your comfort level, you may start off with smaller forums.
Forums have guidelines and it is in your best interest to read and follow them. We tend not to want to read the “fine print” but it makes a difference when it comes to forums. If you do something that is against the guidelines, you can place yourself in a position to be banned. If you have established yourself in the forum and get banned, you have to start all over again.
In order to market successfully using forums make sure you blend in as a regular forum member. You don’t want to join and present yourself as a marketer or business owner and have your posts perceived as spam. Read the posts and when you have something of value to add, post your comment. The goal is to present yourself as more knowledgeable than most in a helpful way. This is a soft sell.
When adding comments, if your response can refer back to resources on your site that will be helpful to the poster, enter a link to it with your comment. An example of this may be something as follows: “When creating a blog it’s always important to have a strong ‘About Me’ page. Here’s an article that helped me to understand the value of a website home page. https://www.ultimateds.com/landing-page-importance/“ This is how you link to your page, build awareness of it and begin driving traffic to your site.
Additionally, depending on the forum guidelines, you may be able to include your web address in your forum signature. If so, utilize this benefit. However, continue to approach it with a “soft sell” mindset. When you set up your signature use your name or username, website address and one sentence about the site. For example, “Raul, www.ultimateds.com, Website design and marketing for small businesses.”
Post daily. Make this a part of your daily marketing tasks. This helps to build up your number of posts/comments and helps you become a recognized expert in the forum, which is exactly what you want. When other members begin to recognize you as an expert they are prone to refer other members to you. Say that a member states they set up a website but when he views it the format is off. Another member may respond with: “Raul really knows about website design layouts. You should PM him, I bet he can help you.” In this way, the forum members begin marketing for you for free.
Forum marketing is not hard but is does take time to do it effectively. Here’s a recap of the points made:
- Find niche forums that target your market.
- Post as a helpful member – establish your expertise.
- Link to your site when you can offer something helpful and in your signature, if allowed.
- Post daily to build up your recognition within the forum.
You can take a small step daily to make this become a part of your marketing plan. Try it out and see how it benefits your business. If you run into issues and need assistance feel free to contact us. We are always ready to help.