The Benefits of Forum Marketing
Forum marketing is a great strategy that many online business owners use to market their own products and services online. In fact it is fast becoming one of the most widely used free marketing methods on the internet. It has many benefits and it costs virtually nothing for you to apply it. It just takes a little know how and determination from you on a regular basis to begin seeing positive results.
The central rule of thumb when it comes to forum marketing is that you never jump straight in an immediately start promoting your business. This is considered bad etiquette and will actually drive your potential customers to a different direction.
Before you begin to promote your product or service on any forum, you will need to establish yourself as a member of the community. There are two fundamental steps involved in this process.
Finding a forum and register as a member
When searching for a forum to join you will want to find one that is centered on a topic that is closely related to the product or service that you are planning to promote.
After you have found a forum that you want to and have registered, you should take some time to create a profile page about yourself. This should include a good description about yourself and your business. You will want to pay extra attention when developing your signature file, because it will be at the bottom of every post that you make and it is very important to the success of your campaign.
After you have registered and set up your profile and your signature line you should take a few days to observe around the forum before you begin to post.
Examine the posts and get a feel for the other member’s thoughts, ideas and questions. It is also very important that you take time to acquaint yourself with the rules of the forum. After you have observed around for a while it will be a good time to start posting.
Begin by responding to the other member’s questions and concerns. Do not by any means start out posting by immediately promoting your business. This can lead to a negative impression on the opinion other members have of you and blatant advertising can get you banned from the forum. Remember you want people to notice you not ignore you.
Focus on building your reputation on the forum
Starting with your very first post, you can begin to build your reputation as an expert on the topics being discussed. The first and most important thing you should do is introduce yourself. Then start to assist other members with their problems and promptly answer their questions. Bear in mind that the more respect you earn in the forum the more visits you will get to your website and the more sales you will make.
As I mentioned above most forums do not allow members to promote their products or services inside the post itself. This is considered spamming and it may get your post deleted and you may also be banned from the forum. There are many good reasons why forum marketing is so viable for many online marketers.
Whenever you post, you have the golden opportunity to help another person that might have a problem or perhaps a question. This will not only provide you a feeling of satisfaction that you have done something to help someone else and it will also help you build a good reputation on the forum.
The basic unspoken rule is that if you give to another member then you shall receive when they click on your signature line and go to your website. Another side advantage of joining a forum is that you will find plenty of valuable and very useful information that you can use to build your business. As you read posts by other members you will be amazed at how much free information that you’ll receive. This information can be an invaluable resource to improve your forum marketing strategy.
As you start to post on the forum lots of people will be able to see your signature line and click on it, which will lead them straight to your website. This form of free advertising can add up to a good amount of free traffic as well as potential sales from forum members. So as you can see forum marketing is a really good method with a lots of extra added benefits that you can use to promote your business.
Forum Marketing Etiquette
Any kind of forums out there provides guidelines as to what can or cannot be done on the forum, helping you draw your limits as to how aggressive your marketing can be on these forums. Lack of this often leads to negligence leading to unnecessary bans, and black marking against a particular user’s name.
So understanding the rules before joining any forum is absolutely vital, and comprises the first rule in successful internet marketing. The rules of the forum are posted right in the beginning under the guidelines or general discussion category and are not too in depth or tedious. They merely ban or disapprove of any kind of aggressive self promotion and improper comments which may offend the sensibilities of the other forum members. But the extent of strictness in implementing these rules differs from site to site, so checking beforehand is the safest way not to get you in trouble. Keep in mind you are a fellow forum member who has joined because you like the discussion of the forum and the topics being discussed in it, you are not supposed to be here to market yourself. So do not start showing your own praises and that of your website and product the moment you enter, especially without context.
Read what is being discussed, see how the forum is (formal or informal) and reply to it. Moreover get to know some of the people on the forum, build a relationship before broaching the subject of your website, that also subtly.
Following threads also has another bonus. If you follow, then you can keep track of certain queries raised by members, and if this falls in your area of expertise then you can help out them out and solve their problems, maybe even lead them subtly to your site containing matters about these issues.
The majority of the people think that after joining a forum and participating for a few days that people will check them out. But they generate no leads because you must post a lot before anybody will check you out.
For best results here is what you should do. First locate 3-5 forums that are in the network marketing field by searching on Google. By doing this you’ll get a list of forums to join and participate in. While doing your search make sure to look for forums which have more than 10000 members and above. This will increase your chance of getting enough traffic that will subsequently pay for the time you have spent on posting.
After this prepare a good signature from your profile settings. Create something that will get everybody’s attention towards you after reading it. However do not blatantly try to advertise on your signature, rather be subtle and get the message across.
Every little detailing you think will add to your credibility must be added in the profile. Once you are through with this, introduce yourself to the community. After that make sure you are regularly posting on the forum. The traffic would not come if you have not posted in the forums regularly for at least 2 weeks.
Posting High Quality Content
Each day you will come across new people who will post questions. Try to reply to every post that you have answers to or opinion about. Do this for 5 people (at least) each day on each forum. You can also ask relevant questions yourself for attracting replies so that many people will notice your signature link. From time to time try to write posts which are very informative and has relevance. This will benefit other people in the forum. It is best to write articles based on your experience. For example: in areas you have been successful in getting traffic or any similar useful tip that would help others to build their business.
Tips on Contributing in the Forum
Forum marketing is a great way of marketing if you can do it the right way. But it can be a financial equivalent of stepping on a land-mine. Forum marketing is basically showing your expertise and building a reputation. It does exactly that if you do it the right way.
Before you start actual postings go through the contents of the forum thoroughly once. By reading the forum you will have a good idea about what the forum is all about and the best way you can approach it. If you try to barge in, that will have a negative impact within the forum and that is one land mine you would surely want to avoid.
Always keep in mind that along with the new comers the best known brains in the online marketing industry are also posting in these forums. So, before you post something on a given topic or try to comment on a post make sure you have the necessary expertise to do that comment. If you do not have the necessary knowledge and shoot from the hip then at best you will be ignored or at worse, experience marketers will call you to task and that will ruin your reputation.
Comment when you can help someone with a problem otherwise keep num. the forums is all about helping each other with a common goal. If you can provide help then go for it. Good or bad the reputation you create in the forums will be synonymous with you throughout your online career and internet marketing.
You must take the steps after you have registered in a forum, to ensure your success in forum marketing. A lot of forums have specific threads designated for welcoming new members, where those who have just registered are encouraged to introduce themselves. Your introductory post should basically inform the other members who you are and why you’ve joined the forum. The motive you give should not be in any way business-oriented. Making a sales-pitch in your first post will definitely be frowned on and may get you banned.
Do not post immediately. Most forums have at least one, large, close-knit community in it. If you abruptly post on a thread where discussions have been carried on for days, you shall be shunned and ignored. Spend some time going through the archives—figure out which topics are constant favorites and which users are the unofficial leaders. Also observe the particular etiquette of the forum.
Whenever there are questions asked that fall within your area of expertise, answer them to the best of your ability. Back up your answers by providing links to trusted sources and answer follow-up questions promptly. If you prove to be a helpful, efficient member, you’re more likely to be paid attention to.
Do not get involved in heated arguments, no matter what you think of the question at hand. Keep reminding yourself that you’re there to build up a customers for your business so stay away from topics like religion, race and politics; don’t immediately respond to criticism; make sure the others know when you’re joking and leave discussions when they become controversial.
Once you’re acknowledged as a respected user, start marketing your products aggressively. Focus on techniques which are likely to prove beneficial to the community as a whole. Offer forum members free samples and/or discounts.
However, make sure to obtain the forum moderator’s permission before you start a marketing campaign. If you are hiring a marketing agency to run your campaign for you, research their methods. A lot of agencies use robots to spam forums.
While spamming might ensure temporary traffic, in the long run, it’ll do you more harm than good. Forum users dislike being flooded with spam.