If you are a website owner, you need to get the word out about your site in every possible way that you can. One of the ways you can do this is through forum marketing. Forums are places where like-minded people gather to discuss their interests – they take their name from the forums in ancient Rome, where the senior men in the city discussed business. However, you have to be an established member before you can start connecting with people and get them interested in your offering.
When talking about forum marketing, we are referring to being a member of the community where you plan to market your product. This is not the same as buying advertising on the forum. While some forums will sell advertising to anybody–and you can use that as an additional way of getting the word out–this article will focus on being a member that markets to other members.
Knowing how to make the most of forum marketing is a must if you wish to succeed. The first rule is to be a contributing member to the community. You don’t have to be the smartest, funniest or most oddball member of the group; you just have to add value to the group. The way you do that is by making posts.
However, you shouldn’t mention your website or offer in your posts (especially at first). Don’t think you can hint at it either, people on forum are astute at spotting people who are there only for forum marketing. There are two ways to make sure you don’t stand out. First, after you join, invest a few days reading posts and seeing how members interact with one another. Second, don’t come on too strong. If you start making 50 posts a day, you will set off alarm bells, and it will be hard to recover.
You need to understand both the written and unwritten rules of the community if you want to do well with your forum marketing endeavors. It can take time to understand all the nuances but as long as you are polite, and open to correction, then you will eventually get the hang of it.
Forum marketing sure sounds like a lot of work, but is it worth it? You bet it is! Imagine being able to interact with your target market, learning their problems and concerns, and establishing yourself as an expert on the topic. These things won’t get you a few sales, they will earn you customers for life.
Most forums allow their members to add links to the bottom of each post. These are known as signature lines, and are automatically placed after each post. You will set the signature in your user profile, and the same sig will be used on all of your posts. However, be sure you understand the rules associated with signature files. The standard seems to be that you need 50 posts before you can add a signature, but each forum varies and it’s your responsibility to understand the rules.
As long as you do it the right way, forum marketing can pay off in a big, big way.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+