One of the most underrated but effective low cost marketing strategies is forum marketing, and for this reason I decided it was necessary to post some forum marketing tips for people that they can start actioning immediately.
Forum marketing can be slow and time consuming, but if someone persists with it over a long period and does it the right way, it can drive a lot of traffic to your website. You could always consider our very own LoCostMarketing Forum as a place to start if you wanted to as well.
You can always outsource forum marketing cheaply if necessary if you don't have the time to spend on it.
The problem is that most people that start with forum marketing, are too keen to promote their business opportunity or send links back to their website. As a result of this they just annoy people in the forums and in extreme cases get booted off and banned.
Sensible forum marketing has five main pay offs that make it worthwhile, providing you make sure you add a signature link to your profile.
- You drive traffic to your website
- You build back links and help your website to rank higher in the search engines
- You connect with like minded people, make friends and start to build a following
- You learn a lot by browsing and reading what others have to say
- You increase your exposure and become known as an expert over time
Here are my top six forum marketing tips to drive traffic and to also build a following.
1. Only join forums that are closely related to your niche.
Out of all the forum marketing tips in this post, this is the most important.
If you are in the shoe laces niche, then you dont want to be joining car racing forums. This may sound obvious, but many people give no thought to the type of forum that they are participating in.
You want to be closely involved with your target market, so only bother with the forums where your potential customers will be visiting.
2. Create an email signature for every forum that you join.
There is no point doing any forum marketing if you don't bother to include a profile signature. This is the part where you will be driving the traffic.
In the forums usually you are not allowed to put links in the post themselves, but you are allowed to put links in your signature file.
Usually this will be a link to your blog or your lead capture page.
You want to make your signature line sound appealing and interesting, and to entice people to want to click on it. If you just put "Click here to check out my business and make $1000 in your first week", then the chances are that very few people will click on it.
Remember you want to offer your subscribers and readers value, and it is a good idea to lead with this sort of message.
3. Never promote your business or use spam in your posts.
This follows on from number two, and the reason is that the most common reason for people being booted out of forums is to join up and immediately start posting crap.
The only thing that you should be including in your posts is content that is relevant to the discussion, and that helps people. Think about your target market in forums and do your best to be as helpful as possible.
People will be very grateful if you can save them time and stress with valuable information.
And the other big "no no" is short little posts purely for the purpose of creating back links with your signature file.
Examples of this are:
- "Great post'
- "i didn't know that"
- "You"re right"
These are just nonsense posts that nobody is interested in, and doing this sort of thing just makes you unpopular.
4. Never use aggressive tones or language in your posts.
You want to be making friends in the forums, not enemies.
If someone criticises you or picks on you, it is best to just ignore it and get on with the job.
Foul language and aggressive behaviour makes you look unprofessional, and is also unnecessary.
5. Try to help as many people as possible and contribute to the conversation.
The main reason you are there is to help other people to solve their problems and pain.
Being helpful is your primary intention when in the forums.
It is a great idea to connect with as many people as possible, and to show them that you are the expert that they should be following.
6. Don't put yourself down in your posts.
One of the worst things that you do in a forum is to say that you are "newbie" or "I am hopeless at it" or anything that is basically putting yourself down.
Even if you are a newbie or if you are struggling, you don't want the whole world to know about it. This is another thing that makes you look unprofessional.
And it also reinforces the message in your own head that you don't know what you are doing.
In my opinion it is best not to ask any questions in forums, and to only be a person who provides answers. This is what makes you a perceived expert.
If you do have questions about something, then just type it into Google and 9 times out of 10 you will find the answer quickly and easily.
7. Create a lot of posts and be patient.
And the last point is to stick with it, and not give up too easily.
You will learn a lot just by reading the discussions and seeing what people have to say – so even if the leads and sales are not rolling in, you are still getting a lot of benefit from Forum Marketing.
The forums usually list how many posts you have made, and people are more likely to take notice of somebody that has made 1,000 posts than someone with only 10.
If you keep it up for long enough it should start to provide plenty of traffic to your site – that you have not had to pay for.
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