Forums, also known as Discussion Groups or Online Bulletin Boards, are great places to meet people from all over the world with similar interests. Building bonds with such people can prove to be very fruitful for your business because as you build trust with your fellow forum members and establish yourself as someone who is knowledgeable, you can potentially earn new customers and partners for your business. In order to be successful using forums there are some things you should keep in mind.
1. Join forums that are in some way related to what you are marketing or the type of business model you are using. For example, if you are an Internet Marketer and/or Network Marketer you should search forums that cater to either or both and join anywhere from 2 to 5 of them, maybe more. It is totally up to you and the time you have available to dedicate to forum marketing. There are countless forums online and it is impossible to visit all of them, so select a handful that really meet your needs, and visit them regularly.
2. Choose the most popular forums. A simple Google search with relevant keywords will give you a good idea of which ones to target. There is no point wasting your time and energy on forums that have very few members and few posts. Page raking, the amount of active members, the number of posts, and how regularly new posts are added are the simplest ways to check for this.
3. Choose forums that allow signature tags. If its possible, read the rules before joining and pay attention to them. It is better to find out that a forum doesnt allow posts with signature tags before you go through the entire signup process. Most forums do allow them so this shouldn’t be a major issue, however, some only allow you to post your signature tag (and other external links) after you have made a minimum number of posts, so be prepared. It’s usually a minimum of 10-20 posts on average so it’s not a huge deal. The forum administrators are just trying to make people post useful content rather than blatantly advertise their website/business. There are way too many people simply doing this and it cheapens the purpose of joining forums, so adhere to the codes of conduct in each discussion group. Failing to do so may get your posts deleted, or in extreme cases your account being closed and you being banned.
4. Once you are allowed to link your website in your signature box, do so, and do so after every post. The ideal thing is to limit yourself to one link, preferably to your main business website where you are promoting products/services or your business opportunity. If you have a blog, you may want to link that as well so your readers can still learn more about you and what you are doing, even if they are not ready to become your customers or business partners just yet.
5. Visit the forums you join regularly. Get to know some of the other members and with time, feel free to mention them by name in some of your posts to build your relationships as you would in person. It will help bring about a real sense of camaraderie. Plan to spend at least an hour each day on forum marketing. It may sound like a lot but it really isn’t. Just reading through several topics and deciding which ones you will add something useful to takes time. Starting your own threads is also important to show that you are not only capable of answering someone else’s discussion topic, but that you are also good at opening up the floor to discussions based on your own ideas. This demonstrates initiative and leadership. Being a member of multiple forums you may want to rotate the ones you visit so that you can visit 1 or 2 different ones each day and still manage to post 3-5 intelligent posts in each room. This will make your efforts feel less repetitive and spark more creativity. This way you will still be able to visit your forums each and every week. Before you know it your presence in the forums will grow and your links will attract more and more interested parties.
If you engage in proper conduct your name and business will gain tremendous exposure without you ever having to pitch anyone on anything. This is the essence of ”Attraction Marketing”. People will be drawn to you and then your business by extension. They will do so because you have proven yourself to be intelligent, personable, and most of all trust worthy. Honour and integrity are everything in business and in life, so put your best foot forward and treat others as you wish to be treated. This is a recipe for success and you will reap the benefits with time. Success!