The Ins and Outs of Forum Marketing
Forum marketing is effective because of the nature of the buying process. People buy from emotion and justify through logic. That is why for many years, word of mouth marketing worked so well.
An online forum is a place where people go to chat and have conversations about things that they have in common. Someone will ask a question or make a statement and other people will give answers or comments. This is called a thread, and it works a lot like an e-mail. When someone sends an e-mail and replies, they can continue to e-mail back and forth and all of these e-mails are hooked together into one long conversation. The forum thread is a lot like this long chain of e-mails.
Normally you have to be a member of the forum to post or leave comments in a thread. Forums are a lot like social media websites because you will have to set up a profile with some information and a picture. Then every time you make a post or comment in a thread, your picture and name from your profile will show with your question, comment or answer.
By using forum marketing as a business marketing strategy you can remove the barriers of your geographical location. It also reduces the majority of the cost of advertising because joining a forum is normally free. All that a forum marketing strategy will require is the time to find the right forums with the people that are your target audience and the time to go through the forum to comment on the proper threads.
One of the major mistakes that marketers make when using forum marketing as a marketing strategy is going to the thread and posting a comment that they have a particular item for sale with the link. This is very intrusive and very seldom works when forum marketing is executed in this manner. People are in the forum to have a conversation and find out what other people think about a particular subject. They did not go there to be marketed to. That would be like going to a coffee shop, having a conversation with friends, and someone walks up to you and tries to sell you something.
The only way a forum marketing strategy is effective and will work is to join the conversation as a part of the community. The marketer then needs to make posts or comments and begin to mention the product or service with no sales information given, asking people in the community their opinions and reviews of the product.
Selling products and services inside of a forum needs to be done in a process just like a sales presentation. The marketer needs to begin by creating some commonality with the people in the community. This will lower their resistance and the other people will accept the marketer as a part of the community. The marketer can even ask questions to get other people involved, which is why they are part of the community in the first place. Then the product or service can be worked into the thread or conversation so the marketer can get comments, reviews and experiences from other community members about the product.
The marketer can post as if they are a person wanting to purchase the product or service and are looking for other people’s opinions, experiences and comments about the product or service. This type of forum marketing strategy will gain the interest of the other people in the thread.
Another angle on the forum marketing strategy that works very well is to bring multiple people into the forum that all know each other. These people can begin to get in the conversations together and converse amongst themselves about a product or service which will bring the original members of the forum community into the conversation. This type of a forum marketing approach is much less intrusive and is easily accepted by the forum community. Remember if you are there to help the members in the community with your information about products and services, rather than to sell them something, you will be accepted into the conversations and your opinions will be readily accepted.
An important aspect about forum marketing is that once the posts and comments are made in the thread, they will remain there forever. They can be found on the internet by people searching at a later time.
If a forum marketing strategy is used consistently, a business can have hundreds or even thousands of threads ranking all over the internet. If implemented properly this strategy can be a very effective advertising method that will compound overtime with the only cost to the small business being the time involved.