Useful Tips for Successful Forum Marketing
Internet forums can be a useful marketing resource for Internet entrepreneurs and online businesses. They provide a public platform for conversation, debate and all manner of information exchange. However, forums rarely exist primarily for the purpose of Internet marketing and there are some important rules and guidelines to consider before you start getting involved. More than a place for actual advertising itself, forums are a great medium through which to build up your reputation and get involved with the community surrounding your niche. The best thing about forum marketing is that it is completely free, so the return on investment can be exceptionally good when it comes to Internet marketing. Before you begin, consider the following tips and strategies to get the best results and avoid common mistakes.
Do Your Research to Find Suitable Forums
Finding the right forums for your needs means finding those which are part of the community surrounding your niche. If you run a travel-related blog or website, for example, you will want to carry out your forum marketing on travel-related forums. Only spam bots attempt to post on forums which are not relevant to the content of their advertising.
If your primary reason to participate in an online forum is online marketing, avoid the forums which are not overly popular. You should be joining forums which have as many members as possible, preferably running into thousands rather than hundreds. Of course this will, however, depend on the popularity of your niche. Ensure that the forum you choose is relatively spam-free and receives regular posts and new threads on a daily basis.
The quickest way to find suitable forums is to use some of the forum directories such as Board Reader. These sites provide lists of forums and further information about them.
Always Read the Posting Rules and Guidelines before Signing Up
For some forum marketers, it is tempting to sign up to as many forums as possible and start posting right away. Do not do this! Every respectable forum on the Internet has its own specific set of posting rules and guidelines and you should always read these thoroughly before signing up. It might take some time, but it can save you much more time and hassle later on. When it comes to forum marketing, there is no point at all, for example, in joining forums which do not allow links to be placed in your posts or signature. Some forums place heavy restrictions on new members while others are strictly against advertising of any kind. Ensure that you do your research first to avoid wasting time.
Create a Good Profile and Signature
Once you have chosen a suitable avatar (profile picture) and a user name and signed up to the forum, you will have the opportunity to create a profile and a signature. Be aware that, depending on the forum, your profile may be viewable to the wider public or only to other members of the forum. Creating a good profile means writing a little about yourself and your business; however, it is often best to avoid polarizing details such as your religious or political views. Usually it is best to use an informal and friendly tone, although the best style to use will vary from one forum to another. Add your website address to your profile.
A signature is a small piece of text which is automatically attached to every post that you make. This usually includes one or two sentences about your website and/or business and a link to its homepage. Some forums even allow you to attach a small image to your signature.
Introduce Yourself but Be Sparing with Your Posts
Depending on the forum you are using, there may be a special thread dedicated to introductions. If this is the case, you should introduce yourself to the rest of the community as soon as you join. Tell the forum community why you joined and provide a friendly introduction to yourself and your area of expertise. It is absolutely imperative at this stage, however, to avoid any kind of advertising.
Once you have introduced yourself, don't start posting anything else right away. Spend some time reading popular threads to get an overall impression of the community. Above all, do not start any threads of your own at this stage and, at all times, avoid blatant advertising. You should first build up credibility by responding to people's questions, helping people out and providing valuable contributions to the forum. Once you have done this, you will establish some respect and credibility in the community. When you get to this stage, you can start your own threads, but only when you have something to share with people that they will likely to want to read.