Forum marketing is a very potent form of online marketing. But it is a marketing method that is often misunderstood. Many marketers only look at forums as places where they can come in and drop their spam and leave. If you want to market this way, you are not a marketer but instead, you are a spammer. It really is as simple as that. But you have to do it right and it can pay handsomely down the road. The more you post, the more credibility you build and the more people will trust you. Once again, it is about giving people value. If you answer their questions and your first intension is not to make money but to really be helpful, people will figure that you are a trustworthy person because you are around all the time and help them out.
It is not rocket science and it doesn’t require sophisticated mathematical algorithms or equations. It really is that simple. If you share information and help people out, they will think you are a good guy and trust you. In the real world just as in the digital world, people buy from people they trust. So keep that in mind. It is really all about reputation. Follow these tips to help you build your online reputation.
Tips for Forum Marketing
1. Share quality content.
When you are online and you don’t know the answer to the question being posted by somebody, don’t answer it. However, many people abuse the signature line of the forums. They feel that they have to answer questions they don’t have the competency in. If you do this, not only are you just wasting everybody’s time but also harming your brand. People will look at your name, avatar and signature line and think – in worst case – that you are a spammer or an idiot who just posts for the sake of posting. Don’t do it. If you have something worthwhile saying, say it, but if you don’t know the answer, keep your mouth shut and don’t type anything. This does not apply “just” to forum marketing – it is the same for leaving comments on blogs just to get a link back to your site. It’s much better just to say something when you have something worth sharing.
2. Everything you do online brands you.
When you are on a forum, your whole persona is your brand. So on’t abuse people. If you are sarcastic or like to insult people, it is going to look very bad for your brand. The bottom line is that all products and services online are about helping people. They meet a certain need. If your online brand is all about putting people down and hurting them emotionally, how do you think will that help your brand? The simple answer is, it won’t. Sure it might get you a lot of attention but the fact is that people don’t like jerks. If you are a jerk in real life, try to keep it under wraps. Put your best face forward when you are online. I know this should be obvious but sometimes we really don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but it happens due to the nature of the Internet. When you write something you can’t add the gesture, smile or laugh to underline how you really meant it. So be careful with that, people might misunderstand you although you never had a bad intention at all.
3. Participate in the community.
When you reach out and become friends with other people on the forums, you build your credibility. You are leveraging on the credibility they have built for themselves. In other words, when people refer you to people they know or they vouch for you, you don’t have to build trust from stage 1. You can pull from the trust that they themselves have built. So it pays to be social.
Doing forum marketing is all about being social. If you are around and enjoy helping others and answering questions in forums that is a good thing to do. I usually stick to some blogs and one or two forums where I try to help out. I do not even need to link or push people – they come voluntarily (thank you, if you found me that way!). If you are at a forum in your niche you really get highly targeted visitors. Imagine this:
Someone needs help and asks for it in a forum. This happens 1000s of times every single day. You are the one providing a really helpful answer (works on a blog comment as well). Who do you think will the person who got help visit? Right, your website. If for curiosity or out of real interest but he will be someone you build a relationship to. It is not that deep first but when they find a reason to stay on your blog they’ll stick with you. When I started out I stumbled over Rosalind Gardner’s website Netprofitstoday.com. She asked what help people need with their business and until today I still get comments into my email where people ask for help. I remember that she took the time to answer my question and I just thought – wow, one time NOT a get rich quick guru but a real person! And from that real person who provided real help I got the Super Affiliate Handbook. It definitely helped me a lot to get started.
It doesn’t matter if you decide for forum marketing or another traffic generation method. The main point is to just do it and stick to it until it generates some traffic. The more you are seen in threads the more people stumble over you and the more will come to your site.
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