Forum marketing is a great way to build a reputation online and attract loyal fans back to your blog or website in order to sell them stuff.
It’s also a very efficient way to alienate people and sound like an idiot.
I know, I’ve done it myself. Sounding like an idiot, in and unto itself should not keep you from writing or posting. we mean, here we am still posting:) It’s just necessary to learn, try not to make the same mistake twice and continuously progress.
It’s amazing how many people speak for the sake of speaking and write for the sake of writing with little forethought or research.Forum Marketing-How Not To Be An Idiot
Forum marketing is the art of finding forums in your market (Google “forums keyword”) and then asking and answering questions of relevance to your market with links back to or over to your other sites, sales pages or online properties. The rules are different on every forum so read and abide by the rules and just start.
It’s quite possible to become a trusted authority in a forum in just a few weeks if you do it right and you know your stuff.
Like everything else, practice makes perfect and there is no substitute for experience. Having said that, here are 5 ways to make sure you don’t sound like an idiot and also shorten your learning curve.
- If you’re asking a question, be as specific as possible. Questions like ‘What’s the best way to market a product?’ are too broad and open to interpretation. Instead asking ‘What’s the best way to market my t-shirts for teenage girls online’ narrows answers to marketing for teenage, female targeted t-shirts online. This is more likely to get answered and the answer is more likely to be relevant.
- Always include your website URL and Facebook Fan Page URL. This will save time and make it easier for others to answer your question. The easier you make it for someone to answer your question, the more likely you are to get answers. You also need to encourage them to visit your other sites so don’t be shy about suggesting that they visit your links
- Don’t trick people into clicking your post’s links. If you want to advertise a product, make that clear. Don’t ask a question like ‘Give me advice on my blog’, and then just have links to something you’re selling. Tricking people to go somewhere isn’t just wrong, it’s stupid. If you trick me into clicking some link, once we get there, it will not only piss me off, I’ll probably tell my friends about you too. Now you’ve just compounded the damage.
- If you want to use a sight like Manta to create links to your sites and sell your products or services, you should have something more to offer the audience here. Include some free tips, advice, special discounts to Manta users, etc. Answering other users’ questions with useful, well thought out answers establishes you as an authority on a topic. Posting tips and tricks with links back to your site is likely to get you more clicks than just asking people to visit your site. Start out by giving a tip or two and then saying ‘to learn more, visit my blog’ and THEN post your link.
- If you don’t have an accurate and specific answer to a question that includes an executable action for the person who asked the question…DON’T POST. we know it sounds obvious. If this wasn’t common, we would feel no need to speak to the issue. The quickest way for forum marketing to backfire is to fake expertise that you don’t have or to speculate.
How to use forum marketing online
There are really good forums out there and once you find a couple that you enjoy participating in, you can start to really influence people, be helpful and establish true authority in your market.
Depending on your market, forums can be more or less effective, but we highly recommend that you at least investigate this avenue.
You’ll know soon enough based on feedback (or lack thereof) whether it’s for you or not. If you participate with these 5 Keys in mind, you’ll be successful. If you “phone it in” you’ll get the same lame benefit back.
Do you have any other suggestions about how to use forum marketing effectively? I’d love to hear them…