Forum marketing can make your online business get noticed. Forum users, by and large, are tech and net-savvy and like purchasing things online. Many forum frequenters are also authorities in the topics discussed in the forum.
Forum marketing, thus, helps make a good impression in front of a knowledgeable and influential audience, which can help spread word all over.
What follows is a step-by-step guide that will tell you how to effectively make forum marketing a part of your marketing strategy.
Not all forums host the people you want to communicate with. You have to choose a set of 5-10 forums to concentrate your energies on. Ensure that these forums have at least 10,000 posts from at least 1,000 members; that there are at least 10-15 new posts every day.
Avoid forums which are hosted by your direct competitors; and those which are flooded by spam.
Create your forum accounts as soon as possible. This is helpful because seniority is given a lot of importance in most online forums: some even require you to wait a few days before posting for the first time.
When you sign up, you’ll be asked to agree to their user agreements and posting guidelines. Read these documents carefully. A lot of people skip this and just click yes, because there is a lot of legal jargon. But some important things to look for are:
- Are you allowed to include links in your posts?
- Can you promote your business?
- Can you use commercial messages as your signature?
- Can you contact other members for business purposes on the forum?
- Are there restrictions on new and privileges for old members?
- Your user name is the first thing that’ll be noticed. Pick one that’s memorable, simple and can be easily pronounced. You might want to use your real name and/or the name of your company. Do not use random combinations of letters and/or numbers, or something that’s significant to you and you alone.
Create a profile that will help you establish credibility. Put up a description of your experience and expertise. Personal information can help break the ice, but don’t venture into topics that can alienate anyone, like race or religion or political affiliation.
Above all, treat forum marketing as an integral part of your long-term strategy, not just a one-off opportunity to bombard the message-boards with information about your hot new product.