Anytime I start a new website or tap into a new niche, forums are the first place I head to begin the process of promoting the website. Unfortunately many people just do not get it when it comes to how to effectively use forums to promote their business.
Time and time again this technique has paid off for me as well as many other successful marketers that I have spoken to. A forum is a community that is typically dedicated to one specific interest. This is like having customers gift wrapped and handed to you on a silver platter. All you have to do is treat them well and they will gladly purchase from you. The trick is in the “treating them right”.
Treating them right does not mean cramming sales down their throats at every possible opportunity. That is the biggest mistake 90% of the marketers make when using forums to promote their business. I suspect that because we use the word “promote” when associated with this strategy that gets some business owners confused when it comes to forums. What we should be saying instead is “interact”.
When it comes to becoming a member of any community based website, the key to success lies in contributing and interacting with your potential customers. It is all part of relationship marketing and you are there to gain people’s trust and establish yourself as an authority or credible source of information.
The only place you should be putting your website link is in your signature. This is very important. The only way for you to establish yourself as a credible source is to limit the amount of promoting you do for personal gain. For many, this is a difficult concept to understand and it is why many fail so miserably with this strategy. When it comes to forums, less is more.
The more it appears that you are there for the good of the forum and it’s members, the more likely it is that you will get the results you are looking for. So you should immediately start contributing information and ideas as soon as you become a member. Do not mention your business at all.
Your signature will be attached to every post you make so it is not necessary to promote it any further. Make your signature unique, informative or enticing. Include your link with anchor text in the signature and leave it at that. It will silently promote your business for you. The more active you are within the forum, the more exposure your business will get.
Do not post just for the sake of posting. SO many times I have seen marketers just posting gibberish or one sentence posts that really add no value whatsoever to the forum just for the sake of getting their post count up. People, and forum owners, are not stupid. They can see through this strategy and you will just waste your time and do nothing towards your goal of gaining credibility.
Your goal should be to be as helpful as possible. Actively search the internet for quality material to share with the group. Share some of your experience and knowledge. Answer questions other members may have. Offer your advice.
If you spend a few weeks actively “working” the forum without selling, you will quickly establish yourself as a trustworthy source. Not only will you establish friendships with potential customers, you will be driving your website up the search engines at the same time.
Each post you make will count as a back link to your website because of the link in your signature. This is one of the reasons that forums are so powerful when it comes to site promotion. If you take the time to do it right, you get double the results for your marketing efforts when you promote your website in forums.