Saturday, June 12, 2010

Getting Started with Forum Marketing

Forum marketing can help get your online business noticed. Forum users, by and large, are tech and net savvy and like purchasing things online. Many who frequent forums are also authorities on the topics discussed in the particular forum.

Forum marketing, therefore, helps make a good impression with a knowledgeable and influential audience. This can help spread word all over the internet and beyond.

A simple step-by-step procedure can help you effectively make forum marketing a part of your marketing strategy.

Not all forums host the people you want to communicate with.  You should choose a group of 5-10 forums on where to concentrate your energies.  Ensure that these forums have at least 10,000 posts from at least 1,000 members.  Also, concentrate on forums where there are at least 10-15 new posts each day.

Avoid forums that are hosted by your direct competitors as well as those that 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 making your first post.

When you sign up, you will be asked to agree to their user agreements and posting guidelines.  Read these documents very carefully.  A lot of people skip this and just click yes, mainly because there is a lot of legal jargon that no one cares to read. However, 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, 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.  Nobody likes spam!

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