Forum Marketing can get you laser-targeted free traffic. Traffic is the lifeline of any internet business. Without traffic, it really doesn’t matter how good your sales copy is or what kind of killer product you have to offer. If no one ever sees your page, sales will be pretty dismal.
There a dozens of ways to get traffic to your site. Some of the methods include Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, guest blogging, and solo ads, just to name a few. While paying for visitors can bring immediate rewards, it’s also possible to lose a ton of money while you’re learning the ropes. And when you’re just starting out, cash to invest in your online business might be in short supply.
One of my favorite traffic generation methods involves spending no money whatsoever. All it takes is a little sweat equity, and this is one of the best investments you can make in your business. I’m talking about Forum Marketing. I know, not glamorous and sexy, right? Well, keep reading to find out how to leverage the problems people are seeking answers to by hanging around forums in your niche.
Find The Right Target Audience
This is actually pretty easy using our old friend Google. Simply enter your niche and the word forums and you’ll turn up pages of potential marketing opportunities. Add a few keywords to narrow down your search and you can focus your efforts even further.
For instance, I entered “Tropical Fish Forums” to turn up dozens of potential places where I could check out what fishy people are talking about. But to narrow it a bit further I tried “Tropical Fish Beginner Forums” and found a whole different subset of forums that focus in on those who are just beginning to care for tropical fish. Those that may be seeking advice on how to get started, like the best size tank for their place, or the most economical filter, etc. Someone who may be looking to spend money on their new hobby. If that’s not an AH-HA moment, I don’t know what is!!
Getting Your Forum Feet Wet
It’s pretty easy to do this part. To get started you’ll just need to read through some of the forum posts to get idea of what kind of community you’re getting involved in. Spend some time and really read what people have written. This is the part where the sweat equity comes in. And to increase your chances of getting the free traffic flowing, you’ll need to be doing this same thing for perhaps 5 to 10 forums. So initially there’s a fair bit of “work” involved, but the rewards are so worth it.
Once you have a sense of the community it’s time to start contributing to the conversations taking place. You may actually have to sign up to be a member, so keep track of your username and password in a text file on your computer to prevent confusion and wasting time later on. Then pick some threads that appeal to you and offer opinions and advice. The idea here is to be super friendly and helpful without being pushy or pitching any products. Sales pitches will definitely get you banned from almost any forum. You need to establish yourself as a helpful voice and active member. Soon people will begin to recognize your username and rely on you to provide answers to their questions. This will help position you as an expert in the field.
The forum is a place where people come to converse with liked-minded folks and to find answers to their questions. You should be respectful at all times and avoid injecting your personal opinions on subjects other than what’s covered in the thread or forum you’re on. Absolutely no inflammatory posts should be made. Treat this as a great opportunity to get your name out there as an expert in your field, because word travels fast in these forums, and bad behavior will not be tolerated. On the other hand, if you prove yourself to be helpful and respectful, that news too will certainly get around.
Your Key To Success, Your Forum Signature
Blatant self-promotion is simply not allowed in any forum, period. So how in the world do you get people to visit your website or blog so you really show them what you can offer?
When you sign up for membership at the forum, you’ll probably be given the opportunity to create a profile telling other forum members a little about yourself. In this profile is where you have the chance to point people to your online real estate if they want to find out more about you.
If you do things right, people will begin to trust you and naturally want to find out more information about you. Your profile is your chance to gently point them in the right direction. Again, don’t be pushy. It’s a real turn off, and believe me, the word will get out.
Some forums allow a signature box, and you should be able to mention your website or blog here as well. Just remember to be subtle and you should be fine. People hate being sold to.
I’d like to mention just a few more important points about forum marketing:
- When seeking out forums, make sure the ones you’re considering are active and thriving. Too many forums have been abandoned or only have sporadic use, so be sure to check to see there are current posts and active users before you waste your time.
- Most forums have a FAQ section, and you may be able to get some useful information there.
- Look for LONG threads, the ones with many posts and active participation. These have many eyeballs viewing them every day.
Forum marketing can be a very lucrative source of free traffic. The visitors you get will be laser-focused. They will already know and are visiting your site because of the reputation you’ve built offering valuable and free information in the forums. This is the best kind of traffic you could ever ask for.
Guest Author Ted Begnoche is a writer, internet marketer, and owner of NetProfitPersuasion. His passion for generating traffic sometimes keeps him from sleeping at night.