Several forum marketing tips – part 1

By | July 29, 2007

I am a member of so many forums that I actually lost count of all the forums I’m a member of, and in some cases, I have even lost the passwords. That’s how much of a forum junkie I am. I just love the atmosphere and the happening feel of it. In the world of Internet Marketing, forums also have a special place which can be rewarding. But it concerns a skill (which not everyone possesses).

Everyday, I see some dude racking up sales from his services and stuff that he sells in the forums without so much as batting an eyelid. Forums are such incredible dynamic places, where everyone from every corner of the globe is mingling, that the potential to make sales is practically endless. Yet, there are many people that don’t get anything out of helping others out and there are others that reap handsomely.

Here are a few practical tips to consider before joining a forum:

  • Activity – There are forums with a huge number of members but low activity. Check the number of members online at any given time, and last dates of the latest posts. Activity is probably the most important factor in determining a forum’s value.
  • Membership count – Just related to activity, but not really as important. For example, DigitalPoint Forum has long been the most active webmaster forum on the Web, but for a long time, the membership count was way below some other forums.
  • Likeability factor – Do you find certain forums just click with you? I do. In some forums, you just “gel” with the rest, but in others – not. There’s no way of explaining it except that, if you like the vibe, the atmosphere, and the members, you’ll suddenly find yourself becoming a senior member over time.
  • Good nickname/avatar is important – Get a good nickname which helps people to identify or remember you. A nickname with numbers and meaningless letters is not as good as one that is short, concise and easy to remember. Pretty much like domains (I can never understand the value people seemingly place on 3 character domains)…;) Also, a good avatar will show people you are a serious member.

Some thread posting tips

Forums have special protocols that are peculiar to each one but the main taboo is affiliate links. It’s all right to put your website in your signature provided it’s not an affiliate link, and the more threads you participate in, the more exposure you get for your website. You might want to try and use a catchy text link in your signature (it helps).

The best threads that draw people to comment are controversial threads and easy comparison threads. What I meant by easy comparison is something like, “Do you think Yahoo is now a far better search engine than Google?” or “Which is better, Hotmail or Gmail?”. These kinds do not require much thinking, and as a result, people cannot resist adding a line in or two. For controversial threads, just make sure to keep the tone down and err on the side of moderation.

If you want to advertise your site, try asking people to comment or review your site and then tell you what’s wrong or right. Not only is it a subtle form of advertising, it also helps you (with the help of others) detect the good and bad bits about your site. If you want to give a little incentive, try a little contest (this is a great linkbait technique) by offering $X to whoever does the best job of reviewing or helping you out.

As you can see, forums are effective in marketing your website if done right, but for me, the greatest satisfaction is still meeting other good like minded people (in the same field). Now that’s why I’m a forum junkie!

For part 2 of this mini series, go here.

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