Saturday, July 13, 2013

How To: Market Using Forums

How To Successfully Use Forum Marketing

There are very many ways to market your online business. Are you using the same old conventional methods, or are you branching out into unfamiliar territory to make your business stand out from the crowd?

Firstly, forum marketing is the use of public or private forums to share your expertise and answer questions that other members (consumers or other marketers) have. The ultimate goal of using forums to market business is to build an online reputation and establish trust in other members to the point that they want to do business with you. Forum marketing is popular among marketers that are just beginning online because the only investment required is time.

Do Your Research

First, you will want to find a forum that will fit your needs. There are many forums out there and you just have to do a little bit of snooping to find a community that surrounds your niche. If you are unsure of what your niche is, take a look at the consumers that you are primarily marketing to and narrow it down from there. For example, if you are selling exotic destinations, then you want to find travel-related forums. On most forums, spammers (people that just post about their opportunity willy-nilly with no respect for the actual topics of the forum) are quickly dismissed and the posts go largely unread. Most people that join forums want to get solid information, not sales material. Do not be easily offended by people that are a little bit more aggressive. All in all, everyone just wants to be educated.

The easiest way to get a feel of a forum is to lurk in some of the threads. Do not start posting right away. Forums that are more tight-knit with many members that are familiar with each other tend to be wary of newcomers. Spend some time reading the threads in the forum to get a sense of the community’s culture and norms. Figure out the users who are especially influential and learn which topics draw the most attention. Educating yourself and learning the information will help you fit in more quickly.

Introduce Yourself and Create A Profile

Once you have found the place you want to be, introduce yourself to the forum. Most websites encourage new members to introduce themselves by making an introductory post. In this area, you will want to include a brief description of yourself, a description of your expertise, and an explanation of why you had joined the forum. Here, you want to sell yourself, not your product just yet. You want to show everyone that you are a real person, not just a spammer trying to bring attention to a product.

You will also want to create a compelling profile –one that provides a good description of your expertise and experience as well as a little bit of your personal information. You will want to add information like your favorite sports team, how much you love your family and pets, or your hometown. This information will humanize your profile and make great icebreakers so other members will want to get to know you. When picking a username and avatar, I recommend using your name or what people can closely identify with your brand. Try to stay away from usernames that are hard to pronounce or only have meaning to you. The avatars are the small pictures that are attached to all of your posts. A good head shot of yourself or your family is usually the best option for the avatar. Avoid pictures that might be obscene or offensive.

Successfully Marketing

The key to successful marketing on forums is to make valuable contributions to the community. If you really are an expert in an area, answer members’ questions that are related to what you know. Give them useful answers and demonstrate what you have said you know and eventually people will start to believe that you are an expert in your area. If people are still skeptical of what you might know, give links to trusted sources of information and respond quickly to any follow up questions that might be presented. Try not to get drawn into arguments and avoid the drama. Remember, you are part of the forum to build your business. If any unwanted contention does exist, the forum administrator does reserve the right to ban members from further use of the website.

Once you have built up your reputation on the forum of your choice, you can them start marketing campaigns that are a little bit more aggressive. Members will tend to believe you more when you have established yourself in a community and newbies may turn to you for advice or offer to be part of your down line if they find you to be an effective leader.

You will also want to make sure that you include links to your business/blog/website in your signature. This will allow people to do a little bit of research while you are offline to make the decision whether they want to work with you or not.

My Contact Info
Shanice Patrella
Skype: MsLuckyDuck

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