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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Art of Forum Marketing

Guest post by: Neil Jones

Forums are an asset to every serious marketer as they attract people from all walks of life and all parts of the world who have a common interest on a specific subject. A forum usually evolves into a community of friends who share their knowledge, expertise and experiences. It becomes an interactive society of people in a virtual setting.

Each forum adopts it own unique character that is often influenced by the members themselves and of course there are rules and regulations than have to be upheld to maintain order within this virtual community. One of the biggest obstacles faced by forum owners is the fight against spam: people and automated software that register with the sole purpose of obtaining a backlink to a site to drive traffic or for SEO purposes.

These members do not last long on the forums as they are usually banned before they turn the forum into a spam jungle. But spammers do not understand the value that a forum can inject in their marketing efforts if they actually approached forum marketing in an ethical manner. The amount of traffic that can be directed to a site from a relevant forum is incredible.

The Right Approach to Forum Marketing

Your first approach as a forum marketer will be to establish an element of rep power. Your credibility is what will essentially embolden your signature link within each of your posts. How to establish credibility?

  • Do not post replies or begin threads and ask people to visit your site
  • Offer valuable replies that will be remembered and will stand out
  • Treat people with respect and do not use your knowledge to criticize, but rather, use it to help people
  • Build relationships with long standing forum members to further establish yourself

Once you are comfortable in the forum environment and you feel a sense of belonging you can approach your marketing by replying to threads that are relevant to your niche. Again, add value by answering the questions posed with tact and ensure you provide information that is practical and can be applied in real life. This approach in itself will attract people to you and you will find the traffic gained from the forum will begin to increase.

Next, you should begin your own threads that directly relate to your personal experiences, and offer a detailed exposition on your problems and the solutions you have found. For example: if you are part of an internet marketing forum, and you have found success as an internet marketer, you can begin a thread entitled, “How I made my first $100 online”. You can subsequently provide step-by-step instructions on the process you followed and you can highlight the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.

People will begin to respect you even more and of course they will begin to visit your sites from you signature link.

This is all you need to do to gain exposure from the forum environment. The one common denominator is offering value. Value will help increase your credibility, it will gain you the trust of other members and it will position you as an authority in your niche. If you embrace this approach your member status will appreciate and so will the traffic to your website and there will be absolutely no need for you to tell people to click on the link in your signature. 

 

This is a Guest post by Neil Jones, who Specializes in launching ecommerce sites, he is currently plying his trade as head of marketing for eMobileScan. With 18 websites based all around Europe they are on course to be one of Europe’s largest online retailers of Industrial handheld computers like the Datalogic Memor and the Symbol MC70. Neil has been an online marketer for the past 6 years and in that time he has owned and run a range of sites all built around the ecommerce platform.


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