Although online business owners are being dazzled by social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, the old-style method of participating in highly-targeted forums or message boards is still one of the most effective traffic-generation methods used today. Your link can be prominently displayed in front of the exact audience you’re attempting to lure. Don’t overlook this strategy. You may be surprised with the results it still brings in.
These 4 quick tips will ensure that you are using forums effectively and to your best advantage.
Quick Tip #1: Choose wisely
Forums are extremely popular on the internet. You can more than likely find a forum related to just about any subject you can think of from fantasy baseball to purses. Because of the abundance of forums, you should be very picky when choosing which ones you’ll frequent and post on. This will save you time and allow you to achieve optimum results.
Basically you want to decide on a forum that relates either directly or indirectly to your niche, but there must be a connection. Otherwise, your posts will be just a time waster. In fact, the more you can “niche down” your topic, the most effective your marketing will be.
For instance, if you’re selling NASCAR memorabilia, then targeting a general sports forum may generate some results, targeting a fantasy football forum will probably get very little results, but finding a NASCAR forum will get the best results.
Quick Tip #2: Read the Rules
Your next step after deciding on a forum to join would be to read the rules of the forum. There are forums that may not allow you to include a signature file (where you would put a link to your website) at all. Others have rules that dictate how many posts you need to have before you can add a signature file. Some allow zero marketing – so you’d skip those.
Once you read the rules, remember to always adhere to them no matter what. If you violate these rules in any way you may be pegged as a nuisance and kicked out of the forum, while possibly ruining your reputation and wasting your time.
As long as you’re a valued contributing member of the forum offering great advice and content, more often than not you will be able to include a link to your site in your posts.
Quick Tip #3: Create a Compelling Signature File
After choosing a forum or two and familiarizing yourself with their rules, it is time to decide what you want your forum signature file to express about you. Since you want people to click through to your website, you need to make sure that your signature line is targeted and entices people to learn more about you.
This is a wise opportunity to utilize your copywriting skills. Make sure those one or two sentences gets prospects attention and curiosity as well as alerts prospects that you may be able to solve a pending problem of theirs as well.
It is wise to test your signature file and tweak it to see which advertisement gets the best results. Keeping it fresh also gives the added benefit of attracting the eye to those who’ve gotten used to your old ads.
Quick Tip #4: Build Trust
People may be a bit suspicious of new members when they first join a forum. There is a dynamic in any forum, and believe it or not, often cliques are formed. If you want to have hope of getting people to click on your signature file and eventually buy from you, you’ll need to earn their trust first.
There are many different ways to accomplish this, and you can get an idea for which way is best by looking at the profiles and posts of the most prolific and respected members.
Examples of how you may build trust with forum members include…
-Having a profile picture.
-Using a real name (or a real sounding pen name) as your username.
-Filling out general info in your profile like location or birthdate.
-Including some personal information in your profile bio, to make you seem like a real person that they can relate to.
People generally want to know something about who they are speaking to or considering doing business with.
Forums can be a source of highly-targeted web traffic when used smartly and correctly. Choosing a related forum, following the rules, creating a great signature file, and proving that you can be trusted are all excellent ways to ensure that you’ll get traffic to your website and benefit from increased “expert” status while networking in online communities.