Keys to effective use of forums in your marketing strategy

Some people complain that forum marketing is not very effective, but you know what,  these people are badly mistaken. If you follow a few simple common sense guidelines when using forums as part of your marketing strategy it can be a very rewarding way to get your site, brand and products out there. It’s not rocket science, lets take a look at a few of the things people do wrong and how you can avoid making the same mistakes others have made time and time again.

One of the first things you need to remember is that forums can be a great place to gain publicity and to get highly targeted traffic in your niche to your site. They are also a useful way to get to know your target market better. You can gain knowledge about the problems and interests of your potential customers, socialize with them and gain their respect and trust in an open, friendly environment. All of these things are pure gold from a marketer’s point of view.

There is also a dark side to this as well, some internet marketers will go into forums and blatantly over promote or advertise their own products or services without making any meaningful contribution to the site at all. As a result of this, the other users may be put off and in the end it produces the exact opposite result than we are trying to achieve. These “poor taste” practices also detract from the overall appeal of that site to it’s current members as well as potential future members.

If one wishes to benefit from forum participation, we all should learn to treat forums as a community where people with similar interests or problems gather together for an honest and objective discussion. The people who visit forums are generally  in search of solutions to their problems, for getting help and interacting with other fellow members. The community aspect of forums is a primary driving force behind their popularity, if you don’t want to be a participating member and add to the value of the site, I strongly suggest you stay out of them in the first place. Forum members are not there to hear your sales pitches. it’s no wonder that people who advertise, over promote or spam post their products unabashedly in forums do not see good results for their efforts.

In order to effectively utilize forums for marketing purposes, you should keep in mind the purpose of the site, the goals of its members and treat them like you would wish to be treated, by gaining the members trust and respect, then will want to see what you have to offer without you ever having to “pimp your wares” to them directly.

Rules of Forum Marketing:

  1. You need to gain respect of fellow members, without respect you will not get much out of participating in forums.
  2. In order to gain the respect of others you need to try and help people in some way. if someone has a problem and you know the answer to their problem you can help them out without pitching your product (it won’t kill you)
  3. Whenever you reply to a thread, you should  take interest in the main topic of the thread, your reply should be useful and relevant to the topic.
  4. Participate frequently, it’s best to participate in forums as often as possible, you want to be a regular contributing member, not a stop by once and never come back type of member.
  5. Make friends, the best way to gain a favorable response is to earn the trust, respect and admiration of the forum members, developing long lasting relationships is the key to successful forum marketing.

If you follow these guidelines and rules of conduct you will find there are few, if any other places online where you can get as high quality, targeted traffic to your site that is honestly interested in what you have to say. Following active discussions on popular forums within your niche will also allow you to stay up to speed on the concerns, needs and problems faced by your customers or those who may visit your site, in turn allowing you to better prepare your products or services and more effectively provide what they need when they come to your site.

Always remember, people that come to your site are not only your customers but your guests as well, whether you are selling a product, offering services or providing opinions based upon your expertise in a certain area treating your site visitors with respect is and always be the best policy.

Properly utilizing forums in your marketing strategy can provide an excellent means of promoting your site, services or products, carefully following these simple guidelines will greatly improve your chances of benefiting from your participation on forum based sites.