The word “forum” is often looked at as something akin to a slightly more sophisticated blog – perhaps organized a little better. I much prefer using a good forum as a marketing solution, than a blog, simply because they are always moderated and they are generally well organized.
If you want to get going with some self-branding, do some research and join at least one good forum relevant to your niche. I particularly like forums where people have to pay to join, because the participants are there for good reason and not just messing around – they are definitely going to contribute something useful if they have to pay!
People on paid forums especially expect high quality content, helpful, and knowledgeable participation. If what you post is useless, time after time, it may score points against you, and worse, you may be expelled. For me that’s a good thing. My time is valuable and I prefer to visit my chosen forum because I know I will get answers to questions quickly. All of the answers may not agree – but by taking a consensus of opinions I can often find the right solution to my problem quickly.
Most good forums will always allow you to link to your sales or squeeze page, so they are excellent places to get a lot of followers and new customers. When I first started out, I wasn’t a very active participant because I didn’t know very much, I was there to learn. But over time I found others who were in the same position as I was in the beginning, and I was able to reply to their posts, thereby building my reputation.
I also gathered ideas for a product that I’m in the process of writing now. Instead of the newbie asking a question, when my product is ready for sale, I can simply suggest they read my ebook – in my posts I can say honestly I know where they’re coming from and help. Every post I make is registered under my profile, so the more “thanks” and helpful posts I add, the more I’m building a good reputation and “self-branding”. They see my face on the side of the forum posts and many come straight to me.
It’s really a lot of fun building relationships too – I have met some wonderful people and one guy who gave me a copy of his course for free! He will be getting a special mention in my eBook, and I will be an affiliate and sell his course to my list. We will both benefit, his product is excellent – I was searching for something, he provided it, and now we correspond regularly. That’s exactly how attraction marketing works.
If you want to find a good forum to promote your business, it’s simple, just punch in your product or service and add the word “forum” and you will find plenty. When your search comes up you will probably find what I call “aggregate” sites at the top of the list. These sites list forums by topic for you. Some are worthless, so it will take time to find the right forum for your topic, but it will be worth the search.
When I first joined, I didn’t have a squeeze page or any kind of link to a website in my signature box. People will be even more helpful if you don’t – they’ll see you are a newbie and need help. When my product is launched in a few weeks, only then will I add a link to my product. My reputation has already been built, so I won’t look like an intruder simply there to shout about my product. Forum members generally ignore newcomers who do that – they have no feedback and haven’t spent time to participate and build a reputation.
Another tip – always post a good photo of yourself, smiling. A head shot is best; nobody wants to see your skinny legs! Never use an avatar, ever, unless you have something to hide – you simply won’t gain any trust that way.
Have you tried Forum Marketing? Is it successful for you and do you have any further tips to add – drop us a line!