The Ultimate Forum Marketing Strategy
In the age of social marketing and traffic generation; forums are one of the most ideal of places to promote your site and market your content. The best part is the vast majority of marketers have no idea how to leverage forums.
They post as much as they can, provide little value and link to a boring website or even an affiliate link. Forums are places where communities gather, share thoughts, have deep conversations and ask questions to people who share the same interests as them.
Unlike many other marketing strategies. Forum marketing doesn’t rely on Google, any social network or any other site for that matter. Most active forum members participate daily, they go directly to the forum.
As long as the Internet doesn’t collapse; forums will ALWAYS be goldmines of niche markets; just waiting to be tapped into. When I first started marketing online with this blog, I spent a lot of time on forums.
Upon joining some IM forum, it asked me to write a signature to display under my forum posts; I intuitively added a link to my website with a naked URL. After months of blogging and getting steady results; I stumbled upon Google Analytics, installed it and verified my site. Two weeks later I was astounded by the percentage of visitors coming from the forum.
Forum marketing wasn’t part of my strategy, I figured all the traffic was coming from Google. I didn’t know it then, but what I was effectively doing was honest, ethical forum marketing.
Forums will always be here, nobody can stop groups of people with similar interests from communicating with each other. Whether it’s online or offline, people with shared interests will always form as a community.
And a community is exactly what you want to tap into to drive targeted traffic to your website. Most forum marketers completely fail at getting traffic from forums. Forum marketing is dead simple, and requires little effort to go from being useless to highly effective.
The 4 Simple Steps Of Forum Marketing:
1. Find 5 Popular Forums In Your Niche
You should start with a maximum of 5 forums, no more. You don’t want to scatter your efforts across too many forums, as it just becomes less effective. It’s easier and faster to drive traffic by focusing on a select few popular forums.
By focusing on just 5, the same members will keep reading your posts and be more likely to visit your site. To find the most popular forums, simply google them. Search for the most popular forums in your niche, search ‘niche + forum’, browse through them and select the ones that have the most active users.
2. Create A Memorable Profile
Once you’ve found the big five, it’s time to signup and create a memorable profile. A lot of the time, forum members will click on your profile instead of the link in your signature. The basic steps are…
- Pick A Memorable Username – Choose a username that is memorable and relevant to your site/brand.
- Use a good head shot of yourself of a picture of yourself and family.
- Write an intriguing bio – something that makes you sound interesting and make users want to visit your site.
- Enter your site details, provide a solid description.
- Add any other personal tid bits, nothing you wouldn’t want to be publicly displayed.
3. Create A Powerful Signature
The signature is arguably the most important part of an effective forum marketing strategy. An effective forum signature should:
- Attract Eyes
- Insult People
- Say Something Ridiculous/Unbelievable
- Build Curiosity
- Have Some Sort Of Banner
This forum signature I found does exactly that:
Straight away it attracts eyes by having a hot girl in the banner, it has an intriguing headline with an arrow. It says “Face it, You suck with women” which is a clear insult. It then says something ridiculous about “one evil technique”. Lastly it builds curiosity and practically forces people to click by saying “DO NOT CLICK”.
This kind of banner gets attention, the formatting of it also helps a lot by taking up a lot of room. Create something like it for your niche and use it.
4. Post Valuable Content
The last step is to actually post valuable content. If you hire forum marketers; you’ll soon discover that they write anything they can think of just to meet your desired post count.
It really doesn’t matter how many posts you publish; it’s not about quantity. It’s about the quality of the posts. If you hire some idiot forum poster off of Odesk you’ll end up with posts like “awesome, I think that’s important but I’m not sure how to answer your question” – that’s exhibit A of what some overseas forum poster would generally write (I’ve hired them before).
It’s just like blog comment spam. The only thing you’ll get from that is a lifetime forum ban. The more generic your forum posts are; the less clicks your signature links will get. There are two ways of marketing on forums; posts and threads.
Starting meaningful, helpful threads is by far the fasted/best strategy for driving forum traffic. If you post a controversial question or statement, you’ll start a conversation, stir up a hornets nest and have half the forum talking about your post.
Without even remembering who started it, the point is they’ll click the link in your signature, lots of them. How much you post really depends on how much traffic you want. The sky is the limit with forum marketing. It’s free, but you can’t outsource it to people who don’t know what they’re talking about.
If you’re trying to build a community via a blog or Youtube channel, forum marketing is your ultimate promotional strategy. The key to forum marketing is consistency. Consistently posting on the same forums every day, getting your site in front of the same users. There’s a reason mainstream advertisers run the exact same ads to the same audience for years running.
P.S. Leave me your thoughts, comments and questions below. Also opt-in to the email list on the right for more marketing tips, tricks and strategies.