Just as with Yahoo! Answers, we’ve pulled together forum marketing under the broader category of “article marketing.” However, you do NOT have to write articles to participate in forums. Just use the participation and optin listbuilding promotion tips below…
If you do use articles, then there are two approaches you can use:
POST articles outright on forums, being sure to include your signature link at the bottom of your post.
If you’re interested in this method, read the terms of service of the forum first and spend some time lurking to find out if this is allowed.
Some forums have place right on the forum where you can post articles. Others allow you to post articles for discussion. But others frown on members posting articles and will delete your post since articles can easily look “spammy” on a discussion forum.
PREPARE articles based on frequently asked questions (FAQs) and post these articles whenever someone asks one of these FAQs.
This is similar to the method discussed on Day 18 where you create articles based on questions you often see asked. Basically, it just saves you time to create these articles as opposed to creating a new post every time someone asks that same question.
So how do you make the most of your forum participation and promotions?
The idea is to:
- Participate thoughtfully, first…
- And ONLY THEN drop your signature link (a small ad and link back to your site) at the end of your post.
Here are a few tips to get you started…
- SEEK forums in your niche. One of the easiest ways to find forums in your niche is to use Google or your favorite search engine. Simply enter your niche’s keywords alongside the word “forum” or “discussion” or “message board.”
Also, be sure to check out the well-known marketers’ sites in your niche, as many of them have busy forums.
SIFT THROUGH the terms of service and policies. Before you do anything, sift through and read the terms of service on the forums you’re interested in. Some forums, for example, do not allow signature links (also known as “sig links”). That’s the type of forum you’ll likely want to pass on in favor of forums that encourage sig links.
SIGN UP for an account. When you find forums whose terms of service are agreeable to your philosophy on forum participation, sign up immediately for an account. That’s because you want to start “aging” your account immediately. Many people look favorably upon people who have been members of a forum for quite some time.
SPEND some time lurking. Don’t start posting immediately. Instead, spend some time “lurking” (reading but not posting) to get a feel for the “flavor” of the community. You’ll get a sense of the unwritten rules of the forum, the rhythm of the forum and you’ll be able to get to know some of the key players on the forum.
START posting thoughtfully. Once you have a good handle on how this particular forum works, you can start posting thoughtfully. You may want to start with an introduction post. Then move on to answering questions.
Spend about a week posting good answers to build your credibility and establish yourself as an expert in the niche. Then, once you have a few good posts under your belt…
- SLIP your signature link at the end of your posts. Once you’ve started building your reputation on the forum (and people don’t think you’re just blowing through to drop a signature link), then you can, indeed, start leaving your signature link at the end of your posts.
How do you create a good signature link?
Some people just leave a link at the end of their posts, with a title along the lines of “my website” or “my newsletter.”
Sure, a few people might click through to view the website or sign up for the newsletter. But that number is going to be small. And that’s because the signature line provides absolutely no reason for the forum visitor to click through.
Your signature line is like your article resource box – it’s a small ad and a link that’s ALL about the reader.
It’s NOT about you.
It’s about the reader’s problems and how you can solve them. As such, the signature line should always give the reader a good, compelling reason why she should click on the link. It’s a powerful optin listbuilding strategy.
With your essential free for WordPress you can begin building your own optin list now!