A Guide To Building Traffic To Your Website Using Forums
Are you in need of a digital marketingstrategy overhaul? Perhaps your website has not been seen as much as you hoped it would? Or maybe you’re just trying to employ a new marketing method but have no idea where to start.
Forum marketing is a great way to expose your business en masse. It also makes your online businessstand out from the competition. Why? Forum users are in general, more net savvy and open to making online purchases. And most forum members are also experts on the specific topics covered by the forum. For instance, a forum dedicated to renovations ought to have expert renovators browsing it on a daily basis.
And it is here that the benefits of forum marketing truly shine. Forum marketing is a high ROI strategy due to its ability to reach out far and wide to spread your marketing message. It is also a savvy way of getting your message out there without costing a bomb.
In this article, we will take a look at a step-by-step guide to using forum marketing to enhance your business. And we’ll also cover some common mistakes to avoid.
Before we begin, we will be using our aforementioned renovation forum as an example. In this case, we will be looking at the Renotalk forumfor our guide. So without further ado, let us begin.
Finding Your Niche
First things first, you’ll need to have a deep understanding of your business and its niche. In other words, you need to look for forums dedicated to your specific kind of business.
The first step is to find forums in your niche that are active. This is best done by using search engines like Google and Bing. You’ll want to use your keyword in quotes plus forum to get the optimum results. For example, “renovations” plus “forum” would likely yield relevant forums including our abovementioned Renotalk forum.
Otherwise, you could also resort to using specific words i.e. something only people in your line of work would probably be searching for. As an example, instead of “renovations”, you could put in a specific keyword like “kitchen renovations”.
Depending on your niche and keyword, it could take some time to find a relevant forum. But once you’ve found it, it’s time to move on to the next step!
Found Your Forum? Great! Now Check To See If It Is Worth Your Time
Once you’ve found a forum, you’ll want to see if it’s worth your time and effort. In short, this is to ensure that the forum is active! You wouldn’t want to be reaching out to an abyss of nothingness, would you?
Take a look at the latest post info for the date of the post. Is it new or recent? If the latest post is dated, for example, the year 2016 we’d hazard a guess that the site isn’t too active. In this case, we’d suggest looking for an alternative.
Basically, what you’re doing here is to check to see how often people are posting on this site. You’d ideally want an active site to work on. But, seeing as there’s no way to see how many active users are on a forum, this is your only workaround to get that information.
However, if the latest post on a particular forum is slated as yesterday, it’s likely to be active. This means that it’s worth making an account on the site.
Create Your Online Forum Account
The next step of your foray into forum marketing is to create an account on your forum of choice. Find out where the register/sign up is located on the site and click on that button. On the Renotalk forum, you can easily find this button on the top right corner of the page.
You’ll then be prompted to fill in a list of details pertaining to your account such as user name, email, and so on. Do remember to fill out your details carefully as it does reflect your brand and business as a whole.
As for username, we’d suggest making it your brand name or your personal name. Something along the lines of your name plus your business name would also work.
This is particularly important as people are going to be seeing your username first. Forum visitors will likely associate your content on the forum with your brand, which is great as it gives them an awareness of your business.
But, if your username is something that is not your brand, it’s going to be harder for them to associate the content with the name of your business.
Set Up Your Very Own Forum Signature With Your Link(s) In It
Once your account has been set up, your next step is to create a forum signature. Forum signatures are blocks of text or graphic that are attached to the end of all your posts. Most people opt to display their favourite quotes or links on their signatures, while others use theirs to promote their own websites.
These signatures are important as they are basically the core of forum marketing. It’s how you’re going to drive traffic to your site and it also has the potential to make-or-break your online marketing strategy.
Don’t abuse this opportunity to create a makeshift flashy billboard in your signature. An accurate, short description of your business and a link to your website is always the best way to go.
Worried that no one will click on your link? Over time as you make more posts and answer more questions in the forum, you will find more chances to show your signature to people. Subsequently, this will drive traffic back to your website in the long run.
And speaking of posts…
Join In On The Fun! Participate In Forums
What use is your forum signature if no one sees it?
Once you’ve set up your account and signature, your next step is to participate in the forum. Participating in this context can either mean creating a new thread/post or joining in a discussion in an existing post.
To join in on the conversation, head on over to the main area of the forum to see where most people hang out. Like any other forum, Renotalk has sections to separate topics. And you can even tell how many posts are in each section, as well as, the most recent user to respond.
Now, you’d obviously want to participate in the most active post since that’s going to get the most views on your forum signature, which in turn is going to make sure you have the most clicks.
If you have a special area ofexpertise, like renovating kitchen countertops, you could also participate in posts related to your field of expertise.
Bonus Tip: Look for areas of the forum that either has a ton of views or is an area of expertise. Then, look through threads and find titles that you can add value to. This is important as many people mistaken the forum marketing strategy as to “spamming” as many posts as possible with responses. Think quality over quantity here.
Remember To Self-Promote Your Business
That being said, feel free to plug your productor services whenever appropriate. This is the key to successful forum marketing. Whenever anyone asks a question related to your products or services, dazzle them with incredibly useful answers.
Not only will users be aware of your brand, but you’ll also come off as an expert in your niche. Though we’d suggest backing up your advice with links to trusted sources, and always respond to follow up questions quickly.
One thing to note is to not to try too hard when it comes to answering questions. Leave out your sales pitch in the beginning. Any hint of bias in your initial posts will erase all your hard work.
Think about it this way. You would, of course, think that your product is the best but is it really?
By keeping your answers objective, you will be seen as more of a trusted expert. When you get inquiries or recommendation requests, only then can you safely mention your business without appearing biased.
Bonus Tip: Once you’ve gained the respect of the users you can start to aggressively market your services. Focus on marketing techniques that provide benefits for the forum community. Offer members special discounts, free consultations, etc. This is a great way to drive traffic to your website and build your email list.
And that’s really all there is to forum marketing.
Creating an account user name that reflects you and your business. Participating as often as possible by adding value to any thread. Then, when you have great content published on your site, wait for it to get indexed and paste it in your signature for all the world to see. This will definitely get you some really, really great traffic.
Are you a renovation expert? Ready to take the plunge and need a forum to get started? Head on over to Renotalk forum right now!