What is a forum? Originally, an open public space in the middle of a Roman city, the modern day forum is virtual, a message board that is shared by like minded individuals who post messages, information and opinions where they can be commented on and discussed. Forums, for the most part, have taken the public square debate and digitized it into a Net community that is both vibrant and vital.
Forum marketing has been one of those evolving entities that has changed with the times, but has at no time become unpopular or ineffective. It is still one of the most effective forms of free advertising available on the net today. If you can write, have an interest in a certain product or service, own a website you'd like to promote, then take a second look at this oldie but goodie of the Internet Marketing industry. Adding posting to forums to your daily routine will go a long way in making your website hum with new, targeted visitors.
What Is Forum Marketing?
The idea behind forum marketing could be considered sneaky by many people but in actuality it's not. An effective marketer let's the knowledge he/she possesses build credibility for any products that might be attached. What do I mean by attached? The signature or addendum is one of the most important parts of forum marketing. It's also quite easy to use. After joining, find the signature portion in your profile.
Add a couple lines in the signature with a URL to your website, product or service. It's that simple. Here is a sample of an effective signature line:
"Who Else Wants Orignal Content Without Writing a Single Word. Discover the secret. Click here today: Your URL"
That's a signature. It goes on the bottom of every forum post and if you're smart, you'll attach it to your email as well.
Benefits of Using Forums
The benefits of using a forum are immediately obvious to most Internet Marketers. While the post and subject matter is important, the signature is a must, and it should be crafted to garner curiosity without being obnoxious. In other words, you don't want to post a six word post and have a 50 word signature. With that warning, you can go about the business of posting informative comments and ask questions in the forum. Your signature will be automatically added to the end of every post, and you are now marketing. It's that easy.
Using Forums Effectively
Posting in forums can be some of the best things you can do if you know the basics of navigation and etiquette. Etiquette means that you have to approach a forum as if it's your community. You wouldn't spam your community or aggravate your neighbors. The same holds true in a forum. Here are five ways to effectively gain credibility and acceptance in any forum you join.
First, introduce yourself. Say hello, talk a little about yourself and start reading other people's posts. Avoid writing a sales advertisement for your MLM or network marketing opportunity. You will just aggravate the masses. When reading others posts, if you read something interesting, comment on it and quote the part you are commenting on. There is nothing worst than 20 posts later, you throw up, "Wow, I really agree with that," without a snippet of what you are talking about.
Answer questions: If you are an expert on a particular topic, feel free to jump in and answer the question. Forums are designed to relay information in a community environment.
Ask questions: People are really nice in forums and if you don't obviously look like you are "Internet Marketing" they will answer any and all of your questions.
Read and post in popular threads. Just because you are trying to find leads to build your MLM or network marketing business, doesn't mean that you have to post in the least trafficked subject on the forum. Many forums give you the count of how many views and/or posts a given thread has. Since it's human nature to be more interested in posts that have a lot of action, that's where you want to be. Don't pick out the post that has been up since last November and has had 3 views. Tumbleweeds are rolling through that topic. Move on before it kills your marketing efforts.
Avoid trying to "game" the system. What does this mean? Some "saavy" network marketers will sign up on a forum with 10 different screen names all coming from the same IP address. When the forum moderator gets around to reading the logs, you will stand out like a sore thumb as posting from a number of different names.
Make many posts in the forums that interest you. If you are into online advertising, don't spend time trying to post in the organic fertilizer forum. You will not only be a fraud, but you won't be able to stay interested long enough to be effective. You are looking for forums that interest you so that you stay there for a long time. Post often, read as much as you can. However, avoid procrastinating in a forum. There is a fine line between marketing and wasting valuable time. Know the difference and you will be just fine.