Forum marketing is a solid and respectable way to meet people interested in your niche. There you will be able to share your ideas and strategies with others. It will give you a chance to drive high quality visitors to your website for free. The significant factor with forum marketing is that you need to do your research on which forums to post regularly on. Look for popular forums that cover your niche topic. Start by asking your employees, suppliers, and customers which online communities they hang out in. Target the wrong forums and your efforts could be wasted. You will need to find forums directly related to your niche. Below are some of the most common do’s and don’ts that you will need to remember:
1. Pick a good user name and avatar
Your user name and avatar are the first things other users will notice about you. Pick a user name that is easy to remember and sounds professional. I would suggest your real names, your company’s name, or something that will identify you with the product you sell. Avatars are small pictures attached to all your posts. A good head shot of yourself is recommended. Avoid using any pictures that might be considered offensive or unprofessional.
2. Never Get Offended
Never ever get offended and if you do then keep it with you. Just because another member disagrees with you, there is no reason to get offended. What purpose will it serve? The answer is none. You could engage in a never ending argument about why they are wrong and you are right, but more than likely they will not change their mind. And you certainly will not be accomplishing anything.
You need to remember why you are in that forum. You are there to build your business, period. Remember this is business and there is no room for personal feelings when it comes to a business. Not everyone will agree with you, get over it.
3. Never Be Offensive
When people get offended they will want to fire back with useless rhetoric. This is a great way to undo all of the hard work and time that you put into your marketing efforts. Once again you have to think of this as a business. Would you be rude to a customer or a potential customer that might be interested in your product? I would hope not. Just forget about it and move on.
4. Never Use Affiliate links
I would not suggest posting any affiliate links in the forum. It is okay to have your website URL in your signature line. In fact I would recommend it. But stay away from affiliate links in the forum. Yes this could help you in the short term. But it will also be seen as black hat and many people will not want to work with you. The reason you are in the forum in the first place is to build trust and to make others like you. People tend to buy from people they like.
5. Your signature Is Important
Your signature is your business card. You do not want to drive away business or look unprofessional by posting unprofessional pictures. Your signature is a key component of your marketing strategy. It needs to say who you are, how someone can contact you, and it needs to remind people of what you do.
6. Be active in the community
You have to be active in the community. Remember you are building trust with others and networking. If you are not very active or if people think you fell off of the face of the Earth, then you are not going to lose the benefits of the forum. If you do not have enough time to be very active then you should just join one or two forums that are highly regarded in your niche. Once you get used to the forums then 15 minutes a day could be enough time. Just remember to stick with it. This cannot be expressed enough.
7. Never Use Poor Grammar
If you want people to take you serious then you have to use proper grammar. Remember this is a business and it needs to look professional. There are hundreds of thousands of websites on the internet and millions of people out there trying to sell products and services. You want people to think that you are professional. And also you want to be able to stick out from the others. Though bad grammar will definitely make you stick out, it will not help you sell anything. Remember to always proof read your work before you post it.