Internet Discussion Forums can be a great source of traffic for whatever you are promoting, selling, or sharing.
“An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site. It originated as the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of the dialup bulletin board system. From a technological standpoint, forums or boards are web applications managing user-generated content.
People participating in an Internet forum may cultivate social bonds and interest groups for a topic made from the discussions.”
The more active the forum, the more likely you will find ‘experts’ along with potential buyers, and customers as participants.
These ‘authority’ sites get a tremendous amount of traffic and have many loyal members. Be sure to develop relationships and contribute to the discussions vs. coming in with guns ablazing and spamming members’ private inboxes. That is a sure way to get the wrath of many, alienate people, and banned forever.
Most people do NOT know how to market online. They have yet to brand themselves and they have trouble getting traffic to:
- perform split testing on their web sites
- get visitors who iwill buy their product and offer feedback and testimonials
Even if you just want to send some traffic to your favorite affiliate programs, that’s a long difficult road particularly if you are new in the online marketing arena.
The good news is that Forums can provide all of the above! You don’t have to do Pay Per Click (PPC) and go out there “in the cold, cruel world” and try to “hunt” for your first prospects. Get them to come to you as you build relationships, demonstrate your expertise in a niche area, etc.
The most popular forums in each niche market have many members that are passionate about what they do. The internet can be a large lonely place. Forums create a sense of community and a sense of “hey, there are others like me”.
That is how I began to brand myself and managed to build a downline of over 20,000 (and growing) members in one online business and thousands in others.
People utilize forums every day in a multitude of ways:
- They can just browse the newest topics to see “what’s new” – as most people hate missing out on new information.
- They can ask a specific question so that other members can give their opinions or point them in the right direction. (Watch out for the “know-it all”. They have some gems in their ramblings but do not take everything as the holy grail.)
- They may be ‘experts’ or very experienced in a particular area and want to help other members by answering their questions or even mentoring them.
- They are not always knowledgeable but they still want to give their opinion. And that’s alright, too.
- They use the “search” function of the forums to gain knowledge about a specific points of interest or even search for an ‘expert’ (with time, you could be this sought after expert!)
Participating in forums is a great way to gain insights into your market. They can reveal things that keyword research tools just can’t. People go there to complain and moan about all the problems they face. This is great for you because you can understand what the real problems and pain people are experiencing.
You can also pick up on trends and what some of the “sub-niches” in your niche are. For example, if you are in the weight loss industry, you may see many threads about weight loss pills, diets that don’t make you hungry, exercise programs for busy people etc.
So, how do you use Internet Discussion Forums begin to brand yourself and have members knocking on your door to accept what you are selling or offering?
Stay tuned for Part II in this series.