Nowadays, forums have become very popular in promoting businesses. Internet forums are virtual coffee shops, buzzing with like-minded people. Business owners and marketers are using them to reach out to their target audiences & create relationships that will significantly assist them in promoting their business. Forums provide a unique opportunity to get real customer insights and business ideas. But most startups and businesses fail to make the best out of these forums.
What exactly is a web forum or an internet forum?
An internet forum is a discussion area or a discussion space. The conversational and helpful nature of internet forums provides you with an excellent platform whereby you can showcase your talent, knowledge, and expertise as well as promote your business. This is where work will never be work anymore but total fun! Using these internet forums, commonly referred to as eCommerce message boards, can be a fun way to promote your business at a very low cost.
Why should you go to forums?
There are several benefits that accrue to business owners using internet forums to promote their businesses. These advantages offer you a concrete reason as to why you should use internet forums to promote your business.
Advantages of internet forums:
- Forums are usually free to join, and if you decide to advertise on them, it will cost you absolutely nothing in most cases. The biggest investment you make in these forums is your time.
- When done correctly, you can be able to establish yourself as an authority figure or expert. It is known that buyers would want to buy from someone they know and can trust to be knowledgeable in their field.
- As long as you are an active member, you will be able to get a constant source of targeted traffic to your sites.
- Members of these forums will join your mailing lists and will buy your products and services.
How to use forums to promote eCommerce business?
First, you should get a forum that you find interesting and is in line with your field of expertise. The forum should be mostly visited by people in your target market. If you are stuck on where to get the forums, you can visit Omgili and BoardReader, or simply use google to start searching for forums by keywords that reflect your target market. Here is a list of some helpful forums for online merchants.
Here is an example, if your eCommerce business is related to electronics goods and gadgets then you should consider forums like Gadgets 360 or AnandTech. Just to give you another example, if you are into the e-cig business you should check out forums like Planet of the Vapes, VaporTalk, etc. Sometimes blogs like IEC can also be useful to get more in-depth information before you join a forum.
After you have joined the forum that is of your field of expertise, it is advisable to give yourself a few days to learn about the forum and feel its tone. After you have heard about it and feel that it is the right forum for you to represent your business, you can introduce yourself to the ‘New Member’ type place to post your first message.
After the old members have welcomed you, go through topics and answer questions that are related to your field of expertise. Make this your daily routine.
Tips for using forums to promote your business
- Always have a signature line added at the end of the message that you post. You can get an automatic signature through the forum account setting or options area. This will be like your calling card, and every person will be able to see your business name. However, you should make sure that the forum regulations permit signature lines as some strictly prohibit marketing of any kind.
- Never walk in and start selling. You should note that, if your first post sounds like you are selling, it will put off your audience, and worse of all, you can get banned forever.
- Never take part in useless banter. Mostly, forum discussions get heated, and if you have to present your opposing opinion, strive to do it professionally and with real facts. Never get involved in arguments as many posts in forums are visible in such search engines, and surely, you do not want people searching your business to see such unprofessionalism.
- Revisit your posting frequently to see peoples’ feedback and answer any questions. Also, add new postings of interest every few days to keep your business in the message board’s eye.
Web forums provide a good channel to promote your business if you follow these tips discussed above. Always make sure that you are in the right place with the right marketing strategies. If you get your strategy right with the internet forums, you will definitely be able to take your business to the next level.