Hello and welcome to this easy-to-understand (hopefully) series of articles on blogging for beginners. This article is all about using forum marketing to drive traffic to your website. Please note that you can also find this series of articles on blogging for beginners as a Kindle eBook. I personally think that if you are looking for help to learn how to blog, then downloading the ebook will make your life a lot easier. It’s also incredibly cheap (or maybe even free if you happen to find it on a promo day!) so click on the image below.
Sadly, we are coming to the end of this book. However, I think there is enough space to talk about one more type of marketing. And because it’s the final chapter, I thought I would end on a high note and talk about forum marketing. That is because forum marketing is one of the easiest forms of marketing to do and can be quite effective if done properly.
How to Do Forum Marketing
One reason why forum marketing works for so many people is that it’s not so much selling as helping, which most people are happier to do. This is a quick step-by-step guide on how forum marketing works.
1. Find Forums to Interact With
The first thing to do is look for forums that you can join and that can help you grow your business or blog. There is no end of forums available. In fact, no matter what you do and no matter how narrow your niche is, there is almost certainly a forum for it.
Before you start signing up to hundreds of different forums, let’s pause for a moment. First of all, remember that you only have a certain number of hours in the day. Take your time looking for a forum that you really like the look of and join it. Once you have got the hang of it, start looking for another one.
But before you even sign up for your first forum, think about the sort of forum you need. Are you just looking for a place where you can share a link or would a local forum to promote your local business be a better option? If you’re looking for something to promote a business based in Florida, then joining a forum that is mainly for the UK market would be a complete waste of your time.
If you’re trying to sell a book, especially if it’s an eBook, then you can join pretty much any forum you want. Likewise, if you have spent your life teaching and have developed a digital course. You’ll be able to sell it anywhere so an international forum would be fine.
What type of forum you want to join will depend on what you are trying to do. If you are lucky enough to be a plumber or electrician then you are seriously spoilt for choice. Search ‘DIY forums’ and you will be amazed at how many there are.
2. Look for Forums That Allow Links
The whole point of forum marketing is being able to leave a link. There are only two places to leave a link. Firstly, you can leave a link in the post itself. Secondly, you can create yourself a signature and have a link to whatever you’re promoting inside your signature.
Now, you need to be very careful when posting in forums because forum owners do NOT like people who join forums for the express reason of promoting a product or a landing page. In fact, many will not allow even allow a link to a landing page.
So, what you need to do is check the terms and conditions of each forum you like the look of BEFORE you sign up. Read the T&Cs really carefully and make sure that you can do everything you want to do. If there is a section saying, “absolutely no links”, then there is no point you joining it.
3. Start Posting on Forums
Now we come to the bit where you actually start forum marketing. And, of course, there is a right way to do it and the wrong way to do it. The good news is it’s so simple that we’ll only need a couple of paragraphs to learn how to do it.
The most important thing to remember here is that you are not trying to sell anybody anything. Don’t go on the forums you have joined spamming the link to whatever you are trying to sell. First of all, that’s not how forum marketing works and, secondly, you’ll get thrown off the forum quicker than something that happens very quickly.
Let’s look at the right way to do forum marketing. Say you’re a plumber and you want people to visit your website. It doesn’t matter what for. Maybe you have a banner on it that you want visitors to click or you just want people to check out your site so Google ranks it higher.
Look for Problems to Solve
You look for problems that people are posting on the forums and write solutions to those problems. Again, it doesn’t matter what the problem is. Just make sure that your answer is good because if your answer is good, the people who read it are going to wonder who you are. And if you have a link to your website, that’s what they’re going to click.
There is another way to do forum marketing which works very well on sites like Quora. Look for problems that are being posted. When you have found one that doesn’t have many answers and that you can answer well, write a blog post solving the problem.
Then, go back to the Quora post and write a summary of the post you wrote solving the problem. Finish it with something like, “If you would like more information concerning your problem, check out this post I wrote the other day.” Link ‘check out this post’ to the post on your website.
Before we go on, I just want to reinforce the main message of forum marketing. Do NOT spam forums trying to sell whatever you’re selling. That path leads to certain failure. If you’re still not sure how forum marketing works, spend some time actually reading forums to see how others do it. Don’t rush into it if you are not 100% sure what you’re doing. That’s the other way to lead to certain failure.
Finding Good Forums to Use
I left this until last because, rather obviously, the good forums all depend on what you are looking for. For example, I just searched for ‘forums + plumbing + UK’ and got more hits than you could shake a digital stick at. I then tried ‘forums + plumbing + Plymouth UK (it’s where I live)’ and still got over 1,000,000 hits. So, if I were actually looking for a plumbing forum, I would then have to click on each link and see what each forum looks like.
If you are thinking that it is a long process to find good forums, guess what? You’re right! Don’t rush this part of the process. If you spend time signing up to forums that are ultimately useless, you will be wasting a lot of your time.
And that’s probably fairly good advice when it comes to all the marketing we have talked about in this book. Take your time when it comes to trying new things you have learnt in this book. There’s no point getting all excited about trying out stuff and then doing it badly. Better to go slow and make sure you do things properly.
Wrapping It All Up
And there you have it – a brief overview of how to do forum marketing. As I said at the beginning of this chapter, people like doing forum marketing because it’s easy(ish) to do and it doesn’t feel like selling. Which a lot of other types of marketing do, of course.
Take your time with this type of marketing. To use my favourite blogging expression yet again, remember that you’re taking part in a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t forget this and you won’t go far wrong.