Ever since I started out online, my forum marketing strategy has been one of my most constant sources of traffic, sales, and leads for my email lists. I ran my blog for over a year and a half using nothing but forum traffic, and it was one of the most consistent sites for making sales and building my email lists.
However, most people completely fail to get the best benefits possible out of their efforts. In fact, most people I see trying to use forums are doing more harm to themselves than good, and they give up frustrated, declaring that forum marketing doesn’t work in their niche.
Trust me, its not the tactic, its how you use it that determines whether it will work or not!
One thing that sets me apart is that I am constantly monitoring everything that I do, and I have a strategy in place. I am not just posting for the sake of having a new post.
Today, I thought I would walk you through 5 of the biggest mistakes that you could be making with forums, that cost you money, leads, and traffic.
Posting for Links
One of the worst mistakes that you can make is to think that forum marketing has anything to do with link building. This might be the most common reason why people fail at it. Don’t take me wrong here, the links are important, but how you get those links is just as important (if not more so…)
In fact, people using forums just for links is the primary reason so many forums have banned any form of self promotion. This makes them harder and harder to use as a place to promote your business. Some of the best forums that I have used don’t even allow promotional links in my profile or my signature. Yet, I still find ways to get traffic from those forums and onto my sites.
Focusing on High PR Forums
This goes along with link building, but if PR is your main concern, then you are wasting your time. Often, the best forums are low PR, but have a highly active membership. Most high PR forums that still allow self promtional links are dying because the link spammers have run off all the real traffic that you could be getting.
Besides, if you actually pay attention to anything REAL about SEO and not the hundreds of FAKE gurus out there trying to rip you off, Page Rank is an OLD and DEAD marketing tactic. Google themselves have publicly stated there are more important things than Page Rank. It does not belong in your forum marketing strategy!
Why? because of the PR link spammers that learned to game the system! Those slimy toads ruined a really great idea just like they ruin everything. I could ramble on all day about spammers and how much damage they do,but, I digress.
On to the next big mistake…
Ignoring Private Messages
Private Messages are a critical part of forum marketing, yet many people ignore them. I get messages all the time from people asking for a personal recommendation for a product, or looking for advice that I can give them. If you ignore these private messages in your forum marketing strategy, you could be losing potential sales. You can also damage your reputation, by ignoring messages from prominent people within your niche.
I have gotten messages that were invitations to do an interview, requests to guest post on someone’s blog, and even people asking me to review their products on my blog. Usually those come with a free copy of the product, which gives me even more content that I can leverage for my articles.
Ignoring the Buyers in Your Niche
You don’t just want niche specific traffic on your site, you want buyers. People who repeatedly pay for the latest information in your niche should be in your cross hairs and targeted! They are the most likely people to give you a boost in sales quickly, if you treat them right.
(Well, I guess if all you want is a hobby, that’s not always true, but for a real and lasting income, those should be who you focus most of your efforts on driving your blog. )
You can find thousands of forums in a varietyof niches that are free. However, you can also find some awesome forums that are specifically for people who have paid money to get access to them. These are some of the best forums that you can get into. However, if you are looking for link juice, forget it. Google isn’t even crawling the pages, so they do NOTHING for your search rankings. But, do you want bragging rights or buying traffic?
Sometimes you have to pay for them, but often, getting access to them won’t cost you a dime, if you know how to play the social game properly. Get into networking with the forum owners and staff. Become an advocate of their brand, and promote their free stuff for them. If you do that, you can generate a lot of attention, and sometimes they will even give you access to their paid members area for your efforts. ( I have gotten thousands of dollars worth of products doing it this way too!)
Promoting Your Business Through Your Profile
When you join forums, it isn’t about promoting your business. it is about branding yourself as an authority within the niche. It’s a way to network with people, and get on their good side. When you write up your profile, talk about your own experience, not your business, or your company. Use your image for your avatar, not a cartoon or company logo, and don’t link to your own site until you have some good solid posts and begin building your reputation.
If you follow these tips, you can improve your authority within the forums, and generate a lot of leads, traffic, and cash from your forum marketing strategy.
How have you used forums to build your brand online? Not using forums? What is stopping you from using a forum marketing strategy to promote your brand? The comments are open, so share your experiences today!