Your Guide To Forum Marketing
Online marketing usually brings to mind social media and SEO. However, forum marketing is one subset of online marketing that is often overlooked by Kuwait’s digital marketing services. Forums give you access to the cream of the crop in almost all industries and let you build your expertise and authority in your specific field. Forum marketing is a high ROI strategy and a great way to increase traffic to your website. Most of all, it gives you a chance to connect with your ideal group of customers.
Forums are essentially large online gathering spaces or social media groups without the association of any social network, where industry-specific discussions are held. Online forums can be traced back to the 80s, before the invention of the World Wide Web. Most of these forums still sport a simple format and design. Much like discussion boards, thousands of topics are discussed here on a 24/7 basis among people who passionately love the forum topic. Regardless of whether you’re new or old to the forum, you have the opportunity to ask questions and share answers. And the better the quality of your answers, the more likes they will receive.
New and well-funded players like Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, Reddit, Slack communities, and Quora, have users in the hundreds of millions. Still, thousands of independent niche forums remain and can be found by simply googling “(industry keyword) + forum”.
With that being said, like with any marketing strategy or SEO company in Kuwait, if you don’t have a good one in place, you will end up wasting time. So while it’s great to just read up and get your feet wet on forum threads if you’re a newbie, eventually you’ll have to take steps to market your business.
Brands can achieve a twofold goal with forums: tapping into forum groups to grow their own online community and learn how to improve aspects of their business through market research. As a business owner, you can either join an existing discussion or choose to run your own forums. No matter which route you go, here’s how you can use forums to market your business:
1. Find your niche
Like we mentioned before, you don’t want to dispel all your time and energy into the wrong forum. Make sure that the forums you choose are based on the topics you’re interested in and involve like-minded people. For instance, if your forte is selling jewelry, your google search might lead you to The Fashion Spot, a forum full of fashion lovers who might consider purchasing from you.
Although you want to be realistic about your goals and not just focus on the most popular forums to market your product/service, you also don’t want to approach forums that are completely obscure. As a general rule of thumb, try to stick to forums with at least a thousand members that have at least a dozen posts daily. Steer clear of forums that are run by your competitors and ones that are filled with spam.
2. Sign up
When you sign up for your chosen forums, make sure you create an account under your name, and not your business name. This is because people usually prefer having discussions with real people. Work on creating a detailed profile that lists your experience and expertise. In fact, it’s great to humanize your account by including a few personal details as well. Since you’ll be doing business with other real people, it’s wise to add an actual professional picture of yourself as your avatar. Once you’ve built a certain credibility, you can start promoting your business.
3. Read the rules
Most forums have rules or guidelines that are pretty strict. These include moderating discussions as well as rules on self-promotion. Some forums will even prohibit you from contacting other members for business unless you’re reached out to first. Read these well because you don’t want to end up posting things only for them to be removed by a moderator. Plus, violating forum rules will nullify your attempts to build trust and create good relationships with forum members.
4. Add value
Once you have found a forum that fits your needs, you can begin sharing your expertise. You’ll know you’re earning people’s trust when you start receiving likes and comments. Instead of trying to sell your products or services directly, you should look for people having discussions that relate to your products or services. Answer quickly and back up your answers with links to trusted sources. By contributing to these discussions with your knowledge, you will naturally lead clients to your business. Moreover, forum participants are more likely to approach you for advice if you have already established your credibility through the provision of consistent and useful information.
5. Promote your work
Once you’ve laid all the groundwork of meaningful contributions in discussions over the course of weeks or months, you will have acquired a decent reputation among forum members. Now, it’s time for you to make targeted and relevant, although not-so-commercialized posts. This includes sharing links to your website as well as offering members discounts and freebies. Your marketing technique should also add value to the community. However, ensure you’re well acquainted with community guidelines before posting links to anything.
6. Stay positive
Lastly, try not to be negative, even when faced with criticism towards you or your business. Take people’s complaints seriously and thank them for their input. And as much as you can, stay away from the drama. There will always be a few users in a forum whose sole purpose is to instigate arguments. Steer clear of them and instead expend your energy towards people who wish to learn more through healthy discussions.
We hope your experience with forum marketing will be a fun one. With this strategy you will not only get to interact with other leading professionals in your industry, but you are also bound to learn something new. It is a great way to improve your SEO marketing efforts and gather valuable customer reviews and feedback. Our experienced team at Design Master, one of the leading digital marketing companies and social media marketing companies in Kuwait, can help you generate leads through forum participation.
Contact us here to get started.