Posting to relevant online forums is a tried and tested way of successfully marketing a product or service you are promoting as an affiliate and remains a popular technique with people who are serious about their Internet business and establishing their online reputation.
Forum posting should be an integral part of your overall marketing plan.
Online forums are a type of social networking site, but unlike many such sites, online forums are places where people regularly participate.
Often this is two to three times a week and may even be on a daily basis. They ask real questions because they want a solution to their problem or they want to make a helpful contribution to the discussion taking place.
Why you should participate in online forums
As a marketer promoting a product or service as an affiliate, there are two main reasons for forum marketing:
- The first reason for posting on Superhero forum serving the niche or market segment you are targeting is that your readers are already interested in your topic. They are a warm market, so there is no need to “qualify” them as you would have to with writing free reprint articles. Prospects from a warm market are much more likely to make a purchase than unqualified leads.
- The second reason is that your signature can contain a link back to your website. This is the equivalent of your resource box in article marketing. Your goal is to get the prospect to go to your website. It is there that the selling is done, not on the forum.
Forum commenting to promote a product or service as an affiliate is free, but it does take time and some effort on your part as it must be done in a subtle way.
Each forum has its own rules and has an etiquette to follow. Most online forums are moderated. That means your post will
have to be approved before it is published. Overtly promotional posts are unlikely to be published.
Take a little time to view some potentially suitable forums to get a feel for them and check out their rules.
How to promote your affiliate product or service
Forum marketing takes time, not only to do, but also before you will start to see the fruits of your labours. The following five steps will set you on the path to forum marketing success:
The first step is to select one or more suitable forums in your niche.
It would be a good idea to only join one forum if you are just starting out in this type of marketing. You can join other forums when you have become established in the first forum. You will, however, need to follow the remaining four steps, but they will be second nature to you by then.
To find suitable forums, make an Internet search for your niche + “forums”. For example, “Type 2 diabetes forums”.
The second step is to sign-up and complete your profile.
Make sure your forum signature includes a link to your website. If the forum allows it, include a good photograph of yourself. Properly and fully completing your profile is important because many forum members will view your profile. Putting a face to your name will help you stand out from the crowd.
The third step is to introduce yourself to the forum.
Most forums will have an “Introductions” section, which is designed for this very purpose. Don’t just say “Hi!” or “Hello forum”, give it a bit of thought. Explain who you are and why you joined the forum (for example, to give and receive advice and offer assistance to other forum members).
The fourth step is to add value to the discussions in the forum.
You need people to notice you. You will need to post regularly for that to happen. If they notice your posts, it builds trust and they will also see your links. After you have created a great, informative topic or insightful reply, you will see your profile count grow and your signature URL clicks follow.
Establish yourself as someone that is there to improve the community.
Do not post unless you can add value to a conversation. This is where most people fail with forum marketing; they only post to get their links published. Spamming the forum will very quickly get you banned and all your posts removed.
The fifth step is to build up positive feed back.
Most forums have a feedback system. Give positive feedback to other posters. It will be reciprocated if your contributions benefit the forum.
Positive feedback helps to establish you as a reputable member
of the forum. Better still, if someone is looking for the product or services that you offer, they will come to you, over a new member with no reputation. So, don’t let this golden opportunity pass you by.
Don’t log onto a forum, make a post, and then stop posting just because you haven’t been successful in attracting visitors to your website. The key to successful forum marketing is to be regularly involved. Aim to post at least two to three times a week. This should start to build up your overall credibility.
Online forums are a good place to establish your expertise in your subject and to build a relationship of trust and confidence, not only with other members of the forum, but also with forum visitors. Adding value to the forum and receiving positive feedback help establish your good reputation.
People prefer to do business with people they know and trust and will follow the link in your forum signature. This, after all, is why you are doing forum marketing.
When the visitor reaches your website:
- give them even more helpful information;
- provide a cogent reason for them to join your mailing list; and
- make sure you tell the visitor what you want them to do.
They may not buy the product or service you are promoting on this visit, but you can keep in contact with them by email to continue building your relationship with them.
Use your forum marketing to establish a relationship of trust and confidence,which your website and regular email communications further develops into a long-term relationship that benefits both you and your prospective customer.