Imagine being in a position to listen in on any conversations that your potential new customers are having.
You could easily find out what exactly they are struggling with (you need to if you want to provide them with a solution), how they feel about certain products they’ve bought and something else of incredible value.
That something else of incredible value is knowing how to speak to the people in your market. You need to know who your customer is before you start. To do this, find user forums dedicated to the niche or product you are promoting. Spend some time browsing the forum and learn what difficulties people are encountering.
What are their gripes? Which products works seamlessly and which are full of flaws? You can find all of this out without even making a post on the forum yourself. Just read!
You see it’s one thing to do keyword research and try to rank for specific phrases based on the results of the various keyword tools out there but it’s a whole different ballgame when you can incorporate the exact phrases people use in your content to attract them to your website.
But there’s another super advantage to getting targeted traffic from forums – you don’t need to get a million visitors to your website in order to see a profit, just a moderate amount of traffic that is tightly targeted. But there are some things you need to do to make forum marketing work for you.
1. Make sure that you commit at least 10-15 minutes a day on it and no more.
Because you are inevitably going to be promoting something you’re passionate about, it’s very easy to get caught up in the many conversations that go on in forums, so set a timer or something to keep yourself from spending any more time than you need to getting the information you need.
It’s ok to make a few posts, indeed that may be the only way you’re going to be able to build a reputation on the forum, but don’t go overboard – don’t spend every waking hour there!
Once you get used to dipping in every day, you’ll become productive. The technical help section of a forum will tell you all of the products that people have difficulty with. You’ll also get a feel of which companies provide great after-sales service and those that are lacking.
2. Don’t blatantly advertise your website on forums.
Most forums allow you to place a link back to your website in the form of a signature. This signature will show up at the bottom of all your posts on the forum after you make them. The caution is to make sure that whenever you make a contribution to any given thread, it’s relevant and meaningful.
Some forums only allow you to set a signature or display one until after you’ve made a minimum number of posts. It’s your ‘probation period’ that the forum admins use to filter out spammers.
If you want the people in your market to perceive you as an expert then you have to sound like one. Make sure that any posts you make are informative and add value to the thread. Never, ever bad mouth anyone in the forum when you’re in this data gathering mode. It will count against you and make your job much more difficult.
Always treat other forum users with respect, even if they are being obnoxious to you. Let it wash over you.
3. Create a forum profile that makes you look trustworthy.
If you have a decent picture of yourself, use it. People prefer to see what you look like, not a cartoon of Homer Simpson or Shaggy off Scooby Doo. Another small thing that helps people to feel a little more comfortable with you is using your real name on your profile. The majority of people who frequent forums tend to use nicknames. Although nicknames are cute, using your real name says that you’re not some anonymous scammer hiding behind a laptop.
Profiles also allow a lot of other information to be added, but there’s really no need to tell people when your birthday is or which football team you support (unless of course it’s a football forum and football is your chosen niche)
The bottom line is that it’s all about getting targeted traffic to your website, because any other kind of traffic is like not getting traffic at all. That would be cold traffic, which you’d need to warm up before you could market to them. You want the traffic you attract to be aware and ready to receive your ideas and products.
What would you rather have? 10,000 visitors who come to your website and don’t buy anything or subscribe to your list, or 150 visitors who subscribe to your list and buy your products regularly?
I know which one I’d pick.