If you’re building your home business on a budget or if you’re looking for more creative ways to market, I have a real effective ‘unsung marketing hero’ for you. And it’s FREE:
Forums are online communities where individuals can discuss topics ranging from business to fishing to sports. Discussions are conducted by posting notes to the forum. A single discussion is called a ‘thread’ and most forums have several, even hundreds of threads going at any time.
What an incredible reminder of the influence the internet has had on society. Using forums to connect with your target market is a natural progression.
To locate online forums in your target market just do a search at Google and type in: “your target market forums” and there should be a fair amount of choices.
What is truly remarkable about the use of forums is the personal quality of the discussions. Read some of the posts online and you’ll soon see that the members become more like neighbors (and even friends) than strangers connected only by the keyboard and monitor in front of them.
Where brick and mortar businesses used to prosper based on their involvement in the community, online businesses now have a neighborhood all their own.
Lets check out the ways participating in online forums can help your business?
The grand daddy of them all…
Online forums are a fantastic place to connect with others who are knowledgeable about your business. You probably cater to the same audience and share a common interest. If your businesses compliment one another you might just find a highly profitable partnership or joint venture.
Even if you don’t find a working relationship you may find the referrals or discussions highly beneficial. What a great way to leverage the power of relationships all over the world.
2. Traffic Building:
This is a biggie:
Along with the referrals you may get when you’ve developed a trusted online presence with other members of the forum, you are also likely to attract targeted visitors to your website.
Here’s the best part:
Forums allow you to place a signature tag on your posts. This is where you can write a quick sentence (elevator pitch) about what you do along with your web site link. This is the biggest benefit to participating in forums. You can be sure that some of the members and quite likely some of the ‘lurkers’ (people who view but don’t post) will come check out your site.
That’s FREE traffic by the way.
Using the forums wisely can open you up to great education. Whether it is from fellow entrepreneurs in your field or experts and other posters, you are participating in an ‘inner circle’ type discussion that may open your eyes to new developments and opportunities in your business.
I must warn you though, the only downside is the highly addictive atmosphere. With members posting from all over the world it can be difficult to keep your viewing time to a minimum. Forum participation is something you may want to schedule each week and set a time limit. I’ve heard of some ‘My Space’ like addictions.
On the flip side, other members are hopefully as interested in what you have to say and you may quickly develop a reputation as a reliable source of information. This should be your objective: to position yourself as an expert within your industry.
One more thing:
Be sure to follow forum rules. Never spam or pitch a forum. I see rookie marketers do this all the time. Your aim should be to participate in a conversation, not interrupt it. People get banned from online forums for pitching their product or service.
Don’t be a rookie.
Professionals don’t need to pitch their product or service. Professionals provide information and education first, to position themselves as experts in their industry. The sales and marketing takes care of itself.
Have fun and watch your business grow!
Andrew J. Cass is a Home Business Development Expert and Professional Marketing Consultant. He is in the top 1% of income earners in the Home Business industry. To learn insider secrets and powerful marketing strategies from the pros to help you explode your home business empire, sign up for Andrew’s FREE cutting edge Ezine at: http://www.TheHomeBusinessInsider.net
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