Nearly every internet marketing method you study will tell you that one of the best ways to increase traffic to your website is to use forum marketing. Find a forum that has something to do with your niche, join up, put a link back to your website in your signature line and then sit back and watch the traffic roll in, right?
Actually, it’s not quite that easy. And all of those marketing methods have some advice on how you should handle yourself in those forums in order to get the most benefit out of the time and effort you put into your participation.
Let’s just take a look at a few of those suggestions and dispel some of the myths associated with forum marketing.
Myth #1 – When you first join a forum you should introduce yourself to the other members and tell them a little about yourself.
Fact – Nobody will read that post and if they do, they won’t deign themselves low enough to say hello to a newbie. You’ll just be wasting your time so go ahead and skip this step.
Myth #2 – Spend some time reading various threads so you can get the feel for the dynamics of the group.
Fact – Go ahead and waste your time on this, too. All the active threads will be run by a chosen few members of the forum and they’ll be talking to each other. You won’t get the ‘real’ experience of that forum until you actually post something yourself.
Myth #3 – Your first few posts should either ask questions or answer questions.
Fact – Again, you’re wasting your time. Ask a question and one of those long-time members will come on and berate you for asking a question that’s already been answered a million times. Answer a question and they’ll tell you you’re too new and you don’t know what you’re talking about. It doesn’t matter that you’ve been in this business for years and you’re independently wealthy because of it. Those forum hogs always think you can’t possibly know what you’re talking about – you just joined the forum!
Oh, and don’t worry. You’ll see them asking the same question or issuing the same complaint in their next thread. And of course, it will be all THEIR idea.
Myth #4 – Start your own thread.
Fact – *sigh* Waste of time – again. Start a thread and say something nice and the forum hogs will call you a brown-noser. Start a controversial thread and they’ll tell you their problems are much worse than yours or that problem was discussed years ago, so you should just calm down because you’re too new to really have a complaint. Start a thread defending someone else’s stance and they’ll tell you you don’t know the whole story, and start a thread agreeing with something THEY said and they’ll immediately reverse their position.
Myth #5 – You can learn a lot just by reading a forum.
Fact – Yes, and I have some ocean front property in Arizona that I’m trying to sell if you’re interested. There are very few legitimate discussions that happen on forums. Most that start out to be genuine are hijacked by those forum hogs and quickly turned around to focus on them, their problems or their business. They are the only ones who know anything about the topic you’re discussing and they’re posts are so long – and repetitive – that everyone else just gives up and leaves the thread.
Myth #6 – You can make a lot of money with forum marketing.
Fact – Sure, you can make a lot of money with a million different types of marketing. It just depends on what type of business you want to do. If you’re trying to sell something, the forum hogs will want you to give it to them for free – because… well, because they’re the Forum Hogs for gosh sakes! They deserve it because they’re so much more intelligent than everyone else and they’ve been a member of this forum for years! Go ahead, put that link in your signature line. Watch and see. If anyone from the forum happens to follow it back to your site, you can bet your email will start with – “Hi! I’m a member of XYZ forum and I was wondering…” And it will end with the word – “Free”.
All things considered, most of the time the only people who benefit from forum marketing are the forum hogs because they end up hijacking or tearing apart every thread on the forum.
But how much do they really benefit? If they’re spending all that time controlling the forum, how much time can they be spending on developing their business? Is it really worth it? Sure, you can be a forum hog, too. You can control every thread on the site. You can bully the newbies and pretend that you’re much more important simply because you’ve been a member for years.
But what’s that saying about your business? If you’re more concerned about spending enough time on a forum so you can become known as one of the forum hogs, then you’re not spending enough time on your business. Let those hogs control the forum. You just go count your money!
What do people DO when they’re banned from the Warrior Forum?
The Facebook Effect: It’s here and it’s big, use it to benefit your business.
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