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Two Ways Forums Can Impact Your Sales

Becoming An Authority in Your Niche Can Pay Huge Dividends.
 
Paul Smithson - 9th February 2009
   
paul smithson Forums can have a huge impact on your sales.  Having your own popular forum practically guarantees you’ll make money if you know anything at all about monetizing traffic. 

This is especially true if you have a strong presence on the forum.  People tend to have enormous respect for the owner of the forum they really love.  They’ll hang on your every word, and they’ll gladly hand over their money for anything you recommend.

Having your own forum automatically makes you an “expert” in your niche.  Even if you don’t know much about the niche, people will have a perception that you do, but you don’t have to own your forum to take advantage of the massive and loyal traffic forums can have. 

You can also take advantage of the traffic available at other forums.  Of course, you have to be very careful about marketing on other people’s forums.  There are rules at most forums that prohibit all kinds of marketing. 

Some forums allow you to have links in your signature and a few forums have special sections where you can advertise, but a lot of forums don’t allow any kind of marketing at all.  Even if this is the case you can still make sales from that forum if you know how.

First of all you need to get your name out there. This doesn’t mean posting the odd post in agreement or disagreement with what someone else has said. It means really becoming active on the forum both in terms of helping other people and by contributing a lot of very good information. Slowly, if you work diligently at this, you will start to seen as an expert. 

When you first start to post to a forum you’ll be on a sort of probationary period.  Although very few forums have a formal probationary period, you have to realize that all newcomers to forums are typically seen as “newbies” who don’t know anything. 

At the very start you might be treated as a bit of a second-class citizen on some forums, but don’t let this dishearten you. It’s just human nature that people pay more attention to forum posters who’ve been around for a while than they do to the new kid on the block. With this in mind it is essential that you avoid doing any self publicity or promoting any of your products. Do to so could very easily make people think that you’re only there to sell product and that will get you off to a very bad start.

Keep your signature free of links at first, and spend time contributing helpful posts. Answer questions for people, and occasionally make useful posts of your own to get new threads going.  After a while, people will start to look for your posts and hopefully respect your opinion as a knowledgeable and helpful contributor. 

Almost every forum has a few people that are followed by most of the others.  These few people have the other forum members hanging on their every word and are highly respected and trusted implicitly. This is where you need to aim to position yourself, but be warned, it takes time and effort to reach this position and it doesn’t happen over night.

This level of popularity on a forum isn’t easy to attain. You have to make a lot very helpful posts, be nice to people, help out when you can, and avoid as much drama as possible. 

Do everything you can to stay out of arguments, and back down as much as possible if people ‘attack’ you.  You want to be seen as the good guy.  The good guy is the one everyone likes.  Besides, if you become the good guy, you won’t have to defend yourself.  The good guys who contribute a lot tend to develop a following that will defend them vehemently.

After you become well-known and liked, people will start seeking you out on purpose.  They’ll want to know more about you and what you do. They’ll click through to the links in your signature without you having to ask and as a result you will definitely benefit in the long term.

Becoming a forum hero is a long term strategy. Don’t expect any overnight successes as that rarely happens. Give it time and stick at it and you will invariably get to the point you want to be as few other people will have the staying power necessary to attain that position.

However, in closing, I’d like to give you a word of warning.

Pick your forums carefully. Anyone can become the top poster at a forum that is only visited by three people a week, but the benefits of becoming the go-to guy on such a forum is usually of little value. On the flip side, to become one of the recognized experts on a very highly trafficked site can take literally years to accomplish and you’ll often have a lot of catching up to do as there’ll be others ahead of you in the queue who have been making a valuable contribution for several years.

If you pick wisely and find a forum that has a good flow of traffic and has few, if any, recognized heroes there is no reason why you should not be able to position yourself at the front of the pack within months rather than years, and once you’ve reached that enviable position you can reap the rewards for many years to come.

About Paul Smithson - Paul Smithson is the founder of Intellimon and the driving force behind the best-selling XSitePro web site development tool. Since graduating in Business Strategy and Direct Marketing from two of Europe’s leading business schools, Paul has set up five multi-million dollar companies, one of which is now owned by the BBC. His areas of expertise include business strategy, e-commerce, on-line and off-line marketing, software development, and maximizing the potential of on-line businesses.


For more information about this, and many other Internet Marketing-related topics, visit Paul Smithson's site, www.xsitepro.com.

Source: http://www.xsitepro.com/two-ways-forums-can-impact-your-sales.html


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