With the cacophony of noise online, how do you get the word out about your business and website? The answer is to be proactively consistently out there!
Site owners have to use everything and anything to build awareness by taking action. You cannot wait to rank well enough for search engines to send you traffic. That could take months, if not years. Relying on organic (free) search engine rankings alone is not a good business plan *.
Email lists (How do you build that list without site traffic in the first place?) and social media are the first two things that come to mind for most site owners. But most stop there.
One commonly overlooked and underestimated venue is groups and forums. Yes, forums are still powerful for showcasing your expertise and building awareness of what you have to offer. Forums are also a great way to build your brand and be perceived as someone folks will want to work with — and trust.
But it takes time and only if done correctly!
Be Helpful and Share
Let's get this out there right away. Using groups and forums doesn't mean that you post all about your business and how great you and your products or services are with links to your site.
Nor do you wait to stalk in the background for a segue to promote what you have to offer. For the most part, you only mention your business if you are explicitly asked by another group or forum member.
And then it's best to note for the inquirer to PM (private message you). This shows you respect why the group exists — to share and collaborate. Not for opportunities for you to promote yourself.
I hear you… “How is that marketing my business if I don't mention my business?” So here are the three basics to start with:
Forum Marketing Basics
Next, a few other things to get in place and keep in mind as we participate.
Tips on How to Market on Groups & Forums
One more thing…
While groups and forums can help build awareness for your website, brand, and reputation, they can also help generate leads. As with anything online, this takes your commitment to developing your profile and showing other members your priorities.
Are you there to help or only to pump up your business? Forum and group members can see right through any deception. Don't squander that opportunity by being too self-serving, aggressive, or sales-pitchy!
All groups and forums have posted guidelines and rules that they expect all members to abide by. Seek those out, read them and live by them. There is no better way to lose credibility (or worse, get banned) than by ignoring the posted rules.
So, follow the rules, be helpful and kind, and share your knowledge and experience. It does take time to do correctly, but you'll become part of a community that will be there if you need help as well — and that is invaluable.
At your service,