Want to know what your customers really want and need from you? Go to a forum.
Forums and online discussion boards are internet platforms where like-minded people go to find solutions to their problems. Posting topics and answering questions is one of the best ways to connect with your customers. However, most small businesses don't realize what online discussion boards can do for their business.
According to a report on eMarketer.com, an internet research firm, over 260,000 small businesses throughout the U.S and Canada use Social Media tactics to help improve their business. But forum posting was towards the bottom of the list, with only 28% of small businesses using this tactic. It is important that businesses use the power of this free internet marketing tactic that will help build relationships and generate revenue.
Forums Build Relationships
In business it's all about building relationships. As the old adage goes: people buy from people they know, like, and trust. And joining a forum community is a great way to build a relationship with your prospects, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and promote your business. If you do a Google search for “forums” over 150 million results will show up. So, there are people out there that need your help! In addition to being the MVP (Most Valuable Poster) you will also be obtaining quality link backs to your website.
Determine the Reason You Are Posting
Remember, forum posting is all about building relationships. Just like any other Internet Marketing technique, you need to have an effective strategy. Adding value can make you a happier and wealthier person. So, before you start posting on forums determine your objective is it to:
Once you determine your main objective, it will be easier to start a strategy that will produce great results for you, your prospects and existing clients.
- Promote your website
- Answer customer questions and concerns
- Gather information to enhance your business
- Increase traffic to sell products and services
The Secret of Forum Posting
The key to being successful on online discussion boards is to offer invaluable information and customer service that your competition can't offer. Be a star player in the game, answer customer questions, engage their concerns, and connect with them. And find out what they need from you. By listening to your customers’ needs and wants, you can position your business to meet their demands.
You can also post your own topics on the discussion board. For example, let's just say, you are a SEO consultant. You can post a question like “What are the challenges you face in learning SEO?” This way your customer answer your question, so you can address their concerns. Or you can do some research and seek out the most popular question being asked regarding to your industry, and then write a series of articles answering that question. Some forums let you post articles right on the board, while others won't let you have that luxury.
A good rule of thumb to remember: Always put a back link to your site in your signature.