Forums are likely to be the most underused platforms for generating traffic.
As they have been around for a while, since the advent of the world wide web, seldom are they considered in content marketing strategies for business blogs.
This, however, should not be the case. They’re actually a rich source of traffic as we’ll see in this article.
Forum marketing in 2020 is fast gathering pace and people are realizing the great potential that these forums hold in driving traffic to a business blog.
The good thing with forums is that you get traffic from people who are in need of the information you provide.
Most forum users are tech-savvy and knowledgeable with a desire to discuss ideas, publish, ask questions, and share honest views.
Types Of Forums
To use forum marketing to drive more traffic to your blog, it is important to note that many types of forums exist on the internet. Here are some:
- Discussion Forums- There are forums where a member shares an idea and the community participates in discussing the idea. A thread is initiated in the forum and the members join in to participate, sharing their views, and ideas.
- Q/A Forums- These are forums where you can ask questions and receive answer from the community
- Both Q/A and Discussion- This forum type combines both question/answer and Discussion methods of engaging.
- Feedback Forums- These are forums where users share information on what they think about products, services organizations, and the like.
Some of the most popular forums among online business owners are Quora and Reddit.
Quora is a question-and-answer forum offering quality content. On Quora, you are likely to find business owners and leaders who use this platform to share their knowledge and in turn learn from others.
Reddit is a discussion forum where members go to discuss everything, from business to politics to their everyday lives.
It’s home to a growing community of entrepreneurs and bloggers who are open to sharing solutions and helping others.
How to Utilize Forum Marketing To Drive Traffic To Your Blog
1. Find The Right Forums In Your Niche
There are multiple forums on the internet, cutting across multiple niches.
To draw in the right traffic, identifying where your potential readers are clustered is important.
You may have an idea of certain forums that you would like to indulge in.
If not, you can do a quick and simple search on your search engine. Simply write the keyword related to your niche, add a plus (+) sign, and then add the word “forum” at the end. For example Frugal living+ Forum.
As there may be multiple forums, you may want to narrow down to about 3 forums. With this list of forums, the next step is to check if they are worth your time and energy.
Of course, you want to check how many members are in the forum and how many posts are there so far. If the forum has 1000+ members and thousands of posts, it is worth considering.
Other than the number of members, you want to check how active the forum is.
You can do this by checking when the last post was shared and how many posts are shared on average every day. This helps you gauge how much activity goes on in the group. The more active the group is the better.
Last but not least, check if the forum allows you to share your signature. A signature helps the community members know who you are and what you do. Thus, you want a forum that allows you to share your signature and entice people to click on the link to your blog.
The forums you select do not always have to be the biggest ones, but they need to be active.
2. Craft An Attractive Account Profile
Once you have identified the right forum for you, the next step is to join the community. As is with every social community, you need an account.
- Your username.
The first thing to set up is your username. Your username is your brand. As such, you need to evaluate the message you want to relay. For some of the forums, you can use any name as a username. However, for others, there is a restriction to using your name only.
It is important to have a username that is befitting for your niche. You can use your name if you are uncertain about what name to use. Using our name relays a more personal feel to your audience
- Your Avatar
Most forums allow you to have a picture on your profile. This can be your photo or the availed avatar images in the forum.
Using a photo of you allows the members to put a face to the name and creates some personal touch. If you prefer to keep anonymity, you can use any image. Simply ensure that it fits with the forum’s standards and relays who you are.
- Your Bio
This section allows you to share information about yourself. Take advantage of this section and share relevant information that will help the audience know more about you. If you have experience in the niche you are in, you can talk about how much experience you have. Ensure to keep it professional.
You may also include your email address or a way for people to reach out to you.
- Your Website Url
Many forums have a section on the profile where you can add your website’s URL. If available, use this section to share the link to your blog.
If the forum has any more available features, take advantage of them. For instance, if the forum allows you to share your Facebook or Pinterest, go ahead and do so. Establishing yourself as someone people want to interact with is an important aspect of driving traffic.
3. Your Signature Matters
Your signature is essential to driving more traffic to your blog. The signature communicates to the members who you are and what you do. Therefore, it is important to keep it professional.
Having a formal signature will give you a higher advantage in driving traffic to your site. In many forums, using an informal signature tends to paint one as a spammer. This is something you want to avoid.
For your signature, you can include the name of your blog, your blog’s tagline which shares what your site is about and a link to your blog. Adding a link in your signature helps lure the members to clicking and visiting your site.
4. Find Out The Community’s Guidelines
Before you feel tempted to start posting, it is good to understand the community guidelines. Reading the rules and regulations will help you know how to present yourself in the group as well as the dos and don’ts.
You may need to know:
- If you are allowed to post as a new member and for how long?
- If there are any restrictions for new members?
- How many accounts can you have?
- What the guidelines for advertisements are?
- Rules about signatures?
It is important to pay attention to the guidelines of the community so that you do not find yourself violating them. Violating the rules could create a bad taste in the forum and invalidate your effort towards creating trust within the community.
5. Take Time To Study The Forum Dynamics
Once you have established the rules governing the community, the next thing is to study the forum. Simply watch and learn.
Doing this for some days will help you know which topics are most discussed in the forum, which areas in the forum are more active, who are the key players and how things run in the forum.
Lurking helps you understand the forum dynamics better and gives you the knowledge of how to connect with the members of the forum in a better way.
6. Introduce Yourself
Many forums offer an opportunity for new users to introduce themselves. These are usually threads created to welcome new members.
On this thread, you can be able to see who joined before you or even the same day as you have.
For your introduction post, you can share the reason you choose to join this particular forum, your expertise and what your main goal is. The members of the community may be more welcoming if you let them know that you are willing to contribute and learn from others.
As this is the first post, it is good to put on a good impression. That means, stick to the community guidelines and stay away from making any marketing pitches.
7. Participate In Discussions and Make Valuable Contributions
As there are many members in the forum, you want to take every opportunity possible to get noticed. The best way to do so is to start participating in the discussions.
Every time someone asks a question that is related to your expertise or area of interest, join in the conversation and share useful and quality information.
Whenever you can, be quick to respond to the questions asked. Often, people read the top responses only and leave out the rest. As such, you want to be among the top responses to increase your chances of being noticed.
It is paramount to share value in the forums you are in since people join forums with the desire to gain value.
8. Start New Threads And Post Frequently
After you have been on the forum for some time, you can start a thread. The thread can be a genuine question that you are interested in learning about or it could be a post asking for people’s opinions.
The quality of your post may determine how many responses you receive. With that in mind, it is paramount to share a genuine and well-thought-out post.
As you are now part of the community, ensure that you are participating frequently. You can do a few posts a day to increase your activity level in the group. posting frequently relays to the members that you are investing your time into the forum.
9. Keep Off From Drama And Controversy
A forum is still a social community. This means that arguments could easily spark from anywhere seeing that people differ in opinion especially when it comes to certain topics such as politics and religion. Participating in such arguments could lead to you being banned from the forum.
To ensure that you do not get caught up in the drama, stay away from heated topics, resist the urge to join an argument, keep in mind that your main goal of being in the forum is to grow your business and keep your cool before responding.
10. Be Positive, Be Patient
Forums are social spaces where you are bound to encounter people of all kinds. You may encounter some who are very appreciative of your work, while others may be very arrogant and rude.
Keeping your head high and maintaining a positive attitude will keep you on the move.
Keep away from the negative energy and only focus on the positive side of things.
Encourage others to have a healthy and meaningful discussion where useful and quality information is shared.
Whilst being positive, it is also key to be patient. Gaining traffic from forums may take some time. This is why you need to place yourself in a position where you can be noticed. As such, do not put pressure on yourself to drive 100% traffic on your first week on the forum.
Be patient and keep your engagement level in the community high, only sharing helpful content. The more you share quality information on the forum, the more people will be eager to know what you are all about and what you do.
Forums are a great way to drive traffic to your business blog. Not only do you interact with other bloggers in your niche, but also, potential readers who join forums to gain more knowledge. The best way to make the most of forums is to first identify the right forum for you. Next, optimise your account, add your signature, and introduce yourself to the community.
Once you have done this, take some time to understand the community guidelines and study how things run in the forum. When you feel the time is right, start by participating in discussions. After a while, you can now start threads where you ask genuine questions.
It is important to share content that is helpful and useful. Keep your cool and let people know that you are willing to help. Whenever possible, share your blog’s link. Keep the link on your bio and your signature. This way, the members can easily visit your blog. If you constantly share quality content, members will want to engage with you more.
Finally, maintain a positive vibe and be patient.