Forum posts are a great way to network with your peers and communicate with customers and potential customers as well. By finding and regularly using a forum which is in your niche, you are in the best position to be reading and reaching others who are in the same niche. A carefully chosen forum is like an exclusive club in one way. The people who are in the forum are of two types. First are those who are in the business or niche which is represented. This group represents those who understand the concepts, the language and the needs of the niche.
Often one or more will have a business which is related to the subject of the forum. These forum members can and do network with each other to solve problems, to discuss advances in their area of interest, and to assist one another in building up the niche over all. There will undoubtedly be competition amongst the peers, but the forum puts them all on pretty much the same footing. They are peers, which connotes those who have similar interests, values, ideals, knowledge base or experience. The other type of visitors to such a niche based forum is the customers.
Presumably customers have arrived at a forum to find out about a particular subject or product and were directed to the forum by means of an Internet search engine. Communication with these potential customers is vital. The forum can provide information about products which will help the customer know exactly which product will be the most likely to meet specific needs. The network of peers represented on a niche forum often contains a collection of knowledge which the customer can use as a resource for information, applications and problem resolution. While a personal web site rarely is a complete authority on a subject, by linking to a forum where additional information can be found, the customer perceives that he’s getting better service and answers to questions.
Niche forum marketing works another way to help your customers as well. You can invite a customer into a forum where they can learn and participate in information at a deeper level than that found in just one on one communication. Following a particular thread can spark interest in another facet of the subject, for instance. Dealing with a customer in a public setting can also give you a chance to demonstrate your customer service skills. Be careful, because what you are doing is public – and will reflect on your business.
Do you have an affiliate program for your site? Another great idea is to train your own affiliates to use forums. If you run a membership site, or are part of an affiliate organization where you have contact with your members encourage them to become active in a few specific forums. Using the methods that I have outlined, choose some forums for them, and then remind them on a weekly basis if necessary, to show their faces on the forums. The benefits are huge! · It gives you regular contact with your members, some people are a little shy in contacting their ‘upline’, and will never email you, but if you can ask them things in a public forum they are sometimes more likely to respond.
It lets people know that you are real, not just a computer program set up to earn them money. · It builds a sense of team work and responsibility. If you are posting a question to a member, then you encourage a response. It will allow them to feel that they are a necessary part of your team and promote loyalty. · Provides accountability. You have a written record of anything that is discussed, and a whole forum full of witnesses. This brings an ability to not only have proof in case problems arise, but also allows people to view your integrity and how you deal in situations of potential conflict.
Using the Private Messaging Function Another great feature of the forum is their Private Message (PM) function. This allows you to send messages to people in the forums, which is invaluable for networking. This should never be used as an opportunity to spam people. Here are some things that it could be used for: · Communicating with your customers · Contacting your affiliates · Networking with peers · Planning JV projects (Joint Ventures) · Developing relationships with like-minded people.