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Forums – A Consumer Centric Approach
If you’ve participated in a forum lately you may have stumbled across blatant advertising from individuals who obviously have no interest in the forum, its members or the subjects being discussed. Many forums not only frown on this type of spamming, but when they catch you they will likely ban you from future involvement on their forum. If you want to use a forum to market your business you need to make sure you follow a few netiquette tips. If you are going to involve yourself in a forum make sure you actually have an interest in the subjects being discussed. If you have a business selling die cast model cars you may find a forum that deals with model cars. Your personal interest in the subject can have positive marketing potential.
When you register to participate in the forum make sure you actually participate. Don’t use the forum as an ongoing platform to promote your business. Be involved in the forum and contribute in a way that forges connections between yourself and other members. Take full advantage of your signature line. You will typically be given a specific limit of characters you can use.
Some have found the use of introduction text coupled with a tasteful business banner code to be a positive way to consistently promote their business while concentrating on building trust with other forum members. Check the forum to see if there is a section specifically designated for advertising. If so, make sure you provide a professional overview with appropriate links. As the growth of forums has exploded so has the need for quality site moderators. It is possible to seek a trade with the site owner. Simply put, you offer to provide moderator services in exchange for banner ads on the forum pages. This will serve to blend your personal interest in the forum with a quality marketing opportunity. Forums remain a great way for individuals to connect on subject they are passionate about. Most forum members are happy to welcome new members to the forum and are grateful when these new members add to the forum. When new members simply post an attention-grabbing subject and then fill their post with messages only related to their business the response is usually very cool from forum members.
It may be hard for some business owners to come to terms with the need for a consumer-centric approach to marketing, but when you use a forum it is virtually mandatory.
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