Forum Marketing in 2012
Although SEO is lovely at the end of the day you have to work your *ss off…. so what about trying something different? What about forum marketing?
you see I’m always looking for a bargain and If I can get a traffic bargain: Even better.
So can we get traffic that is FREE, converts and keeps coming back? Hell yes.
The secret? The old forum marketing idea, but this time improved with some vital Ninja Marketing Energy.
I was looking at my stats last week and I realized I received 15.000 visitors this year (yes, 15K unique visitors) from mainly 2 sites.
DNTRADE.com.au and FlyingSolo.com.au
The DNTRADE traffic came mainly from the SEO Challenge and the traffic from flyingSolo came from multiple posts from the last 2 years.
So 15000 visitors without investing any money? Not bad for the old Forum Marketing idea.
Now, the funny part is how many people do FORUM MARKETING in the WRONG WAY.
Let me honest, when I started in this industry I was a bit of a troll..
I though the more noise I can make and the more attitude I have, the better.
Now I’m a bit less of a troll, I’m a bit less HOT BLOOD LATINO, a bit older… and instead I have taken a different approach to the whole idea in the social media arena.
I have decided to SHARE and EDUCATE, and that may friends brings more traffic than any other ranting-tactic I have ever implemented.
So if sharing and educating is the key how do I apply that strategy to forum marketing?
Well, let’s take the example of SEO Challenge.
When Ned from DNTRADE launch the SEO challenge many people jumped on the forums and did what they always do
You see, usually pitching a service is easy, and generally complaining in forums is even easier….
so that’s why when I saw that potential competitors where going to try to “grab” the SEO challenge, I made an AMAZING OFFER.
My offer was:
I was going to do the SEO Challenge, educate everyone about it, and even better… I was going to do it for charity.
The offer was amazing, mainly because it was unusual, original and brave… so as expected I won the deal.
So I did the SEO challenge and voila! I received over 5000 unique visitors from it in just 5 weeks.
The SEO challenge brought me a revenue of over $8000 in deals, contracts and consulting, plus tons of new friends, good branding and a nice exposure + I end up doing something pretty amazing with SEO for kids.
Mmm not bad for the old Forum Marketing, don’t you think?
So why Forum Marketing works so well?
Mainly because I follow some rules that I learned after many mistakes (and trust me these rules are dam difficult to follow sometimes)… so trying to reveal how you can do the same, here we go.
Forum Marketing Ninja rules.
1. Target forums where your potential customers ARE.
Generally I see my SEO peers in sites like SEOmoz, WarriorForum, SEO forums, etc….
and I wonder how many plumbers, real estate agents and cleaning companies hang in this forums.
I go to forum where my customers are, not where my “peers” are.
My objective is to bring value to people that don’t know a lot about SEO, instead of trying to impress the Egocentric SEO community.
What my SEO score is in any “social media site” means nothing compared to what my reputation is with my customers.
2. Be you. (seriously)
Be the same you, you are when you are really You. (make sense?)
The interesting thing with Forum Marketing is that people pretend to be super-freaking-gurus and that simply sucks. They make long boring posts, they quote 75 sites, they bring stats, blah, blah, blah.
Instead be just normal. Speak normal. Engage. Ask questions. Laugh. Smile. Cry. Get the point?
Be human, not just a poster boy for social media.
3. Provide Value with your own Swing.
When people thing of providing value in forum marketing they usually think of posting a 3000 word post and tell the world how amazing they are about X topic.
Or they just go and copy and paste an article like “top 150 tips for SEO optimization” from another site.
Mediocre move. The easy fast approach. Instead provide value in your own style.
You can do things like:
- Do things for FREE just to help someone that needs help.
- Provide a paid product you sell, for free. (Yes, for free… don’t worry you are not going to die poor)
- Do a video to answer someone’s question.
- Do a case study of one of your biggest failures (Yes: Failure. Remember… you are human, don’t you forget)
4. Make people Smile.
Holy cow. Why is this so difficult?
Make people smile by doing things that take no time, or no investment but they just break the ice.
Because the thing is… this whole idea of getting customers, getting leads, is just like dating.
If you suck at dating, for sure you are going to have difficulties attracting customers or buyers.
The rules are the same: you can be the ugliest guy in the room, but if you want to attract the hot girl in the party, make her smile.
That’s the first victory.
Disclaimer: Making her laugh doesn’t mean she is going to marry you. So be funny – but don’t be a clown.
5. It’s forum marketing: Not your personal life.
Although you want to be personal… you don’t want to use the forum as your personal punch bag.
So in a few words: If you had a sh*t day, stay away from the forum.
Don’t go to forums to pick up a fight. In the same way as the real world, there is always going to be someone faster and smarter.
So don’t be a d*ck , don’t start fights that can destroy all the hard work you have put in a forum.
6. Don’t EVER PITCH.
Pitching in a public forum is the first sign of HUNGER.
I see it all the time…
hungry people dying to get one lead. Like starving fishermen they just look at the forum praying the forum is going to provide them with one big fish that will save them from an imminent recession.
So don’t do it.
Just go out there. Become the nice, cool, fresh, authority person in your industry… and LET them COME to You.
Don’t get them to come… just let them come to you… that’s when the magic happens.
7. Have a break. (For real)
Please give the community a break of yourself.
If you, yes, you… sometimes need a break from yourself, why not allowing the world to be able to enjoy the forum for 1 day without YOU posting your stupid content EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Again, this is just like dating my friends… call the girl every single day and after 5 days you will realized she changed her number and blocked you from Facebook.
So relax, don’t be so intense. Just go, post, interact, provide value and then go back to work on productive stuff.
8th Rule? Do not feed them. Please do not feed them.
About the author
I'm an SEO professional living in the South Coast of NSW - Australia. SEO is what I do... I'm not a web guy, or a webmaster, or a designer... I just do SEO ;) Love it. Enjoy it and I still have fun doing it.