Research

The first step in forum marketing is to identify relevant and popular forums to join. A good place to start is a search on forum tracking and ranking sites such as the following:

Enter a few keywords about the product or company you're trying to promote, and click through to find related forums. Look for signs of popularity, and check how many members and threads it has and how recently they've been posted to. Focus on the large and active sites. Figure 8-6 lists the most popular forums on the Web.

Note

While marketing a geek dating website, I created a promotion centered on a lip gloss giveaway to attract women. I was frustrated with many social media sites, since they were full of twentysomething guys, so I stopped promoting it for a while. When I logged in to check the site's traffic a few weeks later, I was shocked to see a huge uptick in visits coming from a bunch of different forums. It turns out that a member of a small "freebie" forum had found my offer and posted about it, and within hours it was reposted to hundreds of other sites. My efforts prior to that had created an initial spike in traffic that faded off after a few days, but this time the hits kept coming for weeks.

Don't underestimate the power of networks of niche forums to drive impressive numbers of visitors to your site, and remember that the best promotion doesn't come from you, but your fans.

Figure 8-7. Be sure to read forum rules. ...

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