This is a guest post by my business partner Greg. Each owner of Pure Adapt will be writing a post while I’m on vacation.
Forum marketing has become an outstanding tool for us to market our website www.detailedimage.com, which is our automotive detailing supplies store. Forums are essentially an online common place where members can share opinions and information. As a forum sponsor it gives us a direct path to interact with our exact target market. Today I wanted to briefly help you assess the marketing opportunities with online forums and come up with ways to sponsor a forum successfully.
Most forums offer some form of sponsorships that may include rotating banners and other ways to essentially put up ads around the forum. However the greatest benefit we get is the ability to make posts that advertise our business and talk directly to our customers. One forum we participate on is www.e46fanatics.com
The E46 Fanatics
Making a forum sponsorship successful has taken quite a bit of trial and error. Certainly finding the right forums is most essential but then you have to make the most of your opportunity by finding ways to engage the community and gain credibility on the forum. The first thing we do is introduce ourselves with a brief post explaining what we do and how we would like to help the community. Do not try to over sell yourself in the beginning instead give the community time to gain your trust and here positive reviews from other forum members. In our welcome message we included a coupon code specific to that forum in the welcome message. It makes the forum members feel like they are getting an exclusive discount and helps you track your success.
Another post we created was called “Ask a Professional Detailer..”, which encourages forum members to ask us questions on topics that we are experts on. This gives us a great opportunity to interact with customers, gain their trust and sometimes we can recommend our products as a solution. When I do recommend our products I hyper link the products back to our site to make it easy for a customer to purchase the items and get on our site. Sometimes making a sale is relatively easy when someone writes a post looking for new detailing products. We also make posts about our monthly specials, daily specials and all other promotions we run. If you are having trouble getting some sales try posting some informational threads about the areas you know best. We did some posts like “Prepping your vehicle for winter”, “Engine Detailing”, etc. which help share our expertise while promoting some of the products we use.
Give the forum time to develop and don’t expect an immediate return. I recommend a bare minimum of 3 – 6 months to assess the forum. It may take some time to build the trust of the community, but once you have their trust you’ll have a very powerful marketing tool. Even if it seems like a long shot I encourage you to seek out some forums and allocate a portion of your marketing budget to them. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results and you may just find your best marketing tool.