Believe it or not, this isn't a guide to the best print shops to have posters done to hang up at the bus stop. I mean a completely different kind of posters...forum
There are many ways to utilize internet forums to further your marketing goals, and many reasons why you should.
The first (and easiest) method is to become a member of a forum that concerns your niché, and then become an active poster there. When doing so, make sure you link to your website or blog in your forum signature. In most cases, this is allowed by a forum's TOS, and your signature can even contain a short slogan or marketing message. (Keep in mind that writing posts promoting your business is a good way to get banned from most forums...keep the promotional efforts in your signature!)
Now that I have you asking why this would be worth the trouble, let's look at the benefits:
- If you become a frequent poster on a forum related to your business or blog, you can increase your standing as an "expert" in your field.
- Every post you make will contain your link, which means that every forum thread you post in is a free ad for you!
- The link in your signature will also count as a backlink in the eyes of Google (in most cases), helping to increase your pagerank.
All good reasons to do this, right? Well, let's look at the potential negatives before you get too excited:
- If you become a frequent poster on a forum related to your business or blog, and write posts that show you don't know what you're talking about, it can harm your standing as an "expert" in your field. (Yes, even on forums, it all comes back to "quality content".)
- Forums can become addictive, sucking up your productive time.
- If you're a brand-new member of a forum, it will take time before you're viewed as anything but an "outsider" on a fairly large percentage of forums...especially if it seems you're there to promote yourself.
Luckily, there are ways to get around all three of these problems if you like...rent forum signatures (although, ironically enough, the best option to purchase forum signatures is often to check out various forums). There are forum signature marketplaces that do just that...broker the sale of links in the signatures of active forum members to business owners that would like to reap the marketing benefits of forums without spending the time posting.
How much will you have to pay for this? Believe it or not, $1USD for every 100 posts your link appears in (or $10USD per 1000 posts) is not an unusual rate. And also keep in mind, the link you provide can be anything that doesn't violate the TOS of the forum in which it will appear.
Link to your home page, your blog, or a specific landing page designed to convert forum traffic into an email opt-in signup, newsletter subscription or membership purchase; one penny per link is an inexpensive enough rate to experiment and try different approaches.
Here's my question to you...have you ever purchased forums signature links for marketing, and if so, what results did you