Message boards and forums are a great way to ... your site, service or product for free. However, there are a few things you should remember when ... an ... site. I know this
Message boards and forums are a great way to advertise your site, service or product for free. However, there are a few things you should remember when posting.
Choose an appropriate site. I know this really goes without saying but there are still some that are so enthusiastic about getting their message to the masses, they post on inappropriate sites. For example, it would be highly unlikely that you'll find many interested individuals to purchase your yoga wear on a motorcycle website. Instead you may want to try exercise sites, women's sites, parenting sites (mothers do want to get back into shape after having a child), health and wellness sites....I think you're getting the idea. Think of who will be using your product, service or website and go where they are.
Choose the proper board. Always read the instructions and make sure you're posting only where it's permitted. A lot of boards state "no advertising" in their general forum and you must respect their rules. However, most boards have a place to post your ads. Also, if you are marketing a website, look for boards that will critique it for you. That's an excellent way to drive traffic to your site.
Create a profile. Viewers are less likely to take you seriously is you didn't take the time to complete a proper profile. List your likes and dislikes, where you're from and any other personal information you're willing to share. Remember, people want to deal with people - not with "salespeople". You are no different than they are, so show them that. I'm far more likely to follow someone's link if I can personally relate to them.
Use a signature with a URL link and a tag line. If you use a signature, you can post anywhere and you're advertising without even doing it (if you know what I mean). For example, I love gardening and I know there may be some gardeners that would be interested in IFHB but it's really not the place to advertise my site. In that case, I post away about all the details of gardening that I love, offering advice along the way with my standard signature line attached:
Do not spam the board members! While the 7 exposures rule is true (generally, a person must be exposed to something seven times before they will purchase it), it does not mean you should post seven times in a row. Spamming is crass, irritating, rude and illegal. It shows a level of immaturity and I, for one, would never waste my time following up with a spammer. Look at this scenario and tell me which child you would choose to pay to mow your lawn (a) a polite child who rings your doorbell, introduces himself, tells you he's available to mow your lawn and leaves you with his name and phone number or (b) a child riding his bicycle up and down in front of your house, screaming "I'll cut your lawn for five bucks". First impressions do matter.
Relate - don't sell. Avoid the hype at all costs! Be yourself. Let's say you're marketing a software program that will save time and money for accountants.
You could use hype:
Announcing the one and only software program you will ever need. This will not only revolutionize your business, it will give you the time to enjoy life like you can't imagine! Buy it now before they're all gone. Don't be the only guy on the block doing things the prehistoric way. Come into the 21st century and get Accounting For Accountants while you still can!
or you could post in a manner that others will relate to:
As an accountant there never seemed to be enough time in the day to attend to all the tasks that demanded my attention. Not only that, the programs I needed were very expensive and required hefty annual renewals. Well, I've developed a program that performs the tasks that once required three programs to do. It's easy to use and doesn't require annual renewals. Best of all, it saves me time and we all know - time is money. Visit "Accounting4Accountants.com" for more information.
Watch your language. Don't be offensive. Avoid words like; hell, damn, stupid, idiot, fat... People take offence to those and many other words and by all means, don't swear. Be respectful and diplomatic in all your postings.
Use the search engines. Search for your topic plus the words "message board". If you've developed the next best adjustable wrench since Vice Grip came on the market, you may want to search for tools+message+board, mechanic+message+board, car+message+board... Think of who would use such a tool. Put yourself in your customer's mind and use the same terminology the would use. One other thing when searching, don't forget that people often misspell when they're searching. When people are looking for an adjustable wrench, more than a handful would search for "adjustible".
Have fun and relax. Posting on a lot of boards is time consuming and sometimes a little boring. Take your time with it. A good post will bring you the customers, clients and visitors you're looking for at a cost we all love - FREE!
The author, Dawn Roberts, is the creator of www.Ideas-For-Home-Businesses.com - your complete home business resource. IFHB will help you from the planning stage, straight through to marketing your ideas for home businesses! Learn how you can start, maintain and propel a phenomenally successful home based business!