Using online forums as a means to market products or services has recently been touted as an excellent method of attaining free, organic, viral marketing. Because so many marketers join an online forum with the sole intention of promoting their various products or services, their actions and attitude unwittingly causes the exact opposite of what they intended.
Online forums aren't marketplaces, but when used as such, the actions of the marketer become offensive and will only alienate fellow members and marketers, not to mention the forum's moderators who can ban them from the site at the touch of a button or a click of the mouse.
In order to be an effective weapon in your marketing arsenal, this kind of marketing carries a certain degree of commitment, responsibility and respect.
The first requirement is to take a personal interest in the main topic of the forum. Not only does this mean that you should visit the forum regularly, but you should also develop a good relationship with other members of the forum as well as the forum's moderators. You should also take an active interest in helping others, making sure that you abide by the rules of the forum at all times.
Marketers must also respect that the purpose of a forum is to be a platform to exchange ideas and views on a given topic. It is not there to advertise products and services. By focusing on the topic and posting questions and answers, your reputation as an expert in the field will grow, and this creates the potential for sales to flow naturally.
This type of marketing has already suffered some abuse and, because of this, many forums have recently developed stringent rules designed to protect their members from abusive or overly-aggressive marketing tactics. One forum allows signature files only after a member has created one hundred valid posts, and yet another has disallowed adverts in signature files altogether.
Joining forums in your chosen niche is a worthwhile and valid method of getting visitors, and potential buyers, to your website or blog. To achieve greater success, it is always a good idea to read as much as you can on your chosen subject or niche. Find as much information as you can with regards to posting on forums and you will become a master at it and reap the many benefits that this type of marketing can bring.