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Promoting Your Forum
EagleNick
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 517

Florida
by EagleNick EagleNick is offline 05 Apr 2009

Sometimes people look too hard to find the latest-and-greatest ideas on ways to promote their forums or websites.
Some of the most effective ways to promote sites are right under our nose, yet we continue to look beyond them.

To start, let's outline the main goals to keep in mind when promoting a website (in order of occurrence):
  1. Capture somebody's attention
  2. Present what you have to offer
  3. Get them to remember your site
  4. Get them to visit your site
All of this can be accomplished when advertising your forum, whether it is by word of mouth, on paper, or on the computer screen.


I myself have engaged in the following promotional techniques, and while some are more effective than others, they have all benefited me in some way. Some may work for you and some may not.
Throughout the article I will be referencing a no-longer-existent pet forum that I used to operate.

One of the most effective ways to promote is by word of mouth in person. I printed myself a ton of fliers that have my site URL at the top (in a fancy, WordArt kind-of-way) with a short paragraph and a list of key points as to why readers should visit the forum. I always carry the fliers around and give one to everybody I see that is walking their dog outside, shopping in a pet store, etc. I often go to Pet Expos where I have a wide audience there. The fliers work well and people always give the positive response: “Oh wow! I will be sure to check it out!

An easy and free way to promote is to stand out on the internet, thus attracting attention, and present your forum. For example, you could visit other forums related to your niche and participate in many discussions. Demonstrate extensive knowledge and interest throughout your posts and if you have a link to you forum in your signature, people will surely be interested in checking it out. I like to do this on ‘Yahoo! Answers’. I always head straight towards the pet section, answer as many questions as possible and include a link to my forum in the "sources" box. Don’t answer questions just to show your link; be sure you are actually answering the question in full and have presented unique and helpful content.

A slightly costly idea is sell and use various promotional products. Create a CafePress online store and imprint your logo on the items. Buy some of the items (like t-shirts, tote bags, etc.) to give to your family and friends as gifts. Now you've got walking advertisements! Be sure to give them a few fliers to keep with them too in case somebody asks about the site!

Another wonderful idea is to write articles related to your topic and submit them to Ezine and other article repositories. If you've written an interesting and inviting article, people will be interested in knowing more about you. I've seen some people even simply write luring articles that merely explain what knowledge and information you can gain by visiting your website.

A final very effective way to promote is to visit large stores related to your topic. For me, these would be PetSmart, Petco, etc. Bring a couple hundred of your fliers and ask if the management will permit you to place a stack of them on each check-out counter. As you can guess, people will see these fliers as they check out and possibly take one home.

There are, of course, other alternatives including CPC advertising. But when you first start a site, you aren't interested in shelling out a lot of money. The above recommendations are very low-cost and have a respectable effect.

By Nick Rodriguez

About the Author: Nick is an avid forum-goer and participates in and helps operate many online communities. He currently manages and operates a forum/blog for community administrators, AdminAddict.

Last edited by Princeton; 06 Jun 2009 at 16:18..
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  #2  
Old 08 Apr 2009, 09:43
cs347 cs347 is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Really nice tutorial.

I've learnt much from it. Thanks for sharing.
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  #3  
Old 09 Apr 2009, 20:50
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Sweeks Sweeks is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Great article. I like the idea of the fliers on check outs mainly. Thank you.
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FETISH SHEMALE

Last edited by Sweeks; 06 Apr 2011 at 13:56.
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  #4  
Old 09 Apr 2009, 20:53
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Brandon Sheley Brandon Sheley is offline
 
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Real name: Brandon
Great Article Nick
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Email me for website help: brandon[at]sheley[dot]org
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  #5  
Old 22 Apr 2009, 14:08
Dalma Dalma is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
I have had a large number of people come to visit my website but so far only a dozen or so registrations. I have hit several dozen blogs and other forums where I have left comments with links back to my site but thus far Google lists me on about the 11th page. It's difficult to intiate a new forum so any other tips on promoting it would be appreciated.
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  #6  
Old 23 Apr 2009, 12:44
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skylab skylab is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Real name: Mike
Another HUGE HUGE way to promote your forum is Social Networking. Twitter, Facebook, etc..
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  #7  
Old 28 Apr 2009, 23:58
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EagleNick EagleNick is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Real name: Nick
Originally Posted by skylab View Post
Another HUGE HUGE way to promote your forum is Social Networking. Twitter, Facebook, etc..
Naturally, that would be an entire article itself. But yes, you are correct.

Thank you to everybody for the wonderful comments. They are much appreciated.
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Regards,
Nick

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  #8  
Old 07 Jun 2009, 05:56
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forum4 forum4 is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
For real, these are the best tips that this site has to offer?

First, I'd like to see people going to those stores passing out fliers and wonder how long it takes till they are asked to leave.

Second, most forums dont' allow members to post links to other forums in their forums.

These tips seem outdated and more like the real good tips are being hidden, hence no mention of networking sites whatsoever until someone else posted them.

I think the Yahoo Answers was the only tip I could even use.

I guess I am just disappointed that this is the best resource given the fact that many forum owners here have forums with thousands of members. Don't tell me you got all of those members by passing out fliers.

Seriously, give us the scoop. Let us in on some of those really good leads.
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  #9  
Old 19 Jun 2009, 16:26
mrklewis mrklewis is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Originally Posted by EagleNick View Post
  1. Present what you have to offer
A great deal of a forum's success lies here. Of course, presentation is important, but content and context are where a forum truly finds its staying power. One of the most compelling reasons to post and visit forums is they can be home to a friendly, helpful, and active community, usually centered around a common theme or interest. Being aware of this and adjusting the subject and scope of your forum can help with membership.
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