We all know Google use to be the only dance in town, and for most part it still is, but what if you could reach your target market without going through the major search engines or social media websites? This of course leaves us with forums; yes, those antiquated discussion areas people used before social media.
People have varied interests: pets, video games, fetish categories, and unicorns. Throw in health issues you don’t want everyone to know about in your immediate circle and you are left with anonymous forums of like-minded individuals. So how can we leverage this resource? For me, it’s posting to forums in the niches of business, webmasters / coding, marketing, entrepreneurs and a few others. Since we were promoting an offer that speaks directly to online marketers, business men, coders, entreprenuers, we used certain forums that cater to this audience (seen below). Of course, this will be different if you are in the clothing niche, gardening, video game, etc.
Social Network Signals – service that provides organic social media marketing to businesses. Target market: seo / social / marketing agencies (as resellers); direct customers.
The Forums: (Each below Image Links to their respective threads)
With a Pagerank 5 and Alexa 4,500 NamePros is a well respected community of people that buy and sell domains
ImTalk has a Pagerank 3 and Alexa 6,800 covering various online marketing topics
BusinessAdviceForum has a Pagerank 5 and Alexa of 27,000 covering business related issues
V7N has a Pagerank 5 and Alexa 4,000 with a range of topics related to online marketing
TalkGold has a Pagerank 4 and Alexa 4,800 covering ways to make money online
Code4Gold has a Pagerank 2 and Alexa 178,000 discussing webmaster topics
Webcosmoforum has a Pagerank 4 and Alexa 10,000 featuring webmaster discussions
MoneyMakerDiscussion has a Pagerank 3 and Alexa 25,000 discussing ways to make money online
WebHelpsForums has a Pagerank 4 and Alexa 163,000 discussing webmaster issues
MoneyFanClub has a Pagerank 3 and Alexa 46,000 covering make money online topics
BlackHatRealm has a Pagerank 0 and Alexa 143,000 covering online marketing
WebmasterMalaysia has a Pagerank 2 and Alexa 230,000 discussing webmaster topics tailored to Malaysia
TheIMForum has a Pagerank 2 and Alexa 108,000 discussing internet marketing
SEOMastering has a Pagerank of 4 and Alexa 2,800 focusing on SEO and online marketing
MoneyMakerGroup has a Pagerank of 4 and Alexa 2,500 discussing ways to make money
FreshMarketingForum has a Pagerank of 3 and Alexa 35,000
DreamTeamMoney has a Pagerank 3 and Alexa 6,000 featuring general webmaster discussions
HelpingWebmasters has a Pagerank 3 and Alexa 90,000 webmaster topics
WarriorForum (if it was a guide on making $$ it would have been accept :), smallbusinessbrief, htmlforums, talkfreelance, geekpoint, webmastertalkforums, affiliatebot, seoforums, es5
TrafficPlanet – used but cancelled since $29.95 per month subscription to keep thread active and ROI wasn’t there
ukbusinessforums.co.uk – used but threads auto delete after 2 weeks, and $40 subscription – ouch
The Results: (Inorganic / Paid threads)
Hand-full of live threads. Not all forums have a Marketplace / Advertising section whether free or paid, which is why not all forums are represented. Did I miss any? Please let me know in comments section.
Total Pagerank Piggybacked: 50+
Referral Traffic: 17 visitors
SEO Rankings: now on page 2 for Social Network Signals
The X-Factor (DaniWeb Advertising):
$500 each month for a text advertisement. We were shown in the web design category
. Daniweb might be the worst $500 ever spent (only did it for the case study – epic fail?). $500, 17 clicks: $29 per click! No wonder Google hit them in one of the updates; it’s a ghost town of nonsense
But what about Organic Forum Marketing? Non paid posts. Like most things online, organic looks to happen naturally and yield much better results:
Results: (Organic / Non paid) traffic for a 4 month time span to BacklinksIndexer.com; mentioned naturally due to excellence and brand recognition
Organic is the clear winner. Inorganic forum marketing is an uphill battle – one that usually requires funds to create threads and/or a serious committment to make the minimum post count on forums. Since Time is money, the only marketing worth doing on a forum is organic. If you enjoy posting and having occassional traffic from your signature link, then it works out well for you, but this should be something others in the community talk about, not you forcing the issue. So how do you get people to talk/link back to your websites?
1) Become a brand, recognized name in the industry
2) Offer freebies if other members of the community will do a review writeup on the forum
3) Post until your hands bleed and hope your one man army signature yields results
If you don’t love talking about the topics in which you service, then registering and making around 25 posts (the usual minimum is going to be extremely boring and time consuming for you). While the Internet is insanely large, each niche is suprisingly small when you start to register to all the forums in that niche. Forum marketing is an old tactic, but certainly not outdated. It’s effective in gaining trust within your community as I signed up with my name – Matthew Anton as the username, vs SEOdude432. The benefits of the Pagerank and Search Engine Rankings is strong, and the referral traffic is a bonus, even though it was intended as the main focus when we began the study.
Forums should be a place for discussion, opinions, reviews and occassional promotion of services. Be weary of the gurus lurking on the forums; chances are the only thing they are successful with is selling on forums (weird incestual ecosystem).
Forums are great for quality links, both free and paid threads
Forums can drive targetted traffic, albeit a weak ROI compared to other advertising
Forums should be used primarily to build your brand and expertise within your industry
Some people are only successful selling to others on Forums (avoid them)
Use Forums as a tool to network, grow your brand, and sell your products/services, but don’t become dependent on them
Organic is infinetly more valuable than Inorganic Forum Marketing
Ready to utilize the awesome power of organic Forum marketing? Our exclusive non spammy signature link service engages with the community, creating manual forum posts for high quality one way backlinks – extremely powerful, long term, and time consuming on our end!