Forum Marketing Case Study – Can Forums bring Referral Traffic? Organic vs Inorganic

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.

Service Marketed:

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)

NamePros

 

 

With a Pagerank 5 and Alexa 4,500 NamePros is a well respected community of people that buy and sell domains

IMTalk

 

 

ImTalk has a Pagerank 3 and Alexa 6,800 covering various online marketing topics

BusinessAdviceForum

BusinessAdviceForum has a Pagerank 5 and Alexa of 27,000 covering business related issues

v7n

 

 

V7N has a Pagerank 5 and Alexa 4,000 with a range of topics related to online marketing

TalkGold

 

 

 

TalkGold has a Pagerank 4 and Alexa 4,800 covering ways to make money online

Code4Gold

 

 

Code4Gold has a Pagerank 2 and Alexa 178,000 discussing webmaster topics

WebCosmo

 

 

Webcosmoforum has a Pagerank 4 and Alexa 10,000 featuring webmaster discussions

MoneyMakerDiscussion

 

 

MoneyMakerDiscussion has a Pagerank 3 and Alexa 25,000 discussing ways to make money online

WebHelpForums

 

 

WebHelpsForums has a Pagerank 4 and Alexa 163,000 discussing webmaster issues

MoneyFanClub

 

 

 

MoneyFanClub has a Pagerank 3 and Alexa 46,000 covering make money online topics

BlackHatRealm

 

 

 

BlackHatRealm has a Pagerank 0 and Alexa 143,000 covering online marketing

WebmasterMalaysia

 

 

 

WebmasterMalaysia has a Pagerank 2 and Alexa 230,000 discussing webmaster topics tailored to Malaysia

TheIMForum

 

TheIMForum has a Pagerank 2 and Alexa 108,000 discussing internet marketing

SEO Mastering

 

 

SEOMastering has a Pagerank of 4 and Alexa 2,800 focusing on SEO and online marketing

MoneyMakerGroup

 

 

 

MoneyMakerGroup has a Pagerank of 4 and Alexa 2,500 discussing ways to make money

FreshMarketingForum

 

 

FreshMarketingForum has a Pagerank of 3 and Alexa 35,000

DreamTeamMoney

 

 

 

 

DreamTeamMoney has a Pagerank 3 and Alexa 6,000 featuring general webmaster discussions

helpingwebmasters

 

HelpingWebmasters has a Pagerank 3 and Alexa 90,000 webmaster topics

Not Accepted:

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

Forum advertising paid posts referrals

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 advertisement

 

 

. 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

daniweb advertising

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

Forum Signature and random links for trafficOrganic 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

Conclusion:

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).

TLDR version:

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!

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Dan and Matt Anton

Dan and Matt Anton are the creators of BacklinksVault, a community for online marketers to blog, learn, contribute and use the best tools and services available.

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