Google Adwords and Facebook Ads are the most popular websites for advertising. Their tremendous user base makes it possible to reach thousands of individuals on a daily basis. But it is because of their size that makes targeting specific, niche, demographics difficult. Internet forums are localized internet communities that form around common interests. The people who frequent forums are there because they are interested in specific conversations and topics.
Finding the forum that relates to your business can be a honey hole of potential clients. That being said, because of the smaller and more insular nature of internet discussions, advertising takes more finesse than larger social media sites.
Be Yourself When Advertising on Internet Forums
When using forums to reach potential customers, it is extremely important to always be yourself. Because these sites consist of a relatively tight-knit community, people will easily pick apart your true motives if you are not upfront about them. It’s ok to be a newbie but never be
- Introduce Yourself as a Business Owner. When you join a forum and ultimately become part of the conversation, be honest about your business and ultimate intentions. A good way to do this is to use your business as your username and add a permanent link to your signature, routing to your website.
- Lurk before posting. Be a lurker before engaging with any forum. Make sure to understand the
dynamicof conversations and popular topics. Doing your research will make any contributions more natural and people will be inclined to trust you more. It is also a good idea to understand your demographic. Nowhere else will you be able to find such open conversations about the industry that you are trying to profit from. Forums are a great place to discover new ideas for marketing campaigns.
Buying Advertising on Forums
Just like Facebook and Google, most forums have advertising features. Larger websites, like Reddit, will make it easy to buy ads and target the forums you are interested in. The most beautiful aspect of advertising on forums is that you know your ads are targeting your demographic. The audience is smaller but every click is a potential customer.
As for the smaller and less robust forums, advertising may not be as cut and dry. Messaging the admin of the site or site manager is your best bet to opening a dialogue. If you can’t find the contact info for a person, there is usually an info@email address that can be found at the bottom of the homepage. Running a Ctrl+F search for “contact info” will usually dig up the data you need.
When reaching out to the network administrator, be upfront and honest about your business and what kind of advertisements you are looking to run. Ads like yours are how the majority of forums stay up and running.
Writing Your Forum Ad
Writing an advertisement that will display, most likely as a banner ad, on a chat forum is a different process than Google or Facebook. The biggest difference is the lack of keyword importance. Your ad is going to be displayed, regardless of what the forum users type or search for. Instead of detailing keywords, focus on attention-grabbing headlines and images that will make the average reader click on your ad.
Giveaway free stuff or offer promotional discounts. The forum you are marketing towards will want to feel special and unique in some kind of way. People online have very large egos, especially if they view themselves as experts and spend their time on internet forums reinforcing their beliefs. By offering something for free, only to that specific forum, your brand is more likely to receive positive reviews.
If giving away a product for free doesn’t sound appealing, try giving away a promotional code instead. Have a user “sign up” by giving you their Email and in return, distribute a code for a discount on the products you carry. People love the personal treatment and if they like your business, a forum can offer potentially free advertising and sales.
Forums Are a Way to Communicate With Your Base
Think of advertising on forums like attending industry conferences. The crowd will be small but interest has the potential to be extremely high. By tailoring custom ads for specific communities, there is plenty of room for growing your clientele base.