How to build website traffic through forum marketing

Forum marketing may be the most underutilized website traffic generation strategy. Industry forums are brimming with potential leads and customers. However, to build build traffic to your website and have success, you have to do more than simply creating a signature and leaving generic posts.

Strategies & Techniques for Forum Marketing

1. Find Active Forums in Your Niche

The first step is to find active forums in your niche. This is the best search string you can probably use. You want to go to Google and use your keyword in quotes plus forum. As an example, “website design” + “forum”.

Depending on your specific niche, this search string may or may not work really well. If it doesn’t work and you don’t get a ton of forum results, you can use another search string on Google – your keyword plus Powered by vBulletin. vBulletin is forum software that is used for creating and managing forums.

If that doesn’t get you the forum results you’re looking for, you can also try this search string on Google – your keyword plus “hot thread with new post”.

These are three really reliable search strings and you can usually find plenty of forums in your niche, but if these aren’t yielding enough results or you just want more, there’s yet another trick to find more forums. What you want to do is use a niche specific keyword.

Once you’ve found a forum, you want to see if it’s even worth your time. The first thing you want to do is look at the latest post info and look at when the last post was posted. Basically, what you’re doing is seeing how often people are posting on this site and how active it is, because there is no way to see how many active users there are, so this is a proxy way to do that. Under posted you want to look at the date and in that case that is yesterday, so that’s pretty recent. This is also from yesterday, which is pretty recent. As long as you see that, it’s probably worth making an account.

2. Register For A Particular Forum

Your next step is to register. Find wherever it says register, click that button. Then, you want to fill out the user name or screen name. You want to make it your brand name or your personal name. You want to use something very memorable and branded. Ideally, you would put your brand name or your site name as your username. That’s important because people are going to be seeing that and associating your content on the forum with your brand. If this is something that’s not your brand, it’s going to be harder for them to associate the content with the name of your business or the name of your website.

Once you have an account and it’s all set up, your next step is to create a signature. A forum signature is important because that’s actually how you’re going to drive traffic to your site. In your signature, you just want to create some call to action, a benefit driven call to action.

You don’t want to make the mistake that a lot of people make with forum marketing, which is to try to get some SEO value from this link and they put exact match anchor text. That is not smart because really Google doesn’t consider these links particularly valuable and that over-optimized anchor text can hurt you down the road. Just make sure to use some sort of call to action in your anchor text that isn’t just your keyword because this is actually how you’re going to drive traffic to your site from the forum.

3. Participating In The Forum

Once you have your account set up and your signature ready to go, your next step is to actually participate in the forum. To do that, you want to visit the main area of the forum and see where most people hang out.

The next thing you’ll want to do is click on one of the areas that either has a lot of people viewing or is an area of expertise or both and click on it. You want to click at the thread titles and see where you can add value.  That’s really important because a lot of people, when they do forum marketing, they make the mistake of just responding to as many as possible. In my experience, it’s definitely quality over quantity. If you can maybe add one to two quality posts to a thread per day, you can get quite a bit of traffic from that.

You definitely want to be early on and that’s why when you look at the forum section, you want to stick to the top as much as possible and not scroll down too much because then when you participate you’re going to be towards the bottom of the thread and not as many people are going to see you. You should include the keyword in the forum post and also in the title.

4. Creating Your Own Thread

If you want to get the most traffic possible from forum marketing, you have to create your own thread. Participating in threads is great, but you also want to create your own threads. You can actually just copy and paste content from your site. It doesn’t have to be original for a forum. Make sure it’s indexed on your site and once Google indexes it, you can head over to your forum of choice and then give them, maybe, a different version that’s a little shorter or more brief or maybe add something to it that’s exclusive for the forum, so it’s not really just copying and pasting.

That’s really all there is to building website traffic through forum marketing. You want to create an account that has your brand name as the user name. You want to participate as often as possible, but make sure you’re providing value every single time you participate in a thread. Then, when you publish something great on your site, wait for it to get indexed and then head to the form and then paste it there and maybe make some modifications and that’s going to get you some really, really great traffic.

Get Free Publicity for Your Website Using HARO

Wouldn’t it be spectacular to get free publicity for your website with a link and a quote on a major news publication like the Washington Post or Huffington Post? It’s actually easier than you might think and it involves using a website called “HARO” or “Help A Reporter Out” – www.helpareporter.com. HARO is a service that connects journalists in need of sources and marketers hungry for publicity.

Get Free Publicity for Your Website

HARO is a great way for small businesses to get free publicity. All you need to do is sign up and choose between the free or paid plans. The free plan subscribes you to 3 emails a day that you have to comb through and respond to. The paid plans allow you to go on the HARO website and search and filter to the specific category that you might respond to with a pitch. The paid plan also gives you a profile on the HARO site.

Whenever there is something that is relevant to your business in HARO, you can respond with a pitch. Many small businesses have been featured in local newspapers, on blogs, and in several online news magazines. If you’re lucky, you can build up a relationship with a specific journalist. 

25 Useful Tools For Competitive Research

Let’s face it. You can learn a ton from your competitors. Whether you’re a restaurant and want to know about changing food trends or an interior designer trying to tap into a new geographic market, there are tons of different factors to consider and a broad variety of marketing tools. Many tools that help you monitor your own web performance can also help you gather data on competition. So it’s possible that you’re already using some of these tools without using the features that help you evaluate your competitors.

Top 25 Most Useful Tools For Competitive Market Research

To view the complete list, visit the Kissmetric blog.