One of the big benefits of the internet is the opportunity to connect people with common interests who would otherwise never have had the chance to meet. And one of the best ways to maximize that opportunity is by participating in online groups and forums. If you are not plugged into online forums, you are missing out on prime marketing and relationship building opportunities.
What makes online forums and groups great for employedpreneurs? The chance to connect with and get in front of prospective clients 24/7. Your posts can be online when you can’t be. And depending on your technology, such as a smart phone, ipad, or other tablet, you can check in during lunch, breaks, of down time (if your situation allows).
There are online forums and groups dedicated to just about every topic imaginable. For you, the main benefit of finding an online forum or group related to your subject or niche is a pre-assembled bunch of folks you know will be interested in what you have to offer. The secondary benefit: research! You have an instant audience to test your offers, audience, and even copy for sales pages.
A big “don’t” with online forums and groups, the worst thing you can do is join and immediately post a message asking people to buy your product. For internet group members, this is like having a salesperson show up uninvited at the front door of their house. At best your message will be ignored; at worst, you may find yourself banned from the group before you get started.
When you find online forums and groups relating to your topic, sign up and spend some time looking around, posting introductory messages and reading what the other members have to say. Reply to some posts and get to know some of them first. Then when you’re ready to start talking about your product, you’ll have a more receptive audience. During this time, do your research: notice what the group likes and dislikes, the things that interest them enough to spark long discussions. Pay attention to the general demographics of the group as well. What is an “average member” like? This will help you hone in further on your target market and potential clients.
Quick Tips: 5 Things to Share in an Online Forum or Group (other than your offers)
- Your social media profiles as part of your signature
- Links to helpful and relevant articles (from your site and other top sites in your niche)
- A referral for someone you’ve done business with or who has helped you in your business
- Ask for feedback on an idea, product or service
- Ask “how do you” questions related to the group/forum topic (these will help you see gaps or opportunities based on the responses)
You are probably already using groups or forums through LinkedIn, Facebook, or NING. Here are some other places to get started:
Note: You will need to search very carefully through the directory listings and weed out links that are outdated.
WARNING: There is a HUGE forum out there called Warrior Forum specifically for internet marketers. You can find lots of offers and even make offers to sell your own ebooks, products, and services. You may even find joint venture partners to help with a launch for an upcoming project. But be careful – while there are many credible internet marketers willing to help and share – there are also a number of scammers. You can check out Warrior Forum Sucks for more details. Always check out anyone before you enter into anykind of partnership or exchange.
Your turn: What online forums and groups do you participate and find value in?
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