The Maverick Entrepreneur™ Series
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Interact With Your Followers through A Discussion Forum
by Bob “MAVERICK” Stanford Senior Business Consultant
Today many successful online marketers regularly engage with their potential clients and followers through their website discussion form. Yes, it does take time to build up enough followers to support a forum, but the effort on your part can be that WOW factor you seek to make your online business a success.
Sites like Facebook permit you to set up your own discussion groups on their platform. The upside to this it is free. The downside is you must abide by their rules, causing you to lose considerable control over your group, and FB benefits by placing their ads all over your pages. In essence, you do the work, and they get most of the traffic benefits. There is a better way.
Let’s review the major benefits of producing a forum
• Huge Membership – Some successful forums have over 250,000 members. What could you do with just 5,000? A LOT! You see most websites promoting something free in order to capture their visitor’s email. This is a necessity these days. The most important asset an online business can own is their current opt-in mailing list. Why not promote your forum too, in order to build your list?
• Best Software – The right forum software permits you to place your own ads in the right column, making you the beneficiary of all that traffic, resulting in all sales income being filtered into your bank account, NOT Facebook or some other so-called free software, or cloud platform.
• Automatic Fresh Content – Let your visitors, and followers supply much of your content for you for free through forum posts, and replies. One of our main objectives as online marketers is to attract Google and other search engines. The better your placement on their pages, the more traffic you’ll generate, and the larger your mailing list will build.
Search engines want quality content and will index your site on their platform if you successfully attract them with good content. A strong visitor supported forum is considered content by the search engines, and they can help you build your forum faster as your ranking with them increase over your competitor. Use follow up emails with everyone that makes a purchase from you or completes your free offer forms.
• Build your Membership – New customers can become quite motivated, both about your product offerings, and your interaction with them in your forum. Their excitement is contagious to other forum members and makes for more interesting discussions required to build a larger group.
• Monetization – Simply put, Monetization means to monetize your forum (and website) posturing it to MAKE MONEY. To monetize your site is to offer products and se4rvices for sale. For example, build a private forum and Member’s Area, and you can charge a monthly fee (your service) providing ongoing residual (month-to-month repeat) income.
• Client Retention – Get your visitors to join and participate in your forum, and you’ve given them a reason to return to your site regularly. That’s your goal.
• Research Tool – As you meet and get to know your forum members, you can use this valuable input to adjust your marketing efforts to their specific needs, This Market Research is the insight into your clients mind, wants, and needs, This information is what you need to make sales, and keep your members returning on a regular basis.
• Build a Community – Your forum is a great way to build a supporting community, eager to interact and help others to succeed. This camaraderie is the glue that holds your group and business together. A forum opens up the doors of communication between you and your members. This interaction promotes ongoing interest, builds your authority as an expert, give the members the input that draws them to you, and in many cases, results in sales filling your bank account. The next article in this “Forum Series” will cover software options.
• Maintaining Strong Client Relations – A great benefit of a forum is its informality. Have you published a book or two? People love the opportunity to meet and especially interact with famous people. Just the Ok, you may not be a Kardashian, or Paris Hilton (Yet), but any person member’s esteem as someone authoritative, may impress some to spread the word about their access to you. Don’t underestimate the powerful effect of celebrity, even on a small scale. Access to one is a paramount benefit to many members.
Like most things in life, there are the Pros and Cons of things. I prefer to call the Cons Challenges.
• Spam – General spam is the online marketer’s ongoing headache. It is imperative for you to address and control spam in the beginning. This isn’t that difficult, and we’ll cover this issue in a future article.
• Need for Moderation – Many small forums these days are left unattended and operate like the Wild Wild West. Of course, they are a complete waste of time, and primarily attract the undesirables that are forums, enemies. This necessitates the forum have an assigned Moderator to keep the forum on track, and its policies followed.
If you build an adhesive supportive community, your members will help you keep unruly, and undesirables in check. In the beginning, you will likely be the primary Forum Moderate, and over time as membership grows, you may appoint other mature and devoted members as Moderators too. Wise people can see the benefits of becoming a Moderator to advance both your and their agendas. It can be a win, win scenario for you.
• Launching a New Forum – In the beginning, there’s no one to kick-start your forum, to attract visitors. They want stimulating, educational, and interactions with other members. Starting a forum is a lot of work, like building a new online business, and email list.
But it needs to be done so discipline, and fulfilling business goals is the order of the day. We’ll cover attracting new members in an upcoming article in this Forum Series. There are “Tricks of the Trade,” techniques you can apply to start building your new forum.
Comparing the benefits of operating your own forum, to the few challenges you’ll face in building one should emphasize the need and importance for you to get started ASAP, today if possible since it will take time to construct, and grow a successful one.
The next article
Next, we will cover the Best Forum software, followed by articles on the techniques of how to start and grow a new one from scratch. It\s not expensive in money to do, but it will be a time expense you’ll need to pay. But in the end, like any new business venture, success comes as a result of (EDAT (Education, Dedication, Application, and Tenacity, the ability to stick it out to the end).
If you are interested in additional information as outlined in this article, need assistance in applying this information, or just want more resources, contact us for FREE (no obligation) and we will do our best to accommodate you.