You may not have considered how you could drive traffic with forums, but they are a great place where your target market and potential customers hang out. They ask questions, pose problems, answer questions, give advice to others and lurk (just read but are not yet contributing).
Forums are an ideal place to discover what your market is thinking and what issues they are looking for answers to. There will be some common threads of issues that people are asking about again and again and again.
On the flip side, there are knowledgeable people answering questions and can provide you with solutions to problems you are currently dealing with for clients, or to give you ideas to add to your current level of knowledge.
There are a number of ways to participate in these forums to create excellent back links and traffic back to your website. Here are 9 ways to drive traffic with forums:
1. Ask A Question
Post a new thread on a forum asking a question or seeking advice. This could be something like “I have am looking for a solution to … I have tried …. Does anyone have any other suggestions or experience to help with …”.
You could also pose a question asked of you by a client or customer and are seeking the collective wisdom of the forum.
Thank people for their suggestions and engage them in further conversation if you can. Then post additional comments about what you tried, what worked, other places where you found additional helpful information, and what you finally did to solve the problem. Here you could provide a link back to drive traffic with forums to your website where you have written an article on the ultimate solution to the issue.
2. Answer Questions
Provide answers to questions you are knowledgeable about.
Ensure the information is valuable and specific, providing links to other places that support the information you are providing or sites that give more in-depth solutions.
Do this in such a way that you are develop your reputation as someone who is willing to help, and become known as someone who provides excellent answers and resources. This will pay dividends in the future when some of the links or resources you will provide are to your own websites. As you get known in the forum some members will seek you out as an expert they want to deal with or do business with.
Ensure you fill out your profile fully because you want to make it easy to drive traffic with forums to your website. Often you are given the option of writing a bio, uploading a photo (make sure this is a headshot of you, not a avatar, picture of your cat, dog, goat or kids. People like to ‘know’ who they are chatting to and a photo lets people know you are a real and likeable person. Some people may not like you by your photo and that is OK. You only want to work with people who like and trust you).
Often you can provide your social media links, but at the very least it is a link to your website (which you can put in your FaceBook or Google+ profile link. There is a good reason for doing this which you will see below).
3. Provide Valuable Information Helps To Drive Traffic With Forums
I have often ‘Googled’ for an answer to a question or issue I needed a solution for. Once I had the solution and was able to implement it, I would write a blog post on my website with the issue and solution (initially, I did this for my benefit so i had a ready resource to refer back to when I needed the information again.
Often, when researching the issue I would come across forums where other people had the exact same problem. I kept note of these, then returned an posted a comment with a link back to my blog post providing the solution. It is best if you can provide a step-by-step process that people can follow themselves. I got clicks back to my website and visitors began subscribing.
When I started I did not have a free offer or Lead magnet, but simply a ‘Subscribe‘ box. Now I have ebooks and free report to give when people subscribe and my optins have increased further. If the eBook you have on the page is related to the problem people have come to your site for, your option rate will often increase further.
4. Agree And Expand Upon A Comment
Provide further information or expand upon comments is another great way to drive traffic with forums directing new visitors to your website.
Again search for other information and websites that provide a different perspective or more help on the topic. It is best to provide a solution that you have used and explain what difference it made to you of for someone else you have helped with it.
Visit the websites of other commenters who have provided answers and add a comment an an idea on their website that you think is of benefit, and add additional suggestions that support their point of view. This will stroke the ‘ego’ of the commenter and some of them will visit your website and subscribe to your list.
Remember, they will also have visitors that could be your potential prospects as well. This may well lead to you asking them to write a guest post on your website or vice versa. If they write a Guest post for you, they will naturally put a link on their website to this post for their subscribers to follow.
And if you provide a guest post for their site you will can have a link back to your site. Often guest posts have an author box beneath the post where you provide a short bio, photo and link back to your website.
5. Be The First To Comment So Yours Is At The Top
Find new posts in forums that have yet to receive a comment.
Be the first to comment, providing valuable information. Comments often the threaded so the first comment is at the top and subsequent comments are added beneath. When people visit this page, yours is the first comment they see.
If you have provided ‘the answer’ they are seeking, they may click through to your site rather than scrolling further down the page. If others respond or provide additional information add additional comments and keep in the discussion.
Remember to be polite and acknowledge people’s contributions, even if they are wrong. Don’t get into a slanging match or discredit people as this never make you look good. You want to drive traffic with forums, not alienate or deter potential visitors.
6. Participating Regularly So People Get To Know You Drive Traffic With Forums
This will give you credibility and position you as an expert in your field. Other forum members will be drawn to you and will click through to your website to find more out about you as they seek additional information from a perceived expert – You! For the 10 – 15 minutes a time it takes you to keep active on the forums, the return is well worth it to drive traffic from forums.
7. Link back To Google+ Profile Or FaceBook Rather Than Your Website
You will have your website links in the ‘About’ sections of your Google+ and FaceBook profiles. With Google’s search algorithm placing a lot more weight on ‘Social Signals’ you will have the double whammy of click back from the forums through the Social Media sites to your webpages, which will have the result of improving your Search Engine Rankings. Instead of clicks coming directly to your page, they will come from your Social Profile, which is great for boosting your Social Signals.
8. Write An eBook From The Most Popular Forum Topics Or Questions And Answers
Use this eBook as the giveaway on a landing page or your website.
The bullets in your landing page are the solutions in the eBook (directly from the answers provided in the forum) – you know that people are looking for these answers because lots of questions have been asked in the forums on that topic
Go back to the forum and let people know that there is a resource (Free eBook) that provides more detailed information on that very topic. Note: don’t come across salesy or needy . Frame your comment in such a way that you also have had the very same questions or had clients asking you, so you did some research and found the definitive answers to the topic in this eBook. This is another great strategy to drive traffic with forums because people reading who are interested to find out more, and by virtue are good qualified potential visitors will click on your link back to your website.
You can also expand upon the answers to the questions in the forum and let them know that there is more detailed or step-by-step information in the eBook. People who are interested (and by definition, are more targeted potential customers) will click through your link or profile link to get more information. They will enter their email address to get a copy of the eBook you provide and become another member of your list.
How To Find Traffic Generating Forums
The simplest way to locate forums is to search your keyword, target market, area of interest and add the word “forum” the the end of it. For example, to promote this article searched:
- driving traffic forum
- seo forum
- internet marketing forum
- online marketing forum
- web marketing forum
This returned plenty of options to work with as a starting point to drive traffic with forums.
There is a double benefit for your traffic when searching for forums to comments in. Choosing a forum on page one of Google means you are on page one of Google immediately by ‘piggy-backing’ on the forums listing. Anyone else searching the same search phrase is going to see the same results. If they click through to the forums, there is a higher likelihood of the visitors seeing your comment and clicking through to your website. This is quicker and easier than optimising your own web page (which of course you would do anyway, right?).
This article covering the 9 Ways To Drive Traffic With Forums is just one of the 103 Strategies listed in the Traffic And Optimization Checklist. Subscribe to receive more articles like this to your email box as they are posted.