Starting and running an online forum isn’t an easy job. If you’re new to the world of forums, it will be an especially difficult beast to tame with so many things that can go wrong. One aspect that you should definitely make sure you get right is the marketing & promotion of your forum. But it isn’t always an easy task especially as it will require continuous attention. A strong start for your forum will not mean you should slow down on your marketing, instead, you should increase your focus on promoting your forum to ensure that the activity does not dwindle. So here are five tips for marketing your forum that you can always take advantage of!
1 Member Promotion. What better to promote your forum than getting your own members to help out. Make sure that you don’t force your users to share links to your forum because that will only push them away. Additionally, make sure that your users are following rules & guidelines for advertising on other websites & forums as not doing so may give your forum a bad image. If allowed, encouraging your users to place a banner or link to your forum in their signature space on other forums can be especially effective.
2 Newsletter. This marketing tip is to ensure that your registered users don’t forget about your forum. Many users register on forums, post a bit and then disappear off into the sunset never to be seen again. One way you can avoid this is to write a weekly or monthly (less annoying for your users) newsletter that details everything that has been happening on the forum recently. Good things to include in a newsletter could be hot topics, debates and recent forum announcements.
It’s important to remember that you avoid sending out a newsletter frequently as it may result in users unsubscribing from your newsletters and that won’t be any help to your marketing efforts.
3 Competitions. Who doesn’t love a good competition? A chance at winning some free stuff? Sign me up. Competitions can be a great marketing tool that allows you to quickly gain a large number of users for your forum. People on the internet love free things and if there is a chance of winning something by joining your forum, then they will certainly do so.
However, it’s important to remember that running a contest won’t be sufficient to increase your forum activity. Running a competition is just step one. Once you have the competition entrants, it is your job to convince them that your forum is a great a community to take part in. Ensure that your regular users welcome them warmly to your community and help show what a great community is present. You may well notice that entrants disappear after the competition has ended and the prize awarded to someone, this is normal. But, you may have also convinced one or two users to stay on and be a part of your community and if that is the case, then it will have been a success!
4 Social Media. It wouldn’t be a marketing article if we didn’t mention social media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and even Reddit can help massively with your marketing push. The most important step is to first create a social presence on these sites and ensure that your social media brand is attractive and modern. Simple things like creating a beautiful social media profile picture can massively improve your brand image to visitors.
A great tip on how to utilise social media for forum marketing is to create a thread discussing current events and trending topics on social media. Share your thread on social media sites and encourage users to share their opinion. You never know when a potential user might see your post, check your forum out and decide to register.
5 Promotion Forums. You can gain a large amount of exposure by promoting your forum on advertising & promotion forums. This may not seem ideal to many as these communities are used by other webmasters that are only there for promoting their own sites. However, you should be using this site to target members that do not have their own sites anymore but have stayed on to enjoy the community at the forum. These users will usually be passionate about forums and like to discuss various topics. If they notice a forum that they like being advertised, they will register on it.
Marketing isn’t easy. But with these tips, your job should be slightly easier on deciding where and how you should market your forum to the public. As ever, if you have ever questions or issues, feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email.