Promote your micro-entrepreneurial business on forums by linking to your website or blog. When you’re ready to participate in a forum and sell your micro-entrepreneurial business, you should begin by asking questions or offering positive feedback and suggestions. Do what it takes to build your reputation within the forum community first, before you attempt to promote your business.
You can slowly work into your conversations and comments some points about your website or blog. If you do what you think is a great article at your blog about a topic that is relevant to the forum, consider inviting the forum participants to read your article and give some constructive feedback.
People will eventually see you as a reliable person, and in due course you’ll be able to confidently post about your business activities. It will take time and effort, but it should be worth it.
Watch carefully how others are selling on a forum. Look to see what they do and don’t do. Examine to see how long they’ve been on the forum. Many forums provide public profiles, so you can see how long they’ve been members.
Ask yourself whether their approach is a one-step sales approach or a two-step approach.
A one-step approach means they make a sales pitch on the spot.
The two-step approach means that there is an intermediary step before the sales pitch occurs.
Maybe the first step for you in the forum is to get participants to “click here to see the article on topic X.” The sales pitch is the secondary step with links in the article that take them to the sales page. The odds are high that the approach that works in forums is the two-step approach.
These sections can help you select the forum that fits your needs and what you can do to make the sale.
The psychology of online forums when promoting a micro-entrepreneurial business
Even though a forum is an online community, many people are still skeptical about anyone or anything new because of the anonymity. Some of this stems from the functionality of the Internet experience; it’s not a face-to-face conference or cocktail party that gives you more than one way to size up a person or group.
In addition, the Internet has been the home of plenty of high-profile scams. You probably have received an email from some abandoned traveler in Nigeria who needs money to get home to England, and all you need to do is submit your credit card information to help.
As a result of these types of scams, you need to build trust and a comfort level for people who interact with you as a businessperson in online forums.
You have no idea what has happened to the folks you’re dealing with that are on the other side of that faceless post. Maybe they were burned. Remember that your integrity isn’t just some slogan or selling point; it’s a foundational point for doing current and future business.
Which forums are right for your micro-entrepreneurial business?
Many forums exist online, so focus your attention on forums that are:
The most targeted to your market
If you have to choose between a large forum that is vaguely close to your market or a smaller one that is closer to your target market, choose the smaller forum that is closer to your target market. Of course, if you have the time, do both and track the results.
As you’re evaluating which forum is right for you, ask yourself these questions:
Is this the right forum? This question sounds basic, but you should be choosy. Joining and marketing in a forum isn’t fun time; it’s time to find your target market and make money.
Does the forum have regular discussion about your niche or topic?
If this forum yields good results (such as generating traffic, leads, and sales for you), are there others just like this one that you can add to your forum marketing activities?
Is the forum active? In other words, do you see daily activity such as posting, commenting, and so on?
What are the forum’s posting guidelines? What are you not allowed to post?
What are you allowed to put in your profile? Can you place links in your posts and/or profile?
Are you allowed to directly promote anything you’re offering?
Can you use marketing messages in your signature when you post?
Do new users have special requirements?
Because access to a basic forum is usually free, it’s worth some time and effort to participate and explore the forum. If you find it is worthwhile (such as you’re finding good contacts and opportunities), then stick around and continue. If not, look elsewhere.
Increase the selling of your micro-entrepreneurial business in forums
Beyond building trust and making folks comfortable about you, keep the awareness going about the value of what you offer and making it easy to contact you. You can do some effective, yet low-key things such as:
Always have a link to your blog or website present in your forum signature if possible. In other words, end your posts with something like “Regards, Betty Johnson, debt counselor at XYZdebt.com” or “Regards, Paul Smith, podiatrist at FootAchesRus.com”.
Answer or respond completely and make sure your post has keywords connected to your specialty. Making sure that you have keywords in your site helps people find your post if they’re doing a keyword search.