The use of forums as a medium for advertising is often overlooked. What people don’t realize is that there are rather large benefits to posting messages in free forums. 1) You are capturing the attention of your audience, your target market. 2) You have the ability to learn more about your own industry. 3) You can meet some really great people and network while you’re “advertising.” When you join these industry forums, be sure to read and review their forum rules to be sure you do not run the risk of being banned from their site. Some forums do not allow any sort of advertising in poster’s signature lines and some forums have a specific area where you can do your free advertising. Once you are signed up and have read the rules of the forum, there are a few things you need to do to ensure you are maximizing your exposure: 1. Beef up your profile and signature line. Add your website URL, your e-mail address, a quick note about your free e-zine or e-book giveaway. Whatever you can add that will catch people’s attention and want them to learn more about you. 2. Post often when you really know your stuff. If someone has posed a question that you know a lot about, make sure to post a response. By showing that you really know your stuff, you are guaranteeing that people will come to trust your knowledge and information and will seek out more on your company and your expertise. 3. Offer to moderate a section of the forum if the site is a busy one. Most websites that have large forums are willing to enlist the help of forum users to moderate posts and come up with new discussion topics. By doing so, you can subtly keep the conversations flowing in your area of expertise and then you can show that expertise to your fellow posters. One word of caution though when doing this – don’t overdo it. Coming off too strong or too focused on selling can turn people off right away and most people can see through the fluff. Instead of offering advice and then trying to direct them to your website or to a product you are trying to sell, let them come to you by making their own decision to do so. These customers are more likely to sell and they’ll come to your business with a positive, appreciative attitude. Not all forums are great methods of advertising however, some of the forums are outdated, unprofessional or just plain boring! Some advice when searching out a forum: 1. Before signing up an account, check to see how many members the forum has, when the last member signup was, how many posts there are, when the last post was posted, etc. By checking up on the “freshness” of the forum before signing up, you run the risk of having a hundred different signups with no real beneficial sites to visit. 2. Check to see if they make mention of the forum’s geographical location. I joined a few forums before only to find out that they were based in the UK, Australia, etc. which didn’t help me target my specific market. 3. Look at the accompanying website, if there is one, to find out if it fits into your business’ needs, wants and goals. If you don’t think the website would be one you would turn to for assistance, the forum may not be much help either. Resources We Recommend – Tracks the status of many message boards across the web and lists them in an easy to read directory. Yahoo Message Boards – One of the largest directories of message boards on the web. There is something literally for everyone. About the Author:Erin Blaskie is the founder and president of Business Services, ETC ( an administrative support company located within Canada. Erin works one on one with clients to assist them in meeting their goals by taking over the "small stuff." -- For More Information -- Erin also has a free e-zine called "101 Things That I Discovered as a VA", which will help you with all areas of your business, that you can subscribe to at as well as a blog with the same title where she shares even more tips. If you want to know more please contact Erin at -- Copyright Information -- All rights reserved. This publication or any part thereof may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, storage in an information retrieval system or otherwise, unless this notification of copyright is retained. Tags:,,


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