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Discussion forum marketing is a highly effective internet marketing strategy used to draw targeted traffic to your website for free and consists of simply participating and contributing to niche market forums.

Each message you post or question you answer will be concluded with your signature file which includes your name, website address and slogan/headline which will link to your website.

After the user reads your post then most readers will click on your link and visit your website out of impulse, curiosity or necessity as well. And as a result of participating in discussion forums, this simple yet effective internet marketing strategy begins to create targeted traffic to your website daily.
Furthermore, this also becomes one of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Just by answering questions and posting valuable information on high traffic discussion forums you can build instant and long lasting credibility within a very short period of time and as a result create more website traffic and more sales as well.

By posting on forums, consumer awareness is created and potential customers are more likely to visit your website, simply due to your contributions to the forum community.
How to get started

To start contributing and participating on discussion forums related to your niche market, simply go to and type in your main keyword or the name of your product category along with the keyword “forum” or “discussion forum”.

For example, if you were selling video editing equipment or computers for video editing then you can conduct a search on for the keywords “video editing forum” and come up with a list of search results for video editing discussion forum websites.

Then you can begin to visit and observe the forums in order to make a list of the most active forums with users, reading, posting and visiting daily. You need to find and participate on high traffic forums related to your niche market and focus your time and efforts posting on those.

You can read discussion topics on forums without having to register. But in order to start posting then you’re going to have to register with that particular forum and others just as well. However, it’s also possible to find one, good, active forum with plenty of active readers which will allow you to focus on one main forum for now just to get you started.

Your registration user name

When registering your name on forums it’s important to use your business name as your user name as well as this also becomes another element of effective internet marketing.

For example, if the name of your business was XL Video Editing Systems then be sure to use the name XLVideoEditingSystems as your user name for posting in forums. However, if your business name is then do not use the “.com” ending in your user name as this can be seen as blatant advertising and will most likely cause your account to be closed quickly and/or cause forum members to lose trust in your business as well.

After you have registered your user name then you can proceed to start looking through and reading the most recent and most popular posts on the forum.

You will be looking for posts on subjects which you already have some knowledge of in order to add and contribute value to that particular post.
If you come across a popular thread and do not know the answer, then you can also do some research, find the answer and then post it on that thread, but in your own words of course. For example, if a question is posted on a forum concerning which digital camera is best to use for macro-close up pictures then you can review your digital camera comparison charts to see which cameras offer the best macro capabilities with high resolution. Then you can recommend the best camera to the poster along with a few other recommendations as well.

However, as much as you would like to have that person buy the camera from your website you can not try to sell them by letting them know that you sell that camera on your online store. They will figure it out soon enough. In the mean time, your goal is to help them by answering the questions you are able to answer with an educated and informational response, yet without asking for anything in return. It is your ending signature file that will cause those readers to visit your website, and not the content within your post. (More on signature files below)
How to post effectively

The best way to get people to click on your link to visit your website is to post short, yet high quality answers, responses, and solutions to people’s questions, comments and concerns. An effective post should address and answer the original post with clear, precise and detailed information on the solution to their concerns.

Your post should be able to impress the reader enough to make him or her want to click on your link at the end of your post to find out more about you, your website and the products you offer. By providing solutions to other peoples problems and adding valuable information to forum threads then you are in effect providing an effective post and therefore contributing in a positive manner.

If you’re going to start a thread on your own then be sure to post valuable information such as the announcement and discussion of new, up and coming products or new technology for example. However, it’s always best to simply answer questions and provide solutions for problems than it is to start new threads on your own. And by doing so, you add value to the community and establish yourself as an expert in the field as well. And this will be more than enough to persuade readers to click on your signature file link at the end of your post.

After you have posted a response to a current thread, an email is automatically sent to all forum readers who have requested to be notified once a message has been posted in response to that thread. This in turn brings instant traffic to your post and can bring traffic to your website as well. (As long as your post adds value to the thread and is not a sales pitch then readers are more likely to click on your signature file link.)

Furthermore, you too will receive an email notification once other forum members have posted a message to that thread and your own post as well and this is the best time to add more value to the thread by continuing to post valuable responses when the thread is most active.
More tips for effective posting

When reading discussion topics, be sure to read the rest of the thread to see what others have posted before posting your message, otherwise, you may end up repeating what someone else has posted, and may be in error in the matter as well.

There may be times where you may have to do some quick research on the topic before posting in order to post a more accurate and educated response. Remember, the goal is to impress the readers with your post and to establish yourself as a professional in your field. Furthermore, you can learn from others as well just by reading their posts.

There may be plenty of readers and forum members who are experts in the field and participate in discussions just for fun or to kill time. And before posting your message, it’s important to run a complete spell check for spelling errors and grammar as well. It’s important to leave a good impression the first time and typos become a sure way to draw criticism to your post, no matter how good it is. Therefore before posting, be sure to check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Re-read your post before posting it no matter how short or how long it is in order to avoid criticism and a loss of credibility in the matter.
Ethics for discussion forum marketing

It’s important to remember that you can not post sales type postings to discussion forums. Advertising and promoting products on forums are the best ways to get the forum moderators to close your account and label your business as spammers. Even if your sales pitch includes valuable product or industry information, if it contains the slightest form of sales talk or appears to be an advertisement then most likely your post will be deleted and you will be seen as a spammer and not as a positive contribution to the community.

This is your reputation we’re speaking of, and it’s important not to damage your reputation on forums where hundreds if not thousands of readers and potential customers will see your post and business name daily. It’s also important to refrain from letting readers know that your online store offers the products they’re referring to in their post as doing so will be seen as blatant sales and advertising. (They’ll see soon enough what your website has to offer but not by you telling them so.)

When posting a response, do not use terminology that can be viewed and considered as selling terms or advertising. All it takes is one reader to identify your post as a sales letter and they’ll be more than happy to report you and expose you on the matter and make you look bad in the process.

It’s important to present yourself as a knowledgeable professional in your field and not as a retailer for your products. Forum readers must see you as an employee or owner of the store who is just participating on the forums simply because you enjoy the topic and have valuable expertise to contribute to the community. 
However, just to be clear, your main objective is indeed to market your website but to do so you must present your website in a careful and subtle manner. And before you do so, you must give the reader some value first before they can consider clicking on your signature file link.

Your actual post should consist of helpful, valuable and educational information only without asking for anything in return. Your signature file however, is going to do all the selling for you.
The signature file

You signature file will be inserted at the end of your post and is what the reader will see when they’re done reading your message. This is why it’s important to post short, yet valuable reading material so that the reader will continue reading till the end of your post to find your signature file at the end.

Your signature file will consist of:

-Your name
-Your business name
-Your business website
-Slogan/description (which includes your most important keywords)
-(email address is optional)

You can add your email address to your signature file but your main goal is to get the reader to click on your website link and not on your email address. For example, your signature file can read as follows:

George Robinson
XL DigitalCameras
Digital Cameras, Accessories and More

It’s important to keep your signature file short and right to the point or the moderators may shorten it for you.
Your name, website address and a short slogan may be sufficient to entice the reader to click on your link. For example, a short signature file can read as follows:

George Robinson
Digital Cameras and More

NOTE: Do not to add a sales pitch or use sales terminology in the slogan on your signature file as this can be seen as blatant advertisement and may be removed by the moderators as well.

Most forum systems will link your slogan to your website in which now your slogan becomes your link title. And this is another reason why it’s important to place your most important keywords in your slogan as well as search engines scan forum topics daily. The more post you make, then the more your signature file will be seen. And the more readers who see your signature file then the more visitors your website will receive. And more traffic means more sales.

Participating in discussion forums can be a great way to give back to the community and create more customer awareness as well. It is a highly effective marketing strategy that works. And best of all, you can do it yourself for free.
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Main Article Index Page
How to Succeed in Your Online Store Business
How to Start Your Online Store Business
How to Choose Your Niche Market
How to Create an Effective Business Name
Check for Domain Name Availability
How to Register Your Business Name
Should You Use a PO Box or Home Address
How to Choose the Right Business Entity for You
Sole Proprietorships Explained
Corporations Explained
Partnerships Explained
Limited Liability Companies Explained
Incorporate Your Business Online
How to Obtain Your Sales Tax License
The Best Selling Products Online (Intro)
1. Books
2. Computers, Computer Hardware
NEW:Start a Computer Reseller Business Online
3. Computer Software
4. Consumer Electronics
5. Apparel, Clothing
6. Toys/Video Games
7. Videos DVD’s
8. Health and Beauty
9. Music
10. Jewelry
11. Office Supplies
12. Linens/Home Décor
13. Flowers
14. Sporting Goods
15. Footwear, Shoes
16. Small Appliances
17. Tools and Garden
18. Gifts
About Distribution
Choosing the Right Distributors
How to Get Signed-Up With DropShip Distributors
Books Distributors, DropShippers, Wholesalers
Computers, Hardware, Software DropShippers
Apparel, Clothing Distributors, DropShippers
Toys/Video Games DropShippers, Wholesalers
Video DVD  DropShippers, Wholesalers
Health and Beauty Distributors, DropShippers
Consumer Electronics DropShippers
Music Distributors, DropShippers, Wholesalers
Jewelry Distributors, DropShippers, Wholesalers
Office Supply Distributors, DropShippers
Linens/Home Décor DropShippers, Wholesalers
Flowers Distributors, DropShippers, Wholesalers
Sporting Goods Distributors, DropShippers
Footwear, Shoes Distributors, DropShippers
Small Appliances DropShippers, Wholesalers
Tools and Garden DropShippers, Wholesalers
Gifts Distributors, DropShippers, Wholesalers
How to Find More DropShippers, Wholesalers
How to Open Your Online Store
How to Build Your Own Online Store
How to Build Effective Product WebPages
Building Your eStore with Website Templates
Designing, Planning and Organizing Your eStore
Implementing Graphic Elements
How to Create Your Own Company Logo
Create Search Engine Optimized Product Pages
How to Create a Content Rich Website
Choosing Your Web Host Provider
Create a Search Engine Optimized Domain Name
Check for Domain Name Availability
Top Web Building Software Programs
Top 10 Web Host Providers
Top 10 Complete eCommerce Solutions
Top Website Developers
All About Shopping Carts
All About Payment Processing
All About Merchant Accounts
Using PayPal as a Payment Processing Solution
More Merchant Account Providers
All Merchant Account Providers
Setting Your Prices
Setting Shipping Charges
Maintaining Your Online Store
Your Internet Marketing Master Plan
All about Search Engines
The Top Search Engines
Search Engine Optimization Guide Pt.1
Search Engine Optimization Guide Pt.2
All about Building and Exchanging Links
Purchasing Text Link Ads
All about Press Release Marketing
All about Pay-Per-Click Marketing
All about Discussion Forum Marketing
All about Article Marketing
All about Email Marketing
All about Banner Advertising
How Offering Free Shipping Can Boost Sales
All about 800 Toll Free Numbers
How to Beat the Competition
How to Run an Online Store Business
Dealing with Customers
How to Minimize Interaction with Customers
How to Deal with Customers via Email
How to Take and Place Orders
Paying for Products with Your Customers’ Money
How to Collect Sales Tax for Internet Sales
Avoiding Credit Card Fraud
How to Ship International and Overseas
How You Get Paid Each and Every Day
Dealing with Product Returns and Exchanges
Sample Return Policy and Procedures
Sample Privacy Policy
Sample Terms and Conditions Policy
Internet Business Resources
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