In this day and age, the Web provides its users with the possibility to join communities according to their interests, preferences, and beliefs about particular products or services. This is why a forum is a great way for a business to grow such a community. An online forum comes with the benefit of providing the ability of interaction with your customers, as well as a discussion among themselves. At the same time, you can troubleshoot flaws. You can learn how to improve certain aspects of your business as well.
An online forum usually has multiple tools implemented into it, such as message board forums, chat, instant messages, and the like. People join forums with the means to use these tools to communicate.
Meanwhile, you as the business leader moderate the discussion and try your best to have it lead you to reach your goals. In this article, we are going to discuss what’s good and what’s not so good about forum marketing.
- Market research. Forums are a great way of having direct contact with your customer base, as well as prospective customers, and they enable you to learn more about what they want and need, what they are interested in, and what they want to find out the most. This makes them a perfect research tool. By following the discussions, you will also get familiar with what kind of language they use, so that you can interact with them in a way that they can understand.
- Broad keywords. Another great thing about forums is that you get keywords that you wouldn’t target yourself. Every visitor to your website forum creates a post in their own one-of-a-kind way of writing, which contains keywords that other people are going to search for. Forum posts consist out of natural language, and it is one of the best ways to create new content. Furthermore, you can use semrush.com to find the keywords that other forums rank for and use them to outrank them.
- Free content. One of the largest reasons why forums are brilliant is that the content on them is free. While some businesses like to create a couple of posts to get the discussions flowing, and there are generally costs to running a forum, the very content that is posted is all free. A big forum is an addition of hundreds of pages to your website. Sure, some of those pages are going to be low-quality, but, as SEO experts at GWM underline, there is going to be a lot of them that contain the kind of content that Google appreciates. The conclusion is that forums rank well.
- Visitor retention. Your website’s forum is the place that brings in new visitors, clients, and prospects, and gives them a reason to come back, particularly if they need to find a way to solve a certain problem. Of course, every website owner wants people to keep coming back to their website, so starting up a forum can be a brilliant way of engaging with people so that they want to come back and use your website on a regular basis.
- Kick-starting the forums. Every beginning of a forum can be a really tough one. It can be difficult to bring visitors to it at first. You start with an empty forum, and it certainly won’t attract people to engage. There needs to be content that your visitors can explore and discuss. This basically means that you have to create the first forum content yourself, and it can be a time-consuming task.
- The fact about moderation is that it’s a complicated and time-consuming matter that you simply have to deal with if you are running a forum. The fact is that a lot of people are going to try and make use of your forums to promote themselves and post spam. A number of other people will post inappropriate and angry comments that are not a proper representation of your business. You can hire a moderator to do this as a full-time job, but the fact is that it’s going to cost you along the way.
- You generally want every kind of content that you come up with to boost your conversions. The case with forums is that they are simply not made to do this, and if you get a lot of low-quality posts, they might, in fact, turn prospective customers away from your business. You mustn’t forget that every bit of content on your website is a representation of your business, which means that your forum users, even though they aren’t in any way related to your company, represent your business to new visitors. While forums are perfect for building relationships with your visitors, they aren’t as useful for conversion as other types of content.
- Keeping objectivity. When it comes to running a forum, it’s sometimes tough to keep things objective. People will ask controversial questions, and even though they know what kind of answer they are looking for, there is going to be other people that are going to dramatize the discussion and create obstacles, making it hard to sustain objectivity.
Forums provide a great platform for engaging with your visitors and letting them discuss things among themselves. It provides you with free content that Google may appreciate, makes visitors want to come back, and can be a great market research tool. However, moderation can be a difficult task, and there are always going to be spammers and people that stir discussions away from objective facts. Furthermore, forums are simply not the best tool for conversions, and can, in fact, turn people away with low-quality content.
Bio: David Koller is a passionate blogger and copywriter for Media Gurus, mainly interested in SEO and Digital Marketing