How to Profit from Free Discussion ForumsBy: Lisa Lake
If there's one thing I've learned in my years of doing business online, it's that credibility should be your number one objective. If people know you and respect you, they'll feel like they can trust you with their money. On the other hand, if you're just starting out and no one knows who you are, you're going to have a hard time drumming up sales.
The best way to gain the kind of credibility I'm talking about is to establish yourself as an expert in your field. This can be very hard to do if you're new to the business, so I'm going to give you a tip: spend a lot of time on those free discussion boards!
Discussion boards are a great way to get your name out there. Just conduct a search for discussion boards in your area of business (there are a lot on MSN and Yahoo) and jump on in. Begin by asking a question, or making helpful suggestions when people ask for them. Make sure to leave your name and URL on every post so people get familiar with you.
Whatever you do, don't post ads on discussion boards. Most board moderators will only delete them, and placing ads there will only serve to undermine the very credibility you're trying to create. Ads placed on discussion boards are annoying, and people won't be ashamed to let you know what they think of you. Believe me, the last thing you want to do with your precious name is attract bad publicity!
Instead of blatantly promoting yourself, just offer your sincere help and advice. If someone wants to know the best places to get free web sites, tell them what you've found in your experience. If someone wants an opinion on collecting email addresses, offer a few ideas.
Sometimes these discussion boards can get pretty heated. If you want people to respect you, be careful not to insult people or give harsh replies. Try being a peacemaker of sorts, being as helpful as possible without tearing down the ideas of others.
Hang out on as many discussion boards as you can, and post often, even if you're only asking for the thoughts and opinions of others. When people respond to your questions, respond back with a thank you and give them feedback. You'll be surprised at how much good this free method of subtle promotion can do for your business.
© 2001 Lisa Lake
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.