Probably one of the most “un-sexy” forms of free traffic is forum marketing. BUT…
Don’t discount it. It works. VERY well.
Here’s the problem and I know it’s what you’re already thinking…
It takes too much time.
Yep, you’re right. But guess what…
“Free traffic takes time, paid traffic takes money.”
Usually, you only have one or the other.
So, if you’re short on money, you gotta get your traffic started using your time.
I do have a few tips for you though that will allow you to reap the benefits of your labor for years to come.
When people think of forum marketing, they automatically assume you have to spend endless hours replying to newbie’s dumb questions.
That’s not how I reap the benefits of forums.
Change the way you think about forums. Think of them as a private membership site packed full of highly targeted prospects.
That’s EXACTLY what they are.
So, how you could provide these prospects with as much value as possible?
If you come straight at them with a sales pitch, you will convert a VERY small percentage.
You have to provide them with value first.
Tip #1: Provide Them With Value
Create an incredibly awesome, evergreen post in a targeted forum for your niche.
Something people will thank you for, share with their friends and bookmark.
This is extremely easy to do.
It’s received 72 “thanks” and tons of replies thanking me for putting the list together.
It probably took me no more than an hour to put that list together, get it alphabetized and numbered (using a free list alphabetizer/numberer online).
And, all I did was copy and paste pieces of lists that were already in the forum, organize them and numbered them.
BUT… I provided value to people.
They didn’t have to take the time to look through a bunch of old posts.
Tip #2: Monetizing Your Efforts
So, how do you monetize these types of posts?
Well, in most cases, you monetize your efforts by adding a call-to-action in your forum signature that would appeal to these prospects.
Maybe it’s for a free report, a how-to video, an audio interview, a piece of software, a template, etc.
Something that can be delivered instantly.
Now, don’t be afraid to test a physical product but I’ll warn you… conversions will usually be lower.
It makes sense right? It’s easier to just get someone’s email address as opposed to complete shipping address.
But I would definitely test it. It all depends on what you’re giving away.
Here’s another way to monetize your efforts…
Since you’re reading this, you most likely found me via the Warrior Forum.
The Warrior Forum has a private area called the WarRoom where you can give away products.
They have a bunch of rules that go along with it because people were taking advantage of it.
But here’s what I do…
I give away four or five different products. A few PDF reports, some HTML squeeze pages, etc.
Inside each report, I include a call to action at the bottom of each page.
“Go here to get such and such for free.”
That takes them to a squeeze page where they get added to one of my lists.
I use an auto responder series to then provide them with more value and eventually sell them something.
So, it’s still VALUE 1st, SELL 2nd.
It’s just a different “place” to attract leads. Very few forums have something like the War Room but keep your eyes open for similar opportunities.
Tip #3: Give Back
There’s no secret to this. Giving back comes around full-circle.
It may take more time that the other methods and isn’t automated but I can tell you this…
After helping someone that has been struggling with this problem for a few days, you feel GOOD. You feel like you made a difference in someone’s life.
A lot of marketer’s struggle mentally without even knowing it. They never make money online because subconsciously they feel they don’t deserve it.
You can’t consciously change your subconscious but you can help persuade it.
By doing good, by giving back, it helps your mind to know you did something good and in turn you feel worthy.
Kinda heavy, I know but it’s HUGELY important.
It may, or may not, surprise you to hear that’s how I’ve built my ENTIRE internet marketing list.
If you’re on one of my IM lists (I’m guessing you are since you’re reading this), you most likely came from a forum post of mine.
I’ve never done any long-term advertising in the IM space to generate leads and I’ve never run any cold traffic campaigns (other than a few solo ads here or there).
I started doing this back in 2012 or 2013 in a very half-assed manner. Working on it MAYBE an hour every other week.
In 2014 and 2015, months went by where I did absolutely nothing in the IM niche. It’s just not where I want to spend the majority of my time.
Since then, I’ve built a list of over 4,000 subscribers using free forum traffic and to those 4,000 subscribers, I’ve made more than $120,000 selling my own products.
It’s rare that I promote an affiliate product and I’m lucky if I email my subscribers once a month.
My point is, without even trying I’ve turned this one free traffic source into a little reliable income stream (reliable so long as I remember to email my list!).