"This is an article I wrote awhile ago for suddenlaunch support. I thought I may share it"
How to Advertise Your Forum
After your board is organized and ready to go, the next step is to advertise.
This is another stage you should pay attention to and spend more time on research.
This is the part where you should be the sensitive about. You should be wise on how to present yourself in front of potential audience.
Sometimes its all about your attitude, terms, and circumstances of which you advertise will determine whether or not the targeted audience will be interested to click on your website.
Thus, these are the things you should consider~
Define your audience
Probably the first thing you should consider is to define a targeted group. Although you shouldn’t be spending too much time analyzing all the details, you should have a pretty good idea generally of what certain group your forum intends to attract.
That targeted group can be in terms of age, sex, interests, or even places they live in.
This is a really important thing to keep in mind if you want to be a successful advertiser.
For instance, if your forum is about RPG games, thus it doesn’t make sense for you to advertise on a place generally gathered around of grown-ups and elders. Although a “few” adults may like RPGs, but it is very inefficient and time consuming.
Of course, I know people won’t be that “stupid” to do such thing, but it is always wise to narrow down your audience and find the most relevant target.
If, in some cases, you got a forum is just for everyone (like a general chat forum), you then should find the common denominator and keep in mind on little things such as forum layout, content structure and thus try to be as specific as possible.
A thing you should watch out for. Be sensitive as I always said.
Sometimes, you may have a good forum, but if you’re are arrogant, greedy, and disrecpectful, then you may turn those potential members away.
Keep in mind that you needed “them”, so don’t think you are so smart and have a site. Or maybe tell them they are lucky to come to your forum and it would be stupid for them not to join.
Another example would be post or write a message somewhere stating “Check, out, URL, best site ever!!!” (I've seen this one)
Of course the example above is reckless and very unlikely to happen. But my point is you should show as much respect as possible.
Not to be desperate
Perhaps one of the most frequent mistake made by all of you forum advertisers.
I’ve made that mistake myself.
I’m sure all of you have come across where someone, or maybe yourself wrote something like:
“A new forum, need members, PLEASE PLEASE JOIN!!!”
I mean sit back a minute and consider yourself, would you join a forum like that if you saw it? Probably not…
Why? Because such way of presenting yourself and your forum make you look like a idiot.
In better words, its not professional and give others an impression that your forum is abosolutely trash with no one joined.
Yah, so be sure not to be desperate. As I said, patient is the key in every stage. You cannot expect to bring a loads of visitors in matters of days or even weeks, it takes time to plan, analyze and learn from your mistakes. So it is a long period of time and patience is needed!
Don’t expect anyone to have sympathy in your forum, such way as I stated above. All people are running busy and there’s million of forums out there, thus, they don’t give a penny about your forum.
If you just stay back, be cool, and work hard constantly learn new things, you’ll see your forum visits slowly goes up and up.
So give it time.
This is one of the worst things you can ever do.
If you just go nuts and spam your forum link everywhere with a URL, you would earn yourself a really bad name as well as for your forum.
More importantly, people are not going to respond to that. Think about it, if you advertise in such rude way in an inappropriate place, people are going to developed a bad impression on you.
And in most cases, the forum MODs or chatroom leaders would just delete your link and ban you forever. Then you just lost a chance on that target.
The bottom line is, don’t ever spam. Its such a waste of time and harmful towards you and your forum.
Be an effective advertiser[/u]
What I mean by an effective advertiser is that he/she understands the interests of potential visitors and present himself with a best look infront of audiences.
For instance, you should never advertise with a sole purpose of advertising. If you do, you won’t be pay attention to the actual people that you’re advertising to, and you are just rushing through and leaving links.
I know some of you won’t agree with me. You may just think it is smarter and faster to just target a large group of online community and letting as much people seeing your URL as possible.
But that’s not the fact. A large group of visitors are no better than a small community of dedicated friends (or whom you know).
Especially when you have a relatively young forum. You should rather spend more time with individuals and get to know them. Thus you get to learn their interests and obtain their respect. Once you’ve done that, it is very easy just to ask him/her to check out your site and stick around and help. And you just captured a member.
My point is, you should spend some time on actually getting to know each person their interests and values. You made them feel that you really work hard and take the time to learn things rather than just leaving links and leave and thus waiting for people to come. This show people that you care. And people are much likely to stay at your forum.
Balance things out
You should not be spending too much time advertising your forum and forget the development of your forum. A famous quote, “taking care of the inside, the outside will take care itself.”
It means that if you spend much time on actual building your site, things will work out natural as you go along. Thus your site develop parallelly with your advertisement effort.
Say if your very successful at advertising, but if you spend too much time on it and forget about your actual site, and if its got the same old topics you made weeks ago, even if you're bringing visitors, you will turn those visitors away.
So you should constantly add new features and supply your visitors with new topics.
Tell people you know.
This is always considered the most effective and fastest way of getting members,.
It may not get you a lot of members, but you should always go with this method especially when your forum is new.
As art of being an effective advertiser, if you tell your friends and people you know about your forum, they should stay and join most the time, if not, they’ll at least check out your forum.
Here’s why this is effective:
A) People generate associate with people with the similar interests
B) People are more likely to join if they are reconmented by a friend or a person they know
C) You talk to them in a personal level thus more friendly and.
D) if they forget your site, you can always talk to them again about it
You should submit your links to major search engines and they’ll generate a lot of traffics for you without you being worry about it too much.
TIP: If you have a Freeforums.org hosted forum, you can use the affiliate box from the portal
Under your signature
Another very effective way of advertising will be inserting a Banner under your signature that links to your our forum. Example would be the one I have.
Don’t get confused though, it doesn’t mean you just spam everywhere and leave traces of your signature. That way not only people’s gonna be aggravated, the staff members may just delete your post.
As I said, first work hard to contribute to the community and things like that would come naturally. Spend some time on making quality posts, not only your posts would be respected for that, people are gonna like you have tend to be interested in you and your forum.
So, my point is to spend time on making quality posts and contribute to a community rather than pure advertisement.