What is the best way to advertise a forum on a niche topic?
I have a forum on a niche topic. I am advertising the forum via ads (Although some of the keywords have low quality scores, they are all very specific to this niche).
Now, do I directly link the ad to the forum home page, or add some high quality article/posts around the ads? Does this matter?
Thanks in advance for any help. I didn't find the right answer from searching the internet.
As someone who's started a successful niche forum (just google "Data Recovery Forum" to find mine) I'll tell you what I did. I think that using PPC type ads for a forum is a total waste of your time and money. Forums are people, communities of people. People who like to communicate via forums. So the way to get them is through... OTHER FORUMS!!!
First, be an active member and contributor to other similar genre forums. Post enough that the moderators readily recognize your name and avatar. hen, when you're ready to launch your new niche forum, explain to the forum admins what you're planning to do, what makes your forum different from theirs and why users will still use both forums (establishing that you're not just trying to compete with them). And then ask for permission to mention your forum on their forum.
If they grant you permission, you then prepare a nice post on the other forums explaining the focus of your new forum and why it'll be different and desirable to that niche group who also tends to frequent the forum you're posting on.
Once you see a few people join your new forum who are highly active in the other forums, ask a few of them to be moderators on your new forum. It'll endear them to your forum (being a moderator) so they'll start posting, answering, moderating much more frequently. This will generate content which is what gets a forum off the ground. The more content you generate, the more traffic you'll get and the more content will get generated. It can quickly become a snowball effect if you do it right.
I know when I started my data recovery forum I explained to the owners of other hard drive repair forums that I was aiming to start a community focused on professional data recovery rather than a discussion of end users hard drive issues (which is what fills up most of those forums). They didn't mind me mentioning my forum, and a number of users quickly liked the idea of a pro to pro forum for the industry with fewer noob questions to sort through.
If you don't get permission from the admins, don't panic. Just shoot some PMs to highly active members of those forums mentioning your new forum and inviting them to join. You really only need to get 20-30 highly active members to get a forum off the ground. They'll later do all the advertising for you when they start posting links to threads on your forum while having discussions on other forums. The word will spread naturally and that's exactly what you want.
Also, post some really useful tutorials or answers to common questions on your new forum. Then when you see people asking these questions other places, such as Reddit, you can simply post a link to the topic that answers their question or guides them through their issue. This won't be viewed as SPAM since you're actually offering a helpful answer via a link, and it'll drive new people to join your forum when they want to ask similar questions.
One of my very first posts on my forum was a tutorial about how to clone a hard drive that has bad sectors. I started posting a few links to that tutorial and pretty soon other links were popping up around the web. Today nearly half of my traffic is from that tutorial and it even outranks my homepage in popularity.
Also, be careful not to annoy users with advertisements. Especially early on when you're trying to attract new users. That'll quickly chase people away. So if you plan to earn money that way, be patient and remember it's better to wait to monetize later when you're done growing the community and can afford to lose a few new members who get annoyed by ads.
A successful marketing strategy has lots of moving parts and tools. I recommend doing a combination of things:
- make sure your "ads" are on brand with a consistent message
- create engaging and compelling content (blogs, articles, posts, videos, vlogs, etc)
- opt-in offers (valuable information through ebooks, white papers, webinars) to collect contact information of the people that you are attracting with your offers
- create a facebook around your forum - to start engaging and creating your followers
- give speaking engagements about your topic with door-prizes to collect the contact information of the people that you are attracting with your topic
- keep your CRM (customer relationship management) up to date with the contacts that you are collecting, and personally contact them with emails or newsletters
- with everything that you post or release - include links back to your forum
Also - investigate what your competitors are doing.
- reach out to complimentary forums and engage with those groups that share your target market/followers
- invite guest speakers to your forums that have already have their own followers
As you can see - there's no 1 thing that you do There's a never-ending list of things you can do to market and expose your forum.
If you need additional help on this, just let me know.