Increasing your web presence through business forums will give you a different kind of clout than SEO, PPC or any other method of gaining visibility.

People who see business forums as just another method to drive traffic are really missing the point. Business forums can not only drive traffic, but also build up your personal brand and reputation. It can help you land speaking engagements, joint venture partners, interns who will work for you for free, high PR backlinks and a whole lot more. Of course, you’ll also get highly targeted traffic.

=> Focus on Providing Value

The people who become really well known in online communities are the people with reputations of helping people. Find questions that you really believe you can help answer and answer them. Become known as someone who knows what they’re talking about and can help others.

Pick a specialty. Rather than answer questions on everything, answer questions on just the things you know.

If you’re a killer copywriter but a poor PPC marketer, then don’t hang out in PPC forums. Instead, give spot-on reviews of other people’s copy and help others learn the art of copywriting.

=> Provide Case Studies

Provide case studies of things you’ve personally done. If you’ve successfully launched a website, share your step-by-step formula for how you made it happen.

If you created a campaign that converted at 6%, share how you made that happen. Share your sales funnel, how you interacted with your users via email, how you optimized your sales page, etc.

If you build a successful PPC affiliate marketing campaign, share how you made your process work. Share your keyword research tips, bidding methods and how you selected your affiliate programs.

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Hold back only enough so that your business isn’t damaged. Don’t give away your specific markets or keywords for example, but be generous with methodology and advice.

=> When Should You Link to Your Site?

Only link to your site from your forum signature, your forum profile and occasionally forum posts if you can genuinely provide more value by sending people to your website.

Never spam. Never, ever spam.

People who land on your site should be the kind of people who’ve already had exposure to you and want to learn more. They’ll deliberately seek out your site in your signature, because they’ve seen the quality of your content from your posts.

Forum marketing is less about “LOOK AT ME!” marketing. It’s more about reputation building and gaining exposure. Once you have that exposure, people will seek you out as the expert in whatever industry you’re in.

When used properly, business forums can catapult you to a completely different level of success. Use it to build connections, reputation and traffic.