Why I Don’t Agree With Forum Marketing

I know I haven’t made a post about internet marketing for a while but it’s still something I’m very interested in so here goes.

Today I want to talk about forum marketing and why I find elements of it questionable.

For those of you who aren’t too familiar with it, there is a well known strategy among internet marketers for driving traffic towards a sales or squeeze page which involves joining a forum in the subject area related to your market.

You then over a number of weeks build relationships with the forum members making posts and giving free advice etc in order to build up a credible profile and not just come across as a marketer trying to sell.

I have been following a strategy like this for a few weeks now to test it out and to be honest I am not very happy with the results for 2 main reasons:

1. It’s dishonest

2. It doesn’t work, well with most forums anyway, I’ll explain later.

The strategy I have been following tells you to seek out forums in your niche market – mine is the stop smoking market.

You then search around the forum posts trying to find a hot topic, something that a lot of people are posting about. Once you have found this hot topic you can then build your squeeze page and write a free report about it.

You then join the forum under a pseudonym, this is because you don’t just want to appear to the other members as an internet marketer.

So then you are supposed to interact with the other members, make comments on their posts and relate your own stories etc to build relationships.

Now for me this is where the problem starts, although I am genuinely interested in creating a good product that will help people stop smoking (one of my pet hates) and yes, make some good money in the process. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. Yet I am supposed to be able to empathise with the other forum members.

So to combat this, I’m ashamed to say that I told a few white lies and said I had been a smoker for a few years and was trying to give it up. I also mentioned that my 17 year old daughter is a smoker and I would like to find ways to help her quit – now that part IS actually true, she does smoke and I hate it which is part of my reason for getting into this market in the first place.

Anyway, a few weeks went by and I kept on posting to the forum, in the meantime I had written my free report and built my squeeze page but made no mention of it in my posts as yet.

Then after a few weeks went by I decided it would be a good time to move in with my offer so I added a link to my squeeze page (anonymously remember) then I waited.

The very next post was from another member saying that they had reported me for spamming the forum and so the link was removed from my post. The moderator gave the reason that even though the page was offering a free download, the fact that you had to submit an email address was off putting.

You see this strategy might have worked if I was in the internet marketing forum because in those types of forums members are used to seeing links to squeeze pages and giving their names and email details.

Outside of the internet marketing world in niches such as the hobby or health markets, people are much more wary of giving away their information. Another example to back this up is the comment I got from a facebook friend of mine after I included a link to my squeeze page on my facebook profile. The friend in question left me a message saying that he had followed the link to the squeeze page as he was a smoker interested in quitting but stopped short of submitting his details because the site looked dodgy. By the way I should mention that he wasn’t aware it was MY squeeze page, or maybe he is and was having a crafty sleight at me ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, admittedly this may be due to my lack of copywriting and page presentaion skills but I suspect it’s more to do with the fact that many people outside of the internet marketing community are slightly wary of these types of sales pages.

So in conclusion I don’t think I will be using forums for marketing purposes again. In any case the whole experience made me uncomfortable, yes you could argue that there’s no harm in telling little white lies if ultimately your product is going to help someone but the whole idea of keeping up the pretence that I’m a smoker in a forum means that I would have to constantly perpetuate little white lies and this is just not something I am willing to do.

So, if anyone would like to comment I’d love to hear your thoughts and more importantly – your alternatives ๐Ÿ™‚

1 Comment

  • Alex

    Reply Reply October 8, 2009

    Hi Eddy,

    I really agree with a lot of what you are saying. All markets are not the same as the internet marketing market and a lot of the techniques are just not transferable.

    I am also not a fan of the dishonesty angle of it all, and generally have stuck to niches I knew enough about to create a product on.

    This is the kind of reality and truth a lot of marketers and business people will not tell you about. Its the kind of real life data and statistics that are so often left out of the “opportunity” products on the market. You do the community a great and genuinely helpful service with blog posts like these, and you should post more often Eddy!

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field