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Coin of Marketing

This has always been rare in customer relations. Typically it is only the glowing testimonials that are shared with site visitors while any negative feedback is generally inaccessible. Forums allow both, but you may find that others who will champion your product or service may refute a disgruntled comment by one individual.

But negative comments in a forum also allow you to be very public about how you handle customer complaints. This scenario provides the opportunity to turn a potential negative into a highly visible positive experience for consumer and business alike.

The other side to the forum coin is trust marketing on a personal basis. What I mean by that is you may do well to find a select number of industry related forums to participate in. While this idea is not new most business owners who use a forum do not use it in a specific enough way.

Here’s what typically happens. A business owner signs up for an industry forum and makes a few posts with a fair amount of marketing information in their signature line. The hope is that this ‘free’ advertising will convince other forum members to come to the business website. If this simplistic view of forum marketing is how you approach the subject it can often come across as disingenuous or insincere. In fact, on some forums it may even be considered spamming.

If you, as a business owner, use a forum with links back to your website embedded in your signature line you should seriously consider engaging yourself in the forum community as your prime objective. Respond with helpful information when an individual posts a question you are qualified to answer. Include links to helpful articles when appropriate and act like a member of the community instead of that guy that puts sales flyers on car windows – obnoxious and disliked.

Forums are a great way to reach out to existing customers, but the use of peripheral forums can help establish trust with those who may have never heard about you or your company.

In a way similar to a blog you can use these industry specific forums as a means of allowing others to catch a sense of both your personality and expertise. When you actually engage in the community you signed up to be a part of you will get to know many of the personalities on the forum and become a trusted source for information as you encourage those who may need the advice and information you can offer.