Don’t Forget Forums as a Formidable Social Networking Source!
For many of us, the term ‘social media’ is practically synonymous with Facebook and Twitter. At the very least, we will tend to associate social media with analogues of these two big sites and generally we think of social networks as modern sites where you can log in and share pictures and status updates.
In reality though, the web has been social long before Facebook was a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye. When the web first exploded in popularity, people were already having discussions and debates about their favorite hobbies and interests but they were doing so in chat rooms and on forums.
And while Facebook and Twitter have more prominence now than those aforementioned chat rooms, they are nevertheless still out there and they still offer a lot of opportunities.
What are Forums?
A forum is essentially a message board, normally attached to a website, where people can post questions and get answers. Users must first create a profile and from there they can create or respond to ‘threads’ as well as doing other things like send private messages.
In other words, these act like the groups or pages on social media, providing discussion that is centered around a specific topic and where only ‘members’ get to contribute. This is one of the biggest attractions of these forums – they have a ‘VIP’ feeling and tend to nurture a much more close-knit community. Many people will make friends on forums, or will even work together on joint projects etc.
The Advantages of Forums
So while forums are smaller than social networks, they are also much more targeted and the users tend to be very committed and passionate to the subject. This creates an ideal opportunity for you to gain exposure for your product or website if you post there.
The problem is, most companies have no idea how to use forums. They will simply create accounts, log in and then post their link like an advert. Bearing in mind how much of a clique the users of these forums become and how protective of their community they are, you can imagine that this is often met with disdain.
To succeed on forums then, the objective is rather to post links only after you’ve established yourself as an active member of that community. To do that, you need to take part: by answering questions, by starting discussions and by finding things you find useful. Though it takes a little work, this can allow you to learn more about your target audience, to demonstrate yourself as an expert on your topic and to build loyal fans and even friends. Once you manage that, you may even find that they actively help you to promote your business!
When Email Marketing Does Not Work
Whether you are already involved in an email marketing campaign or are simply considering the possibility of launching an email marketing campaign it is important to note that email marketing does not always work. This means that sometimes despite your best efforts, or sometimes in spite of your best efforts, you email marketing campaign will either not generate the degree of success you anticipated or may not generate any success at all. This failure to generate success may be do to a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons may be a lack of interest on behalf of your target audience, failure to properly execute your email marketing strategy or poor planning in your strategy. This article will take a look at some situations in which email marketing is not effective and will offer some advice for dealing with these situations.
First we will consider why a lack of interest from target audience members can result in a failed email marketing campaign. Before investing time, energy and money into an email marketing campaign, it is worthwhile to hire a consultant to conduct market research. This research should provide valuable feedback such as demographics for the target audience and information on the probability these target audience members will be responsive to email marketing. This last piece of information in particular should help the business owner to determine whether or not to pursue email marketing as an advertising option. If market research indicates the members of your target audience are not likely to purchase the products or services you offer online or even use the Internet to research these products or services; investing in an email marketing campaign is not worthwhile. You may enjoy a small degree of success from this marketing effort but it is not likely to significant enough to warrant the time and effort required to achieve this small degree of success.
Another aspect of email marketing which can cause your marketing campaign to result in failure is the inability to properly execute your marketing plan. This is important because even the most well formulated marketing strategy can flounder if you are not able to properly execute these steps. For example, you may plan to use e-newsletters as a critical component of your email marketing campaign but if these e-newsletters do not appear to be professionally designed and written, frequently arrive late and do not offer valuable information, readers are not likely to invest in your products or services based on these e-newsletters. In each aspect of your email marketing campaign, you should strive to ensure the information you provide to your email recipients is informative, accurate and interesting. This type of copy is more likely to pique the interest of the readers.
Finally, poor planning can cause an email marketing campaign to falter. For example, if you were to issue a component of your email marketing campaign hoping to generate a huge interest in your products and receive a great deal of interest, you should be prepared to be able to sell your products. Not having enough stock on hand after you undergo a marketing effort can be a critical mistake because potential customers may lose interest if they have to wait for the products. This is just one example of poor planning causing problems but poor planning can cause a host of different problems including potential customers losing interesting, the creation of confusion regarding your products and services and even potential customers being angered by your email marketing.