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New Forum, How to get members?

Discussion in 'General Marketing' started by scott2342, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. #1
    Does anyone have any advice on the best way to get forum members?

    Cheers
     
    scott2342, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  2. jasontn

    jasontn Well-Known Member

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    #2
    Give the base members, the first 1000 or so, a real reason to join. After that, people tend to like what others like, but of course, don't lower the quality. However, it wouldn't be as difficult to bring people in once a good reputation is established.

    Note, I don't think a lot of people will join the forum only due to the fact someone might be buying traffic. There has to be something real there.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
    jasontn, Dec 5, 2016 IP
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  3. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Acclaimed Member

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    #3
    If you can afford it do a bit of advertising. Also create a few interesting topics. All you really need are a handful of members that are well informed and articulate, and it will take off like a rocket.
    Sent me a PM with the forum's name and I'll drop by and check it out.
     
    Spoiltdiva, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  4. jasontn

    jasontn Well-Known Member

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    #4
    In the 2000s, it seems like certain Yahoo Groups took off without hardly any advertising. However, the scene is now on social media. Perhaps you could use social media to drive people to a page or a group and then take the next step and lead them to your forum. However, sometimes you have to pay Facebook to communicate with your own followers.
     
    jasontn, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  5. scott2342

    scott2342 Active Member

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    #5
    Hey @jasontn thanks for the info, any ideas what reason would get people interested in joining and visiting regularly? The main site has content which will hopefully be helpful and of course the forum would have a little content but what get the first 1000 to join? I thought about a promotion to join and they'd receive a gift etc but whether anyone would actually stay around after that :/ Myself and a few other members will be there 24/7 to make sure any of their questions are answered to the best of our knowledge straight away but it whether that's enough... I need something that will really appeal. I am looking at Facebook ads but I've never really tried it before, I'm also interested in looking into Twitter and Linkedin as my site is focused on business, making money etc.

    Thanks @Spoiltdiva I will PM you with a link to the site, I'd be really interested in what you think, I'm open to any improvements :) Currently it's taken me a while and it's about ready to launch, just need a bit more content on the site itself. I could probably do with a few people reviewing the site.

    What was it about Digitalpoint that got you both to join? I think for me I wanted advice on SEO initially and I could see there was a lot of content on here.

    Thanks for the replies!
     
    scott2342, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  6. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Acclaimed Member

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    #6
    I joined up to find an SEO and to hire a few writers when things got too busy for me. I stayed because of all the business contacts that I somehow picked up.
    Another reason I stay is that this place helps me to rid myself of the daily stress, chasing the almighty dollar can create.
     
    Spoiltdiva, Dec 5, 2016 IP
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  7. jasontn

    jasontn Well-Known Member

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    #7
    People would join and visit regularly if they had something to gain from it. One good strategy might involve throwing a lot of traffic at the forum. In that case, you could charge for a signature link that can be seen by guests like DP does.

    However, you have to prove you have the traffic, and the traffic stays on your forum for a decent or long amount of time. The buyers have to be convinced.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
    jasontn, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  8. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #8
    It really depends on your niche and what already exists for them.

    You are in the UK, right?

    Let's say you wanted to start a football forum - people are really passionate about the sport but I'd guess that there are already massive forums and social media sites serving them already. You'd have to guarantee that top players were on the forum, or top referrees and that you weren't a fan site but a site for players helping with technical stuff like how to get over injuries, what strategies to use when you have a particular problem.

    Now, say you had a forum on national trust properties. There's probably an official website and facebook page but there's not likely to be much else (I haven't checked). If your mates were art historians who could direct people to the right property to see particular pieces or who could describe why a room was laid out a particular way etc then you'd probably have a good chance of having a really interesting forum.

    I'm guessing your forum is about something else but hopefully you're closer to the latter - less competition, more expertise - than the former.
     
    sarahk, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  9. scott2342

    scott2342 Active Member

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    #9
    Hi @sarahk Thanks for your reply! Yes I believe that our site does not have a massive amount of competition. I started the site because of this, It does seem a bit of broad topic when you look at it but there isn't anyone out there that dominates this area. I think I'll take your advice and try and get some real experts in their field which relates to my sites topics to help contribute and help people when they post to the forum. I guess I would have to pay these members as it would be difficult to find someone who will be happy to do it for free :) Thanks again!
     
    scott2342, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  10. jasontn

    jasontn Well-Known Member

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    #10
    DigitalPoint has around 1,500 people online now and the signature that can be seen by guests is 25 dollars a month, so if you could get say 500 a day at the very least, you could possibly charge 8 dollars a month per signature link.

    However, the cost of advertising to get the clicks might cause you to raise to a higher price than what is mentioned. Via pay-per-click you might end up paying around 1 dollar a visitor.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
    jasontn, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  11. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #11
    Not all niches will see value in a signature link and this thread is about getting members, not monetising the forum.
     
    sarahk, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  12. dcristo

    dcristo Illustrious Member

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    #12
    Hire forum posters to kick things off? But you need to have quality conversations, not just monkeys talking to each other. You need to give new members a reason to join. If it looks like a ghost town then it looks like no one uses the forum and they will hit the back button. Slowly but surely you will begin getting more repeat traffic from regular forumers, and more search engine traffic which will help you to attract new members.
     
    dcristo, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  13. scott2342

    scott2342 Active Member

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    #13
    @sarahk Sorry I am from the UK btw yes :p

    @jasontn Yes I would be interested in a forum signature from Digitalpoint but as @sarahk said this is about just getting members at the moment. I do think a signature would serve my niche quite well though. I am also looking into digitalpoint banner ads. I think I'm going to try and range of advertising methods and see what converts the best, what do you think (anyone)? If you lot would be willing to weigh in on which you'd think would work best I'd be happy to list the advertising methods I'm looking at trying out :)

    @dcristo Hey! Yes I'm currently hiring some now to get it looking more alive and get some content on there. What would you class as quality conversations? I'm trying to create posts that people would benefit from by viewing not just the "Hi"...."Hello"...."How're you" etc, A little basic but you get my drift. Basically questions that people might actually want to ask.

    Thanks for all replies.
     
    scott2342, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  14. scott2342

    scott2342 Active Member

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    #14
    Also I know this is beginning to become quite clustered with questions but do any of you believe the launching of your site is vital? I mean like the lead up to launching it. I've read a lot online about how you're missing out if you don't launch your site properly. Personally I was thinking about making it live but not advertising it for the first month just get the finishing touches done, tewaks and forum content etc. I don't think I have the budget to get interest in a site launch, especially the type where people would actually remember to come back. I guess you could start getting Facebook likes on your page and twitter followers before you launch so when it does you can post and hopefully have users straight to it. But then you run the risk of them not bothering liking and missing the first potential visit as it isn't launched yet.

    Let me know what you all think :)
     
    scott2342, Dec 5, 2016 IP
  15. dcristo

    dcristo Illustrious Member

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    #15
    Personally I think timing is vital. The forum communities that I have done well with were in new and emerging markets. It is not to say you can't do well in established markets, they are proven after all, it's just so much more difficult getting exposure in the SERPs when you're in a crowded marketplace with lots of established forums which rank well and that people already frequent. It is difficult getting people to change their habits.
     
    dcristo, Dec 5, 2016 IP
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  16. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #16
    @scott2342 so much depends on the niche.

    If after all this we discover that your forum is just another me-too gossip, webmaster or car forum then a "launch" will only be noticed if you have some serious oomph behind it - either ad budget or important people and even then you're probably pushing shit uphill with a rake.

    If the niche is something that people only need once or twice - like Windows 10 help - then a launch will help get you noticed but you need an amazing strategy to get your experts to return to help the flow of newbies.

    If the niche is something where there is actually a community - dog breeders, say - then you're up against social media if all people are going to do is chat about the status quo or maybe find studs, puppy buyers.
     
    sarahk, Dec 5, 2016 IP
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  17. dcristo

    dcristo Illustrious Member

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    #17
    Yep, you're on the right track. Which is why you want knowledgeable people posting. They know the questions new members would be asking.
     
    dcristo, Dec 5, 2016 IP
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  18. matt_62

    matt_62 Prominent Member

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    #18
    Alot of really good answers here but you need to realise the challenge you are in for. Starting a normal site is "easy". You have 100% direct control over all of the content, and either create all the content, or hire people to assist making the content. You then promote the site so others can view your content. I would hope that you have experience in making a "normal" site successful. If not, you are likely in for a world of pain if your first site is a forum.

    Forums are one of the hardest types of websites to run successfully. They rely on others to create the content. You then need to play cat and mouse with any spammers, and police the content for anything that could negatively impact your site.

    Getting people to come, getting them to signup, and getting them to start posting for you, and creating content for you is a task that many fail at. Would you have joined Digitalpoint if there were no members and no content? Likewise, hard to promote an empty forum.
    You need content, you need quality content, you need people to post answers, you need visitors to think your posters are smart and can answer and solve their issues so that visitors can signup and ask questions.
    In essence, you basically need content and members before you can get content and members....

    It is good that you and a few friends will be available "24/7". However, if you and your friends cannot be online 24/7, 7 days a week, consider recruiting other moderators to help share the responsibility so that it does not get overrun with spammers. Try to think what you can offer to moderators to entice them to work for free.

    Some people use postloop -> which is a way of paying people to post on your forum. This means that you actively pay people to be active on your forum. Like if you have 20 paid forum members, you *might* find it easier to gain a few natural forum members, hopefully, you might end up with more natural members then paid members... and you can then stop paying.

    If you cannot create some good articles yourself, be sure to have friends, or even hire some content writers from here to write a few threads. Once you have a few members and content worth reading, you need to advertise and promote it.
    Expect to spend alot of money before you see anything back.

    I will be honest. I have seen others here start forums. They used postloop, and other things. I have never seen one successful, I have seen people pour in alot of funds, and still fail. I have seen people start forums, and 6 months later sell their license for next to nothing....
    Starting a forum really is hard work, and you need to be prepared to be in it for the long haul. Do not expect to be rich within 1 month or 2. BUT be sure to come back and rub it in my face if you are successful.

    No idea where that analogy came from... but yes, this perfectly describes what it is like to start a forum.
     
    matt_62, Dec 5, 2016 IP
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  19. dcristo

    dcristo Illustrious Member

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    #19
    Some of my most successful sites were forums. Persistence is key. They require a lot of work to get off the ground. Most people start forums in niches they know nothing about simply because they think it will be easy to make money.
     
    dcristo, Dec 5, 2016 IP
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  20. Agent000

    Agent000 Prominent Member

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    #20
    Here is my approach:
    The 90-9-1 rule states that in a social community, 90% are lurkers, 9% contribute a bit and 1% contribute a lot.
    1. How can I increase the numbers in the 90% that are lurkers and convert them into the 9% group?
    2. How can I increase the numbers in the 9% that contribute a bit and convert them into the 1% group?
    3. How can I increase the numbers in the 1% that contribute a lot and keep them in the 1% group?
    Think hard about the strategies need in all 3.
    SEO/advertising will only get you (1)
     
    Agent000, Dec 5, 2016 IP
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