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Welcome to Above The Fold! Your weekly dose of business development for SMEs.
In today's edition, I'd like to address a rather lesser known, and even lesser executed growth ‘hack’, that'll help you scale your business, regardless of what it is.
This is lesser known and practiced, simply because it's very primitive (thus wrongly perceived as ‘not worth it’), time consuming, and required a healthy amount of patience.
The name of the game is using niche online forums and leveraging their audience to grow your brand and generate leads.
I know, it's a mouthful. But it's very much worth it, and it's been done (and being done) by many business owners, successfully so.
Not to mention that I've been using this method since I started my second online venture (freelancing), and across many years and multiple niches, this has proven its effectiveness, again and again.
Now, I'm too lazy to write all the benefits that niche forums will give you, so I asked ChatGPT to prepare me a list, and I'll be adding my $0.02 along with it. (Can't beat ‘em? Join ‘em. Right?)
Targeted Audience - Niche forum sites cater to specific industries, interests, or topics. By participating in these forums, you can directly engage with a highly targeted audience that shares a common interest or need related to your product or service. This increases the chances of finding potential leads who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
Note : It should be pointed out that most forums are tight communities, and going in, spamming pitches and DMs from day one is NOT advisable.
Expert Positioning - Active participation in niche forums allows you to showcase your expertise in a particular domain. By consistently providing valuable insights, advice, and solutions to forum members' questions or challenges, you can establish yourself as knowledgeable and trustworthy industry experts. This enhances your brand reputation and increases the likelihood of generating quality leads. Not to mention the SEO value of all those threads.
Relationship Building - Niche forum sites often foster a sense of community, where members actively engage in discussions, share experiences, and seek advice from one another. By actively participating in these forums, you can build relationships with potential leads and establish rapport over time. Building genuine connections and trust increases the chances of converting these relationships into long-term customers or valuable business partnerships.
Note: These relationships may work in many different ways, including joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions, business deals, expansions, and many other possibilities. Don't discount this.
Direct Interaction - Forum sites provide a platform for direct and interactive communication with potential leads. You can engage in discussions, ask questions, provide answers, and respond to queries, allowing you to understand the pain points, needs, and preferences of your target audience. This firsthand knowledge enables you to tailor your marketing strategies, products, or services to better meet the requirements of your potential leads.
Brand Visibility and Awareness - Regular participation in niche forums allows you to increase your brand visibility within a specific community or industry. By consistently contributing valuable content and actively engaging with other members, you can gain recognition and establish brand awareness among your target audience. This increased visibility helps in lead generation by driving organic traffic to the your website or attracting inquiries about your products or services.
Referral Opportunities - Niche forum sites often act as referral networks, where members recommend or refer others to specific products or services based on their experiences or needs. By actively participating and providing value in these forums, you increase the likelihood of receiving referrals from satisfied customers or forum members who trust your expertise. These referrals can turn into high-quality leads with a higher conversion rate.
Competitive Advantage - Niche forums provide valuable insights into industry trends, challenges, and customer preferences. By actively monitoring discussions and engaging in conversations, you can gain a competitive advantage by staying updated on the latest industry developments, understanding competitors' strategies, and identifying potential gaps in the market. This knowledge can be leveraged to fine-tune lead generation approaches and differentiate you from your competitors.
See? It can be very lucrative. I know many six-figure businesses that were solely built on a couple of forums and nothing else.
Now, like I mentioned before, this requires your to be patient, and think for the long term, with a little bit of tactical thinking.
Find what the top 3 forums for your niche. Pick one (use their rules, requirements, and other ‘bylaws’ to determine a right fit for you) and start producing content. In my experience, Q&As are the best, because not a lot of people will want to read through a lengthy article. Especially from a new user.
It's that simple, but you need to have the discipline and patience to continue this for a decent time period, before you see any results.
Till next week.
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