We all know that the Internet is a great marketing tool. A
website can be a very profitable means of marketing your product
or service, and advertising on other people's websites can be
very effective as well, but that isn't where the advantages
stop. Business oriented bulletin boards, discussion groups and
chatrooms are all over the web, and while they aren't
traditionally looked upon as marketing tools, they can be a
great way of getting the word out about your business.
1. Bulletin Boards:
Bulletin boards are lists of questions or statements and
responses in your area of interest that can be viewed on the
web, usually in a bulleted list format. Do a search, and then
read through several bulletin boards that might appeal to people
who would buy from your business. Once you're comfortable with
the format, offer a suggestion, give an opinion, or post a
question. Be sure to include your full name at the bottom of
your post along with your web address and a line that gives a
reason for visiting your site. I usually sign my notes:
Kevin Nunley 10,000 marketing tips at http://DrNunley.com
After your posts have appeared regularly for several weeks,
people will begin to see you as someone who is involved and
ready to help, and they'll check out your website. A new
customer is born.
Now, some people say that bulletin boards are declining. Don't
listen to them, though. As people are growing more comfortable
with the web and getting involved with more and more sites, they
simply aren't posting as much. That doesn't mean they aren't
reading. I recently added a brief tip to several discussion
groups that seemed to be a little slow. The results were
actually really great. I tracked a number of people clicking
from the bulletin board to my web site, far more people than had
posted in the days since my original post.
2. Discussion Groups:
Being recognized as an expert in your field can really boost
your sales. When people know you can help their situation with
experience and knowledge, they'll come to you, and they won't
mind paying for whatever you suggest.
One of the Net's best tools to turn yourself into a recognized
expert in your field is discussion groups. These can be UseNet
newsgroups (check with your Internet Service Provider for how to
find them) or they can be discussion groups on web sites. There
are also email discussion groups, sometimes called listservs or
To get started, pick a couple of groups you find interesting.
Join up, but don't post just yet. Hide out for a while and get a
feel for the interests of the group and the tone of the
conversations. See who posts the most and who seems to be the
most respected. Also, see if you can pick out the naysayer, or
the "troll under the bridge," (every group has one it seems) so
you can avoid any hassles.
When you're ready to dive in, pick a question and give a good
solid answer, without a lot of opinion or comment. Make it a
goal to answer a question once or twice each week. Keep your
answer strictly non-commercial but DO include your commercial
signature file at the end sending people to your site and email.
If people respect your answers, you'll find yourself with more
3. Chat Rooms:
Chat rooms are the least formal of these formats. These are
those discussion groups you can get involved in where there is a
scrolling conversation of people commenting back and forth in
real time. They can be very entertaining, and also a great
Before you can start you will have to register with a user name,
and usually a bio. Once again include your url, and email. When
you start chatting, keep a friendly tone and get to know the
people you're talking to. Don't immediately start pushing your
product. You have to use the soft sell approach. People in
general do not like being "sold", especially by someone online
they've never met. Though they can see you in chat rooms, read
your website, view posts on a bulletin board, you will need to
build a reputation with them.
It is important to appear in the chat room at the same time
every day or several days per week. Let visitors know what your
chat room schedule is. If you make a positive contribution to
the discussion and stay on top of what's going on, you can
become the resident expert who visitors and regulars turn to for
information and for business.
So remember, the Internet is a great marketing tool in more ways
than you think. Use bulletin boards, discussion groups and chat
rooms to promote your business. If you just keep your eyes and
mind open, all sorts of opportunities will present themselves.
About the author:
Kevin writes your press release and sends it to 5,000 media
contacts nationwide. Even one story can be worth $1,000s in FREE
advertising. See Kevin's low-cost package at
http://DrNunley.com/. Reach him at email@example.com.