Increase Your Business with Online Business Forums

October 27th, 2009 by | Print

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I must admit, that I shared this story on two other business networks that I participate in – so I apologize if you have seen this one before. However, I am choosing to post it here, too, for a few different reasons.

 

First, the story of this post represents what is possible for growing your business when participating in online forums – specifically in a helpful manner (as compared to the posters that simply pitch their products and move on).

 

Second, I recently started an online business forum, LCO Business Network, with the partners at La Comunidad Online that I want to make you aware of in the event that you are interested in joining.

 

Third, I decided to include it in case you had not seen it before. I hope that you find the post not only helpful, but inspiring for building your business by assisting other entrepreneurs build theirs, too.

 

Now on with the story.

 

Business forums have two types of participants:

 

1. Solution Seekers – Up and coming entrepreneurs and business owners seeking solutions to launch their business idea or improve their current operation.

 

2. Solution Providers – Professionals with a bottom-line goal of gaining visibility for their businesses and capturing new customers.

 

The purpose of my story is to address the latter population.

 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I participate in online business forums. It amazes me to see the posts by the shameless self-promoters on these forums that apparently think they accomplish something positive by throwing up a post similar to, “I have the latest, greatest gizmo that you can’t live without – and you can’t live without it because I say that it is the latest and greatest”. Some posters even include this type of message in a thread that isn’t related to the product or service that they’re pitching.

 

From the response that I get from community members and readers, combined with the lack of views that these posts receive and the absence of responses to the initial thread, I have a hard time believing that shameless self-promotion pays off. If they achieve anything, chances are high that that they are irritating other participants, creating a negative reaction for the poster’s business.

 

I guess that some practice this tactic because they believe that there isn’t a payoff for giving away free business advice. This is a huge mistake. Let me enlighten you to the flipside of unjustified self-promotion, and as a result, you will significantly increase your chances of accomplishing your goal for gaining visibility for your business and capturing new customers.

 

In all of my posts on forums, I sincerely try hard to address the problem at hand. I may not always give the ultimate answer for the immediate situation, but I provide something of value that both the solution seeker and other readers can think about and apply to their businesses.

 

Here are just four amazing results that I get from giving:

 

1. I receive a significant percentage of traffic to my site from people clicking through after reading my posts and referrals from other forum members.

 

2. I have other members recommend me in their posts. It is far more effective to have others promote you than it is to self-promote.

 

3. I receive inquiries from other quality members in online forums resulting in excellent joint venture programs. For example, as I have mentioned in previous post here, I connected with La Comunidad Online, establishing a relationship to be their sole partner for a new PR program as well as the LCO Business Network for creating a bilingual (English / Spanish) business forum free of spam and shameless self-promoters.

 

4. And last, but not least, I earned customers from forums because they believed in the strength of the advice that I provided and the selfless manner in which I provided it.

 

So if you aren’t currently participating in online business forums and you are a B2B business, I highly recommend that you get started. And when you do, take a serious second to think about whether you are shamelessly self-promoting or providing valuable, relevant insight.

 

I can guarantee you from my own results that the payoff for selfless advice far outweighs simply pushing your own products if they don’t have merit for the discussion thread.

 

All The Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide

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