11 Ways to Better Market your Biz on Message boards (and reduce flames!)

TDavid explains in depth how to market your site without being too aggressive in your approach. He shows you how the “soft sell” approach works effectively in offline sales as well as online, and much more!

There are literally tons of opportunities across almost every board on a daily basis to market specific products and services and yet not be clearly labeled a spammer and I\’m going to share 11 specific tips in this article. If you want more traffic, better quality traffic, and less webmasters flaming you/your company, then try some or all of these things out.

1) Do not start the very first post you make at a new board with spam. This is not good on any board except for a spam/announcement board where those type of posts are allowed/acceptable. Instead, you should introduce yourself on the main/general boards and not leave your URL, just mention what you do, who you are, your experience if any, and how you came to the board. By all means thoroughly read and follow the rules at the board before submitting your first post.

2) Consider avoiding the use of taglines (also known as signatures) for the first few posts. This shows you are there to check things out and test the waters and not just there on a one time, drive by marketing mission.

3) Be interactive with every post you make, especially in the beginning. This means that if someone/anyone responds to you — positive or negative — then you need to reply back right away. This shows you are responsive and not just cut and pasting things.

4) Avoid at all costs posting identical messages at the same board or different boards. You can probably get away with slight modification on spam/announcement boards, but you cannot do this on the main/general boards. You will at the very minimum have your post removed and likely be torched by one or more board regulars. You should also realize that most webmasters who follow the messageboards tend to read multiple boards, so it\’s almost guaranteed to make a potential business contact groan if they see your name associated with an identical post in multiple places.

5) If you must make a post that is spammy and it leads to a site with webmaster resource buttons or links, then by all means make sure the place that you are posting at has a recip listed too! Very little is worse than seeing spam show up on a webmaster resource board and then the owners / moderator\’s of that board go to the spammed site and see all their competitor\’s banners/buttons and yet not theirs.

6) put up a recip link/button and then post a question about if there are other ways to link services at the webmaster resource site. Those who *ask* before making assumptions always fare better with board moderators and regulars than those who don\’t.

7) Consider writing articles or contributing content of some sort relative to your business. Then when you go to that specific board and there is a relevant post or question, then you can post links to your own articles on that webmaster resource site. It seems a bit bold but it works very effectively and it helps you because you are promoting the webmaster resource as well where you are posting and moderators (and board participants) like that. Almost all articles have links back to the author\’s website so chances are good that you can get traffic from that — and good traffic if your article is well written. As for contributing content, perhaps if you are a designer then maybe you could do buttons or graphics to showcase your work? Some boards allow you to embed images in your post. This can be an effective and yet subtle way to share your artistic talents (and get feedback) and can also open the door to future business.

8) if you have a marketing person, then it is really important to have them stop by webmaster resource boards on a daily basis and comment on the existing \”threads\” of conversation. When there is a business-specific question (and there usually are on numerous boards daily) this marketing person can answer the question with relative links to your website. The rule of thumb here is not to just put up a URL, add a text explanation that does not require going to the URL, but rather makes the URL a supplement to the helpful/useful post itself. This is smart marketing, too.

9) you don\’t *always* have to sell something! I realize that this sounds odd, and perhaps even a bit controversial, but does anybody really like being pitched all the time? Think about it. If all you ever do is work the boards to sell something, then you are missing the point of developing relationships and long term marketing. You wouldn\’t always talk to your friends (or even clients) about buying something from you or you\’d never have any friends (and few clients that wanted to talk to you for any length of time). Business on the messageboards is essentially the same thing, although having a friend relationship with every customer isn\’t always going to happen, nor does it need to. Just don\’t *always* talk business. Comment on things besides your target relative business, but comment most often on subjects directly related to your business or defining who you are and what you do on the web. For example, if you are a designer and people ask questions about how to use Photoshop, then share some of your knowledge.

10) Fill out your profiles! These are free marketing opportunities and some boards like YNOT http://www.ynotmasters.com/wm_directory/profiles/TDavid.html and Adult Netsurprise: http://www.adultnetsurprise.com/view-webmaster/tdavid.html have SE-friendly profiles. Why let a good opportunity for others to find more out about you go to waste? Fill out as much information as you feel comfortable sharing. Most messageboards automatically link your profile with every post you make so again, this is free additional advertising. In fact, register at as many different boards as you can find and put your profile in them all. You just never know who will \”find\” you through these excellent built-in directories.

11) Use the search engine function of the various boards to find relevant business-related posts that you can reply to and position yourself as a \”source\” for a specific area of business. You want webmasters to be able to put your business and you in one to three keywords (and if you do your marketing right, then \”spammer\” will not be one of them). There you go, 11 ways you can better market your business using the various messageboards. I should add that not all boards are equal. Some boards are primarily entertainment-based, some are more business-oriented, some are a blend of the two, some are strictly for a specific niche (like Greenguy\’s Links Messageboard http://www.adultnetsurprise.com/message-board/linkmsgboard/ which helps folks understand why they aren\’t getting listed at some of the major link list sites). And then there are boards where the topic and climate can change from month to month, or perhaps even day to day. Choosing the right board for the right type of marketing is almost as important as how you market on/at them. For example, it wouldn\’t make a whole lot of sense trying to work a board where the primary focus is on marketing gay sites if you only sell straight/heterosexual content. Hopefully some or all of these tips will help out with your messageboard posting and marketing. There are many, many opportunities on the boards and new boards popping up almost daily, with practically all boards vying for new posts from you — the webmaster. Since the board moderators all want quality posts (the posts are the content), and you want more business, it\’s just a matter of making both desires a common goal for a true, mutually beneficial relationship.

TDavid is co-owner, programmer and webmaster for several sites devoted to programming including his own http://www.seotraffichero.com/. He has done custom programming in various programming languages for companies all over the world. Every Friday at 2pm PST you can catch his weekly radio show dedicated to the technical side of webmastering and programming at http://www.scriptschool.com/radio.