There are many forms of marketing today, including blogging, articles, email lists etc. but one of the biggest, quickest ways of getting in front of a crowd of people who are in your niche is forums! Forums have been around in many forms since the dawn of the internet, they provide a means of conversation with like-minded people in a community-driven atmosphere of helping one another with problems. If you don't know how they work, let me just tell you a bit about them. First off, you have to find your forum in your niche, the best way to do this is type in subject forums as the keywords (replacing subject with your topic) into a search engine. Once you have found one in the topic you're interested in, with a nice community going on, registration is the next step. Registration is pretty simple, its just a case of filling your details in and perhaps entering a captcha (one of those funny sets of digits and numbers that tell the site that you are not an automated spammer!) You may have to click a link in your email to register the fact that you own the email address you registered with. Usually, there are many sub-forums within the site, i would reccomend finding the one that usually says introduce yourself, and post a brief overview of what you do and a hello to everybody there. I would advise against just registering and posting "buy my product now" or "come to my website" etc. type comments as you'll end up with a flame war - if you dont know what that is please do a search on it as its not a nice thing to happen to you! Get involved in the community, ask questions, post replies and help with any questions that you can - its a giving and recieving type of affair that you will enjoy once you get used to it. Active forums have the advantage of many people in the subject you are interested in, so you can find out some exciting thing in your niche that is very important to you, you can within the forum reply and ask more. Some forums have a specific buy, sell or trade section where you can sell your products, this is the place to be if you want to directly pitch your product. Another way of pitching your product is to enter links to your website in your signature, this is shown directly under each post that you make and is updated automatically - be careful however, some forums dont like this and will ask you to remove them. Some have rules on the size of images or links allowed, please read these before adding it. Some of the more advanced forums that run vbulletin have private messaging which can be great to directly carry out business to people privately on the forum, i've bought many websites and domain names using this - some sites like digital point have itrader which is also a way of showing how trustworthy the user is in terms of buying and selling, similar to the ebay feedback system. One last thing to remember, forums are a great place to communicate rather than a place to pitch-fest - if you really badly want to advertise on a forum, and you cant find any other method, contact the people who run it and ask for banner rates, this is a great way of getting in front of these people, then you have the right to freely talk about your product or service!
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