Forum Marketing for Mediators
Generally, mediators are known for creating a forum for exchanging interests and ideas. But, what if we just got known in forums instead. (ok, bad pun- just trying to be funny)
What is a Forum?
Let's start with the basics. A forum is an online discussion space where members exchange ideas publicly. There is a forum for very conceivable idea, cause, problem, or thing. It's almost frightening how many there are and how much communication happens across these internet gabfests.
Drip Irrigation Style Marketing
Forums are an ideal marketing vehicle for shy mediators. Why? There are several compelling reasons why forum marketing works for dispute resolution professionals. Mediators can:
- study a forum to learn it's 'pain points' and key resources
- educate the forum by offering relevant links and articles
- answer questions to increase credibility and expert status
- enable potential clients or referral sources to become acquainted with you and build trust
- capture ideas for desired products and create passive income
You can do all this mediation marketing without ever leaving your house, giving a sales pitch or breaking a sweat! Nifty, huh. I know of some coaches who fill their practices simply by being an active, valued participant in a small number of forums. It's a great way to reach people. (Quick story: when my husband, Peter, and I were doing research for our romance book we got over 400 replies to our survey by partnering with various forums. )
It takes time and consistent effort to build rapport that leads to new business, which is why I call it drip irrigation marketing, but those efforts will be well rewarded. There's nothing better than having a 'champion' singing your praises to attract potential clients.
5 Tips for Successful Forum Marketers
- Lurk first
Read archived posts and the most recent posts before posting yourself. Get a sense of the group's style and level of communication so you can more easily fit in.
You wouldn't burst into someone's house and interrupt the conversation, would you? Make a point of introducing yourself to the moderator (if the forum has someone who monitors posts) and to the group before dropping any pearls of wisdom.
Give and Give More
Share your knowledge and resources generously with the forum. Be selective; contribute when you can offer something truly useful or unique to the discussion. Readers who appreciate your contributions just might decide to help you grow your business by referring others to you or your products.
Put your Sig Line to Work
The best place for marketing is in your signature line. Include your name, business name, and website in your signature block. Don't forget to link to a special giveaway on your site to build your mailing list!
Be Involved Yourself
Give someone else in the forum a chance to give back to you. Ask the forum to review a new web page or give you feedback on a new product. You'll get great advice and they will feel more invested in you and your mediation practice.
Forum marketing is a terrific tool that allows you to 'get out there' without the expense or stress of doing public speaking engagements. It's my favorite tactic right after article marketing. I'm considering teaching a class on this topic. If you want to know when, just drop me a note and I'll add you to the announcement list.
Try. Fail. Learn. Grow!
PS. We're adding specific Learning Circles for those interested in workplace, family and other emerging fields at ADRPracticebuilder.com. If you want to meet others in these niches and work on marketing together, attend our monthly Learning Circles.