Hosting a discussion forum on your small business Web site can be a great way to increase traffic and attract customers. This online community can help foster loyalty in your customers and keep them coming back. Forums can also increase page views, which can increase advertising revenue from your site.
As more and more people visit your forum, you will have the opportunity to advertise your products, make personalized recommendations, and learn about your customers. Here are some easy tips to implement your own discussion forum on your site.
First, you will need to either install discussion forum software on your existing Web site, or find a third-party forum hosting site. Small businesses will look more professional if they are hosting their own forum, and you will normally have more control over how your forum looks and functions.
Sometimes heated discussions can degenerate into name-calling, which can reflect badly on your business. If you are concerned about this, discussion forum applications will let you moderate the posts, either by approving each post before it appears on the Web site, or by giving you the ability to delete offensive posts. Learn How to Build an Online Community.
Once you have set up your forum and decided how you want to run it, you are ready to begin publicizing the forum on your Web site. You will need to place the link to your forum in a visible place so that your visitors can easily find it.
You can “seed” the forum by posting information about your products and creating sections where customers can post questions about your products or get help with a product issue. Learn about other Internet Advertising Strategies. After you have set up these areas, monitor your forum frequently to make sure that all of your customer’s questions are being answered.
Support forums are a great way to give your customers a one-on-one answer and will also allow them to meet other people who may be able to assist them. Software companies have benefited greatly by adding support forums to their Web site. Often, many knowledgeable past customers can help your new customers with problems, which can decrease the amount of time you need to spend on support issues.
As your forum grows, customers will begin to feel as though they know you, and they will trust you more. You become more than just a faceless company on the Internet. You become a living, breathing resource that is readily available to your customers. This goes a long way in increasing customer trust and building loyalty.