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ilya

Research: doing it right

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The most fundamental step to launching a successful business campaign or developing your first product starts with "research". It's the gap between wasting a month and having your most profitable month ever. This step has been already explained briefly in previous tutorials, however this one will be of more practical use.

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To become an expert in your field, you need to have an audience to expose your skills to. The most direct way of getting in touch with people is by the use of online forums. However there is also social media, YouTube, etc. But the beauty of forums is that they allow us to reach out to an audience very quickly, and simultaneously promote our products and services.

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So this process consists of three steps:

  1. Finding a good, niche relevant, forum.
  2. Providing value, helping other people.
  3. Promoting your own products and/or services.

 

1. How do you find a good forum? Ask my best friend, Google!

google-meme.jpg

You can easily use footprints to find "forums" in a certain niche. Footprints consist of Google's code that tells Google that you want to refine our search results and apply filters. In the list below there are a few examples of search queries you can use in Google. Replace keyword by your niche (eg: fitness).

  • keyword forum
  • keyword inurl:"forum"
  • keyword intitle:"forum"
  • "powered by vbulletin" + keyword

You can create miracles with just these four search queries, so learn using them. These same footprints helped me find dozen forums in various niches which meet my personal criteria (needs, audience, etc.). Here is a list you can already use:

 

2. "So how long should I be active on a forum?" Well as long as you want to be making money. Do not stop once the sales start rolling in, because that's the biggest mistake newbies make. Once you start tasting some success, you will relax and stop doing the necessary work to keep your pipeline full. So keep grinding and posting every day, keep helping people, keep talking to them and keep making new threads with useful content.

3. This part is the last and most important step: selling!

Before you create an account (step #1), make sure the forum allows you to add a signature text, and preferably allows you to link to your website from your signature. Because if you cannot do this, you won't be making money off that forum. Unless that forum has a "marketplace" where you can post and promote your own products, but in 99% of the cases it won't have that. So our most crucial part of picking a forum is to have a signature. It's our "free" banner space. And by posting a lot of content, and providing a lot of value on the forum (step #2) you will gain authority/reputation, people will start trusting you and buying from you. Even better if the forum allows you to add an image in your signature space, this is the ideal situation.

How do I know if a forum is good or not?

  1. Take a look at the most recent threads/post: do other people have signatures?
  2. Do some signatures contain links to their (external) website?
  3. Do some signatures contain images?
  4. (Product ideas) If you're still not sure of your product, take a look at what other people are promoting on their websites. And if you can find a forum where people are promoting some kind of product or service, then it's an indication that the forum is good. In most cases a little bit of competition is very good, it's only means that the people are buying! So do not feel as if "you won't make it", it's the very opposite.
  5. Check if there is a marketplace, or if you are allowed to create threads to promote your own products/services (99% of the forums won't have this, but if yours does then it's good).
  6. Do the people with signature have between 1 and 200 posts? The reason why this is important, because on some forums only the very VIP members are allowed to have signatures, but if you see regular members (< 200 posts) promote something in their signature, then it's an indication that you can as well.
  7. Check the amount of registered users on that forum.Here's an example of what I mean, this screenshot belongs to one of the sites in the list above.forum-stats.png
  8. Make sure the forum has daily activity of modest means. If there is only one new thread per day in a certain category, then the forum is considered "dead". Make sure at least 10-20 new threads are started every day. You can check the date when someone replied to a certain thread and how often people reply on a daily basis. If the forum is dead, then leave it as is. There is no money to be made from "dead forums".
  9. And finally, make sure you don't overload yourself. Don't pick 10 forums, but start with just one or two. And if it takes you more than three months to start promoting your product (due to forum's policy/rules/...) then don't bother with it, that's way too long. Try to find a forum that's very flexible and doesn't have too many "strict" rules. Unless that forum is very desirable and has a lot of potential, then it's wise to invest your time and resources to make the best of it.

Extra: the IM niche

More than 60% of you will target a business/online marketing niche. So here's a list of the best IM forums. Most of these will have a marketplace and will allow you to add a signature, but some features will come at a price of course.

If you have a forum to add to the list, leave it in the comments or contact me personally and I'll it.

Question:

Quote

Hi Healzer,

Any views on giving away a sample chapter or, seems to be a movement at the moment, of offering a free couple to randomly selected emails?

Seems to be a quick way of building a list, starting engagement and creating a bit of a buzz around a product.

I am involved as an Amazon Associate, but am looking at diversifying from early 2016 so any tips etc will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Phil

Hi Phil,
Free incentives are always a great strategy. We all love to get quality free stuff.
The keyword is "quality". It's better to give away something small, but worthwhile; than 25 pages of crap.

Hope this makes sense :)

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