It IS possible to generate massive amounts of traffic for FREE.
But it does take time.
Anyone who wants to generate traffic for free can do so through engaging the online community. They can do it by sitting down and actually spending time online. They can do it by interacting with people via a variety of online platforms.
The key is to invest time and effort. When this is done, the free traffic that is generated can be a game-changer.
Plus, when done right, free traffic is more sustainable and long-lasting than paid traffic. Why? Because time and effort has been spent cultivating relationships in a casual online setting. Friendships and trust have developed with no strings and no pressure.
And that is more likely to turn followers into customers in the long-run.
The Secret To Lasting Free Traffic
Like I said above, generating free traffic is all about fostering a relationship with people.
It’s a way to develop rapport and a reputation. This reputation is one of being an expert in the niche, of being personable, and of being honest and trustworthy. It’s about building a name for yourself.
But there is more to it than just rapport and reputation. When generating free traffic, it’s about giving real value to people.
Most often, people think of social media when they think of generating free traffic.
But Community Engagement Platforms are a powerful vehicle to accomplish this goal. Otherwise known as forums, there are so many variations that it is easy to find the right ones to get involved in.
And really, forums have always been a fundamental part of the internet.
Forums & The Rise Of Community Engagement
Human beings are social creatures.
We NEED to engage in community with others. So, when the internet became a mainstay in our society, people began gathering there—in droves. Where did they gather?
The original online gathering places were forums!
For two decades, forums have been incredibly popular platforms for people to meet and talk about common interests online. Users develop relationships and even friendships with each other. Sometimes, these friendships span years.
From the earliest days, these online discussion sites have covered every topic imaginable—think music, fitness, internet marketing, Pokemon, etc. No matter the niche, it is easy to find forums of interest and post messages, ask questions, and participate in discussions.
In fact, forums were once the most active places on the internet.
Not only that, but it was through being active on forums that I first learned about internet marketing. Seriously, the engagement on forums makes it easy to engage people, help people, create a name for yourself and put an offer in front of the ideal customer.
Of course, forums today are not quite like they were. They have evolved…
And I call the new wave of forums Community Engagement Platforms.
The Best Community Engagement Platforms
Community Engagement Platforms come in all shapes and sizes. The traditional forum is still there, but there are other platforms that are very similar and just as effective.
Let’s take a look at each of these…
The traditional forum is still out there and going strong.
There are forums for every niche and sub-niche known to humanity. And as I mentioned, forums have been a huge part of the internet since its earliest days.
Forums have a very simple structure. In every forum, there are “threads.” These are posts that one user starts and everyone can comment on. These threads exist on every sub-topic in a niche. Members of the forum can start a new thread in order to ask a question, pass on information, or get a stimulating discussion going.
Forums are places where people are passionate and hungry for knowledge on certain topics. Even though many people primarily use social media like Facebook, some forums are still as popular as ever.
To get involved in forums in your niche, do a search. It is easy to find forums to join. For example, if the natural health niche is the target, search for “Natural Health forum.” There are always popular forums to get involved in. Here are some examples:
- com is an active forum in the fitness niche.
- Warrior Forum is a HUGE forum for internet marketing.
- net is one of the top forums in the prepper and survivalist niche.
Just find an active forum and get involved. Do NOT try to sell people. Do NOT come on hard to gain their trust and get their attention. Just enjoy participating, starting discussions and build some credibility. The rest will fall into place.
Quora is a very unique platform. It is an amazing blend of social media and a forum that really brings people together and provides tremendous value.
Quora is a fantastic place to find answers to any question imaginable.
Essentially, people ask questions on Quora and it is open to be answered by anyone. This is IDEAL for anyone trying to drive traffic.
Any topic can be discussed in detail. This allows user to really drill down and have an in-depth discussion. And getting involved in those discussions can really boost visibility and credibility. A regular user can easily become established as an expert and gain people’s trust.
Plus, using Quora is so easy. Just get on it and search for relevant questions. It’s also wise to follow active people in your niche.
And finding and answering questions related to one of your blog posts or free eBooks or reports is simple and effective. Just answer the question with great information and link to your blog post of free report at the end.
Quora allows you to provide excellent responses while linking to your own relevant content.
Yes, Quora has improved on the Yahoo! Answers model. But Yahoo! Answers is still incredibly useful. In fact, it is the original question and answer forum. And Yahoo! itself has been around a long time.
Yahoo! Answers has a points system for answers. The better the answer, the more points awarded. Plus, people who give the best answers can be featured in the Yahoo! blog. Talk about great exposure and credibility building!
Again, as with Quora, the idea is to search for questions related to your blog of free offers. Then answer the questions and link to your content. And the best part is, any answers provided on Quora can be copied and pasted right into Yahoo! Answers, saving valuable time.
Reddit is very popular. People spend a LOT of time on Reddit.
And Reddit is set up in a unique way. It is a massive forum that is made up of subtopics known as Subreddits. Each Subreddit is connected to a certain niche. And a single niche can have multiple Subreddits.
There are Subreddits on everything imaginable!
Anyone and everyone can find something of interest on Reddit. And this makes it a very valuable forum for internet marketers. Simply find Subreddits in your niche and get active. Create Subreddits.
Just be sure to get a feel for Reddit and any Subreddit you engage in. Each Subreddit has a unique feel. Some can be very sarcastic, witty, and use niche-specific slang. Others can be more proper and structured in their participation.
But beware. Reddit users are smart. They will spot a sales pitch before it is made and they can be especially harsh with spammers. So, tread lightly and simply engage as a fellow user. Only link to relevant content that people in that Subreddit would like.
As long as you share the same mindset and interests as the majority of Reddit users, you can build massive credibility and drive a lot of traffic.
It takes time to build a reputation on Reddit. But it pays off so well when you immerse yourself in the community.
Yes, Facebook has forums—in the form of Facebook groups.
That is essentially what Facebook groups are—forums. They offer people with similar interests a platform to get together and talk with each other.
And since people spend so much time on Facebook, this is truly a goldmine. Seriously, Facebook is HUGE. Zephoria reports that there are more the 2 billion Facebook users and that the average user spends 20 minutes a day on Facebook.
When a Facebook user belongs to a group, they get notifications every time a post is made. This means there is greater visibility for anyone posting in a Facebook group. The key is to join niche-related Facebook Groups and get active.
And best of all, anyone can start a Facebook group in any niche they want. This is a great way to build credibility and establish yourself as an expert.
And now, having talked about these great Community Engagement Platforms, it’s important to know this is just the beginning. It’s not enough just to join these communities. There are certain steps that must be taken to ensure tons of traffic is driven through these forums.
Follow these five steps and the traffic WILL begin to flow…
5 Steps To Drive Tons Of Traffic Through Community Forums
Just joining a forum is NOT enough.
It’s only the first step in a journey that has the potential to drive significant traffic. The key to driving traffic through community forums is to genuinely become part of the community. And this can be done by following these steps…
1. Get Active
To drive substantial amounts of traffic from community forums, the key is to be fully active.
And being active on a forum is what it’s all about!
The first step in becoming active is to build a complete profile. This profile needs to be genuine. Include a photo. Write a thoughtful bio that includes relevant skills and experience. Be honest about who you are and what you have to offer the community.
It’s also critical to get a feel for the community.
Learn how other members of the forum interact with each other. Learn the tone of the conversations. Is it more professional or casual? Do people use a lot of humor? Do they chum around with each other or provide very detailed information about topics being discussed?
Once the profile is set up and the feel of the community has been established, it’s time to engage. Read the threads. Comment when there is something relevant and useful to say. Start threads when there is a need.
Over time, the people on the forum will get to know you. This will go a long way to building trust and credibility.
But keep in mind that every post must deliver…
2. Value First
Provide value first and foremost!
Nothing else matters! No one is going to click on any links posted if they don’t feel the information that is posted is valuable. That means that every response and comment, every bit of information shared MUST be of value. It must be relevant. It must be thoughtful. The more value provided, the better.
And above all else—BE YOURSELF!
Be authentic in everything you contribute. Have a unique voice and message that makes it possible to stand out from the crowd. Otherwise, yours will be just another voice lost in a sea of voices.
The more engagement and the more value provided, the more credibility grows.
So, join the community with the aim of being part of it—NOT with the goal of driving traffic. In the end, the traffic WILL come.
3. Be Consistent
I cannot begin to express the importance of consistency when engaging in forums.
Consistency is key!
Post regularly and build on those posts over time. Being active every single day is critical for success. It might seem like a lot of commitment to post every day, but it doesn’t have to take up much time. Spend 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. Post comments and provide advice. Answer questions and start a thread.
But that commitment is NEEDED for success!
When this is done consistently, after a few months—definitely a year or two—there will be a following of loyal customers. I know this might seem like a long time. But considering these customers were gained at no cost and are incredibly loyal, it’s worth the time and effort.
4. Utilize Links
Links are your best friend on community forums.
Yes, the posts might just contain information. No direct selling is happening. But including a link in your post is a subtle way of pointing people in the right direction.
Use links wherever you can!
Link to your website in your bio, signature (most forums have signatures), and in any relevant posts. Just be sure to know the rules for links with each platform. Some platforms don’t allow affiliate links. Some don’t allow links to Amazon products.
For example, Quora doesn’t allow an answer to be written only to sell something or just for the purpose of linking somewhere. The answer provided must be coherent in order to be approved. This ensures Quora maintains its reputation as a great place to get answers. So, if great information is provided, then it is acceptable to include a relevant link at the end.
Another option for links is to link to a relevant piece of content. Say there is a question that your blog has answered in the past. Provide a short answer, then link to that blog post if the reader wants to find out more.
The whole idea is to use links to get people into your funnel. Never try to sell people on forums. The attempt will come across as sleazy and ruin credibility.
The forum is for engaging and subtly directing—NOT for selling.
5. Guide People Into Your Funnel
I can promise that if someone comes across as spammy on forums, people WILL see right through it.
If this happens, all credibility goes out the window. Period.
Before this journey into the realm of forums even begins, a clear funnel should be established. It is important to know where the funnel begins and where it will end. Then people can be gently guided into that funnel.
Understand that when first joining the forum, the traffic generated will be cold traffic.
This is just like traffic from paid advertising. They don’t know the brand or the person behind it at all. But the more time spent on forums, the more they get to know you. The traffic shifts to warm and then to hot.
And HOT traffic buys.
To get people into the funnel, link to relevant content that provides value. These links will take people out of the forum and into your territory. The best links will go to a blog post or to a free offer—where the person’s email address will be collected.
For instance, there might be a question on Quora about nutrition. Answer the question (providing value) and include a link to a blog post about nutrition. Alternatively, link to a free offer, such as a report on nutrition.
Once people sign up for the email list, it is possible to take them to the next level of the funnel. And at this point, it is possible to sell them. Offer them a book, course, or coaching service. Start small and work them along the funnel over time.
That really is all there is to it. Just remember to always provide value and avoid selling in the forum and a following of loyal customers will grow.
Yes, it takes time and effort to drive traffic through Community Engagement Platforms. It can take many months of daily contributions to multiple forums.
But this time and effort are truly worth it. The following garnered from it will be very loyal as long as value is provided time and time again. The best Community Engagement Platforms include:
- Yahoo! Answers
- Facebook groups
The traffic that comes from these community forums is already warm or even hot because a relationship has had time to develop. They have come to trust. Credibility has been built. But only if these five steps are followed when posting in these forums:
- Get Active—Create a profile and get to know the vibe of the forum. Then start posting!
- Value First—Always provide value in every word posted. NEVER sell.
- Be Consistent—Post daily to get the best results.
- Utilize Links—Whenever and wherever links are allowed, use them.
- Guide People Into The Funnel—The ultimate goal is to get people into the sales funnel. By using relevant links, as discussed above, people can be brought from the forum onto your turf. This eases them into the lowest level of the funnel.
Really, getting onto community forums and chatting with people is easy and natural. The more it is done, the more a part of the community you’ll become. And the more people’s trust and friendship is earned.
The key is to just be yourself and engage as much as possible.
Driving free traffic CAN be done. There are many ways to do it. To learn more about driving traffic from Community Engagement Platforms and other ways to drive free traffic…
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