Tag : drive revenue

Winning at Affiliate Survivor

affiliate survivalSometimes being an affiliate can be like participating in Survivor. To win you have to need to outwit, outlast, and outplay your competitors.

There’s a reason the show Survivor has endured on TV for 36 seasons. The premise is very simple. However, it plays out with unexpected twists and turns each time as the mix of various personalities navigate a social experiment with many factors out of their control. Participants surely understand the basics. Many are even super-fans or devoted students of the game. But crucial to the competition are adaptability and savvy in all facets of the game.

And while there’s no getting voted off the affiliate island, consumers do “vote”with their wallets. That means affiliates must be able to deftly navigate a myriad of areas including social, content, brand building, SEO, business planning and more. Faltering in any of those areas might extinguish your affiliate aspirations. Game over.

Outwit

Have a Plan – You’ve got to have a plan and execute on it. It’s inevitable  that things change – and rapidly. You’ll need to adapt and be flexible. But without a solid plan going in or an evolving plan, you’re not going to be able to move forward.You should review your business plans every 6 months and update as necessary.

Go Deep – Going a mile wide and an inch deep, isn’t going to get you to success. Instead think about doing the opposite. By focusing on a very specific niche and taking deeper dive into that specific market, you’ll be able to better serve the needs of the audience. It’s a more effective tactic to have a small, extremely loyal user base. , than a huge base that isn’t invented in what you are promoting. Maybe as a travel affiliate your niche is Las Vegas or vacationing families or roadtrippers or foodies.

Outplay

Leverage Content – One way to outplay rivals is to create content they can’t compete with. Because affiliates are often smaller companies they are more nimble than the brands they promote. This enables them to innovate more quickly. That’s true of leveraging content marketing as well. Creating unique, compelling content that has a laser focus on the target market, can be done very quickly by affiliates. And by using analytics it’s simple to see what resonates with the audience and what converts.

Be a Trendsetter – Get in front of breakout and seasonal trends. If you’re planning in advance it’s easier to see in July what might be hot for the holidays. There are also more seasonal events emerging – like Spring Break. Always be on the lookout for new trends in pop culture, art, among celebrities, etc. Often trends from other areas can be easily translated (with a bit of creativity) to specific niches. It might be a color that is hot, a style of decor or a something in fashion. For example if you’re a travel affiliate, you could leverage a return to nostalgia. More people are looking for experience getaways that recreate their childhood – like renting an RV and visiting all the National Parks or taking in baseball games at several major league parks.

Get Creative with Content – Think beyond the blog. Posts are great for some content. But think about mixing it up. You can use quizzes, infographics, video, reviews, user generated content. unusual content formats for recommending products and more. Variety keeps regular visitors interested. It also adds interest and can help with search rankings. Check out more ways to get creative with your content.

Outlast

Build a Brand – Consider what you’re doing to develop the brand of your affiliate website. That’s because brand building comes with many benefits. They include recognition, loyalty, a perception of size and quality, and the perception of experience and reliability.  These combine to provide a significant comfort level for potential customers. Establishing overall trust helps shoppers eventually become repeat customers, which can increase average order value and lifetime customer value – all important success metrics.

Think Recurring Revenue – With affiliate marketing, there is no assurance that your current strategy will work in a month. It could be Google updating their ranking algorithm, your favorite affiliate program shutting down, or media buying costs increasing. It’s wise to mitigate against the possibility of major changes.

Diversify Revenue –  Don’t rely on a single traffic source or a single monetization method. Affiliate, pay-per-click, sponsorships, paid placements all help your affiliate business from being vulnerable to one source of making money.

Look for New Promotional Opportunities – There may be some brands that perform well for your affiliate sites, but consider also joining new programs. Don’t get stuck in what’s working now. But you may be overlooking other programs to help increase your affiliate revenue and work well with in your niche.

Take Advantage of Tech Trends – Staying on top of what’s hot in tech can put you ahead of the competition. Whether it’s AI, chatbots, new mobile tech, blockchain and cryptocurrency developments or whatever else is coming down the pike, it’s always an advantage to be thinking about how developments might impact your business. Or better yet, how you can leverage that tech to make more money.

Careful consideration of all these areas can help make you the ultimate affiliate survivor with a sustainable, successful business.

Get Started Promoting New Affiliate Programs – Part 2

getting started new affiliate programIn the previous post we looked at helping you get motivated to begin promoting an affiliate  program after you’ve signed up. In Part 2 , we want to offer some tips that will help immediately kick off your promotional efforts.

Here are 10 ways to jumpstart your affiliate promotions of a new program:

1. Put up the Creative

Ask the affiliate program manager for the best-converting creative. They know what works best to drive sales and conversions and will be happy to share it with you. This means you’ll hit the ground running. If you do nothing else (and we don’t recommend that option) this is the single most important step to getting started.

2. Create a Landing Page

Having a dedicated landing page for a product or service sets up a clear action for users to take. And makes it as easy as possible for them to take that action. You can feature the product on your home page or in a category from the home page. But a landing page might be useful if you have several pieces of information about a single product or service (such as blog posts, reviews, in-depth descriptions or specs).  Additionally, when you link a landing page to a specific campaign, piece of content, action, or source, you can see which channels are bringing in the most leads. You can also determine , which topics and offerings are of most interest, or which campaigns are the highest performing. This generates valuable insights that can help refine your knowledge of your target audience and your campaign strategies, and improve your overall effectiveness. Of course, you can also simply link to the merchant’s landing page. 

3. Write a Blog Post

At the very least write one blog post. It gets the ball rolling for the content to be found when consumers are searching. Link the post to the product landing page. Having unique content helps you with search and give consumers the feeling that you care about what you are promoting and not just bombarding them with offers to buy. (In future posts we’ll cover easy and creative ways to generate compelling, unique content on a consistent basis).

4. Do a Review

People are far more likely to give credence to a product or service when there is a review. The more personal, the better. Generic reviews that are glowing don’t always do the trick to drive conversions. Consumers are often skeptical of reviews that are too positive. So, strive for balance and honesty based on your experience. Also, be sure to tag the review (whether it’s a blog post, video, or user-generated reviews) as a review. People often search for the name of something + review. This will also help you get noticed in the search rankings.

5. Make a Video

If you are promoting offers for a product that you can show or demonstrate – make a a video. Or do an unboxing video. Video is a an effective and powerful way to show off a product. It also will get people to spend time on your site. If the offers are for a service or something that doesn’t lend itself to being demonstrated, you can still do  video. but you’ll need to get creative. For example: you can use software to weave together still images of a hotel or destination you re promoting. Overlaying text on the images can make it more unique. Your audience will still have the visual experience even if it’s not “live” moving images.

6. Celebrate a Holiday

We’re not talking about just leveraging the big/obvious ones like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. There are plenty of other days that you can use as a hook to tie into promotions. There are calendars that show offbeat and funny holidays (think Golfer’s Day, International Museum Day, National Wine Day, National Dog Day, and more).  You can use these as a jumping off point to create interest and excitement For example: if you’re promoting a hotel, or a travel destination, and it’s Golfer’s Day, you could promote the idea that the hotel brand has many locations close to great golf courses. Or for National Dog Day, you might highlight that the brand has pet friendly policies. Earth day – showcase elements that show he brand is eco-friendly.

7. Get Social

Don’’t be shy about spreading the news across your social media. One of the most effective ways to drive people to specific landing pages or pieces of content is to promote those offers to your followers. Use consistent branding and links across all platform, but tailor each message to the audience on the specific social outlet.

8. Boost a Post

If you have an offer, content or something that you’ve promoted on social media and you feel that it’s simply not getting the attention it deserves – boost the post. It’s often just a few dollars to boost a post on a social media platform. On Facebook the cost an be as little as $10. This enables you to see how these offers perform and if it’s worth it to purchase an ad on that platform in the future.

9. Leverage your Newsletter/Email List

If you’ve recently signed up with a program, let those that have opted into your email list or newsletter know. You can send them an email with the new offers. Including any new promotions in your newsletter is also a great idea. Highlight new programs offers as “Hot Deals”. Think about maybe even offering special or exclusive deals to your newsletters subscribers. Be sure to include offer links that go directly to your landing page.

10. Pin It!

If you already have a Pinterest account, add a board that specifically focuses on whatever you’re promoting from the newest program you’ve joined. Pinterest is a good way to visual promote offers. And remember that Pinterest is often aspirational. So, if you’re promoting travel and destinations, use compelling images that evoke emotions.

Good luck with promoting the new program you’ve joined. And, as always, reach out to  the affiliate program manager if you have any questions. Chateau 20 loves to help affiliates be productive and successful.

Read Get Started Promoting New Affiliate Programs – Part 1

Promoting Spring Break is Big for Affiliates

travel affiliates spring breakIf you’re a travel affiliate you know that seasonality can definitely impact your business. But affiliates promoting travel-related offers now have a new season to look forward to  – Spring Break.

Over the last few years, Spring break has officially become its own seasonal occurrence and promoting it can be big business. IBISWorld estimates that Spring Breakers spent $1.8 billion in 2017, boosting revenue for travel and hospitality industries in the United States.

Of late, consumers are more focused on taking a break and getting away than searching for a specific destination. In the past Spring Break has primarily been associated with rowdy college kids partying in warm climate locations such as Daytona Beach, Florida and Cancun, Mexico.

Spring Break began in the 1930’s as a vacation period in early spring at universities and schools, However, it now includes time off for all educational levels from kindergarten to college. It’s also often known as Easter vacation, Easter holiday, April break, Spring vacation, mid-term break, study week, reading week, reading period, or Easter week. And while Spring Break is mostly about shaking off the winter chills in a warm climate, it’s more about just taking a needed and scheduled break.

So here are some ways that travel affiliates can make hay during Spring Break:

Go Big for Spring Break

Just as you would other seasonal travel times like Christmas and Thanksgiving travel, be sure to group offers together. Having all offers in one place under a single creative on your home page can help drive sales. It also streamlines the search process for consumers who aren’t sure what they want to do over the break. 

Highlight Top Destinations

The leading booking engines will send out lists of top destinations. Be sure to highlight offers for those popular destinations. Think about having your own list of top 10 or 25 Spring Break destinations to draw in consumers.

According to Booking.com these are the top destinations for 2018 spring break

  • Atlanta
  • Atlantic City
  • Cancún
  • Clearwater Beach
  • Corpus Christi
  • Daytona Beach
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Key West
  • Las Vegas
  • Miami
  • Miami Beach
  • Monterey
  • Myrtle Beach
  • Nashville
  • New Orleans
  • Ocean City
  • Orlando
  • Palm Springs
  • Panama City Beach
  • Playa del Carmen

Think Beyond Fly and Flop

With Spring Break becoming more popular beyond just college partiers, you need to think about other travelers. There are families, baby boomers, and millennials. Many of those groups aren’t looking to fly to a warm beach destination and just soak in the sun. Beach destinations remain popular, but travelers are also using spring break to explore Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.

Additionally, many travelers want to balance relaxation with experiences. That can mean promoting cultural immersion tours, backpacking adventures, yoga retreats and spas, as well as wine tasting tours and more.

Think Inside the (Batter’s) Box

Often there are other annual seasonal events that correspond with Spring Break – like Spring Training. There are millions of baseball fans that are devoted to their teams. And promoting offers for destinations in Florida and Arizona where all the Major League Baseball team have training facilities, is a good way to draw in more travelers. Having a special Spring Training page and listing hotels and accomodations near each team’s Spring Training field is a good idea.

Remember Not Everyone Wants Sun

While beach and sunny destinations are hugely popular, there are a lot of travelers that relish the chance to hit the slopes in the spring. There’s still plenty of great skiing out West in Colorado, Nevada and California. In addition, many East Coast ski resorts are still experiencing perfect skiing conditions. 

Pound the Pavement

Not everyone taking a Spring Break will be flying. Some folks use the break to travel by car. Catering to these road warriors is well worth your time. Be sure to promote these offers under your Spring Break umbrella but have a separate page for road trips. You can offer links to driving maps, local attractions and promote festivals or events as well.

With Spring Break firmly establishing itself as a seasonal event, it’s important for travel affiliates to make the most of the time period. So, start establishing some solid promotional plans that can act as a foundation for you to repeat every year.

Personalization Goes Hyper-Relevant

personalization hyper relevancePersonalization is considered the Holy Grail of online marketing. However, according to data from a new study, online marketers still haven’t found a way to balance consumers’ worries about data privacy with their desire to be catered to on a one-to-one basis.

While 44 percent are frustrated when companies fail to deliver relevant, personalized shopping experiences, nearly half (49 percent) are concerned about personal data privacy as they subscribe to intelligent services designed to understand and anticipate their needs. according to the 13th annual Accenture Strategy Global Consumer Pulse Research.

Specifically, 41% of US consumers said they ditched a company because of “poor personalization and lack of trust,” the study says. In financial terms, that’s a staggering $756 billion in lost retail and brand sales in the US this year. And, globally, it’s $2.5 trillion in lost sales, according to Accenture.

It doesn’t help that consumers are practically begging to be treated as unique individuals. They want to reap the rewards – discounts, convenience, better customer experience. But are simultaneously reluctant to give up personalized information over privacy concerns.

It’s a conundrum for online marketers. They have the seemingly herculean task of offering consumers a personalized experience. They are expected to anticipate consumer needs without seeming overly intrusive or creepy.

Intelligent Services

Meanwhile, technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and digital assistants becoming more sophisticated and mainstream. That has companies are creating new touchpoints, offerings and services that intelligently anticipate and flex to their customer’s precise needs. This offers a level of hyper-relevance not experienced before.

However, there is a telling example in the study. Forty-four percent of US consumers said they are frustrated when companies fail to provide relevant personalized experiences. Meanwhile, 49%  said they are concerned about personal data privacy. This is especially pertains to  “intelligent services” such as Amazon’s Echo or Google Home.

Nearly 36% of consumers said they use digital assistants. And almost 90% of those said they are satisfied with the experience. Yet,  40% said it can feel “slightly creepy” when technology starts to correctly read and anticipate their needs, according to the study.

Hyper-Relevance

For affiliate marketers the key is to create personalized website content to resonate with visitors. According to Liad Agmon of Dynamic Yield, this method is delivering more sales, revenue, and profit for the entire affiliate ecosystem. He notes that Dynamic Yield has seen automated personalization deliver a 100% increase in profit (not just sales!).

But to move further towards  ultimate personalization, Accenture is touting something called the hyper-relevance customer experiences as the next wave for  online businesses. However, hyper-relevance requires two things: more personalized data about the customers and the trust of customers.

The Accenture study says that to pivot to hyper-relevance, companies should consider:

  • Giving customers full control over their data – Organizations must become more transparent. Customers need full access to, and control over, their data which will demonstrate responsible stewardship and ethics. Furthermore, they must ensure the appropriate safeguards are in place to protect it.
  • Creating new customer value – Look beyond the traditional customer journey. Businesses must prioritize areas where they can dynamically deliver something that customers value, at the right moment every time.
  • Investing in precise insights – Invest in predictive analytics, Businesses need to collaborate with an ecosystem of partners to capture real-time customer insight, and mine data in new ways to understand their specific needs.

With new technologies and approaches, online marketers who thoughtfully consider the customer experience, will eventually solve the personalization problem and reap the rewards.

Selling Travel as The Ultimate Holiday Gift

Selling Travel as a Holiday GiftAffiliates focused on promoting travel as a holiday gift face some unique challenges. But they also have a good opportunity to cash in as they ramp up for the holiday season. By focusing on the experience, minimizing buyers perceived hurdles, and offering flexible options, travel affiliates can make the holiday very merry.

The Challenges

Selling travel to an individual using it for themselves is much easier than selling it to someone who is buying it for another person. When buying travel as a gift, potential buyers may have some concerns. It’s likely that most hurdles involve the complex logistics that surround travel due to strict booking requirements and current security regulations.

As a travel affiliate you’ll need to address those challenges head on (locking in specific dates, the cost, choosing the right destination, etc.). This will help assure buyers that the gift of travel will be the ultimate present and not an expensive mistake.

Sell Experiences

The idea of giving a trip, vacation or even a staycation at a local hotel,  as a gift is a good one. Increasingly, people value experiences over material things. Travel is often recalled as an “extraordinary experience” just below life’s major milestones, according to a study on happiness done by researchers at Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania in 2013. More importantly, experiences like trips are far better remembered over time than material gifts and get a rose-colored patina with the retelling of memories, found Cornell University researchers in a 2014 paper aptly titled “We’ll Always Have Paris.”

Using language that assures the buyer they will be providing a memorable experience for the recipient is key. You want the buyer to know they are giving a unique experience. It’s one that may be a dream gift or even one that lets the recipient cross an item off their bucket list. That’s priceless.

Put Flexibility First

The biggest issue with buying travel for someone else is often being locked into specific dates, destinations and other things that once determined cannot be changed or carry a hefty price for the recipient to modify. Travel affiliates can avoid this by offering open ended options. These can include gift cards and vouchers. Most hotels, airlines, cruise lines offer gift cards that will allow recipients to book at their convenience.

Think About Themes

It’s the time of year when gift givers are searching online. Having Holiday Travel Gift Guides can help you get noticed as well as offer great suggestions for potential buyers. Be creative in curating these gift guides. Think Girls Getaways, Dream Vacations. Family Fun, For the Wine Lover, Best Travel for Empty Nesters, Bucket List Trips, Adventure of a Lifetime. You probably already have some of these lists, but putting a gift giving spin on them with seasonal graphics could prove to be a powerful motivator for buyers.

Selling Travel as a Holiday GiftSell Around Travel

Travel affiliates should also consider promoting gifts that go with travel such as guide books, luggage, travel accessories, etc. Because giving someone a trip or a vacation as a gift most likely involves a gift card and there’s not much for the recipient to unwrap. Having a physical present such a travel guide to the destination or a new carry on bag, can be a great way to have a themed present.

Offer a Variety of Price Points

Travel is an expensive gift, but as an affiliate you can promote a range of items and experiences at different price points. Even if someone can’t afford to send their parents to Barcelona, they could send them to a luxury spa at a swanky local hotel. Or those shoppers who know that someone is going on a trip could contribute to the experience by getting them a gift certificate for a local attraction or day tour. Additionally, if you know someone will be vacationing or travels frequently, you could purchase a membership to a travel service such as Medjet that offers comprehensive medical coverage and transport to a hospital in the event of emergency.

Be a Resource

As an affiliate you naturally want to promote offers that make you money on commissions. However, it’s also important to be viewed as helpful and knowledgeable. You don’t need to monetize everything on your site. Including links to things such as online passport services, Honeyfund (where people can contribute to a couple’s honeymoon fund), or services like Clear (for no-hassle TSA airport security check-ins).

Using Social to Sell Visuals

Using social media platforms that rely heavily on visuals is also a perfect way to promote travel as a gift. Be sure to put all your holiday gift guides on your Pinterest Boards and on your Instagram feed. Images are powerful and a great motivator – especially for purchasing travel.

Naturally, you’ll also want to do all the basic things associated with having your affiliate site in tip-top shape – optimizing landing pages, being mobile ready, readying holiday homepage promotions. Those efforts along with also taking some of the extra steps to aggressively promote travel as gift should make for a successful and lucrative holiday season.

5 Ad Blocker Workarounds for Publishers

5 Ad Blocker Workarounds for Publishers

Consumers feel bombarded by intrusive ads when they go online. That’s because advertisers and publishers have become more savvy about attempting to effectively target, deliver and track their messages in order to get consumers to make a purchase. But fed up consumers are striking back by installing ad blocking software. As a result, more than a quarter of US internet users will block ads this year – up from 16 percent in 2014, according to eMarketer.  

And while there are no signs of ad blocking slowing down, there are some things that publishers can do to combat this growing trend.

For more than a two decades, ads on websites have enabled publishers to offset costs while allowing users to view free content. With the proliferation of ad blocking software, which allows users to bypass viewing ads, this unspoken deal is at risk.

So how can affiliates, who make money by promoting offers from advertisers, get around this dilemma?

Native Advertising

One solution to the ad blocking problem is native advertising.

Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.

When done well, native advertising is non-intrusive, but also clearly states when content is sponsored. This lets publishers remain honest and transparent with their readers. It also lets content affiliates (like bloggers and reviewers) establish authority and trust. Content affiliates can focus on personal experiences with products that resonate with their audience.

This approach not only conveys a lot more information than a banner ad, but customers are also more receptive to it, according to a study by Sharethrough.

  • Consumers looked at native ads 53 percent more frequently than display ads.
  • Native ads registered 18 percent higher lift in purchase intent and 9 percent lift for brand affinity responses than banner ads
  • 32 percent of respondents said the native ad “is an ad I would share with a friend or family member” versus just 19 percent for display ads.

Publishers are also using other strategies to fight ad blocking. They range from trying to convince users to stop doing it to focusing on improving the poor user experiences that led to it in the first place.

Here are some other workarounds:

Building Paywalls – Since ad blocking is easy to identify with JavaScript, publishers could easily deploy paywalls to those users. So, rather than seeing video or display ads, those using ad blocking software will have to pay to view content. This has worked for some big content publishers. However, PageFair, which provides anti-ad-blocking solutions, says that 74 percent of US ad blocking users polled in November 2016 leave websites when faced with an ad block wall.

That could be problem for affiliates. Since the intent of affiliates is to earn a commission by promoting retailer’s products, they want to drive more traffic – not turn off visitors. However, there is no published data or research that shows how paywalls  work for affiliates (or if any affiliates have even tried this option).

Ask and Educate – Some publishers have asked their users to whitelist their sites in the blocking software. These messages appeal to consumers’ sense of fairness and their understanding that ads are how publishers pay the bills. But users will only listen to these pleas if they feel the pain of having to pay for the content. Still, the content must be compelling enough that users are willing to take the action to whitelist the site.

Ad Blocker Payoffs – Some industry watchers (including the IAB) have called this a form of ransom. Nevertheless, big players such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon are currently paying hefty fees (some reports say the fees are equivalent to 30 percent of the additional revenues those sites would make from being unblocked) to whitelist their ads.

Permission/Incentive Advertising – Many publishers are setting up rewards program that allow users to earn points and rewards for voluntarily allowing third parties to deliver targeted ads based on user data. Through incentives, ads that were once considered annoying may be more relevant and tolerated.

Ad blockers are a challenge that publishers and advertisers will likely be facing for a long time to come. Still, affiliate marketers that are invested in producing meaningful content that engages customers and allows them to control their marketing experience, will continue to succeed.

Drive Traffic Using Forums and Groups

Drive Traffic Using Forums and GroupsForums have been around since the dawn of the Internet, and you can leverage them and their active and loyal followers to drive more traffic to your website and blog. Forums are ripe for driving targeted traffic, but you’ll need keep a few simple things in mind when using forums as part of your traffic-driving strategy:

Pick the Right Forum

Look for popular forums that cater to your niche or vertical. Consider forums where there is a large and active group of members Be sure you like the tone of the forum and the nature of the discussions. You don’t want to get into flame wars and negative conversations. Look for a positive vibe and people willing to share information. Focus on a just a few forums (maybe 1 or 2) where you can be an active member for an ongoing basis. Be sure the forums allow you to include a signature, so that you can add your URL. Otherwise, you’ll have trouble driving traffic to your website or blog.

Select the Right Username

Your username will be how other members identify you (and your brand).  Think about the message you want your username to send. Using your name as a username gives your interactions a more personal feel than if you just used the name of your blog or business. But you can try for combination of both. For example JoeSmithHotelGuy. It’s important that your username fits in with your niche and the feel of the forum – whether it’s casual or very professional.

Add a Link in Your Signature

Your signature will appear below each one of your forum posts. Putting a link to your blog or website is the backbone of any solid forum-based traffic strategy. Depending on the forum’s signature limits, you may be able to also include a tagline or description of your website or a link to a newsletter sign-up page in your signature.

Carefully Craft Your Profile

Be sure to include an avatar (or photo of yourself), a short but descriptive bio, and another link to your website or blog. Remember, you want other members to know they are interacting with a real person and not just a business. Don’t be afraid to include some personal info (you love bull dogs, or are an avid hiker or write science fiction on the side). This information makes you seems less one-dimensional and gives others more reasons to interact with you. If there’s space, include links to your social media – like your Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram and LinkedIn – and invite members to connect with you there as well.

Skip the Spammy Behavior

Use the same social etiquette and manners as you would when interacting in person. You probably don’t meet someone at a party and shove a business card in their hand or drone on about your company the minute you meet people. Get to know people. Be helpful first. Then once you’ve established yourself in the group, you can start including some information about your business into your discussions.

Be a Helpful Resource

Provide clear, well-thought-out, informative, helpful replies. Link to other resources both inside the forum and elsewhere online. The idea is to add value. If you’ve written a post on your blog that might be helpful, you can summarize it, then add something like, “if you want to know more, I have a blog post on this topic”, And then include a link to drive members to your blog or website.

Start a Thread/Be First

If someone opens up a thread, they are obviously going to read the first post in the thread. The first post in a thread gets read more than any other, so being in that position is a great way to leverage your forum posting. You can ask a question or solicit others opinions on a subject. It’s a great way to get noticed and create interaction.

Be Active

Remember this isn’t a sprint. You can’t just post for a month, stop, and expect traffic. Your posts will eventually be pushed down and replaced by new threads and additional comments. You have to devote the time and effort and maintain a presence for the long haul.

If you follow these few simple steps, you will likely notice (over time) some additional web traffic. You will also likely make some new contacts, establish yourself as a helpful expert, and probably learn from other members along the way. Its a win-win!