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Best Ways to Increase Memberships and Getting $$ From Ads?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Core Freedom, May 15, 2013.

  1. Core Freedom

    Core Freedom Well-Known Member

    Hi All,

    I'm absolutely loving my forum! Put it up end of October in 2011 and was hoping to have 1,000 within the first year. Am not there yet, we're at a little over 400. Have done zero advertising except a shout out to my FB followers, all else has been referrals and Google. The site is profitable but I really need to take it up a notch and get it out there in a big way so I can attract advertisers.

    I'm not looking to create Google ads on my site but want custom advertisers who have products that actually fall in line with our theme (spirituality, personal development, etc.).

    Do any of you have experience on how to set up an advertising campaign and how to gain more members?

    Would love your feedback! :)
  2. Sim

    Sim Well-Known Member

    Find other sites in your niche - ask if you can do some type of cross-promotion. Be realistic though - a site with a lot more traffic than you is not necessarily going to benefit from working with you, but if you can convince them to do it, it's great for you.

    Also, look for sites in your niche who run Adsense adverts and then run a site-targeted Adwords campaign targeting those sites specifically. Aim for pretty high conversion rates since you are doing targeted advertising - concentrate on the sites you find give the best results. Make sure you tie the forum sign up process into Adwords so you can track sign ups which came from your adverts and work out conversion rates.

    However, be aware that buying traffic in this way is a slow and expensive way to build a site - you'll get much better traffic from Google search engine referrals because you have great content that is indexed well.

    Do you have content other than your forum? The more high quality content that you have, the more traffic Google should send your way. Make sure you include a call-to-action on your content pages to encourage people to join your community and engage with the site on an ongoing basis.

    Finally - are there any trade publications or magazines which are a good fit with your niche - try and get some content published in them if possible so you can refer people to your site. It helps if you are personally seen as an expert in your niche - people will come looking for you.
    drastic and Core Freedom like this.
  3. Dynamic

    Dynamic Well-Known Member

    The best way I have found is content that your users need. So, your site is about spirituality, etc. Create posts and really engage with your members about love, theories on how users can better themselves, stories about users finding success. Also make sure your users are very welcoming of new members. I don't know your niche but that is what I would start doing. I would also set up debates about spirituality/religion to allow a passionate subject to be discussed and debated.
    Core Freedom likes this.
  4. Core Freedom

    Core Freedom Well-Known Member

    Thank you Sim, great suggestions!

    The ad campaigns are not something I will consider, it would ruin the "home" feeling we have established so far. I like the magazine idea and will give that a go! Thank you! :)
  5. Core Freedom

    Core Freedom Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Dynamic. Yes, that's how the site is now set up and members that have been around since inception are still around. It's working, it's just not working fast enough. :)
    Dynamic likes this.
  6. Dynamic

    Dynamic Well-Known Member

    All good things take time. You're better off having 400 good members than 4000 not so good members. You could always make up small business cards and send them to shops who's customers could be interested in what your forum has to offer. So basically those small indie clothing shops, anything to do with the occult. We got a dude here (Melbourne) who is Australia's only legal Vampire. He does ghost tours on Saturday nights. He has a shop where he sells hand made jewelry, and books about religion, spirituality, paranormal stuff, etc. That is the sort of place I would be hitting up as most of his customers would enjoy talking about things like that.
    Core Freedom and Sim like this.
  7. Dynamic

    Dynamic Well-Known Member

    Oh, one more thing. I noticed on your site you have some forums with less than 100 threads in them. I would suggest in having less forums with more threads in them. It makes the forum look busier, and users find where they need to go faster. When the forum grows a bit, then start branching off.
    Core Freedom likes this.
  8. Core Freedom

    Core Freedom Well-Known Member

    Awesome idea!
  9. Sim

    Sim Well-Known Member

    I like Dynamic's business card idea - won't cost much to implement and is a good way to get highly targeted traffic. Helps even more if the shop owner is very familiar with your site and is likely to recommend people visit as part of conversations they have with their customers.

    This type of word-of-mouth recommendation has worked well for us in our niche - one of my sites I built in partnership with a financial planner, an accountant, a real estate buyers agent and a solicitor - they all recommend the site to their clients.

    Another grass-roots type of promotion you could try is adding a face-to-face element - although this works best if you live in a fairly large city. I run a group on Meetup.com which is purely for social networking (relating to finance and investment, primarily real estate investment).

    Even though my group is primarily tied to one of my forums, I get a lot of people coming along who have never heard of my forum - they find the group through Meetup.com and if I get the opportunity to chat to them I usually ask how they came across the group - through meetup.com or through the forums, which gives me a chance to talk to them about what the forum is for. We've built up a great local community this way.

    Naturally, not every niche is suited to this type of face-to-face meeting, and your location is important too to make sure you've got enough of a pool of people to draw from to make meetups worthwhile.

    If you have some enthusiastic members in other cities, you could encourage them to run their own face-to-face meetups as well.
    Core Freedom likes this.
  10. Sim

    Sim Well-Known Member

    I also note on your site that you are already a published author? I assume you've got a link to your website in your book?

    My largest forum (I don't own it, I just run it) is owned by a lady who wrote some books back in the 1980s and 90s on real estate investment in Australia - I came across her website (and the forum they had just started) after reading her book and seeing the link she included on the back page. It was much more remarkable back then, since small websites and forums from authors were nowhere near as common as they are now.
    Core Freedom likes this.
  11. Core Freedom

    Core Freedom Well-Known Member

    Yes, the book just came out, hasn't even arrived yet. :) I am probably not going to have a separate page for the book except a post in the forum. I'm trying to keep everything in the forum now.
  12. drastic

    drastic Well-Known Member

    I think a single google ad or a page with recommended items from amazon or eBay would be ok.

    Visitors have to understand that it costs a few bucks to host and update your site.

    I wouldn't buy any SEO package unless a friend did it first and actually got results. Google is very touchy lately about it's results being manipulated. They've even banned entire link trade networks.

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