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You Are Given $1,000 To Promote Your Forum - How Would You Spend It?

System0

Active member
#1
I thought it would be good to start a discussion on what members believe is the best way to promote a forum if they have a budget.

It is something I have been thinking about recently as I am planning on promoting my forum heavily over the next few months.

Here are some ideas that I have looked into:
  • Competitions - Offering physical prizes, cash, and premium memberships
  • Hiring forum posters to get the forum more active
  • Email blast on on a marketers email list
  • Banner ads
  • Paid and guest blog posts
I have tried all the methods above at one point or another, with varying degrees of success. At the moment, I am leaning more to running a big competition or a discounted offer and promoting it heavily through email marketing.

How would you invest $1,000 if you could only use it to promote your forum?
(i.e. you could not just bank the money and post more frequently yourself)

Kevin
 

EQnoble

Well-known member
#3
I thought it would be good to start a discussion on what members believe is the best way to promote a forum if they have a budget.

It is something I have been thinking about recently as I am planning on promoting my forum heavily over the next few months.

Here are some ideas that I have looked into:
  • Competitions - Offering physical prizes, cash, and premium memberships
  • Hiring forum posters to get the forum more active
  • Email blast on on a marketers email list
  • Banner ads
  • Paid and guest blog posts
I have tried all the methods above at one point or another, with varying degrees of success. At the moment, I am leaning more to running a big competition or a discounted offer and promoting it heavily through email marketing.

How would you invest $1,000 if you could only use it to promote your forum?
(i.e. you could not just bank the money and post more frequently yourself)

Kevin
I am not going to go into details, but I am putting every last bit of what I have to create a budget for me to fund the start of my site. Not counting what I am investing in time to build the tools for the site (though they generally make the site) my budget is over 1000 and under 5000 with 2500 guaranteed to be absorbed by the testing and the first run of the live phases. If what I do works and is successful I will update here in this thread, if not I failed and my non response should be enough of an answer.

I personally am not paying anyone to be there as what I am putting most of my budget for is the ONLY reason I want people there and if they are not there for that or things related to it in any way I don't even want them there because they will impede the forward movement of our community and the general mentality and misdirect the moral compass behind it. Personally we (the few hands on this) would rather fail than build on a compromised foundation and succeed because something we hold dear for our peoples is to be chill and legit.

Sooo...give it a month...there will be an alpha and beta run of our event and should all work according to plan we will have our event running publicly and on completion of said event I will have some real input from my perspective of what works and what doesn't at least for my type of situation.

Sorry I can't comment more on specifics and my convoluted logic but I'll be back...

Space station or bust...blastoff.
 

Gazhyde

Well-known member
#4
  • Competitions - Offering physical prizes, cash, and premium memberships
This, the rest is just wasted money imho.
This. Nothing generates more interest than freebies and giveaways. Targeted correctly they work exceptionally well.

I would also offer gift vouchers for quality on topic articles submitted.
 

Kevin

Well-known member
#5
  • Competitions - Offering physical prizes, cash, and premium memberships
This, the rest is just wasted money imho.
This. Nothing generates more interest than freebies and giveaways. Targeted correctly they work exceptionally well.

I would also offer gift vouchers for quality on topic articles submitted.
Are you guys using anything like Chris's Competitions or Snog's Raffles for the freebies & giveaways?
 

System0

Active member
#6
Sounds like competitions are the biggest draw for forums.

Another thing I was thinking of was developing some unique tools. Kind of the same approach as DigitalPoint. Though I am hesitant as I do not have much experience in this field and am concerned I may be throwing money down the drain.
 

Slavik

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#7
Are you guys using anything like Chris's Competitions or Snog's Raffles for the freebies & giveaways?
We just open a thread and put the info in. Get people to promote it by having them share on social media etc as part of the requirements to enter.
 

Kevin

Well-known member
#8
We just open a thread and put the info in. Get people to promote it by having them share on social media etc as part of the requirements to enter.
So somebody is manually checking each person who enters to ensure that they posted it somewhere else?
 

mistypants

Well-known member
#10
I love running contests and competitions, but to me it's key to do ones that promote user involvement. A lot of the ones I see are rewarding the top poster of the month, that kind of thing, but I worry with those that the participating users might just drop off after the prize has been awarded... though hopefully they'll get hooked on your site in that time. :)

We're a video game fansite, we don't run contests too often but one that was really popular was doing a trivia tournament (about the series) on our podcast. Got decent participation (we're reopening it this year with some more enticing prizes ;)) not just from those on the tournament but from listeners as well. Our prizes are usually items related to the series.
 

Mike Edge

Well-known member
#12
Prizes prizes prizes.. I use to run a pretty large SCBW site on vB2 and then vB3.. Still own the domain for over 12 years now and getting ready to get back into the Blizzard niche later this year. While the Blizzard store had a large discounted sale I purchased 25 WoW battlechest Keys @ $5.00 each.. full price they are $20.00 each and a bunch of pets valued @ $10.00 each, also @ $5.00 per.. I will be using these for contest prizes to get the site rolling.
 
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System0

Active member
#13
I love running contests and competitions, but to me it's key to do ones that promote user involvement. A lot of the ones I see are rewarding the top poster of the month, that kind of thing, but I worry with those that the participating users might just drop off after the prize has been awarded... though hopefully they'll get hooked on your site in that time. :)

We're a video game fansite, we don't run contests too often but one that was really popular was doing a trivia tournament (about the series) on our podcast. Got decent participation (we're reopening it this year with some more enticing prizes ;)) not just from those on the tournament but from listeners as well. Our prizes are usually items related to the series.
Agreed. I recently installed the invitation add on and was thinking of the best way to incorporate that in a competition. I'm hesitant to just start a most referrals competition as it will just attract poor members to the forum. I want to set it up so that people invite people who will participate.
 

Gazhyde

Well-known member
#14
Are you guys using anything like Chris's Competitions or Snog's Raffles for the freebies & giveaways?
My thought process is slightly different in that I use prizes as a differentiator against other forums. A lot of members flick between 3 or 4 similar forums, and we are the only one who make this kind of effort.

I use a variety of methods. I have Competitons, and used it a few times now. It works well enough but generally there isn't as much member interaction involved. I'm looking for some site sponsorship from companies at the moment and that will work perfectly for those. Downside was that I didn't think through implementing it correctly to start off with and we had someone sign up just to enter, and they won first time with no interactions on the site at all. Had to come up with a way of stopping people doing that without contributing to the site (user group promotion worked nicely).

The more effective methods for getting people involved and posting are simple thread based competitions. I ask a question which usually has a number answer, they reply in thread and closest to that number wins. This tends to get a lot of interaction in the thread.

The other type I run is a simple counting game. I post number one, and the next member posts 2 and so on. The person to post a specific number wins a prize. These usually end up being pretty hilarious, as they start posting funny images with the numbers in them. They even carried on one thread past the end number because they were having such a good time playing.

In summary I would say it depends on what you are trying to achieve....
 

Gazhyde

Well-known member
#16
Won't this just entice existing users? How would you go about drawing and raising awareness of the community?
Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and anywhere else that listens...

If you do a tie up with a company then you would run a coordinated campaign across their social media as well.
 

Snog

Well-known member
#17
Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and anywhere else that listens...

If you do a tie up with a company then you would run a coordinated campaign across their social media as well.
I'll add to this...

MANY people use Google AdSense to make money.

How many of you are advertising with AdSense to bring in users? I'd bet few if any. ;)
 

tajhay

Well-known member
#20
$200 on prizes
$300 on google adsense
$200 on social media marketing i.e. facebook ads targetting the find of people you want to join your site
With the prizes, to be eligible, you need to share the FB post (which promotes the competition), and have liked the page

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$300 left. use that for custom development. I would probably spend this first. Make your site standout from the rest by providing them something others cant. If you dont have the content, provide them tools or resources. Every possible site can utilise this somehow. As DigitalPoint puts it, provide a solution to a problem.

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On a side note, contact actual businesses in the same niche market. You will be able to get goods/services for free/cheaper rate if you promote them. Hell it may even lead to simply getting sponsorship for your site. I have this for my hosting (small link at the bottom of the page, have had sports caps, sports merchandise donated as prizes, had businesses sponsor a competition, or even simply build relationship to show their banner on certain related pages. You will be surprised.