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

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by System0, May 23, 2014.

  1. System0

    System0 Active Member

    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
     
  2. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    • Competitions - Offering physical prizes, cash, and premium memberships
    This, the rest is just wasted money imho.
     
    Lisa, System0 and Gazhyde like this.
  3. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    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.
     
  4. Gazhyde

    Gazhyde Well-Known Member

    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.
     
    Lisa and System0 like this.
  5. Kevin

    Kevin Well-Known Member

    Are you guys using anything like Chris's Competitions or Snog's Raffles for the freebies & giveaways?
     
  6. System0

    System0 Active Member

    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.
     
  7. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    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.
     
    The Forum Heroes likes this.
  8. Kevin

    Kevin Well-Known Member

    So somebody is manually checking each person who enters to ensure that they posted it somewhere else?
     
  9. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    No, only if they get chosen as the winner...
     
    The Forum Heroes likes this.
  10. mistypants

    mistypants Well-Known Member

    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.
     
    Amaury likes this.
  11. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Well-Known Member

    Maybe a couple of boxes of different ones of these to use.
    And a few of each of these.
    I may end up ordering this one for myself.
    Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 11.43.29 PM.png
     
  12. The Forum Heroes

    The Forum Heroes Well-Known Member

    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.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
  13. System0

    System0 Active Member

    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.
     
    mistypants likes this.
  14. Gazhyde

    Gazhyde Well-Known Member

    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....
     
  15. md_5

    md_5 Well-Known Member

    Won't this just entice existing users? How would you go about drawing and raising awareness of the community?
     
  16. Gazhyde

    Gazhyde Well-Known Member

    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 likes this.
  17. Snog

    Snog Well-Known Member

    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. ;)
     
    Gazhyde likes this.
  18. RoyalRumble

    RoyalRumble Active Member

    Spend the lot on social advertising and use that channel to then promote relevant content (vs the targeted social adverts) on your forum.
     
  19. D.O.A.

    D.O.A. Well-Known Member

    All of the above except giving money to facebook :mad:
     
  20. tajhay

    tajhay Well-Known Member

    $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

    -----
    $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.

    -----
    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.
     
    Snog likes this.

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