Automotive enthusiasts have online auto forums where they discuss automotive issues. These platforms can become a great place for marketing auto parts too. You will be able to sell your auto parts and also expand your client base. You will also stand a chance at helping your dealership shine online as well. All this, however, does not come on a silver platter because to succeed, you have to do it right. Below are some tips to get you started on the auto forum marketing journey:
- Finding the right forum
There are a number of auto forums that deal with automotive issues in the market. This does not, however, mean that all these forums are suitable for your business. This is because not all forums focusing on vehicles will allow you to advertise or sell parts. You must find a forum that will work for your business to enable your success because if you do not ensure you are up to date with a forum’s best practices, then a seemingly affordable advertisement may end up being a money waste.
Tip: You stand better chances at marketing and getting clients on forums that are partially about improving vehicles or fixing them. The people in these platforms are open to ideas of buying what is suggested to them by you. These people are most often the do-it-yourself type who would rather not walk to a dealership but buy parts and fix their cars by themselves. In such a forum, you have the chance to convert a suggestion into a sale instead of letting it pass you by. You may look into forums that focus on a particular vehicle model or certain products that fit those you are advertising.
- See what the forum looks like
Browsing through a forum is a vital part of finding the right forum. When you go through a forum and several of its threads, you get to understand the community as it is and how they interact. Once you understand the various aspects of their membership, you will be able to know if you as an auto parts marketer will fit in. A forum with friendly people who like to help each other is a good place to start, but a community that spills negative vibes is a no-go-zone.
- Learn the do’s and Don’ts when posting in the forum
Once you have established the right forum for your needs, you will need to know the rules of the house. Some forums have rules about the use of offsite links and images and may have strict moderation. These forums are varied in nature, and no two are exactly alike. Remember to read between the lines for unwritten rules and codes that exist when you observe closely how people interact.
As you begin to post, remember you are still an outsider, and you will have to conform to the community rules to gain acceptance. Refusing to follow their way of interaction may cause them to never quite accept you as one of their own. You want to be viewed as the expert of the community, the one who has the answers. You should, therefore, strive to be courteous and helpful.
- Signing up a profile and signature
For your ultimate success on the forum, your people should be able to reach you. For your mission to be entirely accomplished, you should fill out your entire profile. In your profile, clarify that you are with a dealership and that your contact information is accurate. The owner of the forum may add you as a person of special interest/expert in the group and denote it by highlighting your name or giving you an unusually colored name. Use a small, discreet signature that people can use to reach your website for further interactions. Large and obnoxious signatures tend to be ignored by most people.
- Ensure you have revenue tracking systems because they determine how much you can spend on forum advertisements. Test your forum ads for at least a month before negotiating rates with the forum owner based on the value of the forum to your business.
- Sign up for a short-term ad commitment especially on your initial investment. A period of about three months at most is affordable and not too risky.
- Pay attention to your ad links because Google algorithms penalize business owners for links not followed.
- Professional banner designs go a long way in selling your content to potential clients. This will make you stand out from a crowd that is mostly crowded with ugly banners due to laxity of these forums when it comes to ad quality.
- While you can advertise for free in these forums, it is never really free. Free means not having to pay for an ad space.
It is never really free because you spend your time on the forum advertising in links and comments while this time could have been spent on another endeavor. There is also a probability that the forum owner will demand money for advertising on their sites. Also, there isn’t enough time to always post on the forums you chose.
Forum participation is, however, a great way for starter company to learn about customers, their needs and how to grow.