Well, almost one day. It will take a bit of preparation but once you announce your forum it will be swarming with hundreds of real member and posts from day one… how? Read on…
I developed this method after failing badly when I first attempted to start an online discusion forum. It’s a pretty much fail proof method for getting a forum started.
If you’ve ever tried or even thought about starting an internet forum before, you will know that it is not easy.
Initially, you are faced with 3 main problems:
- Getting people to sign up (who wants to join an empty forum?)
- Getting people to start making posts
- Keeping momentum and growth of membership and activity going.
Lets look at how I dealt with each issue one at a time:
Getting people to sign up. This was super simple, I disguised the forum sign up page as a squeeze page!
I just gave away some valuable stuff related to this niche, in exchange all I asked was that they give me their name, email, username and password.
I used a script I had specially designed (more on that later) that secretly added their details into a forum as soon as they signed up. On the thankyou page, they get the items they were promised and I like to add a viral element to perpetuate growth, a tell-a-friend script or something like it, but I don’t mention anything about the forum, not yet.
Getting people to start making posts. I continue sending traffic to this squeeze page until I have around 400-500 or more members. At this point I send an email to everyone announcing the forum and a contest…
… The first 10 members to make 80 legitimate and worthwhile posts get more free valuable downloads, and I like to give position 1-5 some vouchers to spend at a popular store related to the niche, or amazon or somewhere similar.
Still continue sending traffic but now change your thankyou page to encourage people into the forum.
Have a ‘sticky’ thread in the forum and continually update it as winners of the post contest are announced, emailing the members directing them to the post. Insert their username and password into the email and encourage them to get involved.
By the time it comes to having to pay out the prizes, you will have an active forum with hundreds of members and around 1000 or more articles. Of course you could always wait longer before announcing the forum and have a bigger contest to increase this.
Anyway, you’ll have an internet property that’s very saleable or ready to be nurtured.
Keeping momentum. If you just plan on flipping the site, this isn’t really your concern, but if you want to keep it yourself, getting this right is what will make or break the forum.
Most importantly you should have been active in the forum yourself, moving discussions forward and more importantly READING and getting to know your members.
You should have an idea of who knows what they’re talking about when it comes to the forums topic, who gets good debates going, and are fairly mature and intelligent.
You want to approach these people and invite them to be moderators. You can offer them something for doing this but a lot of the time you’ll find most people will be happy to do it for nothing.
This keeps your best members at the site and also gives them a vested interest in its success.
Now you just have to keep sending traffic to the squeeze page, you could run new competitions every now and again. I find article contests work well, just give say a $50 voucher to the winner, let people submit as many articles as they want, announce the winner once around 25 articles have been submitted.
This keeps people interested in visiting the forum, and gets your site lots of great new content.
Another contest idea you could try is a $50 voucher for most active thread. This will have people trying to come up with interesting threads.
Want a copy of the script I use to automate the signup process?
Now I had originally planned to release this method/software, together with some interviews with successful forum owners, tips on running forums, that sort of thing. I was going to sell it all as a package for at least $97.
But my business has gone in a different direction, and I have this script sitting doing nothing.
I actually paid a developer a few hundred dollars to create this script, but you can grab it now completely FREE!
The script was fully working the last time I used it, but I won’t be providing further support or updates. I just don’t have the time to support it.
It’s a great script, and includes a mailer and everything else described in the above method. You only need to install it once and you can use it to start as many forums as you want on different domains.
Its a php/MySQL script.
Just make a reply to this post and you’ll instantly and automatically receive a copy of the script via email.
So just let me know what you think of this method, or talk about other methods you know about creating successful forums, or even just say thanks, and the script is yours!