Making money on forums is legit if done right and I’ll show you how, but in my experience, there are too many risks and I will show you better options.
Overall, while you will have a blueprint for making money on them, I will strongly recommend against trying it because I really do think it’s a waste of time and will show you better ways to go about making money online in general, like I do.
Whatever you decide to do, whether it be actual forum marketing or perhaps a different approach to making money online (which I’ll show you), at least you’ll have choices, both legitimate ones.
What is forum marketing?
It’s basically you going into specific sites that are forums and/or Q & A sites (such as Quora) where you’re allowed to post links or drive people from those places to a personal site, promotion or squeeze page and sell to those audiences, there.
As someone seeking to make money off these places, there’s people who enter these places as affiliate marketers seeking to promote their products on there.
An example of how people try to do forum marketing (and why it usually fails):
Head over to any major forum, including social networks and you’ll see people posting their links and talking about how “great” a product they’re promoting is.
It’s a popular and horrible form of forum marketing. I call it sleazy and spammy and I’ve seen it recommended across many different money making programs I’ve purchased in the past (that says something about the programs and it’s the reason why 90% of the ones I review never get a recommendation).
The problem was, nearly all of those programs besides teaching it wrong, in rare exceptions, never get into enough details on how to do it correctly and in the end, 99% of people who tried forum marketing ended up doing it the wrong and sleazy way (with or without knowing it).
It basically ended with people spamming promotions across different forums and getting banned for it.
I’ve even seen people like John Crestani, who some consider an internet marketing guru, pitch this idea where he would show himself promoting a Clickbank product on Facebook forums and regular, website forums, claiming it would “technically” be an easy way to make money and I proved that this was not true.
Now his approach was not as spammy as the way many others do it, but I still maintained that regardless, the method he was pitching has low chances of working.
And with all the probability of this failing, how can someone make money on forums legitimately? Well this is where we’ll get into that:
Essentially, there are 3 ways you can make forum marketing work:
1) The first is (1) promote affiliate products on forums without trying to spam your way into the sale.
2) The next which is also common is to build a list. within the forum by offering good advice on the forum to get people to trust you.
3) And the last one is to build a following within the forum (by practicing the second option), to then pitch to the people within that forum, but outside of it (via email or private messaging).
In today’s online marketing world, the second and third option is probably your best bet, because it has the least amount of obstacles, but it also requires the most time investment, so that’s where if you examine everything, you may conclude that forum marketing may not be for you (that’s what I concluded).
The other 2 are very hard to pull off and there’s more chances than not, that you will get banned for trying any of them.
How to legitimately make forum marketing work:
You will find that to make this all work, you will have to go through a bunch of obstacles, but if you’re truly serious in trying this, my personal opinion is to aim for option 3 (which is building a following) and then the starting point is ALWAYS to identify what sort of promotion you’re pitching, then finding a forum where the audience best suited for that promotion is hanging around on.
Naturally, if you’re selling weight loss and diet products, you’d want to find some popular weight loss forums or FB groups. Just Google for them and the most popular ones will show up (MyFitnessPal is one of the biggest ones).
If you were in the make money or make money online market, you’d want to find relevant places for that too, and here’s at least one specific one (you’d want to Google others): Warrior Forum.
Right there and then, you are at least in the right realm of promoting to an audience who would at least look at what you have to offer for more than a few seconds.
And after that, there is a time lapse where you WILL have to build a following by answering questions and helping people out. This is what will grow your reputation and eventually lead to you building a following to sell to. That’s the preview of the legitimate way to make this work.
Now most people can’t really do that, so they go for the sleazy approach…
I find that most people even in spite of reading the legitimate way of making money on forums still regress back to doing it the super sleazy way (because it’s easier).
Does it work? In most cases, no, but let me explain…
If you intend to go the easy route, head to a forum and start posting semi sleazy or sleazy links to your promotions, the very next obstacle is to make sure you don’t get banned and naturally you have to understand this:
When the rules for these places are VERY loose in that they don’t really regulate who can post what, those places will ALWAYS get a bunch of trash promoters who pitch the products in the worst ways possible (spam).
Eventually, the site becomes so cluttered with garbage threads, posts and fake accounts doing this nonsense, that either the whole site breaks and/or loses it’s audience, or it’s forced to enact new, strict rules which force new accounts to go through a major filter to make sure they aren’t spammers and/or to NEVER post affiliate links or links to squeeze pages, 2 out of the 3 things I just said are ways to make money off it.
Are there still forums that allow you to post affiliate links?
Yes, but you can bet those places are the clutter places I just talked about and if you’re going to try and make money from those rare places, expect to be buried underneath all the spam that will try to outpost and out thread you.
What I mean is, if you post a thread that is some sort of affiliate link to making money online, unless you make that title super clickable and by that I mean use the powers of clickbait to their fullest extent, you are likely to get beaten by tons of other affiliate marketers who do it better than you and that will push your thread down so much that very few if any people will see it.
Let’s say you’re posting on a make money online forum.
Posting something like:
- Free course to make money online is likely going to get buried quickly.
- While posts like “How I make $1,000 easy” are going to look super cheap, but get a lot of views.
That’s just the way these sleazy marketing things work unfortunately. So your options to make money this way are to go the clickbait route (and to make sure you deliver).
When it comes to making money off internet marketing forums, you are unfortunately going to have to pitch get rich quick schemes, through clickbait titles, because sadly, that is really all that sells, gets clicks and views and if you’re going to survive in that space, this is what you’re going to have to do and that’s considering, you find a site which even allows you to do this (most won’t).
Now another (sleazy) option that I recently discovered (and do NOT endorse) is using special sites that basically give you a ton of fake aliases to post on these sites. I don’t believe in these services, so I won’t link to them, but I just want to inform you that they do exist.
But why are these services even available?
Because if you try to link to an affiliate promotion or squeeze page, most of the time, you’re going to get banned, so using these types of services, allows you register multiple accounts in the same place to keep posting.
Those posts get views, likely clicks and sales, and if you get banned, you can just post the same thing under a different account. Again, this is sleazy, but it’s an option.
Let’s turn to the good side and analyze how to do this legitimately…
Like I said, with the 3 options available to you, the 3rd is honestly the best one, but it also takes the most work…
You first have to be an expert at something before you join a forum where that expert topic is actually in demand in that people seek answers to it…
Then once you figure that out, join the site, but do NOT engage in any promotions (yet). Your #1 goal is to build rapport and trust with the community and you do that by going through threads and answering questions. If you do any linking, do it to sites that are not solicitations (or promotions).
The better answers you give, the better people will remember your name. I said the same thing about Quora by the way when I was talking about making money from there.
This is a long term thing you’ll have to do and what will eventually happen is, you WILL get people messaging you and wanting to connect with you outside the forum realm and this is where you’ll begin to start throwing pitches at them, but you won’t want to do this in a sleazy way, you’ll instead basically be telling them that so and so program or so and so promotion helped you become the expert you are today and that it’ll help solve their problem.
I’m in the make money online niche, I’m an expert in numerous fields that surround the topic. I’d head over to the Warrior Forum and other places like that one, go through threads and give answers to the questions asked.
Slowly, I’d build a following and tell people about myself through private messages (no selling just yet), but once the question is asked about how I make money online, that’s when they are open to the suggestion I’m going to give them and that’s when you can get high value leads and sales.
From there, I’d send them a link through a private message or through email on what I do (affiliate link or squeeze page) and get the sale from there.
Now this is an example of this formula working with 1 person, but when done right and by that I mean answering questions on thread which get a lot of views, you will have these types of people coming to you in large masses and that’s when the sales will come in.
Why I do not engage in this type or marketing or take it seriously…
While I just gave you a legitimate way to make money from it, in my opinion, these places have little long term value in them. I don’t like the idea of posting valuable content (answers to questions) on sites I do not own.
The time, work and content I’ll be putting into building rapport with people on these sites pales in comparison to the value, following and sales I could build from making a personal blog and getting people to that.
In the end, whether you’re trying to make money through a forum, a blog, a FB page, a site, whatever the case is, to make the sales, you need to build the trust and have your audience see you as the sole authority in whatever topic you are an expert in and that takes time and writing up content the audience will read and gain that trust in you through.
Now if you want to do all of that through a forum, go ahead, but I’m telling you, it’s not easy nor is it fast, it takes a lot of time to build that trust and then get the leads.
Now it also takes time to do that through a website, but because you own it, you have more control over that and then the audience which comes to it are already interested in what you have to say.
Furthermore, the traffic potential from a personal website can far exceed forum traffic by a large margin if you know what you’re doing and that’s another good reason to invest the time and effort into a personal site vs hopping around sites and threads and hoping to build that trust.
A fine example of why a personal website is better:
Imagine taking weeks and months on a forum, responding to people’s questions and writing 10,000’s of words of great content there. All of that effort is honestly short sighted, because eventually the threads where you answer questions get buried down by new posts.
With a personal website, that same effort you’d put into writing content would go further, because it would be on Google longer and less likely to be buried by other websites and their content. Not only that, but the REACH of that content would be bigger as it would get you a larger audience, and in the end, the result would be better.
Now a person can choose to do both things and I honestly tried that, but failed, because the time I had to put into my website exceeded the free time I had to post on forums and in the end, I decided my effort was best spent on one area, and thus I decided to put my effort into building up my site, my traffic and sales.
I recommend you do the same.