I’m sure we’re all familiar with promotion forums, as we’ve seen hundreds of them pop up over the years. Unfortunately, out of the hundreds created, very few remain open or active after a few weeks. On a more positive note, we’ve seen several examples of promotion forums flourish and become very successful. Such examples are Forum Promotion (one of the first promotion forums started back in 2007), phpBBCommunities, ForuMansion, and ForumHour. These forums were all successful in my opinion because they faced these three “killers” of promotion forums, and they overcame them. I’ll elaborate over each point in detail in their own section.
This first point is one that most promotion forums struggle with, and it’s normally that this point alone can kill a promotion forum. This killer is Uniqueness of the promotion forum, and you’re probably wondering what I mean by that. I’m pretty sure that when we go onto a promotion forum, we expect these predicted services which are:
• Posting Packages
• Forum Reviews
• Signature Advertising
• Table Ads
Now don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with these services, but what I’m getting at is these services can be found at every promotion forum. There’s nothing wrong with having them, but if that’s all you cater to your users with, there is nothing to label it as unique (besides a certain appearance or forum niche). This is normally a point where forum admins struggle with trying to create unique services. A tip for those who are indeed trying to come up with unique services is to browse your forum and look at every aspect of it. An example of this would be looking at user profile pages, and thinking on what can be done with it. I know on one forum an admin was going for Avatar Advertising, in this service, members could advertise in the Avatar of the Admins. It’s something you don’t really see in many other forums, which is what makes it unique. Now granted, it’s a practice that can be picked up by other forums, but regardless of that, it gives you a good starting point once you’ve found your creativity.
This second point is one that all promotion forums struggle with, no matter the size or how long it has been running. This point can be easily described with three simple words: Staff and Motivation. Of course, it’s not required to have staff for your promotion forum because you could easily run all aspects of it by yourself. However, it’s easier to dictate responsibilities to others who wish to help out. Unfortunately, there are many cases where finding staff isn’t the easiest thing to do, which unfortunately can hurt and kill a promotion forum. Take for example the Post Packages Service on promotion forums, we’ve all seen it in action. If ran correctly, it will keep members coming back to your forum and will keep it somewhat active. Running it the wrong way, and unfortunately it will kill your forum (that’s a different path of discussion for another day). With the amount of requests that can come through, a solid team is needed to process and complete all the package requests, and that’s where it gets tedious. That said, when looking for staff, you should point out all the positives of the position and strive to have a great attitude when looking for team members, and continue to do so when working with them. Like I said earlier, it’s easier to have a team to help with the workload rather than doing it yourself, but it doesn’t hurt to jump in when needed and help out. In fact, when I see admins and the like jumping in to help with package requests and such, I feel that it shows that they do have a genuine care for the stability of the service team by jumping in to keep things going. By genuine care, I mean the admin(s) are willing to step outside of their responsibilities, rather than feeling that doing work in the services section is beneath them. In short, if the staff is happy, they’ll be willing to do the work. In turn, the community will be happy, and you will be happy as well. Everyone wins at the end of the day, and your promotion forum in turn will flourish.
Finally, this last point is something that I’m not quite sure everyone looks at, but I personally have looked at on several forums that I find can be detrimental to one, as well as any forum. However, with the services that promotion forums have, this especially hits it hard. This third point is Community Involvement. I’ll give you an example for this one since it might not be so clear: Billy Joe Job signs up on my promotion forum, OMGPromotion.com. He requests a package as soon as he registers and signs off right after. Three weeks later Billy logins again and requests another package, logging off right after. Can you spot what I’m getting at? If you haven’t figured it out, Billy never got involved in the community, which I find is an ever-growing issue. You might be wondering whether I’m overthinking this or if it’s really an issue, but it can be. While users requesting your services is great, you also have forum sections to tend too, and it won’t become active on its own. Again, you might think I’m overthinking this, but here is what I’m getting at: If you have users who are just going for the services, you might be missing out on someone who could help make your Sports section or your Video Games section active by posting around a bit. Lack of Community Involvement could be not enough excitement (point that involve the members, I’ll elaborate more), or by pure choice of the user. If it’s the latter, there is not much you can do but try to get the user involved, which I’ll cover in reviewing the former. By excitement, simply having a posting contest or an Avatar, Logo, Signature, or Name Contest can go a long way by getting users involved by posting. By throwing in incentives (it doesn’t really matter what they are, some people will do it for pure fun), you increase your chances of getting more people involved. You could offer the winner of the contest a free service, or maybe their own forum rank image. The possibilities for incentives are endless, but at the end of the day, getting the community involved is what it comes down to. And if it’s the latter point which was the user simply chooses not to get involved, besides imposing price or post requirements to request certain services which would then essentially force the user to meet those requirements by posting et cetera, all you can really do is strive to get all members involved. Even sending out a friendly email or making a News topic can get a long way, especially email as it can reach those who have not visited in a while.
All in all, these are just three points in the world of running a promotion forum that you may come across. Hopefully after reading this article, you’ll have a solid foundation to approach these three points and be able to combat them to overcome them. And you never know, with the right mindset and hard work, your promotion forum could earn a spot in the Legendary Hall of Promotion Forums, you just have to work at it. Well, my work is done here folks, thanks for reading and best of luck to all running all forums, promotion or not!