Not forums persay, but there was a MMORPG that I used to be on that was pretty successful with bringing people to the site, by advertising at different places like Libraries, fast food places and the like.
I thought about doing that many times but I thought well!! the websites are worldwide and and really need to send cards, flyers to other people around the world. Can be costly way if you aren't going to get anything back.
I rather do stickers and t shirts or mouse pads with the website logo and whatnot that people will love to use
I tried putting some flyers up around my college for my site when I first got it up and running. I didn't really notice any increase in traffic during that time, so I don't think it was successful.
It is definitely something that can work better with games and service type sites better. For forums it can sometimes work but you need to target the niche your forum is in. So for example, if it is a book/story/writing/reading forum you would want to try and get your flyers in libraries and bookstores.
Blanketing a whole area with flyers (say with direct mail for example) isn't going to get a good return on your investment because you will need target people specifically interested in your niche if you want to get their conversions.
Yes I did many times for my company before, I did many ways such as hang out flyers, leaflets, hang banners in front of store, road show, offline event, standy,...and many other ways. And in almost event the sale got increases few more percent (+5%, 20%)
I did this a lot in college. When I had Nashville Web Services going, i printed off hundreds of fliers and went around taping them up everywhere. I didn’t get permission from Student Development to put the fliers up, so I kept seeing my fliers get taken down. I’d have to put them up in tactical locations so that no one would take them down.
I fell for this web store scam in my early 20s. Well, I was inexperienced, so I didn't understand that it would take marketing - and real marketing takes money! In that case, I put flyers around every grocery store, gas station in Appalachia. O.K., it was fun, kind of like a Boy Scout project - but nothing, of course.
Well, this did introduce me into web marketing which is passion now.
I do for mine. Since it's natural & holistic, I focus on Health Food Stores. I notice I have an increase in guests & views but not many joined. People I talk to tend to prefer social media over forums.