You should definitely head online and check out the many forums that are chock full of potential new customers for your services and products. The problem is knowing where to go to find your target audience. How do you determine what forums they are using? One of the easiest ways is to jump on a forum/message board compilation site like big-boards.com. These types of sites rank the most popular forums and give descriptions along with other facts like number of members and number of posts.
Before you commit to a particular forum or message board, you may want to enter the site as a guest and do a little bit of lurking. Sounds a bit creepy, but lurking just means that you are looking around the site and reading people’s posts without taking part in any of the discussions. Most forums will allow you to look around as a guest, but you usually have to register when you want to make a posting. It is a good idea to take some time checking out a forum before putting your name out there. You don’t want to accidentally get involved in an odd forum discussion and forever have your name linked to it in cyberspace. That would not be good way to instill confidence in new clients should they search your name for information.
Once you decide that the discussions taking place in a particular forum are right up your alley, go ahead and make a more definitive profile. You want people to be able to directly contact you if possible. Most forums will allow users to add a signature to their profiles that shows up every time they post a comment. If you have a web address, put it in your signature. You can also add other ways in which people can contact you such as your Twitter account, your LinkedIn information, or your MySpace name. The more ways you put yourself out there, the more likely it is that your forum posts will get you some leads for new sales.
Forums don’t have to be all about business. Remember to have some fun with these interactive sites and make a few new friends along with your great new business contacts.