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Nothing is cheaper than free. That is what they say. In Internet marketing you have some choices to promote your website. You can pay for advertising or you can do your marketing for free using methods such as forums. Whatever the method you use, you will want to promote yourself as a competent respected expert in some or many areas of interest to those who wander the hallowed halls of the Internet looking for some specific information. Internet marketing gets down to that.

"A funny thing happened to me on the way to the forum." That is the start of a joke or the title to a funny movie. But things do happen more at the forum than on the way to the forum. A forum, for the purpose of this article, is an Internet meeting of folks who have a mutual interest. There are many forums that you may join. For example, Yahoo has a bundle of forums that you can join. You can start your own forum there and it will not cost you one red cent.

When I was a boy, I had a stamp collection given to me when the owner went off to fight in WWII. When I got home from fighting the Korean War (Please don't call it the Korean Conflict or the Korean Police Action. That just irritates the hell out of those of us who fought it.), I looked for my stamp collection. It was gone, probably thrown out with the rest of my junk. I never started a new collection but I still have an interest in the subject. I just placed stamp collecting forums in the Google search box and came up with 226,000 sites where stamp collectors can get together and talk about their passion.

Now collecting stamps is a broad field which can be broken down into many smaller fields. I placed French stamp collecting forums in the Google search box on my browser and Google came up with 448,000 sites where people are talking about collecting French stamps. No matter what you are interested in, you will be able to find a group of people in the Internet with a similar interest.

So how does one market using forums. Your objective is to become a knowledgeable and trustworthy member of the community who everybody likes. You want to be a member of the community who is regarded as an expert. To do this you join in the gab and give helpful hints to make someone better at what they are doing, perhaps a better stamp collector, a more successful stamp collector, Hey, you are there to help.

Now there are some rules when using forums:

1. If you join a forum, then participate in the forum. You must show a presence.

2. Don't even think about selling on the forum. Forum members do not like grubby salesmen or saleswomen. You can't put blatant ads on a forum. Forum input is regulated by a monitor and you will be warned and then ejected from the forum.

3. You most likely will be able to put one of our URLs under your signature. People on the forum will be able to find you. You can collect names and email addresses on your site. You can make friends to whom you can suggest products while off the forum, etc.

If you discuss a product on the forum, it should be as a user of the product and it should fit in with the general discussion: "Yes, Fred. I did try that. It was worthless to me but for a person who specializes in Chinese stamps, it could be valuable."

Dare you say that you have a review of the product on your website? After you have been a member of a forum for a while, you will know what is tolerated and what is not. Make sure you read the guidelines. But make friends and communicate with them off the forum.

There are experts in forum marketing who can teach you better than I can. My objective here is get you started. There is nothing like experience to gain the knowledge you need to market using forums on the Internet.

Fly Old Glory!

Street Talk

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