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Forums as Top of Funnel Marketing Channels


#1

Hello -

I’m in the process of putting together a more comprehensive, long-term marketing plan for AmazeLaw, a CMS and marketing tool suite for solo and small firm attorneys. There are a number of email lists out there where solo’s talk about various things, and occasionally they talk marketing, but the topics are all over the place, often repeated, and usually filled with horrible outdated or even harmful advice.

Has anyone here run a forum, regardless of software, that has served as a sponsored watering hole for their particular niche? Has it worked? Was the up-front community management a tough hurdle to get over?

How about a reddit/HN-like site a la GrowthHackers.com or Inbound.org?

Is this just shiny-object syndrome and should I just be focusing on answering all of those horrid listerv questions as blog posts and not worry about yet another hosted app that I have to manage in addition to my application and marketing site?


#2

I’ve become more involved with an active form in my niche market which has resulted in several new subscriptions. They key is to be helpful and not spam. Only mention your product if it is 100% on topic in a thread you didn’t start. Also fill out your user profile with links to your service, this is how curious forum members will get to your marketing site. Even with that, some users can get nasty. At least in my market…


#3

I am curious about the same thing. I have thought about creating some type of separate site that would be useful to my target market but just as a sponsored blog/forum.

Can you post a question in one of these forums to see what people think? (It might be treading on dangerous ground within an existing forum.)

It looks like you are doing some content marketing through your blog now, do you have and the email list associated with it? You could try a sending out an email asking people if it would be valuable to add a forum and see what kind of response you get.

Also, just curious, do you have background in law?


#4

The forum I’d consider asking can be fairly vendor-toxic so I’d be hesitant to request feedback there. I could definitely use the email list, though it has <100 subs at this point and might not be big enough to seed an entire forum.

And no background in law other than being married to a solo attorney :slight_smile:


#5

I’m fairly active in a number of niche forums that occasionally have marketing/tech questions. And I definitely don’t sell the business, only offer up lots of free help as a way of showing expertise and link to the business through my email signature. And you’re right, they can be terribly nasty so it takes a LOT of tap-dancing to make sure you’re not being perceived as a spammer.

That’s why I’m considering starting my own. Help control the atmosphere. Set the expectation that it’s a forum for marketing advice. A marketer in a marketing forum is a lot more palatable than a marketer in a lawyers forum.