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Getting Members For Your Community
If you read my first article titled BUILDING A BUSINESS WITHOUT ADVERTISING YOUR PRODUCT, then you should have at least some idea of the type on online community your visitors would be interested in. If you have not read it, reading it will give you a better understanding of this article.
In this article, I will tell you some ways to get the word out about your online community. This is by no means a complete list. There are too many ways to grab peoples attention to list them all here. There have been many books written on this subject.
If you search the web, you will find an unlimited amount of articles for free. Don't get suckered into paying for something until you have done all the research you can about what you are paying for. There are millions of scams out there, but there's also some good books that you can buy.
E-MAIL SIGNATURE One of the more simpler ways of getting the word out, and one that is too often forgotten about is a signature in your email program. Just write up a 1 or 2 sentence description along with the web address. Also, make sure that your email program is setup to send your signature with every e-mail. This can be considered a type of viral marketing. If you send out jokes or other interesting things to your friends and they forward that email to their friends and they forward it to their friend and so on and so on, it spreads your message far and wide.
MESSAGE BOARDS Another place that you can use a signature line is on a message board. Most message boards don't allow advertising, but usually they let you put in a signature line. When you enter your signature it's seen every time you post a message or a reply to a message. Try to find message boards where those who post will have the same interests as those of your online community. The best approach to message boards is to try to find a message board where you can help people. By answering questions and helping people with problems they have, you can start to be seen as an expert on this topic. If you really do know what you're talking about, people will begin to trust you. People like to buy from someone they can trust. If you just show up to a message board, put out this big, bragging advertisement for your signature and post nothing but junk, the moderators of the board are most likely going to ask you to leave.
SEARCH ENGINES The first search engine you should list your site at, is the one you use the most. They should have a way to add your site to their listings from their home page. After you have added your site, go to the other popular search engines, or do a search for search engines, and list with as many as you can. With some search engines, it can take many weeks to get listed, and that's if you get listed at all! There are way too many search engines on the web to list with them all. If you use this method, you should set a limit on how many you do a day. There are websites that are dedicated to submitting your site to many search engines for you. Some are free, while others cost money. Software, shareware and freeware can be obtained to do the same thing from your desktop. As always, before spending any money, DO THE RESEARCH!! Make sure you know what you are paying for and buy from a reputable source. You should set up a special folder in you inbox to put all of your confirmation emails. This will help you keep track of which ones you've already submitted to. Also, these emails will usually contain your login ID and sometimes your password, both of which you will need to access your account.
SAFELISTS Safelists are very debatable. Some people like them, some people don't. The problem with safelists are that they fill everybody?s email box up with advertising from all of the members of the safelist. This makes it very hard to get your ad read by anyone. But if you can find a way to get their attention in the subject line, they may actually open your email. Just don?t make false claims or your credibility will be shot. If they do open your email, tell them about your online community. Tell them all the benefits of becoming a member of your community. DO NOT try to sell them anything in your email. Right now, your main objective is to get visitors to your site. So get the word out about you and your community. Before you sign up for even one safelist, make sure you open a new email account, just for safelists. If you get a big account like Yahoo! Mail you might can go for a while before you have to clear out your inbox, but if you get a smaller account, you will have to check it every couple of days. If you don't it will become full and your emails will bounce. If your safelists' emails bounce, they will suspend your account until you clear out your email account.
This is only four ways to start spreading the word about you and your community. There are many others. Some are free while others vary in price. I will discuss other ways in future articles.
John Layton has been publishing websites since 1998. His latest website, The Rebel Computer Guy (http://www.geocities.com/jlaytonjr1), has many resources and learning tools for the online business newbie. You may use this article for your own e-zine, newsletter, website, or whatever purpose you need. All I require is that you use the entire article, including the resource box giving me the credit. I would appreciate, but do not require, an email letting me know that you are using it and where I can find it. The Rebel Computer Guy website has lots of information about working on the Internet. Topics include; Guide To Working On The Web, Learn How To Write HTML, Ebooks and Reports, Classified Ads, Articles, and lots of Tips. There's also a Links section and a What's New section. Perfect for beginners. For more articles visit my articles page at http://www.geocities.com/jlaytonjr1/Articles/Articles.htm
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