Home – New Forums Marketing mastery How to attract visitors without much cost

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  • #982111
    kathiemt
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    I’m looking for suggestions please. Not related to my business but a site I’m establishing that is more hobby related.

    I’m keen on gardening and want to establish a forum for Australian gardeners. I have looked but there’s not many out that aren’t connected to a business and is active and is Australian.

    My challenge is reaching people to let them know about it without paying out for advertising if I can help it. I have set up a Facebook advert to see if that does generate interest. Their stats indicate the advert could reach 287,000 people. I’ve kept the cost per day quite low.

    I have set up some advertising on the site, in the way of Google Adsense and Amazon books, in the hope that it might generate enough to pay for some advertising over time, but I’m not expecting it to be a money spinner. I would like to see it become a popular forum though, with multiple moderators and people getting a lot of benefit from participating.

    So I’m bringing this here in the hope of some brainstorming and suggestions of things I haven’t yet thought of. How would I reach potential members for the forum do you think?

    The domain is http://www.aussiegardeningforum.com if you’re interested in looking.

    #1135012
    themobilebillboardco
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    Sorry Katie

    Don’t mean to be rude here on my reply… but let me just point out one thing:

    You hope to serve Ads on your site to those visiting, but don’t want to pay for advertising to bring them in.

    I know where you’re coming from – you have a site, you want people to come.

    But you know what the biggest mistake any business makes – small or conglomerate – is; That you pay peanuts, you get monkey’s.

    I’m sorry – I just find it a tad frustraring that you’re model is that you’re happy to serve ads to people but not pay for them yourself.

    JR

    #1135014
    kathiemt
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    Thank you for your comments and I do appreciate them. I’m looking for ideas. I already run a business and am quite happy to pay out for the advertising for that and what is required to keep that running.

    And I know that the forum needs more content ‘seeding’ and I’m working on that as I have a few members getting ready to join to help that happen, through friends and family.

    Re the .com – I might decide on purchasing a .com.au later but until I can be sure that this forum might take off, I’m sticking with what I’ve already got.

    With respect to the advertising, I’m hoping that the site will pay for itself eventually, but I know it will take time for that to happen too. In the meantime I’m putting in for the cost of running it with my own time and my own funds. I don’t, however, wish to inject lots of funds into it, which is why I’m looking for other ideas that won’t necessarily cost money. I was hoping to achieve that by sharing my plan with others here and that a bit of brainstorming might take place. I help many people in my own industry when they need guidance. I was just hoping I might get a bit of guidance with this new idea as it’s outside of what I do on a regular basis.

    #1135015
    Lindz
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    Hello Kathie,

    I think both your idea and your website are really good and I think the name couldn’t be more fitting. I loved your photos and will be signing up shortly to find out how to grow water lilies just like those. (I’m thinking back yard greenhouse in Mt Dandenong).

    Perhaps initially you might concentrate on promoting your site locally – through the shire, through school and community house newsletters, contact with Leader newspaper reporters- and through your existing business network and then gradually broaden out to the rest of the country as the site becomes more active and gains more members.

    All best,

    Lindsay

    #1135016
    kathiemt
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    Lindsay, thanks for your great ideas. I’ll start working on those very soon.

    Love your idea. We’re in Selby so not far from you. We’re planning on building a fish pond, hopefully this autumn. Just finished putting in a large chook pen and have chickens now. Each year we plan a new project to make this lovely property ours – putting our stamp on it, so to speak. So the gardening aspect has become important to us.

    Thanks, once again.

    #1135017
    The Copy Chick
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    First of all… I’ve just registered :D

    Pinterest might also be another good avenue as there is a dedicated gardening category and people are all over that thing!! One of my constant frustrations is most of the gardening advice being relevant mainly to either Europe or America.

    Good luck :)

    #1135018
    kathiemt
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    The Copy Chick, post: 153652 wrote:
    First of all… I’ve just registered :D

    Pinterest might also be another good avenue as there is a dedicated gardening category and people are all over that thing!! One of my constant frustrations is most of the gardening advice being relevant mainly to either Europe or America.

    Good luck :)

    Thanks Anna, that is part of the reason for establishing an Aussie one. I love Pinterest and use it for my photos but hadn’t thought to do it specifically for gardening. Will go revisit that.

    #1135019
    Anonymous
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    Hi Kathie

    Social Media and connecting with other gardening relating blog sites is going to be your best approach.

    I would suggest facebook and pinterest as your best networks. I have found social media a great way to drive numbers to my blog site.

    The other good technique is to connect with other gardening sites and start guest blogging.

    While these two methods may take a little more time to increase your visitors, you will grow a better base of customers.

    I would also suggest you purchase the .com.au site now, it costs next to nothing.

    #1135020
    coreytopp
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    • Total posts: 22
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    Hi Kathie,

    I would suggest the easiest way to get unpaid hits on your site would be to install a blog on the site, then get on Google Keyword Tool and find out what people who might like your site are searching.

    Aim for a high number of local monthly searches and low competition and then base the keywords in each post around the keywords you choose.

    Good luck

    #1135021
    kathiemt
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    Thanks for the idea. What’s another blog? I ask that cheekily. I already own several so starting up another one isn’t a hardship and probably something I should have thought of myself. Thanks for the prompt!

    #1135023
    Zava Design
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    There actually are a few Aussie home gardening and food growing community sites out there. I know, built an entire online social network & forum in this genre for a client a year ago, and had a lot of research for that from them on what’s currently out there. And we’re actually doing an upgrade of the site this year as it’s gone really well but the client wants to change the focus of the site slightly.

    I’d do a little more research for one, and then if you really want a community site like this to work a few things to keep in mind:
    1. You need to go to your audience to promote the site. Where can they be reached?
    2. You need to provide them with a reason to engage with you/your site, what’s in it for them? Needs to be a little more than “It would be nice to have a gardening community forum”, they need resources, information, something they will value.
    3. Differentiate: As I said, there are a few Aussie home gardening/growing sites out there, what is your site offering that others are not? At the moment, not much.

    And sorry, can’t really offer you any specific information/research that I have from my other client, that wouldn’t really be morally right. ;)

    #1135024
    kathiemt
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    I’ve got the social connect set up on the forum so that people can share via Twitter and Facebook. And I have a Gardening Board at Pinterest and have the forum URL listed in there as well. I’m gradually building up things as suggestions come my way from friends and colleagues and here at this forum. Thank you :)

    #1135026
    kathiemt
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    Dave, thanks for your comments and I appreciate you can’t share what you’ve done for your client. But it’s nice to know you have helped in that area.

    Yes, I did see some gardening forums but they seemed to be attached to a magazine, or a particular nursery. I was looking for something that was more stand alone but recognise that means there’s more work involved in getting it known. I hope to provide links, further down the track, to various gardening magazines and nurseries, etc.

    Scrooge, I appreciate and understand your comments. All good things take time to build and I’m not expecting it to happen overnight, in a few weeks or even 6 months. Getting ideas from people here will help me get it happening – I needed to be able to see outside of my own box. I will spend time researching and trying things out but also recognise that I need a small core group to at least help it get started and to participate so it is seeded with content and I can promote much further afield. Sorry if the domain thing is urking you but I’m not yet fully decided upon whether that will remain the final domain or if I’ll use something else. So, while I build it, it will remain as is.

    I’m not a stranger to running forums. I set up one for a mountain biking club not far from where I live and that is a very active forum. It took 2 years of my behind the scenes involvement to help the club get their forum and their facebook page happening. They (the committee) couldn’t see it at first but now it’s pretty much running itself. I also manage two forums for my own industry (Virtual Assistants) but they aren’t board based like the gardening one I’m setting up.

    I do appreciate all the comments/critiques and have taken each one on board. They will help guide me in my decision-making and plans for this new forum I’m building..

    #1135027
    Zava Design
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    Scrooge, post: 153792 wrote:
    I cannot emphasise enough just how difficult it is to create a forum that can support itself. So many people think it would be great to have a forum the reality is they are one of the single most difficult resources to get off the ground.
    Yep. Best advice is to gain the audience first, and then launch the forum down the track.
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