Seeing as you are reading this blog post right now, chances are you are savvy enough to navigate the internet and are already using some form of lead generation online. Many contractors and small business owners find helpful information to better improve their own businesses while reading websites, blogs and forums online. These are great sources for finding out the latest innovations and hot topics surrounding your professional field. There are plenty of great forums out there where contractors, like yourself, actively participate in group discussions about anything pertaining to their specific industry and where homeowners can ask for expert advice. Here are 3 ways you can increase inbound leads though online forums:
Reading the seemingly endless discussions on a wide variety of topics about your industry can be a wealth of information and prove incredibly useful for you and your company. You’ll learn about features you may already implement, and perhaps additional ways they can be done differently. You’ll also read about elements that you may not be aware of that could be helpful to you. But the value goes far beyond the reading. Make sure you participate in discussions or questions that have been created by posting answers based on your own experience and then also posting comments on other answers if you feel it’s missing critical information. As you participate in discussions more frequently, you will get to know the other contractors who are regular contributors and begin to develop a professional rapport. Your colleagues on the forum will be there to help answer your own questions in the future and be a great sounding board for your own issues or ideas for your business.
2. Be the Expert
Locate the topics and sections of a forum that you feel most comfortably represent your featured skills and experience, and begin providing users with your best feedback to those questions. Making a point of being a regular participant in these topics with clear and helpful solutions will surely be recognized by fellow contributors and readers alike. There is a big difference between someone who has done a little of everything and a person who has spent their entire career perfecting the craft of a specific sort. They are experts in their field high and sought after for their services and guidance.
3. Convert FAQs into ROI
Professional forums often include brief bios as a signature to each forum post you make. It’s a good idea to include a link in your profile to your company website or LinkedIn page should a reader wish to follow up with you further. Establishing yourself as a valued expert in a field will likely lead to follow up discussions and possible work from readers on the forum who feel confident in your ability to meet their home improvement needs. Make yourself available to answer those questions that homeowners have about their project, whether it is regarding how much they can expect to spend for what they want to have done, how long the work may take to be completed, or recommendations on materials and appellations for the project. Many homeowners would appreciate the offer from an expert to come have a look at the project site – obligation free – for further suggestions and help. Some of these consultations could lead to the homeowner retaining your services as they have come to know, trust and value your involvement, advice and expertise.
You’ll find that the return on your investment with online forums is much like anything else in life: what you put in is what you get out of it. The more active and helpful your comments are seen, the more users will actively seek out your guidance on these forums and ultimately end up hiring you for their projects.
What forums do you participate in?
(Flickr photo by laughlin)