How To Get More Clients From Online Discussion Lists And Forums

Copyright 2006 Donna Gunter

If you dislike face-to-face networking as much as I do, perhaps networking online might be more your style. I’m still trying out some online networks like Ryze and Open BC, so the jury is still out on those. What’s bringing me the most success at the moment is online discussion lists and forums.

The discussion list, also called a LISTSERV, comes in the form of an email broadcast to which you subscribe. You can elect to receive each message as it’s posted, or receive a daily or weekly digest of all messages posted to the list. To keep myself sane, I typically subscribe to the daily digest version to reduce the volume of emails I get every day. This is my favorite, as I love the immediacy of email, rather than having to take a few additional steps to participate in a forum. Unfortunately, with the ever-increasing problems of email delivery, I have seen the use of this tool decline over the last few years. Many of the discussion lists to which I belong have been replaced by online discussion forums.

The discussion forum is typically hosted on a web site, and it might also be referred to as an online bulletin board or message board. The messages and replies are referred to as “threads”, and all posts are maintained on the forum so that you can go in read the threads at any time. Some forums offer you the option of being notified when there are any new posts to the forum, or you can select to be notified only if there are posts to topics of interest to you or just to questions or replies you have posted in the forum. I prefer the forums in which I can see a short description of the original post and short descriptions of the replies so I can quickly determine which threads I want to open and read and perhaps respond.

How do you find discussion lists? Scott Stratten maintains a great list of good business-oriented discussion forums at Many professional associations run their own discussion lists and forums, which is helpful if you’re coaching or consulting with others in your own industry.. And, there’s always Yahoo and Google groups, , and another comprehensive list at ,

Here’s what you need to consider to make the most of your online networking and ultimately get more clients online:

1. Lurk on the list for 3-4 days before you post anything. You’ll want to ensure that the list is active (with daily posts) and that your target market is represented before investing a great deal of time and effort into the list. Read prior posts and determine the posting protocols, what kind of information is shared, as well as “who’s who” on the list. I’ve joined a number of lists and discovered that they weren’t as active as I require and so left and found more active lists. In this “lurking” period, you’ll also want to get a sense of the tone of the list — are their posts on-topic and relevant, or are there a lot of self-promotional advertising emails and off-topic posts or “flaming” (derogatory remarks) among the members?

2. Review the rules of the list. The best lists and forums are moderated, which means that there is a real person who volunteers to ensure that the posting rules are followed. Before you post, be sure you read the list or forum rules, which will give you guidelines about how to post or reply to a question and whether or not you can send any promotional emails to the list. Effective list moderators ensure that spammers don’t slip onto the list with spam comments, keep the discussion on-topic and relevant to the purpose of the list, gently remind posting violators of the rules, and ultimately ban repeat offenders from a forum or list.

3. Prepare an effective email signature. Typically lists or forums will permit you to include an email signature as part of your post. There may be a rule about what can be included in the content of your signature or a limit on the number of lines that a signature can contain, so be sure and review the list rules as your craft your email signature. Since most lists prohibit blatant commercial postings, your email signature will serve as your advertisement every time you post to the list. The most effective email signatures have a call to action, typically for a free offer, that a visitor can get by visiting a web site. My email signature contains an offer for a free online marketing toolkit that visitors to my site receive when they subscribe to my email newsletter.

4. Practice good list etiquette. Good list etiquette includes following the posted list and forum rules and being considerate of members. One annoying thing that list newbies will do is include the entire body of the message to which they are responding in their actual response message to a post. If you’re on a discussion list, scanning through a bunch of info that wasn’t deleted from prior posts makes the list reading process very tedious. In your reply to a post, delete all but the relevant sentence or portion of a sentence that is most applicable to your reply, and post your reply under that original text so that the reader who has elected to receive individuals posts can easily follow the conversation thread. Just as in face-to-face networking, you want to be courteous and professional to all of your new virtual contacts.

A second major list and forum faux paus is to send a personal response to the list, instead of to the individual for whom it’s intended. If someone has asked for replies to be sent “off-list”, or if you have a question or comment that doesn’t relate to the overall topic and focus of the list or forum, send the information to the person directly, instead of via the discussion list.

5. Integrity of your posting is important. I’ve been on lists in which a list member has posted a question, followed by an immediate reply from someone else on the list whose service or product perfectly matches the initial request. I’ll then receive an email from the moderator reporting that both of these people have been banned from the list. Why? Because the poster and responder were the same person. This most often happens on lists where commercial posts are prohibited, so someone will create two identities on the list. The person uses one identity to ask the question on the list, and then log in or respond from the second identity, who can post a self-promotional email to the list, within the rules of the list, because it’s a response to a direct request from another member. Don’t get caught being duplicitous — the Internet world is much smaller than you might think, and word travels quickly here.

6. Become the expert on the list. The best way to become a major player in a discussion list or forum is to actively add to the discussion. I don’t mean to simply send a post that says, “Yes, I agree” and that’s it. If you have an answer to a question or a point of view that will contribute to the knowledge being shared, that’s the time to post to the list or forum. By freely sharing your knowledge, information, and expertise with the group, they will come to like, know and respect you, which is the path that needs to be followed before someone will decide to buy what you offer. Remember, the best way to get what you want is to help others get what they want — practice giver’s gain in your online networking. Every contact could be a potential client or customer.

Becoming a regular participant in just a few relevant online discussion lists or forums can be a very effective way to get more clients online. Follow the list/forum rules, share what you know, have a great offer in your email signature, and watch the new visitors come to your web site, subscribe to your blog or email newsletter, and ultimately become new clients.

What Is Website Free Internet Marketing

Have you ever thought it would be nice to make money on the internet, but you do not have a website? In this article were going to talk about website free Internet marketing and how you can make money without having one of your own.

The quickest way to make money without a website of your own is to become an affiliate marketer. Being affiliate just means that you are going to sell other people’s products and get paid for your efforts. You can do this by using the website that the affiliate merchant provides to you for free.

So now we see that you do not have a website of your own but are using someone else’s how you make money? The way you do that is by driving traffic to your affiliate website and letting the site convert some of that into a commission for yourself.

One way that is very effective is to do e-mail marketing. In this instance what you would do is get an auto responder with a quality company such as Aweber or GetResponse. You would fill it with a series of follow-up messages that include your affiliate link to the website given to you.

Then what you would do is buy opt in subscribers from various lead companies. You let the lead company fill your autoresponder and then let the messages do the selling for you. This is a very hands-off approach because you do not have to build your own website, you do not have to follow up with anyone personally, and whenever a sale is made you earn a commission.

One real benefit to this method is you are building a list of your own that you can follow up with to sell other products. Many times back in sales are excellent ways to make money as an Internet marketer. Although you are following up with your customer initially for one affiliate product, you can always come back and offer them another and make more money.

One of the things you want to do is market your affiliate website in various other forms. These can include off-line promotions such as flyers, or classified ads in newspapers. They can also include online promotions such as article marketing, forum marketing, online classified ads, e-zine advertising, banner advertising, and so on.

The important thing in website free Internet marketing is that you put your emphasis on promotion and traffic. Although you are not building a website of your own you are still promoting an affiliate marketer website, or your auto responder address, so many of the same Internet marketing rules will still apply.

Clickbank: Unraveling A Pot Of Gold For Beginner Affiliates

It’s no secrets that the clickbank affiliate network is beginner friendly. Starting an online business can be very challenging and you want to take the easiest route. With time, you will be able to choose whatever suits you best.

Whenever you start something new, affiliate marketing or anything else, you should start slowly. When I started affiliate marketing I found clickbank because it’s really easy to start.

1. Easy

Compared to commission junction, shareasale and other networks, clickbank is a walk in the park. You can sign up and get your affiliate links in less than 10 minutes.

Getting your affiliate link is really easy.

2. Proven track

They pay every two weeks. There are thousands of vendors and affiliate selling or promoting products and all of them are paid on time for years.

3. Tracking

They recently added a new ‘tid’ tracking feature, and like all their other tools, all it takes is one click to get your tracking ID. Plus the new reporting feature is excellent. Your click thru and conversion rates are automatically calculated for you.

4. Support

Their support is excellent as well. They answer very fast to emails. Whether you are an affiliate or a vendor, the support you get from them is really encouraging if you are just getting started.

5. Guarantee

All the products listed in the clickbank marketplace are backed up by a 56 days guarantee. This is good for you because you make more sales as a result. Plus there are countless tools and softwares (created by third party individuals) that allow affiliate to browse the marketplace and find products to promote.

Phone Follow Up – The Key To Home Business Success

When conducting an online business from home, the importance of follow up phone calls to prospects that have opted into your system cannot be over emphasized. If you have been seriously looking for an opportunity yourself, I know you have gotten the opposite impression from the vast array of businesses advertised online. Most succeed in upholding the illusion that working from home online requires little or no effort at all. And, on top of that, several promise that you can become a millionaire within weeks! Many of these ads literally include sentences, such as the following; “You don’t like sales? No problem ? you don’t have to talk with anyone!” and “This opportunity is totally turn-key!”

Well, let me dispel this myth. In most cases this is just not true. If you?re asking a stranger for start-up fees in excess of $100, you need to pick up the phone and reach out to your “opt-ins” (those who have submitted personal contact information while requesting more details about your opportunity). You can imagine that this is even truer with opportunities that exceed $500, $1,000 or more. Even if you are not successful in reaching your prospect and end up leaving a message ? they need to hear a live voice (not a recording) and have the option to talk with you. This helps them know that you and your opportunity are real, and will enhance your chances of romancing the potential business partner into your enterprise exponentially.

Think about it ? would you hand over your hard earned cash to a flashy webpage (created by someone you?ve never met) just because it promises that an “expert” will help you make the big bucks? I wouldn?t. I?m not saying that it never happens, but for 99 percent of the business seekers out there, you need to talk with them first?and usually more than once. Everyone wants to be valued and business opportunity prospects are no different.

And there are other reasons too. Most people who are seriously looking for a home business look at 20-50 websites! Yes, your page might look enticing while they’re still on it, but trust me, there are thousands and thousands of websites that are equally alluring. In fact, opportunity seekers visit so many sites that later they often can’t even find the one they were most impressed with! Just the sixty second effort of a phone follow up with each prospect elevates your opportunity from the shuffled mess and moves it to the top of the heap in their mind…which, after all, is where the sale is made.

Many opportunities claim to do the selling or the “closing” for you. Be sure to ask what this really means. Usually, this promise is far short of true closing. It normally means that your prospects can attend regularly scheduled conference calls or webinars with top earners in online “rooms” of 100 ? 500 prospects. These “closers” spend 30 to 60 minutes pitching the business to a large group ? which is a far cry from a private conversation. Again, these “sizzle calls” can be very powerful, but they do not alleviate the need for an individual follow up. Sales are normally closed with one-on-one discussions that address the individual’s dreams, fears and concerns. Most people are not going to share their deepest objections on a conference call. Besides, even if a fancy talker in a large group can close your prospects, you still have to contact them to deliver call details and invite them to attend (so the promise of not needing to make any phone calls is still not completely honest).

A few home businesses offer optional turn-key follow up and closing services, such as a call center available to some EDC Gold and EDC Diamond distributors. These rooms of professional telemarketers are well versed in the details of the companies they pitch, and contact individuals multiple times until they receive a clear decision by the prospects.

Having worked full time in a home business for some time now, I can definitely tell you that follow up phone calls have been essential to my success. And I am certain they will be to yours as well. Bottom line ? phone follow up calls will triple your sales results!

The article is brought to you by Peter Grundner at P&T Enterprises
For more information please visit and

How Can One Providie A Service On The Internet Working From Home?

Outsourcing is a popular term that you hear almost everywhere today. So if you have a skill, or are willing to learn one, people will pay you to do things for them that they do not have time to do. Almost anyone can work from home providing a service on the Internet.

Perhaps you can consider a specific example where you can work from home as a blog.

Did you know that there is a new blog started every second somewhere in the world? This may seem like an incredible number but it makes sense in reality.

Blogs are replacing websites as the chosen way for people to start online. They can be used to make money or they can be used for social reasons as well.

One thing does remain constant regardless of how the owner chooses to use them. Blogs need content to be effective and the owners have a difficult time keeping up with them.

For example, many people who also have full-time jobs will find it difficult to consistently write blog articles while they try to make money online with a blog. This is a very quick way for you to start a home business and make money targeting a market where there is a never ending supply of prospects.

It is not rocket science to write blog articles. When you write blog articles you will need to practice good search engine optimization techniques. You also need to make it entertaining and useful to the reader.

Many blog writers choose to write controversial content and this brings back readers to their blog. You will quickly be in demand and can command a good price for the articles that you write if you can write this type of content.

Finding customers for your blog writing business is not hard to do either. One way to meet people and offer your services in a passive way is social networking. You can do this in discussion forums where you create a signature file that links back to a page describing the writing you offer.

You can also do this through social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, My Space, and many more. So they can order from you initially people will need to be able to find you.

You will find repeat business keeps you busy and word-of-mouth bring in new customers as well, after you get through that startup phase. This cam add up to be a quick way to work from home as a blog writer on the Internet.