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Using Web Forums and E-Mail Groups to Create an Online Presence for Your Home Business

written by: MD Weems•edited by: John Garger•updated: 2/10/2010

In the previous parts of this series, I showed you how to use the Internet to help your home business. In this part, we will talk about some often overlooked Internet areas that can help your home business grow. Learn how to create and grow your home business' online presence.

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    Use the Internet to your advantage...

    When it comes to the Internet, there are just too many marketing areas and ways to mention. You could spend all of your time just using the Internet to market and never get through the whole thing. So, you need to know which areas of it will help you the most and where you are best spending your time. This part of my series will help you use a few of the under-utilized parts of the Internet to help your home business and you grow.

    One of the main areas that is often overlooked by home business owners are forums around the web that deal with topics that are related to your home business. For example, if your home business offers customized motorcycle parts for Harley's, then you want to find some forums that are for Harley lovers. Not for business owners, not for people who make Harley's, but for the people that purchase and ride them and love to talk about them. These are your customers, and you can easily post a few topics and replies on these forums and draw in business that you would never have thought.

    Forums are a great way to get some great home business marketing and advertising by just sharing what you know with people that are in your target market. One tip again – don't over load your posts with salesy information. You want to be a real person and talk to the other posters as a person, not as a business owner. Offer tips on how they can get their bike running smoother, or what type of polish works best, and so forth. By offering free information and help to them, they are more likely to check out your web site and purchase from you because you have become their friend online.

    Another of the areas that is often overlooked are email groups. Yes, those annoying groups that you think you hate can be one of the greatest marketing tools that you could possibly find for your home business. Here is why: most people that join those groups are there for a specific reason. Either they need help with a problem, they want to find others who enjoy what they enjoy, or they need something that they cannot find anywhere else.

    You can use this to your advantage if you find the right group. So, you need to search out some of the online email groups that revolve around what your home business does. Yahoo groups and Topica are two great places to find tons of different groups that will revolve around your home business or your target market, and you should check them out. Make sure that you are in the right place by reading the group's information. This should let you know what the people in the group are trying to do and why the members are here.

    Only choose one or two groups though, as you will get overloaded with emails from them. And, you need to make sure that you participate in these groups at least once a week so that people know you are really there for a reason and not just to collect their information. By participating, I mean that you should reply to a couple of emails that are sent out, send out a couple of emails that talk about how you have solved a specific problem that is in the group's weekly topics, or other personal emails that will help those in the group out. Treat these email groups just like the forums and make sure that you are a real person here, and not in complete marketing mode.

    Hopefully, these two areas that are sorely overlooked will help you gain some new friends and some new customers for your home business as well. Both areas will provide you with ample opportunities to gain customers and to market your home business – as long as you are a person and not a salesperson.