Home » Articles » The Benefits of Hosting a Forum on Your Website

The Benefits of Hosting a Forum on Your Website

by Gen Wright

A forum can add a lot of value to your business, especially if it's an online business. Let's take a look at some of the benefits of having a forum.

1) Feedback.

Feedback is very important to any business. Without proper feedback from your prospects and customers, it is very difficult to chart the next move for the business. How do you know what your customers want? How to do you what kind of solutions to come up with? A forum provides a great channel for you to acquire the feedback that you need.

Of course, the format that the feedback is in is unstructured. Members just ask questions or voice their thoughts. It is up to you, as the business owners, to listen carefully to what they have to say and then interpret accordingly. Find out what your customers like or dislike. Find out what irritates them. If you plan your product development based on such feedback, your product launches will have a much higher chance of succeeding.

2) Relationship building.

Sometimes, it's not just the product that counts. It's the relationship as well. If you want to make profits in the long term, then you have to do something to encourage customer loyalty. Having a forum allows customers to interact with you or your staff. It gives everyone a chance to know one another.

You can use the forum to give periodic updates about product development so that existing customers can get more involved in the process. Such activities will help strengthen relationships.

3) Support issues.

A forum is not really meant to be a support channel. There are other ways to offer better support. However, a new customer who doesn't know who to turn to for help can visit the forum and ask questions. Sometimes, your existing customers may even respond to lend a helping hand.

4) Community building.

The whole point of having a forum is to build a community. In a community, there is a stronger sense of belonging. Your customers feel that they are a part of something. That's why it's important to encourage participation whenever possible.

A great community always have a set of rules. On the Internet, sharing is always encouraged. However, uncontrolled sharing can lead to the demise of the community. The quality of the information just goes downhill. The rules are not in place to restrict the flow of information. Rather, they are in place to set the direction for the community. When there is a common goal in sight, information tends to be more useful and organized.

5) Boost sales.

Setting up and running a forum requires time, effort and resources. Perhaps you may not see the benefits upfront. But in the mid to long term, you will start reaping the rewards of your early efforts. A community with strong loyalty tends to buy more frequently. When you have something to sell, the forum members will buy from you because they have been involved in the development process. They already know what a great product it's going to be. On top of that, they may even tell others about your new products!

Such activities will help generate sales on a regular basis for your business.

About The Author:
Visit our web hosting forum and discussion site, its all about web hosting talk, news, update, and discussion.
Friday, Oct 30th, 2009