Membership Forums: Marketing Mess of the Week

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Membership forums…a frequent benefit of continuity or membership programs — you know, a program where you pay $X per month (pricing varies greatly depending on program host) and typically get a couple of phone calls, a membership forum and other benefits (all dependent on the program host).

So, I was reading some posts on one of the paid forums I belong to (as opposed to free forums such as YahooGroups or GoogleGroups), noticed something and then hopped over to some other forums I receive as benefits of different programs.

The trend I noticed, and kept noticing?

Most of the program hosts rarely, if ever, participate in the forums they offer as benefits of the membership program.

Is this a problem?

Yes and no…in the case of the first forum I was visiting, it ABSOLUTELY was. 

You see, members were giving each other advice and instructions on how to do things. 

The problem?  3 of 7 posts I reviewed had bad/incorrect advice and instructions.

So here we have members who mean well and are trying to help each other unknowingly giving incorrect information and other members potentially acting on it.

And the program host, the one collecting the monthly revenue from these members?  Nowhere to be found.

My advice to you:

If you're hosting such programs, either go out and see what's being said, (after all, your members will remember the advice came from your forum — whether you're on it or not) or hire someone to be a presence on your behalf on the site.

If you're a member of such programs, be careful what advice you act on and ask your program host if the program offers Q&A calls.

If you're considering joining one of these programs, check to see if the program host (or her designee) participates on the forum or if you have a way to ask questions.

I received an email the other day asking why I'm sharing these "Marketing Mess of the Week" posts as they tend to point out less-than-positive things in online marketing. 

The answer is simple.  No one else is going to give you this straightforward, honest, no hidden agenda information just for the sake of helping you succeed in your business.  And every one of these posts has a lesson that we can all learn/be on the lookout for.