When I started out dreaming about selling t-shirts some brief googling led me to t-shirtforums.com which proved to be one of the best googles I've ever done. T-shirtforums.com is a real treasure trove of useful information regarding selling t-shirts online (or, that's the bit that interested me, they also have boards about printing techniques, screen printing machines etc etc)and the people who make it useful or insanely helpful..So helpful that we just had to mention it as it is a super resource...But why?
1) Meet like minded people It's a big web out there, no doubt about it so it always helps to find like minded people. Forums are a great way of doing that and if you're in the t-shirt business it would make sense that t-shirtforums.com would be a place to meet like minded people.
2) Help people and see what others are talking about T-shirtforums.com has been a success because of the community that it has fostered. Rodney Blackwell, the man in charge, leads by example by dishing out as much info as he humanly can every day to anyone who asks a question. His endeavour and attitude towards helping people has rubbed off on numerous others and as a result you can ask any question you may have and promptly get a helpful answer. You'll even find yourself jumping in and trying to answer someones question such is the "vibe" of the forum.
3) Backlink via sig + SEO goodness Like with most forums you can create a signature which gets displayed at the bottom of your posts. This can be anchor text backlinks and well, that is the good good..The more posts you make the more backlinks you get and if you are craving some backlinks then forums are a good way to go. Just make sure you're not spammy - no one likes a spammer.
4) Traffic from links When you add some value to the forum or answer someones questions odds are they will take a moment to find out more about you. If you just post a comment for the sake of posting the odds are no one will give a hoot and be bothered to click on the link in your sig..Add value and you'll get more traffic...Now, this traffic may not necessarily translate to sales (as it will be coming from some of your peers) but you never know what opportunities may arise.."If you're not in you can't win" holds true...Add value, get traffic and cross your fingers..
5) Establish authority What happens when you consistently jump into the conversation and answer the questions like gun slinger from the wild west knocking tin cans off a fence? You become considered an expert, a go to guy, a sharp shooter..Answering your peers questions in front of your peers is a sure fire way to establish authority and enhance your online reputation...People will gravitate towards you and you may start to receive e-mails for help/advice...Keep answering the questions as you get them, help as many people as possible...This will further enhance your authority but beyond that there is karma (man) and doing the right thing and helping someone will ultimately come around and help you out in the long run..
Are you already an avid forum user? Any other t-shirt based forums that have you raving? Leave a comment and share your info...