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How to affiliate with more forums

It's no secret that forum affiliation can be an extremely effective way to grow a forum, but what if no one wants to affiliate with you?

Small forums are often caught in the catch-22 of gaining members. Lucrative traffic techniques like forum affiliations are great to gain members, but seemingly impossible to get unless you already have members. The below strategy applies some simple psychology to help you get in the good graces of a potential affiliate.

You're walking around in a big city trying to find your cousin's apartment. You ask a passing stranger for directions, what do you think you'll hear? Odds are you'll get a shrug or a shake of the head. You are just a number, a passing body that is no different than the other passing bodies, except that you need something.

When you message a potential affiliate forum you are in a similar situation as the above traveler. You have little or nothing to offer this stranger, they've likely seen many of "you" in the past, and you'll probably be dismissed as quickly as the others were. So what do you do?

Simplify the experience. Start off small with something that can be accomplished quickly and without a significant time investment. As the traveler, start off asking what time it is. It is significantly more likely to get someone to give you the time than it is directions. Everyone knows that telling time is quick and simple and most everyone has some gadget with the time on it (if anything, you may catch them off-guard that you don't have one yourself). Now that you've opened up a dialogue with this person, you are less of a stranger. Now imagine the traveler then says "Oh, no, I'm late. Do you know which way Baker Street is?". The traveler may still get a simple "No, sorry" but the odds of an actual answer now that a dialogue has been established is far greater.

Now apply this to your emails to potential affiliate forums. Ask them something that will only take a second to answer, or better yet, show some value for them. Email a forum asking if you can ask them a couple questions about their forum to publish an interview on your site. Most forum admins will see this as a compliment and a free way to get a little extra traffic. At this stage, you'll at least open a dialogue and get their name. After conducting and publishing your short interview, wait a few days and contact that admin again. Educate them on the interest your forum members took in the interview and mention the possibility of an affiliation.

While the above is not a surefire strategy, you stand a much better chance of at least getting a reply back. Happy affiliating.

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