For anyone who grew up with Blue Peter on the BBC, it’s second nature to look at an object and think “I could make a Christmas Decoration/lovely present for Aunt Mabel/Tracey Island out of that”. Do you sell “objects”? Well if so, wouldn’t it be great to collect together all your customers’ ideas of what else they’ve done with your products that you haven’t thought of yet?
That’s the idea behind this kind of forum.
It works for all kinds of things. Do you sell clothing? Ask buyers to post pictures of themselves in your outfits. Do you sell food? Ask for recipes – here you could encourage feedback from people who’ve tried out the recipes too.
Of course the “More Ways To Use..” forum is an ideal addition to any site which is selling the raw materials for making other things, whether that’s food or hobbycraft, or full-scale construction materials.
Your Own Ideas
Naturally you will have many ideas of your own on how your products could be used. These should be used to kick off the forum topics and invite comparisons and further success stories. I am of course assuming that we are not talking about any items subject to licensing requirements, since non-standard use of some things could be outside the license and create all kinds of problems.
But putting that aside, a great way of kicking off the forum would be to post pictures, recipes, worksheets or instructions for downloading. Then invite comments from readers, and encourage them to share their own stories.
You could offer an incentive such as a monthly prize for the best idea – this has an added benefit if you can get people to provide you with addresses for your mailing list at the same time.
People usually enjoy talking about their ideas and successes, especially to a receptive audience which will give them lots of appreciation. Make sure you at least are that appreciative audience! Commenting on people’s comments will inspire others to take part in a conversation. In no time, there you are personalising your company to its customer base, and inspiring confidence in the products.
Can you afford not to run a forum like this?!
As ever, you need to be vigilant about what is posted on your site. You or a team of invited moderators will need to check the comments and respond or prune as appropriate.
But so long as you sort out that aspect, you could end up with a self-generating, keyword rich resource helping your Search Engine Optimisation and building customer loyalty with less effort than you’d need to generate the same level of content yourself.
If you’d like a forum installing to complement your website, Sort Out Your Site would be very happy to help you.
Just Contact Us.