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I am sure this issue has been posted many times before and apologise if it has. I am interested to know if anyone has any tips on getting more members to join a forum. I own a pet forum that has only been up around a month hence only 55 members and was wondering how i could get more. My forum is listed on google (type in petchat second site down) however we are only viewable if you type in our actual name, petchat. Anyway any ideas and opinions are very much appreciated thanks :cheesy: .

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Last Post by floris
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When starting out, make sure to answer all of the questions that are posted. That will influence people to come back, because they'll see their own questions are answered. By nature, people are selfish ;) Even if it's a new forum, with very little activity, you can get people to register and spread the word when their own questions are answered. They don't care about other people's questions - they just care about their own. So be sure that you quickly and correctly answer everything that's posted. It'll stir discussion and get everyone coming back with friends.

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Thanks, yes i have been answering all questions etc to help keep the community together, which seems to work for the members we have but they don't tend to let anyone know about our forum. I normally send a PM to all new members saying hi and welcome etc i always normally add that it is appreciated if you would tell your friends about us. We seemed to gain more members when our virtual shop and bank was installed (just a bit of fun really lol) so that helped. Anyway thanks a lot for your help...

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First, upgrade to phpBB 2.0.13 NOW.

Have you put up flyers in your local pet stores, aspecially mom&pop ones? Have you made a deal with a local pet club? Have you contacted Vets to put up flyers? What about at the pet groomers? How about rescue groups? The local library? How about the high school?

Make deals. All of the above would appreciate a small note about them on your web site, in consideration for posting your web address in their shop!

Here is one attractor campaign:

First I would do all the above flyer/posting/etc campaign, EXCEPT vets.
Find the "new vet on the block". Approach them and provide her/him a soft-marketing venue for "free"! Doctors love free. Heck I love free! Tell them that you have people that ask some medical questions on ONE group of unique pets, in the vet's specialty, and you would need this Vet to answer them. Tell them that you will put up a huge disclaimer that "must see doctor/this is only from what you told the doc". Create a dedicated forum "Q&A with your Vet on Bearded Dragons".

Now go back to the flyered (If there is such a word) places and put out new flyer saying that now you have a real-honest-to-goodness LOCAL vet who will answer BASIC questions. FREE! Woohoo! You just offered free to your doc, and to your posters, AND you walking away with more people!

Attractor two campaign:
Do the same with your local pet groomer! Dedicate a sub for "Q&A Grooming your monkey" or whatever pet they are specialists.

Why just one animal type? Because a) you do not want to flood the doctors/groomers - they will not be able to answer all the questions, and it will look bad on them and you. b) you want to provide the same nice "opportunity" to an other vet/groomer with different animal don't you?!

Attractor three campaign:
You would be surprised how many rescue groups are out there for all kinds of animals. Contact them. Provide them a venue to communicate! Give them FREE discussion area! Dedicated to their cause!

Attractor four campaign:
High or even Middle Schools - contact the biology teacher. Ask the school if they would let you put the posters up. Most families in the US with kids will also have a pet - and the pets are "owned" by the kids! My kids do, and guess what, he posts messages and pictures.

Attractor five campaign:

If you can get 10 members to join wou will be able..

First spell check. Second you are begging. NEVER let them see you sweat.
Here is a "prize" plan that would be a better solution - load a photo gallery that is freely available on phpBB.
Ask people to post their favorite pet picture - then have everyone vote after say a month or so. Winner gets a discount coupon for pet grooming/vet initial visit at your local pet groomer/vet! Where will you get the discount coupon, you ask? What do you mean, you didn't inform the groomers/vets from the other campaigns that you want to attract MORE FREE customers to them? That you could use a discount coupon?! :-D

The pictures then can be "rotated" randomly in as a small display on the site. Members will LOVE it! FREE "advertising of their lovely mongoose!

Ok. I think you get my point. Did I mention you actually have to work at this?

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First, I would like to say. Keep it simple. Dont try to explode the site with cats and dogs, and fish and a bunch other animals all over the place. Expanding on what Dani said. If you answer someone question to the tee, they are pretty sure to tell of the source of the question answerer when some one asks. Also, stay ORGANIZED! It will definitly help in the long run.

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You could make small fun competitions to gain more members. Like, 5000 reputation points if you refer a friend in March! Or, make 5 new productive topics or 10 new productive new post replies and become temporary moderator for a week of a forum at your choice.

Just random examples, I'm sure you can think up better ones.

On other web sites you can ask the site admin permission to have a link to your site, or a thread explaining your forum or perhaps write an article to publish on various sites with a link back to yours.

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