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ELEKTRONIKPRAXIS Column : Part 023: Get your target group to talk to you!


An Internet forum in which registered users leave their opinions and experiences and exchange information with each other can also be interesting for companies. The forum is ideal for finding out what the target group wants or for servicing customers. Sanjay Sauldie, expert for strategic internet marketing in B2B, explains what you need to consider before starting an internet forum.

In the past, we entrepreneurs spent a lot of money and went to a lot of trouble to find out more about what our customers or prospects wanted. Often we were disappointed when our products or services did not exactly match the wishes of the prospective customers and were therefore not as successful.

Today, you can use your own website to serve prospects and customers in one place and ask about their needs. To do this, use a forum on your website to better exchange information with your target group.

According to Wikipedia, an Internet forum (lat. forum, marketplace), also known as a discussion forum, is a virtual place for exchanging and archiving thoughts, opinions and experiences. Communication takes place asynchronously, i.e. not in real time. English terms for this are internet forum and webboard.

Well, you can compare it with a “notice board” on which every registered user as a member can comment on various topics (usually one main topic per forum). The forums live from the mutual exchange of knowledge, know-how and the application thereof. Usually there are moderators who censor illegal content or simply keep the forum alive.

Before operating a forum, the following questions are important

Before ordering software for a forum or even obtaining it free of charge from the internet, the following questions should be asked:

  • What do I want to achieve with a forum?
  • For whom do I want to offer a forum?
  • Can I take care of this forum on a regular basis or who in my company could do this?
  • What requirements do I need and what can the software offer?
  • Do I need a purchased version or is free software also an option? I like to use the free phpBB for example
  • Which categories are interesting?
  • What information can I share with a closed user group?

Once you have answered these questions thoughtfully, you can set up a forum. Well-known manufacturers, for example, set up support forums to better serve their existing customers. Can you imagine setting up such a forum for your company as well and even advertising it as follows: “With us, all customers have excellent support through an Internet forum”? Believe me, today this is a very appreciated sales argument!

Last updated on 7. February 2023

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