One of the reasons for the ever increasing popularity of the internet is that it allows like minded people to get together from anywhere in the world.
From sports to politics to gum wrapper collectors; if it is something you are interested in, chances are very good that you can find someone who shares your interests.
Take a look at Yahoo Groups.
They host hundreds of thousands of different groups from around the world. A search for “viral marketing” groups brought a list of 360 different groups. While I‟m not suggesting you try to become the next Yahoo Groups, it does demonstrate the desire for internet users to get together with people who share the same interests. One method you could consider 42 to take advantage of this is to host a forum on your website. Find an area of interest that is related to your business, and set up a forum on that topic.
Allow your users a way to leave messages in the forum, or contact each other using email or an instant messaging program, and maybe even set up chat rooms where they can engage in active discussions. As the host of the forum you could help answer any questions, which will help to further establish you as an expert in your field. You would also help moderate discussions, and share new and interesting information.
Encourage your users to participate. Give them the ability to share ideas and to establish themselves as experts. Make it a safe, friendly environment where they can share their opinions (within reason). If your community stays active, it will continue to grow, and some of the community members will become customers. You can find some very good forum programs that are available for free.
Download the program and upload it to your web host and you are up and running. Many of the web host companies have software as part of their hosting packages geared toward building communities on your site.
They make it very easy to set up forums, chat rooms, guest books and more. Building a community in this way will bring people that are interested in your line of business to your website. Once they are there, it is easy for them to look around at what you have to offer them. Because they 43 are already interested, it is much more likely that they will take advantage of what your business offers.