Online forums and debates: Attract new public to your company

June 18, 2021

Recently, we made a blog talking about how nearshore companies can benefit form the use of online debates and actually begin using that discussion method as a new marketing strategy.

On that post, we took a look into what online debate really was and how it is becoming a new way of marketing for companies all around the world, and we even did a research on current international companies using said method.

However, one big question remained unanswered: Can you use this strategy to attract new public to your company? Does online debating actually works? And the answer is yes, but it heavily depends on how you use this strategy, and how you play it out.

The use of online debating on online strategy campaigns

Companies and brands of all sorts usually resource to social media when it comes to creating their online marketing campaigns. Proof of this can be found on the recent study made by HubSpot, which shows 88% of businesses use social media for marketing purposes, with LinkedIn being the most popular social media platform for this kind of purpose.

So, if companies are finding social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to be useful for their marketing purposes, why are they now switch to online debates and forums? The answer lies on their conversion rate. Meaning, on turning simple traffic into actual public that is engaged and invested on their company. With only 22% of business actually being satisfied about their conversion rate (This according to the same study made by HubSpot)

Meanwhile, implementing online debates assures you the people attending are actually investing in what you’ve got to say, which makes them more likely to turn into potential clients o regular spectators of your brand.

However, achieve this level of compromise with your public can be tricky, especially if you aren’t marketing your online strategy on a proper way, and targeting a proper public.

Choosing the right public for online debates

We have mentioned this before on our previous blog, but it is necessary to look further into the matter. You see, not many companies are implementing online debates or forums. Actually just a few international companies are doing so, with others just basing their strategy around webinars.

So, comparing online debate strategies at this point is quite eager, however, what i’s possible is to acknowledge what kind of public responds better to these types of scenarios, and those are college students.

The University Of Sydney published a study about how the use of a virtual online debate platform was necessary in order to facilitate student discussions and provide said studutens with the set of skills and tools to understand and manage difficult, polarized topics.

Of course, this study is centered around student necessities, but it’s interesting how they acknowledge the fact online debate draws their attention, and can actually have a high percentage of retention from students.

There’s also a published blog that talks about the convenience and benefits of online debates for students, and how it can be a significant improvement on their learning journey.

Now, you might be asking “Why do I care about this?” or “You guys are a nearshore company, why are you talking about this?”, well because these articles shows that constructing an online debate strategy that targets students, is, in fact, a good idea.

Why picking college students as your target is a good idea

We can’t possibly tell you how to implement an online debate and forums strategy, since that will depend on a deep study made by your own marketing team. However, what we can tell you is why this is a good idea.

Implementing a platform that supports online forums, webinars and online debates, and targeting your content to one that could peak the interest of college students, is a win-win.

You have a public that is more likely to be invested on your content, and therefore your company, and actually be present at the moment of the online debate, because, unlike other types of publics, they do have something to learn and take from the debate. Specially if they topic is full of controversy.

Now, before you run and start creating a new marketing campaign based on this information, you should take into consideration the bad side of this strategy, which includes points such as:

  1. It takes time to develop. Building a public for your live online debates takes both time and effort, and it’s likely your first debates won’t get as many spectators as you wished.

  2. It takes money. It is necessary to invest on a good platform, otherwise, it is likely this strategy will fail.

  3. It requires partnering up with other companies. Remember, people are there to see two different points of views, not just one, and this requires your company to partner up for the occasion with a different one, which might even be your direct competitor.

Without a doubt, evaluating online debate as your next marketing strategy, and opening up to a new public is a difficult process, yes, but one that could be extremely rewarding if doing correctly.