1. Ideas - Where else can you find thousands upon thousands of ideas? If you're looking for a new topic for an article, blog post, or just want to kick your business into high gear with fresh ideas, the forums are the place to start. And not only that, but you get to see what topics are hot because of the number of replies.
2. List Building - You can offer free reports and information with an opt-in or put links in your signature to a squeeze or web page. And for targeting like minded people, forums definitely are the way to go. Most already have a "special groups" section for you.
3. Name Branding - Reputation goes a long way in a business. (A "good" reputation that is) You help people out by providing helpful information in the forums and you gain a "good" reputation. With that comes a following. Some might be subscribers, some blog readers, or some just viewing the sites. The fact is, as you become known as an individual that can help them, they will return to learn more from you. They eventually will become customers as well.
4. Link Popularity - It might seem like the links in the forums aren't worth much and don't pull much weight, but in the Search Engines they are "links" and are targeted, especially if your site is related to Internet Marketing. Think about all the links targeted to your site, if you have hundreds or even thousands of posts in the forums.
5. Special Offers - I don't know about you, but here in WF I've seen more special offers than anywhere else on the internet. So, you not only get special offers, but you also get to promote your own special offers which can make you hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars.
6. Knowledge - Forums are your own special treasure cove for internet marketing information. The knowledge for internet marketing on forums is incredible. It's true, you need to get to know what's going on and who's who, but it's well worth the time and effort. You eventually get a feel for who's babbling and who's helping. So, don't be afraid to lurk around the forum and search in areas that interest you. I've never seen a question go unanswered. There is always someone to help.
7. JV Partners - One simple, Joint Venture Proposal could make you thousands! And unless you know an internet marketing guru personally, who is willing to be your JV partner, then the forums are the best place to be to have this opportunity.
NOW the +2 When I started writing this, I had only a +1, but you'll see why I changed it to +2.
+1 Crazy and Fun People - Though not necessary to internet marketing, there is not a day that goes by when I'm on the forums that I don't see something crazy, funny or fun. And sometimes I need that more than I need information or knowledge. So, thanks to all you crazy, funny people too.
+2 Community - Again, this is not necessary for internet marketing, but this is not just a community, it's a giving and helpful community. Though I missed (already closed) Big Mike's thread to help Michael Tracey, I did read through it. It reminded me that forums become a community. And you don't have to be here long to see that people in a community "band together" when needed. Here in WF, Big Mike's thread is only one example.