1. You'll be able to communicate with your visitors. They'll begin to trust you and get to know you on a more personal level. People will purchase products quicker from somebody they already know and trust.
2. People will revisit your web site to participate on your discussion board or chat room. They will meet other people with similar interests and your web site will become a hang out were they can chat.
3. You can learn important information about your visitors by reading the conversations they have. They may chat about your web site or products. With this information you could learn to market your products more effectively.
4. You could answer the questions your visitors ask in your online communities. You'll become known as an expert by giving the answers to their questions. This will give you and your business more credibility.
5. You could teach a free online class using your chat room. This will give you an expert status and increase traffic to your web site by offering the free class.
6. When your discussion board or chat room becomes popular, you could sell advertising space on them. This will give you an extra income stream for your web site.
7. You can network with other businesses by having a chat room or discussion board. You could exchange business ideas, leads, advertising, etc.
8. You could allow other web sites who don't have a discussion board or chat room to use yours. You will get free advertising by allowing them to link to your online community.
9. When you have a discussion board or chat room you can get free advertising by listing them in online community directories. You can also join web rings with similar discussion topics.
10. You can make money by advertising your own products and services on your discussion board or chat room. You could also join other people's affiliate programs and make commissions advertising them.