9 Ways to Use Content Marketing to Boost Online Sales

Content marketing has become a very important method for businesses to reach out to their target audiences. It involves providing content online that your customers might find interesting and/or helpful. Valuable content will help you engage potential customers and bring in new business. Here are 10 types of content marketing you can use to boost online sales. Whether your business already has a content marketing plan or you’re just starting out, hopefully you’ll find something useful in this list for your online business.

Blog Posts

Blogging is one of the most potent content marketing tools at your disposal. Blogs allow you to provide as much useful and interesting content as you can and easily spread the information to lots of people. If you’re not sure where to start with your blog, try to provide general information about your product or think of questions that customers have asked in the past and give the answers. You can also look and see what other similar businesses are talking about on their websites for inspiration.

Guest Blog Posts

Once you get comfortable writing your own blogs, you can expand your reach by writing guest blog posts. These are blog posts that you write for other websites that are relevant to your business to try to expand your reach to new people. You need to build a relationship with the owner of the site to get permission. You might offer a trade of guest posts so both of your websites receive more traffic.

Email Lists

Having a list of emails for current and potential clients is an amazing resource for spreading content. Posts to social media sites such as Facebook may only reach a small amount of your followers. Emails are guaranteed to at least go through to everyone on the list (though whether or not they read it is up to them!) Start your email list ASAP by adding an email subscription form to your website. Then you can send content as a regular newsletter containing whatever information you want. If you add incentives, such as a chance to win free products, you’ll get even more people interested.


Videos are a great way to provide content, and people love watching them. Since they are more visual than regular text, you can express yourself in many ways that don’t work as well in a blog. You can supplement your blog with similar information or provide completely different content. Set up a YouTube channel for your business, create videos, and link them to your website.

Images and Infographics

Images are a powerful tool and can relay a large amount of information to your audience. Use photographs, illustrations, or other types of images to spice up your content. Link them to your website, blogs, and social media posts. Infographics can be even more useful since they can combine the visuals of pictures with informative text. However, when choosing pictures to use for your content marketing, make sure that they are ones you made yourself or that you have permission to use. Otherwise you can get in some legal trouble.


The popularity of podcasts has exploded in recent years. People listen to them in the car, at work, while doing chores, or while hanging out pretty much anywhere thanks to smart phones and laptops. Record interviews, stories, or other information about your business and post them as podcasts for your customers to download.


Anyone can make an ebook to either sell or give away online. You just need to combine enough information about your business into one package for distribution. After you’re done writing and putting together the information, provide a download of it on your website.

Surveys and Interviews

Your content doesn’t always have to come from your own mouth: ask around for information from your audience or other people in your profession or niche. Surveys and interviews are both great ways to get information to your customers in a smooth and easy-to-understand way. Use them to bring more interest to the topics related to your business.


Similar to surveys and interviews, testimonials also allow you to get content about your business from the points of view of other people. Testimonials are endorsements from customers that provide proof of the value of your business. New customers tend to feel more comfortable with a business if they can see that other people have already tried the product and support it. Urge your customers to provide feedback about their experiences and put them on your website or social media.

Content marketing is a great way to boost sales for your online business. Use these methods as a starting point and get the content flowing on your website! You can also check out more ways to spice up your website and boost online sales with VMA’s blog here.

Social Media and the Unfiltered Internet

Social Media and the Unfiltered Internet

Do you remember The Dress? The one that no one could decide whether it was gold and white or blue and black. The one that was being talked about all over the place in 2015. Did you know that the original post for the dress was a Facebook post that got fewer than 20 likes? It was only later, when it was posted to Tumblr and Twitter, that the dress picture because the phenomenon of The Dress.

Filtered Internet Content

The Internet is a huge place that’s expanding every day. In fact, we can only see a tiny portion of it. And that portion is further shrunken by the social media platforms that we use to browse for entertainment or work. The general population adds to these sites constantly, providing an ever-expanding source of content. The question arises though: is there too much content?

Even if you browse social media sites all day every day, you won’t be able to see even a small fraction of their content. This poses a problem for the companies running these sites. They want people to stick around and continue to browse the site, because the more viewers they have, the more money they get from advertising. If a viewer’s feed is too bogged down by uninteresting or irrelevant content, they are more likely to stop going to that site altogether.

This problem has caused most social media sites to start filtering content in one way or another. For example, Facebook decides what to show on your feed based on many underlying factors, such as your sex, age, marital status, and the types of websites and links you tend to visit. In general this is a good thing, since it makes our feeds more interesting and pertinent to us. However, it also causes a sizable underlying layer of social media that gets lost and unseen in the shuffle.

Hidden Content

This hidden content is public and recognized by search engines, but it only reaches a tiny audience and is difficult to find if you’re looking for it. To give you an idea of how much content is hidden, here’s a study from 2009 that showed that 53% of YouTube videos had under 500 views!

Hidden content (besides the spam) often feels more honest, since it doesn’t contain the repetitive formulas of mainstream traffic that keeps those posts more visible to search engines. It also tends to be more amateurish, of low quality, be too short or too long, and have titles that are difficult to find in a search. In general, the hidden content feels more candid, intimate, and human.

If you’re interested in sifting through this forgotten content, several resources have popped up to help you. These include Oviews for unwatched YouTube videos, SadTweets for unseen Twitter tweets, and Forgotify for unheard songs on Spotify.

Using the Unfiltered Internet

As with every resource, some people have actually found a way to get money from the underbelly content of the unfiltered Internet. Some companies search through public photos that people post online looking for recognizable brands. They then sell the photos to the brand’s company for demographic information or advertisement.

Some of the unpopular content is eventually discovered and becomes extremely popular for a time. When content goes viral like this, the original poster very rarely profits from their fame, and sometimes it can even cause them harm. Imagine having a video you posted go viral to the point where you get hundreds of notifications per hour. It would get old quickly and make it impossible to actually find the notifications that you want to see. This is what happened to the girl who originally posted about The Dress. Her phone kept crashing from the influx of notifications. In the aftermath, BuzzFeed posted about a party they were throwing to celebrate The Dress as their largest post ever. It’s impossible to know exactly how much money BuzzFeed made off of that post, but it is known that the original poster didn’t really benefit.

What is interesting (and disconcerting) is that the biggest post on one of the most popular social media sites was taken from another site, which was also taken from another site, without the permission or knowledge of the act from the original poster. No one was compensated for this string of events, and the post was eventually taken down due to copyright infringement.

The Internet is becoming more and more centralized and controlled by corporations trying to subsist on other people’s content. Some of these companies last a long time, while others disappear and are quickly replaced by something else. The future of these companies and social media in general is unclear. It’s similarly hard to tell what will happen to the enormous amount of unseen content that makes up the majority of the unfiltered Internet as it continues to expand every second.

Check out Virtual Market Advantage’s other blogs here for more posts about SEO, social media, and various other topics!

Get your links indexed Fast!

If you want to know how to get your links indexed fast, you probably know a thing or two already about Search Engine Optimization. To make sure we are all on the same page, here are a few things you should have already done:

Indexed your website in Google’s Webmaster Tools
Built a link pointing back to your website

If you’ve made it this far, Congratulations! If not, go back and do those two things.

Now, when you log in to your Google Webmaster Tools Search Console, you can click on the “Links to Your Site” menu option on the left in order to view the links pointing back to your site.

Get Your Links Indexed Fast
When you click on Links to Your Site, if your link building has been a success, you will see something like this:

Get Your Links Indexed Fast

That’s a bunch of links – And it really is easy to get tons more quickly!

What’s the secret?

Spend money on my business? Never! I know I know…I used to be just like you. I would work all day making backlinks that would not show up in Webmaster Tools. So Frustrating! I used to feel like I was on some wild goose chase. I could easily build dofollow links, but for some reason they never showed up as pointing back to my site. I grew even more frustrated as I employed more advanced link building techniques such as Scrapebox and GSA Ser. Why was I failing?!

Mainly because Indexing is a difficult and complicated process. It is a completely different level of SEO tasks. If you’re like me, then you barely have time to make links, let alone spend your time pinging and sending social signals. So if you want to get your links indexed fast, you should use who I use:

Link Indexing Service

Get Your Links Indexed Fast

Add Unlimited Campaigns & Unlimited URLs per Campaign
Add 1.5 Million Links a month = 50K Links daily
Auto Shorten and Rewrite Links using a 301 redirect
Schedule Links for up to 30 days ahead
100% Guaranteed Links Crawling Rate
High Links Indexing Rate
Realtime Live Crawl Tracking & Stats on All Your Links
100% Automation – Submit Your Links and Forget!
Full Remote API Access for even more Automation
3rd Party Linkbuilding Services Integration
Automated Link Checking & Reporting Dead Links
Free Lifetime 24/7 Customer Service & Support

VMA has been using Indexification for the last couple years. The price is excellent – starting at $17.97 (which gives you more then enough links for any beginner to novice), and we thoroughly recommend it. Best of all, Indexification integrates with all of these 3rd party software applications:

GSA Search Engine Ranker
SEnuke XCr
No Hands SEO
Magic Submitter
Ultimate Demon
Backlink Monitor
AIO Wiki Poster
SE Demon
Article Kevo
Licorne AIO
Wiki Robot
Sweet Submitter
SB Bomber 2
301 Nuke
301 Redirector
Ultimate BookmarkR
If you are creating thousands of Profile Links, Wiki Links, Social Bookmarks, Article Links, Forum Links, Blog Comments, Web 2.0 Properties, and so on and so forth…you really need to index these links! You can make as many backlinks as you want, but if you don’t index your links, you will never get them to show up in Webmasters Tools.

Link Indexing Service

Adding new Links for Indexing is incredibly easy – you just paste them in a form. By default, the links are set to Drip Feed within 7 days, but you can customize that as well. Indexification specializes in providing 100% crawling rate and high indexing rate of your backlinks!

If you are serious about Link Building, Indexification is a must. We use it for every link we create. Have you ever tried Indexification? Let us know how it worked for you!

Spam Bot Traffic: What Is It and What Can I Do About It?

If you have a website and social media campaign for your business, chances are high that you’ve encountered spam bot traffic. Spam bots are programs that have been created to follow, befriend, comment on, or otherwise contact as many people or websites as possible as quickly as possible. Usually they are used in an attempt to bring more traffic back to their own site. Fake followers from spam bots are not actively looking at your site. They are not customers, and they can even be detrimental to your business.

Why is Spam Bot Traffic a Problem?

You might wonder how exactly spam bots affect your website and your business. The major problems have to do with reduced communication, security, server load, and faulty analytics data.

One of the most obvious problems is the flood of bogus comments onto your website or social media page. Comments sections are supposed to be a place where viewers can contact a business directly and set up a flow of conversation. A good comments section can genuinely benefit a website. However, if a comments section is overflowing with spam that advertises different sites, it cripples the ability to keep conversations going and takes attention away from the original site.

Spam bot traffic has gotten to be such a huge problem that many websites are opting to turn off their comments sections and user registrations entirely. Some are also forced to spend valuable time and even pay money to try to protect their websites from such attacks. Even large blogging sites such as CopyBlogger.com have opted to remove their comments sections, stating that only about 4% of the comments they were receiving were not spam.

If the spam bots get bad enough, your website can be greatly harmed. Too much spam can slow down your website, which affects how many people are willing to peruse it. Depending on what kind of outbound links the spam bots add to your site, it can even get flagged and ignored by Google, making it difficult for real viewers to find you. You might also lose your website to hackers who take it over themselves.

Spam bots also inflate your website’s statistics, making it difficult to use tools such as Google Analytics. If spam bot traffic is flooding your site, you can’t use statistical information to accurately give you useful information, such as who your viewers are, so you can focus more on those demographics.

How to Identify Spam Bot Traffic

There are two major types of spam bots that can affect your website. One kind is more visible, posting comments, advertising themselves, and directing traffic to their own sites. The other kind is harder to see and is designed to give a website more views or fake followers without adding any benefit to the original site.

A surge in traffic on your website might indicate spam bots. It might also just be legitimate, beneficial traffic. If you see a surge in traffic, consider whether or not you’ve done something recently that warrants an increase in viewership. If not, you probably have a spam bot problem. You can use Google Analytics to help identify malicious traffic by looking at the sources of the traffic before and after the surge. If the traffic is coming from a major website or social network, it’s probably legitimate. If it’s direct traffic, it’s probably from spam bots.

There are some warnings that can help identify spam bots individually. They spew out an excessive amount of comments on lots of websites. They also try to push their own links on viewers, even if they have nothing in common with the website they are posted on. However, being able to identify individual spam bots is not particularly useful, since hundreds or even thousands of them might affect your site at a time.

How to Reduce Spam Bot Traffic

There are several ways you can attempt to reduce or eliminate spam bot traffic on your website and social media pages. The most effective methods are to shut down communications, like CopyBlogger.com did when they shut down their comments section. Most websites allow you to shut off comments and turn off user registrations altogether. However, this is an extreme response, and many people want to keep communication with their viewers open.

Website can also offer options that allow for more restriction for commenting and registration. For example, WordPress has .htaccess files that restrict bots and several plugins that add CAPTCHAs, limit login attempts, and blacklist spam IP addresses. Also, Google Analytics allows you to filter the data, which can remove some of the effects of spam bots. For example, if a lot of spam is coming from a particular country, you can have the analytics ignore that area. Some websites, such as Facebook, are somewhat better than others at removing and restricting spam accounts without hassle to you.

Spam bot traffic is a huge problem online and will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future. Not only do they slow down websites, but they can reduce beneficial communication and even be a security risk. If your websites or social media pages are plagued by spam bots, make sure you check for resources specific to those sites that might help reduce the problem. Don’t let spam bots ruin your site!

Digital Sharecropping: Why You Can’t Just Rely on One Website

Digital Sharecropping: Why You Can’t Just Rely on One Website

What is Digital Sharecropping?

Sharecropping is a system where tenants farm on land owned by another person and give a portion of their crops to the landowner. In 2006, writer Nicholas Carr coined the term “Digital Sharecropping” to describe a phenomenon that has arisen among online businesses. It happens when a website relies on other users to provide the majority of its content.

According to Carr, “One of the fundamental economic characteristics of Web 2.0 is the distribution of production into the hands of the many and the concentration of the economic rewards into the hands of the few.”

While in traditional sharecropping, the landowner is in charge, online “landlords” are the websites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.

What’s the Problem?

Anyone can create content on these websites. However, the content ends up belonging to the website, not the creator. The more content we create for them for free, the richer and more valuable the landlord becomes.

With any kind of sharecropping, the landlord is in control. The landlord receives the majority of the profits. The landlord can dismantle the system at any time. Even trustworthy websites can suddenly go under or become obsolete. This leaves all of their users suddenly without their services. Most importantly, the landlord doesn’t really care about its individual underlings. Facebook doesn’t care if a single business page gets deleted.

Let’s take a closer look at this Facebook example. Most businesses these days decide to make a Facebook page and update its content regularly. This is a good thing and provides many benefits. It brings in new viewers and customers, raises awareness of their product, and opens a channel of conversation between the business and its clientele. But what if Facebook suddenly decides that you’ve violated its terms and conditions? What if your account gets deleted and you lose your one way to talk to your customers? Facebook is fast-paced and constantly changing. This can come back to haunt you if you rely too much on its services to run your business.

What Should I Do?

There are several ways you can go about making your online business presence stronger. The great news is that by taking these steps, you not only protect yourself from the hazards of digital sharecropping, you also make your business stronger now.

The first step you should take to protect your business online is to have a well designed website that you host yourself. This should be your most crucial business asset online, since it doesn’t rely on other sites. When you use other websites, make sure you link back to your own site constantly to bring in viewers to your own property.

Diversification is your strongest weapon against the downfalls of digital sharecropping. Use many platforms and systems. Provide content on many social media sites. By using a variety of tools, you protect yourself when one of them lets you down.

Another useful tip is to create an opt-in email list on your website. By providing content through an email newsletter directly to your customers, you cut out the middleman in the conversation.

A crucial aspect of building an online presence is to develop a reputation of trustworthiness and value. Provide high quality content, take Internet security seriously, and avoid spammy practices. If your customers trust your business and value your content, they’ll continue making purchases and spread the word about your product.

Following the most recent social media trends is a great way to bring in new business and keep the interest of your customers, new and old. However, you should never build your entire online platform on an asset that you don’t own. By diversifying and talking as directly to your customers as possible, you can create a strong online presence that doesn’t rely on a company that you can’t control.

If you want more tips about SEO, content marketing, and other topics, check out Virtual Market Advantage’s other blogs here!

15 Ways to Boost Your Online Sales Using Old Fashioned Methods

15 Ways to Boost Your Online Sales Using Old Fashioned Methods

Even if you have an online business, there are many old fashioned methods that can greatly benefit your company. Check out these tips to boost your online sales. Even using a couple of them could greatly improve your presence and bring in new customers!

Sell a Unique Product

Having a unique and newsworthy product is important if you have a lot of competition. Try to stand out from the crowd so you don’t get lost in the huge amount of Internet businesses.

Build the Right Relationships

Whether it’s online or offline, building the right relationships is one of the best ways to develop your business. Ideally you want to establish such relationships with people who complement your business without being direct competition. Keep an eye out for bloggers, suppliers, and others who could help out your business, and make a connection with them.

Set up a Cartel

Small online cartels can be a great way to get support for your business. Find a small group of complementary businesses and agree to promote each other. Just make sure you don’t group up with competing companies!

Sell Wholesale to Other Retailers

Especially if you’re having trouble selling your product to enough customers, consider selling wholesale to other retailers. Even though you’re selling at a lower price per unit, you’ll get the cash flowing by moving more products at once. It will also get your product to more people, spreading the word about your business. You can also reach out to local businesses to see if anyone is willing to put your products on their shelves.

Send Free Samples

The Internet is full of people who influence many others, such as bloggers, journalists, and entrepreneurs. By sending free samples to people who can spread the word about your product, you can form a mutually beneficial relationship that helps advertise your business.

Offer a Contest or Giveaway

Contests and giveaways are great ways to spread the word about your business while also establishing trust in your products. It takes very little time and effort to set them up, and can bring in lots of new potential clients.

Sponsor an Event

Sponsoring an event can be a great way to bring in business, but it can also be waste of time and resources. Make sure you choose an event that will host people who will have interest in your business. Take into consideration how many people will be there, where it’s located, and how it will reflect upon your company.

Make a Pop-Up Store

Even if you sell online and don’t have a store, creating a pop-up store can help supplement your online presence. Pop-up stores are much cheaper than owning an actual building, and allow you to move to the locations that seem best at the time, such as farmer’s markets, fairs, or shopping malls. They help with marketing and bringing in new business.

Write a Press Release

A press release can be a great way to spread the word about your business. However, it can be tricky to write a press release that’s interesting enough for news outlets to actually distribute it. Besides being interesting, the press release should be concise, professional, and have a killer title to draw people in.

Pull a PR Stunt

Think about how fast videos that go viral can spread. If you’re feeling creative, utilizing a PR stunt can propel your business to fame by word of mouth (and keyboard). PR stunts don’t require a lot of money to pull off, but they aren’t guaranteed to grab your audience, so don’t rely solely on such tactics to get the word out.

Advertise Offline

Even in the current world of Internet advertising, it can still be useful to use more physical forms. This includes resources such as billboards, flyers, and newspaper or magazine ads.

Deploy a Sales Team

As your business grows, eventually you won’t be able to handle all of the sales yourself. Setting up a sales team will allow for sustained growth, especially if your product requires a bit of convincing to get people to buy.


Starting your own business can be overwhelming, especially when you’re just starting out. As your business develops and grows, you need to learn how best to delegate so that each task gets done quickly and effectively to maximize sales.

Start Word of Mouth

Family and friends can provide a great network when you’re just starting out. If they’re willing to help, they can help spread the word about your budding business.

Demonstrate Trust, Security, and Reliability

A small budding business needs to demonstrate reliability to its customers in order to grow. If potential customers don’t trust you, they are much less likely to make an online purchase. Make sure your website looks safe and trustworthy. Make an effort to follow through with promises. If problems arise, do your best to solve them (or delegate someone else to solve them) quickly and courteously. The more people trust your company, the more they’ll be willing to put money into it!

Looking for more ways to improve your business? Check out Virtual Market Advantage’s other blog that goes over ways to use your new website to boost sales.

How to Create Evergreen Content

How to Create Evergreen Content

Technology changes constantly, and the Internet is being updated and expanded every second. With ever-changing social media, it’s hard to keep up and know what’s most important for keeping your business’s online presence strong. It’s relatively easy to pay attention to the latest trends, but it’s possible to make a more lasting impact by providing evergreen content.

Evergreen trees are a symbol of sturdy, long-lasting life. Evergreen content marketing seeks to imitate this stability by producing content that will remain relevant and important over long periods of time. Some of the most influential websites rely on providing such content. For example, Wikipedia and IMDb are used daily by thousands of people to get pertinent information. This is achieved by constant updates and awareness of what people will want to know for years to come. You too can provide evergreen content of your own and make a lasting impact on the Internet.

Timeless or Sustainable

There are two major types of evergreen content: timeless and sustainable. Timeless content remains pertinent through long periods of time and changing trends. Sustainable content requires periodic updating to ensure that it’s still relevant to current trends and technology.

An example of evergreen content is “how to” guides, which can be either timeless or sustainable. Timeless guides instruct the viewer on tasks that won’t change much over the years, such as “how to cook chicken over the grill” or “how to braid your daughter’s hair.” On the other hand, sustainable “how to” guides, such as “how to transfer photos from my iPhone to Facebook” require updates to stay useful, since these technologies are changing all the time.

Blogging is an amazing tool for providing both timeless and sustainable evergreen content on your website. They allow you to provide tons of information about your product or field of interest and keep your site relevant, up-to-date, and interesting to your audience. By producing evergreen content (whether it’s timeless, sustainable, or a mix of both), you will constantly bring in new viewers and potential clients.

Evergreen Social Media

Sometimes it feels impossible to keep up with all of the constant changes, but some aspects of social media marketing remain the same over time. Social media allows you to establish a strong online presence, form new social channels, and engage and converse with your audience. All of these aspects contribute to your evergreen social marketing.

By utilizing social media, you can help reveal the human aspect of your business while also prolonging the shelf life of your social media content. Evergreen content will continue to pull in more views, and thus more potential customers, for a longer period of time than regular content.

Also keep in mind that every social media campaign has a target audience. This audience might be big or small. For example, Wikipedia can be used and enjoyed by almost anyone, but a specialized online store that sells face paint has a much more specific audience. Social media evergreen content can help in either case by drawing in the people who want to use that website the most.

Creativity goes a long way in social media marketing. Even if your product isn’t the most exciting, a fresh and enthusiastic social media campaign can be interesting and enticing. Feel free to use your imagination and go zany with your marketing to get those extra shares and likes. Focusing on evergreen content will ensure that people keep coming back for more. Remember to have fun with your social media!

Focus Your Content

Even if you come up with the most amazing evergreen post for your website, it won’t do much good if people can’t find it! Make sure that you don’t bury your evergreen content under your other kinds of posts.

You can set up your website to help solve this problem by directing people towards the evergreen content. This can be done in several ways, including “Where to Start” or “Top Posts” pages or a training section.

You can also focus attention to your forgotten evergreen content through your newer posts. As part of your regular audit, make sure to go through your old posts, update them if necessary, and re-share the most popular and/or pertinent ones. Unless it’s a news article, you can even remove the date stamp from an old post and re-post it if it’s still accurate and relevant.

Another great trick is to provide links to your older evergreen content from within newer posts. This will bring new viewers back to older content, and works especially well if there is a topic connection between the two posts.

Evergreen Content Examples

Here are a few more examples of types of evergreen content that you can try. If you don’t have some of these on your site already, this is a great place to start growing more evergreen. Keep in mind that these don’t necessarily have to be in the form of blog posts; they can be images, videos, infographics, or any other form you want!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
“History of” Articles
“How to” Guides
Industry Resource Connections
Providing evergreen content is a great way to make sure that your website stays relevant and brings in new viewers regularly. However, don’t take this to mean that you need to only provide evergreen content. A good mix of timeless and current content is the best way to keep people engaged and willing to come back time after time.

If you want more information on social media, blogging, or other content topics, check out Virtual Market Advantage’s other blogs here. For example, here is a blog that helps you determine how to properly size your pics for various social media sites.