10 Marketing & Social Media Tactics to Boost Holiday Sales

Tis the season for holiday sales!

Shoppers are flocking online in search of gift giving ideas. According to Mashable, "65% of shoppers tap social media looking for the perfect gift … and two out of three shoppers purchased a gift they found via social media."

So what are the best ways to cash in on seasonal sales with your business?

Whether you are a service-based business or sell products, here's some suggestions to get in the spirit with holiday sales.

1) Learn from the Ghost of Christmas Past

Look at metrics from last year's holiday sales. What products were bestsellers? Which promotions created the largest lift in sales? What special offers were a total bomb?

Discover what worked and did not so you can capitalize on it when you plan this year's promotions.

2) Make a Holiday Social Media Cover Image

Decorate your social media business pages with a specially designed cover image. It's the perfect place to announce special holidays promotions and deals.

Be sure to create one for all of your social media accounts.

3) Use Holiday Hashtags

Twitter shoppers may use hashtags to find their next purchase. So take advantage of hashtags to get discovered.

Some popular hashtags include: #blackFriday, #DIY, #holidaysssavings, #stockingstuffers, #holidays, #Christmas, #Hannukah, #Kwanzaa, #NewYears

4) Create Social Media Graphics for Promos and Deals

Everyone loves getting a great deal when holiday shopping. Make festive graphics promoting special promotions that make purchasing the perfect item irresistible.

Deals can include:

• one day only,

• limited quantity sales,

• buy-one-get-one free,

• special discounts or holiday coupons.

Consider offering a "12 days of Christmas" promotion with a special deal each day!

Canva makes it easy to make custom holiday social media graphics.

5) Boost Sales with Free Shipping

Consider offering free shipping for holidays gifts. Create highly visible buttons or banners promoting it on your website.

Or you can boost the order size by offering free shipping on orders over a bigger dollar amount such as $ 100.

Studies show that shipping costs are one of the largest detracts to making a purchase online so this one tactic could result in big returns for you.

6) Offer Gift Ideas

Holiday shopping can be frustrating when you do not know what to buy for the person who has everything. You'll want to promote your bestselling gifts.

Make gift buying easy by sharing gift suggestions like:

• 5 gifts for mom,

• 10 gifts grandparents love,

• 5 gift ideas for tech savvy teens etc.

Then offer links to purchase each of the items you mention on your blog and on social media.

Better yet, if you have a blog, write articles based on these topics and refer to your products within the article with links back to the purchase page.

7) Write Reviews

If you offer one of the hot new products of the season, consider writing and reviewing a review about it on your blog. In this review you could mention your own offers that would be a great gift accompaniment.

As an example, do a review of the top three smart phone accessories for Mom this Christmas and share pictures of them with a red bow on them along with a side-by-side features comparison. Then mention how your offer go great with these gift ideas while including links to purchase.

You could also incorporate your Amazon affiliate link for those products

8) Suggest Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Help idea stumped shoppers by offering suggestions for small items for everyone on their shopping list!

Write a blog post with the hottest stocking stuffers for the season. Share daily stocking stuffer ideas on social media using hashtags like: # beststockingstuffers2016 #cheapstockingstuffers #stockingstuffersforwomen

9) Reward Loyal Customers

Offer to give a $ 100 Gift Card to a randomly selected customer cutting posting a picture or video with your product on social media. Set up a campaign having them use a special hash tag like #christmascountdown.

This can help your promotional campaigns to go viral as customers share on their timeline and family / friends see their post.

10) Share Holiday Spirit

Connect to the spirit of the holidays in your customer's hearts. Engage your customers by asking them their favorite holiday tradition.

Get people to interact with your brand by asking them to share:

a. Their most-loved family recipes from Thanksgiving or another holiday event.

b. What their most loved Christmas song is.

c. DIY Christmas decorating tips.

d. Easy gift wrapping suggestions.

New Year Gifts – Innovative and Different

What things come to your mind while thinking of the right New Year gift? It can be a show-piece, or any similar item. We can think of something different also – say a photo-book, a personalized mug, or a simple T-Shirt.

Create canvas print

A nice photo, printed on canvas and framed as per your choice, is the right option for a nice New Year Gift for the occasion. A gemstone will not be as precious as a canvas print of the favorite photograph. In case your friend stays far away then you can send a roled-out print. The rolled-out print has extra one-inch white space to use while framing. Someone close expect something personal and what's better than mounted and ready to hang – canvas-printed photograph. The frames are made out of high-quality wood which is best to hang and portray. It will definitely bring a sweet smile on the other person's face all year through.

Create nice photo-book

How about the memorable events of your life printed in a photo book. You may take lots of time to create one but the other person will really understand your feelings and efforts put together. A nice photobook is treasured till the time of death. It is indeed the most special New Year gift for the most loved person. Some photo-sharing sites help create memoirs out of your memories and photobook is one of them.

Personalized mugs

Get a nice photo printed on the mug and place the order as per your choice. The photo sharing site will print that photo and create a nice magic mug as New Year Gift to your kid.

Name Calendars

This is the most special New Year Gift. One can choose among the various photographs to be printed for different months on the calendar. Put the names to be printed on each page of the calendar. These names may be of different person or for the same. The income will be worth adoring and worth a million dollar gift for the closest person on earth. In fact, you can simply place the calendar on the work-desk of the person concerned-for a beautiful surprise.

These are some of those personalized New Year gifts which are meant to strengthen your relationship, friendship and whatever relation you are in.

Preparing Your Motorcycle For the Winter

So here we are in October, and the overnight and morning hours are a little chilly here in the Northeast of the US. What does this mean? Winter is coming of course, and seems to be coming fast. Most days are now starting out in the low 40's, getting up to maybe the high 50's / low 60's, and then dropping down again into the low 40's overnight.

So, what are you to do if you're not planning on riding through the cold, winter months? You need to prepare your motorcycle and winterize it. There are a few steps you should definitely do to keep your motorcycle safe and warm through those frigid months.

  1. Get the gasoline out of your engine – How do you do that? Start up your motorcycle with the petcock to 'on' and let your bike run for a few minutes. After your motorcycle is idling just fine, flip the petcock to off and let the engine do it's thing by cycling through any fuel that is left in the lines. You'll know as soon as the fuel is out of the engine, as the motorcycle will just stop running (like it stalled). It's OK if you leave some fuel in the tank as it should not cause any damage. But leaving it in your engine could cause serious damage to your motorcycle.
  2. Get a battery tender - A battery tender will keep your motorcycle battery charged throughout the winter so that when you're ready to fire her up, you will not be left with a dead battery. Battery tenders are fairly inexpensive and can be picked up at your local motorcycle shop or order one online.
  3. Clean your motorcycle – you do not want to store your motorcycle for long periods of time with dirt, grime, tar, grease, bugs, etc. all over your bike. Not only is this bad for the paint and chrome, but it's just not right to treat your baby so badly. Clean her up before she takes that long winter's nap. My motorcycle is actually cleaned after every ride. It's only right that my girl be taken care of and treated well through the year.
  4. Find a good spot – Your motorcycle is going to be resting for the next few months, so make sure you find a good location for the winter. The best location would be an attached garage, the next would be an outdoor storage building, and the least favorite would be outside in the elements. The winter elements can do some serious damage if not carefully watched, so I'd recommend making sure your motorcycle is stored in an area that is enclosed. My motorcycle is always stored in my attached garage, and kept in a prime location so as not to get bumped or something dropped on her.
  5. Get a motorcycle cover – just because your motorcycle may be stored in an enclosed area, does not mean you should not further protect her. You can get a cover for as little as $ 20 or as much as $ 100. A motorcycle cover will make sure no additional dirt or dust gets on your bike, and will also help protect any unfortunate bumps or dings. I can not speak for bugs, as they'll find their way into any warm place during the colder months.
  6. Start her up when you can – If there's a decent winter day, sun shinning, and not terribly cold, go ahead and fire up your motorcycle. Let her run for a while, she'll thank you in the spring. Just remember to follow all the steps above to ensure you put your motocycle back to rest properly.

Dedicated Hosting Servers – Choosing the Best

What are dedicated hosting servers?

Dedicated hosting servers, as the name implies, are servers leased to a single client and not shared with any others. In other words, if you were to sign up to a dedicated hosting plan, the server would be devoted and committed entirely to hosting your websites.

Why should I use dedicated hosting?

Dedicated hosting has a variety of advantages over shared hosting, particularly if you plan to run an ecommerce website or if you prefer a high level of control over resources.

The key advantages can be briefly summarised as follows:

  • CONTROL: over operating system and software applications
  • RELIABILITY: Reliability: quicker server response time and better performance as the server is not taxed by sharers
  • SECURITY: extremely high security is provided and you can implement your own security measures
  • RESOURCES: greater bandwidth available, ideal for high traffic and resource-intensive websites

What do I need to use dedicated hosting?

MANAGEMENT SKILLS

Although dedicated web hosting gives you the opportunity to fully manage your server, web hosts will provide varying levels of management for you, depending on your host and plan. In these cases, you will not need a high level of management skills.

FINANCES

Expect to pay more for dedicated web hosting that for shared.

What should I look for in a dedicated server?

RAM

It is crucial to have enough RAM. You should aim for at least 2 GB of RAM and the more the better. The number of concurrent users able to visit your site will be greatly affected by the amount of RAM you have. If you do not have enough RAM, under a significant load from a number of simultaneous users accessing your site, your site will crash (i.e. the Slashdot effect). This can particularly be a problem if you have database driven applications.

PROCESSOR

Choosing the best processor for your needs is also important. Intel Xeons and AMD Opterons are the current standard in server CPU architecture. Other CPUs are most likely outdated or are standard desktop CPUs and may not perform as well as the former under a significant network load.

DISK SPACE

Choose a plan with the amount you will need. Unless you will be serving up file and data archives and/or audio and video content (i.e. streaming media, mp3 downloads, etc) then disk space should not be a concern as all plans provide more than adequate amounts of disk space (e.g. 250 GB+). If you anticipate expansion, look into the flexibility of upgrade options.

BANDWIDTH (Monthly Transfer)

Look for 1000-2000 GB+, depending on your needs.

DATA CONNECTION SPEED

Look for 1000 Mbps, particularly if you are streaming video or have a large number of concurrent users. Otherwise 100 Mbps might suffice.

OPERATING SYSTEMS

Look for which are offered and what costs are involved. Many Linux distributions and BSD systems are available for free from the open source community, while Microsoft Windows Server involves a cost. Expect operating system updates to be provided.

MANAGEMENT / EASE OF USE

Look for how much management is included in the plan price. For ease of use, look for free inclusion of cPanel (web based administration). Look for hosts supporting server configuration, software, application, security and anti-virus updates, firewall services and monitoring. Be wary of the term “fully managed” as this means different things to different hosts. Investigate thoroughly.

SOFTWARE

What options do you have? What is included? Microsoft products? Look for control panel software.

SUPPORT

Look for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year phone / email technical support.

BACKUP AND RESTORATION

Look for what backup and restoration options are provided. Some plans come with two hard drives, allowing an easy back up solution.

IP ADDRESSES

Look for more than one, particularly if you plan to do ecommerce.

UPTIME GUARANTEE

Look for hosts guaranteeing 99.9 to 100% uptime and find out their compensation if it is not reached.

WEB HOSTING PRICE

Find out if there is a setup fee. Expect to pay $200+ per month for hosting.

Who provides top rated web hosting?

No doubt you will read different opinions in different places, but based on the criteria outlined above, I have identified a few stand-out dedicated web hosts with excellent reputations for quality and reliability. You will find details of these hosts at Web Host Choice [http://webhostchoice.info]