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.

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Fast Food, Slow Death?

The all too familiar story: no time to cook, kids are late for soccer practice and McDonald's is on the way. Since it will not take more than a few minutes to shoot through the drive through we'll do the fast food stop. Or all too familiar story number 2: lunch hour at work and I need to pick up my dry cleaning, fill a prescription, and take the car to get gas and find time to eat. Sure enough Taco Bell is on the way and they have a drive through as well. These real life situations play out for all of us, millions of us, everyday. Since time has become one of our most precious commodities the sacrifice we make is often in our diet.

And yet it does not need to be this way. By following a few healthy practices you can still go to your favorite fast food chain and, 30 years from now, live to tell about it. The key is knowing what to select from the menu and balancing that meal with the rest of the day's food intake.

Choose Your Menu Items With Care

Choose a main dish item that is low in fat. As an example, when faced with the choice of a bacon cheeseburger or a regular hamburger, the regular hamburger wins every time. In the battle of the regular hamburger or the grilled chicken breast sandwich the chicken wins hands down. Why? Here's an example:

Wendy's Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich has 360 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 0 trans fat. Compare that to the Wendy's Big Bacon Classic which has 580 calories, 29 grams of fat and 1.5 grams of trans fat. Put either choice with a medium fry and you have added another 440 calories and another 21 grams of fat. Choose, instead, the Baked Potato with Sour Cream and Chive and you add 320 calories and 4 grams of fat – a better choice indeed.

Choose side salads and salad bar vegetables as these provide extra vitamins and add dietary fiber. In addition they fill you up without adding lots of extra calories. Be sure to use low fat or non-fat dressing or better yet, a simple vinaigrette dressing. More dietary fiber can be found in the choice of whole wheat or whole grain buns and rolls.

If your sweet tooth kicks in have fresh fruit or frozen yogurt. Or go for the reduced fat ice cream versus the shake. Again an example, this time from McDonald's: 16 oz. Triple Thick Vanilla Shake has 550 calories and 13 grams of fat. The Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream Cone has 150 calories and only 3.5 grams of fat. Granted the lower calories alternative is not as decadent but it also will not clog your arteries by increasing your cholesterol intake and it will satisfy the sugar craving.

Watch Your Portion Size

Portion control is also a key element to successful fast food dining. Although many restaurants have discontinued the super size trend, most portions are simply more than we need to consume. These large portions look like real value when viewed in the monetary sense but when measured by way of their contribution to weight gain and its complications they are simply not worth it.

Choose the smallest size possible especially if you are having hamburgers or fried foods.

Share large or high items with someone else.

Eat half your order and take the rest home. Yes, I know we are provided to clean our plates because there are children starving in China. At least that's what many mothers over the years have been heard to say. The fact is being a member of the Clean Plate Club will also get you entry into the Fat Club, the High Cholesterol Club, and if your really fortify the Heart Disease Club.

Remember These 3 Key Points

1. Reduce total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
2. Increase intake of whole grains
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables

Fast food is one of the great innovations of the 20th century. Here in the 21st century we need to manage how we take advantage of its limitless access. To do so will maintain a balance between food as satisfying fuel that keeps our human engine running and toxic waste that will eventually lead to shorten life spans.

The Best Ways for College Students to Earn Money Online

Going through college can be stressful, especially if money is tight. Between classes, homework, and studying, commuting to a job just seems like a ridiculously impossible prospect. Millions of people are now making money online, and the internet offers plenty of ways for college students to earn money online as well. Blogging, affiliate marketing, and freelancing are some of the best ways to earn an online income, and the best thing about them is that they do not cost a dime to get started.

Affiliate marketing is probably the easiest method for a college student, because it requires less face time at the computer than other methods, although blogging is closely intertwined with affiliate marketing promotion. With all the information available on the subject, you do not need to be an affiliate marketing expert to get started, although it may still take a little bit of time to earn a decent income from it.

To become an affiliate, you need to sign up on the website and then promote a product that they are selling. Usually this requires writing a blog post or an article for submission at an article directory that talks about the product and gets the interest of viewers piqued. You include a link back to the seller's website, and any purchases that originate from your links will result in you being paid. Affiliates can earn anywhere from 10% to 90% commission on sales generated through their affiliate links. There is some amount of work involved, because you must first research your product to be able to write a qualifying article or blog post about the subject.

Pre-selling is a very effective technique used in marketing and advertising. What you are doing is not selling a product. You are either getting people interested who have never heard of the product or stoking the flame in people who already have some level of interest. In a sense, you are simply educating the customer about the product. That's why it is important not to sound as if you are actually selling the product. Although your writing should be in favor of it, you should not be pushing it on your viewers.

Managing a blog is a simple way to get started in affiliate marketing because first of all it's the perfect outlet for your advertising advertising promotion, and also because if you set up a pay per click system like Google AdSense you will also draw relevant ads that people will want to click on. Every time an ad on your blog gets clicked, you get money. It's really as simple as that. Combining techniques is really the only sure way for anyone to make money online, and with a little trial and error you'll be able to get a good respect on what methods work and what methods are just hype.

How To Search Google For Country Specific Results

Running an international online business with the capability to service people from any country means that you want your site to perform well not only in local country specific results but also global results. You may not realize this but doing a standard Google search and leaving the "full web" option selected does not necessarily give you your website's true location in the Google global results. It gives you the global results given your location.

For example, the results of doing a full web search in my home city of Brisbane Australia will be different to a full web search from Toronto Canada.

Google gives results based on your location even when you are not stipulating a local result. You can click your local country only result button and get sites that are from your home country, usually determined by the domain name extension, for example .com.au for Australia, .ca for Canada, etc. or the IP address of your web hosting server, or you can click the web option and get global Internet results that vary depending on your computer's location in the world (based on the IP address of the computer you are using to access the Internet).

Think Global

If your business can service the world then you really can not ignore the American marketplace, or if you are in the USA do not forget about Europe, Asia and the rest. Since you need to know how well your site is performing in Google global search results and unfortunately simply ticking the "the web" option in Google when searching can be misleading because your ranking will be different if it was someone in a different country doing the exact same search.

What you want to know is when someone in the UK does a Google search for one of your terms, how high is your website up in the search results? With this little trick you can figure it out.

The Code

All you need to do is add & gl = uk to the URL at the end of the Google search query.

For example:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=sample+query&meta= & gl = uk

This tells Google to spit out the results for the query based on UK servers.

I can not guarantee 100% conclusively that this works as I expect it does, but it definitely does something and you should try it yourself and see if your site shows up in a different place in the results. The "gl" stands for G eographic L ocation and of course you can exchange the last letters to test different country results around the world.