'Tis the season for holiday advertising: Preparing small businesses for the busiest shopping days

During the bustling holiday shopping season, some days are particularly busy, and it is wise for small businesses to tailor their advertising efforts, both online and through traditional channels, toward these peaks.

Black Friday is well-known throughout the country as the busiest shopping day of the year, but nine other profitable days fall between Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas, according to ShopperTrak, an analytics firm that deals with retail foot traffic. In addition, five of those top sales days occur between December 18 and December 24.

Following Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving, the top shopping days in regards to sales are predicted to be December 17 (Super Saturday), December 23 (Father's Day), December 26, December 22, November 26 (Black Saturday and Small Business Saturday), December 18, December 10, December 19 and December 3.

"Annually Black Friday weekend's strong start is one bookend to the season and the week leading into Christmas is the other," explained ShopperTrak co-founder Bill Martin. "Successful retailers will prepare for these critical top 10 days, track their traffic internally and make adjustments to capitalize on shopper opportunities walking through their doors."

Another major shopping day that small businesses should not ignore is Cyber Monday, which occurs on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Ecommerce sites report major web traffic and sales on this emerging retail holiday.

Spreading advertising efforts out through the holiday shopping season, with careful attention to the 10 most popular days for customers, will help small businesses stay on the minds of shoppers regardless of when they choose to buy. For some, the rush of Black Friday doorbuster savings cannot be missed. Others prefer to spread out their shopping throughout the holiday season, while certain shoppers hit stores only at the last minute. Each individual shopper can translate into profits, so it is important that businesses continuously tweak their online advertising efforts to appeal to every type.

Small businesses could consider advertising a number of different incentives throughout the shopping season to take advantage of top sales days. For example, last minute shoppers could be swayed to make most of their purchases at a retailer that is offering savings after a certain amount of money has been spent, while Black Friday shoppers could walk through the door after an advertisement touts a deep discount on one specific item. Online marketing efforts can help small businesses keep every customer up-to-date on the most appealing sales.

Independent Retailer suggests that small businesses complement their holiday advertising efforts with a "seasonal redesign." If planned out before new merchandise arrives or new services are offered, holiday-themed website additions, displays and floor plans can excite customers and entice them to browse longer. Ideally, this pleasant holiday atmosphere will then translate into sales.