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It’s the time of year when the holidays start piling up: Halloween is right around the corner, with Thanksgiving coming soon after, followed by Christmas and New Year’s Eve. And that means big sales days are right around the corner, too—Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, just to name three popular ones.

So how are you going to come up with the kind of deals that will make the most of the holiday shopping season? Marketing strategist Gail Gardner walks small businesses through the dos and don’ts of maximizing retail sales.

“Black Friday, Cyber Monday—any sale, really—should be an opportunity to increase sales,” Gardner writes for “Whether you started planning for the big holiday sales during the summer or have done nothing yet, you still have time to generate additional revenue if you act now.

“Put serious thought into what you are offering before you launch,” she says. “Poorly designed offers can damage your brand by really annoying your potential buyers.”

Among her tips are:

  • First, always protect your brand: inflating discounts or accompanying them with a lot of fine print could hurt sales in the long run.
  • Ask to be added to shipping sites and posts about sales deals.
  • Expand your client base internationally: 80% of small businesses that sell globally saw increased sales in 2016.
  • Use past sales to identify the products that will do well this season.
  • Be careful your deals don’t torpedo your profits.

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