Consumer confidence is on the rise in the U.S., contributing to the growth in retail spending across the country for the holiday season. For small businesses, now is the time to capitalize on this momentum by concentrating marketing efforts on attracting new customers to their stores.

Consumer spending, confidence rise
According to Surveys of Consumers from the University of Michigan, the Index of Consumer Sentiment grew 0.5 percent from November to December, while the Current Economic Conditions rose 2.6 percent in the same time frame.

This indication that consumers' faith in the economy is growing is great news for small businesses – customers are out and ready to shop, just in time for the busy holiday season. Reuters reported that consumer spending climbed in November, as clothing stores gained 0.8 percent for the biggest increase in the sector since May. Retail sales, excluding food service, gasoline or automobiles, rose by by 0.6 percent.

How small businesses can cash in
While consumers are in a spending mood, small businesses can make the most out of the retail-positive atmosphere by targeting customers' attention.

"The key is to get the business's name out there."

As Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist Richard Curtin stated, one of the reasons that buying plans have remained favorable is discount prices. Offering special product sales, or enticing consumers with coupons for future purchases or incentives like free shipping or gift wrapping will help draw shoppers in. Inc suggests small businesses attend trade shows, or even local events like craft fairs, to network and reach people face-to-face. Giving away product samples, the source suggests, helps expose future consumers to new products and may entice them to buy more.

The key is to get the business's name out there for consumers to familiarize themselves. Social media is a great way to promote special deals or giveaways without sinking money into advertising.

Likewise, creating a mailing list for interested customers, perhaps incentivizing them with a small gift or discount for enrolling in the program, can help reach customers in a fast and affordable way. Weekly newsletters can alert consumers to the latest deals and new products to help draw them into the store. Many electronic newsletters can be organized through a third party for a small fee – business owners could even do that themselves for no extra cost if they have the time.

Whatever the preferred method is, now is the time for small business owners to reach out to customers, so they can take advantage of the excited shopping spirit that is currently trending up.

Equipment and business industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, a nationwide provider of commercial lending solutions for small and mid-size businesses. Marlin's equipment financing and loan products are offered directly to businesses, and through third party vendor programs, which include manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.