Your marketing efforts will have far better results when they’re part of a long-term plan that your team can get involved with and help you to implement. Many retailers are looking at the week ahead, or even just what's happening today. You'll feel much more in control of your business if you allocate time each month towards planning for the future.
It’s far too easy to let Facebook suck you in, and before you know it you’ve wasted an hour and have nothing to show for it. Set time aside once a week or once a fortnight to schedule lots of activity and limit ad-hoc activity as much as possible. Use facebook's built-in scheduler function and take advantage of third party services like Hootsuite which allow you to coordinate your efforts across all of your social media channels.
As important as the planning itself, a regular review of your marketing activity is crucial to help you develop future campaigns and tweak the details to improve the successes even further. Make sure that your planner includes a space for you to record the success of each of your campaigns or activities. When you start to combine the elements that are proven to work for you, and ditch the things that aren't driving sales, you'll be able to plan future campaigns that will transform your business.
It’s easy to be sceptical of new ideas but try to be open and encourage creativity in your business. Question everything and look for solutions that others haven’t found, and when you start asking questions, don’t allow the answers to be “because we’ve always done it that way”. Reward your staff for their contribution and try to allow as many of their ideas as possible to get past the suggestion stage, even if it's just as a trial. Your team will love being involved with this process and it's one of their many rewards for working for an independent retailer instead of a multi-national conglomerate where their voices are unlikely to be heard.
Or perhaps you haven't actually decided what that is yet. Define your brand proposition and outline what sets you apart from the competition. Make sure your logo and branding illustrate your unique selling point to your potential customers, and ensure this filters through on all of your marketing. As an independent retailer you have many strengths that you can use to your advantage. You might not be able to compete on price against the big box stores (or perhaps you can?) but you can offer things they are unable to.