One of the biggest complaints that we hear from pharmacists is about a lack of time – you’re struggling meet script quotas. You’re short staffed. You’re too busy. Marketing, just isn’t a priority. But, as a business owner you have goals, and in order to grow your business, neglecting marketing is one of the worst things you can do.
But, it’s almost a new year, and now is a great time to start fresh and really focus on growing your pharmacy business. Here are a few things you can do on the marketing side in the new year that could have a big impact on your pharmacy.
Three Marketing Activities to Stop Doing in 2017
Direct mail campaigns
You’re wasting money, so stop it right now. Here's why: every other week, I get the Valu-pak mailer and I open it up, and 98% of the time I throw the whole pack away. The other 2% of the time I’ll pull out a coupon for whatever local restaurant is in the pack, (and will subsequently misplace or forget about said coupon), but most often it is all tossed. You’re doing this probably because you think you’re reaching your target customers – the Boomer generation - but you’re missing, or turning off a whole segment of potential customers who view mailers – of any kind mind you, post cards are not okay either – as junk. So just stop it right now and put that marketing money elsewhere.
Not doing any marketing
You say you’re too busy, or that your patients aren’t on social media. Get on Google and look your pharmacy up. Nothing? Create a Google business page and start asking for reviews. Have an email list sign up and send a monthly newsletter. We know pharmacies are busy places, but by not going all in on marketing your pharmacy and giving your patients and community useful information, you’re only hurting your business and hindering potential growth.
Not being active on Social Media
Maybe you have a Facebook page, but have you used it? No, you’ve never posted? I challenge you to try. Post an article or two geared towards health and wellness. You can even schedule them right on your Facebook page. We help provide content to promote your flavoring service so throw that in the mix too. Additionally, you can use software to manage your social media, such as Hootsuite OR a program like Snap-RX to help you schedule your content out in easy to use web based programs. Not only does social media help you be more visible online but it also helps you get found online - the more active you are on social media, the more trustworthy Google will view you in terms of search engine results so you'll be likely to show up when people google "pharmacies near me."
Four Ways to Improve your Pharmacy Marketing in 2017
One-third of all online activity is spent watching videos. So if you're trying to market yourself online, you shouldn't ignore video marketing. Worried that video marketing is too difficult? Think again. Programs like Facebook live and Periscope have given anyone with a smart phone the opportunity to promote themselves, their business, product or service online. Take ten minutes at the same time on the same day of the week and have a Facebook Live discussion about health, wellness or a Q&A with your patients where they can ask their nagging questions. So many people are treating their pharmacist as a trusted advisor in terms of their healthcare, why not share your expertise and connect with your patients in an easy and inexpensive way?
In addition to getting your social media pages in order and utilizing them for their intended purposes, you have to realize that if you want real results from social marketing, it's not going to be free. If you're dedicated to attracting new families to your pharmacies, social advertising is an easy and inexpensive way to do that. Facebook lets you hypertarget your ads based on age, location, and marital status. This allows you to reach millennials inexpensively (as compared to mailers or advertisements) – even if you’re just promoting your page. As you grow your online audience and get more interactions on your page, the further that dollar is going to go when it comes to social advertising.
When I initially heard of "bots" I thought they were a little spammy, but in 2017 chat bots are artificial intelligence allowing businesses to be accessible around the clock. They’ve been around for a couple of decades but now, they’re going strong and are taking over the future of messaging apps and are slowly but surely being incorporated into the healthcare space - including into pharmacies. If you struggle with accessibility and being short staffed, this may be a great solution for those after hours questions that your patients may have.
People can personalize everything from their Coca-cola cans to their Nike sneakers. Allowing your customers to personalize the taste of medicine to personalizing any marketing you might do; personalization is everything. Making sure your patient touch points are personal and streamlined will not only better the customer experience but it will make every interaction with your brand a positive one. Look at your customer interactions now, and challenge yourself and your staff to go one step further in how they add a touch of personalization into the customer experience can go a long way in customer satisfaction and loyalty.
There is no better growth strategy for your business than investing in your marketing. Look at what you’re investing now – both human and monetary resources and find ways to expand, incremental changes have the opportunity to have big effects, especially if you're starting from scratch. Not only will you impact your current customers with a more positive and memorable experience, but you’ll have the opportunity to grow your business and impact the community around you with exceptional customer service and health care expertise.