January 19, 2021
Although you may not think marketing is as important as filling prescriptions quickly or mastering customer service, no one will know about your top-notch services if you don’t let patients know about them.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider trying some of these marketing resolutions for 2021.
Spend time creating a budget of what you’re willing to spend on marketing for the next 12 months. And consider spending more rather than less. Think of your marketing costs as investments in your business and your brand, not as expenses.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends setting a budget of 2-3 percent of gross revenues for upkeep marketing and up to 3-5 percent for startup marketing. It’s important to measure and determine what works for your business.
Your pharmacy will only grow if you bring in new patients, and you attract new patients with your marketing. By skimping on your budget, you could end up stunting your growth.
Who are you marketing to? What are you hoping to accomplish with your marketing efforts? What marketing channels will you use? How will you measure success?
If you don’t know the answers to those questions, take time to write out a marketing plan. It’s kind of like a road map to help keep you accountable for your marketing efforts, ensuring that you won’t fall off the wagon.
If you already have a marketing plan in place, check in with it. Are you on track to meet your goals? Do you need to revise it based on successes or failures last year? If your previous plan was unrealistic, take some time to rethink your strategy.
Especially after a year that challenged the health and wellness of so many, being visible in your community as a resource can be a great marketing opportunity.
In normal years, attending health clinics or sponsoring little league teams are good ways to get your name out there, but with many still social distancing, you may have to get creative.
Efforts like hosting a blood drive, educating patients on Covid-19, and partnering to support other local businesses are a few ideas for how you can be present in the community while maintaining the safety of your staff and patients.
There are numerous ways to great out your message. Each medium has its disadvantages and advantages. One may appeal to a certain generation of people but not another. One may be more effective for conveying one message but not another.
Mix up your mediums, using some combination of non-digital and digital means. Pair a direct mail campaign with a social media campaign, for example. Or use a radio ad and an email blast to catch different people with the same message. Cast a wide net to reach a wide audience.
READ NEXT: The Ultimate Guide to Pharmacy Marketing
Make a point to check in with what your competitors are doing — both the big chains and other local operations. Sign up for their email lists (and actually read them).
By looking at the marketing efforts of other businesses you may get a good idea for the kind of marketing efforts you want to — or don’t want to — make.
Visit the stores in person, too. Do they have a hot new product that you haven’t stocked yet? Are they introducing a new specialty service? Don’t let those things take you by surprise.
One free way to spread awareness about your pharmacy is reaching out to journalists at your local newspaper or television station.
Volunteer to be an expert when a health or pharmacy-related news story is reported in your area. Having your quote in the newspaper or your pharmacy shown on television will expose you and your small business to people who may not have known about you before.
Now especially, when there is lots of uncertainty about what steps people should be taking to prevent the spread of coronavirus, your expert opinion is especially valuable to your community.
Marketing to new patients is great, but don’t neglect your current patients. By paying attention to your current patients, you can turn them into promoters who refer their friends and family.
Engage with them via social media by hosting promotions just for your followers, or offer a loyalty program that rewards the patients that come back to the pharmacy month after month.
Conduct surveys to find out what they like about shopping at your pharmacy so you can do more and fix the things they don’t like. By showing you’re listening to them, you will make your current patients feel like part of the pharmacy community.
Step up your web presence this year and create a blog. A blog is a great place to promote the unique over-the-counter products you carry as well as write about relevant health tips and information.
Posting blogs can boost your SEO and make your pharmacy more findable on search engines like Google.
They also make great content to post about on your social media, helping you to reach a younger audience.
For marketing success, consistency is key. Make sure you’re using the same voice in your messaging across all platforms. Keep the color scheme and logos consistent as well, so you’re brand becomes more recognizable.
Also engage with your marketing channels at consistent intervals. If your goal is to cultivate your social media presence, don’t post 20 times in the first week and then abandon it for a month. Find a pace that you can commit to and stick to it so your patients know that you are reliable.
If you’re spending money on marketing, it’s important to pay attention to those investments.
Are you spending too little or too much? Have more patients come to your pharmacy due to a change in marketing tactics?
You can measure your results through online marketing analytics, coupon codes, or simply asking your patients how they learned about your pharmacy.
You can also keep track of if your messaging is working by doing A/B testing, which means putting out two different versions of your marketing message and tracking them to see which one performs better.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The member-owned company serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
Want more pharmacy business tips and advice? Sign up for our e-newsletter.