November 10, 2020
Inside: Think outside the box with non-traditional marketing techniques to generate interest in your pharmacy.
Email campaigns, print advertisements, and direct mail are all tried and true methods for marketing your pharmacy’s products and services. But they’re also so common that it can be hard to stand out among a sea of other emails or mailers.
To really grab your audience’s attention, you need to think outside the box. Non-traditional marketing strategies have the benefit of novelty — plus, they are often less expensive to execute than traditional marketing standbys.
If you’re ready to try something different and capture the attention of a new audience, give one of these non-traditional marketing schemes a go.
Your patients have certain traits that tie them together, and you can foster those connections by starting meet-up groups. Whether it’s a walking club for patients trying to get more active or a support group for patients managing a chronic disease like diabetes, sponsoring a meet-up gets your pharmacy’s name out there as a healthcare destination.
Meet-ups cost almost nothing to put together and once they get started, members can do most of the maintenance. They also help your pharmacy build a reputation for being involved in the community.
Bring together your most loyal patients as a fan club. Like meet-up groups, this is a low-cost way to build camaraderie.
Create a place online where your patients can congregate and socialize, like a Facebook Group, and make sure to drop benefits for them like exclusive deals and discounts on services.
As your most enthusiastic supporters, your fan club will act as your street team and spread the message about your pharmacy to family and friends — without you having to spend a large chunk of change on advertisements.
If stunt marketing is flashy, guerilla marketing is stealthy. This is when you add something to the environment to advertise your services without specifically advertising, like when McDonald’s created street art that looked like fries to encourage people to visit the restaurant.
For your pharmacy, you might post stickers around town with a catchy slogan for one of your services without explaining what it is, along with your website. When people see it enough times, they’ll go to your site in order to satisfy their curiosity.
The upside of guerilla marketing is that it’s inexpensive — you might invest in some stickers or signage, but that’s about it — but it’s also subtle enough that it might be difficult to see a payoff.
Even if you don’t have a large social media presence, you can still use social channels to get your pharmacy’s name out there.
Seek out the influencers who live in your local area and see if they would be willing to be an ad partner. When you sponsor a social media post, influencers can post a photo of themselves visiting your pharmacy with a caption about why they like to shop there.
Or you can send them a basket full of goodies and have them do an “unboxing” where they react to all the products.
Influencer marketing can be a great option if you’re looking to promote some of your flashier front-end items like cosmetics.
Text messages have a 98 percent open rate, and most people open them within just a couple minutes of receiving them — unlike email which languishes in consumers’ inboxes with a pitiful 20 percent open rate.
By using texting to reach your patients with special offers, you’re facing a lot less competition for their attention than you would be by sending an email.
Texts let you cut straight to the point and link to a relevant web page. However, because you can’t rely on flashy imagery, you have to make sure the language you use is precise and catchy.
Writing and maintaining a blog takes a lot of time and energy for a small business, but if you don’t have one, you can still reap the benefits.
Find local bloggers or local businesses that maintain a blog and offer to write a guest post on their site. You can talk about the health issues that are facing your community — and let readers know about the solutions you offer at your pharmacy.
By writing guest posts, you can leverage the existing audiences of local personalities and introduce yourself to potential new patients. Posts like this also translate well as social media content, as it’s easy to share them on your pages.
Almost everybody loves free stuff, and if you host a contest with a compelling enough prize, you can generate a lot of new leads.
Offer something that’s too good to pass up — a sizeable gift card to the pharmacy or a free service — and make sure to collect information like email addresses and phone numbers for everyone who enters. The contest itself should generate some buzz, and then after it’s over, you have lots of new contacts for your existing email marketing efforts.
Team up with a relevant non-profit and engage in a marketing campaign that will be mutually beneficial for you. Choose a cause that will have an impact on your community, like promoting a food drive where patients can bring in non-perishable goods and you promise to give a certain portion of your profits to a local food pantry.
Cause marketing builds goodwill for your pharmacy within your community. And, when you involve patients in the cause, it can create social buzz, because participants will be eager to share their good deeds with their friends and family.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, 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.