September 26, 2018
Inside: October is American Pharmacists Month. Try these 10 lucrative strategies to promote your pharmacy during the special month designed to celebrate independent pharmacists.
The first of October marks the start of American Pharmacists Month, an annual 31-day celebration of the pharmacy profession.
Created by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), the month is meant to educate the public, policymakers, and other health professionals about the important contributions pharmacists provide to health care through the safe and effective management of medications.
Use American Pharmacists Month to bring in new business, expand awareness, and remind your patients what you do for them.
Celebrating and promoting American Pharmacists Month at your pharmacy is easy. You don’t need a big budget—or any budget at all—to do it. Whether you have hours or minutes to dedicate, you can to easily implement these ideas at your pharmacy.
Social media is a multi-purpose tool. With it you can wield multiple methods of engagement to engross patients in personal, creative, and interactive ways. Utilizing a variety of approaches will ensure you hit the mark.
Using the American Pharmacists Month hashtag, or mentioning the month in your post, try some of the following ideas.
Host a contest
Giveaways generate high levels of user engagement. Everyone loves winning free stuff, especially when it requires little work.
Ask patients to share your posts, “check-in” to your pharmacy, or interact with your post to be entered into a contest to win a prize. If possible, give away something substantial, like tickets to an upcoming event, a $100 gas card, or a money-saving coupon to your front end.
Perhaps as part of your contest, ask patients to share stories about your pharmacists. Stories can range from simple encounters to above-and-beyond ways pharmacists helped a patient.
As a pharmacy owner or manager, share stories about ways your pharmacists have contributed to public health.
Introduce your pharmacist
Pull back the curtain and let the world meet your pharmacists. Use these posts to share personal details about your pharmacists, such as their family or their favorite sports teams.
Take a survey
Ask patients how your pharmacy is doing. Or, ask patients what service they’d like your pharmacy to offer. Incentivize patients to fill out the survey by awarding a coupon to those who complete one.
Promote your services
Promote little-known services pharmacists provide at your pharmacy. Ask questions like “Did you know pharmacists can give flu vaccines? Stop by and get yours today.” Or, “Did you know your pharmacist can help manage your diabetes? Come in and talk to us.”
Treat American Pharmacists Month as if it’s a new product or service you’ve added to your pharmacy.
Use physical “advertisements” to promote the month, such as:
Place these promotions in prominent places within the pharmacy, on the counter, and inside patients’ prescription bags.
APhA provides a trove of free promotional material.
Partner with local businesses near your pharmacy to host a sidewalk sale.
While other businesses sell retail items at discounted prices, your pharmacy can use your space to celebrate American Pharmacists Month.
Sidewalk ideas include:
Create buzz about your business and American Pharmacists Month by getting the media involved.
Try these strategies:
Come up with a few story ideas before you contact the media. APhA provides helpful tips.
American Pharmacists Month seeks to raise awareness at the political level.
In many significant ways, federal and local legislators determine the future of independent pharmacy for better and for worse. When lawmakers realize your value to healthcare, they’ll grant your pharmacy greater ability to improve the outcomes of patients.
Invite your local legislators to attend your American Pharmacists Month event or to just stop by your pharmacy.
If you’re not sure how to reach them, go online. Most legislators today have their own websites. You can contact them by phone or email, or you could even write a personal letter and send it through the mail.
For more ideas, check out these tips from the APhA on the best ways to contact—and convince—your legislators.
Your patients may not realize that you’re always available to answer their questions. One day in October, come out from behind the counter and set up an area where patients can come talk to you about any health-related topic. Promote the event on social media and on your website.
Use these sessions to identify services each patient may be interested in. For example, if you learn that a patient has recently been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, ask if they’d like to enroll in your diabetes management or weight loss programs.
Invite your patients to casually meet your pharmacists and pharmacy technicians during a meet-and-greet.
Hold the meet-and-greet outside normal business hours. Personal interaction outside of business hours enables your staff to build connections with patients and strengthen patient loyalty.
Make the meet-and-greet a reception worth going to, with refreshments, appetizers, and giveaways.
American Pharmacists Month coincides with the launch of Medicare open enrollment. Sixty percent of Medicare beneficiaries find choosing a Medicare Part D plan too confusing.
Show patients that their independent pharmacy is the most accessible link to the world of Medicare by helping them navigate Medicare plans. Host special sessions throughout October for seniors in your community to go over Medicare drug coverage and answer any questions that may arise.
Helping patients understand the Medicare Part D plan options will build trust and cultivate long-lasting relationships.
American Pharmacists Month is meant to promote pharmacists to more than patients and politicians. It’s also supposed to promote your value to prescribers and other healthcare practitioners.
Use the month as an opportunity to meet with local practitioners during lunch and demonstrate what your pharmacy offers their practice and their patients.
Set up a booth at community events throughout the month of October to show off your pharmacy.
Because booths focus on informing rather than selling, people are more likely to engage with them. (It also helps when booths offer free stuff.)
Good places for a booth include a local farmers market, summer carnival, or health fair.
What to include in your pharmacy booth:
Don’t be shy. Promote your pharmacy during American Pharmacists Month, the one month every year that’s all about you.
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