In the last year, almost everything about everyday life changed — including how you communicate with current and potential patients.
Discover 2021’s hottest marketing trends so your pharmacy can leave a lasting impression.
1. Artificial intelligence
The future has arrived in the form of artificial intelligence. More and more frequently, small businesses are using AI technology to keep in touch with consumers.
You might have some sort of AI tech already implemented in your pharmacy, whether it’s an IVR phone system or a chatbot on your website or social media.
While it may seem impersonal, AI tech can provide your patients quick and efficient customer service even when the pharmacy is closed, prompting positive word-of-mouth marketing.
2. Conversational marketing
Just talking to your patients on social media can turn into a marketing opportunity. These interactions are called “conversational marketing.”
When a patient asks you a question on a platform like Twitter or Instagram and you answer, they’ll feel acknowledged, and other people will witness that acknowledgment.
Even if you’re not communicating face-to-face in the pharmacy, conversational marketing helps you build relationships and demonstrate the kind of care and attention patients will get when they do come into the store.
3. Voice search
More often, people are turning to digital assistant like Siri and Alexa to help them find information. Because of that, businesses are starting to rethink their approach to SEO.
You think you’ve mastered keywords, but when people use voice search, they use longer sentences. Instead of searching “pharmacies in Memphis,” they’ll ask, “Where can I find a pharmacy in Memphis?”
To market to people using voice searches, you have to think about natural speaking patterns and incorporate more full sentences rather than short phrases.
Big Data allows businesses to deliver ultra-personalized content to potential customers — but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.
People have become more aware of how their data is being used. When they are delivered an ad that’s a little too personalized, it freaks them out.
5. User-generated content
User-generated content can be a powerful tool to promote your pharmacy because it shows that people are authentically engaged with your pharmacy.
When a patient posts on social media about your pharmacy or even writes an exceptional review, re-share that content on your pharmacy’s social media pages.
Sharing these genuine endorsements and testimonials builds trust and inspires brand loyalty.
6. Shoppable posts
Last year, Instagram introduced shoppable posts. When a business showcases a product that a consumer wants, they can buy it without ever leaving the app.
While this particular method of product promotion might not be ideal for an independent pharmacy that relies mostly on in-person sales, if you post about a product, you should also include information about how patients can get ahold of it.
Use a service like Linkin.bio to link your social posts to your website so patients can easily find information about the products and services you offer.
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7. Increased loyalty
One unexpected result of the pandemic is that customer loyalty has actually increased. Capitalize on that by focusing on the needs of your current patients in your marketing efforts.
Use tools like the Net Promoter Score to measure how happy your patients are and find out what improvements would best serve them.
Just asking for feedback can be a good marketing move, as it shows your patients that you’re invested in their ongoing happiness.
8. Fewer in-person events
Even though the world has mostly opened back up, in-person events will probably never regain their former glory.
The virtual events that became trendy in 2020 will continue to be popular. They allow your patients to tune in when it’s convenient for them rather than feeling pressure to get ready, leave their house, and show up at a specific location at a specific time.
If you introduced online programming during Covid-19, don’t plan on phasing that out any time soon.
9. Social responsibility
After a turbulent year, your patients are eager to shop at businesses that share their values and support the community.
If there are issues that you care about, don’t hide them. Use your marketing messaging to demonstrate how your pharmacy is contributing to your preferred cause, whether that means making donations to charity or educating patients about a public health issue.
Your stance may not be popular with absolutely everyone, but by living your values, you can activate a more passionate patient base and show that you are invested in your community.
10. Focus on change
The pandemic upended almost everything about public life and changed the way most businesses operate. Take advantage of that upheaval and look for opportunities to make radical changes that improve the patient experience.
Promote your convenient new services like curbside pickup or an expanded delivery range. Now is also the time to make long-awaited upgrades like a modernized website or app or invest in new technology like robotics that will make your pharmacy a more pleasant place to shop.
11. Community building
Build on the reputation you established during the pandemic as a vital resource for healthcare information and continue to engage with your community about public health.
Use your social media accounts to host Q&A sessions with the pharmacist and share vital resources — both online and through literature at your store.
Run contests and giveaways that ask patients to incorporate healthy lifestyle habits into their daily routine and reward them with tempting prizes from your front-end inventory.
12. Omnichannel marketing
As you try out all these new marketing trends, remember to incorporate all your marketing channels.
You shouldn’t run one campaign for direct mail, another for email, and another for social media. Your efforts should be interconnected and have similar messaging and branding across all channels. If someone gets a mailer and searches for your website, the transition should feel fluid.
An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies
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 VAWD-certified warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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