February 7, 2018
Inside: Your community is full of patients who don’t know they need your independent pharmacy. Yet. Reach these previously unreachable pharmacy patients with the right strategies.
You already know how to reach your pharmacy’s current patients.
And, you probably have a plan to reach new patients within your target market, such as the friends of seniors who already use your pharmacy.
But what about the patients who don’t know about your pharmacy? And the ones who aren’t in your target market?
How can you get those patients interested in your pharmacy?
Every business has a group of potential customers deemed “unreachable” for various reasons.
Sometimes these customers truly are unreachable at that point in time. For example, if a toy store caters to parents of young kids, then its unreachable customers probably include teenagers. Because teenagers are too old to buy the toy store’s products for themselves and likely too young to have kids of their own.
But a more reachable unreachable customer might be a young mom who doesn’t live on the same side of town as the toy store.
All businesses have customers who don’t yet understand that they have a need your business can fill.
We think it’s about time to pull those unreachable people within reach.
Follow these tips to get through to pharmacy patients who don’t know they need your independent pharmacy. Yet.
Think about all the patients who could potentially use your independent pharmacy, but who fill their prescriptions elsewhere.
For example, patients who use mail order pharmacies or patients who frequent national chain pharmacies.
Now, ask yourself why these patients choose to fill their prescriptions at those pharmacies instead of at yours.
Let’s use the example of a mail order patient.
This patient likely thinks mail order is his most convenient option. He may not know about the convenient services your pharmacy offers, like your free delivery service.
Or, he may not realize what he needs, like direct access to a pharmacist who’s familiar with his particular medication regimen.
Now that you understand what motivates unreachable patients, you can better market to them.
You can’t use the same marketing approach to reach an unreachable patient as you use to target your current pharmacy patients.
For example, you may reach your current patients by sending monthly coupons for retail products.
But sending coupons to a patient who prefers mail order doesn’t make sense. Instead, focus on advertising your pharmacy’s convenience.
Also, consider your target market’s demographics when crafting your message.
If your current patients are younger, they may respond well to digital advertisements that contain humor.
But mail order patients are likely older and less mobile. So, they might respond better to print advertisements in magazines or newspapers that tell them exactly what they need to know.
It’s your responsibility to convince an unreachable patient that she needs your pharmacy.
You can’t expect unreachable patients to simply find you.
Think about the business currently fulfilling that patient’s prescription needs. And then create a list of products and services your pharmacy can provide that her pharmacy can’t.
For example, promote your pharmacy’s free delivery service. And include a guaranteed delivery time to entice potential patients even more.
And in every marketing promotion you do, mention that a pharmacist is always available to speak over the phone or in-person. It also helps to put a face to the pharmacist’s name. So, include your pharmacists’ photos on your marketing promotions, your website, and your social media profiles.
If you want to convince an unreachable patient to switch to your independent pharmacy, you have to build trust and credibility.
In today’s world, no one will simply take your word for it.
You’ll find it challenging to get people to change their way of doing things.
People resist change.
And pharmacy patients tend to stick with their current pharmacy because of the barrier of switching, not because they receive amazing service.
You may have to offer something of value to sway them in the right direction.
In the mail order example, sending a free gift is a good way to get a potential patient’s attention. You could offer a piece of branded merchandise or a free sample of a product your pharmacy sells.
If you don’t want to give something away, simply promote your pharmacy’s value-added services to mail order patients.
Inform them about the counseling you provide for patients with chronic conditions or adherence packaging options for patients taking multiple prescriptions.
What if you could get someone else to market your pharmacy to potential patients for free?
Sounds good, right?
Well, you can. If you ask your current patients for testimonials or reviews.
Encourage your current patients to refer your pharmacy to others via word-of-mouth or on social media. Or, ask them to share their positive experiences online via review websites like Yelp or Foursquare.
Offer rewards, such as coupons and discounts, to patients who bring in new business.
It’s the best form of free advertising. And, where you fail to reach an unreachable patient, your advocates may succeed.
Now if your marketing and promotions worked and previously unreachable patients do get interested in your business, don’t make them work to find out more.
Potential patients won’t go out of their way to learn more about your pharmacy.
They’ll do a quick Google search or call your pharmacy. Make sure your pharmacy’s website is easy-to-use and full of helpful information. And require your staff to pick up the phone every time it rings.
Potential patients will give up if they can’t find that pharmacy they heard about and thought maybe they should switch to within a few seconds.
Make it easy to turn potential patients into first-time patients.
Now go make those unreachable pharmacy patients reachable.
Want more? Sign up for our e-newsletter to get more pharmacy business advice, tips and ideas.