Earlier this month, Teresa Stickler, R.Ph. and owner of Melrose Pharmacy had three very exciting things happen in her store:
- The Dr. Oz Show shot footage in her pharmacy
- A local news station interviewed one of her staff pharmacist for a cover story
- US Congressman Ed Pastor stopped by to discuss PBM abuses.
While this may seem a bit overwhelming to the average pharmacy owner, Teresa is quite familiar with being exposed to the media as she's also been featured in America's Pharmacist, is extremely active in her neighborhood, and is highly visible in the PDS pharmacy owner community.
Why does Teresa do this, especially when she has all of the other worries and time constraints of owning an independent pharmacy? It's most likely because she sees it as an opportunity to gain more exposure, give back to the community, as well as provide insight on a subject near to her heart.
I spoke with Teresa last week and asked her for her secret on landing so many great opportunities. She explained that it's because she's so involved and connected to her industry and community. For example, the tv tapings happened because of her business networking with a local camera man.
Since she has branded her community pharmacy as the "local pharmacy experts", Teresa, her pharmacy's name, and efforts are constantly being circulated around the community. Her strong brand helps her stand out from the other independents and chains, keeps her top of mind, increases her visibility to potential customers, and allows her existing customers to identify with her pharmacy in an engaging manner.
Here are eight ways independent pharmacies can brand themselves as the local health experts and gain more exposure in the community:
- Become a media resource - call the local tv stations and ask them to contact you if they ever need a health resource, pharmacist recommendation, or local business owner's point of view.
- Host educational classes and events (diabetes education, healthy cooking, community workouts, blood pressure checks) in your pharmacy, at the hospital, assisted living homes, and schools.
- Establish a community outreach program - offer free vitamins to kids, pre-natal vitamins for new moms, and calcium to older patients.
- Create an educational monthly newsletter and insert it into your local newspaper, pass it out to your patients, include it in monthly statements, bring it to local assisted living centers, and send it to your email list.
- Participate and sponsor local charitable efforts with your entire team.
- Start a Pharmacy Shop Local campaign.
- Reach out to the local radio stations and newspapers and pitch the idea of a Pharmacist Tip of the Week or Ask the Pharmacist segment.
- Participate in local health and business events.
As exciting things happen around pharmacy, be sure to let your customers know. An easy and free way to do this is by building an online community on Facebook and Twitter and regularly posting pictures and videos, health tips, and community and pharmacy news. Check out how Teresa's team does it on the Melrose Pharmacy Facebook page.