Flu season is just around the corner and as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. How will you be conveying that message to your patients this flu season?
Here are 24 ideas specifically for independent pharmacy to help you spread your message throughout the community...for little or no cost. Whether you choose to implement one or all of the ideas, they'll make your job a lot easier and your pharmacy marketing tools much more effective.
1. Offer flu shot gift cards. This strategy will allow you to tap into the gift market. Have the cards available at your cash register and your customers will most likely think of a parent, elderly friend, or neighbor that would appreciate a flu shot this season.
2. Target local businesses and organizations. Send a letter or make a personal phone call to local employers or organizational presidents offering to administer on-site vaccinations for employees or members.
3. Send out a voice broadcast to your past flu shot customers. If they received a vaccination in the past, they are likely to get another one this year. It’s also a good idea to send a voice broadcast to your elderly and diabetic patients.
4. Record videos that engage your existing and potential customers and post them on your website, Facebook, and in the store. Video suggestions:
- Demonstrate how flu shots are pain free and easy to administer by using a live patient (make sure you get their consent first!).
- Ask a bunch of people to line up and then have someone say “set up and appointment today and you won’t have to wait in line!”. At the end of the video, include your store information, how to set up an appointment, and clinic hours.
- Tap into the knowledge of a staff pharmacist or the pharmacy owner and ask them to record an educational video. Sample topics: The top 5 ways to stay healthy this flu season (tie in products they can buy in the store) or How to wash your hands effectively (ask a kid to join you in the video - their mom will surely show it to 20 people).
6. Put a plastic sign by the road the reads Flu Shots Here. Super simple, cheap, and extremely effective.
7. Educate your staff on the benefits of getting a flu shot so they can effectively “sell” them to your patients.
8. Have FAQ and Fact Sheets, both in English and Spanish, available in the pharmacy waiting area.
9. Hang flyers around your pharmacy and on community bulletin boards.
10. Send customized letters to families with children, diabetic patients, your elderly customers, pregnant women, etc.
11. Create and advertise free recorded messages. Why should you take out a newspaper ad that limits the amount of information you can provide? If you take out an ad this year, include a killer headline, your pharmacy’s information, and then a toll-free number that provides them more information about a particular topic. Not only will you help them make a better buying decision, but you’ll also be able to tell who called and how long they listened, and then follow up with personal phone call. Topics for flu season could include:
- Top 5 Flu Season Survival Tips (includes vitamin c offer)
- The truth about flu shots
- How to stay healthy during flu season
- What to do if you catch the flu
- Feeling sick and the doctor's not in? Call 800-123-4567 ext. 0000 to learn how you can feel better until you can see the doctor."
12. Pass out "I got my flu shot, did you?" stickers to each flu shot customer. This patient will be a one-day walking advertisement and testimonial for your pharmacy.
13. Send a text message reminder to your customers that have opted-in to receive messages from your pharmacy.
- The flu claims an avg of 36,000 lives and hospitalize more than 200,000 people every year. Schedule a flu shot by calling xxx-xxxx.
- Flu season is just around the corner, protect yourself by getting a flu shot at ____________.
- Stay healthy this winter, get a flu shot. Call ___________ to set up an appointment.
14. Offer a $10 coupon to the store with every flu shot. Restrict the coupons to OTC items only and only on a $20 sale or more.
15. Set up a My Dose Alert to automatically remind this year’s flu shot patients when it’s time to come back next year. This strategy works well for any type of appointment or event in your pharmacy - diabetic shoe reminders, cholesterol testing days, etc.
16. Offer free Vitamin C to the community. Position your efforts as a way to keep the community healthy during the season. Not only will it put your pharmacy in a good light, it will also get people to spread the news about your efforts and get people to walk into your store.
17. Add a widget to your blog or website. Go to the CDC website and download one of the many data and statistics widgets they offer for health-related websites and blogs.
18. Inform your Facebook and Twitter communities by uploading your ads, videos, reminders, and exclusive promotions.
19. Set up an after hours flu shot clinic for professionals that are stuck in the office during your pharmacy's hours.
20. Write blog posts about the flu season and how to stay healthy. Suggestions: the truth about flu shots, how to stay healthy during flu season, and what to do if you catch the flu.
21. Staple bagstuffers to each bag leaving the pharmacy.
22. Update your monthly pharmacy newsletter with an ad, educational article, or information hotline number geared about the flu season.
23. Update your pharmacy voice mail message. Voice broadcast scripts, bagstuffers, flyers, FAQ sheets in English and Spanish, etc. can be found in the Marketing Solution Center Library by searching "flu" without the quotation marks. These documents were designed as basic templates; feel free to edit the information to fit the needs of your individual pharmacy.
24. Add your pharmacy to flu shot locator websites. People often go to these websites to search for the nearest flu shot clinic - make sure you can be found! We recommend Google's Flu Vaccine Finder.
Begin testing out a few of these ideas this week, and let us know what else you would recommend, or what has worked for your pharmacy.