Marketing Your Pharmacy: Four Steps to Get You Started
Marketing your pharmacy is about more than planning an ad in a circular or creating a Facebook Page. In this blog, we’re outlining how you can get started today using your most critical asset, your pharmacy team. Every interaction you or your pharmacy staff has with a patient is marketing, whether intentional or not. You don’t have to wait for the timing to be perfect, and you certainly don’t need a million-dollar marketing budget to begin seeing results.
Step 1: Marketing Your Pharmacy: Get Set Up for Success
First thing, first, ask yourself if you and your team are ready to handle any influx of new patients. The first time someone connects with your pharmacy, they need to experience an unprecedented level of service. To ensure these new patients aren’t just one-time shoppers, your team has to be knowledgeable about your products and services while positioning your pharmacy as a healthcare destination.
PDS Pro-Tip: Create a New Patient Process or New Patient Welcome Package to help them understand how you can support their healthcare needs. This process should be a document that is easy to replicate and update as your needs and your patient’s needs evolve.
Step 2: Customer Service as a Marketing Strategy
Before you begin spending money on marketing tactics such as ads and referral programs, make sure that “your house” is in order. Your employees are the face of your business. They represent your best opportunity to connect with patients and share a meaningful marketing message. Start by asking yourself some (or all!) of the following questions.
- What do I want the pharmacy to be known for? Speedy service? Expert CBD knowledge? Diabetic products?
- Does my staff know how critical they are to the growth of the business?
- Do individuals understand how every role in the business contributes to the customer experience?
- Does the appearance of the staff convey the values of the business?
- How does your team communicate with each other in front of the patients?
Set Standards and Write Them Down
Once you begin to answer these questions, take the time to write it all down, bring your team up to speed, or even better, include them in the process. The more your team understands the “Why” and can rally around the values of your business, the more likely they will be to adopt the mindset. An easy place to start is in how the team communicates with each other and your patients.
- Instead of “Please hold…” Try “May I place you on a brief hold?”
- Instead of “You owe…” Try “Our records show a balance of…”
- Instead of “You need to…” Try “We find it works best when…”
How your team engages when they are in your store is a significant first step to creating an exceptional customer experience. Communication matters, and the words we use make a difference. Human beings share extremes, extremely good experiences, and extremely bad experiences; this is why your pharmacy’s customer service is an impactful marketing strategy. If you give your patients a reason to share their experience with your pharmacy, it WILL result in referral traffic.
Step 3: Goal Get ‘Em: Pharmacy Marketing Goals
Before you take any additional steps in marketing your pharmacy business, you need to set some SMART goals. Without measurable objectives, there is no way to know if your tactics are working or if you need to correct the course. Motivate and engage your team around specific goals. Communicate these goals using a scoreboard for visibility and clarity. Most people are familiar with the concept of smart goals, but for those readers who aren’t below are some explanations and a few examples to get you and your team thinking.
Pharmacy Marketing Goal Examples
- Increase monthly non-prescription sales by a specific amount.
- Get a certain number of patients to provide an online review (make sure it is positive!) on Google or Facebook per week.
- Convert a certain percentage of first-time patients into regular customers.
Step 4: Highlight Your Products and Services
Your pharmacy team shouldn’t be “selling” your customers, not in the “used car” sense of selling, anyway. The fact is that you and your team are among one of the most trusted professions, according to a Gallup Poll conducted in 2018. Don’t compromise that status; position your recommendations as help from a trained healthcare source. Below are a few ways to get you and your team started marketing to your current patients.
Train Your Team on the Products and Services you Offer
Does your team understand the impact they have on both the growth of the pharmacy and your patient’s lives? If they don’t understand the mission and why of your business, there is no skin in the game. Set expectations about how and why they should be communicating with patients about ancillary products.
- Let them try some of the products so they can better communicate with your patients.
- Offer free samples or product demonstrations.
- Set up an area with staff recommendations.
- Include fact sheets for relevant OTC products in prescription pick-ups.
Record Educational Videos
Engage and educate existing customers with video! You don’t need a production film crew. Pick a topic, write some bullet points, grab your iPhone, and get your message out in the world. Start with a brief 30-second video, tap into the knowledge of a staff pharmacist or tech, and don’t forget to tie-in featured products in your store. Social media platforms are the most effective way to share your videos.
Marketing Your Pharmacy Video Tips
- Shoot your video in landscape, not portrait mode. If you only take one thing away from this blog, let it be this tip.
- Don’t bury the lead; attention spans are short – get to the point quickly before you lose viewers.
- Use captions! 85% of Facebook videos are watched with the sound off.
- Keep your video short and sweet.
- Have fun and show off the personality of your team!
What Are You Waiting For?
Don’t put a ton of pressure on yourself to create the perfect plan to execute. Getting started with these easy to implement tactics will drive some outcomes. Once you’ve started to see results and your team is hitting their goals, take another step into the marketing pool. These are cost-effective ways to get in front of your community patients and prescribers alike, to let everyone know you are here to serve their healthcare needs!