Last month Walgreens announced the closing of 200 stores. Last April Fred’s decided to begin closing 159 stores and stated that they were getting out of pharmacy. We also heard about Shopko going out of business. These changes in the industry mean thousands of patients will be looking for a new pharmacy and YOU, the independent pharmacy, are their best option. Therefore it is time to kick your pharmacy marketing into gear.
Now that the closings are underway this presents an opportunity to attract those patients. We thought it would be helpful to remind PDS members and the independent pharmacy community at large about the first steps to reaching (and attracting) these patients.
Some of the action items below are repeats from our blog How to Leverage Big Box or Chain Store Closings back in in May of 2016 when Walmart announced their store closings.
At PDS we classify our pharmacy marketing efforts into three buckets: inside the four walls, outside the four walls and digital marketing. Within each of these groups, there are steps you can take to start attracting new patients.
Building these relationships and ensuring that your customers are happy within your own independent pharmacy business is very important. Below are three ways you can strengthen your skills towards more profitable relationships with your pharmacy’s customers.
Inside the Four Walls
- Are you ready to take on more customers? If you were to bring in 100, 200 or 500 new patients, would you be able to accommodate them and provide excellent customer service? Your new patients need to see, feel and experience an unprecedented level of service. Make sure that you have a New Patient Process and New Patient Packet set up or updated.
- Promote your Referral Program to your existing patients. Use your current patient base to promote the valuable services you offer.
Outside the Four Walls
- As soon as you hear about a closing, make your first stop a visit the store’s management. They are probably concerned about their patients and by establishing a relationship with them, they will feel comfortable referring their patients to you. During your visit there may also be an opportunity to recruit some great talent.
- Use traditional marketing techniques. Put up a banner outside your store stating that you welcome new patients. Send a direct mail postcard in your area.
- There is some urgency to getting this done so lean into your local printer to get these materials produced quickly.
- Use social media to reach new customers. Create a Facebook ad with photos of your team and your pharmacy that will be displayed within your target area. Be specific about the store closing and that you are welcoming new patients.
In your communication to these new patients, it is important to convey that their health and well being are your priority. Show them that you can offer quality care, convenience and competitive pricing. If you have an efficient medication synchronization program, promote the benefits it will offer them as a patient of your pharmacy. At a time when these patients need to make a switch, we have a great opportunity to show them that an independent pharmacy, your pharmacy, is the best place for them.
For PDS members, log into PDSadvantage to find the applicable pharmacy marketing resources in the Marketing section of the Knowledge Library that will help you win these new patients. The How to Develop Marketing Campaigns program, the New Patient Process, our Marketing Mastermind calls and the Make the Most of a Closing Competing Pharmacy are all available to you with additional detail so you can accelerate your implementation.