Marketing is so much more than just sending out a customer email, mailing out a postcard, or advertising a coupon in the local newspaper. From researching your audience to developing and analyzing campaigns, marketing plays an integral role in the success of your independent pharmacy.
Marketing and promotions may not be your cup of tea as a pharmacist, but knowing tactics for spreading the word about your pharmacy will help you reach and retain your ideal customers. Below is a step-by-step process that will teach you the basics of how to plan, launch, run, and analyze a marketing campaign for your pharmacy.
Step 1: Research
The first step to any successful marketing campaign involves doing research. The research phase is time consuming, but it will help set you up for success. There’s nothing worse than spending time and money on a campaign only to not have it produce minimal results without knowing why. Spending time doing initial research will help you avoid this and will save you time and money in the long run.
What research should be conducted?
Focus on identifying and learning as much as you can about your “ideal” customer. Find out who they are, what they want, what they need and what their habits are like. Once you identify their pain points then you can help provide them with solutions. Additionally, network with other pharmacy owners and find out what types of marketing programs have worked for them. When it comes to marketing, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, and there is a wealth of information easily within reach.
Step 2: Define Your Audience
The second step is getting to know your audience. Without a strong understanding of your target customer, you won’t be able to develop a remarkable marketing campaign that addresses his or her needs. The success of your marketing efforts depends on how well you know your audience and their pain points.
Your target audience is more than “anyone and everyone who needs a prescription filled and is within driving distance of my store.” Although this may be partially true, having this mindset won’t make your marketing campaign successful. Remember, you can’t be everything to everyone. At some point, you will need to specifically define your target audience.
You can have more than one target audience. Chances are, you have somewhere between two to five important audiences that you will want to target. However, start by identifying one audience and learning as much as you can about them. Find out their demographics, psychographics, what media do they consume, what are they looking for in a pharmacy, what motivates them to buy, and what keeps them coming back.
Not identifying your target market can lead to failed marketing campaigns, as well as, wasted time, money, resources, and energy. Perhaps more importantly, not having a clearly defined target audience can be a waste of your marketing efforts. The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to predict which types of marketing elements will resonate with them.
Step 3: Formulate a Plan
If you don’t have a plan in place, your marketing program will likely fail. To launch and promote a strategic marketing plan for your pharmacy, you may want to include the following components:
- A promotional calendar to help you organize and schedule all of your marketing efforts
- Templates for your email and direct mail marketing pieces
- Step-by-step processes for campaign creation, pre-launch, launch, and post-launch deliverables
- A list of media outlets including; newspapers, local magazines, radio, and television news stations
- Identify how much you are willing to contribute to your dedicated marketing budget
Step 4: Effective Program Timing
You will need time to plan, design (or hire a designer) materials, time to promote, and time to analyze effectiveness of your program. Create a timeline with specific milestones and when they need to happen.
You will also may want to schedule the following items:
- Contacting vendor partners to organize efforts
- Creating a calendar of media deadlines and seasonal promotions
- Training your team about promotion and event specifics
Step 5: Evaluate and Adjust
Tracking a campaign is vital to gauging its effectiveness. You can do this using special promo codes, toll-free numbers, tracking links to online ads and so on. Evaluation will help you determine how well your campaign elements are being received. Don’t just hit the “go” button and let it roll. Nurture your program and make adjustments along the way to reach your goals and ensure success.
Creating a marketing campaign for your pharmacy is a strategic process that is designed to help you connect with the right people, at the right time, and with the right message. Conducting research, defining your audience, planning for success, creating timelines, and evaluating the results are the steps you’ll use to develop a marketing message that best speaks to your ideal customers. Marketing is partially art and partially science. Keep testing different aspects of your campaign so that over time your results continue to improve.