When most people think of the industries that benefit most from innovative marketing and advertising strategies, pharmacies probably don't top the list. Particularly for independent pharmacies, marketing and promotion are just as important as it is for any other business. There is an art to your name out there, winning over customers, and encouraging customers to fill their prescriptions at your store. The question is, what pharmacy marketing ideas and strategies define this particular “art”?
Understanding Your Place in a Competitive Market
If you own and operate an independent pharmacy, then your first step to successful marketing and branding is to understand your place in an extremely competitive marketplace. According to this post published on Chron, 2008 statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that there were 269,900 pharmacists working in the United States. The number has undoubtedly increased since. Think about how many pharmacists you employ on your staff and then do the math. As you can see, there are a lot of pharmacies out there—from independent companies to corporate brands.
Knowing that you are in a competitive market is important, but it doesn't need to be stifling. The good thing about pharmacies is that people will always have a need for them. Prescription drugs are vital to health and wellbeing of a lot of individuals in the United States. Those people are always looking for added convenience, more competitive prices, and more helpful pharmacists—among other things. As such, if your pharmacy can find ways to fill these needs, you will be able to remain competitive.
Designing a Marketing Strategy for Your Pharmacy
So how can you make your pharmacy more competitive on a crowded landscape? A good marketing strategy is paramount here, but laying the foundation might be difficult. Following the tips laid out below should help you get started with the branding and visibility of your pharmacy.
- Do some research
Your competitors in the area are your best point of reference for how to run a successful pharmacy. Which of your competitors are performing the strongest, and what are those pharmacies doing to market themselves? Obviously, a pharmacy that has the corporate backing of a Target or a CVS is not going to compare directly to your independent pharmacy. However, you can still learn a thing or two by looking at how those stores handle the customer experience.
- Aim for your target audience
Getting the word out about your pharmacy means doing some genuine advertising and outreach, and there is no better way to formulate such campaigns than around your target audience. Print professional brochures or pamphlets and take them to nearby nursing homes, doctors' offices, hospitals, and clinics. Also, consider doing a direct mail campaign in the neighborhoods and apartment communities that are nearest to your location. Some people will choose their pharmacy based solely on which is closest, so the people who live nearest to your store location might be your target audience.
- Improve the customer experience
Word-of-mouth can be one of the best ways to win new customers, for any business. A positive experience can turn a one-time visitor into a regular customer. These two sentences explain why creating the best customer experience possible at your pharmacy is pivotal to the success of your marketing campaign. In particular, most customers are looking for a fast in-and-out stop when they visit a pharmacy. If someone is just there to pick up a prescription, they don't want to linger or waste time. If your pharmacists are making customers wait at the counter, encourage them to be more responsive. If you don't have an efficient system to catalog and store different prescriptions, consider upgrading your computers or redesigning your organization system. The faster and friendlier you can be, the better chance you have of getting repeat customers and good word of mouth. Having better customer service over the phone—instead of answering machines and hold music—is also recommended.
Of course, the above methods aren't the only ways to market your pharmacy. You can learn more by reading this blog post “Easy Promotional Ideas for Independent Pharmacies”. From social media marketing to strategic giveaways, there are numerous other ways to win new customers and keep them loyal to your brand. By starting with the three steps above, though, you should be able to get your pharmacy moving in the right direction. Anything additional on the marketing side of things will only propel your growth further.