Whether you’re filling 50 scripts a day, or 500, you’re going to have to effectively market your products and services to grow your business.
At RxSafe, we’ve worked with hundreds of independent pharmacy owners, including a few who have successfully added 15-30 new adherence patients each and every month. How did they do it? This article will share some “best practices” from leading pharmacists, as well as strategies and tactics to help you achieve your growth goals.
“It’s definitely not Field of Dreams, like ‘If you build it, they will come’ … you really have to build it and then go out and tell everybody about it,” says Matthew Massey, pharmacist and owner of Massey Drugs, with three stores in Florence and Tuscumbia, Alabama. “You have to educate your patients, you have to educate the doctors and your community that you’re doing this, and why it’s important. But I really believe you can grow this quickly, pick up new customers and take care of those customers better than they were being taken care of before. To me, it’s all about what’s in the best interest of the patient.”
It’s all starts with a plan
You’ve no doubt heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” Marketing is no different. If we begin with the end in mind, we’ll have a much better chance of success. For example, if you want to add 120 new adherence patients over the next year, that means you’ve got to capture 10 new patients each month. Some months you might exceed that, while other months you may fail to reach that goal. But if you average 10 new patients per month, you’ll reach your objective of 120 new patients in that 12-month period.
This may seem obvious, but if you don’t set the goal and steadily work towards it, it’s very unlikely that suddenly, in month 12 of 12, you’ll have 120 new patients walk into your drugstore and ask to be added to your adherence packaging program! That means you have to create strategies and tactics that will lead to a steady stream of potential customers being exposed to your marketing, on an ongoing basis.
It’s a numbers game. If I print 500 door-hangers and hire a local Girl Scout troop to canvas the local senior living community. I’d probably be lucky to get 10 inquiries. Then, I might convert five of those interested into new patients and transfer their prescriptions to my store.
Are those five new patients worth the time and effort? Probably so! But I still need five more if I”m going to hit my goal of 10 per month. So what other activities am I pursuing? A marketing plan means developing multiple channels to connect with potential customers, to create a predictable influx of leads, which can convert to new patients within a given timeframe.
To do that, I need to be sure I’m getting the right message in front of the right prospects at the right time, in the right context. And I can’t target everyone! That’s a waste of time and money. I need to target my ideal customer. If I have a Diabetic accredited center, that means I need to identify people with Diabetes in my community and learn how to target those patients in the most cost-effective manner possible. Whichever market niche you choose, make sure you have the ability to reach and to serve those customers. Your target market should be a natural fit for your pharmacy.
Your marketing plan can be as detailed or as basic as you need, as long as it has measurable outcomes that you can use to track progress toward your goal. Every single component must be measurable. If you can’t measure the effectiveness of any particular channel or marketing method, don’t pursue it!
Now that you have your plan, including target market, costs and projections, here are 6 ways you can let local patients know about your awesome new adherence packaging program!
1. Printed Collateral (yes, it still works)
Yes, it’s 2019. It’s the Digital Age. And yet, we are not a “paperless” society. That means bag stuffers, posters, countertop signs and postcards still work! If you put in the time and effort needed to create an attractive, high quality printed piece, your prospects will know that you value the message you’re communicating. We all get email spam, and we know it costs spammers next to nothing to send email.
Printed materials are different. And they still capture attention and deliver the subtle message that the information printed is “more important” or carries a little extra weight with your customer. One caveat: make sure all your printed collateral is designed with consistent branding and messages. Your marketing communications should be unified, coherent and compelling. If you’re going to spend money on printing, don’t skimp on professional design and paper.
2. Social Media
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the “big three” social networks for consumers. But don’t forget about Pinterest! Pinterest users are more often women, are better educated, and earn higher incomes than the average social media user. That’s great news for you, because women make the majority of healthcare purchasing decisions in the United States. So, Pinterest may be a social network you should consider.
Whatever social network you choose, be sure you are posting regularly. Focus on information and education… NOT sales messages! If all you do is promote your store and products, people will quickly tune you out. Instead, build your following by adding value, creating connections, and listening to customers. A good ratio is to post 5-10 “helpful” messages for every one “marketing” message that you share on your page.
Video is a powerful tool. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video could be 100,000. This is especially true with a product like adherence packaged meds. When patients can watch a short clip (60 seconds or less), explaining the service, they instantly “get it.” Even better are video testimonials, where other patients can share their before-and-after stories. As a potential customer, when I see people just like me who are benefiting from a new product or service, whose lives have changed just by virtue of changing the way they take their medicine, I want what they have. I want the convenience, I want the ease of use, and I want better health outcomes without all the hassle. Nothing communicates like video, and it works well with social media, or just playing in a “loop” on a TV in your store where people are waiting in line.
Example PakMyMeds video
4. PPC and SEO
If the acronyms are unfamiliar, don’t worry! We’re talking about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). Basically, when a potential customer is searching for your products or services on Google, Yahoo or Bing, they’re going to see a list of search results. Some of the results that pop up after a search are paid results (PPC ads). With PPC marketing, you can make sure your drugstore advertisement is one of those results. For example, let’s say a potential patient does a Google search for “PillPack alternative” … and the results that come back include an ad for “ABC Drugs.” When the patient clicks on that ad listing, ABC Drugs pays Google for that click. (Hence, PPC). Below the ads in the search listing, you’ll see the “organic” (or unpaid) search results. These are the websites Google’s algorithm has selected as the most relevant web pages that match your search query. Getting your website high on the first page of unpaid results is the art and science of SEO. It’s more complicated than PPC, but SEO can bring in a steady stream of customers, without you having to pay Google for the clicks.
5. Landing Pages
What’s a landing page? It’s really any web page that your prospect “lands on” after clicking a link. So in the example above, when a patient sees your ad for “PillPack alternative” and clicks through to your website, the first page he/she sees is the landing page. Your landing page should be designed with one goal in mind: to convince the customer to take action. You don’t want to spend all that time and expense to get patients to visit your page, and just give them some information or something to think about later. You want landing page visitors, in that moment, to take the next step: to call you, to email you, to make an appointment or to fill out a form with their contact information. Thus, landing pages should be designed to communicate quickly and clearly the benefits of your service, and how to get started on the path to enjoying those benefits! Landing pages often have little or no “navigation” or links that could distract the prospect from the ultimate goal.
6. PakMyMeds Network
If you’re a RapidPakRx customer, you can also take advantage of a free listing and targeted GeoMarketing on the PakMyMeds Network. Launched in April, PakMyMeds Network advertises -- in up to a 50-mile circle around participating pharmacies -- to patients who could benefit from improved medication adherence and/or are searching for adherence packaging services.
With PakMyMeds Network, patients near you will be able find adherence packaging services close to home. To help get you started, RxSafe will also pay for your first 90 days of targeted Google and Facebook advertising (those PPC fees), plus a free landing page, at no cost to you.
Wait, I’ve got questions...
That wraps up our 6 ways to marketing adherence packaging. Naturally, you’re not going to know everything about marketing after reading one blog post. Perhaps after you got your PharmD, you added an MBA, or you’re lucky enough to have found a business partner with specific marketing education and/or experience. If that’s your situation, you might have the “know-how” to market, but lack the time or staffing to make it happen. In either case, we’ve got you covered.
For independent pharmacy owners who need marketing help, RxSafe can become your marketing partner. Think of us as an ad agency, PR firm, and digital marketing agency all rolled into one. We can create, design, print, shoot video, do SEO, manage PPC and social media -- whatever you need. Whether you’re interested in your own branding and custom boxes, or would like to use our free templates and adopt the PakMyMeds brand, we can help turn your adherence marketing plan into a reality.