Today’s digital world makes it easy to build digital assets for your business, like a website or blog, and post content to it from anywhere. What’s not so simple is getting your business found. Pharmacy advertising, in particular, can be difficult if you’re a newcomer.
How do you advertise a pharmacy business? What avenues should you use? Who should you market to, and why? We’ll look at the answers to these questions in more detail below.
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How can I market my pharmacy?
When building a digital marketing plan, pharmacies can focus their message on:
- Brand name over-the-counter products like Tylenol, probiotics, or supplements
- Prescriptions and prescription services
- Pharmacy reward programs for regular customers
- Flu shots and vaccines
- Testing services for common medical issues like hypertension and diabetes
- Sales and discounts
- Comprehensive medical care
Depending on current events, your message may be more heavily weighted to certain items on this list. For example, with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout speeding up, it makes sense to let people know they can get a shot at your store and how you’re taking safety precautions.
Strategies for attracting customers
As of 2019, 81% of Americans owned a smartphone, according to PEW Research. You need to reach your customers where they live — online. We’ve always got a screen near us, especially with so many people working from home.
Connection starts with your message and brand. Who are you? What makes your pharmacy unique? What are your values, and how can you let people know what you stand for as a business?
Your pharmacy might offer low costs, ease of access, prime location, or innovative solutions like virtual check-ins and online ordering to reduce the risk of COVID-19. How does your pharmacy deliver value to people? You should build your messaging around that.
Hone the professional look and voice you’ll use for campaigns and customer interaction. Make sure it sounds natural. Your message should sound like it’s coming from a human, not a chipper robot.
Once you’ve got your brand strategy and messaging down, it’s time to get your name out there. Try some of these pharmacy advertising strategies and see which one(s) are best for you.
1. Use Google My Business (GMB)
In marketing, using Google My Business is a must. GMB gives you a way to be found on the internet without costing you a dime. Basically, it’s free pharmacy advertising. This is why it’s an absolute must and first on this list of marketing strategies.
Creating a GMB profile will bump you up in local search and help you show up on Google Maps when people are searching for nearby businesses.
It might seem tedious, but create a profile and fill it out as completely as you can. The more information Google has to work with, the better you’ll look to people searching for a new pharmacy. A good GMB profile can even boost your ranking in voice search.
Complete, informative business profiles also look more credible to people than vague listings with no photos or information. Ask customers to leave you a review on Google — it boosts your ranking even further and attaches those testimonials to your profile.
2. Add your business to directories
While Google My Business is one of the top free pharmacy advertising options, there are other directories you’ll want to list your business on. That includes the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Yelp, YellowPages, Bing, and Facebook.
Search for your business online and see where you show up. Be sure to claim your business on these sites and ensure the information is accurate and consistent. Set aside time every week, or a few times a month, to respond to any reviews, good or bad. Paid services like Moz Local are also an option and let you manage multiple listings from one place.
Your directory listing should include:
- Your pharmacy name and logo
- Location and contact info
- Hours of operation
- Your website, preferably as a clickable link
- Products and services you offer
- Photos of the inside and outside of your store
Having all this information available will give people a better idea of your business before they come in. It’s also a good way to let them know about seasonal deals or changes in operation due to health and safety restrictions.
3. Use social media to grow your audience and target customers
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter — there are so many places and ways you can use social media to grow your audience. These platforms also offer analytics and ways for businesses to target ads to certain audiences.
Facebook, for example, lets you select demographic criteria like age, gender, and location when building ads. That lets you target specific services to the right audience for them.
You could run banner ads for blood pressure checkups for older audiences or flu shot ads for families with children. And since Facebook owns Instagram, their ad network extends there as well. Tools like messenger help people easily contact you via your business page with inquiries.
Whoever your desired audience is, figure out where they spend time online and target your efforts there. Use your social channels to communicate with people in your community and establish authority in the space. This could be:
- Q&A videos on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter
- Blog posts answering popular questions or areas of concern (like “how does the COVID-19 vaccine work and should I be afraid to get it?”)
- Advertising your services via short informational posts, like infographics shared on Instagram
And the list goes on. If you can think of a way to give the customer value and promote your services, chances are you can execute it via social media.
Whichever platforms you choose, make sure you put out content consistently. Avoid being too heavy on promotional content and focus on adding value instead. People are tired of being constantly sold to, and you don’t want to repel them.
4. Connect with people through virtual events
Pharmacy advertising isn’t just about search engines and social media. Virtual events provide a low-overhead way to connect with and expand your audience, and they allow for so much customization. Try some of these ideas for using virtual events effectively:
- Connect with others in the pharmaceutical space via a virtual industry conference
- Host an online wellness class to teach an easy at-home exercise routine
- Host an educational webinar on a particular condition or treatment you know people want to learn about
Don’t know what you should include in your event? Ask! Put out an interactive poll on your social channels asking what your followers want to see.
5. Stay in touch via email
Regular email newsletters let you stay connected with existing customers and reach new people. It’s a direct line of communication you can use to get feedback, explain changes to your store, and let people know you’re there to help.
To build your subscriber list, offer incentives to sign up. Give new customers a discount if they sign up or require an email for free event registration. Always give people the option to opt-out (and make it easy to do).
Once you’ve built your email list, use automated email marketing for a host of customer communications. Let people set appointments, welcome them to your pharmacy, update them on prescriptions, and more.
6. Provide free health screenings
Offer simple tests like diabetes testing, cholesterol panels, and blood pressure screenings for free — then send out the results via email. Promote it on your GMB profile and social channels to reach as many people as possible.
Tests like these are also an opportunity to inform people of other related services they might need and how you can provide them. It’s best not to be overly pushy. Just educate people on their options and let them choose. If you make it safe and easy for people to stay on top of their health, they’ll thank you for it with their business.
It used to be that word of mouth was the way people found new businesses. Today, word of mouth has moved online. If you want to stand out from the rest and get new patient leads, you’ll need to meet people in the digital space. As you see, pharmacy advertising, now, is more than just placing a few ads here and there. It includes search engines, reviews and listings, social media, and email marketing.
Like what you’ve read? Want more marketing tips? Check out The Download for more useful insight for health and wellness professionals.