How to Create a Marketing Plan for Your Independent Pharmacy

First Financial Bank
Jan 19, 2021
Do you want more customers, more income, and more profits? If so, then you probably need a solid marketing plan.

A good marketing plan can help your independent pharmacy reach new customers and build relationships with existing ones, enabling you to correctly identify your clients and their needs, translate those needs into products and services, and generate profits for your business.

But what goes into a marketing plan, and how do you build one? Below we’ve included tips to get you started as you begin to craft your pharmacy’s marketing strategy.

Putting Together a Plan

Tell Your Story to Establish Your Brand Identity

At the heart of every marketing plan is a story, and your marketing efforts give you an opportunity to tell yours. Whether you’re a local family-run pharmacy with deep community roots, a new up-and-coming business looking to shake up the market, or anything in between, a strong brand is essential to standing out in a competitive industry.

Effectively communicating your story tells your clients who you are and why you do what you do, creating a connection that establishes brand loyalty and keeps them coming back to your pharmacy time and time again. You can establish an identity with a mission statement posted to your website, a distinctive logo, consistent visuals across digital platforms, and more.

Identify Your Target Audience

Knowing your target audience inside and out is key to any marketing plan’s success. Who are your potential clients? By targeting a specific audience with your marketing efforts, you ensure you’re spending your time and money where it counts. For example, if your pharmacy is in a college town and your potential clients are primarily students, then an ad in the local newspaper probably isn’t the best way to get their attention compared to a social media marketing campaign. Looking to attract the residents of the nearby senior living community? Social media can still be a good answer, but you’ll want to understand which platform is better for that audience.

To get started identifying your target audience, find out who your patients are, including their ages, lifestyles, healthcare needs, socioeconomic statuses, and locations. Gathering this information will help you tailor your plan to best promote the services and products that meet your patients’ needs.

What do you want to accomplish and what does it cost to achieve?

Establish Goals and the Budget

Most importantly, what is the necessary ROI for your plan? Creating a plan requires an investment of time, knowledge and dollars. Use your resources wisely. Work with your marketing advisor to fine-tune and target. Put the marketing plan goals and budget in the context of your overall financial goals and business plans. You may be more comfortable with traditional marketing, such as direct mail, store or neighborhood signage, but today you’ll want to look at leveraging the power of digital marketing.

Supporting Elements for Digital Marketing

Build a Website

Once you’ve identified your audience, you’ll need a place to direct them. In the digital age, a user-friendly website is a useful tool to help current and potential patients learn about your business, and most importantly, connect with its products and services.

Websites are a direct line to your pharmacy’s offerings, and can generate revenue by allowing clients to refill prescriptions online. A good website should be easy for users to navigate, and should highlight essential pharmacy information, including:

  • Contact information
  • Logo and branding
  • Information about products and services
  • Your hours of operation
  • Links to social media channels
  • Link to mobile app, if applicable

Your site should also be accessible. Similar to making your physical location accessible and meet the ADA guidelines, making it easy for your customers to navigate your site can help increase both the usability and profitability of your site.

An additional must-have for any pharmacy’s website is the ability to safeguard sensitive patient information. Whether or not you’re building a website from scratch or just making a few updates, be sure your website is HIPAA compliant by meeting all the necessary requirements.

Utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In today’s digital media landscape, there’s so much noise that it can be hard for any one brand to stand out. That’s why it’s essential to create a site that leverages search engine optimization (SEO), increasing the visibility of your website to users of Google or other web search engines. By optimizing your site’s SEO, you position it to draw in more visitors who can then engage with your products and services.

  • So how do you improve your SEO? There are a variety of elements that impact it, including:
  • The site’s software – the Content Management System (CMS) being up-to-date and working for different size screens (mobile, etc.) – what is known as “responsive”;
  • The structure of the content (article, etc.) – headlines, body copy, etc.
  • The language you use within that structure – “keywords” or search terms that people use to find what they want.
  • The content saliency – how consistent, coherent and relevant your content is to the type of business you are. Google attracts and keeps users by serving up content that is what the user came looking for – so the more relevant you are, the more likely you are to be shown to the searcher.
  • And more – but these are some of the things to consider as you look at improving your SEO.

The bare minimum is to make sure your pharmacy’s name, address, and phone number are correctly listed on your website and any online local directories. Setting up a free Google My Business profile is a good first step to attract new patients and connect digitally with your community. A similar paid strategy could also be used, essentially buying ad space on Google so that your advertisements appear next to search results, increasing your business’s visibility to internet users.

Consider a Mobile App

Creating a mobile app for your pharmacy may be a strategy for you. In 2019, mobile devices made up nearly 60% of all organic traffic, and Google now prioritizes mobile versions of websites in search engine rankings.

Taking advantage of a mobile app could allow you to send targeted communications and ads while allowing your patients to easily request prescription refills, schedule medication reminders, chat with your employees, and more. It’s a tool that large pharmacy chains are already using, and could help you stand out in an increasingly competitive market.

Create Social Media Accounts

According to a study by Pew Research, nearly 70% of Americans use social media to connect, share content, and interact with businesses. Using social media will allow you to tap into this market, greatly enhancing your ability to reach existing and potential patients – Facebook alone has more than 2.5 billion active monthly users!

It costs nothing but time to operate social media if you or your staff are in charge of account management. You can use social media to create business pages and events. You can also do paid ad campaigns. Whether or not you use your social channels to post silly pictures of staff or to highlight industry think pieces, simply having accounts will increase your exposure and help your audience connect with you and your business.

Takeaways

Marketing helps you let people know who you are, what you do, and what you sell. The bottom line of any successful business to generate revenue, and a strong marketing plan is an essential tool to reach that goal. Help potential and current customers better engage with your independent pharmacy with the right messages, offers and communications.

Need help with an overall business plan? Get downloadable help here. Want to chat about your business plans?

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