Word of mouth marketing is one of the oldest and most trusted forms of marketing. And, while technology, such as social media, has moved word of mouth marketing onto the world stage -- with raves and positive reviews potentially reaching millions of people through a single internet post, community pharmacies aren’t looking to take over the world. You just want to engage and cultivate loyal customers within your own communities.
Does this mean setting technology aside for old fashioned word of mouth strategies?
It means mastering your message to ensure it reaches all of your potential community-based customers and partners through the channels they turn to the most. We’re here to suggest some tried and true ways to master your pharmacy’s message and gain new business.
Sponsor Local Events
Whether you host a community event at your pharmacy or decide to have a presence at an organized event, you’ve got a great opportunity to create and build a grassroots messaging campaign that reaches people personally and helps connect your brand to healthy and enjoyable social events.
Events you can host at your pharmacy are virtually limitless and can include:
Races and walk-a-thons such as 5k races that start and finish at your pharmacy’s front door -- this not only promotes healthy lifestyle habits, it also also can bring you face-to-face with community members who may be unaware of your brand.
Other fun and familiar events you can host onsite can include:
- Holiday food drives
- Flu shot clinics and free health fairs and screenings
- Sidewalk sales to not only attract shoppers, but draw them into the pharmacy to see what you’ve got to offer
Set Up Shop at Community Events with Your Own Booth
Hosting a booth (a shop-away-from-the-shop) at a community event can be a fun and surprisingly affordable way to gain visibility in the community. It’s also a non-aggressive way to market your message by enabling event goers to approach you. But be ready to put your best foot forward in face-to-face interactions -- focus on informing and not selling). This is where word-of-mouth really comes in.
Events to consider include:
- Public health fairs
- Farmer’s markets
- Community festivals and carnivals
Be sure to bring takeaways for visitors to help them remember you. These can include:
- A free “gift” (such as a pen, pill container, or fridge magnet)
- Goodie bags
- Coupons to use in your pharmacy
- Health information based on your specialties
- Interactive games with prizes
- You can even do free screenings from your booth
Partner with Other Health Practitioners in Your Community
As a pharmacy, you are a key component of your community’s health care network. By marketing your message to other community providers, you can gain invaluable promotion of your pharmacy, by them, to their patients (remember word-of-mouth).
Ways to market your message and cultivate these all-important practitioner relationships include:
- Reaching out to discuss collaboration opportunities between your pharmacy and their practice
- Develop a mutually beneficial referral program
- Invite practitioners to your pharmacy’s onsite and community events
Culture Matters: How You Can Ensure Your Messages Speaks Appropriately to Your Community’s Diverse Cultures
Your pharmacy’s goal is to provide the best possible healthcare experience to each member of your community. This means being not only educated, but attuned to culturally and ethnically diverse groups -- and what makes them feel comfortable and cared for by their healthcare teams. This is a tremendously important part of your message: that every person who walks through your pharmacy’s front door knows they will treated with respect and compassion.
Be sure to go beyond the teachings from pharmacy school. Ensure that your staff is up-to-date on cultural competency training and understands how it affects their knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors with patients.
Looking for cultural competency training for team members? Training seminars and online classes are easy to find.
Marketing your message isn’t just about advertising, it’s about driving word-of-mouth recognition through actions that will benefit your community, your fellow providers, and the diverse cultures who call the community home.
These practical ideas can help to boost your recognition in the community and ensure that your message always is a positive one focused on creating the best possible healthcare experience for everyone involved.
Has your pharmacy considered unique ways to market your message? Have you found a strategy or tactic that is particularly helpful? How has your pharmacy benefited –– or not –– from trying new ways of marketing your message?
We’d love to know and may even share those experiences in future blog posts, white papers, and e-books. If you’d like to add your experience, please contact Jessica Gardner.
And, of course, be sure to subscribe to our blog for more tips, insights and bulletins that can help grow your pharmacy and save you money – all from your partners at AlliantRx.