Social media, blog, events, campaigns etc. as a pharmacy owner these phrases might overwhelm or maybe excite you! Either way you have come to the right place. This year we will be sending fortnightly content to your inbox in relation to marketing. Tips, tricks and suggestions on how to market your pharmacy effectively.
So, let’s begin! This week we are starting from the very beginning, marketing plans.
Before you get start creating a stellar marketing plan for your pharmacy, you need to answer a couple of questions.
- Who is your target audience?
- How do they receive their information?
Who is your target audience?
All owners would love to know how to attract more customers into their pharmacy. However, one common error I see is owners trying to market to every man and his dog. The key to generating traffic into your pharmacy is by identifying your target audience(s). You need to know how to efficiently market to the people that you can impact. This meaning, people who are most receptive to your products, services and promotions. When you decide who to target, you will have more direction in your marketing. This also creates consistency in your messaging and allows you to form a deeper connection with your customers.
I cannot stress to you enough the importance of identifying the target audiences for your pharmacy. This is the first step of your marketing strategy.
It is relevantly easy to create generic marketing for the masses. Print out all your services on a flyer or promote them on social media. But let’s be realistic……is that effective? Knowing who and when to market your product and services requires some planning and research. You need to create a connection and engage with the customer.
Research to conduct includes:
- Looking at your current customer base.
- Demographics research of your local area
- Identifying competitors and analysing their strategies.
- Determining what problems does my pharmacy’s services solve?
- Identifying what value, you provide to customers.
How do they receive their information?
Once you have determined your target audience it’s time to consider how they receive information. In the digital age we are living in, different channels work for different audiences. So, you must research what channels work for each audience. Without knowing how to reach your target audience you are placing yourself at disadvantage.
Once you have these answers, you’re ready to start building your marketing plan.
A marketing plan must be a flexible document, it evolves as you do. However, its crucial to spend some time in the beginning to map out the four main components.
- Buyer Personas
Now that you have already researched who your target audiences are, you need to break it down even further.
Developing your target audiences is the first step in creating buying personas. Unless you’re choosing to focus on a niche service then you will probably have at least two or three different types of customers that enter your pharmacy. These customers in this instance, become buying personas. By creating buyer personas, it allows you to personalise or target your marketing for different segments of your audience.
For example, you might want to promote your Baby Nurse service. This would be targeted at the audience of young mothers. You would look at your ‘young mother’ buyer persona, consider where would be the best place to market and how to promote this service. Then you might also want to promote your MedsCheck service. However, this would be targeted at your senior buyer persona and would involve a totally different marketing strategy.
Buying personas can be a lot of fun. It’s like designing a fictional character however, that represent very real customers. You must consider every aspect of the personas from how much they make to what they’re interested in. The reason for creating personas is for ideas about marketing material and content.
When creating your buyer personas, ensure that you use the information you gathered from your target audience research. There is no point creating ones that are not relevant to your pharmacy and its available services.
What is included in your buyer persona:
- Background: job, career path, family etc.
- Demographics: male, female, age, income, location
- Value: What they consider of value?
- Service: What service they would buy?
- Challenges: What challenges would you face marketing to them?
- Assistance: What you can assist them with?
- What communication channels? Social media platforms, newspaper, flyer drop, in store etc.
- What message would you use to market to them?
Now this might seem like a lot of work. However, having a buyer persona saves a lot of time in the future. For example, when you’re considering adding some different stock in your store front, you can ask the question, what persona would this appeal to? And from there market accordingly. They provide clarity and structure to your marketing plan.
Most pharmacy owners I speak to are often confused by their marketing message. Some think it’s their brand’s slogan and others think it’s just that they’re a pharmacy. Others think it’s their vision and mission statement. It is none of the above.
Your marketing message is what grabs your customer’s attention, tells them how you can solve their problems, why they should trust and choose to come to your pharmacy instead of your competitors.
So, the marketing message is more about the customer then it is about the business. It should be designed to be emotive (hence why buyer personas are very important).
When creating your marketing message, you can need to consider the following: -
- Your buyer personas
- The problems that your buyer personas experience
- What solutions you provide to your personas’ problem
- What results has your pharmacy produced?
- Your point of difference to your competitors
When creating your message, be in the mindset of ‘what’s in it for the customer’ instead of ‘what we do’. You will need to set a clear and concise message which will be reflected throughout all your marketing.
The first two steps have been getting you prepared for the third, strategy. Now that you have decided who your customers are and your message, how are you going to market it?
This is where the fun begins, make this a collaborative effort with your team- brainstorm and create some strategies for your pharmacy.
Things to consider when creating marketing strategies: -
- Goals and objectives: what is this strategy for? Creating traffic into the pharmacy, promoting a new service, informing customers about a health issue etc.
- Channels: what channels of communication will you use to promote this strategy?
- Budget: how much of the marketing budget will you allocate to this strategy
- Timing: Is this an ongoing strategy or a 3-month campaign?
Once you have identified the strategies ensure you break down the strategies into tactics. From there you should be able to create a process around each strategy.
Example of a marketing strategy
Strategy: Promoting Flu vaccine.
Goals and objectives: Promoting the paid flu vaccine service in the lead up to winter. Increase of 10% in vaccines from last year.
Channels: Marketing to the senior buyer personas. Will promote in store, in the local newspaper and in a flyer drop.
Budget: $500.00 for print media.
Timing: Will start promoting in the lead up to winter, three-month campaign starting in March.
This component may not be the most glamourous of the four, but one of the most important. Without the ability to measure, it would be difficult to know what is working and what’s not. It is essential to monitor and review your marketing strategies to measure their relevance and success.
Some measurement strategies include: -
- Website and social media analytics
- Feedback and customer surveys
- Review sales figures and take note of any increase/decreases spikes