Created by marketers and designed for pharmacy owners, this comprehensive guide will help you be successful before, during and after opening a pharmacy.
Our comprehensive guide to marketing a pharmacy has four different sections outlined below. Let's dive in!
- Section one: Preparing to open
- Section two: Soft opening
- Section three: Grand opening
- Section four: Ongoing marketing
Section One: Preparing to Open
Pick your opening date
First things first, you’ll need to decide on a couple of dates. The first date is the “soft opening,” which will be the first day you open your doors (more on this in section three). The second will be the “grand opening” date when you will organize a celebration to inform the community and surrounding area that you are open for business (more on this in section four). These dates will keep you organized and give you clear goals as you move toward opening your store.
Traditional local advertising
Once you have decided on an opening day, we suggest creating a media advisory that notifies the local media that a new pharmacy will be opening. Give them the basics of the new pharmacy, including location, phone number, hours, what products/services you will offer, etc. This can be the basis of an article which the paper or other media outlets can pick up on and write a story about. This helps keep local residents aware and informed.
Media advisory a direct mail
A media advisory alerts reporters and editors to your event by providing them with the five W’s—what, why, who, when and where. Media advisories can be sent a week prior to the event, and also the day before and/or the morning of the event.
In addition to the media advisory, Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) postcards can be created and mailed to potential patients in the area. This can be easily done through Vistaprint. You will want to include basic information, along with a grand opening date/party if you’re planning one (hint: we recommend it). In order to incentivize people to attend, you may also want to have free food, a grand-opening giveaway and discounts on in-store items.
- The US Postal Service website can be utilized for a reference. A free every door direct mail kit can be ordered here. This service can help identify potential zip codes in the area of the pharmacy.
Newspaper/local publication advertisements are another form of advertising that can be used. Things to consider including in a newspaper advertisement are: date of opening, pharmacy name, and services offered at the pharmacy.
Connecting with local contacts in the community
The local chamber of commerce serves as a good resource in the community. We recommend joining these organizations. Meetings can then be organized with the chamber to help build awareness regarding the opening of the pharmacy. Members also serve as a resource to identify potential ways to communicate and advertise within the community. The chamber can also help with the grand opening. If you have friends, family or other business associates in the area, make sure they are able to come out for the grand opening as well.
Social media task number one: create a Facebook page for the pharmacy. This is a great way to keep the community engaged (and coming back to the pharmacy). Due to the demographics of those on Facebook, it is the best social media outlet to reach your patients.
Post updates on Facebook to keep the community informed on the current progress of the pharmacy’s development prior to opening. Our general recommendation would be posting once or twice a week if you’re still in the process of opening the pharmacy. Increase your post frequency the closer you get to opening, and once you’re open you may want to post once a day or every other day.
The main goal here is to create and post content that encourages interactions. Facebook is relying on relevance scores (likes, shares, and comments) so you need to be producing content that receives likes, shares, and comments in order to appear in your fans’ news feed more often. The following are tips on regular everyday posts:
- Humanize your brand. Take some fun employee photos, encourage dress-up days, highlight employees by doing a meet our technicians or meet our pharmacists series of posts.
- Post pictures of babies or animals acting like adults. It sounds silly, but people love babies and pets, and will “like” those photos! Flex your creative muscles and have fun with the content you’re posting on social media! As a reminder, remember not to post any content including PHI.
- Use emojis, but don’t go overboard.
- Facebook posts with a photo received 2.5x more engagement than those without a photo according to an independent study. Use photos!
Based on your marketing budget, you might also make use of geo-targeted Facebook advertisements. Geo-targeting allows you to advertise to the people who live near the pharmacy, or whatever address you submit — that’s the power of social media marketing. You can advertise the grand opening party, along with other events and specials going on at the pharmacy. How much you want to spend is up to you, but you would be surprised what $5/day could get you. You may want to start with a Facebook advertising campaign that simply gets customers to “like” your page.
Raffles and giveaways are another great way to promote your new pharmacy on social media. Just remember that there are guidelines/rules for Facebook giveaways, so follow them (because a lot of people don’t)!
- Types of giveaways: like to win, comment to enter, trivia question answers, like and comment to enter, photo comment contest (post a photo as a comment).
Prior to opening, think about hanging a sign or banner where the pharmacy will be located that states something like “Pharmacy Coming Soon!” This can be hung up after the lease has been secured and any necessary construction has begun.
You can also post a sign at the construction site (if applicable) that provides information to the community on what is being built and the projected date of opening. The sign may also contain information about what services patients can expect from the pharmacy. Be sure to include your website and/or Facebook page on the signage.
On-premises advertising is also a great way to recruit new employees. Put information on your signs that show the positions you are hiring for and how they can apply.