A lot of pharmacies rely too heavily on their franchise for marketing when they should be creating localised strategies, says Sarah Rendell
These pharmacies assume because they are associated with a particular brand that they don’t have to create localised marketing strategies. They become too reliant on others for their success and in turn lose their creativity and innovative talents.
Franchise system marketing is not designed for one particular pharmacy but for multiple owners and territories sometimes across the nation. I know some that do an exceptional job with logos, national marketing campaigns, website, social media and so forth. I am not discounting the amazing work they do. However it’s so important to have strategies in place for your target market.
You need to make sure you connect with your community, importantly taking into account your own community’s demographics.
So it’s great to align with a strong reputable brand but just don’t stop there. It is your business therefore you need to take control and be in charge of how your pharmacy is connecting with the world. Think of the franchise as the supporting act and your own pharmacy as the headliner. You need to ensure that your pharmacy with or without its ‘brand’ is a valuable part of your local community.
Some of the questions you should consider:
- How do I create a local identity?
- Who are your competitors?
- What social media and digital platforms should I be using?
HOW DO I CREATE A LOCAL IDENTITY?
Strong customer service is created through relationship building. You need to build a relationship between your business and your community. Think of any relationship you have. Two people connect because their personalities connect. Your business has its own personality and that is what you need to identify and share with the outside world
Identifying the personality of your business takes time, thought and strategy, and it needs the commitment of your whole team. That is a topic for another day. But you need connect with your community.
This connection involves multiple strategies. These include formal relationships with other local businesses, sponsorship, internal events; engage with other medical and health services etc. You need to consider what local engagement activities should be utilised in your marketing plan and how you’re going to do it.
WHO ARE YOUR COMPETITORS?
Your competitors are probably something you have already considered. However, do you have a plan in place to differentiate yourself from your competitors? This needs to be included in your marketing plan with various strategies set in place.
Your competitors might differ to those of your franchise purely because of your area. Take the time to ensure that your marketing allows you to stand out against other pharmacies within the area.
WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA SHOULD YOU BE USING?
In today’s digital age, there are SO MANY technologies and tools to market your pharmacy. What we recommend is consistency and utilising only social media platforms relevant to your customers.
Extensive use of social media with its free and huge audience can be tempting. However the time and effort in executing social media strategies is only worth wild if your content is reaching the right audience. There are various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.
Take the time to discover what your ideal customer is active on and then create a strategy from there. The plan needs to include measurement tactics as well, there is no point starting on social media and not recording its performance. There are some amazing analytical tools available to manage your social media engagement.
There are other platforms that you can utilise digitally outside of social media. Depending on your franchise’s policies you could create your own mobile response website. Outside of setting up an Ecommerce page and selling retail products, you can showcase your pharmacy and its message. You can upload video content, blog content or what is happening within the world of health. This will all be dependent on target audience and what type of customer is your focus.
* Your brand may or may not already be doing some social media marketing for your pharmacy. It is wise to check with the brand before actively engaging on social media platforms. They might have some policies or guidelines in regard to social media and how you can use it*
As a pharmacy owner you need to take control of your pharmacy’s future. This most certainly involves thinking of marketing as a vital cog of your pharmacy’s wellbeing. You need to constantly be looking at innovative ways of engaging with your customers. Need some help with working on a strategy?