Growth-minded independent pharmacists can run themselves ragged with business development ideas. Yet, despite that ambition to funnel new prescriptions through the door, many pharmacists will overlook one of the most convenient and impactful strategies. Home is where the heart is, but it’s also where pharmacy customers (and future customers) work, live and play, which means the importance of community relationships can’t be stressed enough.
If you thought marketing and branding done digitally was the only way to drive new customers, it’s time you consider some tried-and-true methods that are still effective means of building community relationships. Not sure where to start? Check out our three ideas for building your business by staying true to your roots and keeping it local.
Make your presence known at health-related events
Local health-related events like fun runs, walk-a-thons, health fairs and blood drives provide the perfect backdrop for an independent pharmacist to promote the brand. Why? Because the common theme among each of these events is that everyone there is already thinking about their health or wellbeing.
These types of events usually present a number of different sponsorship opportunities, so make sure you’re exploring what’s available. Some of the most common are tables at either a pre-event expo or a celebration for participants immediately following the event. Because this format is casual and not sales-driven, use it to share information with local residents about how your independent pharmacy has advantages not found at a chain pharmacy. Many people prefer to use local businesses over chains — hence the reason for the #ShopLocal movement — so don’t be surprised if those who stop by your table are interested in learning more. Be ready to answer common questions about topics like the hours you’re open, insurance you accept and frequently prescribed drugs.
Spread sponsorships throughout the community
Tabling at fun runs and health fairs are great ways to get your pharmacy’s name in front of health-conscious folks, but as we all know, these people sadly don’t represent the majority of the population. However, there are plenty of ways to build a relationship with the entire community and not just those that like to run 5K races. Some of our favorite ideas include sponsoring neighborhood association events and school-related functions from newsletters to signage to on-campus happenings.
What makes these sponsorship ideas so smart is that you can be hyperlocal with your approach. While a 5K might draw attendees from all across your city, state, or even region, these opportunities target a tighter radius of potential customers. As you evaluate what’s possible, look for a school or homeowners association in close proximity to your pharmacy and check in with them to see what sponsorships they have. These groups generally prefer to have local businesses (rather than national chains) sponsor their events, so it’s a win-win for the both of you.
Think outside the traditional sponsorship box
If sponsoring the photo booth at the nearby elementary school’s Grandparents Day celebration works for you, then sponsor your heart out — but don’t be afraid to think outside the confines of a traditional sponsorship too. If you want to try something truly unique, consider finding a local diner or breakfast spot near your pharmacy and talk to the manager about buying everyone’s coffee that visits that morning. In an ideal world, the manager will allow you to leave behind some information about the pharmacy that customers can take, and the serving staff will let customers know that coffee is on the house, courtesy of your pharmacy. Perhaps you can even hang around to answer questions.
Inexpensive giveaways like this can be more influential than something like a newspaper ad that no one sees. The giveaways don’t have to be coffee, but the critical thing to remember is that it should be a nominal cost since it is coming out of your pocket.
The final word on building community sponsorships
What do all of these ideas have in common? They all involve keeping it local and harvesting potential new customers from your own backyard. It’s true that where they come from is key, but so is how you get them. And in each of these cases, you will have to be proactive as a pharmacist and a business owner and go after new customers — you can’t just wait for them to come to you.
ATRIUM24 has expert knowledge to share on building community sponsorships, and we’d love to talk with you about how we can help your efforts. One of the biggest things we’re doing to enhance businesses just like yours in a variety of different ways is partnering with Mockingbird Pharma.
Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about building community relationships or our partnership with Mockingbird Pharma.