From Purple Cows to bounce-back coupons, there are numerous marketing strategies available to entice new patients into your business.
Getting new pharmacy patients doesn't have to be expensive.
Patients are the lifeblood of pharmacies. Whether you focus on dispensing prescriptions, selling supplements, or fixing hormones, you need patients.
I am a huge fan of guerilla-style marketing. Over the years, I have perfected many tactics that work well for independent pharmacies, as we want our patients to come to us, IRL (in real life!). There are tons of marketing strategies out there, but not all work for brick-and-mortar businesses. Let's dive into some of my favorite low-cost strategies guaranteed to bring you new patients.
My first tactic is inspired by one of the best marketing books, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, by entrepreneur Seth Godin. If you want people to change their habits (which is hard) and do something different (like come to your pharmacy), you have to offer them something exciting, unique, and—dare I say—a little sexy. A great way to do this as a pharmacy is to provide and promote niche supplements. Here are my current favorite options, with a brief explanation for what makes them special.
You can simply promote these products and talk about what makes them notable on social media, in bag stuffers, or on your website. They pique people's interests because they are different than the typical supplement. A test to see if you actually need the supplement? Pretty cool. A 100% money-back guarantee? That's super rare. Remember: rarity grabs attention, just like a purple cow does.
Dispensing prescriptions for hospice patients is gratifying work. Some of my fondest professional memories are of hospice patients I helped care for. Now I can hear your exasperated breathing as you think, "Aren't hospice prescriptions really low in profit?" They can be, especially if a pharmacy benefit manager is involved. There are ways to boost hospice prescription profitability by billing directly with the help of companies like BetterRx.
Even with low profits, I say hospice prescriptions are still worth going after if you have a goal of growing your pharmacy. Here's why:
You get new patients almost daily. This means you are exposed to new families in your community that have probably never heard of you.
You become known in the medical community. Nurses that work in hospice often work for local doctors and hospitals too. You can easily impress them on the hospice side, and then they sing your praises during their day jobs.
New prescribers will become aware of you. Almost every non-specialist doctor will have a patient that goes on hospice. As these doctors call in the hospice scripts to you, you get introduced to new prescribers you now have some relationship with.
I see hospice as a way to get paid to market your pharmacy. While you may not make a killing, you often make a small profit, and you get a massive amount of exposure in your community. That's a win-win.
Plastic surgeons stay busy with a constant stream of patients. Work closely with a plastic surgeon, and you can be busy with a constant stream of new pharmacy patients. Every plastic surgery patient will require both prescription and OTC medications to get the best outcome from their surgery, but frequently, surgeons are very particular about what their patients take. You can fill that need by always keeping their preferred products in stock and ready for patients.
These prescriptions are often cash revenue to the pharmacy. Many surgeons include the cost of medications in their surgery price to promote an all-in-one price. Some prescriptions might be billed to a patient’s insurance as well. Surgeons want their patients to experience the highest level of service, and independent pharmacies are the best place for them to receive that. Many times, these patients will convert to recurring patients as your awesomeness wows them from their surgery. For more information on partnering with plastic surgeons, check out this blog.
A bounce-back coupon is a coupon that is only good in-store and generally refers to being valid on the patient's next visit. I use them for both repeat business and to pass out to prescribers or other local businesses to drive people to the pharmacy for the first time. One great aspect of these types of coupons is that you only pay for them when they are effective. I like to offer at least $10 off, and you can easily vary this number based on how you use them.
Bounce-back coupons don't always have to be monetary, either: We give all local pediatricians and urgent care centers bounce-back coupons for free prescription or OTC medications flavoring. The flavoring offer brings a lot of new patients into the pharmacy.
The most important rule for getting new patients? Be consistent. These tactics or many others will be successful if you execute them consistently.
For additional support on increasing your pharmacy's profits, feel free to reach out to Dr. Lisa Faast at firstname.lastname@example.org.