Three Digital Marketing Considerations for Independent Community Pharmacies

Expert Interview

Jenni Zilka, senior vice president of Good Neighbor Pharmacy Programs & Solutions, AmerisourceBergen, offers 3 tips for independent pharmacies looking to improve their digital marketing strategies.

Zilka: Hi, I'm Jenni Zilka with AmerisourceBergen. I'm the senior vice president for Good Neighbor Pharmacy (GNP) Programs & Solutions.

Digital marketing provides a vehicle to reach patients that's timely, it's cost effective, it's very inexpensive, and you can really target your patients and your community surrounding the pharmacy.

Tip 1: Develop your content marketing strategy

If you're an independent, I think step 1 is to develop your content marketing strategy.

The first thing you need to do is think about what content you want to promote and make sure that you reach your patients with it.

It also really showcases the pharmacist and the staff as medical experts, which we all know our pharmacies are - they play such a critical role in the care of their community - that helps build a loyal following. Your patients and consumers will check back with you to learn more and to find out more about what's happening with the pharmacy. And it really encourages engagement.

Whether it's a blog, or a YouTube video, or Facebook Live, which I know are all very uncomfortable spaces to be in. It's a wonderful way for you to get out there and really engage with your patients, especially when they're at home and they're on their devices and were quarantined and spending more time at home and not in the pharmacy. Develop that strategy and make sure you're showcasing all of the wonderful care that you provide.

Tip 2: Consider Google

Secondly, consider Google. Whether we like it or not, Google is still the number 1 reigning website.

Through Google, you can really serve up relevant info right at your patients’ fingertips, which is amazing because they're searching for you and searching for that information. And as a pharmacy owner, you can do that. You can be super targeted, it's low cost, and you can use really hyper-specific words.

If a patient is looking for delivery or home medical equipment or things like that, you can really target in and help that patient find you and learn about the services that you as a community pharmacy provide.

Tip 3: Engage with social media

And then thirdly, engage with social media. You can update your communities so quickly on anything that's changing within the pharmacy.

As you think about COVID and everything that had to change so quickly from a workflow perspective, our pharmacies were able to very quickly alert their patient base and their communities that were doing drive thru, were offering delivery, here's what you do, when you pull up to the curb, all of that information that they were able to provide very timely to a very sizable audience.

And I think consumers - the stats are out there, and I'm probably guilty of some of these. But we're spending 3 hours per day on our phones. And of those 3 hours, 2 hours are typically spent on social media. It's really important that our pharmacy owners meet their patients where they're at, which is on their phone.

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