I recently teamed up with my son Rudy to answer some questions for the Independent Pharmacy Magazine Elements related to marketing. It's Q & A formatted for simplicity, hopefully we can help some folks out there based on our experience.
Why do small businesses like independent pharmacies need to market their businesses?
Between other pharmacies and the internet, customers have many options of where to get their supplies. Being the first company customers think of or being front and center where your buyers are looking for products can be the difference between thriving and going out of business. Opening up shop and waiting for customers to walk in is no longer an option.
What mistakes do small businesses like independent pharmacies typically make with marketing?
Small businesses need to make sure they understand what forms of marketing are working for them. That means asking customers how they found their pharmacy and even using unique telephone numbers to track back to specific marketing they are doing. Radio vs direct mail for example. It depends on the marketing the business is doing. But a mentality of testing promising ideas is needed. It's can be daunting to spend money on marketing unsure of the results, but that's how businesses grow.
How can pharmacies use marketing to set their businesses apart?
Pharmacies need to understanding their value propositions and unique selling points, especially beyond just low prices. They can tailor advertising specifically to what people are searching for in Google based on what the customer is searching. Pharmacies can do direct mail targeting older communities. It depends on the pharmacy specialization as well.
When it comes to health, depending on the product, many people will prefer to shop local. A direct mail coupon can win customers. It can sometimes mean simply being the closest pharmacy option for customers. Advertising on google maps can show customers that.
What happens if small businesses like independent pharmacies ignore marketing?
Their competitors won't ignore it and their customers will find them instead.
What are the easiest methods for small businesses like independent pharmacies to use to market their businesses?
Bench advertising, Google search ads and direct mail are options that are not overly complicated. While Google has made their do it yourself platform very easy to use, hiring a professional for Google search ads can save both time and money.
Marketing can be overwhelming for small businesses like independent pharmacies. Where should they start?
Independent pharmacies can start by understanding how their customers find them. Start by doing a google search for pharmacy near me, see what your competitors are doing, and see how many other pharmacies show before theirs on the google results page.