Get recognition for all you do for your community by packaging your specific services together.
Attracting new patients in on many pharmacy owners’ to-do lists these days. There are so many ways to go about marketing your pharmacy. I am one of those weird owners that can spend hours strategizing about marketing campaigns and programs, and yet even the best-made plans still need time and money to execute, which is always in short supply. One lesson that I learned early on is that pharmacy owners are terrible at taking credit for all they do for patients. An exclusive patient club is a low-cost marketing strategy that will highlight your individual awesomeness to your entire community and attract new patients to your pharmacy.
Create a membership that patients will want to join.
Filling prescriptions seems easy, from the other side of the counter. Patients often have no idea how much your staff does just to fill a prescription. How many calls it takes to the insurance or prescriber’s office. You also provide amazing services that are in addition to filling prescriptions. These services range from MTMs, Rx flavoring, supplement recommendations, vaccines, Medicare plan evaluations, consulting, free vitamin program among numerous other unique services for your patients.
How are you presenting these services to your patients?
If you are like most independent pharmacies, your patients probably don’t know even half of what you do every single day. You want to create a way to let patients know all that you do to keep your current patients happy and attract new patients to use your pharmacy. These ancillary services and going the extra mile attitude has real tangible value to patients. The perception of value can be multiplied when they are all packaged together. Rather than just telling some patients about some services, you can be telling your entire community about all your services. Be sure to include some of your clinical services! This is the purpose of a patient club.
A patient club taps directly into the psyche of your patients, prescribers, and community. Here are some of the benefits of a patient club:
- Exclusive status
- Get a lot for a little
- Differentiate from other pharmacies
- Appeal to more prescribers
- Special pricing for special groups
- Attract new patients
- Most importantly, it brands your pharmacy as more than just filling prescriptions
To charge or not to charge, that is the question.
The case for charging…
Sometimes when you give things away for free, the perception can be that it isn’t worth anything, which is the opposite of what you want with your patient club. If you charge a fee, even a nominal one, you begin to place value on these extra services. You can then place higher prices on the individual services outside of the club. Pharmacies deserve to get paid for the additional services they provide, and this perception will help with that.
Another benefit of charging is you now have more liberty with your cash prices and specials you want to offer to members of your club. If a patient has to pay to join a club and that club provides special pricing on Rx or OTCs, then those special prices are no longer your usual and customary (U&C) prices. Why is this important? For your prescription billing, this is critical. Your PBM contracts say you have to submit your U&C for all claims. You will get paid the lower of either your U&C or their reimbursed rate. By having a special paid membership, your club prices are no longer your off the street U&C prices. This can be important for your OTCs as well. If you carry lines that have minimum advertised prices (MAP), then you can comply with those minimums as your U&C while still offering exclusive pricing to your club members.
The case for not charging…
Depending on what’s included in your club, the above benefits may not be necessary for you. You may want to focus on including as many patients as possible with no barriers to entry. Getting patients to identify as members of your club can be compelling and can lead to a boost to your word of mouth machine and attract new patients. You will get to showcase your most impressive services to the broadest audience possible.
If you don’t want to charge for your club, you must include the right mix of services into your club. Focus on services that have the potential for many layers. One where you can include in your club and perhaps others that you could then charge for additional services. Let me give you an example. You could include free Rx flavoring as a part of your club. If a club member requests to have an OTC flavored, they could pay for that. This way, you bring value to your membership and can still bring in additional revenue once a patient is aware of your services.
Tell everyone about your club.
There’s no point in creating a club if you aren’t going to shout about it from the mountain tops. You will want to focus on 2 significant areas for marketing, inside your 4 walls and outside your pharmacy. You will need items such as signs, flyers, bag stuffers, and making sure to add it to your website and newsletters. Here is an example of a flyer. This is for a fictional “Hometown Pharmacy”. Use this as a template in Canva from which you can create your assets. For more information on how to get design work done for your pharmacy on a budget, read our High-End Pharmacy Marketing Graphics On A Low-End Budget blog.
If you have a program at your pharmacy, tell other owners about it. Help them get ideas for their own version. You can even ask for ways to improve your program. Use the comments below or post in the free DiversifyRx Facebook group.