How you can turn community sponsorships into a boost for your pharmacy marketing and growth.
How To Leverage Community Sponsorships is a guest blog by Heather Haro, DiversifyRx chief revenue officer, and community marketing extraordinaire.
It is no secret that independent pharmacy is the backbone of communities, supporting youth sports teams, nonprofit fundraisers, local PTA’s, and even the arts. Now that local communities are opening up and restarting group activities, you need to prepare for the onslaught of donation requests. But, do you know the secret that you can create an ROI from these very noble community sponsorships?
The Secret To Getting More From Your Donation
Now I understand that some may think this blasphemy because your donation should come with no expectations. While that is a dignified way of thinking, you do run a business in a brutal industry. You need every advantage you have access to, and I assure you this is an excellent opportunity to add value to these sponsorships for both you and the organization!
In my experience as the person asking for support or giving support, I have learned that with a little bit of communication, it is possible to create an excellent ROI for investment into the community that, let’s face it, you are already going to make! My strategy is to ask the right questions, showing up and participating at the appropriate times, collect information, and following up with both the organizations and the folks you have now turned into customers.
Here’s a breakdown of the steps:
- Show Up
- Follow Up
When considering a community sponsorship, you need to ask and dig into the following topics:
- Communications – ask to be included in announcements, newsletters, or maybe a stand-alone email to their lists.
- Social Media – ask to provide or be included in posts, lives, or even a social media “take over.”
- Face-to-Face – ask for time with their audience, organizational meeting, do they need volunteers or even a “booth” at the event.
You are donating money to a good cause, and it is ok to ask for something in return besides a banner logo. Each of those organizations that are asking you for money has a valuable resource, contacts. You want to negotiate as much time in front of their contacts as possible. These strategies don’t cost the organization any money. You are just leveraging their platforms. This is what makes community sponsorships work for both parties.
You are more likely to get a yes by offering up value to their organization. Here’s an example:
- You want weekly posts on a youth sports organization’s social channels.
- It does no one any good to post salesy, no-value advertisement posts.
- Instead, you will create a weekly tip relevant to their audience to bring value and position yourself as a youth sports health expert.
- These tips are valuable to their customers and will drive their audience to reach out to you. WIN-WIN-WIN!
After the Ask is negotiated, you are going to Show Up:
- Communications – showing up looks like excellent content, educational and relevant content that solves a problem for the particular audience. A newsletter feature about preventing blisters in little ones wearing cleats for the first time: choose one topic to dive into, make it clear, and give easy steps to follow.
- Social Media – showing up looks like great content, but we get great options to make shareable content and my favorite videos or lives.
- Face-to-Face – showing up looks like showing up! Take a small booth to these events, allow the organization to place their marketing material and posters in your storefront or counters, create a paid volunteer program for employees.
Showing up is a crucial step however it does not always mean in-person, or let me say this loudly; this step does not have to be YOU as the pharmacy owner; this can be a marketing person or a friendly employee. Sending pharmacy representatives out during this step is an excellent way of lifting your whole team and showcasing to your community that your pharmacy as a whole is an expert resource, not just you personally!
You are showing up as a trusted and valued partner to the organization. Here are a few great examples you can implement in your community sponsorships:
- A social media video or live showing how to apply first aid to a blister or a pesky bug bite; again, clear and concise, slow down when explaining the step-by-step procedure to your audience.
- A social media video or a live broadcast of a family that comes in for a visit, do a short interview, and remember your 5 W’s; who, what, when, where, and why! A little hint: kiddos love doing this!
- Physically at an event, yes, marketing materials are essential, but they will get thrown in the trash without some significant interaction to go with it. Make your space look inviting and exciting, stand on the side or in front of your table, smile, and make eye contact, and of course, what is your Purple Cow? Everyone will have a bowl of candy, have something original at your booth! Kids love stickers and anything, and I mean anything, that makes noise.
Collecting information is the key to the whole strategy. When we collect information, particularly email addresses, the sky is the limit on the marketing that you can now do to folks that have said YES; contact me!
- Communications – be sure to always include a clear call to action with the ability to collect the email address or other important information. There are many different easy-to-use programs for this.
- Social Media – take this opportunity to engage with your new followers and fans; pay special attention to the folks that comment often or your raving fans.
- Face-to-Face – this time should be spent educating about the services and products you provide to the community in relevance to the topic of the event or sponsorship, AND of course, we are going to keep building that email list!
I can not stress enough that collecting information is the most critical step in this strategy. Without collecting the information of your new friends, you will miss an opportunity to make them raving fans. And you will be missing out on creating value from your community sponsorship. I know this step can feel the most salesy, but remember, you are a pharmacy badass and have something great to offer each time you communicate. Here are a few examples of how to collect information:
- Contest and challenges are a great way to collect information and engage your audience at the same time! Summer reading challenge, weight loss, or healthy eating are just a few.
- Giveaways can be done online or in person; this does not always have to be a big prize; it can be a free consultation for a program you already have in your pharmacy.
- Your referral or customer loyalty program is a way to build your contact list today!
Following up is the most challenging yet most rewarding piece of the strategy; all the work you did in the Ask, Show-Up, and the Collection stages will all come together in this stage and reap your rewards; your ROI on the community sponsorship!
- Communications – you will take our magnificent contact list and have some marketing fun with:
- Email Campaigns
- Monthly Newsletters
- Specifically Targeted Social Media Ads
- Social Media – Follow up by turning your raving fans into part of your marketing team! They can share information; you can tag them in relatable posts and, my personal favorite, have them try new products on a live or a series of lives!
- Face-to-Face – Follow up with the confidence and familiarity to invite folks to your pharmacy for all of the wonderful ways you have diversified! A weight loss program, smoking cessation, introduce remote patient monitoring, and the list goes on and on… With all those fantastic strategies that Dr. Faast gives each week, you have now built a relationship on your customer’s terms, never underestimate the power of your team engaging outside your pharmacy!
Mastering the follow-up for any strategy you pursue in your pharmacy will increase your outcome significantly. Whether it’s constant social posting, a thank you card campaign, monthly newsletters, checking in on folks in your weight loss programs. By following up and following through, you will gain more positive results and reap that added ROI. Without proper follow-up, your community sponsorship will fall flat. Not only does this hurt you, but it also hurts everyone that could have benefited from your vast knowledge.
Happy Community Sponsoring!!
If you need any help, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.