Do great things for your community while also increasing foot traffic and awareness for your pharmacy with the perfect fall marketing plan.
I am a colossal guerrilla marketing nerd, thanks to Tom Feltenstein, who I greatly miss. Tom started my journey with low-cost, community-based, yet highly-effective marketing many years ago when we had the chance to spend several days brainstorming together. Since then, I have implemented many of his ideas and created a few of my own.
You can implement this fall idea really at any time of the year. However, the fall season is often when more people and organizations think about charity, donations, and helping others.
Here’s the overview of the perfect fall marketing plan.
- Become a drop-off spot for donations for food, jackets, pet food, socks, or other needy items.
- Partner with local charities that will accept your donations.
- Inform media partners when you launch, how much your collecting, and when you hand over the donations.
- Give all people who donate a bounce-back coupon redeemable on any item in the pharmacy for two weeks.
- Ask each person donating if they want to transfer their prescriptions.
This plan is perfect as it costs very little, drives new people into your pharmacy, brings several opportunities to get free media coverage, and helps your community.
Let’s go a little deeper now.
Increasing Your Foot Traffic
Turn your pharmacy into a drop-off destination. Charities need partners to be drop-off locations. They know if you make it easy to donate items, you will get more of them. Since pharmacies are typically in high-traffic areas and have high visibility within the population, they are the perfect place for a drop zone.
The marketing plan works if you only let your current customers know about it. It will increase the frequency of visits. However, this plan becomes magical once you employ the power of media. This power can come from traditional newspapers and TV to Instagram and Facebook. I suggest using them all. Many times the charity will have media partners that will freely promote their drop-off locations.
The magic comes from driving new people that are not yet your customers into your pharmacy. In my first pharmacy, we were so good at converting pharmacy visitors into new patients that I did everything I could to get people to walk through my doors. This should be your goal too. Convert every non-customer that comes to your pharmacy to donate into a new customer.
Turning Visitors Into Customers and Patients
There are a few ways you can complete a conversion. First, you can simply ask the person if they would like to get their or their family’s prescriptions filled at your pharmacy. Always have new patient information sheets by the drop off container. Your employees should be asking this, and they may miss now and then. If you make them readily available with a sign, many will pick one up on their own.
Second, give them a bounce-back coupon worth $10 – $20 on their next visit to the pharmacy. Don’t forget to have an expiration date on the coupon, so they feel compelled to return sooner rather than later. Similar to bag stuffers, you should print these on bright colored paper. To get a template you can customize, join our DiversifyRx Facebook group to download a sample.
Lastly, collect their information such as name, email, phone number. If you have a newsletter, ask if they would like to receive it. At the very minimum, you can send them an electronic thank you card for donating. In that email, feel free to then ask about transferring their prescriptions or giving them ideas for what they can use their bounce-back coupon on.
Post, Share, Like.
Don’t keep your charitable activities a secret. Working with and accepting a wide variety of goods will also appeal to a broader audience. Canned food drives are widespread. If it’s too common in your community, choose something different. I did pet food drives. Citizens who need extra help often have pets, and they struggle to feed and provide for them. By collecting pet food, we became a purple cow, attracted a different audience, and were more successful.
Document as much as you can with every drive. Take pictures of people dropping off items. Get them on video if you can. Do fun giveaways that require a donation to enter to win. Keep the engagement high by posting daily, asking your employees to comment and share, and asking the charity to comment and share. Activity like this will boost your organic, non-paid exposure on social media. Also, remember to tag your local news organizations.
Spend A Little
While not required, you can get massive exposure with a small budget on social media. Setting aside about $250 for most markets will typically get your charity drive broad exposure. For denser communities, you may need to boost it up just a little. Do spend money on nicely designed flyers. Here are some great resources for getting professional-looking designs on a small budget.
Share these flyers with your prescribers. Ask them to hand them out to their patients. You can also go around to other local businesses and do the same. You also want to make signage for your pharmacy. During COVID, people may not want to enter the pharmacy to drop off an item. Ensure you have a collection container that is easily accessible from the outside. Hanging lots of signage will improve flow and reduce frustrations. Make sure to have a sign to encourage selfies and posting of people dropping off their donations.
Well, that’s the perfect fall marketing plan in a nutshell. You can keep a strategy like this going throughout the entire fourth quarter. Leveraging the holidays goes perfectly with this. Just change up what donations you are accepting. As you move to December, perhaps work with Toys For Tots as an example. For any support in developing your fall marketing plan reach out to DiversifyRx at email@example.com or through our Facebook Group.