Be the News!

10 Aug

Are you looking for cost-effective ways to drive traffic to your pharmacy?  National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is September 26, 2015 from 10AM to 2PM and it may be just the thing to do a little good and drive traffic your way!   Partner with a local law enforcement agency and you can make it a real Public Relations campaign with impact.  You can find many free marketing tools and more details by clicking here.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day addresses a vital public safety and health issue.  Many Americans are not aware that medicines that linger in home cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies indicate that often abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, many times from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans are not aware of how to properly dispose of their unused medicine.  They often flush them down the toilet or throw them away, neither of which is safe.  Take this information and be the Pharmacist that Cares.  More and more Independent Pharmacies are looking to distinguish their pharmacy and the services they offer.  Offering a Take-Back Day establishes you as a pharmacy that cares.  It also gives you a chance to engage with new potential customers.  With the help of authorized law enforcement and the marketing tools given to you in the link above, you can execute this event with minimal expense, which is a plus as well.  Play your cards right and the PR you generate can be your ad budget.  Get the law enforcement group you choose to work with to notify media.  Make it easy and give them a press release release that is ready to go and emails to send it to.  Finally, remember once you get new people to your pharmacy, you want them to come back.  Be ready with discount coupons, free screenings, free medicine consultations to ensure you get new customers from the event.

The DEA has been organizing National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days since 2006 about every 6 months.  This is great because you can take their efforts and make this a bi-annual event for your pharmacy.  Once you do it once, you have  a template and every 6 months you have a Signature Event that you can make better each time you do it.  You can earn the trust of the public and do something good for the community that supports your pharmacy!

 

I want a Pharmacist I Know and Trust!

31 Jul

Navigating insurance plans, prescriptions and medication schedules can be stressful, but a good Pharmacist can help.  A Pharmacist can help a confused patient make sense of their medications. They can act as a liaison between the patient’s  doctor and insurance company to make refilling prescriptions simple and hassle-free.  They can also be a live person to ask questions of regarding medications.   Independent Pharmacist’s are perfectly set up to connect with their customers and give them live person-to-person advice.  Instead of fighting with insurance companies, pharmacists should focus on being a quality resource to their customers.  Do the right thing and most customers won’t forget.  We tend to want to think loyalty is dead, but help a patient instead of just filling a prescription and chances are they will be back.   And, guess what?… You did not need to robo call them or send a dime in a mailer to get them to come back in.  You just need to do what most Independent Pharmacists like to do any way, help a customer.  We suggest running an “Ask Your Pharmacist” campaign in your pharmacy.  Invite your customers to interact with you.  Then document the success.  When you help a customer, get them to give you a testimonial and share that testimonial everywhere you can.  Bring back the lost art of customer service and word of mouth advertising.  Give it a try, you might be surprised at the results!  This article is not to suggest that you should not be collecting emails and texting as part of your marketing efforts and maintenance of the relationship with the customer because these are also recommended and can worrk as great reminders, but we do suggest getting back to the basics and harnessing the powerful of word-of-mouth advertising.  Be known as the “Pharmacist Who Cares”…the one that answers questions and isn’t an automated mail order recording and we think you might just be surprised at how many people appreciate your efforts.

What’s Your Pharmacy’s Niche?

20 Jul

Most successful Independent Pharmacies have a niche.  Yes, Independents typically know their customer’s by name, their children’s name and even their third cousin’s name.  Yes, customers feel confident their independent pharmacist knows their prescriptions and has their best interest at heart, but in today’s day and age that may not be enough to keep someone coming back to your pharmacy.  Focusing on home delivery can be an especially effective niche for Independent Pharmacy.  “We deliver even in snow” has a nice ring to it and can be invaluable for not just people who have difficulty getting to the pharmacy because of health, but for many busy professionals as well.  More and more families have multiple parents working or a single parent in the household and that means busy schedules with less and less time.  Free delivery can be a very attractive benefit for those with a busy lifestyle.  Does your pharmacy offer free delivery? And, if you do already offer free delivery, do you promote this as a benefit for a variety of patients?  Yes, it’s not just the person who doesn’t want to drive to the pharmacy who wants this service.  It is more and more the working professional that has to get kids to school before work, only has 30 minutes for lunch and has their evening already booked until 8pm that appreciates this service.

Most pharmacy systems have a robust delivery tracking and dispensing system within.  We suggest reaching out to your pharmacy software provider when looking to add delivery to your list of services .  Your software vendor should be able to help make your delivery service a viable and easy-to-execute part of your business.

And, don’t forget adding delivery also gives you an extra opportunity for marketing.  Make sure to wrap your delivery cars with your Pharmacy Name, Phone Number and website.  Also, put the words FREE delivery on it.  Your delivery vehicles should be a moving billboard for your pharmacy!

Free Delivery…we suggest giving it a try!  We think you will be surprised at just how much an added service like this can bring your bottom line!

Be Your Local Pharmacy Expert

6 Jul

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to promote your pharmacy is to be the local pharmacy expert.  Most local media outlets have an “Ask The Expert” type of promotion you can take advantage.  These are typically priced very reasonably because you are offering something of value to the media’s audience and therefore they tend to discount ad cost on this type of advertising.  As a local pharmacist this is perfect to promote you and your pharmacy as the local pharmacy of choice.  You want to be the pharmacy that people know and trust.  By being the local expert, you can show your knowledge and earn the trust of the local shopper at a fraction of traditional ad dollars.  Also, be smart and negotiate a way to use the segments in your own social media and possibly customer relations marketing efforts like email or enewsletters as well.  Your goal should be to become the media’s local expert and resource for pharmacy related issues.  You may want to host educational classes to help promote you as the local pharmacy expert.  Good topics might be diabetes education or healthy shopping, eating and cooking ideas.  Be creative with media…maybe offer to give a Pharmacist Tip of the Week?   Many times the media needs reliable information and that may mean free PR in exchange for a valuable tip for their viewers.  It’s all about differentiating your pharmacy from the chains.  Make it personal…be the expert…and let the public get to know and trust you.  We suggest trying this more grassroots approach to your overall marketing.  We think you will be surprised at the results.

So, you are thinking this all sounds good, but who has time for this.  Just google Ask The Expert.  Most likely you will find a local TV station that offers this type of promotion.  Contact them and let them know you would like to be the local Pharmacist expert.  Most likely there will be a fee for the program, but we think you will be surprised at how much less it is than a traditional TV spot plus it invokes trust and can be used in a multitude of ways.  Go luck!  Create Some Buzz For Your Pharmacy!  Be The Local Expert!cropped-rxmaster_logo-2-nospacetrademarked.jpg

Arkansas Pharmacist Convention June 11th-13th

3 Jun

RxMaster is looking forward to being at the Arkansas Pharmacist Convention next week.  Stop by our booth Thursday, June 11th from 6-8pm or Friday, June 12th from Noon-2pm and lets talk.  The Pharmacy Industry is changing every day and it’s important that you have a good system and a support team for that system that focuses on your needs and treats Independent Pharmacy like a VIP.  The fact is all Independent Pharmacies operate a little different.  Some focus on delivery, others nursing homes and still others focus on compounding, but most have a niche and cater operations to that niche.   If you need a pharmacy software vendor that will personally work with you and the needs of your pharmacy, then you need to talk to with an RxMaster Representative.  If you are looking to start your own pharmacy or at a point where the “pain point” associated with your current system has reached its peak, come talk to us at the Arkansas Pharmacy Convention.  We offer a great system, knowledgeable, personal support and a deep desire to see the Independent Pharmacist SUCCEED.  We offer free estimates!  And, oh yes our billing is straight forward, easy to read and affordable.  See you next week or call 877-433-7600 and lets talk!

Simple Reminders for Independent Pharmacies That Can Make A Big Difference!

1 Jun

We have found Independent Pharmacists to be compassionate and caring individuals. So much so, that pesky issues like improving profits frequently take a back seat to the daily business of fulfilling patient needs and the ever-growing rules and regulations of the federal government on pharmacists. Over the past twenty plus years, the volume of the average independent pharmacy has tripled, while profits have decreased. The bottom line is profit margins in pharmacy continue to tighten. And, with the medical industry making up a good portion of the national budget, the threat of even more profit decreases loom as government searches for a way to decrease the national debt. To survive and prosper pharmacists simply must measure performance, identify needed changes, target areas of profitable growth, set goals and hold their vendors accountable.

With this in mind, one of the first and easiest things you should do is understand the billing you receive from your vendors. Make sure what you are being billed is what you agreed to in the first place. Be sure there are no miscellaneous charges that you never agreed to. And, if you find your billing too hard to comprehend, take the time to make your rep explain it to you. If they can’t or won’t take the time, maybe that’s a good indication to look for a vendor that will. We know time is precious, but making sure your billing is correct is the only way to make sure your vendor is staying accountable for the original agreement they had you sign. This goes for everything from your phone bill to your pharmacy system vendor to your wholesaler. Also, look for the smoke and mirrors in your billing. For instance, sometimes rebates sound good, but that is really your money in the first place, right? So, realistically, when it is returned to you in the form of a rebate, you now get to pay the taxes on it. You might be better off with just a better unit price in the beginning.

At RxMaster we believe Independent Pharmacy is alive and needed.   Each week we use this blog to give tips to help Independents survive in this industry.  We also like to share the facts of why the public should look to their Independent Pharmacist to feel better about their entire prescription process from saving money to really understanding the prescriptions and possible alternatives they have available to them.  We are convinced when Independents are involved money can be saved, better options can be given and clients can feel better about the entire process.

Get Your Employees To Spread The Word About Your Independent Pharmacy

13 May

As an Independent Pharmacy, one of your best advertising outlets may be right at your fingertips…YES…your very own employees.  Typically Independent Pharmacies thrive because of the personal care and service they offer. Most know their customers by name and have a personal relationship with their customers. This is usually true with their employees too. Employees work for Independents because they like the personal atmosphere.  Independents should use this competitive advantage to their benefit when searching for cost effective marketing ideas. Try a contest with your employees. Participation in the contest should be voluntary. Any full- or part-time employee should be able to  participate.  Give each participating employee a predetermined number of certificates. We recommend giving 25 to each employee initially. Your employee will need to sign the certificates. Then you explain that, on their own time and as they want, they can hand them out to friends, family and anybody else they come in contact with, like their hairdresser, postman, etc. Their signature on the certificates should authorize a special discount. We recommend the certificate be for a niche product or service you offer that they can’t get just anywhere and that the certificates have high perceived value. One idea is a free medication review and consultation. Normally $50. FREE with coupon. Give them a time to bring in any medications they are taking and have you review them for interactions and potential cheaper generic options. Maybe a free cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass screening.  Plus, add a free promo product…maybe you carry a locally made product like honey and you can offer a free sample of it.   The more perceived value, the better!  Again, be creative! You will need to determine how long you want to run the contest. We recommend 4-8 weeks. Let them know if they run out of certificates, you will print them more. The results of the contest are based on redemptions, so it is easy to track. Make sure you determine a prize that is worth the extra effort. Consider asking your vendors to donate prizes for a prize pack. Or, trade out with a non-competing business. Maybe let a local massage therapist put their cards out at your store in exchange for a free massage to give away. You might also consider a prize that includes and day off with pay. Be creative! The better the prize, the better the participation! This can be fun and bring your employees together even more! Rewarding your employees for sharing information about a business they want to be strong and healthy lends credibility and ultimately strengthens your business reputation. You want your employees to be singing your praises..why not reward them for it!  They know you and they are the best source of word-of-mouth advertising you have…ENCOURAGE it!  If this works well with your employees, expand it to your best customers, if they like you and will talk about how great you are, why not reward them too?  Sometimes our best marketing tools are at our fingertips, we just have to implement them.