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Big fish in a small pond – how community pharmacies can take on the chains to win

If you’re like me and the majority of small business owners, your ad dollars cannot compete with the CVS’s or Walmart Pharmacy’s of the world. It would be impossible to compete head on with their advertising spend.

However, there is a brand awareness strategy that compounding pharmacies can use. This strategy can help you generate new revenue from new patients.

In effect it is implementing a similar strategy to what the chain pharmacies have been doing for years.

Prior to digital marketing, this strategy was not financially feasible for independent pharmacies. But digital technology has changed the rules of the game. And it is now possible to execute this strategy.

But what is this brand awareness strategy and why is it perfect for compounding pharmacies? It comprises 3 things:

  1. Be Relevant
  • Be Omnipresent
  • Be a BIG fish in a small pond

This is the future of marketing for pharmacies and in particular for pharmacies that specialize in niches such as compounding, veterinary, specialty, LTC etc and it makes complete sense.

If you want to build trust with your audience, you need to distribute the right content to them at the right time (relevance) and appear everywhere (omnipresence) at a budget that you can afford (big fish, small pond).

By achieving this, you become the go-to authority figure in your audience’s eyes.

Here are the 4 steps to implementing this brand awareness strategy:

Step 1: Create relevant content

We have found that early phases of your awareness strategy should concentrate on education and this should be done for each audience segment.

Depending on the ad format, some of these can be combined with images.
The aim of this content is not to create leads. The point is to show up in your audience’s news feed consistently, so you become a constant presence in their life.

Initially, the audience may not consume any of your content. But, after seeing your brand again and again, you become an authority in their eyes. You become omnipresent. You become relevant to their condition and you build awareness.

In essence, you become hyper relevant to your prospective patients.

Step 2: Share your content to the “right” people at the “right” time.

This is very important.

You don’t want to share all the content you create with everyone. Otherwise, you will become a frequent pain in your audience’s life instead of a relevant authority figure.

Not everyone in your audience is at the same stage. Some people know about your services, whereas others don’t. Some people engage with your content, others don’t. As such, it is useful to segment your audience into what is called a marketing funnel such as:

  • Cold
  • Warm
  • Hot

Those in your Cold audience don’t know you. So they need to be educated about your pharmacy, your services and the benefits you bring.

Your Warm audience knows you and maybe something about pharmacy’s services, but don’t engage too often. As such, you need to share relevant content that takes them to the next step.

Your hot audience is full of people who engage with your content often. They’re primed to take action and purchase.

The funnel enables you to constantly move an audience through a series of steps from Cold to Warm to Hot.

For example, you could move an audience through the funnel from:

  • Cold where they do not knowing about your pharmacy to
  • Hot – the audience knows about, understands and considers BHRT as a valid way to solve their problems.

Step 3: Set this up

Even if you share relevant content with the right people at the right time, you will waste money (and annoy your audience) if you don’t do this final step. It involves the Brand Awareness feature in Facebook.

With the Brand Awareness feature you can ensure each person sees each ad only once. This means instead of someone seeing the same video 12 times, she consumes 12 different types of content that each provide a different purpose.

In other words, you are relevant and omnipresent. You take over the newsfeed without driving anyone insane repeating the same material.

Step 4 – Big Fish, Small Pond

From a marketing perspective, one of the beauties about the pharmacy business is that you can be very specific about audience selection. You can be very focused on the audiences that matter to you. You are not trying to appeal to everyone.

That is where the 4th step comes into play.

By being hyper-focused on an audience, you can become the big fish in the pond compared to a CVS who targets the population at large. You can become the go to authority for hormone replacement, for example.

In other words you use hyper-focused audience segmentation to beat them at their own game. You become the big fish in a small pond.

Refill Assistant specializes in social advertising for community pharmacies.

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