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When is it time to hire a marketing company?

So your pharmacy is doing pretty well, but you’re not quite sure if it is time to make the leap and hire a marketing company yet, or if you would be better off focusing your resources elsewhere.  Here is a quiz to see if you need a marketing company:   1. What Score Does Your […]

So your pharmacy is doing pretty well, but you’re not quite sure if it is time to make the leap and hire a marketing company yet, or if you would be better off focusing your resources elsewhere.  Here is a quiz to see if you need a marketing company:

 

1. What Score Does Your Website Get On The Website Grader? 

0-60: 0 points

60-80: 1 point

81-100: 2 points

This score will give you an idea for how your website is performing.  You need your website to work, scale to mobile phones, have security, and load in a reasonable amount of time.

 

2. Google or Bing Your Pharmacy Name. Did Your Pharmacy Show Up First? 5th? On The Second Page of Google?

1st position: 2 points

2nd-3rd position: 1 point

After top 3: 0 points

In this day and age you need to be pinging when people use search engines.  Many times they don’t just use them to type in a specific pharmacy name, but for when they are searching for a pharmacist using generalities.  People haven’t used a phone book in years, and Google is where we go to find things now, so you need your business to be active in it.

 

3.  How Many Blog Posts Have You Posted In The Last 60 Days?

5 or more: 2 points

2-4: 1 point

1 or less: 0 points

At a minimum you need to be blogging once a month.  Ideally it is more, but we get how busy the industry is.  If you don’t like to do it yourself, outsource the activity to a tech, or hire a marketing firm to do it for you.

 

4.  Do You Use CRM (Customer Relationship Managment) And An Email Automation Software?

I have and use one but not the other: 1 point

I have and use both: 2 points

I have neither or have them and don’t use them: 0 points

Examples of CRM’s would be Salesforce and Zoho, examples of email automation would be Mail Chimp or Marketo.  If you have and actively use Hubspot it wraps both in together.  As an independent pharmacy these days, you have to be active in using these platforms or sub out the work to a marketing company to do it for you.

 

5.  By What Percentage Has Your Script Volume Increased This Year?

20% or more: 2 points

19%-10%: 1 point

9% or less: 0 points

One of the key indicators of growth is the increase in script volume.  A healthy business out of the start up phase should be ideally growing at 10-25% a year.  If your business is not growing at that speed, you are giving up ground to a competitor somewhere, and need to increase your marketing efforts to make up those sales.

 

6. How Many Marketing Campaigns Have You Run In The Last Year?

2 or more:  2 points

1:  1 point

0: 0 points

One key thing to do as an independent pharmacist is not only reach out to your existing patients, but also reach out to doctors and discharge nurses. They need to know if your pharmacy can be a fit for patients via compounding, if you have durable medical equipment, offer delivery, etc.  You need to be reaching out to these people and an email is a great way to do that.

 

7. Do You Have Universal Branding?

Yes, I have brand guidelines including symbols, fonts and colors that are shared across websites, social media, my physical store, and more:   2 points

I have a logo, font and color used on cards, site and a few other things:   1 point

I don’t have a brand or use Healthmart/Good Neighbor:   0 points

You need to have a brand, and that brand needs to be reach across platforms.  Using a stock website, having colors and fonts randomly selected for cards and signage is not the way to go.  The brand needs to be telling a story and connect across all you content, both physical and online.

 

8.  Do You Have Buy Personas Established For Your Target Demographic?

I have developed over 5 different buyer personas:  2 points

I have a persona developed for my target client:  1 point

I have not done any work on who my buyers and there demographics are:  0 points

It is important to know who your buyers are as well as those who refer business to your firm.  Creating buyer personas allows you to target specific niches in the industry, as well as dig down into the data you have available and use it to create fictional portraits of these people, so you develop your content tailored to them.

 

9.  Do You Have A Formal Written Business, Marketing, And Sales Plans That Have Been Updated In The Last Two Years?

I have both, they are both living documents that have been recently updated:  2 points

I have both, but haven’t updated either in the last year:  1 point

I don’t need those, I have them in my head: 0 points

Creating a business plan is something that most of you did when you first started on your journey into the pharmacy world.  That document should not be something that is tucked away though, but something that is actively worked on and revised as consumer buying habits change.

 

10.  Do You Run Special Offers and Promotions For The Store?

I have one, and am currently contacting all my clients on at least a bi-weekly basis:  2 points

I have an email list, but reach out to clients individually when we have promotions:  1 point

I don’t reach out to my clients online via email with any promotions:  0 points

Clients these days expect you to contact them via email when you have something that can help them or special offers.  Direct mail is rarely used anymore, and clients want to receive value from the businesses they use in the form of emails.

 

That’s it! Take your numbers and add them up and we can see how you are doing with marketing.  Below we have included links to free downloads of four different ebooks we have.  Just click on the link, fill out the page and we will get you the info.  We do ask for your name. email, and website here and use the data to help get some industry baselines for where community pharmacy as a whole is in terms of what people are doing with online marketing and to see if we might be able to help you at.

 

18-20:  You have a great handle on your marketing.  You are likely working with a firm already or have a dedicated marketing arm to your pharmacy chain.  Look to fill in the gaps by hiring for specific campaigns, and focus your efforts on growth and expansion into new markets.  For future learning, I would recommend downloading this ebook on inbound marketing, to look at how buying habits have changed, and possibly contracting with an inbound marketing firm on a few campaigns.

 

Pharmacy Blogs

 

12-17:  You are in the ideal place to get a firm on retainer to take your pharmacy to the next level.  For recommended further reading, I would check out this piece on if hiring a sales rep or a marketing firm would be the right move to promote growth. If you are really motivated, you can also check out the ebook above on inbound marketing.

 

CTA_eBook_HiringSales_Direct

 

5-11:  You are ready for a marketing firm, but start with one on a per-project basis rather than a retainer.  Try working with someone for 3 months to do some basic web development and branding, then after you get a little better market presence look at hiring someone on retainer on a monthly basis to run your campaigns.  For recommended reading, I would download this ebook on website development, and contract with a marketing firm on those aspects, building out a marketing plan and other software tools while getting the website revamped and up, then move on to some dedicated outbound and inbound strategies.

 

CTA_eBook_Grader_Direct

 

0-4:  You definitely could use some help with marketing, but before jumping on and hiring someone, do a little research yourself. If you try to work with a marketing company immediately, you will not have enough business knowledge to really know if you’re dealing with someone who can help you, or if they’re just trying to make a sale and selling you stuff you don’t need yet.  Work on making a business and sales plan, developing a buyer persona, and do a little homework on SEO, branding, and blogging.  Once you have your knowledge level up to where you can score at least a 5 on this quiz and are familiar with the vocabulary in the industry, you are ready to work with someone professionally on a short term project basis, then move into long term planned marketing growth.  For further reading I would check out this ebook on three problems facing independent pharmacist today.

 

CTA_eBook_3Prob_LP

 

 

 

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