Being a small business makes you an integral part of your local community. As a business owner and trusted healthcare provider, getting involved in community activities should be at the forefront of your marketing plan. Below are some ideas that you can implement each quarter to ensure that you are getting your name out there, all while supporting other local businesses.
1. Form partnerships with other small business owners
Many small businesses face similar struggles when it comes to getting people in the door – so why not work together. Find a company that you can partner with to provide mutually beneficial, low cost, marketing exposure.
For example, during COVID-19 some pharmacies partnered with local libraries. The library would help local seniors, or those without access to internet, to schedule their COVID-19 vaccines. The library won because they got to get people in the door to use their services and the pharmacy won because they got people vaccinated. Another pharmacy partnered with a local coffee shop. The coffee shop handed out pharmacy coupons with their receipts and the pharmacy handed out coupons to the coffee shop with their prescriptions. Another pharmacy still partnered with a local bike shop to teach kids about how to ride bikes and bike safety. The workshop was held at the pharmacy in the parking lot after hours and the pharmacy had a booth to sell first aid products and kid’s vitamins and the bike shop had a booth to sell helmets and other biking gear.
It doesn’t take much – just a willingness to go out into your community and interact with other local business owners.
2. Join community groups
The best local group to join would be your local chamber of commerce. Chambers offer a tremendous opportunity to network with other small business owners. The key to working with a local chamber, is to get involved. Don’t simply sign up and then forget about it. Take the time to go to chamber meetings, read the newsletters, welcome new businesses, etc. Being an active member in your local chamber can pay dividends; especially if you are in a smaller town.
Volunteer groups are another great way to get your company’s name out into the community. Find a charity or local volunteer opportunity that you and your pharmacy team can support and make the time each year to get involved. Here are a few ideas that other pharmacies have done:
- sponsor or volunteer to help manage walks or runs for charities or health causes
- volunteer at local food bank
- fundraise or collect donations for animal shelters
- sponsor local classrooms to help teachers and/or students cover costs for school supplies
Check out our blog on giving back year-round for additional ideas. 3.Utilize social media
Social media is a great marketing tool which can be utilized in a number of ways to help get your pharmacy involved in the local community. It’s free and an easy thing to delegate out to members of your pharmacy team to help you manage. Set up a schedule using our blog on how to plan, write, and schedule social media posts and stick to it.
To start, find other local businesses to follow and be sure to like and share their content, and ask them to do the same for your pharmacy. Additionally, you can use social media to do giveaways that are tied to any local volunteer or fundraising that your pharmacy is doing. You can also conduct surveys of your followers to see what are some healthcare products or services that your community needs or wants to see you implement.
If you are a new pharmacy, or if your social media following needs some bolstering – consider running some paid advertising campaigns to help boost your followers and/or engagement on your page. Ask your patients to like your page for updates on the pharmacy and encourage them to share their experiences via online reviews.
4. Host events As more and more pharmacies have shifted their focus to be more on clinical services, in-house events have become increasingly more common. Even for those pharmacies that don’t have significant space, they have rented space or held events outdoors to encourage community members to attend with the goal of improving overall health. Below are a few examples of events that pharmacies have held to bolster community involvement:
a. Immunization clinics
b. Diabetes management/healthy cooking/weight loss classes
c. Product sample events
d. School sponsored activities such as teaching elementary kids about the dangers of drug misuse/abuse or what a pharmacist does
e. Customer appreciation events
f. Silent auctions for fundraising
No matter if you are in a big city, or small town – no matter how big your front end is or what services your pharmacy offers – getting involved in your community should always be a priority. Small businesses, like yours, depend on the community to keep the doors open and the bills paid. It is worth your time and effort to give back whenever you can. Doing so will not only show your appreciation for your patients continued patronage, but highlight just how impactful a successful, local, small business can be.