Whether Amazon Pharmacy concerns you or not, you should focus on becoming the local pharmacy expert to help your pharmacy thrive.
How can you transform from a pharmacy to “the pharmacy”?
Chances are, your community needs a pharmacy leader. I am not talking about someone to lead the local association or leading a political fight (though those are important!), I am talking about a public-facing expert. A pharmacist who speaks to their community by joining the local news, getting on the radio, goes live on Tik Tok and is ready to be the face of their business and the local expert. The majority of people prefer to do business with someone they know. So let them know YOU! Once your community realizes they have a bonafide leader in their midst, Amazon Pharmacy or Walmart or mail-order, well, they just got a lot less appealing.
How To Become The Expert
I want to dispel a myth right away; you do NOT have to be the most knowledgeable, well researched, best-looking, top-of-your-class pharmacist to be the expert. The person in the conversation who knows the most about a subject is the expert (my definition!) by being a licensed pharmacist that makes you the expert. You know more about pharmacology and health than 99% of your community. You’re a rockstar! Now you need to share what you know with your potential patients. Become the local branded pharmacy expert by creating relationships with your traditional local media and leveraging social media.
Creating A Media Contact List
I guaranty you know the prevailing newspaper, TV stations, and radio channels in your town. There is typically one point of contact in a small town at each of these companies that schedule content and hand out assignments. There is often a different point of contact in a larger community for various areas of the city or topics. You need to gather up a list of people that will pertain to you. Now is the time for a little computer research.
Open your browser and navigate to the website for each media company in your area if you don’t know the names, just Google “your city name” news stations. Click on one from the search results. Now at this point, every website will be different. Your best bet is to scroll to the very bottom and find a contact us link. On that page, you will often see the various departments with a primary contact person. Other words that news stations use are assignment desk, area reporter, content manager, or station manager. Jot down their name and their contact information, especially email and phone numbers. Do this for each TV, newspaper, radio, or any other popular media in your town.
In your email account, you will want to create a list and call it media contacts. Add all of your contacts to this list; this way, you can quickly email many people by just typing in the name of your list. Once you have this list, the hard part is over. Your goal with this list isn’t to bombard these busy people. Instead, you want to inform them of the great work you are doing.
Reaching Out To Your Local Media
At the end of each month, you are going to write an email. Your email will inform recipients about the events happening at your pharmacy, in the industry, or in the community. Be sure to include topics that you are passionate about. Be warned, nothing may happen the first month or even the second month or event the third, though eventually, you will get some responses. Reporters and anchors have to fill space and time, inches in a magazine or newspaper, and air minutes. There will be a day when they are short. You will be an easy topic to turn to as you have already prepared them with content that matters in the moment.
What exactly should your email say? Here are some pointers. First off, make it easy to read. Instead of long paragraphs, use bullet points or shorter sentences. Bold items you want them to notice, such as dates. Second, be friendly; you are building a relationship here. Third, stay on topic. You are an expert in pharmacy and health. Lastly, invite them to stop by at any time, and trust me, they will!
Okay, you read that paragraph above. Now I am going to rewrite it in bullet points to see how much easier it is to read.
What exactly should your email say? Here are some pointers.
- Use bullet points or shorter sentences.
- Bold important items.
- Be friendly.
- Stay on topics of pharmacy and health.
- Invite them to your pharmacy at any time.
See how much easier that is? So remember this when you are sending your email out to media people. At the end of your email, always include your contact information, both at the pharmacy and mobile. Also, my personal preference is to BCC your media list. When someone replies (if they hit reply all), it only comes back to you and not everyone else on the list.
Here is an example email.
Hi, my favorite media people. Here is what is happening at DiversifyRx Pharmacy in January.
- Coat drive until January 31
- Weight loss classes every Tuesday night
- Medicare has changed its rules for prescription coverage
- New generic for Sample Drug launches on the 16th
If you want any additional information on any topic, please stop by the pharmacy at any time. I am here as a resource for you.
Dr. Lisa Faast, DiversifyRx Pharmacy
Pharmacy Phone, Cell Phone
Follow Us (social media links)
What Comes Next
Maybe nothing, as I said before, but most likely a sales call. Yep, you will get called by the news station’s advertising account salesperson. This is actually a good thing. They received your email and read it, and forwarded it! Unless you want to advertise at the media station, feel free to politely turn them away. Turning them down won’t impact you being used as a resource when needed. Yes, the salesperson will pressure you, hard, and you can still say no.
You will get a call. This call will probably come out of the blue on a topic you don’t consider yourself an expert on. It’s okay, take a deep breath. You will get through it.
My First Call…
A radio station needed an expert during a segment, and their previously booked expert had to cancel. So they called me. It was a sports segment talking about how a famous MLB player was banned for doping because he was using HCG. They wanted an expert to speak with the host about this. I am a sports fan but certainly not a doping expert. Though I do know pharmacologically why HCG is banned and why athletes take it. So with less than 30 minutes’ notice, I went live on air for a radio show. It went great. The host asked softball questions (pun intended!) that I easily answered, and instantly I became the expert. The host encouraged his listeners to come by my pharmacy, and I got some free advertising.
This radio show was a top talk radio channel in my city. Because I got them out of a bind, they quickly started using me more. A last-minute fill in eventually evolved into a regular segment for the radio station. Not just for 1 show, but several shows. These freebie expert segments worked! New patients came to my pharmacy and wanted to speak to the expert pharmacist they heard on the radio. The TV stations and newspapers also followed suit.
The radio segments worked so well that I did end up doing paid advertising with the station to get even more exposure, but AFTER I was getting my free expert advertising. I even became the person that recorded all the public service announcements and therefore got to say my name and, most importantly, my pharmacy’s name during each segment.
Local Expert > Amazon Pharmacy
By becoming your community’s expert, you put yourself and your pharmacy in the spotlight. While convenience is attractive to patients, hence why Amazon Pharmacy will get patients, expert handling of their health care is even more critical. Why would most patients choose to get their medications from a mailbox when they can go in and talk to the expert pharmacist from the radio/TV/newspaper/Facebook. You can be known personally by your community. This personal relationship will beat out Amazon Pharmacy or other competitors.
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If you haven’t read the other strategies on how to beat Amazon Pharmacy, check them out below.
- Part 1 – dispense products that only you can and Amazon Pharmacy can’t
- Part 2 – focus on clinical services that only the local independent pharmacy can provide and Amazon Pharmacy can’t.
Next Up… Part 4 understanding that you are in a different business than Amazon Pharmacy.