Go beyond flu shots to serve all flu-related needs

Flu Marketing

Be a full-service flu resource center

In brief:

  • Even though many people get flu shots, millions of people still get the flu each year
  • For those getting the flu, be the full-service flu resource in your community
  • Focus your front-end design and marketing outreach on flu prevention and relief
  • Prepare a comprehensive marketing campaign to drive patients to your store for last-minute flu shots and for ways to feel better if they get the flu

Be your community’s full-service resource center

Marketing flu shots and rapid on-site flu testing are great ways to prepare for flu season. (See “Opportunities in point-of-care testing.”) But don’t stop there.

In a bad year, 1 in 5 Americans will catch the flu, and your pharmacy is chock full of products to help these individuals feel better.1 Walk through your pharmacy now, and you’ll find many opportunities to market what Hamacher Resource Group calls a “flu resource center.”2

Go beyond flu shots

Offer and highlight your many flu-related products and services including:

  • OTC medications, such as pain relievers, antitussives and multi-symptom products. Have signs that point out pharmacist-recommended brands that provide savings for customers and better margins for your pharmacy.
  • Rehydration liquids, particularly for the youngest and oldest patients.
  • Soothing products, such as heating pads, saline sprays and cough drops.
  • Alternative options. Instead of reaching for a humidifier and Vicks VapoRub, some patients may be looking for shower decongestant bombs by a local soap maker, ginger tea to soothe their stomach, or elderberry-based supplements, which some studies suggest may shorten the duration of flu and cold symptoms.3
  • Prevention. A sign near the hand sanitizers, wipes and tissues can remind shoppers to pick up extra packages for the home, car and workplace. Provide face masks for patients with compromised immunity.
  • Comfort items. A fluffy throw, a good magazine or book, a small toy or other gifts can soothe patients and give shoppers ways to show they care. Remember to feature get-well cards, too.

Identify these products with end cap displays, signs inside and outside the store, social media posts, and other promotions and marketing.

Post a cold and flu care checklist on social media, reminding patients if you offer free delivery.4

Market your pharmacy’s flu offerings beyond your usual ads

Before flu season hits:

  • List your pharmacy on sites such as Vaccinefinder.org, so patients looking for a shot will find you.
  • Know local ordinances for curbside signs with messages such as “Flu Shots Here” to draw in traffic.
  • Reach out to local media. Offer to be an expert resource when the flu season hits and reporters want to let their audience know how to feel better. Be ready with the latest stats and research on flu and relief strategies, and provide ideas about something new.
  • Plan at-the-moment ads. Have a Facebook ad ready to promote when the flu hits your community. Also, if you have an email list of your customers and others in your area, as soon as the flu hits (or even before), send out email blasts letting your community know about your comprehensive flu resources.

The flu can make even usually healthy people feel miserable. Help patients minimize their misery and recover quickly by educating them on the full-service flu care and expertise at your pharmacy.

1 “What Are Your Odds of Getting the Flu?” WebMD, Nov. 16, 2017. LINK
2 “No Flu Shots at Your Store? You Can Still Build Sales During Flu Season,” Jenny Kosek, Hamacher Resource Group, Oct. 8, 2013. LINK
3 “Elderberry: A Natural Way to Boost Immunity During Cold and Flu Season?” Cleveland Clinic, Nov. 6, 2018. LINK
4 “4 Quick & Easy Ways to Boost Sales During Flu Season,” Gabe Trahan, National Community Pharmacists Association, December 2017. LINK