Mark the new year with fresh marketing
Experiment with new approaches to draw more customers
- The marketing that drew new customers in the past could be a dud today
- The way to improve your marketing is to test and tweak new approaches
- Tips: support your community, build an email list, hire an expert
Get new customers by marketing in new places
Butt Drugs has been a fixture in downtown Corydon, Indiana, for nearly 70 years. But third-generation owner Katie Butt Beckort is using a fresh, flexible approach to marketing to ensure the business thrives.
One recent marketing success is a highway billboard, shown below.
“We had never considered a billboard,” said Trista Melton, the pharmacy’s marketing manager. “It wasn’t on our radar. We didn’t think we could afford it. We didn’t think it would work. But we learned about the opportunity and decided to give it a try.”
“It has been one of the best marketing things we have stumbled upon,” Melton said, with new customers coming in and ordering online every week, specifically because of the billboard.
Track results and tweak approaches
Knowing which marketing efforts pay off isn’t easy, but it is important. To figure this out, Butt Drugs uses multiple methods:
- Special coupons tied to an advertisement. Only someone who has seen a coupon in a local magazine will have that coupon. This will show how well an ad is working.
- Asking online. The online order form asks customers where they heard about the pharmacy.
- Chatting with customers. The pharmacy’s soda fountain workers are particularly good at learning how folks found the store.
|Keep and tweak||Eliminate|
A $300 spend on Google Ads is drawing hundreds of customers. But Google Ads requires monitoring to learn which words and phrases draw the most response.
Melton thought “old-fashioned soda fountain” would work well. When these words didn’t perform, she tried other words, including examples Google suggested, which have worked better. “It’s digital — you can change it on the fly,” she noted.
| Newspaper ads|
Butt Drugs decided to drop its longtime newspaper ads. “We have seen almost nothing come back in the past couple of years.”
On social media, Facebook is Butt Drugs’ strongest presence and Instagram is growing, but Melton is backing away from Twitter for now.
Tap into local happenings
Butt Drugs ties its marketing to the local community.
“We are huge supporters of downtown Corydon,” Melton said. During “Light-Up Corydon,” a daylong event that marks the beginning of the holiday season, the pharmacy extends its normal business hours and offers special sales. For the town’s bicentennial, which brought tourists, an ad in a local magazine performed well.
Radio ads support local sports teams and invite fans to stop in after the game for a snack. And on Fridays, Butt Drugs’ social media may tag or link to an event at the local fairgrounds or a new restaurant in town.
The pharmacy is also beginning to host in-store events. A recent “CBD 101” educational session featured a local hemp farmer who manufactures CBD oil. Using the website Eventbrite for registrations, the pharmacy knew how many people to expect and collected email addresses.
Visit the Health Mart® Marketing Hub to apply for matching funds to use on local events and sponsorships.
Create an email list and offer something special
Butt Drug has grown its email list. It uses this list to send customers a monthly newsletter with a mix of information on health topics, the latest soda fountain flavors, a seasonal sale or a promotion. “Our fans look forward to it,” Melton said. “We always have a free item just for getting the email.”
If the pharmacy’s sale that month is on antacids, it might give away a pack of Tums. The Halloween newsletter offered candy. At Christmas, the pharmacy steps up the value, with a mug or T-shirt.
Butt Drugs began collecting email address with a simple signup at the counter, asking people if they’d like to receive information from the pharmacy. “We only send two emails per month, so it’s not a constant barrage,” Melton explained.
The following year the pharmacy added the free item to entice more people to sign up. A pop-up on the pharmacy website also asks if people would like to receive the newsletter. Customers provide their email address to be eligible for drawings, such as an Easter basket of goodies.
Embrace what makes your pharmacy unique
Butt Drugs long has embraced its unusual name, selling merchandise that declares “I (heart) Butt Drugs.” The store has a “Butt Liquors” section and a “Buttique.” The soda fountain sells “butt shakes.” Loyal customers are “Fannies.”
While the name may draw tourists with a sense of humor, the pharmacy ensures the first thing customers see is a cute display of local merchandise. The pharmacy also makes it easy to find over-the-counter items any traveler needs.
Katie Butt Beckort says every independent pharmacy has a niche or something unique it can promote.
Create consistent campaigns
Butt Drugs realized that marketing pieces that evolved over time didn’t match. So, Butt Drugs has focused on developing a consistent brand image with a new logo with B and D in the shape of a heart.
This logo appears on everything, from the Butt Drug delivery van to parking signs. “It makes our brand much more recognizable,” Melton said. “The more they see it, the more they’re going to trust it, and the more they’re going to recall it when they need a pharmacy.”
Within the store, Butt Drugs focuses on different areas to grow the business. One year it was OTC and front-end items. When it redid the soda fountain a few years ago, that was featured in marketing. Currently Butt Drugs is drawing attention to medical equipment.
Have one person oversee marketing
Before hiring a full-time marketing manager five years ago, Beckort was doing marketing herself, along with her other responsibilities as an owner. “I did it, but I didn’t do a great job,” she said. She concluded she needed to delegate this responsibility to increase the focus on marketing.
A pharmacy that isn’t ready for a full-time marketer can have an existing employee with an interest in marketing focus on marketing for one day a week or perhaps two afternoons.
Promote your store, your way
The Health Mart Marketing Hub available in myHealthMart delivers a variety of tools to set your marketing in motion with less effort. Use your Matching Funds on marketing expenses, run a targeted Facebook ad campaign or speak with a marketing expert to improve your marketing activities and get better results.
Not a Health Mart? Contact us to learn how the Health Mart franchise program can help you grow your business, bring patients to your store, and expand your services for more revenue.