In the final instalment of our marketing special, we take a look at the theory in practice.
Pharmacist Harpreet Kullar is co-director of the Seaton Healthcare chain of Numark member pharmacies in the North East of England – which offer a range of services including cholesterol testing, flu vaccines, blood pressure testing, methadone dispensing, weight management and smoking cessation.
With ETP rolling out, Kullar has put together a leaflet to send out to 20,000 homes locally explaining what it is and how it works.
“It’s a way for me to target my own patients so they understand what ETP is, but also to explain it to potential new patients as well,” he says.
“I know a lot of pharmacies will be going into this ‘blind’ and GP surgeries are so busy they don’t always have the time to explain ETP to patients, so I thought this was definitely something we could do.
"As well as covering ETP, the leaflet also talks about the other services we offer, and I’ll be meeting with local GP practices in October, as we start ETP, so that I’ve discussed the launch with them too.”
Kullar is no stranger to proactive marketing when it comes to the pharmacies.
“I try and stay away from what a lot of independents do, which is bury their head in invoices to get best return out of each drug. Instead, my approach is patient-centred: I want to build prescription numbers and get more patients visiting the pharmacy.
"To do this we advertise in the local papers and on the radio, as well as organising more face-to-face interactions like sponsoring coffee mornings at the local sheltered housing to let the wardens and residents know what we do and how we can help.
“My advice to anyone wanting to market their pharmacy is to try as many avenues as you can to spread the word, and don’t be afraid to ask for customer feedback on how you can improve your service.
"We welcome any complaints so we can make sure what we are doing is right for our patients, and change anything that is not. After all, we are here to serve our local community and we want to do that as well as we can.”