As an Independent Pharmacy, one of your best advertising outlets may be right at your fingertips…YES…your very own employees.  Typically Independent Pharmacies thrive because of the personal care and service they offer. Most know their customers by name and have a personal relationship with their customers. This is usually true with their employees too. Employees work for Independents because they like the personal atmosphere.  Independents should use this competitive advantage to their benefit when searching for cost effective marketing ideas. Try a contest with your employees. Participation in the contest should be voluntary. Any full- or part-time employee should be able to  participate.  Give each participating employee a predetermined number of certificates. We recommend giving 25 to each employee initially. Your employee will need to sign the certificates. Then you explain that, on their own time and as they want, they can hand them out to friends, family and anybody else they come in contact with, like their hairdresser, postman, etc. Their signature on the certificates should authorize a special discount. We recommend the certificate be for a niche product or service you offer that they can’t get just anywhere and that the certificates have high perceived value. One idea is a free medication review and consultation. Normally $50. FREE with coupon. Give them a time to bring in any medications they are taking and have you review them for interactions and potential cheaper generic options. Maybe a free cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass screening.  Plus, add a free promo product…maybe you carry a locally made product like honey and you can offer a free sample of it.   The more perceived value, the better!  Again, be creative! You will need to determine how long you want to run the contest. We recommend 4-8 weeks. Let them know if they run out of certificates, you will print them more. The results of the contest are based on redemptions, so it is easy to track. Make sure you determine a prize that is worth the extra effort. Consider asking your vendors to donate prizes for a prize pack. Or, trade out with a non-competing business. Maybe let a local massage therapist put their cards out at your store in exchange for a free massage to give away. You might also consider a prize that includes and day off with pay. Be creative! The better the prize, the better the participation! This can be fun and bring your employees together even more! Rewarding your employees for sharing information about a business they want to be strong and healthy lends credibility and ultimately strengthens your business reputation. You want your employees to be singing your praises..why not reward them for it!  They know you and they are the best source of word-of-mouth advertising you have…ENCOURAGE it!  If this works well with your employees, expand it to your best customers, if they like you and will talk about how great you are, why not reward them too?  Sometimes our best marketing tools are at our fingertips, we just have to implement them.