3 Facebook Audiences for your Pharmacy You Can’t Ignore

You don’t need to be told that the majority of your patients are on Facebook. That’s pretty much guaranteed since Facebook has literally 2 billion active users and growing.

Thus, you would assume that advertising on Facebook would almost guarantee success.

But it doesn’t.

When I first started using Facebook ads, I’d run an ad for $100 and not get a single lead. There were times I wouldn’t get more than a few likes.

I’m sure you’ve come across the same problem. In fact, I’d be willing to guess that the only ads that ever had success were giveaway type ads.

We’re not alone though. According to a recent survey of small business owners by Weebly, 62% said FB ads were unsuccessful. 

But why?

How could a pond with so, so, so many fish not give us anything more than a nibble?

Or, how could so, so, so many other small businesses have so much success using FB ads, pumping tens of thousands of dollars them and getting 5-10X the return while we can’t even break even on $100?

Just look here. at all of these successful Facebook ad case studies

A search on Google for “successful FB ad case studies is just as mind-boggling with over 185,000,000 hits.

What is going on?

Is it Facebook? Is it us? Is it our industry?

As the old saying goes, “it’s not the arrow, but the archer.”

Why FB Ads isn’t working…

You and I were that guy at the party…..

We showed up at a party on Saturday night where no one knew us, and we started handing out our business cards…. to everyone whether they wanted one or not.

Then, we were shocked when on Monday morning not a single person called to order anything. Not a single sale.

Wrong pond we say….

And you and I are that guy on Facebook.  We put an ad on Facebook to an audience that doesn’t know us, and we expect a sale or a lead soon thereafter.  And when we don’t get one, we blame Facebook.

But, let’s think about it for a second.

How many times have you bought something from a company you’ve never heard of the very first time you saw their ad?

If you’re like me, not once…

That’s why it’s always cheaper to sell to your existing customers than finding new ones. Your current customers already know, like, and trust you so they’ll be much more likely to purchase something from you after seeing a single ad, even if the product/service is brand new.

That’s also why referrals are so powerful, even if the customer has never heard of you. If a friend she already knows, likes, and trusts recommends you, even if she has no relationship with you, she’ll be much more likely to buy than if she saw the ad without a referral.

Relationships matter, especially on a social platform like Facebook.

Of course, you can make a cold audience on Facebook aware of you and plant the seeds for a relationship, but you can’t expect a sale right away. They have to know, like, and trust you first, and that requires a long-term investment and patience.

How to make Facebook ads work right now…

With that said, there are a few audiences that you should be targeting because they do have a higher likelihood of becoming a patient at your pharmacy (or making additional purchases from your pharmacy).

They’re already aware of you, like you, and possibly even trust you too.  They’re ready to be converted. They just need a small reminder or nudge, perhaps in the form of a Facebook ad.

So, who are these people?

We call these audiences warm audiences, and this is where the money is to be made on Facebook.

When you see a Facebook ad case study showing a 10x return on ad spend, it usually involves one of these three audiences.

Your current fans

Of course, this seems like a no-brainer. However, because all of the attention on the Facebook pixel and retargeting, most forget that we already have a group of people that know, like, and trust us. In fact, they like us so much they became a Facebook fan of our page.

Don’t overlook this group. This is a great upsell opportunity thereby improving your profit per patient KPI.  Plus, it’s the easiest ad to run.

But don’t my fans already see my posts? Isn’t this just wasting money?

No. Facebook has continued to decrease the organic reach of your posts, with estimates from 2018 ranging from 1.2-3% of your fans seeing your posts. That means if you have 2,000 fans on your pharmacy’s Facebook page, only 20-60 of those fans see your posts.  Facebook has quickly become a “pay to play” platform.

Here’s how:

After you’ve made a post on your Facebook page, select the blue “Boost Post” button on the lower right side of the post.

When the next window comes up, scroll down to the audience on the left side and choose people who like your page.

Then hit the blue “Boost”  button in the lower right-hand corner.

What works well for this audience:

  • Upsells – sales, new product offerings, new service offerings
  • Successful case studies in the form of long-form testimonials
  • Showcasing rockstar patients and employees

Insider tip: Don’t boost a post instantly, especially if it’s a piece of educational content. Instead, wait a day or two and see how it does organically. If it’s a hit, boost it as you’ll probably see a profitable ROI. If it’s a dud, don’t waste your money.

Current Email Subscribers

Again,  if someone is on your email list, they’ve made it clear they already know, like, and trust you. A person’s email inbox is a sacred thing, and the average person won’t give someone her email address unless she wants what you have.

It should be noted that because of HIPAA, you simply can’t download a list of your patients’ email addresses and upload them to Facebook. Instead, what I recommend, is that you have a separate email opt-in on your website and next to your point-of-sale system that clearly states that opting into this list will result in emails from your pharmacy about sales, coupons, new services, and anything else you think the patient would enjoy.

Here’s how you do it:

Log into your Facebook ads manager.

In the upper right, you’ll see three options: Pixels, Ad Manager, and Audiences. Select Audiences.

Once on the audience’s page, you’ll see a blue button “Create Audience” in the middle of the page. Hit the down arrow and select “Custom Audience.”

Then select the first option on the next page, “Customer File.” Depending on what email provider you use, Facebook can directly upload your email list, or you may have to do it manually by uploading a .csv or .txt file.

Make sure you name the list something you’ll remember like “Ernie’s Pharmacy’s email list.” Once uploaded, it can take a few days for Facebook to create the audience because it has to search its database and find the matching audience.

Once Facebook has created your custom audience from your email subscribers, you can then use that audience any time you create an ad.

You can always view your custom audiences by clicking on the Asset Library in the upper left corner and selecting Audiences from the drop down menu. Eventually, Facebook will show you an estimate on how many people are in each custom audience you’ve created.

What works well with this audience:

  • Upsells – sales, new product offerings, new service offerings
  • Successful case studies in the form of long-form testimonials
  • Showcasing rockstar patients and employees

Insider Tip: 90% of your email subscribers are probably already your patients. However, there will be some that are not. Always include a small call to action at end of your post about how easy it is to become a patient at your pharmacy. More importantly, tell them exactly what they need to do next if they do want to transfer in.

People who have visited your website

This is called retargeting. If you’ve read anything about the Facebook pixel and custom audiences,  you’ve probably heard of this specific audience. Although it may sound complicated, I can assure you it’s not. I’m no computer whiz by any means, and it only took me 5 minutes to set mine up.

The easiest retargeting pixel to set up is to retarget anyone that’s visited your webpage in the last 90 days. That’s a great start. However, because one of our main goals, especially concerning our content marketing, is getting new patients, I suggest retargeting visitors that aren’t current patients but appear to be interested in becoming a new patient.


Simple, assuming you have a page on your website that allows new patients to initiate the transfer online. All you’ll need to do is create a custom audience that’s visited that transfer page and exclude anyone that’s see the thank you page after they’ve successfully initiated the transfer online.

Why exclude the thank you page? Those individuals have already initiated the transfer. We’re only interested in individuals that visited the transfer page but didn’t initiate the transfer online.  There’s no sense in wasting money on people that are already patients.

But if they didn’t initiate the transfer online, doesn’t that mean they didn’t want to become a patient? Aren’t we just wasting money by advertising to them?

Maybe. Or maybe, they got busy with something else and planned on coming back. Or, maybe they didn’t have their Rx numbers with them at the moment. Or, maybe their computer crashed and they couldn’t complete the process. Or, maybe they’re still on the fence about it and need to get to know, like, and trust you a little better.

Who knows. All that’s certain is that they showed interest.

Here’s how you do it:

Log into your Facebook ads manager.

In the upper right, you’ll see three options: Pixels, Ad Manager, and Audiences. Select Audiences.

Once on the audience’s page, you’ll see a blue button “Create Audience” in the middle of the page. Hit the down arrow and select “Custom Audience.”

Everything thus far has been the exact same as in the previous email subscriber audience.

Now, instead of choosing customer file from the window, choose the 2nd option on the list Website Traffic.

This window will pop up:

From the drop down menu that’s circled in red above, choose “People who visited specific webpages.”

Then copy and paste the URL of your transfer page in the empty box.  You will also want to change the past day’s box from 30 to 180.

So at this point, if we saved the audience as is and advertised to this custom audience, we would advertise to anyone that’s landed on the transfer page on our website. But remember, we actually want to exclude those who initiated the online transfer because those individuals have already made the decision to become a patient at your pharmacy.

So before we save this audience we’re going to hit the exclude button in the lower right corner. Then we’re going to do just like above, but now we’re going to paste the link to our thank you page that web visitors see right after they initiate the transfer online.

We then hit Create Audience, and the Facebook pixel on our site will begin working on creating our audience. Depending on how much traffic you get, this could take several weeks to months to populate.

What works well with this audience:

  • Educational content marketing on current popular topics.
  • Testimonials that hit a pain point in the pharmacy industry like long wait times or unfriendly service.
  • Successful case studies hitting various common pain points patients have.
  • Showcasing super employees and patients, and in turn, your culture and personality of your pharmacy.

Insider tip: Often times this audience, because they have less of a relationship with you than the other two, will require more ad exposures to make a decision. Thus, your cost per lead will be higher and the prospect to lead to patient sales cycle will take longer. Don’t quit too early. Have patience.


If you haven’t had success at your pharmacy with Facebook ads, don’t give up. Try these three audiences out. Facebook is too lucrative to ignore. Your patients are there. I guarantee if you don’t interact with them, your competitors will.

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