Founder(s): Amit Kakar
Employees: 10 (+ Keap)
Joined Keap: 2020
revenue growth YOY
For the first 21 years that Amit Kakar owned the Avalon Pharmacy in Rancho Mirage, CA, he didn’t need to do any marketing. Good customer service and word of mouth kept things going for his independent pharmacy.
Then, three years ago, as more competitors came to town and revenue started declining, Amit began to ask himself, “When Mrs. Jones walks in and she leaves, why is she coming back? What's keeping her? A thank you and a smile will only go so far. How can I get her to come back? What am I leaving her with?”
Amit decided it was time to learn marketing, so he started Googling and talking to marketing companies. They would ask “What CRM platform are you using?”
“I didn't know what a CRM was, but I acted like I did,” Amit recalls. “I quickly realized I needed to find out what a CRM platform is and get one.”
He found Keap and signed up, but that was only the beginning of his journey — a journey not only toward record sales, but also toward having the impact that led him to become an independent pharmacist in the first place.
Amit signed up for Keap because he “needed a CRM,” but because he didn’t fully understand the strategy of how to use it, he quickly became fed up with trying to learn the software.
That changed when he started working with Jason Benedict of The Automation Agency, a Keap Certified Partner. Jason helped Amit see the big picture of how Keap could improve customer engagement and increase revenue. Once Amit saw the possibilities, he got excited to dive into the software once again. But Jason encouraged him to slow down and build things out one strategic step at a time, starting with the basics.
For example, during their first meeting, Jason asked Amit, “How many patients do you have?”
Amit had no idea, but he threw out a number: 1,000. (He found out later that it was actually 5,000.)
Jason then asked, “Of those thousand patients that you think you have, how many emails do you have?”
Amit replied, “Because our demographics are late 60s, we don't do emails.”
Jason was silent for a long moment, then said, “We can work with that.”
And work with that they did. With Jason’s help and Amit’s new willingness to build his marketing automation in Keap, Avalon Pharmacy now has 8,000 contacts and over 5,000 emails.
Amit discovered that his assumption about elderly patients not using email was incorrect. “They do use their phones quite a bit, and they absolutely love their emails when you give them relevant content.”
Avalon Pharmacy had been slowly losing market share to big retail pharmacies for a while, but the pandemic became a more urgent threat. Amit started with Keap in February 2020, just a month before the COVID-19 lockdowns started.
“Doctor's offices were shutting, patients were not coming into the pharmacy because our patient demographic was late 60s. They weren't leaving their houses,” recalls Amit. “And that was another reason why I thought, ‘Okay, I better follow this strategic plan.’”
Staying focused on the strategy Jason recommended, even during the pandemic crisis, paid off — literally. While other pharmacies lost around 20-30% in revenue, Avalon Pharmacy only declined 10%.
Three years later, Amit’s small business has grown revenue 20%, and January 2023 saw their biggest year-over-year revenue gains in eight years.
In a community of about 20,000 residents, 8,000 are contacts in Avalon Pharmacy’s Keap app — nearly half the population of the town.
How did they do it? Through a combination of short-term and long-term strategic initiatives.
Avalon Pharmacy got a lot of walk-ins from a nearby urgent care facility, but didn’t have an easy way to capture their info or follow up with them. So Amit set up an iPad in the lobby that collected their information, which went straight into Keap via a landing page with a form.
Not only did this streamline new customer intake, it also made it possible to follow up with walk-ins who didn’t become customers right away.
Once he started collecting customer emails, Amit was able to create automated campaigns to follow up and nurture relationships with customers. He started with a simple welcome campaign. Now, he has segmented his list so he can send emails tailored to customers’ disease states, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart patients, etc.
Amit’s simple “Happy birthday” email (which is completely automated) has been a surprise hit. “We had an elderly lady who was 87, she said we were the only people in four years to acknowledge her birthday. She called us in tears and said, ‘I will never forget that.’ And that moment was everything to us.”
Before Keap, Avalon Pharmacy, like most pharmacies, had around 15 to 20 Google reviews. Now they have close to 500 reviews. “That's strictly through automation software,” says Amit. “Otherwise, we would never have been able to gather those numbers.”
To help get Amit’s name out into the community more, Jason recommended that Amit start doing short videos giving health-related tips. He wanted to call it “A Minute with Amit.” At first, Amit didn’t want to do it. But he tried it, and discovered that he really enjoyed it, especially once he got comfortable with the process.
“Now I absolutely love doing Minute With Amit because I see the impact it has on patients,” says Amit. “They come in from all ages. I have a lady who calls me all the time and tells me all about it. People come into the pharmacy and ask me, ‘Are you the Minute With Amit guy?’"
What separates Avalon Pharmacy from larger pharmacies is the willingness to provide highly personalized service. “The biggest differentiator is our ability to engage with our patients, and that's what separates us from the big retail chains,” says Amit. “It's patient engagement, and that can only be done via Keap.”
When Amit became a pharmacist, his ultimate goal was to get to know patients on a one-to-one level and to have a significant impact on them. But like most pharmacists, he got caught up in the repetitive cycle of filling prescriptions and focused on revenue as his main measure of success.
With Keap’s small business CRM and marketing automation, Amit has not only exceeded his revenue goals, he’s become more impact driven.
“Because Keap takes care of all the mundane stuff, I'm able to really focus and engage with the patients,” says Amit. “I am enjoying and loving what I do, and it’s because I’m having an impact on patients.”
The Automation Agency is an award-winning Keap Certified Partner and growth agency that helps small businesses to grow revenue, expand clientele, enhance productivity, increase sales and enjoy more freedom from their business by automating their sales and marketing while maintaining growth within their business. It was founded by husband and wife team Jason and Therese Benedict and has been a Keap Certified Partner since 2013.
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