how to advertise your pharmacy online
Advertising your pharmacy is a no-brainer. Every business needs to promote what it does. But how you advertise your pharmacy affects how effective that advertising is. This guide walks you through the best advertising tactics and how to deploy them.

The most beneficial ways of advertising your pharmacy:

  • Using social media adverts like Facebook & Instagram
  • Creating useful content on topic areas around your pharmacy
  • Using video content
  • Adverts at the top of Google
  • Your Pharmacy display

Advertising your pharmacy

Advertising your pharmacy online

The majority of this guide will focus on digital advertising. Whilst traditional advertising platforms can still be effective, from a cost perspective, digital advertising is often better than traditional forms of advertising. Because we always want the most bang for your buck, we always recommend digital advertising.

Advertising online is the absolute way to go for independent community pharmacies. What often puts pharmacies off advertising online is the lack of understanding of how it works.

Newspaper advertising is simple, right? All you need to do is get a photo, write some words and call the paper and say I’d like to take out an ad.

Digital advertising can be just as simple. Instead of calling the newspaper though, you call an independent pharmacy marketing agency like us.

Digital advertising is only difficult if you want to do it yourself AND you don’t know what you’re doing.

Advertising your Pharmacy on Facebook & Instagram

Realistically, this section could be about any social media, but we focus on Facebook & Instagram for a simple reason. The majority of your pharmacy’s target market’s attention is on those platforms.

Whilst TikTok might be the talk of the town, the reality is that it’s only so talked about because young people use it, and young people are the most vocal online. You can use TikTok, and it can be effective, but only for specific circumstances. Take advertising Emergency Contraception, with an advert created for a younger audience. As a one-off, TikTok makes sense.

But for the majority of pharmacy services you’d want to advertise, Flu Jabs, Ear Wax Removal, Vitamin B12 jabs, Prescription Delivery – the audience is older. And older audiences are on Facebook & Instagram.

Advertising on Social Media is best for products & services people aren’t aware of

They’re scrolling on social media, not actively looking for solutions to their problems. So your advert reaches out and shows them something they need but weren’t thinking about, and convinces them to take action.

This works best when it’s direct and to the point. Itchy scalp? Buy this shampoo. Yellow teeth? Buy this teeth whitener.

It works well for services too. Ears full of wax? Ear Wax Removal service. Long waiting list for a flu jab? Walk-in appointments available.

How do you make sure the person seeing your advert needs the service?

Targeting Your Audience

Without a doubt, the single best thing about digital advertising is targeting specific audiences. Have a service that’s only relevant for 50 to 60-year-old women living within 5 miles of your pharmacy? No problem. With Social Media advertising, you can make sure only the people who belong to that audience see your advert.

It doesn’t just have to be age and gender, either. You can target interest groups too. People who like health and nutrition pages may be more interested in your healthy living products, for example.

Blending in

Here’s something that’s not talked about enough. The adverts which get the most attention on social media don’t look like adverts. They look like social media posts.

When you’re watching the TV, you watch it for the programme. When ads come on, you go and boil the kettle, you nip to the toilet.

As a general rule, people avoid adverts. So you need to make your social media adverts blend in with other social media posts as much as possible.

How to create pharmacy adverts for social media

The number one rule of creating ads for social media? Feature people.

People use social media to connect with the people in their lives. As a community pharmacist, you are a person in someone’s life.

Connecting those two facts is critical for success on social media.

You only get one chance to make a first impression

In the fickle world of scrolling, you need to both grab attention and keep it. That means text which immediately tells people that what you’re talking about is relevant to them. It means using a tone of voice that holds people’s interest.

These things are easier said than done. Organic social media can seem raw and unpolished, even having spelling mistakes and still be successful, etc. The worst-case scenario with organic social media is you post again. It’s free. But with advertising, it can be an expensive game figuring out what text works best.

That’s generally why it’s actually cheaper to advertise with a pharmacy marketing agency like us. Instead of spending so much time and money trying to find the right formula, you pay us and we use the same formula that works for the hundreds of other pharmacies we advertise for.

Following advertising guidelines

There are strict rules around advertising pharmaceuticals, for obvious reasons. An unfortunate side-effect of that, however, is that it means automated systems occasionally flag your adverts for breaching advertising policy even if you haven’t done anything wrong.

Promoting sign-ups to your Prescription Reordering App for instance can be incorrectly red-flagged because you use the word “prescription”.

For these reasons, it’s again beneficial to seek guidance from a marketing agency that specialises in the pharmacy industry. We’re acutely aware of what you can and can’t say when it comes to Facebook & Google’s advertising policies.

Using Video Content for Pharmacy Advertising

What are the benefits of using Video Content in adverts?

The human eye is attracted to movement from an evolutionary standpoint. Movement attracts attention. Advertising is an attention game. So video is naturally a great fit for advertising.

But video offers more advantages than that.

Videos allow longer, complicated ideas to be expressed. As any advertising space is restricted, any images or text are also restricted.

Videos, on the other hand, utilise that space so much better.

What should the video be about?

A great place to start with videos is taking whatever you would’ve advertised with image & text, and turning that into a video.

Advertising a flu vaccination, for example, which works well on social media. Pharmacies often use stock images of injections, or even a good picture of a pharmacist. And they do work because it still gets noticed by people keeping a keen eye out for flu vaccination information.

But videos work better.

I’ll always remember taking the time out to show a client the type of video that would work for promoting flu. I sent a quick 30-second video with my phone just to show how simple the video could be and told him to do something like that.

He recorded a video explaining why the flu vaccine is so important and we used that in a Facebook advert. It got tens of thousands of views and the pharmacist told me that people were constantly telling him they’d seen him on the internet when they came into the pharmacy.

How can I make a professional video for an advert in a pharmacy?

The biggest fallacy of social media content is that highly polished = successful.

The above example I gave where the pharmacist recorded themselves in the back room talking about the flu vaccine with their phone camera – that’s the most production you need. Social media is full of homemade content. No one’s expecting 20th Century Fox levels of production. In fact, in the interest of blending in to make people feel like what they’re watching isn’t an advert, it shouldn’t be polished. Talk to them as though they’re in your pharmacy and you’re on the right track.

So, long story short, you don’t need professional standard videos for social media. A video shot on selfie-mode on your smartphone is good enough.

Advertising at the top of Google

Google Ads are a great way of reaching people actively searching for your services.

This is ideal, as you know the people seeing your ad want the product or service you’re advertising. That means you’re not spending money showing ads to people who’ll never buy your services. (We talk about that in more detail in our “5 ways Digital Advertising beats Traditional Advertising article.”)

Every upside has a downside, and this one is that Google isn’t useful for advertising things people don’t search for. Prescription Delivery, for example, is just not something that enough people are searching to make it worth advertising.

Will my ad be shown to people outside of my area?

For most people, Google is a magic portal to the internet. So it’s legitimate to wonder how it works. With Google Ads, one of the ways you can target who you’re paying to see your ad is by postcode, which is perfect for community pharmacies. This means no wasting money advertising to people who live too far away to access your pharmacy.

Can I advertise my pharmacy through Google My Business?

Google My Business is not the same as Google Ads.

That said, it is a pre-requisite. You can only advertise on Google if you’re registered with Google My Business, so you might as well optimise your presence.

if you’re interested in using Google My Business to promote your pharmacy for free, here’s a more in-depth look at how Google My Business works for community pharmacies.

Creating a visually attractive Pharmacy Display

When talking about Community Pharmacy, it would be remiss to ignore the fact that many pharmacies are located in high footfall areas, such as village centres and high streets.

This is the one space you’ve got free advertising – so make the most of it!

Just…exercise moderation when advertising in your pharmacy display. There’s nothing worse than the dreaded blanket of posters.

You want your pharmacy to appear clean. It’s a healthcare environment after all, and your window is often the first impression people have of your pharmacy.  But we do want to utilise this space for advertising, giving people a reason to visit.

As is often the case, the sweet spot is the balance in-between the two.

You don’t want to miss out on showcasing your services, but poster overcrowding looks untidy – too many posters means people don’t focus on any of them.

The optimal solution is a digital screen – rotate as many messages as you like in a clean, eye-catching way without taking up too much space or time.

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Looking for an Independent Pharmacy Marketing Agency can be a hard task, especially if you don’t really understand marketing. This guide explains what you need to look for, so you can find an agency with confidence.

An Independent Pharmacy Marketing Agency should:

  • Understand how an independent pharmacy works
  • Understand the strict rules around advertising for pharmacies
  • Practise what they preach
  • Offer pricing that makes sense
  • Have a range of case studies that make sense

Where to start

There’s a lot to consider when entering into any business agreement. As an independent pharmacy marketing agency working with hundreds of pharmacy owners and superintendents, we understand what makes a good partnership. Like all partnerships, it’s a two-way street. For a truly successful working relationship, you have to understand what the agency needs from you and be willing to work with them too.

But in this article, we’ll focus on the independent pharmacy marketing agency and what they should bring to the table.

Pricing

Naturally, if you’re like most people that have ever existed, your initial instinct will be to hunt down the prices and find the cheapest option.

And whilst that instinct is of course a consideration, I’ll explain why the price tag isn’t the be-all and end-all.

Don’t be drawn in by a low price tag

Price comparisons are only comparisons when the product is the same. Is the new iPhone cheaper from one supplier than another? Great. Grab the cheapest deal.

But if one life insurance policy costs £5/month, and another costs £100/month? It would be foolish to rush out and grab the cheapest deal without knowing what you’re getting. If the £5/month deal only pays out £50 if you get hit by lightning, whilst the £100/month policy pays out £1 million, whatever happens, it’s clear that the £100/month policy was by far the better option.

Comparing service offerings from marketing agencies means comparing what’s being delivered, as well as the levels of service you receive. Once you have an idea of what’s being delivered, you can begin figuring out the comparative costs.

Return on Investment (ROI)

What’s also worth assessing is what return you’re going to see on the investment you’re making. It’s something you can address with an agency in any talks you have prior to signing any agreements.

Now, marketing is hugely variable, so not even the best agencies can give you accurate figures for your business. That’s crystal ball territory. But what they should do is discuss how businesses similar to yours have performed to give you an idea of what to expect.

If an agency is proud of the results they achieve, you’ll find they post case studies highlighting the work they’ve done. Again, this isn’t necessarily replicable for your business, but it gives you an indication of what’s possible.

Does the marketing agency practise what they preach?

A pretty simple way of finding out if a marketing agency is worth employing is to check how they market themselves, especially with regards to the specific services they’re offering to you.

Sign-up to their mailing list and see what their emails are like. How does their website compare to other agency websites? Check their social media out. Do they rank well on Google for a range of different search terms? Do they create how-to videos?

You’re choosing an agency to represent you. How they represent themselves gives a good indication of how your pharmacy will be represented.

Case Studies

I mentioned them before, but as well as executing their own marketing strategy well, nothing gives you more proof than what the agency has achieved with other pharmacies like yours.

Make sure to check out the agencies’ case studies.

Compare them with other case studies. Make sure to pay attention for stats, rather than just wild claims. Anyone can say they’ve increased sales, but that might mean generating one sale.

Why an independent pharmacy marketing agency should understand pharmacy

Okay, I wrote that heading a little obtusely. It’s pretty clear that it helps to know the subject you’re going to market.

But aside from that, we know the most precious commodity in pharmacy is time. Whilst it can be helpful to get an outside perspective on your business, you don’t want to be spending all your time educating your agency and fielding questions on all the ins and outs of pharmacy.

At Pharmacy Mentor, for instance, we balance the two. Our CEO is a pharmacist, and every new team member gets trained in pharmacy knowledge. What that means as an agency is bringing all the fresh marketing ideas to the industry whilst keeping our client interactions to analysis and strategy.

Whatever agency you look at, make sure they have that understanding.

Any agency working with pharmacies must understand the advertising policy around Pharmacy

Marketing fashion or any other simple consumer products online is simple, at least when it comes to rules to follow. You’d have to do something pretty outrageous to get an advertising account banned in most industries.

But with advertising pharmacy on digital channels, caution is highly advised. We’ve had several clients come to us with accounts that have been banned for advertising prescription medicines, and others banned for promoting their COVID-19 vaccination service & PCR tests.

Once you are banned, it’s nigh-on impossible to get un-banned. This is really harmful to your marketing prospects, as advertising can be a massive source of new business.

So it’s critical that whomever so handles your advertising…is aware of the minefield they tread.

Facebook & Google’s Policy on advertising pharmaceuticals

This is because Facebook and Google‘s advertising policies have extremely strict policies for certain areas of medicine on their platform. I’ve linked them there so you can have a quick peek, but often what you’ll find is it’ll say things like “as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion.”

Now, what that means is, it isn’t explicitly written anywhere what you can and can’t say. And your advertising account can be banned without warning for breaching the advertising policies around pharmaceuticals.

What that means is, if you value your ability to advertise online, you need to tread carefully when advertising your pharmacy. From an agency standpoint, that’s why it’s important to work with people who know what the rules are. Pharmacy Mentor are have both Google & Facebook agency reps who help us navigate this terrain, and it’s worth its weight in gold.

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At Pharmacy Mentor we’re on a mission to help every Community Pharmacy in the UK digitise their pharmacy and thrive in the new age of digital healthcare.

If you’d like to have a conversation with us about marketing your pharmacy, please fill out our contact form. A member of our team will contact you for a chat about what you’re looking to do and the best way to proceed.

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pharmacy automation: what you need to know - with a robot pushing a cardboard box
Pharmacy automation has existed since the 1960’s, yet full automation is still a long way away for most pharmacies. Automation comes in many different forms, and whilst most articles cover one form or another, this article covers all bases.

Pharmacy Automation includes:

  • Websites
  • Dispensing Robots
  • Digital Displays
  • PMR Systems
  • Prescription Reordering Apps
  • Electronic CD Registers
  • Prescription Collection Points
  • Pharmacy Management Systems

Get your automating ducks in a row.

Answering the most asked questions around Pharmacy Automation

What does automating mean for a pharmacy?

Automating in a pharmacy isn’t just about robots taking over. It means taking repetitive tasks and devising a way to achieve the same outcome without human input. In the industrial age, that meant human redundancies. In pharmacy, that means the staff trained for patient care are now released from the shackles of these administrative tasks. Rather than redundant, they’re released for valuable tasks instead of functional tasks.

Does automating mean fewer employees in the pharmacy?

No. Automations typically means your staff can spend more time on value-adding tasks that can’t be automated, such as customer service and patient care.

How many team members do you know that love being in the back room with no windows? Your pharmacy team will almost certainly be happier out in the front, assisting and helping the people in their community. And improving that care leads to higher revenue through cross-selling, and the ability to spend time on private clinical services. Meaning you could even employ more team members.

Can the role of a pharmacist be automated?

No. A pharmacist is still needed for their medical judgment and expertise, as well as patient consultations. However, a pharmacist’s life can be made considerably easier with automation. Instead of spending their valuable time on administrative tasks, they can be freed up to spend all their time doing what they do best.

Which is the best pharmacy automation to start with?

The best place to automate your pharmacy is wherever you and your team are spending the most time.

Typically, that will be around prescriptions. But are you spending more time on the phone than you are dealing with the prescriptions? Or would you have more time to answer the phone if you weren’t so busy counting pills and updating CD registers?

Well, the feedback we get from pharmacies suggests that the majority of phone calls they receive are around prescriptions. Specifically, patients asking when their prescriptions will be ready to collect. There are numerous ways to automate prescriptions.

Adding an automated phone message when people call your pharmacy

e.g., “Thank you for calling our pharmacy. If you’re calling to find out when your prescription is ready, please download our app/send us an email, where we will get back to you as soon as possible.”

Dispensing Robots

This is a big one if you have a big prescription business. So much so, it’s probably the go-to thing pharmacists would think of when you say the phrase “pharmacy automation.”

A dispensing robot is invaluable not only in saving you time on dispensing, but also in reducing errors.

If you have a village pharmacy where the amount of prescriptions isn’t a huge drain on your team’s time, it’s probably the case that your resources are best spent elsewhere. But if you’re dispensing multiple thousands of prescriptions? It’s window-shopping for robots time.

How do websites automate pharmacy?

Websites have the potential to automate almost every administrative element of pharmacy. Of course, the limitation is budget.

Websites can integrate with just about any software with the right amount of development, but there’s a sweet spot when it comes to balancing affordability with functionality.

And for that reason, I won’t go too deep into the potential. We’ll focus instead on what most pharmacies can achieve with a website when it comes to automating.

Automating Medicine Sales & Clinical Bookings

Websites don’t only automate processes for you, they also automate for your patients. Instead of having to visit the pharmacy to collect medication (which doesn’t really make sense for a sick person when you think about it), the entire journey can be completed online – even down to risk assessment.

Below is an excerpt from our article on How to Build An Online Independent Prescribing Clinic – and it shows how the process of evaluating suitability for POM’s & P-line medicines can be done entirely by the patient, meaning you only have to sign it off.

“For example, a patient ordering Treclin for acne through your website will be prompted to start an online consultation. They’re then taken step-by-step through a comprehensive consultation – just like you’d take them through in the pharmacy. Questions don’t become answerable until the last one is completed, ensuring 100% accuracy. But this is an example user journey, not the only one. It depends on how the GPhC sees this as regulatorily sound.”

Independent Prescriber websites

A megamenu from a Pharmacy Mentor website for an Independent Prescriber

For clinical services, your patient can book, pay for and fill out a pre-assessment questionnaire, all on a pharmacy website. That means the sole focus of the appointment is patient care and treatment.

This process is so appealing for a prospective patient that if you’re the only pharmacy around offering this convenience, you’ll begin amassing patients. Which, with your system automated, won’t put the strain that an increased volume of patients would usually bring on your team.

Of course, the opposite is true. Wondering why no one’s signing up for your service? Or why your prescription business is thinning? There might well be a pharmacy with a simpler, automated process amongst your competitors.

Automating Data Collection

How do you ensure when someone visits your pharmacy, or your pharmacy website that they come back again?

By adding them to a mailing list, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to communicate with the people who’ve already chosen your pharmacy once. But since we’re in the business of automating, you can automate that process too. Any visitors to your website can be prompted to sign-up to your mailing list with a pop-up. What you incentivise this with is entirely down to you, be it signing up to EPS, 10% off their next retail purchase, or special email-only offers. The important thing is you can then re-capture the business.

To automate the process for visitors into your pharmacy, you can hand the patient an iPad whilst they wait for their prescriptions (if they’re interested in joining your mailing list of course) with a sign-up form. This is what retail stores do as normal practice now.

Prescription Collection Points – the new ATM?

Prescription Collection Points were niche only a couple of years ago. But that’s the thing about revolutionary tech. It’s all early adopters until they start talking about how much it’s changed their lives.

And Prescription Collection Points have changed pharmacies’ fortunes. Some of the busiest pharmacies in the UK are using Prescription Collection Points (plural) to manage tens of thousands of prescriptions – a volume they can only manage with the Collection Points. And a volume they attracted in part by offering the collection service.

Take a look at this Case Study we developed that harnessed the power of a Prescription Collection Machine.

History repeating itself

It shouldn’t be a surprise. This is the exact same function that banks took decades ago with the introduction of the ATM. At the time, the conventional wisdom was there was no way customers wouldn’t want to see a bank teller to withdraw money from their account. Now, can you imagine preferring queuing in a bank to using an ATM?

Bank staff members were suddenly released from these cash-dispensing jobs, where mistakes in counting were rife, and instead re-allocated to in-depth customer service where they could recommend bank products as solutions to people’s financial problems.

Sound familiar? Replace money with medicine in that last sentence and you’ve got yourself an exact parallel with pharmacy.

You don’t need me telling you that prescriptions are the biggest time sink in pharmacy. So, if you’re automating to free up time, a Prescription Collection Point seems like a pretty good place to start.

Patient Medication Record Systems (PMRs)

PMRs are commonplace in pharmacies, but that’s a bit like saying computers are common in people’s homes. Yes, a computer makes your life easier, but if you’re still running Windows 95 with dial-up Internet, your life is still significantly harder than someone with the latest software on superfast broadband.

PMR systems range from basic medication management software, with clunky interfaces and slow loading times, to state-of-the-art Pharmacy Management Systems which integrate with Dispensing robots and pretty much any healthcare app.

Not all PMRs are created equal.

Upgrading your PMR system is another potential revolutionary moment for your pharmacy team.

Want some guidance on the different PMR systems available? Check out our Ultimate PMR Systems Guide, which explores the offerings from the top providers in the UK.

Automating business admin with Pharmacy Management Systems

What is a Pharmacy Management System?

A pharmacy management system is software providing a digital overview of your organisation. It enables reporting, analysing, and informed management decisions that come as a result.

What is the difference between a Pharmacy Management system (PMS) and a Patient Medication Records System (PMR)?

Think of a pharmacy management system as your digital business assistant. Anything to do with the business side of a pharmacy business is taken care of there. A PMR system is usually for medication management. It focuses on the pharmacy side of a pharmacy business.

Recently, however, the worlds of PMR and PMS are bleeding into each other. Ultimately, it’s all software. And software can be programmed to do whatever you need it to. So it shouldn’t come as much surprise that overlap is starting to occur between PMR and PMS providers.

It certainly makes life easier having everything integrated into one central location.

What does a Pharmacy Management System facilitate?

A PMS in Pharmacy can cover pretty much anything you want it to. Often the software is developed bespoke, or for more off-the-shelf solutions you can select module components to build up a system that fits your business model.

So how do Pharmacy Management Systems automate your tasks?

The answer is that running your pharmacy business without a Pharmacy Management system is like running your life without a smart phone. Sure, you could. Historically, we did it with no problem. But, with something right there making so many different things accessible and simple in one place, why would you?

Pharmacy Management Systems bring all aspects of your pharmacy into one digital space, including but not limited to:

  • Stock Levels
  • Sales
  • HR & Training
  • SMS Communications & Patient Data
  • EPS

Digital Displays

How do digital displays automate pharmacy?

First, let’s refresh the notion of what displaying anything in your pharmacy achieves. The purpose of a pharmacy display is to attract attention to communication/promotion.

But what happens when you have multiple things you need to tell your community, or multiple products/services you want to draw their attention to?

This is where the dreaded wall of posters usually rears its oh-so-ugly head.

And where the messages and promotions all drown each other out into one big noise that nobody pays any attention to.

Ok, but what does that have to do with pharmacy automation?

Well, the process of automating your displays conveniently goes hand-in-hand with your objective of communicating effectively, so it’s worth mentioning as an added bonus.

With a digital display, all the messages and promotions you want to display can be added to a playlist (including any social media posts you create.) The playlist then automatically loops each message, giving each and every message its own moment in the spotlight.

Say goodbye to endless pinning up and pulling down posters when they’re no longer relevant. Just relevant, clear communications, whatever season you’re in. It’s smaller automation, but every little helps.

Prescription Reordering Apps

What is a prescription re-ordering app?

A prescription re-ordering app is a bit of software that allows patients who sign up for the app to re-order their repeat prescriptions through the app, either on their desktop or mobile. Traditionally these re-orders would either have to be done over the telephone or in the pharmacy.

How do they help automate my pharmacy?

Short of integrating something similar into your own website and systems, (which as a bespoke project would cost a lot) Prescription Re-ordering Apps are an incredible reliever of the infamous endless phone calls.

Not only does the patient not have to contact the pharmacy over the phone to order the prescription, but they’re also alerted when their prescription is ready for collection/delivery. Patients checking whether their prescription is ready is another major source of phone calls, so automating this frees up your team’s time (and sanity) from answering those calls.

prescription reordering apps on a mobile phone

An example selection of prescription reordering apps as they appear on a user’s phone.

Are all prescription re-ordering apps the same?

No. Just like any other pharmacy software, different providers have different focuses for their apps, and there is no one-size-fits-all. It’s important to consider that the app you select won’t just be used by your team, but by your patients. User-friendliness, or lack of it, will reflect on your business.

I could go into more depth, but we’ve already done that.

We’ve written a guide to some of the top Prescription Re-ordering Apps if you want some more guidance for which app to choose for your pharmacy.

Electronic CD Registers

To stay compliant with the law, you must account for all controlled drugs on your premise, which isn’t news to you.

It probably isn’t news to you either that you can do all this electronically. Or that this is way more efficient than writing everything down, for a number of reasons:

  • Everything is recorded automatically, meaning auditing/paper trails are done instantly by just filtering the relevant data.
  • Fewer mistakes are made, which means less work chasing up errors.
  • Easier mistake rectification. Accidentally dispensed out-of-date medicines? Rather than searching through lots of paper files, you can identify where that medicine has gone at a touch of a button. That said, if you use an Electronic CD register, you probably didn’t dispense out-of-date medicines (though mistakes happen!)
a large cabinet with lots of files

Say goodbye to huge filing systems.

Of course, you must make sure your Electronic CD Register software is compliant, but unless you’re building it yourself, unsurprisingly, most Electronic CD Register software providers in the UK have compliance with the UK law as standard.

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Are you stuck for pharmacy blog post ideas? Blogs are central to promoting your pharmacy business online. After all, business websites that include a blog have a 434% better chance of ranking highly on search engines like Google.

But if your pharmacy blog only has one entry – “Welcome to our blog”  – you risk losing credibility and it may even harm your Google ranking.

Coming up with healthcare blog ideas is a chore and if you’re a pharmacy owner, you probably don’t have time for writing content.

But consider these statistics on why you need to commit time and resource to your blog:

  • 66% of marketers also use their blog content for their social media posts
  • 81% of people consider blogs to be trusted sources of information
  • 94% of people will share a blog if they think the content is helpful.

Trusted and helpful? That sounds exactly how a community pharmacy should be described.

Getting started or revitalising an existing blog is a lot easier with fourteen pharmacy blog post ideas that will last forever:

The 14 Pharmacy Blog Post Ideas which last forever

1. Tips for staying healthy

Get straight down to business and offer some advice on staying healthy. Ideas on maintaining a healthy lifestyle are great, but avoid getting preachy. Other topics could be how to reduce IBS symptoms, common allergy triggers, or avoiding flu this winter (don’t forget to link to your flu jab service).

2. Think seasonal

New Year is weight-loss and quitting smoking, spring is getting travel vaccines for summer holidays. Summer is allergies and sun protection.  Winter is avoiding colds and looking after our elderly.

3. Frequently asked questions

What are those questions you get asked time and time again? Answer them in a blog post!

4. Frequently un-asked questions

What are the questions your customers may be too embarrassed to ask? Such as how do you use a suppository. Answer these in a blog post too.

5. Instructional Vlogs

ake a tour of your pharmacy including your consultation rooms; show where to find the sunscreen or painkillers or demonstrate how to properly use an inhaler.

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6. Pharmacy vs GP

As the pharmacist’s role in the community continues to evolve, patients’ awareness of accessing healthcare can be left behind. So let your customers know when they should visit their GP and when they can come to you instead.

7. A day in the life

Go through a typical shift for different roles within your pharmacy team. How does an early shift compare to an evening or weekend shift?

8. New Services

Offering a new service to patients? How else are they supposed to find out more about it? Write details of the service, why it’s beneficial, and how patients can use it.

9. Customer success stories

Tell the story of a recently treated patient (anonymously, of course.) This could be how you were able to source an out-of-stock medicine or spotting a serious symptom and referring to a hospital.

10. Spotting the signs of…

… someone having a stroke, sepsis, or bad reactions to new medicines.

11. Discuss something controversial

Maybe there is a new wonder drug available or what about the use of medical cannabis? Talk about it, however, remember to present a balanced view.

12. Charity work

Writing about the charity work you do is a great way to show your customers what a friendly and helpful community pharmacy you are. Not only that, but if you let the charity know you’re writing a blog about them, they’ll almost certainly share it with their audience.

13. Staff profiles

You can keep it strictly professional and talk about training, qualifications and career motivation. Or keep it fun with favourite ice cream flavours or whether they prefer cats or dogs.

Include a decent photo too as that will add to the friendliness of your pharmacy team.

14. Myth-busting posts

Quick advice posts that dispel mistakes people often make. For example, “What NOT to do if you burn yourself”, “What to do if you forget to take your prescription” etc.

These catchy titles draw people into your post, and your article can get stuck into the advice.

Your pharmacy blog post ideas need to offer helpful content

Remember what you are trying to achieve with your pharmacy blog post ideas. It’s more than selling services. It’s about building the reputation of being professional, helpful and friendly.

By demonstrating how knowledgeable and helpful you are, you are more likely to:

  • Get social media shares
  • Gain links from other websites
  • Turn web traffic into pharmacy customers

Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about how Pharmacy Mentor can help with your digital marketing including blog posts.

Marketing statistics source https://expresswriters.com/blogging-statistics/

the pharmacy show 2021 17th and 18th of october at the nec arena

The Pharmacy Show 2021 is at the NEC Arena in Birmingham on the 17/18th October for two days jam-packed with speakers, networking and exhibitions!

The Pharmacy Show is back!

And we will be there! Pharmacy Mentor thrived after the last Pharmacy Show in 2019. With the show cancelled through the pandemic, we’re extra excited to finally get the chance to go back.

Here are all the reasons we can’t wait for The Pharmacy Show 2021…

Captain Obvious, reporting for duty

We couldn’t possibly assemble a list of reasons we’re excited for the 17th/18th October without addressing the elephant in the room.

It’s just good to be back for a social event, isn’t it?

We’re a largely digital company as it is, so any opportunity to meet our clients is fantastic. It’s been exciting enough to go for drinks after work recently. So an arena bubbling with excitement and optimism has us pumped!

The Pharmacy Show hosts the biggest names and the widest range of businesses in the UK pharmacy industry – there’s nowhere else to find this level of pharma-people all in one place.

 

It’s a BIG PLUS from the Pharmacy Show

Conversations = Opportunity

This point transcends industries or events. This is life! The entire success of humanity spans from communication. Idea-sharing, collaborations, best practice, new thinking. They all overlap, but none of them come without the conversations. The Pharmacy Show is THE biggest event of the Pharmacy Year, and thousands upon thousands of life-changing conversations will be held here.

Attend with intent. Have the conversations. Understand the opportunities. Explore the possibilities.

Chasing the waves

The Pharmacy industry is the ocean. As a pharmacy, you’re either swimming in it or surfing. Swimming is hard work, all the time. And you move along at a slow and steady pace. But it feels safe. You’re moving at a comfortable speed and you’ve got control. Wipeout (crashing) is a term for surfers, not swimmers. You can’t wipeout doing the breaststroke. And so, you’re happy. You look at the surfers and think, I’m happy not risking falling off and breaking something.

Surfers meanwhile, spend all their time chasing the waves. Chasing the waves is extremely hard work. Harder even than just swimming about, because you’ve got to swim too. You’ve got to swim hard and think about climbing on your board and balancing. But when you catch the wave, that’s when you leave those swimmers in your wake.

Why am I talking about swimming and surfing?

Because when the ocean is calm, you can afford to swim. But when the waters are choppy, swimmers get left behind.  When swimmers get left behind in strong, choppy waters, swimmers can easily drown, no matter how hard they work. And right now, the pharmacy industry is in revolution.

Tune in to the current. Listen to the wave-makers and the champion surfers at The Pharmacy Show. The 17/18th October at the NEC Arena is the right place at the right time for you to catch the next big wave in pharmacy.

Don’t get left behind.

What we’re doing at the Pharmacy Show.

The Pharmacy Show is a great place for industry leaders and service providers to demonstrate what they’re all about.

We’re starting the demonstration early. We’re showing that geographical location isn’t as important as people finding you online, and we’re leading by example. You’ll find us tucked away in a corner of the expo hall at stand G72. But we’re going to guide people to our stand online, the same way we help our clients get found by patients.

We love the opportunities that The Pharmacy Show presents to be creative and dynamic with your exhibition, and we’re doubling down.

Checking out the latest in healthcare technology

As well as exhibiting, we’ll of course be exploring the event ourselves whenever we can.

Digital Health innovations affect everyone across the healthcare and pharmacy industries, so it’s going to be great to see the latest and greatest innovations. There’s no better way to see these than live, with demonstrations and explanations from the companies behind them.

Book your ticket now

You can book your ticket through the official website of The Pharmacy Show 2021, for either yourself or a group.

We’ll see you there!

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how to setup a successful pharmacy ecommerce website
A successful eCommerce website massively expands your customer base and increases spend from your existing customer base. How? By putting you in front of their faces when they’re ready to buy.

Online sales rise continually year on year, but if you don’t have a pharmacy eCommerce website, you won’t see a penny of it.

ecommerce sales as a percentage of total retail sales

The components of a successful Pharmacy eCommerce Website

This article is a recipe for sweet success when it comes to eCommerce. But what are the key ingredients you need for the delicious end result?

  • Information-rich product pages/descriptions
  • Simple (and secure!) checkout process
  • A good eCommerce platform
  • Customised design for your specific business
  • Intuitive and convenient categorisation & navigation around the online shop
  • A mobile-responsive version of the site.
  • SEO

Before we start putting the pieces together for a successful site, let’s first take a step back and look at the big picture. (That’s what my mum always told me to do with jigsaws.)

How Pharmacy eCommerce works

Pharmacy eCommerce is about taking your pharmacy business online. Not just the marketing, but the actual sales themselves. We’re not talking about just booking services anymore, but setting up a full online store with products, payments, and postage.

For your customers, this means they can buy from you without ever leaving their homes. Super convenient.

For you, this means expanding your business beyond the previous geographical limits. Check the case study below for an example of what success looks like with a pharmacy eCommerce website!

The present and future of eCommerce

In 5 years’ time, you’ll wear a pair of glasses that connect to your temples. When you think about something you need, the glasses bring up an option to order it straight away from the most relevant supplier.

Ok, I made that up. But only to prove a point. Because that’s essentially how Google works already. And increasingly, how audio works. Let me explain. If you already know how Google and smart devices work, skip the next two headings.

eCommerce on Home Voice Devices

This is how easy ordering products online with smart household devices is.

  1. Start an order, say something like “Ok Google, buy Ibuprofen.”
  2. Google reads off the top search results and asks for confirmation.
  3. Say “Yes” to order, or “No” to get the next search result.
Smart Home Devices can be used for shopping online

Smart Home Devices are increasingly used across modern households.

Depending on your device, you can also specify a preference for a specific company. Simply say “Buy Ibuprofen from JP Pharmacy” to only get results from your favourite shop. Already bought an item? You can say “reorder Ibuprofen” to place the same order again, which should default to the same place you bought it from.

Recognising convenience as the biggest strength of eCommerce, you see how this process could be used to capture and lock down repeat business.

Pharmacy eCommerce websites on Google

We’ve talked many times about how when people need something and they don’t know where to get it, Google is where they go. And so ranking highly on Google is critical to any eCommerce strategy. I won’t go into too much detail here, but if you want to understand why ranking on Google is so important to your strategy, read this pharmacy guide to winning Google.
The additional element you need for eCommerce is optimising those product pages. Pertinent information and relevant product descriptions helps Google index your site, as well as giving a great shopping experience. The combination of those two means you’ll rank well on Google and will reap the profits as a result.

Creating a successful Pharmacy eCommerce website

Now we understand how they work, it’s time to follow our recipe for creating that successful Pharmacy eCommerce website.

Firstly, select the right platform

We use WooCommerce, because of its seamless integration into WordPress sites. What this means is the complete functionality of WordPress with your shop.

Why is that good?

Glad you asked. Just for absolute clarity – an eCommerce platform is not the same as a website. So, using WooCommerce (eCommerce platform) because it works well with WordPress, means you can create an entire website with eCommerce, rather than just one or the other.

Next, Customise your Website

This is important for your shoppers and your pharmacy business too. Once we’ve got our platform, it’s time to think about how it appears online. Customising its appearance and structure makes a massive difference.

For happy customers

Your online shop should be as distinguished an experience as shopping in your pharmacy. That’s not to say it’s the same level of experience. But just as you’d hope to give someone a better experience than your competition, you should strive to deliver a better experience than your competition.

For an efficient pharmacy business

Customising your website for the way you work is another cornerstone for success. Because the website is only the front of the business, like a physical pharmacy building. It still requires work behind the scenes to deliver on the orders.  Understanding how you operate and incorporating that into the website is critical.

On the customer side, it ensures excellent service. From your side, it prevents administrative workload issues. Further than that, the right website design brings a level of automation that improves the profitability of your overall business.

There are also different models and focuses of pharmacies now. Customising a website with these focuses in mind is important. The difference between success and irrelevance can be fine margins. The devil is often in the details.

See that in action as we build an eCommerce solution for an Aesthetics pharmacy in the case study below.

Website Design

Now it’s time to think about presentation. The eCommerce platform was the skeleton, your customised website is the muscles, now it’s time to put the skin on and make the whole thing look pretty.

Interactive and responsive design, including contemporary look-and-feel, good usability and high-quality graphics is the pinnacle.

If people don’t feel like your website is up-to-date, it won’t inspire confidence that your products or services are. I’ve seen websites look so dated, I didn’t buy from them in case it was a business that didn’t even trade anymore. I wouldn’t want my money going somewhere unless I’m sure I’m going to get the product.

Cultivating the intuitive navigation and layout

Presumably you put thought into the layout of your pharmacy. Where products go, what signs you use for different sections, like Prescriptions, Skincare etc. More recently you’ve implemented one-way systems and social distancing stickers on the floors.

This all needs doing for your online shop. Don’t forget the number one reason people are shopping online in the first place – convenience. Making your website as easy as possible to find both the products that people are visiting specifically to buy, as well as recommending similar or alternative products mirrors the journey they’d experience in your pharmacy.

Creating a product ecosystem with integrated SEO

Product ecosystems are simply products that interlink with each other in some way. Think Apple’s iPhone, Airpods, and Apple Watches. If you have one, chances are you’ll want the others.
Product ecosystems help both the buying journey and the Google ranking, so it’s a must for any pharmacy eCommerce website. Linking optimised content with relevant, optimised product pages sounds technical, but it’s really simple in concept.

All it means, translated into simple terms, is that you’re combining the information and advice with your product, as well as linking relevant products. Buying throat numbing spray? You might also be interested in Vapour Rub, Lemsip, and Lozenges.

Including a “How-to-use” guide (or similar) with your product not only helps people to find you on Google, but also instills confidence in the purchase at the moment of decision-making.

Having the relevant information on your product pages boosts your Google rankings too, the same way blog articles and other web pages rank higher with well-organised and relevant information.

Safe & Simple Checkout Process

Picture it.

You pop into the supermarket and pick up a carton of juice for the morning. You get to the checkouts and it’s like Christmas Eve, every checkout has at least three packed trolleys. Do you wait half an hour to buy that juice? Of course you don’t. Because you don’t have the time.

So you leave. You head to a corner shop and pick up juice there. The woman behind the counter says they only accept credit cards. She pulls out a machine that doesn’t look anything like a normal card machine. She says she’ll need to take a photo of your card for security and your signature. Again, you put down the juice and say it’s ok, you’ll go somewhere else.

These are parallels by people’s experiences when giving up online. Even if the website was modern enough to attract the customer and simple enough for them to quickly find what they needed. If the checkout process isn’t simple and secure, you lose customers.

Bear this in mind when selecting an online payment gateway for your pharmacy.

Mobile-responsiveness is now Mobile-First

Once upon a time, optimising for mobile might have been the icing on the cake. Now it’s the self-raising flour. Without it, your website will fall flat. Google recently changed its algorithm, which is the system it uses to analyse and rank websites. Now, your site is judged on the experience it gives to mobile users. This is MASSIVE.

“If it’s your intention that the mobile version has less content than the desktop version, your site may lose some traffic when Google enables mobile-first indexing for your site, since Google won’t be able to get the full information anymore.” – developers.google.com

Why this is important is that you could previously heap tonnes of information onto the desktop version of your site, be judged on that, whilst your stripped-back, simplified mobile version would cruise off the success of your desktop site.

Now, that isn’t the case. This makes it slightly more difficult to strike the balance between informative content and sleek design. You want the information there, but you want to avoid the dreaded “wall of text” that puts off so many users from websites.

Necessary, but desirable

Whilst the Google update now makes Mobile-Friendly websites imperative, the number of mobile users shopping online should be the real incentive.

That one word again. Convenience. If there’s one thing you take away from this article, make it that convenience rules supreme online.

Of course, there is another way…

Just like a recipe, you can take this, and use it to create your own dish. (Though you’d need the technical know-how on top.)

Or, if you’d prefer, the Pharmacy Mentor MasterChefs can whip up a mouth-watering eCommerce solution for your pharmacy. We work with you, understand exactly what it is you need, and produce it. Just like we’ve done countless times for other community pharmacies.

5 reasons to use digital adverts
Advertising always has one goal – getting eyeballs on your offering. But Digital Advertising has some distinct advantages over traditional advertising. Read on for 5 ways digital beats traditional when advertising your pharmacy.

5 reasons to use digital advertising over traditional advertising

Before we begin, it’s worth defining exactly what we mean by both Digital & Traditional Advertising for pharmacy.

  • Digital advertising never leaves a computer network. The adverts get distributed online through platforms such as social media, search engines and websites.
  • Traditional advertising is delivered offline to the real world. You find real-world advertising in any space people look, from the sides of bins and buses to billboards, box offices, and buildings. Of course, there are adverts in the media, too. TV, Radio, newspapers, and magazines traditionally offered exposure on an unrivalled scale before digital advertising came around.

5 ways Digital Advertising for Pharmacy is better than offline adverts

1. Analytics

Traditional Issue

Let’s take a fairly common example. You advertise in a local magazine. It might look glamorous. It might be the best-written ad ever. The problem is, there’s no way of measuring exactly what impact your advertising campaign had on your revenue. Marketing is all about trial and error. Measuring what works and what doesn’t. Knowing when to hold and when to fold.

Sure, you might notice an increase in sign-ups or sales alongside a magazine or a newspaper advert, and you can roughly approximate it to the ad. But when you then run a different campaign and it doesn’t seem to have the same impact, you can’t easily compare the two. Did people just not see the ad? Or did they see it and not feel compelled to act? With traditional forms of advertising, there’s no way of knowing.

Why Digital Works Better

Digital Advertising records and tracks everything. How many people saw the ad? How many people clicked on it? It keeps all your work from all your campaigns. You can run A/B campaigns, where you run two different ads alongside each other and the best performing ad gets displayed more.

2. Interactivity

Traditional Issue

You see an ad in a magazine for a product you like or a service you think would be useful. But you’re reading a magazine. You turn over the page. The ad is gone, never to be seen again. You’re relying on people remembering the ad the next time

I’ve talked before about making it easy for people to buy from you. Advertising offline does the opposite of that.

Here are the two journeys.

Offline Ad

1. See ad.

2. Stop what you\’re doing to get your phone out.

3. See several notifications on your phone and explore what they are.

4. Forget why you got your phone out, put it away.

5. Look back at the magazine, and remember.

6. Get your phone back out again, (if you have data/signal) and search for the pharmacy.

7. Navigate the pharmacy website until you find the product or service you were interested in.

8. Hope it\’s easy to book/buy. (if it isn\’t easy, get bored and give up.)

9. Buy/book.

Online Ad

1. See ad in whatever platform you were using, e.g., Facebook.

2. Click ad and be taken straight to the relevant product/service.

3. Buy/book.

Out of those two columns, it’s easy to see which journey has a higher chance of converting someone into a customer. With today’s attention span, any extra steps in the buying process are just another opportunity for a distraction.

This isn’t the only way interactivity helps, but it’s certainly something that impacts the ROI on your ad budget.

Ads on Facebook, for example, present opportunities for conversation with you and allows questions about the ad they’ve just seen. You can’t quickly send someone a WhatsApp if you see an ad in the newspaper. With digital advertising, there’s often the opportunity to get in touch straight away.

3. Flexibility & Control

Traditional Issue

Now, this point isn’t applicable to every campaign you’ll run, but it is always a risk. If you spend £1,000 on printing leaflets and then realise there’s a GLARING spelling error, guess who’s paying to get them all re-printed?

This same risk applies across most traditional platforms. You have to supply the finalised design/advert ready for a deadline to print or air, and after that, you’ve no control.

Why Digital Works

Made a catastrophic error on your advert? How about just logging back in, rectifying the problem, and continuing your advert? No extra cost, no fuss. Bullet dodged.

4. Value

Traditional Issue

As you’ve seen, there are lots of measures of whether one form of advertising is better than another. But the one most people care about, is cost. How much will it cost me to show this ad to someone?

Well, it costs far, far less to reach 1,000 people using social media than it does through any other form of advertising. (socialaxcessconsulting.com)

Not only that but there’s generally a minimum cost to entry with traditional advertising. I’ve seen local magazines quoting small businesses £500 for a half-page ad. You could feasibly drop that same amount on a Facebook ad. But you’d guarantee people are actually seeing your ad through Facebook. Why? You see the stats.

In 2021, advertisers had to pay an average of 5.6 million U.S. dollars to air a 30-second long commercial during the Super Bowl LV broadcast

Why Digital Works

With digital advertising, there are numerous benefits when it comes to pricing.

Google Ads for instance, only charge you when people click on your ad. This means you can essentially trial whether or not there is demand for your service through Google. If people aren’t interested in your ad, you don’t pay for it. Google also gives you an insight into what your competitor’s budgets are for advertising similar things. (Learn more about Google Ads for Pharmacies here)

Facebook lets you choose how you get charged. Whether that’s the number of people who see your ad, when people like your page, or click on your link. This level of customisation is a welcome addition for people who want more control over their ad spend.

5. Smart Audience Targeting

Traditional Issue

You spend £10k to have an advert on a billboard in a popular location. You’re sold on the fact that it’s seen by 50k people. But how many of those 50k people are your target market? You end up paying over the odds for irrelevant people to view your ads.

Why Digital Works

With the vast majority of digital platforms you can advertise on, you can specify your ideal audience. Advertising NHS flu vaccines? You want to make sure you’re targeting people who are 65+. Advertising a Period Delay service? Obviously, men don’t need that service.

Remember, no matter how you want to advertise your pharmacy, we can help.

We have no bias towards digital or traditional marketing. Our bias is delivering results that help build your pharmacy’s future. In a strategy bespoke to you and your pharmacy business, we recommend the best tactics available to get you there. No matter what those tactics are.

SEO for Pharmacy
In our recent article, Blogging for Pharmacies: The Industry Missing the Gold Rush, we explored the power of online content. In this article, we’re exploring getting that content in front of people. One of the most effective ways of doing that is optimising your content for search engines like Google.

Before we begin, check out these stats demonstrating the importance of using SEO to get your pharmacy seen on Google.

  • The #1 position on Google gets 32% of all clicks. (Backlinko.com)
  • The top 3 Google search results get 75.1% of all clicks. (Backlinko.com)

seo guide for pharmacy

What is SEO, and what does it do?

What is SEO?

A search engine like Google has a checklist so that the web pages it recommends give a great user experience. The search engine recommends pages based on how well they score on that checklist. Put simply, Search Engine Optimisation is the process of making a web page more likely to be ranked higher by scoring well on that checklist.

Going through all the trouble of creating a website and filling it with content, only for nobody visiting the site sounds like a pointless exercise. Unless you deploy SEO as part of your digital strategy, I imagine this is your experience of having a website.

But you wouldn’t be alone. This is what the majority of the Internet looks like. Especially for pharmacy websites.

90.63% of all pages get zero traffic from Google. 5.29% of them get ten visits per month or less. (ahrefs.com)

What does SEO do?

Pharmacy owners we speak to about websites typically all have the same, templated website with little to no functionality. If you bought a $50 Rolex watch, would you be surprised if it stopped working after a month? You get what you pay for. And it’s the same with websites.

Buying a website “because you think you should”, with no plan for what it does or how it works? You’ll opt for the cheapest option. And why wouldn’t you? You have no idea what you want the website to achieve. Bearing no other factors in mind other than “having a website”, you choose the cheapest route to goal.

Ok, so you have a website. Now what? The only time it shows up is when people are searching for your pharmacy by name. Which is something, at least. It’s better than it showing someone else. But these people searching for you by name are already your customers. Your website isn’t attracting new visitors. And that’s the whole purpose of SEO. Attracting new business.

On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO

SEO can get incredibly complicated, incredibly fast. And you’re a business owner, not a marketer. You don’t care about those complexities. Let’s explain so you can see the big picture without needing any fine print.

Think of Google as a Visitor Information Centre for the town/city you’re in. When a person searches on Google, it’s just like asking the guide behind the information desk a question.

Such questions might be:

  • “Where can I find the nearest pharmacy”
  • “How to safely get rid of earwax”
  • “Where can I get a travel vaccination?”

For the guide to recommend you, they must know about the thing you want referrals for. It’s a bit like rules in a game. They’ll only recommend you for the things you’ve told them about.

You’re not the only player in the search engine game

Now, you’re not the only one who wants recommendations from the guide. Everyone in town wants visitors. So the guide uses a system. Everyone must create content they think will help the guide solve people’s problems.

Let’s use books as a substitute for websites, to highlight the point. You want to promote your Ear Wax Removal service. So you write a book called “How to remove ear wax safely – A Pharmacist’s Guide.” Over the road, an Ear Wax Clinic has written a book called “Ear Wax Removals – Book Appointments Now”. And on the other side of town, another pharmacy has written a book called “Cheap Ear Wax Removal.”

The guide reads these books and, based on how easy it was to read, how helpful it thinks the book is, and how much information the book had in, the guide ranks your book against the other books that other businesses have given it. This is on-page SEO.

So how do the rankings work?

Imagine you are the guide.

Which one would you recommend to people? It depends, right? If they’ve asked for “Cheap Ear Wax Removal”, on the title of the book alone, you’d recommend in this order:

  1. Cheap Ear Wax Removal book
  2. Ear Wax Removals – Book Appointments
  3. How to remove ear wax safely – A Pharmacist’s Guide

That being said, SEO is not determined by the title alone. This order could be different if the content in the second options was optimised for that search term. There are also other factors that could change these positions around, such as cookies and your location. You see, it’s tricky!

If they asked the guide How to safely remove Ear Wax, you’d likely recommend the complete opposite order.

Titles that contain a question get 14.1% more clicks vs. titles that don’t. (Backlinko.com) Why? Because most people have a question in their mind when they search online. Seeing the question they’re asking inspires confidence they’ll find the answer that applies to them.

Bear in mind, you’re not the only guide in town. Ultimately, if people don’t think your recommendations are any good, they’ll use another guide.

google vs bing meme

Search Engines monitor visitor’s behaviour

The Google guide recommends your content based on its own initial impression, but it absolutely takes user feedback on board. If it recommends your book, and someone immediately comes back and says they want a different book, it pays attention. If enough people do that, it stops recommending your book as highly. Its sole purpose is to help people solve their problems. If your book isn’t helping people, it will stop recommending you.

Now, the more content you create, the more you can be recommended by the Google guide for different keywords. Keywords are essentially the subjects your books cover. It’ll often be in the title. Using our previous example, “ear wax removal” was the key phrase you were targeting. Keywords let the guide know what you want the book to be judged on and recommended for.

But remember, the critical part of creating this content is the guide recommending you in the first place. The guide has learned over time what people like to see. So if you don’t meet these expectations, you won’t be recommended at all. There’s no point in spending the time writing the book if the guide thinks it’s rubbish and won’t ever recommend it to anyone. And the opposite is true, the more they recommend the content, the more worth your time it is.

Now is the time to use SEO to get your pharmacy on the first page of Google

At the time of writing, May 19th 2021, there really isn’t a lot of competition either. So it’s an incredibly effective use of your time, as there aren’t many people competing with you for the highest recommendations.

Of course, the guide is a little bit crafty. You can also just pay it to put you at the top of the ranking, using Google Ads. It tells people that you’ve paid for that recommendation, but it still recommends you before anyone who hasn’t paid it. It’s not exactly the cleanest process, but that’s how it makes its money.

search engine results page on Google for morning after pill near me

You can see the Ads dominate the top of the page. But a high percentage of online traffic goes to the organic results rather than clicking on Ads.

Off-page SEO – How that influences your recommendations

If on-page SEO is writing the book that Google recommends to people, off-page SEO is all the hype that book gets from other people.

  • Do other people reference your book in their books? (Links from other websites to your page.)
  • Is your book being read a lot without Google recommending it? (This is you sharing your content through social media and emails)
  • Do your own books reference this book? (Does the homepage of your website have a link to this page? If you don’t consider it super-important, why should Google?)

It’s important not to neglect your off-page SEO. Here’s a simple reason why:

You want Google to think your website is great, right? Think about a book again. If someone handed you a book they wrote and told you it was great, you might read it and make your own mind up. If it’s #1 on the NY Times Bestseller List, is multiple award-winning, and sold millions of copies, you’re going to assume that the book is of good quality before you’ve even read it.

The same’s true for your website. The more that external sources direct people towards it, the better Google presumes the content from your site is and the more credit it gives you.

What can I do to get better off-page SEO?

That is a big, big topic. You can check out The Ultimate Guide to Off-Page SEO by Neil Patel, if only to demonstrate an example of off-page SEO in action. Neil Patel writes these helpful articles, and folks like me use them in situations like this. The more this happens, the more Google loves his site. And they do.

How does using SEO for your pharmacy help your business?

  1. New Business from an active market.

    People who are in the active market know they have a problem and need a solution. (They usually know what the solution is too.) Their search terms might be “rehydration sachets”. Writing content for this market can see immediate returns and lets people know where they can find you to give you money to solve their problem. They have a problem, they find your solution.

  2. Activating a dormant market.

    The dormant market often doesn’t know what their problem is yet, so they Google the symptoms of their problem. To continue the example, they search “how to cure a hangover”. They’re not sure of what their problem is yet (they’re dehydrated) but writing content like “10 ways to cure a hangover” reaches this market. One of the 10 ways could mention rehydration sachets, “…which you can get at our pharmacy”. Someone wasn’t looking for your product, but they’ve found it. That concludes my lecture ‘Activating a Dormant Market 101’.

  3. Brand Awareness.

    Especially for pharmacies, we’re in a transitionary period where public awareness still isn’t there for the services you offer. Sending people to your website to solve their current problems also gives you the opportunity to show them all the other things you offer. Someone comes to your website for a travel vaccine and sees you also offer lip fillers. They find you for one thing and are made aware of another. The more you can be discovered in any area, the better. Web traffic just has the benefit of being large volume, especially when you are ranked highly on the Search Engines Results Page for a common search. The numbers that a website with proper SEO delivers can’t be beaten for the investment.

What about Technical SEO?

Technical SEO has been left until last deliberately. It’s actually more important than ever. But it is a bit boring.

Search engines not only measure how good your on-page content is to rank you, but they also measure all the technical aspects of your website and content and compare it to best-practice. Because performance matters to user experience.

Think of on-page SEO as how a car looks, and off-page SEO as how a car runs. Someone might excitedly climb behind the wheel of a Lamborghini, but if it runs like an Austin Metro, they’ll quickly get out again.

For example, pages that load within two seconds have an average bounce rate of 9%, while pages that load in five seconds see their bounce rates skyrocket to 38%. (“Bounce” means visitors exit the page without interacting with it.) Below is an excerpt from a tweet from Google’s John Mueller.

I can tell you as someone whose focus is on-page SEO, Technical SEO is not something you want to get bogged down with. Unless you know what you’re doing, it is a long and painful headache. Getting your site built and managed by professionals is the easiest way to get rid of that headache.

So what now?

Hopefully, that’s given you a clear view of SEO and its importance. Do your own marketing? Please, please implement SEO into what you do. Outsource your marketing? You now understand its importance in the work that either we, or anyone else does for you. If an agency doesn’t offer satisfactory answers or results with SEO, it’s worth questioning why not. SEO isn’t ever a guarantee, but if your SEO isn’t delivering, you at least want a guarantee that making it better is a focus.

pharmacy blogging
Most people think of blogging as something casual. Teenagers journaling, hobbyists documenting, commentators gossiping. But blogs fill the internet with content people want to read. It’s the Internet’s newspaper. Getting on the front page is simple for pharmacies…because barely anyone in community pharmacy uses their website’s blog.

pharmacy blog on a laptop

Why is a pharmacy blog so important?

Understanding why a pharmacy blog is important first means understanding what “blog” even means. The word blog derives from “weblog“, as in, logging the web. The internet is just information that is all connected on a big network. Web-logging, or blogging, is the process of adding information to the internet.

So, blogging is literally creating informative resources for people to access on the internet. Understanding that concept is key. Because that’s what people use the internet for. Looking up the meaning of a word. Finding out why they have a headache. Discovering the best Chinese takeaway near their house. All of it is accessing data and information that someone else has logged.

And that’s important. You can’t access information that isn’t there.

And so we reach our bombshell…pharmacies are not blogging.

That means people are looking for information and either not finding it, or finding it from another source.

What should a Pharmacy blog about?

Another article we shared, Stuck for Pharmacy Blog Posts? These 14 will last forever is great for continually adding new informational content to your site (which Search Engines like Google love, as it shows them they aren’t sending people to a dead website.)

But start with the basics. Do you offer a UTI service? How about writing a blog entitled, “Trimethoprim Treatments in South Manchester – No Appointment Necessary” or “Need UTI treatment in South Manchester? Antibiotics available.”

Now the next time I Google “UTI treatment near me” (see above video), I won’t find Walgreens and have to travel to the U.S. to get treatment. I’ll find my local pharmacy and nip down the road. And that pharmacy will generate revenue, simply by appearing online.

For a closer look at blogging in action, check out this case study, where Reach Pharmacy created blogs for their flu vaccine service.

stuck for pharmacy blog posts

How should you blog?

  1. Don’t sell, help.

    Unless someone Googles “sales pitch”, they don’t want to read one. Don’t tell them how great your service is. Highlight symptoms to be mindful of, causes of health problems, and recommend courses of action. Using Aesthetics Clinics as an example. Blog about “How often should you get lip fillers?” and write a helpful guide on how often to get fillers, the best fillers to use, and how to spot clinicians to avoid.

  2. Write for the reader. Talk about them, not you.

    Remember that people are looking for answers and advice online. The temptation as a business when marketing is solely focusing on your business; talking about your service, promoting yourselves as service providers. But don’t forget there’s a person with a problem reading your post. Address their concerns and pain points. Let them know you understand their problem, and it won’t take too much convincing that you’re the one who can solve it.

  3. End with a Call-to-Action

    Done properly, the information you convey through your pharmacy blog demonstrates that your service solves the reader’s problem. So, you don’t need essays about your service. But you should prompt action.

    Tell people what their next step is. Whether that’s contacting the pharmacy or booking an appointment online, give people signposts. Keep it simple.

  4. Optimise

    Would you bother writing a book if no one was ever going to read it? Optimising your blog for search engines means it reaches as many of the people you’re targeting as possible. If you’re bothering writing a blog, optimising it makes it worth your time. Learn more about on-page optimisation here.

When should you blog?

Let’s revisit the title of this article because it wasn’t just sensationalism. The answer to “When should you blog?” is, in the first instance, before everyone else does. In our next article, we’ll explore Search Engine Optimisation in much greater depth. But for now, I’ll draw up a really simple analogy for you. The reason that pharmacies are missing the gold rush, is because the gold is all on Page 1 of Google. And just like the Gold Rush, you must claim the land before you mine the gold.

It is possible to get on Page 1 when there is a lot of competition for the places. But just like buying land instead of claiming land, it costs you more money and it’s a longer process.

And right now, there’s so much land to claim (depending on your geographical location.)

Does it make a difference when I blog in the calendar year?

Unless you’re an online pharmacy or DSP, it matters that the traffic your blog post attracts drives relevant traffic to your site. It’s hard to know precisely how Google works (because they don’t ever disclose the algorithm), but in simple terms, your blog gets ranked on Google depending on user experience. If the first 100 visitors to your blog find it useful and relevant, spend time on it and then stay on your website, Google sees your blog as valuable content and ranks it higher. If the first 100 people all immediately click back off your website, Google thinks you aren’t meeting user needs and won’t recommend that post very highly.

Of course, your rankings can change over time, but the launch of your blog is impactful, and getting off to a good start never hurts. We use a Blogging Content Calendar as a guide to creating blogs in line with when they trend on Google. Writing a blog in March about the Winter Flu Jab vaccine, for instance, is not ideal. (Unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere!)

What do I need to get started?

Whilst the ideal framework for a blog is a complete online ecosystem – think social media, a booking calendar, a payment gateway, all you really need to start your pharmacy blog is your own website. Once you have a site, you can publish whatever content you like. But as discussed, unless you have a good grasp of SEO, a DIY effort won’t be as effective as it could be.

For the ROI, whether you’re measuring in time or money, our blogging strategies for pharmacy is an extremely accessible service that can transform your business.

Want to make the most of your pharmacy blog? Talk to us about how we can help you get set up.

Increasing EPS Nominations

About

A small chain pharmacy located in Scotland that we have been working with since October 2020. They are a long-standing brand within their communities.

Challenges

The pharmacies operate a free delivery and collection service. However, they have failed to attract new patients to the pharmacy and have come to us for help. The pharmacies had just gone through a refit and installed robotics systems to streamline and automate prescription dispensing and collection. They wanted to attract new customers. They adopted our Codeine Marketing Pack.

Solutions

Pharmacy Mentor creates and executes a targeted marketing and development strategy consisting of:

  • The build of an optimised landing page for EPS conversions
  • Organic social media advertising
  • Paid social advertising and analysis

Results

The pharmacy owner budgeted £500 per month on paid social and we’ve been generating between 50 and 100 patient signups per month for the last 6 months. Let’s say your average patient has three items on their monthly prescription and you make £20 per month from that patient in profit. With 100 new patients, you’re looking at £2000 per month in extra profit, equating to £24,000 per year. And the more patients you sign up, and the bigger following you have on social, the more valuable your business becomes.

If you’re looking for help in marketing your services better and building on your online presence, then please get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help.