Healthtech for Pharmacies
,

The Healthtech Putting Pharmacies Back Into the Heart of the Community

There is a paradigm shift taking place in the healthcare industry. With mounting financial pressure on the NHS and an innovation boom in the healthtech industry, all eyes are on community pharmacies as the remedy to a system that some claim is failing its patients.

We’re moving closer towards a patient-led healthcare system, allowing patients more control and choice over their health. With wearable tech, trackers and measuring devices on phones, as well as advancements in AI and data storage, we have more ways than ever to manage chronic illness, health, and wellbeing. Read more

How to market your pharmacy (1)
,

How to Market your Pharmacy – The Ultimate Guide (2020)

 

Marketing your pharmacy effectively today is of paramount importance.

 

With the way digital health is progressing, communicating with your patients digitally and marketing yourselves more effectively is of paramount importance. Why? Well, let me explain in a few short bullet points. 

 

Digital communication is the primary way people talk. 40 million of us in the UK are on social media and we spend on average 5 hours a day on our smartphones. If that’s where we now live, pharmacies should be living there too.

 

Our top value is convenient healthcare. We want to talk to a healthcare professional right away and we want the medicine delivered to our door the very next day. Digital health is allowing for this to happen and we’re seeing an alarming rise in digital competition. Pharmacies must adopt a digital health strategy and communicate with their patients digitally to protect their business and grow.

 

We’re getting paid less for dispensing prescription items. Automation means that robots can dispense quicker, cheaper and safer, and the government understands this. We need to market ourselves better to attract more business and drive income from other avenues.

 

 The opportunity that digital marketing offers is ever-expanding. Social media, along with other important digital channels, is continuously evolving and new marketing tools are being released every week. This represents wonderful opportunities for pharmacies to communicate with their patients, engage them and drive more sales. 

 

How to market your pharmacy 

 

How to market your pharmacy

 

I’m all about giving you as much value as possible but being straight to the point at the same time. Below is a list of all the things you should be thinking about in 2019 to understand how to market your pharmacy in the most effective way possible.

 

The list below is exhaustive and you’ll not be able to do everything yourself. You’re a pharmacy owner or similar, you’re not a marketer. So you’ll need help implementing, or at least advising on the best way forward. I’m more than happy to speak to you at any time by email, WhatsApp or phone. That being said, if you have a marketing background, you can also tell me to sling one.

 

In-store Marketing

 

1. Train your pharmacy team

Can’t stress this enough. Your pharmacy staff, if trained well, can drive 10x the profits in your store. Multiple but ethical selling is the key, and providing incredible customer service.

As well as doing this yourself, I’d highly recommend the pharmacy training company Mediapharm. These guys have unique modules on driving sales and delivering excellent service.

 

2. Have awesome in-store marketing collateral

Posters, leaflets, brochures, business cards, banners, banner-rollers. You get my drift. However, it’s not about plonking this collateral in the pharmacy wherever. There’s an art to it. In my opinion, minimal and clean is the way forward. This is all about about the design of your pharmacy, which leads me onto the third point.

 

3. Design your pharmacy better

If the experience of a patient and customer is improved, they’ll come again and again. This is a proven concept. Your pharmacy might only need a few cosmetic changes. However, if the interior of your pharmacy doesn’t fit the number of prescription items you now, space is inadequate and the lighting is poor, then you’ll no doubt benefit from a redesign of your pharmacy.

I know a guy called Chris who runs the most popular pharmacy design company in the UK and he’ll give you some great advice here.

 

T3 Pharmacy Design

Designing your pharmacy better is an extremely effective marketing strategy

 

4. Digital TV Displays

Our attention spans, unfortunately, have diminished faster than my care for listening to the news about Brexit. We need things to move around to keep our focus or grab it in the first instance.

That’s why digital pharmacy TV displays are the way forward. They’re engaging and they mean you can have less collateral and clutter in your windows and inside your store. They’ll bring people into the store and engage them while they’re in there.

Healthpoint TV are providing excellent solutions for pharmacies. Give them a high-five for me if you get in touch.

 

5. Use a loyalty scheme

Spend £50 with us and get a £5 voucher free. Loyalty schemes are why I keep shopping at Tesco and spend waaaaaay too much in Costa Coffee. It’s obscene how much money I’ve given them. In fact, now I’m just angry thinking about that.

Anyway, loyalty schemes are important in how to market your pharmacy and should be digital. I’m a big fan of an application called Swipii. They’re helping 100’s of local businesses drive customers into store. If you want this setting up, get in touch with me so I can intro you. You’ll get a discount and I’ll get a free pencil or something similar.

 

6. Hold monthly in-store events

Could you hold an event in-store once a month? Possibly a makeover event led by one of your staff or a diabetes evening where you can showcase your new diabetic range of products but also give lots of value at the same time? Or could you even create an event just for the business owners in the area?

There is no better marketing than face-to-face marketing. You have apps such as Facebook, Eventbrite and Meetup to help you organise and market your event. Events drive trust, repeat business and growth.

It just depends whether you’re willing to spend the three hours a month preparing the event. I certainly would because I know networking is a great strategy in how to market your pharmacy and deliver results.

 

7. Make your instore products digital

NearSt is a wonderful tool and service that essentially digitises all your products in-store and makes them available online when people are looking for them close by. The products can be fed into your Google My Business profile too. This is superb if you have quite unique products, say mobility scooters, herbal remedies etc. I could have placed this in the inbound marketing section too.

There’s a one-time fee to set this up and we can set it up for you. #thinkoutsidethebox.

 

Digitise your products in-store and create listings for them on Google

 

Direct Marketing

 

8. Digitise your direct communication with patients

Phonecalls are a pain in the eye, especially in the pharmacy. It should still be an option for people but it should now be a secondary option. That’s because we now have WhatsApp Business and other great apps like PharmZap, that make communication so much easier.

I’ve seen it countless times. People leave bad reviews on Google if they can’t get through to a business on the phone. That would anger me big time, especially if it was to do with my medication, that helps keep me calm. Please give your patients an alternative way to communicate.

But apps like these are also incredible marketing tools. You can build lists of people in these apps a market occasionally but directly to them.

Other Apps that incorporate direct marketing features include prescriptions reordering Apps such as Healthera.

 

9. Harnessing the right PRM System

It makes complete sense that your PMR system, as well as being the main dispensing system, also acts as a CRM tool, which is part of the wider-scope of marketing.

Does your PMR system support text-messaging or emailing to patients?

I’m not going to recommend a particular system here otherwise I might get in trouble. But if you are thinking about changing your PMR, think about CRM too.

 

10. Drive conversions through a Mailshot

This is a more expensive option initially but the return on investment can be significant. Reaching 10,000 people in your community directly via a leaflet or flyer drop does work, but it all depends on the creative that you’re sending out.

Does it deliver the right message? What are you selling on there? What’s your objective?

As a pharmacy business, however, we need to think B2B as well as B2C. Building a closer relationship with key stakeholders who are affiliated with your audience can be immensely powerful. Sending out a personal letter to them will be a great start.

An example: If you’re offering a travel clinic, then sending out a letter to all the GP’s and mosques in your area will be extremely valuable. Follow this up with a phone call to strengthen the relationship, and even go visit them (see next point).

More than happy to talk to you about our Mailshot service.

 

11. Visit key stakeholders and other businesses in the area

I remember when I used to work for Boots on Ecclesall Rd in Sheffield. I was the newly appointed Pharmacy Store Manager and naturally, I was filled with enthusiasm. One tactic that I employed was to personally visit all the GPs surgeries and different businesses in the area, simply to say “hi”, give them our brochure, and have a bit of banter.

In one year, I managed to grow item numbers by 10% and the shop floor revenue increased by 15%. Of course, I can’t measure exactly how effective this tactic was, but it definitely had an influence on the overall business and was key in understanding how to market a pharmacy better.

 

12. Attend local events and network

People love events. And people are your customers, especially local ones. Take a look at Eventbrite and schedule to see what kind of events you might be able to attend and network.

It could be a local business event, a school community event, or a charity event. Any event is an opportunity to network, talk to people and essentially market to them – consciously and subconsciously.

 

Inbound (Digital) Marketing

 

13. Facebook and Instagram

These two social platforms, for me, go hand-in-hand because Facebook owns Instagram and they’re heavily connected. These two are the best way to reach an audience local to you and is why we always employ them in our social media strategies for pharmacies. They work.

Things to note as of 2019 are that organically, you’ll need to produce really good content for your posts to get seen and it’s difficult to build an audience quickly. This takes time.

That’s why it’s all about Facebook and Instagram Ads. Harnessing these is a must in your social media strategy, and they are very powerful, especially if you have somewhere to direct people to, such as an online booking platform (see below).

 

14. Local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

I cannot stress the importance of local SEO for a pharmacy, especially if they are delivering a clinical service. People are looking for your pharmacy services online, on Google primarily.

Instead of writing about incredibly awesome and important Google My Business is for your pharmacy, or any other business you have, please watch the video below:

 

 

Next off, you have local directories that you also need to optimise, such as Yell.com, Yelp.com and your NHS Choices profile. All very important in providing visitors vital information about your pharmacy.

And then we have the world of blogging. We’ve proven time and time again, through analytics and talking to pharmacy owners, that blogging for your local pharmacy services is extremely powerful. It works. For some pharmacy owners, we’ve driven revenue by an extra £3K a month in one year through two, highly optimised blog posts that we wrote. It cost him £125 per post. You do the maths.

Also, it’s worth looking into guest posting on other high-ranked local websites, such as local magazines.

 

15. Paid Advertising across Google

If you’re delivering a product or service for the first time, for example, you just started providing a travel clinic to patients through a Pharmadoctor PGD, there is nothing more potent and quick at creating an ROI than marketing through Google Ads. That’s why it’s one of the more expensive options.

Google Ads is all about driving raw return on investment through optimising ads and analysing results. Get in touch with me if you want to discuss it.

 

16. Have a good pharmacy website

Don’t invest in a poor website with lack of support. It’s just a waste of time and money for everyone. Instead, invest in a good, solid, mobile-optimised site which is flexible and has support. This will be your digital hub and you can do so many things with it. For example, you can:

  • Allow people to register for you EPS service
  • Integrate WhatsApp business on there
  • Provide as much information to your visitors as possible
  • Shop for items if you have eCommerce
  • Allow people to order their repeat prescription
  • Book your pharmacy services, right there and then (see below)

A website is mandatory because it links all the other digital channels and will allow you to direct your marketing efforts from these channels.

 

17. Develop an online booking system

We’ve recently begun exploring this with clients in how to market a pharmacy better and my gosh, it’s good we did. People want to book online for services. Fact. If you offer clinical services, then this is no doubt in your best interest.

With the right marketing around it, you’re able to drive 100’s of bookings every month, seamlessly, for the services you offer, which will then drive 5-star reviews for your practice automatically.

The other great thing about having such a system online is that we are able to measure our success here much more effectively.

 

Pharmacy Online Booking System

Build an online booking system and host all the services you offer

 

Please get in touch with us if you want this built thoroughly and efficiently.

Alternatively, if you want to build this yourself, you can of course. If you’re in Europe, you can access the booking calendar here, and in the States/Canada/Australia/New Zealand, you can access this calendar.

 

18. Other social media channels

LinkedIn is great for connecting with CEO’s and marketing to corporations. WeChat is great for engaging with your local Chinese community if you’re thinking about delivering the HPV vaccine. Tik Tok is a new platform, specifically for video marketing. Next Door is a local app you can use to market to your neighbours.

The options are genuinely endless. And frightening at times.

 

Analytics

 

You can’t talk about marketing without talking about analysis. Simply put, you have to analyse your marketing efforts.

Some marketing efforts are difficult to analyse. For example, you can’t really be certain how many people walk into your store because of an Instagram post they saw or a flyer that was given out unless you had an excellent feedback system in place where you asked them.

You can measure, however, what kind of engagement you’re getting online and certainly how we’ll you’re doing for online paid marketing. This is really important to understand if what you’re doing is working or not, and to point you in the right direction.

Analysing your results on a monthly basis is key.

 


 

My name’s Saam and I wrote this.

 

I’m more than happy to talk to you about how to market your pharmacy better and any of the items spoken about here. I can help you strategise better if necessary.

 

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

All the best.

 


 

Have you heard of ProLongevity? A client of ours has created an evidence-based diet programme that is helping patients reverse their diabetes and live healthier, for longer. You can view more information here about prediabetes and the course to see how you could help sell this to your patients.

Disclaimer: Pharmacy Mentor is not affiliated with ProLongevity and we do not make any money from promoting this product.

 

Reportsmart - Pharmacy Incident Reporting Made Easy
,

Reportsmart – Incident Reporting Made Easy

LEARN THROUGH VIDEO

LEARN THROUGH READING

What are we going to learn?

(Reflection)

 

In this sponsored CPD module,  we’re going to learn about a tool called Pharmsmart, but more specifically, the Reportsmart feature integrated within the Pharmsmart suite of tools.

 

In short, Reportsmart is a patient safety reporting tool designed to record and improve the safety and efficiency of dispensing.

 

How and why is this learning relevant?

(Reflection)

 

Dispensing incidents are a threat to patient safety and must be controlled, audited properly and analysed. Traditional methods of reporting and dealing with dispensing errors via paper trail are inefficient and often get neglected. This means that there is no real improvement in the dispensing process and as a result, patient safety remains at a similar risk level.

 

Reportsmart aims to improve that and deliver even more value.

 

What is Reportsmart?

(Planning and Action)

 

Reportsmart

 

Reportsmart is a new digital application that makes the entire process of dealing with incident reporting very efficient and effective. Alongside this, its many innovative features address the root causes of dispensing errors so that dispensing becomes safer.

 

How does it work?

(Planning and Action)

 

As I mentioned earlier, Reportsmart is a part of a suite of products under Pharmsmart. So when you log in, Reportsmart can be seen here amongst other tools like CD Smart and POMsmart. Let me go through this part of the dash with you now. 

 

The first things you’ll see are the National Alerts that are generated automatically for you here so you never miss them, and they’re easily actionable. I love the little summary that pops up here too. 

 

Above this, you can see a summary of your entire year of incident reporting which is really cool. This is a dummy account I’m using to show you this software so naturally, there isn’t much data here but you’ll be able to see quite clearly how your pharmacy is performing throughout the months. 

 

And incident reporting of all sorts is very easy. Let me show you how quick it is to report a near-miss error (watch video).

 

Simple right. With a bit of training, anyone in the pharmacy is able to do this. 

 

Over on the tabs on the left-hand side, you can view each individual dispensing or prescribing error in each month, view the conversations you had with people and the best bit for me are the reports you’re able to generate from the data it is collecting.

 

You’re able to generate thorough patient safety reports for each month that passes which will allow you to analyse how your pharmacy is performing on a more detailed basis. I particularly like how the tool shows you how you’ve done in comparison to the previous month and also the near-miss summary, indicating types and times of when these are happening. 

 

As a pharmacist, I would be utilising these reports every single month, using the data to improve workflow and have the necessary conversations with staff. Really cool and innovative stuff.

 

Patient Safety is also part of your Quality Payments. This tool will help you achieve that target.

 

Evaluation

 

Reportsmart

 

The Reportsmart feature of Pharmsmart is a slick, fast and effective method of handling the entire spectrum of incident reporting and is naturally a much better alternative than paper-based, outdated systems. 

 

It’s user-friendly, intuitive and can have a positive outcome on patient safety. Furthermore, it will save you hours of time every month in recording incidents in the dispensing process, can be used by all members of the pharmacy team, and will be easy to implement within your pharmacy model. 

 

To receive the benefits of this tool, you’ll need to navigate to Pharmsmart.co.uk or give the guys a call to get your pharmacy activated. 

 

Once again, thanks for watching/reading on Pharmacy Mentor and we’ll see you again soon.

 

Add to your MyGPhC Records

 

If you’d like to talk to us about getting digital, or anything related, please feel free to contact us and we’d be glad to assist you. Also, don’t forget to check out The Ultimate Guide to Driving Your Pharmacy Business in the Digital Age, a free 70-page manual, that is really helping pharmacists understand the importance of new and emerging technologies.

 

Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!

Pharmacy Blog Post Ideas
,

Stuck for pharmacy blog post ideas? Here are 27

Are you stuck for pharmacy blog post ideas? You know that having a blog is 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 and it’s called “Welcome to our blog” you risk losing credibility and it may even harm your Google ranking.

Coming up with healthcare blog ideas may feel like a chore and you might not have the time to give to 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.

To help you get started or to revitalise an existing blog, Pharmacy Mentor is here to help with twenty-seven pharmacy blog post ideas:

27 Pharmacy Blog Post Ideas

1. Tips for staying healthy

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

2. Think seasonal

New Year is weight-loss and quitting smoking, 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. What’s the difference between…

For example, what’s the difference between paracetamol and ibuprofen? Or what’s the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

6. Post a video

Take 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.

7. What would you do if…

… you found someone’s prescription or if you lost the paper copy of your own prescription.

The Ultimate Guide to Driving your Pharmacy Business in the Digital Age

Download your FREE copy of “Mastering Digital Pharmacy – The Ultimate Guide to Driving your Pharmacy Business in the Digital Age” now.

8. Go behind the scenes

Talk about stock checks, what happens to the prescription charge that patients may have to pay and how you locate each prescription medicine.

9. Bust some terminology

What does a medical professional mean when they say something is topical? What is an acute condition and when does it become chronic? Bust some terms you often use to help patients with their health literacy.

10. A round-up all of your services

Create a blog post containing all the services you offer and what treatments patients can readily access from you.

11. 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 should a patient visit their GP and when should they come to you instead.

12. Communication and inclusivity

What languages are spoken by you and your team? Do you cater to any disabilities such as sign language or people with sensory conditions or autism?

13. 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?

14. Heath awareness days or months

Our calendar is littered with awareness months and international days of something. May is skin cancer awareness month, for example.

15. Create an infographic

Feeling creative? Try creating an infographic on a topic (such as stats on oral health or reasons to stop smoking) using a free tool like www.canva.com. Infographics are great for posting on social media too and you might get a few shares from them as well.

16. Have a debate

Do you and a colleague have a difference of opinion? It could be pharmacy related or totally off-topic. A blog post on your viewpoints will bring personality to your content.

17. Celebrate staff accreditations and qualifications

Yes, celebrating the success of your staff not only shows off your skills and competencies but it also demonstrates what a caring team of people work in your pharmacy.

18. Customer success stories

Tell how you recently helped a customer solve a health problem. This could be how you were able to source an out of stock medicine, how you used your discretion or how you worked with the patient find that right solution for them.

19. Spotting the signs of…

… someone having a stroke, sepsis or if you’re experiencing a bad reaction to a new medicine.

20. 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.

21. 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.

22. Use your social media

Find a blog post idea from the comments or messages you’ve received through your social media channels.

Social Media Pharmacy Free Online Course

Enrol in our FREE “Social Media Mastery” precourse and learn more about what Social Media can do for your Healthcare business.

23. 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.

24. Share some humour

Got a good pharmacy meme or a joke? So, share it.

25. “What not to do” posts

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

26. Disagree with popular opinion

No – we don’t need Vitamin D supplements and why people should stop using antibacterial hand gels.

27. Create a round-up post

Choose a theme and curate previous blog posts that fit that theme.

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 knowledgable and helpful you are, you are more likely to:

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

You can contact nicola@pharmacymentor.com if you are interested in learning more about how Pharmacy Mentor can help with your digital marketing including blog posts.

Get the most from your pharmacy blog by using social media

Do you want to maximise the value of your pharmacy blog post content? Do you want to learn how to work smarter and create content that works with your social media channels? Then the Pharmacy Mentor Free Social Media Mastery Precourse is for you.

The free precourse will outline the role social media has to play in modern pharmacy including its impact on business and on patient care. You don’t need any experience and the course will give you the knowledge you need to go on to take the Socia Media Mastery Full Course.

The full course will show you how to :

  • Drive more sales and conversions
  • Improve public health
  • Drive forward the pharmacy profession
  • Build a stronger, more trusting community around you
  • And much more…

Get in contact with Pharmacy Mentor to enroll in our free online Social Media Mastery precourse today.

Social Media Pharmacy Free Online Course

Learn more about what Social Media can do for your Healthcare business with our FREE online “Social Media Mastery” precourse.

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

How to market your travel clinic
,

How to Market your Travel Health Clinic – The Ultimate Guide

CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO ACCESS THE LECTURE SLIDES

How to Market your Travel Health Clinic

Marketing your Travel Clinic is absolutely, 1000% required for its success. But, putting a poster up about it in your pharmacy and phoning up the GP to let them know you offer it doesn’t cut it. We live in a time where more and more travel clinics are coming into existence and competition is on the rise. Furthermore, you have a plethora of marketing channels that, when used effectively, will drive up to 1000% more consultations in some circumstances. So, it makes sense to have a solid marketing plan in place when offering a Travel Clinic.

 

In November 2018, our Director, Saam, presented at The Travel Health Conference. And yes, he aptly presented “How to Market your Travel Health Clinic”. In the presentation, he gives you a breakdown of what channels you should be thinking about, both online and offline, when marketing your Travel Clinic for optimum awareness and conversions.

 

In this learning module, we’ve transcripted the whole presentation for a better, more effective learning experience. If you have any questions or would like help in marketing your Travel Clinic, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at support@pharmacymentor.com.

 


 

The Pharmacy Mentor team are partnered with PharmaDoctor and ECG Training to provide pharmacies with a One-Stop-Shop solution to the effective running of a Travel Clinic. Make sure you check them out!

 


Slide 2

Sometimes, especially as business owners, we forget the most important reason we do what we do in the pharmacy. So, to begin this presentation, I’d like to remind everybody in this room, including myself, what that reason is.

 

It’s to help people. We’ve been granted a position to help improve people’s lives every single day.

 

That is an incredibly prestigious position to have and something we should all be grateful for. I’m sure you can agree that there’s no better feeling than when a patient has thanked you because you’ve made their life better.

 

And it’s this principle of helping people that should always lie at the forefront of your Travel Clinic. We get so entangled in our daily operations in the pharmacy, it’s something that we often forget. Providing your best patient care must be at the top of your agenda.

 

Slide 3

Supporting this Golden Principle are the reasons why running a Travel Clinic is a good idea:

 

  • We’re improving access to yet another healthcare service. It makes sense – we’re the most accessible healthcare team there is.  

 

  • Over 70 million trips abroad are made every single year in the UK but only 50% of those seek advice before travelling. This represents a huge opportunity for Community Pharmacy to step in and make a real difference.

 

  • And if you do step in, then you’re looking at potentially making a lot of money from it. I’m working with some owners who are making close to 5 figures a month purely from Travel Health and there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

 

  • And of course, you’ll be reducing pressures on GP’s and the NHS who are notoriously known for being at full capacity and overburdened.

 

Slide 4

The vast majority of pharmacies in the UK who employ a travel clinic are not experiencing the maximum benefit of it, nor are the people they deliver the service to.

 

Pharmacies could be making a much greater impact in their Communities and offering their patients a better overall experience. While delivering an outstanding service to your patient is critical to its success, an equally important factor is how you market it. This is an area that most business owners struggle with but is where much of the opportunity exists.

Slide 5

Improving your marketing around your travel clinic will increase how many people use your service. That’s an absolute fact and that’s why marketing exists.

 

Q. So how do we improve and maximise our marketing?

 

In fact, let me rephrase that.

 

Q. How do we improve and maximise our marketing with the budget and resource we have?

 

Marketing can be very complex and the more you can budget for it, the more you can get out of it. But we’re not made of money of course – we have our limits. And it’s complexity means that I won’t be able to fit everything into the next 20 minutes I’ve got with you anyway.

 

Rather, I’m gonna summarise the most important elements of marketing you should consider for this particular service, with more of a focus on the digital side of things.

Digital marketing seems to be the biggest challenge for pharmacy owners but it happens to be an area of expertise for me.

 

Slide 6

Let me give you a 30-second synopsis of me and what I do. I’m a Community Pharmacist of 12 years and counting and many moons ago, I set up one of the first ever travel clinics at Boots which was a great success.

 

However, back in 2014, I took a break from practice and dived head first into the online and technology sector. I taught myself how to build websites, learned how to create high-quality digital media and have been perfecting digital marketing ever since.

 

So, at the beginning of 2017, I launched a digital marketing agency that focuses primarily on the Community Pharmacy sector. Through trial and error, keeping up to date with the latest social and digital trends, and evaluating data and feedback, we know which channels make a real difference to your pharmacy business.

 

Slide 7

So, getting back to answering this important question…How do we improve and maximise your marketing with a reasonable budget?

 

Well, there are three types of marketing you need to consider. These are:

 

  • In-store marketing
  • Direct marketing
  • And Inbound marketing, of which Digital marketing is a big part of.

 

Let’s go through each one individually…

Slide 8

In-store marketing is something you’ll all be familiar with and is pretty standard duty. I’m not going to go into too much detail about this type of marketing because you guys will know quite a lot about that already.

 

There are a couple of items I would like to mention however that I feel are very important. In-store marketing involves your staff actively talking about the service in your store. I know, as a pharmacist myself and having locumed across the country, that staff fail to talk about these types of services, even when the subject pops up in conversation! It’s a pandemic across many pharmacy teams.

 

But it exists because the staff have not been briefed well enough to talk about them confidently to a patient. They don’t know what the purpose of the service is and what it all entails.

 

So, my advice on that front is to turn every single member of staff into confident marketing machines. Give them the reasons behind WHY you’re going to implement a travel clinic and a brief about what it involves. If you’ve got a training module to show them, then that’s even better.

 

And very importantly, make sure everyone knows how to book someone in for an appointment. You’re gonna lose sales otherwise. Developing your staff is developing your business.

 

Slide 9

The other item I’d like to mention is about digitising your in-store marketing. More and more pharmacies are adopting for digital displays and there’s a good reason for it.

 

Since the launch of the smartphone, the human brain has become complacent. Our attention span today, quite sadly, is at an all-time low at just 8 seconds. That means, if our mind isn’t constantly stimulated, we get bored quickly and forget easily.

 

That’s why video is the most engaging and converting form of content marketing there is today.

 

If you don’t yet have digital displays in your pharmacy then I strongly suggest you think about investing in them. Not only will they help you convert more customers, but they will also save you plenty of time in constantly changing marketing material in the long run.

 

Slide 10

The next type of marketing is Direct Marketing.

 

This is where you contact businesses, organisations, and people directly to let them know you’re offering a travel clinic. It’s targeted, personal, cost-effective, and does deliver an ROI.

 

Yet, hardly any pharmacies employ it.

 

Slide 11

How many of you have mailed out letters to your Community?

 

You’ve all seen the letters sent out by Pharmacy2U. That’s direct marketing on a HUGE scale and although their copy is dubious to say the least, they’ve not broken the law and it’s been hugely successful for them.

 

What’s stopping you from doing the same on a local level? There are plenty of services that can help you with this. However, do bear in mind that this is one of the more expensive options.

 

As well as contacting the end user directly, you should definitely consider sending out letters to every one of the following in your city or catchment area:

 

  • GP Surgeries – That’s a given.
  • Travel agents – Again, fairly obvious why.
  • Police Stations – Because police officers need to have a Hep B vaccine for their work
  • Mosques – Because Muslims will need the meningitis vaccine before they travel to hajj
  • Colleges and Universities – Because many students take a GAP year abroad
  • And any other type of organisation you think will be affiliated with your target customer

 

Again, we’re always having to consider budget here. But mailing out to more people and organisations will lead to more people knowing about and using your clinic.

 

Slide 12

Email marketing is another form of direct marketing, has been around for decades, and can be effective. However, since your a local pharmacy, it’s unlikely that you’ll have any email addresses to begin with.

 

They can be sourced online, but bear in mind, if you buy a bunch of cold emails to market to, you’re conversion rate will be much poorer than a list you’ve built up yourself over time. I’d avoid this type of marketing unless you already have a list of people to market to.

 

Slide 13

So, an alternative this could be the use of LinkedIn. This channel allows you to reach out directly to the people and key stakeholders that matter to you. If done correctly, this can be a very powerful form of marketing.

 

If you’re already connected with a key stakeholder, i.e. they are your 1st-degree connection, simply send them a message to let them know you’re now offering a Travel Clinic.

 

If they’re, say a Director of a company, why not send over a digital voucher giving all 200 employees a 10% discount off their travel health purchases.

 

I know this type of marketing is effective because I do it for my own business with success and some clients of mine have had success with the flu season at present.

 

And if you’re not connected on a 1st-degree level to any important key stakeholders, you can always pay to message them directly. Now I’m not entirely sure how effective this kind of paid outreach is in terms of conversions but it’s just another option you could try. Budget with £50 and see what kind of results you get. Marketing is all about testing to see what works and what doesn’t work.

 

Slide 14

There’s another form of direct marketing which is relatively new to the scene but is making a significant impact in the local business world. That is WhatsApp marketing.

 

I only know a very small number of pharmacies employing WhatsApp Business in their strategy but the feedback has been excellent from it. It makes sense. It’s the easiest and most popular form of direct messaging we have today. On top of that, all messages are securely encrypted for confidentiality.

 

I highly recommend that every pharmacy owner UK employs WhatsApp Business in their marketing strategy.

 

It’s gonna improve conversions for your Travel Clinic and every other service you offer in store, and your customer loyalty will go through the roof. Can you imagine how happy customers will be WhatsApp’ing their local pharmacist?

 

I’m pretty sure this app is gonna reduce the number of phone calls you’ll get at the pharmacy too. It’s a real winner in my eyes.

 

Slide 15

There are, of course, other forms of direct marketing you could employ, such as:

 

  • Leaflet dropping, again proven to be effective
  • Using Swipii, the digital loyalty scheme that seems to be going viral in the local business world
  • And messaging people directly through other social media channels, such as Instagram and Facebook.

 

The more methods of direct marketing you can cover, the more likely you are gonna convert people.

 

Slide 16

And finally, we arrive at the realm of inbound marketing.

 

This type of marketing is a technique of drawing in the customer using content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimisation, and branding. It’s kind of like your in-store marketing, but online.

 

Let me explain what and why you should employ the following marketing tactics to promote your travel clinic.

 

Slide 17

If you’re running a travel clinic, it’s absolutely mandatory today that you give the patient the option to book an appointment online. Or at least, for them to be able to begin their consultation online.

 

We’re in the year 2018, not 1998. As a consumer myself, it horrifies me when I see that I have to ring up and speak to another human being, just to book me in. For the sake of the consumer and yourselves, please, automate this process. Make it as seamless and simple as possible for the patient.

 

Having a booking calendar and online consultation process is one thing. But they render useless if no one can find it. So, How do we get people to find this online?

 

Well, there are loads of ways we can do this. Too many to go through with the length of this article, but, I’m gonna explain a few of the most important ones you should consider.

 

Slide 18

Creating good quality content in the form of a blog, which is usually incorporated into your website, will help people find your Travel Clinic much more effectively. That’s because it caters for how we are searching for this service in the first place.

 

When someone is looking for a service they’d like to use today, they won’t type the name of a business into Google, they type the exact phrase of the service they want to find. These are called “keywords”.

 

In terms of a Travel Clinic, people are logging onto Google Search and typing in “travel clinic + location”. That’s why, if you have a piece of content online, such as a blog post, optimised for these specific keywords, you can get to page one of Google. And if your blog post has a link directing patients to your online consultation form, then it’s a winner.

 

Slide 19

I often get asked if it’s worth conducting Google Ads. For your Travel Clinic, the simple answer is, yes it is.

 

You only need to type “travel clinic + your location” into Google to understand this. For example, if you type in “Travel Clinic Luton”, you’ll see a bunch of Ads right at the top of the first page. This shows you how competitive those keywords are.

 

Google Ads are worth trying, like all marketing channels, to see if you get a good ROI. However, this type of marketing is complex, usually requires more of a budget and will most definitely require outsourcing. If this is something you’d like to do, then come and speak to us.

 

Slide 20

Keeping on the subject of Google, your Google My Business profile is yet another extremely valuable tool when marketing your Travel Clinic.

 

When you type the exact name of your business into Google, you’ll see a profile appear, like the one you can see in the corner of the map there. It holds vital information regarding your pharmacy. That’s your Google My Business profile.

 

By verifying your business on Google, you’re able to add plenty of information to your profile about your Travel clinic for people to see. You can even add photos and videos, just like we’ve been doing for this pharmacy. And you can also categorise your business as a travel clinic too, secondary to a pharmacy.

 

Enabling this will mean that when someone is searching for a Travel clinic in your area, your pharmacy will be seen on the map. Tremendously powerful and again, should be mandatory in terms of marketing.

 

Slide 21

And of course, one of my favorite types of marketing that can’t be excluded from your marketing strategy is Facebook Ads.

 

Paid advertising on Facebook is by far the quickest and most cost-efficient way to reach 1000’s of people in your locality. Furthermore, you’re able to target your preferred customer.

 

As an example of how effective Facebook Ads can be, we created an Ad for a pharmacy down in Birmingham, to promote the launch of their travel clinic. We spent £10 and targeted only the people within a 10-mile radius of the pharmacy, between the ages 18 and 65, and who are interested in travel topics. Two days after publishing, the pharmacy sold £400-worth of Travel Health products to a single customer. And we know that this sale was attributed to the Ad because we asked the guy how he knew about the service.

 

As another example, for a pharmacy down in Colchester, we pushed a £50 Ad to promote the launch of their travel clinic, targeting similar demographics. The Ad reached 19,000 people in the area, and in that first month, the pharmacy completed 11 consultations and totaled £1,200 net profit. Again, we know the Ad influenced people because we asked them how they knew about the service.

 

Facebook is a must for Community Pharmacy. I’d budget around £25 to £100 a month to market your travel clinic at a single location, at least for the first few months of its launch, and then in the summertime again.

 

Once more, please talk to us about the best strategy to deploy when it comes to Facebook Ads.

 

Slide 22

There are many other Social Media channels you can market through, but one other worth mentioning quickly is Instagram.

 

With around 18 million monthly users and a largely younger demographic between the ages of 18 – 34, Instagram can come in handy.

 

What I like about it in terms of marketing your travel clinic is that you can create good and engaging campaigns just by using high-quality travel images. It’s definitely worth employing and building up a local audience with time.

 

Slide 23

So to summarise what we’ve been through right now:

 

  • When it comes to in-store marketing, as well as making your pharmacy look pretty with posters and leaflets, think about how you’re going to prepare your team to become marketing machines and about digital displays.

 

  • For direct marketing, we talked about how mail marketing can be very potent. We dabbled in LinkedIn marketing and its direct messaging feature, and I highly recommended the incorporation of WhatsApp Business or PharmZap.

 

  • And for inbound marketing, we briefly discussed the importance of an online booking calendar, how blogging can improve the visibility of your Travel Clinic on search, how it could be worthwhile conducting Google Ads, how optimising your Google My Business profile will place your clinic on the map, and the power of Facebook Ads.

 

If you manage to conquer all of those marketing channels, you’ll no doubt be the king of Travel Clinics in your region.

 

Slide 24

Now, you’ll probably have read this and will be thinking…“Well, how on earth am I going to implement all of that? I don’t have the time nor the skill to execute.”

 

You’re right. Time is a huge limiting factor. But marketing is a journey, not a sprint. It can be implemented gradually and adjusted accordingly so you’re only focussing on the things that work.

 

If you can do some of it, or a competent member of staff could take on some tasks, then that’s great. And of course, you have external help too. You know more than me that it’s all about utilising every possible resource you have available to you.

 

Slide 25

And finally, I must mention the word “strategy”. This is key for any business activity and it absolutely applies to marketing as well. Following a well-laid out plan always produces better results than when executed blindly.

 

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us to help you develop a solid marketing strategy for your business, or if you need assistance in marketing your travel clinic.

 

 

If you’d like to talk to us about getting digital, or anything related, please feel free to contact us and we’d be glad to assist you. Also, don’t forget to check out The Ultimate Guide to Driving Your Pharmacy Business in the Digital Age, a free 70-page manual, that is really helping pharmacists understand the importance of new and emerging technologies.

 

PharmZap - Improving Communication between Patient and Pharmacy
,

PharmZap – Improving Patient/Pharmacy Communication

LEARN THROUGH VIDEO

LEARN THROUGH READING

What are we going to learn?

(Reflection)

 

In this sponsored CPD module, we’re going to learn about a new tool called PharmZap which is designed to help patients and pharmacies communicate more efficiently.

 

How and why is this learning relevant?

(Reflection)

 

The primary way of communication between a patient and a pharmacy has traditionally been and still is, by phone. However, since the evolution of digital health, there are now much better, more efficient solutions to communication.

 

Why is this learning important?

(Planning and Action)

 

Effective communication between patient and pharmacy beyond its brick walls is of paramount importance today. If the current system you have in place is poor, then it poses risks to all aspects of business.

 

For the patient, poor communication can lead to prescriptions not being ordered on time, inconvenience and overall patient dissatisfaction.

 

We all know, as pharmacists, how incredibly frustrating it is when the phone is ringing off the hook. This is a big time-waster in the pharmacy and when the phone remains unanswered, can leave you and your team with consequences down the line.

 

And for your business or organisation, poor communication will ultimately lead to less satisfied patients and financial loss. Most pharmacies only have one telephone line which means if someone is on the phone or on hold, another patient cannot get through. Furthermore, we are often understaffed and even just getting to the phone can be troublesome.

 

What is PharmZap?

(Planning and Action)

 

PharmZap - The improved patient/pharmacy communication tool

PharmZap – The improved patient/pharmacy communication tool

 

PharmZap is a new application designed to reduce these risks by greatly improving and organising your communication with patients and customers. For pharmacies, it is a web-based tool, and for the patient, it is a smartphone app.

 

Download for Apple

Download for Android

 

How does it work?

(Planning and Action)

 

I like to think of PharmZap as the “Messenger for Community Pharmacies” with a load more cool and exciting features that benefit both patient and pharmacy alike.

 

Now, in order for the tool to work, both pharmacy and patient must be signed up to PharmZap. Once a pharmacy is signed up, they will be given a load of marketing material to promote the App to their patients, and PharmZap will market the app to your patients in the locality from their side too.

 

Let me take you through a typical patient – pharmacy communication journey.

 

PharmZap is "The Instant Messenger for Community Pharmacy"

PharmZap is “The Instant Messenger for Community Pharmacy”

 

Let’s say one of your patients, George Bush has a script for Betnovate RD cream. Instead of calling you, he messages you over PharmZap. As soon as he does, you’ll receive a notification if you’re on Chrome and a ticket appears on the dashboard where you’re able to respond.

 

Now, this is where you and your team need to get into the habit of checking your dash on a regular basis. I’d suggest at least 3 times a day, within the opening hours of your pharmacy, and if you forget to respond, you’ll see the ticket turn red, which will encourage you to.

 

When you click on the tab, you’ll be able to respond to the patient appropriately and deal with the query there and then. Or, if you’re short of time at that point, you can nicely triage the ticket into one of the silo’s you can create. In this example, I’m going to create the silo, “Rx items to order”, and then place the ticket there to attend to at the end of the day.

 

Oh, it looks like I just got a message from Margaret. Let’s see what she wants…to order her Salbutamol inhaler. I’ll respond to her right now and place this ticket in the Repeat Requests Silo for my dispenser to order later.

 

Much less stress than a phone call and much more organised than paper.

 

“PharmZap is an excellent direct marketing tool”

 

But PharmZap is more than just a communication tool. It’s a marketing tool. On your profile, you’re able to provide a summary or full description of your pharmacy for patients to see, as well as the pharmacy services you offer and opening times.

 

Update your "subscribers" with direct messaging feature

Update your “subscribers” with the direct messaging feature

 

And, very importantly, as more and more patients subscribe to your pharmacy, you’ll be able to market your products and services directly to them. This is probably one of the most powerful marketing tools you can have, but precaution is needed as to not spam and annoy patients in the process.

 

And one other feature that is definitely worth mentioning is the ZAP feature. If a patient is in need of a rare medicine, for example, Co-Amoxiclav Suspension for their child, they are able to ZAP several pharmacies at once instead of ringing around. How convenient is that for the patient?

 

Pharmacies are able to respond as soon as they can to the message to let the patient know if they have any or not. Very handy indeed.

 

Evaluation

 

Allowing patient and pharmacies to communicate digitally

Allowing patient and pharmacies to communicate digitally

 

PharmZap provides an excellent alternative route of communication for patients and pharmacy that is helping to reduce phone calls in the pharmacy, reduce stress and improve workflow. Digital communication is far more convenient for both pharmacy and patient and it will eventually surpass telephone calls.

 

But it’s also an additional direct marketing tool which can help improve patient retention and satisfaction, and drive footfall and increase sales.

 

For pharmacies, this product is free to trial for the first 2 months and only £9.95 thereafter. For all those benefits you’ve seen today, I’d say that’s an investment very worthwhile.

 

For more info and to register for free, visit www.pharmzap.com.

 

Add to your MyGPhC Records

 

If you’d like to talk to us about getting digital, or anything related, please feel free to contact us and we’d be glad to assist you. Also, don’t forget to check out The Ultimate Guide to Driving Your Pharmacy Business in the Digital Age, a free 70-page manual, that is really helping pharmacists understand the importance of new and emerging technologies.

 

Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!

Automate your Pharmacy Training with Mediapharm
,

Automate your Pharmacy Training with Mediapharm

LEARN THROUGH VIDEO

LEARN THROUGH READING

Innovative pharmacy training

There are many important factors in the running of a safe and profitable pharmacy business but the one that remains top priority are the people that work for you. Investing in your staff is investing in your business, and much of this investment has to come in the form of training.

 

The problem in pharmacy today is that once staff members complete the mandatory training required to do their job, continued training gets neglected through the day-to-day running of the business. This results in stagnant performance and demotivated staff which ultimately affects business profitability. Not ideal in the current economic climate.

 

However, we, as pharmacists, also understand the complications in organising and completing training in the pharmacy. Time is never on our side and keeping track of who has done what can be a frustrating experience.

 

That’s why Mediapharm exists.

 

The all-in-one Pharmacy Training Provider

 

MediaPharm is a complete all in one training solution for pharmacy businesses. Unlike other training suppliers, MediaPharm not only provides professional and certified GPhC training for your pharmacy staff, but their state-of-the-art software also allows you to automate the entire process.

 

With a MediaPharm subscription, you’ll have access to your own customisable and professional training dashboard, where you’ll find a load of cool features. Alerts are sent out automatically to those colleagues who are falling behind their training and managers can view real-time reporting that makes compliance a walk in the park.

 

Colleagues have unlimited access to a huge library of e-learning modules that are fun, engaging and quick to complete. They’re rewarded with digital badges to keep them motivated and we’re releasing new courses all the time meaning they will always be in the know. 

 

And as new colleagues join the business, the volume of training doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Everything is organised, in one place and courses are unlocked at their own pace. No more course fees and costly delays waiting for enrollment – everything is included in your subscription and happens automatically.

 

Furthermore, you’ll have expert and continued support from their pharmacist-led team who are always there to make sure things are running smoothly.

 

A trusted pharmacy training provider

 

Mediapharm is a pharmacy training solution you can trust. They have courses accredited by the General Pharmaceutical Council and the  Royal Society for Public Health. They’ve been around since 2001 and proud to have hundreds of happy businesses using our platform. With our service, you can be sure that your staff will get the continued training they need and your pharmacy remains safe, effective and profitable.

 

The Mediapharm team have recently released the most effective and easy mandatory training modules for pharmacy teams. Check them out!

 

The Medicines Counter Assistants (MCA) Course

The Dispensing Assistant (DA) Course

 


 

If you would like Pharmacy Mentor to create a CPD Module showcasing your product and service, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Community Pharmacy Digital Age
,

How to Engage your Community in the Digital Age

 

CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO ACCESS THE LECTURE SLIDES

 
Community Pharmacy Digital Age

How to Engage with your Community in the Digital Age

 

The Digital Age. It’s such a buzzword these days. I harp on about it all the time I suppose. But there is a reason. I’m not preaching for the sake of it. I’m shouting out about it because Community Pharmacy needs to hear it. Again and again, and again. Until it sticks.   

 

October this year was a busy one. I spoke at the Pharmacy Business Conference, the NPA Conference, and The Pharmacy Show about how to Embrace your Community in the Digital Age. Essentially, I spoke about the importance of digital marketing for Community Pharmacy, how pharmacists can use these channels and what kind of result you’re likely to see if executed well enough.

 

Below is the manuscript for this particular talk, spoken at the Business Theatre at the ever eventful Pharmacy Show 2018. Please do get in touch with me if you’re thinking about marketing digitally to your Community.  

Slide 2

The smartphone has completely changed human behavior. It’s changed the way we walk. Pre-mobile, human beings used to walk safely, in a straight line, conscious of the destination ahead of us. Post-mobile, this simple task has become a real safety hazard. In America, it’s estimated that around 6000 accidents happen every single year due to texting and walking. We’re completely oblivious to the world around us.

 

It’s changed the way we wake up in the morning too. How many of you, before you do anything, reach for your mobile and start scrolling in bed? I know a lot of you do because I do it too. In fact, I’ve had to work really hard to change my habits recently because my partner believed I was having an affair…..with LinkedIn.

 

And of course, it’s transformed the way we communicate. Social Media and Apps have made cellular data a thing of the past and are now the primary way we talk to each other. It’s staggering to think how many social channels of communication we use through our mobile every day. Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat – the list goes on.  

Slide 3

Here are just some of the latest statistics around the use of mobile and Social Media in the UK that will help you understand its influence better:  

  • 53 million of us (that’s 80% of the whole population) use the internet through our mobiles and 44 million are active social media. We spend on average around 5 hours a day on the internet and 2 hours a day on Social.

 

  • Smartphones are responsible for 38% of the total web traffic, which is a 10% increase year on year, while on desktop, although the share is larger at 51%, this is actually a reduction of 3% year on year. It won’t be too long before mobile traffic overtakes.

 

  • And 44 million of us use Facebook every month, 86% of which use it through their mobile and around 500,000 new people aged over 55 become active on Facebook, every single year. My mum, who’s aged 68, is an addict. A Facebook addict that is. It’s frightening how quick she responds to a post I put up online.

 

Slide 4

The point I’m making here is that the smartphone and social media are now fully integrated into human nature and affects pretty much every aspect of our lives. It’s altered the way we conduct our business and leisure and has a huge impact on our decision-making process.

 

That’s precisely why businesses incorporate these things into their overall business model. It’s the quickest way to communicate with their customer, let alone the most cost-effective.  

Slide 5

In terms of a Community Pharmacy, communicating with a customer or patient digitally offers plenty of benefits:  

  • It means we can talk to them beyond our four brick walls. We can talk to them actively in real-time and we can talk to them passively, 24-hours of the day, just by having content up online – such as a website.

 

  • We can talk to 10,000 people at the same time who live all around your pharmacy, at the simple click of a button.

 

  • If you’re looking to promote the new pregnancy pillow you just got in stock, you can choose to talk to only 100 of those 10,000 people who are women and who are likely to be pregnant.

 

  • And you can track how well you’re communicating the pregnancy pillow to these people.

 

  • Talking to people digitally can drive them to take action online or walk into your store.

 

  • You’ll save money on paper and traditional marketing methods.

 

  • And finally, it allows you to compete against other organisations offering similar services and who are talking to their customers digitally.

 

Slide 6

Engaging with your customers and patients in this manner is part of the vast sphere of Digital Marketing. This isn’t a new concept. It’s been around since the 1990’s when email first became free for the public to use, Google was born and the world was experiencing the dot-com boom.  

 

However, Community Pharmacy, particularly the Independent Sector has never really grasped Digital Marketing. There remains a big pandemic of a lack of online presence and it’s easy to understand why. For years and years, we simply didn’t need to market ourselves so much. We were doing just fine organically from dispensing items. Good customer service, in-store marketing and a good relationship with the Dr was doing the job, so why change?  

 

However, with the evolution of Digital Health and mobile technology in recent years, our health demands have changed. We want to communicate with a healthcare professional right away. We want our medicine to be delivered to our door and the very next day. And we want to access healthcare services as quickly as possible.  

 

While elements of the previous business model we adopted are undoubtedly important, we must now incorporate digital health into the overall strategy and a significant arm of that involves digital marketing.  

 

Digital marketing must be involved in protecting your business from the emerging competition who are providing similar services more conveniently. It must be involved in generating new streams of income to counteract the significant loss in dispensing fees we suffered not so long ago. It must be involved in effectively engaging with your Community now and in the future.  

 

Let’s take a look at how digital marketing can be applied to your business and what opportunities will exist for you…  

Slide 7

Just before I get into the juicy bits, let me give you a 30-second synopsis of me and what I do. I’m a Community Pharmacist of 12 years and counting, but in 2014, I took a break from practice and dived head first into online and technology sector. I taught myself how to build websites, learned how to create high-quality digital media and have been perfecting digital marketing ever since.  

 

At the beginning of 2017, to help with the pandemic I explained earlier, I launched a digital marketing agency that focuses primarily on the Community Pharmacy sector. Through trial and error, keeping up to date with the latest social and digital trends, and evaluating data and feedback, we know which channels make a real difference to your pharmacy business.  

Slide 8

 

Pharmacy in the Digital Age

Speaking at the Pharmacy Show 2018

 

Now, first and foremost, you need a website. Think of this as the central hub for your digital marketing activity and your digital shop window. This tool is what is going to speak to your customers 24 hours a day and it allows for an abundance of interactivity.  

 

Take a look at this example of a good, very affordable Community Pharmacy website.  

 

  • It’s mobile responsive, which is absolutely mandatory today. A customer will turn away if they have to pinch the screen to zoom in on things. Google also penalises websites that aren’t mobile responsive too.

 

  • It’s very well presented, clean and professional. You know the saying… “ A first impression always counts always counts”. Well, it applies to your website too. A website like this gives the user confidence from the word “go”.

 

  • It allows for the user to nominate the pharmacy for EPS right from the website itself without the need to fill in a paper form.

 

  • Users can also sign up and reorder their prescription on the go, catering to how we behave right now.

 

  • They can also book an appointment for the Travel and Flu clinic without the need to call the pharmacy.

 

  • The integration of these PGDs makes this business an all-round holistic health centre. An Online Doctor functionality allows for many prescription items to be sold digitally.

 

  • And of course, all activity can be tracked on a website because of the data it creates. Google Analytics can help us with this and will tell us what’s working and how customers are behaving.
  •  

But there remains a problem. It’s fantastic that we can provide all these wonderful services, but they render useless if people don’t know they exist.  

 

Q. So, how do we get more people to know about and use these services?

 

Well, we have to shout out about them, consistently. Let me show you how you can do that…  

Slide 9

Creating good quality content in the form of a blog, which is usually incorporated into your website, will help people find your services much more effectively. That’s because it caters for how we are searching for services in the first place.  

 

3.5 billion searches are made on Google every day. When people are looking for a service they want to use today, they don’t type the name of a business into Google, they type exactly what service they want to find. We call these search terms, “keywords”.  

 

This is a blog for a pharmacy down in Luton. We developed a blogging calendar to create articles focusing on the “keywords” that would promote the services they offer in store. One of those services is the morning after pill service. So we created and optimised an article for the keyword “morning after pill Luton” – that’s what people are searching for online in Luton.  

 

After only 3 weeks of publishing, the blog post positioned itself high on the first page of Google. This means that every time someone searches for this specific term, they’re likely to see this article. We just positioned this pharmacy service ahead of Boots, Tesco and Lloyd online.  

 

And the analytics tell us everything. Eight people clicked onto the article last month from the 63 impressions it received. With the correct optimisation, you can position all of your pharmacy services like this. More visibility means more traffic, which increases the likeliness of conversions.  

Slide 10

On the subject of Google, your Google My Business profile is an equally effective, if not more important marketing channel.  

 

When you type the exact name of your business into Google, you’ll see a profile appear, like the one you can see in the corner of the map there. It holds vital information regarding your pharmacy. That’s your Google My Business profile.  

 

Question. How many of you have owned and verified your pharmacy on Google?  

 

For those of you that haven’t, you could be losing business.  

 

You see, Google automatically populates information about your pharmacy on your profile, according to what they know. But, that information can be inaccurate. Wrong opening times and contact information is a very popular one I see. You can only manage that information if you’ve owned and verified it.  

 

If you can understand that your profile is viewed literally 1000’s of times every month, then you’ll know how important this is. You can also add photos of your pharmacy and you can even add secondary categories to your profile too.  

 

For example, this pharmacy down in Birmingham is also a travel clinic. So, in addition to the primary category, which is a pharmacy, we’ve added the secondary category as a “travel clinic”. So, now, when someone types in “travel clinic south birmingham” into Google Maps, this pharmacy will appear as a listing, nicely trumping its competition with all those stars there from customer reviews.    

 

This tool also allows you to publish posts and it’s continuously being updated with a load of cool features. For example, only recently did they add a “services” functionality to the profile, which is perfect for a Community Pharmacy.  

Slide 11

Another channel which I class as “essential” for Community Pharmacy is Facebook. Now, I won’t go into too much detail with this social media channel because it’s functionality and marketing tools are so vast that I’d need another 30-minute slot to fit it in.  

 

Rather, I’m just going to focus on the most important aspect of Facebook for Business today, which is, Facebook Ads. Paid advertising on Facebook is without a doubt the most effective and cost-efficient way to reach your preferred type of customer, and lots of them.  

 

Why?  

 

Because Facebook knows everything about you. Your gender, your age, where you live, where you work, where you have been on holiday and that you prefer to read articles from Pharmacy Mentor rather than the Chemist and Druggist. The amount of data it holds about you is scary.  

 

As an example of how effective Facebook Ads can be, we created an Ad for a pharmacy, again, down in Birmingham, to promote the launch of its travel clinic. We spent £10 and targeted only the people within a 10-mile radius of the pharmacy, between the ages 18 and 65, and who are interested in travel topics. Two days after publishing, the pharmacy sold £400-worth of Travel Health products to a single customer. And we know that this sale was attributed to the Ad because we asked the guy how he knew about the service.  

 

As another example, for a pharmacy down in Colchester, we pushed a £50 Ad to promote the launch of their travel clinic, targeting similar demographics. The Ad reached 19,000 people in the area, and in that first month, the pharmacy completed 11 consultations and totaled £1,200 net profit. Again, we know the Ad influenced people because we asked them how they knew about the service.  

 

Now, Facebook Ads work even better when they are linked to another digital channel where an action can be performed. For example, we can track how many people will fill out your travel consultation form, which will give us even more accurate data.  

 

Facebook is an extremely innovative tool. They’ve recently released a new Ads objective which is designed to increase visits to your store. This means you can create an Ad that will only be pushed out to a person when they reach a certain proximity to your pharmacy. And Facebook will track, through geolocation technology, if that person went into your store because of that Ad. Really clever stuff and that just shows you how advanced advertising is becoming.  

Slide 12

The last Channel I want to dive into at this depth is LinkedIn. Now, a lot of pharmacy owners question this tool, so let me explain how it can benefit you.   Every Social Media channel has its own unique set of demographics and functionality.  

 

For Instagram, the younger female demographic represent most of its user base, and it’s heavily image-based.  

 

For Pinterest, only 7% of users are men, the median age is 40 and again, content is only images and videos.  

 

But for LinkedIn, most users are professionals and it’s excellent for building relationships and growing a network of people that matter to you.   So, who matter to you and your Pharmacy?  

 

  • People in the locality do
  • Businesses in the locality too
  • Care Homes
  • Hospitals
  • GP Surgeries, and whoever else you think a relationship would benefit your business

 

So, connecting with all of these guys on LinkedIn will allow you to begin building better relationships which develop leads.  

 

As a prime example for this time of year, LinkedIn will be great for pushing your flu jab service.  

 

Take a look at this pharmacy. We began pushing out content promoting a Corporate Flu Vaccination Service, where the pharmacist would set up a clinic at their place of work. After only one published post, we received an email inquiry from a company we’re connected with. We’ve now secured a date to vaccinate a potential 80 staff.  

 

LinkedIn also allows you to message people directly which is a brilliant way to develop relationships. Think of this as the new way of direct outreach, taking the place of cold calling and email.  

 

As an example, say you’re looking to attain more Care Homes for your business. Connect with all the Care Home managers in your region (and they are on LinkedIn) and send them a message to say hello. Because they can see who you are from your profile, you’ve already developed an element of trust. That’s the beauty of it. From there, you can begin to offer your services and they’re more likely to do business with you. As you know, business is all about building long-lasting, good relationships and LinkedIn is a great tool for it.  

Slide 13

Now I’ve only mentioned a handful of channels here but there are plenty, plenty more. I just don’t have time to go through them all right now.  

 

However, let me give you a brief insight into some other tools that can be considered:  

 

  • Email marketing is huge and can have a serious impact on a business, but is complex and requires time.

 

  • So, an alternative to this could be using the digital loyalty scheme from Swipii, who market by email for you.

 

  • Pointy is a product that helps increase the visibility of your shop products on Google by creating a listing for each of them online.

 

  • PharmZap is a new app that allows for easy communication between patient and pharmacy.

 

  • WhatsApp Business has been specifically designed for Small Business owners, such as pharmacies. I reckon this could be very powerful for us because everyone use WhatsApp.

 

  • Pharmacy Flu Jabs is an online flu jab directory that helps market your flu jab service.

 

  • Instagram, particularly using Ads, can be a very powerful brand awareness tool.

 

  • And don’t forget your NHS Choices profile too. It’s a marketing channel. Upload images, videos and increase your 5-star reviews to help influence the user to use your services.

 

Slide 14

I sometimes see, on Social Media, funnily enough, other pharmacists criticising digital competitors, which makes me a bit sad. These competitors are simply responding to the problems that people face in the current health system and their demands. The fact is, we want to be treated quicker than ever before and the process to be as simple as possible. Fair play.  

 

But Community Pharmacy, rather than be phased by this, should see them as a catalyst for action. We need to protect and influence the people and businesses around us – not nationally.  

 

Those companies cannot offer the most valuable form of patient care, which is, face-to-face care. They can’t protect them against the flu this winter nor immunise them before they go travelling. Your pharmacy has a great deal to shout out about and by harnessing some of these digital tools, you can provide the best of both worlds to your community.  

Slide 15

I hope that, from what you’ve seen in this presentation today, it’s clear that the smartphone, it’s apps and social media represent a significant opportunity for Community Pharmacy. They are part of Digital Health which is right now and the future. For the effective sustainability and growth of your business, they should absolutely be considered as part of your overall strategy.  

 

Some of you will probably be thinking “Well, how on earth am I going to implement all of that? I don’t have the time nor the skill to execute.”   You’re right. Time is a huge limiting factor. But digital marketing is a journey, not a sprint. It can be implemented gradually and adjusted accordingly so you’re only focussing on the things that work.  

 

If you can do some of it, or a competent member of staff could take some tasks on, then that’s great. And of course, you have external help too. You know more than me that it’s all about utilising every possible resource you have available.  

 

I must also emphasise on the word “strategy”. For pretty much any business activity, following a strategy always churns out better results. The same goes for digital marketing – plan it into the business model and then execute it.  

 

And take note that the digital world is constantly evolving. So you must assess how well your strategy is working on a regular basis. The same strategy you were employing 6-months back will probably not work as well as it does today.  

 

Think mobile. Think social. And drive your pharmacy into the digital future.  

 


 

If you’d like to talk to me about getting digital, or anything related, please feel free to contact me and I’d be glad to assist you. Also, don’t forget to check out The Ultimate Guide to Driving Your Pharmacy Business in the Digital Age, a free 70-page manual, that is really helping pharmacists understand the importance of going digital and how to create a strategy going forward.

 

Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!

 

 

GDPR for Community Pharmacy
, ,

Simplifying GDPR for Community Pharmacy – The Video Guide

The Evolution of Digital Health
, ,

The Evolution of Digital Health

CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO ACCESS THE LECTURE SLIDES

Have you ever seen the film Elysium? I love it. Not just because I’m a sci-fi nerd, but also because of the future concepts of digital health displayed throughout it, such as the medical machine in this scene. Yes, I know. It seems a bit far-fetched to suggest that a machine would be able to clear up cancer.

Or is it?

The film is set in 2154, 136 years from now. Can you imagine what we could achieve in that time considering what we’ve achieved in the last 10 years alone?

I am completely fascinated by how the digital world is being integrated into pharmacy and healthcare, an idea known as Digital Health. The fact is, the digital revolution is shaping how we look after our health and therefore, we as healthcare professionals, need to be up-to-date with the new innovations causing this shift.

I was kindly invited to speak at an event held by International Investors and Founders in Barcelona to talk about “The Evolution of Digital Health”. It was a great occasion with some brilliant speakers and I’m really happy I could provide some value for the day.

Below is the transcript of the slides above so you can understand what on digital earth I was going on about.

If you like me to speak at your event, then please don’t hesitate to contact me. Because I’d love to!

 

Slide 2

 

There was a point in time when I was 16 yrs old. One day, I came back home after school to find my brother very excited.

 

“What is wrong with you?” I said.

 

“Just have a look at this….” he proudly replied, raising his shiny new phone in front of me, exactly the same one you see on the screen in front of you.

 

I was confused yet completely blown away by what I was looking at.

 

“Mate. How am I seeing through your phone…?”

 

He looked at me slightly disappointed and said: “It’s got a camera on it, you idiot”

 

A camera on a phone. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And it was that precise, mesmerising moment of my life that gave me the sudden realisation that the world was changing big time.

 

Slide 3

 

That was almost 20 years ago. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking….how is this guy ageing so well? (Crowd goes wild with laughter) I’ll tell you my secrets after the presentation for those of you who are interested….

 

Slide 4

 

But the point I want to make here is that this was 20 yrs ago and the camera phone concept did change the world! It has revolutionised pretty much every major aspect of our lives since. The way we communicate, the way we work, the way we shop and is now rapidly advancing the way we look after our health.

 

This is the part I’m interested in.

 

Slide 5

 

Camera phones, which are now smartphones, are completely disrupting the healthcare system. Let say I’ve had a rash on my arm for 2 weeks and I now want to see a Doctor.

 

Slide 6

 

Less than 10 years ago, the only way of doing this was to:

 

  • Call the doctor’s surgery and book an appointment.

 

  • Visit the doctor 2 weeks later and get a paper prescription

 

  • And then go to the pharmacy with that prescription to collect the medicine

 

But now, because of the digital revolution, this system, although still very much in motion, seems archaic and very time-consuming.

 

Slide 7

 

Because what I can do now is simply:

 

  • Take a picture of the rash using my smartphone

 

  • Upload the image via the app where my doctor is there on a live feed

 

  • And in 2 hours, I’ll have the medicine delivered to the door of my house

 

The camera phone just made my life easier and saved the NHS time and money.

 

Slide 8

 

The combination of a digital device, such as the smartphone, and the healthcare system is a tiny part of the digital health revolution that is exploding in today’s society. As a pharmacist working in the tech industry myself, I’m extremely passionate and excited about the concept of digital health, and today, I’m going to give you a brief insight into what digital health means, how parts of it have evolved in the last decade and what the future might hold.

 

Presenting "The Evolution of Digital Health" in Barcelona, Spain.

Presenting “The Evolution of Digital Health” in Barcelona, Spain.

 

Slide 9

 

Paul Sonnier, the founder of Story of Digital Health and a person who has been working in the field for over 20 years, has defined the term “Digital Health” as:

 

“the convergence of the digital and genomic revolutions with health, healthcare, living, and society.”

 

A group on Facebook dedicated to Asthma is Digital Health. An app designed to help you improve yoga is Digital Health. A wristband that measures your heart rate is Digital Health.

 

Slide 10

 

It’s where both digital and healthcare worlds collide and overlap. And by digitising healthcare, it’s empowering us to better track and manage our own health, but also to make healthcare delivery more efficient, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality, and make medicine much more personalized and precise.

 

Now, this is a very top level description of what digital health is. Its roots extend into a complex array of factors which we will have to save for another session, but for a deeper understanding, I’d highly recommend you venture over to Paul Sonnier’s site and have a look a the information he gives there.

 

Slide 11

 

In the last decade, we’ve seen huge advancements in the digital health sphere. One of the biggest movements came right at the beginning of 2007 when the iPhone was launched and “Apps” began dominating the world. Ten years on and in 2017 alone, 3.7 billion downloads of health apps were recorded and they are now paramount in our healthcare. They help us meditate better, track our sleep, build relationships with fellow cancer sufferers and order medication super quick.

 

Slide 12

 

A couple of years later, wearable technology dented the health sector. You may have heard of Fitbit. Their first device, launched in 2009, clipped onto your trousers and tracked only your movement, sleep and calorie burn.

 

Fast forward to today and the wearable has evolved into your highly advanced health and fitness companion. Wrist-worn with high definition digital displays and a plethora of functionality including 24-hour heart rate monitoring, guided breathing sessions and dynamic on-screen workouts.

 

Slide 13

 

Right at the beginning of the presentation, I gave you the example where I was speaking to a Dr via an app. That is what we call Telehealth or Telemedicine and is now becoming much more commonplace. And rightly so. It’s saving the healthcare system tonnes of money but also improving mortality rate.

 

The rise of portal technology is allowing both patients and physicians to access medical records and interact online. By giving patients more access to their records, it’s actually empowering them to become more involved and responsible with their healthcare, and look after themselves better.

 

This decade has also seen the shift in human replacement. Self-service kiosks have replaced the registration tasks in many hospitals and GP surgeries. Not only is this saving time and money by reducing staffing levels, most patients find this an easier and more confidential process.

 

Slide 14

 

Startups in the digital health scene became more popular by the launch of venture capital platforms, such as Rock HealthIn 2014, it was recorded that over 3 billion dollars had been poured into digital health startups. The Digital Health scene was officially booming.

 

Slide 15

 

And the big health regulatory bodies around the world are now evolving with the digital revolution. Personalised medicine continues to edge closer to the forefront of the healthcare industry, and is where treatment plans will be tailored to the individual instead of a “one size fits all approach”.

 

To get to this goal, technology is advancing something called pharmacogenomics, which is helping us understand how the genetic makeup of an individual affects their response to drugs.

 

Slide 16

 

And, of course, we can’t forget about Social Media either. Social media has also been a huge driver in the advancement of digital health. PatientsLikeMe, launched in 2004, is a social platform that helps connect people with medical conditions and now have a user-base of over 600,000 people worldwide with over 2,800 conditions. Not only do these people feel more connected, the data that this company has collected is being used to develop better healthcare services and devices, which is ultimately improving people’s lives.


And there’s the big word…DATA. It’s all about data. The more data we are collecting in the healthcare space, the more amazing things we can be doing with the technology we have and will build.

 

Slide 17

 

So, what does the future of digital health look like? Well, of course, I can’t and no one else in this room can be sure what it’s going to look like exactly. However, it’s the prospects of things like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Machine Learning that can certainly give us an indication of what the future might hold.

 

Slide 18

 

Dr Meskó Bertalan of The Medical Futurist sums up really well how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being applied to the healthcare sector and what will come from it in the very near future.

 

  • One of the most obvious applications of AI is data management. Google, through Deep Mind, is already using AI to mine medical records in order to provide better and faster health services.

 

  • It’s also being used to develop treatment plans. IBM’s Watson has the ability to assess clinical records and actually choose a treatment plan for a cancer patient.

 

  • One of the big ways it will help the medical sector is by assisting in repetitive tasks. Medical Sieve, is an algorithm, again launched by IBM, that is currently helping cardiologists make clinical decisions quicker and easier. This technology will no doubt take over basic decision-making, leaving the clinicians with only the most complicated of cases to deal with.

 

  • AI is now being used to triage patients. Babylon is an app that allows patients to enter their symptoms, and based on the answers, your medical history and common medical knowledge, will actually tell you what you should do and where you need to go. This kind of technology will look to save the NHS millions of pounds each year through unnecessary GP and A&E referrals.

 

  • And AI is also being applied in the creation an manufacture of drugs. This is revolutionary because drug testing often takes years to complete. With the use of AI, lots of time will be saved in the process, and therefore millions of dollars too.

 

Digital is impacting healthcare on a huge scale and as we head into the future, it will become more and more integrated. It makes complete sense. It’s going to save us time, money and ultimately improve our health.

 

Slide 19

 

But where does it stop? How intelligent are they going to become? Is this the beginning of the rise of the machines?

 

I’ll let you and Arnie ponder over those questions.

 

Slide 20

 

Thank you. For more information on how I’m helping the pharmacy sector in England, please visit Pharmacy Mentor. Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook and LinkedIn too.

 

Best,

 

Saam

 

 


 

If you’d like to talk to me about getting digital, or anything related, please feel free to contact me and I’d be glad to assist you. Also, don’t forget to check out The Ultimate Guide to Driving Your Pharmacy Business in the Digital Age, a free 70-page manual, that is really helping pharmacists understand the importance of going digital and how to create a strategy going forward.

Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!