Your pharmacy business begins and ends with your people. As a Community Pharmacy, the numbers say that, on average, your people are probably unhappy. Let’s look at how to flip that script.
Get everyone bought in.
What do the numbers say about Pharmacy Culture?
Only 17% of Pharmacy Owners think every member of their pharmacy team operates with a unique set of values they want their pharmacy to be known for, according to our Perfect Pharmacy Scorecard.
Pharmacy technicians rate their career happiness 2.8 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 15% of careers. (CareerExplorer.com)
Just 16% of the 2,694 pharmacy students in a joint study between Health Education England and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society chose community pharmacy over hospital pharmacy.
This doesn’t paint a great picture of working life in a Pharmacy. There’s clearly a disconnect between top and bottom. Pharmacy Owners want their teams performing better, and the teams just don’t seem motivated.
So many pharmacists we speak to cite being short-staffed as the main problem they’re dealing with right now. Couple that with Locum rates being so high, and there’s something of a staffing epidemic in Community Pharmacy.
Changing the narrative
Most pharmacies are currently in a vicious circle. The work is stressful, the employees get stressed and demotivated. A demotivated, depressing environment isn’t appealing for prospective new team members and so you end up stuck with the demotivated, overworked team.
What we want is a virtuous circle. Creating an environment where your pharmacy team loves working makes that environment appealing for job applicants.
So how do we move from that vicious circle to a virtuous cycle? Implementing culture that incorporates your team.
Creating your Pharmacy Culture
Building a positive culture in your Pharmacy team can have numerous benefits, including:
Improved patient outcomes
Increased job satisfaction amongst team members
Reduced staff turnover
Here are 7 steps for building a good team culture in your pharmacy:
1. Clearly define the values and goals of the team
What kind of pharmacy do you want to be?
Remember that values and Pharmacy Culture aren’t about what you do, it’s about the way you do it.
If your team understands and buys into the mission and values of the organisation, their performance aligns parallel.
Your culture comes from the top, from your passion as a leader. This means you need passion for your values! People follow leaders for their passion and because they align with their vision. You’re the driving force of your pharmacy.
Do you show up with passion and drive every day, and lead by example?
2. Foster open communication and transparency
Encourage sharing ideas, concerns, and feedback openly and honestly throughout your team. Giving people agency and control in their role both helps their sense of worth and productivity within your pharmacy.
Do this by sharing your own thoughts and visions for your pharmacy’s strategy with your team. Sharing begets sharing.
3. Show appreciation and give recognition
Let team members know that their contributions are valued and appreciated. This is as simple as saying thank you or recognising their efforts in team meetings, but make sure it’s sincere. This small gesture goes a long way.
4. Encourage personal and professional growth
Offer your team opportunities for developing their skills and advancing their careers. People invest in their own development. Offering development opportunities makes them invest themselves with your pharmacy.
5. Promote work-life balance
Help team members find a healthy balance between their work and personal lives. This can include offering flexible work schedules or providing resources to support employee well-being.
Naturally, if you’re already short-staffed, you might feel this is impossible. You need them to work, right?
Talk to your team, let them know you’re grateful for their efforts and, whilst it’s a struggle hiring locums and/or new staff, you’re investing in taking the pressure off them.
6. Foster a collaborative and supportive work environment
Encourage team members to work together and support one another. This can include things like providing opportunities for teamwork and building strong relationships amongst team members.
Again, lead by example on this.
The junior members of your team aren’t there to lend the senior members help exclusively – and often the junior members of the team are the ones who need the most help.
7. Lead by example
I’ve said this about three times already throughout this guide, because it’s critical to your culture.
As a leader, it is important to model the behaviour you want to see in your team.
If you never take a break, it makes your team feel like they can’t take a break. That’s not setting the right tone.
Being open and transparent, showing appreciation and respect for team members, and acting with integrity? That’s setting a great tone.
We understand that life in Community Pharmacy is usually high-speed, and can be very stressful. There are external influences that make the job harder e.g. drug prices or the GP surgery not sending a patient’s RX on time. These are not within your control.
However, your “culture” is within your control, and you have the power to shape and nurture that. It’s not easy, but the rewards make it worth it for you, your team and your patients.
This article was written by JP, our Brand Content Editor who has been with PM since the early days and has extensive experience in working with multidisciplinary teams, with the help of Saam, a pharmacist by trade and our CEO, and who has extensive experience in leading teams in both the pharmacy and digital worlds.
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As a pharmacist, you’re 100% forgiven for not being “up” on TikTok. But these 12 tips will get you up and running with a Pharmacy TikTok account.
Want to start a Pharmacy TikTok account? You’ve come to the right place.
Everything You Need to start posting on TikTok
One smartphone with a camera
The TikTok app
One TikTok Account (with unique username & profile picture)
And that’s it.
12 Pharmacy TikTok Tips
Getting involved with TikTok is honestly pretty simple, because it’s a platform where no one expects perfection. But with these 12 tips, you’ll feel like a pro in no time.
1. It’s never too late
Whilst it might feel that the TikTok ship has sailed, it isn’t too late to jump on. The immediacy and short-term nature of the platform means that, provided your content delivers value, you’ll attract followers and views. When it comes to having a TikTok presence, there’s no time like the present.
2. Remember, you’re a pharmacy
Silly dances and pouting isn’t necessary for success on TikTok. Whilst showing a personal side is encouraged, it isn’t necessary.
Exploring medicine use and offering helpful advice around this subject, as well as many other mental health issues, would be a fantastic and engaging issue for exploring with your content.
TikTok is no longer just for young people, either. Like most apps that start this way, the target market has expanded with its popularity. The app has been downloaded 2 billion times globally. That’s a lot more people than just children!
4. Be prolific, not perfect
TikTok users are familiar with handheld videos recorded on phones – Hollywood edited videos aren’t necessary for success on this platform. Posting more often is far more useful than worrying about appearing polished.
In fact, more polished videos seem less genuine and your audience won’t engage as openly with them as a result. In real life, not every sentence you say is perfect, and nor should it be on TikTok.
The whole point is building a relationship with your community, which doesn’t happen if you only show up every few months. The more regularly you post, the better your results become.
5. Have a goal in mind
Building an audience is always a solid marker, as the more followers you have, the better the perception of your brand when new people encounter you. But building an audience is not the end goal.
Ultimately the end goal is nurturing trust with your audience and developing engagement.
6. Utilise your team
Whilst the younger members of your pharmacy team won’t have as much pharmacy experience as more senior members, they almost certainly have more TikTok experience. Use that! Offer them a pay rise and make creating content part of their job description, or give them cash incentives per video. That goes for the stars of the video too, not just whoever’s filming it.
Many staff members might feel uncomfortable on camera, which is fine. But with the right incentives, they might feel more comfortable
Encouraging having fun with the videos suddenly makes the task more appealing.
However you do it, getting someone who’s comfortable with the platform makes the process much easier.
7. Engage with others
It isn’t all about creating your own content. Follow healthcare hashtags, follow other small businesses in your community and comment on their content.
Start conversations that aren’t in your own environment, and you’ll attract people back to yours.
8. Reuse your content on other platforms
If you’re considering entering the TikTok space, the likelihood is you’re already on at least one of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. TikTok content works well on other platforms! Don’t be shy in spreading your videos across your other platforms.
Do you have digital screens in your Pharmacy? Get your videos playing on your screen and bring the fun into your pharmacy! This also helps boost your followers as people in your pharmacy realise you’re on TikTok.
9. Short, sweet, and straight into the good stuff
Jump straight into the content of your video and try to keep videos between 15-30 seconds. Longer videos are okay occasionally, but people can immediately see if a video is long, and it’s possible that deters them from watching any of it.
10. Link your website in your profile
Your digital marketing works best if things flow nicely. Someone sees your TikTok video demonstrating how lip fillers are professionally applied might want to use you for their treatment.
They’ll click on your profile, and find out more.
Optimise your profile, and maximise the exposure to your pharmacy services.
The Day Lewis Pharmacy Profile doesn’t include its website link, and it’s missing a trick.
Without hashtags, the TikTok algorithm doesn’t know what your content is about, so it won’t show it to people who like content associated with those subjects. Always hashtag your location, especially as a local community pharmacy. You’re fostering a community, what better place to start than…people in your community!
12. Track & Analyse
If you’re not measuring what you’re doing, you’ve no idea if it’s going to be effective or not. You know this, you’re a pharmacist.
Check your videos and discover which type works best. Double down on what works, and ditch what doesn’t!
If something really doesn’t look great on your account, you can always delete it later!
TikTok has its own inbuilt analytics, but these are only accessible with “Pro” accounts.
How do you get a Pro account?
Manage my account > Switch to Pro account > Select “Pharmacy” Industry > Your TikTok account will reload with the analytics section.
And that’s a wrap!
Those 12 tips are more than enough to get any Pharmacy started on TikTok…so in the words of Shia Laboeuf…
Interested in setting up a TikTok account and having the account managed by us? We can help. Simply get in touch.
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Prescription Collection Machines are exploding in popularity in the UK. So we thought we’d save you some time shopping around and write a guide. Hopefully it saves some valuable time finding the right one for your pharmacy.
As a digital marketing and development agency, with a goal of increasing patient numbers whilst improving workflow for pharmacies, we regularly discuss the use of Prescription Collection Machines to our clients.
Managing prescription workload and easing workflow
Reducing waiting times, queues and “Is my prescription ready yet?” questions
Maximising the convenience of prescription collection in general
The only way your pharmacy wouldn’t benefit from a Prescription Collection Point, is if you’re in an area so remote and sparsely populated that there aren’t the numbers to warrant it.
Most providers cite a certain number of items per month, which they say makes investing in a Prescription Collection Machine worth it. But the reality is, with the convenience of 24/7 collection for your patients, the machine will increase your EPS sign-ups, especially if you’re the only pharmacy in your area which has one. And as we continue into a more clinical model of pharmacy, any way you can free up the time of your pharmacy team and improve workflow efficiency is a good investment.
How do Prescription Collection Machines work?
Prescription Collection Machines are the ATMs of Pharmacy. Instead of queueing in the bank to withdraw money, ATM’s allowed the secure withdrawal of cash 24/7. Prescription Collection Machines do the same for Prescriptions. Freeing up staff time, allowing more time for value-adding actions, and saving the customers from unnecessary waits.
The core mechanics of how they work:
Script is Processed
The prescription is processed in the normal way and bagged up
Scan the Barcode
The barcode on the label is scanned before allocation in the machine
Place inside Prescription Collection Machine
The prescription bag is paced into machine, ready for patient to collect.
"Prescription Ready" Text Alert
The message can be customised, but always contains the PIN required to operate the machine.
Patient Collects Medication
Using the PIN provided, the patient then collects their medication at a time convenient to them.
Of course, people need to sign up for EPS with you in order to use the service, as this service naturally requires their details.
The best part about the automation, in our eyes, is the ability to balance workload. When you know you’ve got a certain amount of prescriptions to load in for collections, you can wait for a quieter time in the day and load them in bulk.
Spreading the work over the course of the day instead of the manic rushes reduces the stress on your pharmacy team, and their stress as a result.
Managing the Cost of Investing in Machinery
It’s also worth noting that when investing in Prescription Collection Machines, you can deduct some or all of the cost of the machinery through your Capital Allowances.
Spreading the cost of more expensive machinery over a number of years can shave a lot of the difference off that expense, and leave you with a higher value asset in your business.
It’s worth discussing both financing plans and tax planning with your accountant and the suppliers, and comparing the options to determine the true cost to your business before investing.
Prescription Collection Machine Suppliers
Without further ado (because that was quite a lot of ado) here is your shortlist for Prescription Collection Machine comparison.
Pharmaself24, a product of Videosystems, and now being distributed throughout Great Britain by Omnicell, are the market leaders in Automated Prescription Collection. This dynamic is important because it couples the market leading machines with Omnicell’s vast experience in automating retail pharmacy.
The biggest thing that stood out for us is that the Pharmaself24 doesn’t operate like a converted vending machine. In a vending machine, there’s no way to access anything other than the items at the front. The Pharmaself24 Multi design (more like an ATM), allowing for more flexible layout configurations within your pharmacy space, as well as a massively increased capacity. (Think 10 x 10 x 10 capacity, rather than 10 x 10.)
The Pharmaself24 Compact works its robotic mechanisms on a cylinder, which again differs from the stock vending machine technology, increasing capacity.
When the whole point is automating the prescription process, increasing capacity efficiently is the biggest winner. I mention efficiently specifically, because, real estate is valuable, and some pharmacies won’t have room for multiple machines. The Pharmaself24’s effective use of its space is a standout difference.
It’s important too, that the internal front lighting is so bright. Patients collecting 24/7 need external lighting at night (or in the case of the UK, from 5pm-8am from November to February.) Incorporating this into the design is clever. The whole appearance looks slick, a hallmark of good design.
Not only is it slick, but it’s robust, with a certificated anti-vandal IK10 rating. IK is a measurement of how much impact it can withstand, from 0 to 10.
MedPoint is a really solid option, offering three unique model sizes, the i900, i1200, and i1500. (The numbers represent width in cm.) The one that struck us most here was the MedPoint SOLO, designed to be separate to the Pharmacy.
A unique opportunity with MedPoint SOLO
The reason that struck us, wasn’t its cold-chain medicine option (though that’s cool…literally), nor the fact that even pharmacies with no physical floor space available can get the technology. It’s the potential of increasing patient convenience even more.
Covering quite a wide catchment area means travelling to your pharmacy might still be cumbersome for many patients. But delivering to every single patient is also costly and not environmentally friendly. The SOLO could give your pharmacy an outpost – a more convenient location for a wider reach of patients to collect their medications. It would work similar to Amazon Lockers, where a delivery driver delivers to the Prescription Collection Machine and loads everything there, instead of at the pharmacy.
(This machine is a demonstration model.)
The MedPoint also integrates with a growing list of PMR Providers: Titan, Proscript, Positive Solutions, Cegedim PMRs and the BeWell patient app, with more in the pipeline.
Whilst MedPoint doesn’t have the large glowing logo on the front, they do show lighting consideration for users with their external light.
MedPoint’s unique barcode-led process helps minimise the risk of the wrong patient getting the wrong bag, significantly enhancing safety by eliminating human error.
Utilises width rather than depth, with three unique models
Developed MedPoint API works with PMR Integrations & other third-party apps
The “affordable” option, the Pharmabox 24 is very much the no-frills solution.
It does the automation part, it’s simple to use, and it works. Whilst not as all-singing, all-dancing, it might well be the entry point for pharmacists on a tight budget.
“Yes our sensors allow each customer 1 minute to collect their package from the flashing collection drawer, and if something is still detected after this time the drawer door will lock. The alloted Pharmabox24 local manager/contact point will receive a service text message to say that there is a package needing to be removed. The “release code” is entered into the front panel and the package can be removed, and can identify obviously who the offender was!
Our internal CCTV records all the activity and the pharmacy’s own CCTV can also be used to show what happened.
Our experience is that this happens very rarely but is a necessary security option.
We recommend the backlit LED lighting for the front panel which provides just the right level of lighting for the customer collecting. Equally in some situations, we recommend a PIR LED downlight to be fitted in the vicinity of the Pharmabox24 in order that the right level of safe lighting is achieved. This is usually included as part of the survey and planning permission work.”
Ultimately, your pharmacy will have its own specific needs.
Whilst there are many variables between models, you might be constrained by available space, meaning you benefit from either a model that utilises width over depth or vice versa. It’s worth a chat with Chris at T3 Pharmacy Design if you’re struggling with space or the layout of your pharmacy.
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50% of all local search ends with a visit within 24 hours. (Source: Uberall, 2019)
All of those are applicable to Community Pharmacies. But the “Near Me” searches are where NearSt shines, and where the main benefit for you as a local business comes in.
How does NearSt help Pharmacies?
NearSt solves your community’s problem of needing something immediately but not knowing where it’s in stock. NearSt (hence the name) lets them know where the product is being stocked near them whenever (and wherever) they search for it online.
Anything that solves your customers and patients problems, is an asset for your business.
Turning online shoppers into in-store customers
People shop online for convenience. But waiting even a day for a product isn’t convenient compared with collecting it that same day from a local shop. With healthcare products, it’s even more likely your customers want things immediately.
A real-time view of what local shoppers want
Sir Lord Major General Alan Sugar has a phrase he rolls out every series on The Apprentice – “smell what sells.”
NearSt gives digestible insights into what nearby customers want to make sure your pharmacy is always stocking the right products, by providing real-time information about what shoppers near your pharmacy are searching for.
By stocking the things your community is searching for, and showing up when they search for it, you’re putting yourself in a winning formula which equals sales.
How does NearSt work?
NearSt integrates with your EPOS system and puts your live in-store stock onto Google, as well as product descriptions, price, and images. It’s constantly talking to your EPOS system which means the information online is always up-to-date.
The difference between NearSt and Pointy by Google
Those of you with Pointy might be thinking, I already have that! Well, yes, but not quite. Understanding the difference between Pointy & NearSt took me a while too, but there are critical differences.
The main differences between Pointy by Google and NearSt are:
Pointy is hardware, NearSt is software. Instead of having to manually scan your entire product range, it’s uploaded automatically, saving you loads of time.
Pointy is owned by Google, therefore only works with Google search engines. NearSt works with every search engine, including Facebook.
Because it’s linked with your EPOS system, NearSt has LIVE information about your stock levels, meaning people aren’t making the journey into your store then getting dissapointedd when you have no stock.
What if I’ve got an eCommerce website?
An eCommerce website is a great solution for declining footfall and the increase in online shopping activity. However, it may not solve the problem for patients and customers who need a product right now i.e. on the day and not delivered in 2 days, for example.
Using NearSt, even if you’re an eCommerce brand, you’re offering your patients and customers even more convenience by giving them an immediate solution as well as an online one, where they can go and get the product in store.
In just 4 weeks, Massingham’s products were discovered over 152,000 times in Google by nearby shoppers, driving 157 new customers in-store. One was noted as saying, “we didn’t know you existed, what a lovely shop!”
“It’s been great for us. It’s been useful to give people the opportunity to see what we have available in the shop. Our regular customers also use NearSt to check that we have a product in stock that they already know they want.”
– Nick, Clare Pharmacy
Whilst NearSt don’t operate purely with Community Pharmacies, their existing cases show it works. Knowing what I do about most Community Pharmacies’ desire to increase the retail sales, this for me seemed like an obvious solution.
And there’s no massive commitment, either. Pay monthly just like you would a Netflix account.
Every conversation in your pharmacy is an opportunity for helping patients further. The more you know about the patient, the better your service gets. This guide explores the best ways for better serving your patients and increasing your revenue in the process
Increasing pharmacy sales requires talking, exemplified no better than market traders whose dialogue with customers is paramount.
Increasing Pharmacy Sales through your existing patients
A question that’s on practically every pharmacy owner’s lips right now is, “How can I increase the revenue and profitability of my pharmacy?”
There are many ways of doing this, and you should browse around similar guides we’ve written on our blog. We usually focus on how digital marketing helps achieve more sales and improve your workflow.
However, in this article we’re going to examine the tactics you employ on the pharmacy floor. You don’t need any new patients for this, you simply need an open mind for a new approach to both cross-selling and upselling.
It’s important to note that at the heart of increasing revenue is great patient care, quality customer service and convenience. We never want to sell a patient anything unnecessary, and we wish to always remain ethical about what we sell.
The difference between Cross-Selling & Upselling
Cross-selling and upselling are both effective ways of increasing pharmacy sales, whether that’s through promoting services or recommending products.
An example of cross-selling is somebody visiting your pharmacy to collect their prescription and you or your pharmacy team recommending your ear health consultation or microsuction service.
Upselling is where somebody comes in to buy ibuprofen for their back pain, and they leave with a stronger, more effective painkiller or a heat pad for their back. These are more valuable, upgraded versions of the solution they’re already purchasing.
Balancing cross-selling with speedy service
Now, there are two natural enemies of uncovering patient’s problems: time and privacy.
Ideally, a patient isn’t in a rush and there’s no one behind them in the queue. The best time for these conversations would be during a consultation. Realistically however, the bulk of your interactions are at the counter.
So whilst it’s worth bearing in mind that, whilst someone is waiting alone in a pharmacy for their prescription, that’s a great opportunity to explore their other healthcare needs. You also need a tactic for when it’s busy.
Some good Questions for cross-selling and upselling
Cross-selling and upselling in a pharmacy requires training and a good knowledge of your products and services. When our CEO, Saam, was at the coalface, he’d have a conversation with every single patient and customer that he possibly could, given how busy the pharmacy was at the time of course. It always started with a simple smile and:
“How are you doing today?”
Which is a great way to instantly develop a bond, and shows that you care. Without this essential first step, you’re unlikely to get the best conversation out of the patient and provide the best care.
We’ll provide additional information below each question, but just a foreword that these are recommendations for individual questions, not a full list of questions to ask people at the pharmacy counter. Also, we need to be sure that we’ve asked the usual WWHAM questions for safe and effective supply.
Have you considered using X and Y?
Often, patients come in and go straight to the counter asking for a specific medicine e.g. Day Nurse or Beechams. They have a cold and are feeling under the weather. 80% of pharmacies will sell the product that the patient will ask for, and that’s it. The rest however, will have had a great conversation with the patient and talk to them about:
If they have any immune boosters, such as echinacea or Vitamin C with Zinc
How the separate ingredients in the branded product can be bought separately e.g. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen at larger quantities for the same price
How their sleep is right now that could be affecting their health
What their diet is like perhaps
If they’ve had the flu jab or not
With the right conversation and actively caring more about the patients’ health, you’ll be able to offer a more rounded, holistic approach to healthcare that will build trust in your patient. The side effect of this is more sales.
That’s why training your team on this is so important, as the pharmacist will be very busy in many circumstances. Every conversation or interaction is an opportunity to make more of a difference to someone’s health. What a great position to be in!
Would you like to book in for a free X whilst you’re here?
X can represent anything, but given that we’re offering it for free, it’s probably best sticking with things that are usually free anyway, such as Blood Pressure Checks or NHS Health Checks (if you’re in the UK). Whilst those checks themselves are useful for the patient, they also present opportunities for building the relationship further. As mentioned before, a consultation environment is a better environment than the counter for questions like the one below.
Is there anything else bothering you at the moment?
This question is ideal for cross-selling, and it also gives patients permission to talk about the things they often consider too insignificant for a doctor’s visit or put off getting advice about. Perhaps they’re stressed, perhaps they’re tired, but these are all openings for further questions and conversations, ultimately leading to you solving their problems.
You won’t open many doors for anything too personal at the counter with this question, but it’s great in a private consultation setting.
Are you going anywhere on holiday this year?
Depending on the answer, recommending various vaccines and travel necessities pharmacies offer becomes the natural next step.
Did you know you can get your flu jab here?
A simple question in the run-up to flu season, with an obvious cross-sell.
Many pharmacies utilise leaflet-drops, delivering thousands of leaflets to their catchment area, and people might become aware of the service the pharmacy is promoting.
A more effective use of the leaflets (which you can use additionally if you’re still tied to leaflet drops) is having a small pile of them displayed in a stand on your counter.
Incorporating a leaflet into your conversation about the new service you’re cross-selling helps the patient digest (and perhaps later, remember) what you’re talking about.
Every conversation can lead to better care for our patients and more revenue.
Your Attitude Matters
There’s a big difference between an insightful observation of someone’s needs and a generic recommendation that they probably overheard you giving the person before them in the queue.
One has a far higher likelihood of increasing pharmacy sales, and the other is arguably more damaging than it is useful.
Don’t diminish your reputation for profit
Telling everyone there’s a bar of Dairy Milk on offer for a pound might fly in WHSmith’s. But as a pharmacy, your word is your bond and requires nurturing. We’re healthcare professionals, not a general shop. Save your recommendations and advice for healthcare topics.
What should I cross-sell?
Whilst the answer to this question is generally, “whatever is relevant for the patient”, we think it’s important for Community Pharmacies to focus on healthcare.
It’s also largely situational for your specific services, the advantages your pharmacy holds, and where your focus is at any one time.
Think Prescription Collection Points, Late Night Pharmacies, clinics, whatever you’re currently under-subscribed for.
Have a focus, but remain flexible
At restaurants, waiting staff recommendations are usually the food where they’ve got loads of stock running out of date.
Now, I’m definitely not suggesting you start pushing nearly expired medicines on people! But it is worth thinking about what your next big push is. Is it shifting people onto EPS, is it filling up your Flu Clinic? Your larger business strategy should guide your upselling approach.
Just remember, remaining flexible, open and inquisitive ensures you’re always helping the patient.
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https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Increasing-Pharmacy-Sales-A-Pain-Free-Guide-to-Upselling.png16202880JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-12-03 13:29:452022-12-03 13:29:45Increasing Pharmacy Sales: How to Cross-Sell & Upsell in a Pharmacy
This year, Pharmacy Mentor was recognised by Chemist+Druggist for our innovation, bringing home the “Online Initiative of the Year” award for 2022.
Saam & Fran delighted to receive the award. And Hugh Dennis, contractually obliged to appear in the photo.
What was the “Online Initiative” we won the award for?
In response to the rapid evolution of mobile technology and digital health, the change in patient behaviour post COVID-19, and an increase in demand from its clients, the Pharmacy Mentor Web team developed the Ultimate Pharmacy Website (UPW) through the vision, direction and guidance of our CEO, Saam Ali.
Before explaining the components of the UPW, it’s useful to understand what makes a website.
All houses are houses
Whether a standard two-up two-down made from bricks, or a work of architectural beauty on the side of a mountain, a house is still referred to as a house.
You can check a box that says “I have a website” with the most basic website money can buy. But that website won’t bring much value to your pharmacy business. Even the most basic website is a website. The Ultimate Pharmacy Website is also a website. But the two are not the same.
What makes it the “Ultimate Pharmacy Website”?
The Ultimate Pharmacy Website features a collection of bespoke website add-ons, allowing pharmacies to:
Prescribe and dispense prescription-only medicines (POMs) online via patient group directions or independent prescribers
Take payments for medicines online (POM, P and GSL)
“Free prescribe” medicines
Create subscriptions for recurring medicine services
Speak with patients virtually
Take clinic bookings and payments
Process NHS and private prescriptions
Message patients directly
The feedback we’ve had from pharmacies using the Ultimate Pharmacy Website is that it is helping generate new streams of income while saving time administratively. Meanwhile, patients are benefitting from greater access to healthcare and a more timely, hands-on pharmacy service.
Want the Ultimate Pharmacy Website to revolutionise your pharmacy business?
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/1668754540999.jpeg6271200JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-11-30 14:27:262022-12-01 18:26:55We are C+D Award Winners! Online Initiative of the Year 2022
In this presentation delivered at The Pharmacy Show in 2021, Saam talks about how Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can help plant your private services on the first page of Google and drive significant revenue from them
That graph represents the most remarkable story for a particular independent pharmacy up in Scotland.
Can you see that red arrow there…that’s when I still classed the business as a pharmacy back in May 2020.
Its private service offering was doing well but like most other pharmacies, its bread and butter were prescriptions.
But fast forward to today, I can no longer call this business a pharmacy. A more accurate description would be along the lines of:
“Hollistic Primary Healthcare Hub”
Let that slide sink in for a second.
Look at how the private service offering today now dwarves its NHS services, and look at the variety there. Not only can you get your prescription, but this “pharmacy” can also help you:
Get your yellow fever vaccine before you travel
Remove that excess build-up of wax in your ears
Feel more energetic with a Vitamin B12 injection
Clear up your chest infection with antibiotics through its private GP offering
Access a dentist immediately to help with your persistent toothache
Help you lose weight via the most powerful POM treatment on the market
And much, much more…
It truly is a one-stop-shop for many of your healthcare needs.
Whatsmore, this business is absolutely thriving financially. The private service side is generating more revenue than its NHS side, and much more profit. Prescriptions have become their secondary source of income. They are now working on automating more of their prescription journey so that profits can improve on that side too.
For me, that’s the future of Community Pharmacy. Automating the prescription journey as much as possible and focussing on the provision and growth of clinical services.
Not only will you be building more avenues of revenue, but you’re stepping away from the mundane tasks of checking prescriptions towards a more fulfilled holistic service approach, and improving access to healthcare in your area.
This kind of opportunity exists for all pharmacies around the Nation. It’s how your gonna survive and massively thrive.
Now, getting to this position requires that you innovate and think about your business in a different way.
There are many factors that you have to consider, such as:
Getting trained to provide these services in the first place
Making sure you have the right resource levels to deliver
You’ve developed strong SOP’s , and so on.
Essentially, you need to be in a position to be able to deliver these services well to your patients.
But aside from delivery, you will not get towards the success levels of this pharmacy without the right digital infrastructure around your services, and investing in marketing. And in terms of marketing, one of the secret weapons to driving 100’s of clinic bookings every month is Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO.
SEO is what I’m gonna talk about primarily in this session. It is the most underutilised marketing tactic in pharmacy but one that offers the biggest opportunity, and I firmly believe it can change the landscape of Clinical Community Pharmacy.
So just before we get into the juicy world of SEO, a little bit about me. I’m a pharmacist..have been for the last 14 yrs, and I’ve managed all sizes of pharmacy businesses, from large chain multiples to the single independent.
But for the last 8 years, I’ve been building websites and marketing digitally, two things which I absolutely adore doing. So much so, I ended up building Pharmacy Mentor, which is a specialist marketing and development agency, for pharmacies.
Now, of all the marketing channels that I know, SEO has always been my fave.
But, also I know how business-changing SEO can be. And it’s one of the main reasons Pharmacy Mentor gets business…if you take your phone out now open chrome and type either of the words “Pharmacy Marketing” or “Pharmacy Website Design” – you’ll see PM right at the top there, just below the Ads. That’s SEO. I want people to find our company for those specific keywords.
So what is Search Engine Optimisation exactly?
In the words of the SEO guru himself, Neil Patel, he describes SEO as “the process of taking steps to help a website or piece of content rank higher on Google.”
So, just from that definition there, we know we need a website or content online to make this work.
To take it a bit further, SEO is all about ranking higher on Google organically and not paying Google to be at the top.
Now, this bit is really important to understand. SEO involves optimising a piece of digital content so that when someone searches for something in particular, in a search engine like Google, that piece of content shows up towards the top of the results.
You can always pay for Advertising space to drive traffic immediately. However, if you can get there without paying for Ads, you’re gonna yield a much stronger return on investment and it will be much more cost-effective for you in the long run.
To help you understand this visually, take a look at the following slide. Let’s say you’re a pharmacy owner, which in this audience, most of you probably are, and you’re looking for some help to grow your EPS numbers. You’ve heard from a friend of yours that another pharmacy grew their item numbers quite successfully by doing a mailshot in their area. So, you decide to do some research into it.
You log onto Google, and you search for something like “mailshot service pharmacy” or “mailshot for a pharmacy”, for example.
Get your phone out now and try it yourselves now if you can log onto Google.
Right at the top there, you can see company’s paying for that Ad space and are getting charged every time someone clicks on the link. This is Pay Per Click.
But, right underneath this, you can see a page for our company that has been optimised for those keywords. We don’t pay to be there and we don’t pay every time someone clicks on the link. And of course, out of all of those options on the slide there, you’re gonna click on our link because it talks to you so perfectly. “Let’s drive prescription numbers” – Yes, please – click! And because of this article and the way that it speaks to pharmacy owners on Google, we get business from it.
That’s SEO in action right there.
Now the thing is, this pharmacy owner had never heard of Pharmacy Mentor before today. They would have never have typed the words “Pharmacy Mentor” into Google.
Rather, pharmacy owners are looking for the services they require on Google and that’s how our company gets found. Over the years, we’ve optimised content for 100’s of pharmacy owner specific keywords and as a result, we obtain 10,000’s of page views every month that is super targeted for our audience.
Also, incredibly interestingly, with Google’s Keyword Planner, I can check what kind of monthly search volume each keyword has which will help me work out which of them I should focus on more than others.
And this can even be location-specific. So, for example, if I wanted to find out how many searches were made for the keyword “pharmacy websites” in Manchester, I can view that data.
So, how does all this translate for your business?
What keywords should you guys be focussing on?
And what do you then do with those keywords?
Well, the best place to start off when trying to find these is to follow the basic formula that you can see on the screen right there.
That formula, although very simple looking, is worth hundreds of thousands every year to a pharmacy, especially one that offers private clinics. And I’m not exaggerating in the slightest here.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that there really isn’t a limit to the number of keywords you can target. There are 100’s, if not 1000’s of them of various lengths and combinations, and that’s one of the reasons SEO is a never-ending game. You can’t really run out of SEO and I’ll talk more about the other reasons why a tad later.
So, following this formula:
1. Firstly, make a list of all the services and products you really want to push and make more money from:
NHS and Private Prescriptions
Flu vaccineTravel Clinic
Yellow fever vaccineMeningitis Vaccine (Hajj and Umrah)
Malaria TabletsAesthetics Clinic
2. List the geographical locations you want to target
3. Begin developing the keyword list using the formula above:
So, understanding the services I want to promote and where my target audience are, some of these would be:
Yellow fever vaccine Warrington
Flu Vaccine Warrington
Lip fillers Warrington
And so on.
So as you can see there, I’m now starting to create a list of top-level, highly powerful keywords for my business.
So let’s say I’ve made a list of 20 keywords and I’ve checked on Google’s keywords planner that they are in fact being searched for by people in my area.
Well, it’s time for me to start creating content. I need to get some content up online and I need to optimise it for the keywords I’ve just listed. That’s where my website comes into play.
So, how do you optimise content exactly?
I’ve only got a short time with you guys today, I can’t go into the full details of optimisation, because it’s technical and extensive.
There is so much you can do to make your content appear higher in search results, but the two things I should mention for now are the following:
Make sure you create and optimise an entire page for each service and keyword that you want to target, and blog consistently every month.
The more content you can create…
If you get these two nailed, you can expect to begin driving tonnes more traffic to your website, hence revenue and profit.
But like I said before, SEO is a never ending game. My advice of creating optimised content on your website through service pages and blogging represents about 20% of the vast universe that SEO is. Site Speed, SSL certificates, site maps and metadata to mention a few all play a role in ranking your content higher. But the real reason you can’t run out is the world of backlinks and off-page SEO.
So, going back to the formula and on-page optimisation, this is exactly the strategy we executed when working with this pharmacy I showed you at the start. We took care of a lot of technical SEO for them naturally, which I’ll remind you is very important, but we followed the same formula I described before.
We developed a keyword and content strategy for them and got to work creating optimised content on the website.
The graph shows how many website link clicks and how many people have viewed those links on Google since May 2020 last year.
Now, I can’t deny that Covid helped our cause a lot in this scenario but it’s the optimised content that we have developed, and continue doing so, that has caused the increase you can see here.
You see, COVID accelerated digital behavioural change. People became glued to their phones and began looking for services and products near them at a level never seen before in human history. People didn’t know what was open or closed and people had to do their research via Google.
For this particular pharmacy, COVID testing services, ear wax removal, phlebotomy and private GP proved to be hugely popular keywords in their area.
If you have a look at that green box there, it tells you that over the period of this time, we developed 70,000 website clicks and over 2 million people have seen these links on Google. Purely organically. That’s a mind blowing result.
That’s why this pharmacy is generating £millions of pounds in revenue every year from private services, and the more work we do for them in terms of SEO, the more they will make.
And that’s really why I can no longer class this business as a pharmacy.
So, how do you get started?
Well, of course, you can try to find the time to learn how to do all of this yourself and if you do want to, I’ve popped some really useful links there to help get you started.
But, your pharmacy owners. And that means you haven’t got much time.
So the best thing for you to do would be to find a freelancer or an agency that specialise in SEO to do it for you.
But remember, first and foremost, you need a good, solid website to begin developing the optimised content on, and you need to develop a content keyword strategy to work from.
And lastly, this is a long-term strategy designed to develop traffic and revenue over time. It’s important to note that you’re not going to see results immediately. It takes time for Google and other search engines to index the content you create and it’s not certain how long this can take. It may take a week to index, or 3 months. Plus, we need to keep on top of how Google is altering their bots and algorithms at all times.
But you have to start somewhere and if you’re offering private services, the marketing channel that I would be focussing on is SEO.
In this presentation, delivered at The Pharmacy Show 2022, Saam will show you how you can turn your PGD or Independent Prescribing status into £10,000’s per month. He shows you what digital tools, mechanisms and formulas you need to adopt to make it work.
The presentation has been transcribed below:
After she said those words and shot me down in front of a room full of people, I did something that would change the course of my life forever.
I got up, adjusted my tie, and said “I won’t do this anymore”. And walked out.
That was the last meeting I ever had with them, back in 2012.
I was working for one of the big corps and I had a very well-paid job. But towards the end of my time there, it felt like I was wearing a straight jacket to work instead of a suit jacket.
I had so many ideas for growth, but they just didn’t get listened to. I understood, of course. It’s tough to get anything through the big corporate red tape.
But I needed to grow.
And the only way I could do that was to break free and personally innovate.
As much as I love the NHS, I see it as a bit of a straight jacket for Community Pharmacy.
It’s very restrictive.
The market for prescriptions is heavily saturated, you’re getting paid less, and you don’t set the prices.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t focus on driving item numbers – it’s always gonna be part of your business model.
But, I’m sure you’ll agree, things a getting tighter.
But because you’re an Independent Pharmacy where no red tape exists and where you make the decisions about where your business goes, there are no boundaries like I had all those years ago.
You’ve got room to innovate.
And that tightening NHS grip can loosen if you put more time and energy into offering private clinical services.
It’s incredible what pharmacies can offer today.
And, with the help of the brilliant companies in this expo, you can become, I believe, the most powerful, diverse health hub in your city.
There’s so much potential for growth down this route.
Yet, like my store manager all those years back, I’m still hearing these sentences from time to time.
The way of the NHS has been a habit.
But these comments don’t stand any more, and here’s why…
I’ve broken it down into chunks:
Your sphere of Influence
The Boom in Private and Digital Healthcare
How our behaviour has now altered
Your ease of access to training
And Digital Marketing
When you go down the clinical route, your sphere of influence as a business grows significantly.
Traditionally, with the NHS dispensing model, you cater to the people who live within the 1 to 2-mile radius around you.
However, if you start offering a Travel Clinic, a Weight Management Clinic or an Ear Wax Removal clinic for example, you’ve immediately expanded your target audience to cover the entire city.
This is what we need to understand.
People are willing to travel much greater distances for these services, meaning you’ve 10 times’d your sphere of influence.
If I open Google Maps and type in the word “Pharmacy”, I get a load of pharmacies pop up, naturally.
However, if I type the keywords “Travel Clinic” or “Weight Loss Clinic”, less than a handful of clinics pop up and none of them are pharmacies.
Question: Do we have any pharmacy owners from Sheffield in the audience today?
Because if I was that pharmacy owner from Sheffield, I’d go home after this show and work out how I’m going start delivering a Travel and Obesity Clinic.
Then, I’d optimise them so well online that I’d literally sink the competition that I can see on there.
My clinics would show up first with 100’s of reviews on them, and I’d be making a fortune.
That’s how unsaturated this market is still.
Once again, my target audience is the city, not just S10.
The pandemic has also helped private healthcare boom over the last couple of years.
More people are looking for alternative ways to get better because the NHS is so rammed and people prefer to pay to get better quicker.
And many of these private entities are online too. Now is as good a time as ever to get in on this growing space.
Our digital behaviour has changed too. We’ve become supercharged digital users.
The stats there that should glow for a local pharmacy is that…
“Near me” searches for healthcare services have doubled since 2015.
And roughly 97% of people who use online search, look for local businesses.
They are very powerful indicators of the opportunity that is in front of a clinic service-oriented pharmacy.
It’s also easier to get started delivering private services.
More of us are becoming independent prescribers, and firms, like PharmaDoctor, make it super easy for us to begin supplying POMs under a PGD.
TympaHealth, another fabulous company, allows you to provide an ear clinic in your pharmacy.
Medicheks allows you to supply blood testing kits.
And Nurokor means you can operate a pain clinic in-store.
Essentially, you have the opportunity to become a complete health hub in your community, which…
Can generate a shed tonne of new revenue for you.
Take a look at this pharmacy for example. They offer a plethora of services, including a Travel Clinic, a Private GP, Blood Testing and Vitamin B12 injections.
The graph you can see is website traffic over time. They reached an all-time high between 2021 and 2022, achieving 5000 website page views a day at one point, and they were generating over £100,000 a month from their private services alone.
The way I see prescriptions now is not about the money you make from them under the NHS.
I see them as a vehicle for converting those patients into private service customers.
And that’s where digital marketing comes into play – which is the way you’re going to drive as much revenue from them as possible.
It’s time to think of your NHS patient database as a pool of clients you can upsell to.
If you’ve got 5000 patients on your PMR system, you have to get them enrolled onto your website.
And even better, WhatsApp or an email marketing solution, so you can communicate with them directly.
But that’s only 5000 people.
Remember earlier, I talked about how your sphere of influence has increased – we’ve got another 500,000 people we can potentially service.
So we need to think about SEO, Paid Ads and Social Media to communicate to those. I’ll come onto these later.
But firstly, if you’re prescribing POMs, or you’re delivering any other clinic, you’ve got to think about how you can digitise them.
So that you can make it as convenient as possible for the patient to use the service.
Making it digital reduces the administrative burden for yourselves, and ultimately increases conversions.
That’s what I’m going to talk about now.
To demonstrate this, we’re going to focus on the following services that are in growing trend and popularity:
Prescribing POMs as an IP or through a PGD
And, what I’ve termed the more “Invasive Clinics” where you have to get more involved, such as a travel clinic or ear wax removal service.
As an IP, or if you’re working with a private doctor, you can offer all types of POMs, whether it be under the condition of Asthma, UTIs or Migraines, for example.
To make it as easy as possible for the patient to begin their consultation with you, you must digitise it.
And the best way to do this is through your website.
In last years’ Show, I dedicated a whole session on SEO. It is truly business changing and cannot be ignored when offering private clinics.
There’s loads of information on our website about it, and I’ve popped a link to a great guide on there, that you can read later.
But to get to the top of Google immediately, whether that’s on Search or Maps, it’s all about Google Ads.
Again, I’ve popped a link on there to a comprehensive guide.
It’s a massively powerful tactic, but it’s important to know that Google have clamped down on advertising POMs and pharmacy-related services.
It’s because of the nature of the content. So you do need to tread carefully and that’s why LegitScript on there too.
This certification helps legitimise your business for the giant advertising platforms out there, like Facebook and Google.
And of course, we can’t forget about Social Media too, the best way to generate engagement in your Community.
Post about the services you’re offering, but make the posts as engaging as possible!
It’s pretty saturated, so you really need to cut through the noise with excellent content.
People want to see a video of their local pharmacist talking about these services and it’s the ultimate way to build trust.
As well as the biggies out there like Facebook, Insta and Google Business, it’s well worth exploring TikTok now too.
So, how do you get started?
Well, the first thing you need to do is to seek help.
You can’t do this on your own, and that’s why you have the amazing organisations in this expo today.
But the important first step is delivery.
You’ve got to make sure that you can deliver on the ground and give great customer service
And following that, a digital strategy needs to be developed that can be embedded into what you’re offering.
Whoever you work with, it’s important that they understand your business through and through.
Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time explaining what your business is and how it works.
But it all comes back to mindset and innovation, and a strong drive to change and evolve.
One of the big blockers in pharmacy today is time.
So you need to think about how you can release more of it to be able to head in this direction.
Are you ready to go beyond the boundaries of the NHS?
Are you ready to step into private clinical territory?
And are you ready to digitise with it and revolutionise your pharmacy.
My names Saam and thank you so much for listening.
Emergency Contraception & Erectile Dysfunction services are such important services, providing care to people in vulnerable situations. But navigating ethics, regulations, and public perceptions when promoting these services is tricky.
Marketing Emergency Hormone Contraception and Erectile Dysfunction (EHC & ED) is important to get right. Not only does it help deliver care and change lives for the people in your community, but marketed correctly, these services help keep your business profitable and sustainable.
So let’s take a look at effectively marketing your ED & EHC services in 5 simple steps.
1. Sensitivity first
As a pharmacist, you don’t need me telling you that Erectile Dysfunction & Emergency Hormone Contraception are both sensitive services from a patient’s perspective. Discretion, judgement free delivery of these services is a must. And whilst neutrality is one thing, compassion also goes a long way.
You probably manage your services in this way – but not everyone does. Patients may have previous bad experiences, so make your pharmacy’s approach clear.
Remember: your entire pharmacy team needs to be 100% sure on how to manage these patient experiences. Semi-regular briefings help keep everyone on the same page.
2. Perfect Patient Experience
Other than your pharmacy team’s conduct, there are ways of providing a service which your community values.
The main things they value with both services are discretion, safety and effectiveness.
That’s one of the main draws of the direct online route – people ideally want complete privacy.
Whilst you might not win over every single patient who might’ve otherwise gone online, providing an environment promoting privacy gives a convenient alternative.
Consider offering at least one of the following:
A Pharmacy Messenger/WhatsApp channel for patients to communicate through.
Online booking facilities for private consultation rooms.
3. Advertising Do’s & Don’t’s for EHC & ED
As per medicine advertising guidelines, you cannot directly advertise Prescription-Only Medicines (POM’s). It’s good practice to promote the service or condition you’re treating rather than the medicine itself.
You’ll also likely need LegitScript verification for advertising these services. Pharmacy Mentor can assist you with this process.
DO show sensitivity in your wording of any advertising of your service
DO make use of Local SEO & Sponsored Social Media Ads to advertise your service.
DO make sure you aren’t violating terms and conditions when using Facebook & Google.
DO Ask Pharmacy Mentor for advice if you aren’t sure.
DON’T Include ED or EHC in any discounts or special offers. This makes patients feel like you’re charging more than you could ordinarily.
DON’T Advertise POM’s directly. Always advertise the condition or service.
DON’T forget your pharmacy reputation is affected by the style of your advertising, for better or worse.
DON’T try to compete on price – compete on service and trust instead.
Making your EHC & ED Services get clicks on Google
There are two stages of getting clicks on Google.
The first is appearing on Google in the first place. But we’ll cover that in the next section.
How do you ensure your website is the one that gets clicked, instead of your competition?
Put your USP in your headline
Your opening line on anything promoting your service is like a headline of a newspaper. Grabbing your audience immediately is the name of the game, but it requires balance, so you aren’t perceived as clickbait or spammy, especially on sensitive subjects like ED & EHC.
There’s limited space for your headlines, so prioritising is key.
What is your main USP? The reason your consumers choose you over your competitors? Those should be in your headline.
The Superdrug advert below does a good job with “No Doctors Visit Required.” This addresses a concern of their target market (convenience) and therefore speaks more directly to them than other Ads.
For Community Pharmacy, your USP might be safety and professional advice in-person. Or it might be that patients can collect immediately without waiting for delivery.
For patients who don’t want to leave their home, consider offering a video consultation.
Remember, this headline is solely about getting the click. Once the patient has clicked on your headline, this can link to a webpage with much more information. You don’t have to put everything about your service in the headline.
Promoting Your Service through Social Media Adverts (Paid)
Social Media (especially paid advertising through social media) is a great place to promote private services. Especially ones that people often delay treatment for, such as Erectile Dysfunction.
However, sensitivity is once again paramount.
Avoid profiling. Social Media sites terms and conditions prohibits negative profiling in social media copy.
You can restrict EHC marketing to women and ED to men – but you can’t specify your target audience using your copy – this is profiling.
Examples of Adverts that Meta (formerly Facebook) Will & Won’t Accept:
An example of unacceptable profiling in a Meta Ad:
Are you a young, nervous woman who needs the Morning After Pill?
Middle-aged and struggling with ED?
The phrasing of “young & nervous” makes the person reading the advert feel targeted. And whilst that’s acceptable for some forms of advertising, when it comes to sensitive subjects like EHC, ED & Weight Loss, it’s prohibited.
Also avoid words like “struggling” as it paints a negative light and Meta doesn’t want their users feeling negatively whilst using their Instagram & Facebook.
Example of acceptable Meta Ad copy:
Need professional, confidential advice about the Morning After Pill?
Get professional, medical support for ED and feel your best self!
Difficulties in advertising – don’t get banned
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for pharmacies to advertise online at all without LegitScript.
Companies like Meta & Google were previously pretty lax on advertising around medicine. But since the pandemic, with an increase in illegitimate drugs being sold online, their regulations are far stricter. Pharmacies have found themselves permanently bannedfrom advertising for advertising in a way previously deemed fine.
Not sure if you need LegitScript Certification?
Talk to Pharmacy Mentor and we’ll discuss whether you need certification based on your advertising activity.
4. Providing Information & Guidance Online
As a pharmacist, you’re the most convenient source of trusted healthcare advice in your local community.
It’s this advice which is what direct online solutions cannot offer, and it’s what increases your market share, promoted correctly. One of the biggest concerns with emergency contraception, as an example, is safety. People feel reassured having a qualified professional in front of them telling them it’s safe.
However, giving guidance online is important. People typing in these questions in your local area finding you as the source of the answer means more patients. Younger people especially search for advice online before seeking it elsewhere. Creating content for your website around both EHC & ED means when your community searches these questions, you appear with answers.
Once they visit your site for the answers, you simply guide them towards your pharmacy for their treatment.
Whilst many pharmacy services are seasonal, Emergency contraception & Erectile Dysfunction demand is consistent through the year, meaning a stable source of revenue for your pharmacy.
5. A New Way to Serve Your Community
For Community Pharmacy, your competition, as usual, is Online Direct Suppliers, offering convenience (not having to leave the house) as their USP with same-day or next-day delivery.
With our Independent Prescribing Website Add-on, you can rival this service. Take orders, payments and approve online risk-assessment forms. This process saves you time by automating all the administrative processes, gives you an audit trail, and lets you focus on care.
After that, encouraging the patient to collect in the pharmacy is the best port-of-call, as you can then give them the advice they need with the meds. We even built a specific “Pay Now, Collect-In-Store” option for Community Pharmacy.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday starts on the final Friday of November. This year, it will fall on 25th November. This guide shows you everything you need for making a massive boom in your pharmacy’s bottom line this Black Friday weekend.
What is Black Friday & Cyber Monday?
Black Friday & Cyber Monday are Red Letter Days when it comes to shopping. In recent times, they’ve been joined by “Small Business Saturdays,” where supporting local businesses is encouraged. But by and large, Black Friday & Cyber Monday are the attention grabbers.
Black Friday is a significant date because it’s the first weekend after the final payday before Christmas. The event pre-dated offers and promotions, and was simply a date where most people would conduct their Christmas shop.
Over time, that overwhelming volume of shoppers drove competition between businesses, who’ve steadily driven down prices in attempts to lure customers through their doors.
Cyber Monday is a more recent addition, created by retailers to encourage eCommerce spend and traditionally offers deals on smaller electronic goods and items. It is only really a thing because of Black Friday.
“But there’s a Cost of Living crisis!” I hear you yelling in your brain at me. “Surely people will spend less?!”
It’s precisely because there’s an economic downturn that people will spend more on Black Friday.
With less money to spend, people want more bang for their proverbial buck. Saving 30% on your overall Christmas spend sounds far more attractive when you’re spending 70% more on heating your house.
So let’s get into how you and your pharmacy make Black Friday & Cyber Monday work for you.
1. Pick your promotions and choose your discounts carefully
Standing out on Black Friday is massively down to what your promotions are, and what they include.
Balancing that with remaining profitable is where the sweet spot in the Venn diagram is.
Offering 90% discounts gets you noticed, but leaves you out of pocket.
Offering 5% discounts keeps your margins high, but won’t attract loads of new business.
Figuring out the best promotions depends on what you offer as a pharmacy, who your local community are, and who your competitors are.
Be careful (read also: Don’t do this) around including things like Emergency Contraception in promotions. Boots did this and faced a lot of backlash, suggesting if they could afford to make the prices lower, they should do that permanently.
Luxury, cosmetic and retail items are your candidates. Urgent health necessities should be avoided.
The opportunity of Black Friday weekend is bigger than the weekend
And don’t forget that attracting new business generates more awareness for your pharmacy in the future. If you made a small loss on Black Friday weekend but gained hundreds of new patients going forwards, that’s potentially a worthwhile trade-off.
For example, offering a heavy discount on a new service, like Ear Health Clinics, gives people a reason to try your service instead of their regular provider. Blow them away with your service, and you become their new regular provider. Private healthcare services like this help you stand out on Black Friday, because most retailers cannot offer them, making it unique.
2. Utilise your Social Media platforms
A pharmacy’s social media followers have almost certainly visited the pharmacy before and enjoyed the experience. Why else would they follow you on Social Media?
It’s a no-brainer to promote your deals to your own community, those who trust you are your most likely visitors.
How much promotion is too much promotion? The 80/20 rule is a good rule of thumb. If 80% of your content is organic, community-based posts for your community, 20% can be promotional. If you post five times a day, one of these can be a Black Friday post. Five times a week? One of these can be a Black Friday post.
Please don’t post the same post over and over again. That’s how you lose followers.
Also, bear in mind you’re adding to a lot of Black Friday noise – try and stand out with your content as well as your offers.
3. Send Black Friday Promos to your Mailing List (if you have one!)
Emails are one of the best options for getting your promotions out to your community. Why? Because unlike with social media, you guarantee that the email is sent to the recipient. Yes, they may not check their emails, and yes they might not open your email, but it guarantees that chance.
Social media, unless your post has attracted a lot of engagement, may only be seen by 10% of your following.
Emails get sent to every single person on your mailing list.
Sending an email a week before your Black Friday deals, the day before, and on the day, makes sure you’re at the forefront of people’s minds when they’re thinking of the deals they can get.
So if you do have a mailing list, use it! (And if you don’t have one, get one!)
4. Beat your competitors’ Black Friday deals
Black Friday was borne out of competition for consumers’ attention, and it remains the tinder on which the money in consumer’s pockets burn.
Paying attention to your competition is critical.
After all, it doesn’t matter if you’re offering 20% off if a pharmacy across the road is offering 30% off everything. There’s loyalty to your pharmacy, but there’s also loyalty to one’s own bank accounts.
5. Don’t be afraid of spending money (especially promoting eCommerce offers!)
If you’ve got an eCommerce arm to your pharmacy business, capitalising on Cyber Monday is an option you shouldn’t overlook.
With the potential to make multiple thousands of pounds in retail sales, spending a couple of hundred pounds guaranteeing people find your website and products isn’t a bad idea.
With both Google Ads & Facebook Ads, your discounts and offers can be seen by thousands of people on a weekend where spending money is at the forefront of their minds.
If, because you’re a pharmacist and not a digital marketer, you want help managing digital advertising, we can help.
6. Feature your products in your promotions!
It isn’t enough to say 20% off everything in-store, especially when, as a pharmacy, you’ll have to put the dreaded asterisk* against everything* to exclude prescription medication.
When every retailer is offering these discounts, yours won’t stand out.
Feature and promote the products you believe generate the most excitement in your store, like NuroKor or Fitness trackers! Discounts on bigger ticket items are the most enticing reason people visit specific retailers.
So if you’re discounting them…feature them in your promotions!
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https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Black-Friday-Cyber-Monday-for-Pharmacy-1.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-09-20 10:20:232022-09-21 14:32:10The Ultimate Guide to Black Friday & Cyber Monday for Pharmacy
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