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

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

ecommerce sales as a percentage of total retail sales

The components of a successful Pharmacy eCommerce Website

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

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

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

How Pharmacy eCommerce works

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

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

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

The present and future of eCommerce

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

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

eCommerce on Home Voice Devices

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

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

Smart Home Devices are increasingly used across modern households.

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

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

Pharmacy eCommerce websites on Google

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

Creating a successful Pharmacy eCommerce website

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

Firstly, select the right platform

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

Why is that good?

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

Next, Customise your Website

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

For happy customers

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

For an efficient pharmacy business

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

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

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

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

Website Design

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

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

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

Cultivating the intuitive navigation and layout

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

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

Creating a product ecosystem with integrated SEO

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

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

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

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

Safe & Simple Checkout Process

Picture it.

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

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

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

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

Mobile-responsiveness is now Mobile-First

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

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

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

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

Necessary, but desirable

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

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

Of course, there is another way…

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

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

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

5 reasons to use digital advertising over traditional advertising

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

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

5 ways Digital Advertising for Pharmacy is better than offline adverts

1. Analytics

Traditional Issue

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

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

Why Digital Works Better

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

2. Interactivity

Traditional Issue

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

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

Here are the two journeys.

Offline Ad

1. See ad.

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

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

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

5. Look back at the magazine, and remember.

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

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

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

9. Buy/book.

Online Ad

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

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

3. Buy/book.

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

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

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

3. Flexibility & Control

Traditional Issue

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

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

Why Digital Works

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

4. Value

Traditional Issue

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

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

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

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

Why Digital Works

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

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

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

5. Smart Audience Targeting

Traditional Issue

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

Why Digital Works

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

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

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

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

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

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

seo guide for pharmacy

What is SEO, and what does it do?

What is SEO?

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

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

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

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

What does SEO do?

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

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

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

On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO

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

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

Such questions might be:

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

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

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

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

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

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

So how do the rankings work?

Imagine you are the guide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

google vs bing meme

Search Engines monitor visitor’s behaviour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Off-page SEO – How that influences your recommendations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How does using SEO for your pharmacy help your business?

  1. New Business from an active market.

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

  2. Activating a dormant market.

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

  3. Brand Awareness.

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

What about Technical SEO?

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

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

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

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

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

So what now?

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

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

pharmacy blog on a laptop

Why is a pharmacy blog so important?

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

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

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

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

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

What should a Pharmacy blog about?

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

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

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

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

stuck for pharmacy blog posts

How should you blog?

  1. Don’t sell, help.

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

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

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

  3. End with a Call-to-Action

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

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

  4. Optimise

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

When should you blog?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do I need to get started?

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

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

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

Moving towards a modern healthcare hub, service-focused model of pharmacy, setting up an Aesthetics Clinics in your pharmacy makes perfect sense. It’s a business that can completely stand on its own, being a high-end luxury service rather than the lower-end necessities.

aesthetics clinics in pharmacy

Why should you set up an Aesthetics Clinic in your pharmacy?

  1. They’re incredibly profitable. Successfully run, an aesthetics clinic can be more profitable than a pharmacy.
  2. See number 1.

No, but seriously, there are many reasons to set up an aesthetics clinic. Perhaps you enjoy doing it. Perhaps you believe the industry practice could be improved with more highly qualified clinicians. But, if done well, (which we’ll cover below) it will make you lots of money and as a business, that’s a real consideration. And as a healthcare institution, you’ve already got a great awareness of the medical side of the business. Because ultimately, although it is a luxury boutique, it’s founded in healthcare.

The problem is, a lucrative business comes with lots of competition. Who doesn’t want to make lots of money? But…

Pharmacies are perfectly placed to deliver Aesthetics Clinics as a trustworthy healthcare institution

Luxury customer experience is idealised by the people seeking these treatments, but ultimately their health is their main priority. They want 100% confidence their procedure will go well. Whilst levels of qualification are required to perform these cosmetic treatments, a pharmacist’s experience and qualifications stand head and shoulders above people whose only medical qualifications are the cosmetic ones.

Being at the heart of your local community also offers the convenience of proximity for a service where a lot of patients want repeat services every few months. Most pharmacies have a consultation space, allowing procedures to be conducted privately and comfortably. Your Consultation room may not offer the luxury feel of other Aesthetic clinics. A great experience is often the difference between a one-time customer and a repeat customer. It might be worth investing in a facelift for your consultation room as a facility.

aesthetics clinic in a consultation room

How’s your consultation room game?

Why shouldn’t you set up an Aesthetics Clinic in your pharmacy?

 

It’s easy to get swept away in the idea of making lots of money, but Aesthetics Clinics are a big commitment and shouldn’t be undertaken without being properly thought through. Here are 3 reasons you shouldn’t set up an Aesthetics Clinic.

  1. Aesthetics is, perhaps unsurprisingly, utilised by people who place a lot of emphasis on looks and a luxury experience.

    If your pharmacy doesn’t look modern, this could hamstring any efforts to attract people to your clinic. If your consultation room isn’t up to scratch, again this will dent your appearance as “high-end.” People won’t spend a lot of money somewhere they don’t perceive to be high-end. Your medical and clinical experience is already high-end compared to most cosmetic clinicians. But your experience needs to match to make the very best profits.

  2. Neither you nor your team has an interest in aesthetics and learning to be competent.

    To re-iterate: the experience of aesthetics treatments should not feel like going for a vaccine, and the treatment is also more complicated. People want an experience to make them feel valued. What this entails varies from individual to individual. But if you’re only interested in a money-making machine, people will find somewhere else that gives them the experience they seek. Either that, or you’ll have to make your model low-cost, high volume. It’s a lot harder to make a margin this way. It’s also a lot of time being spend doing aesthetics treatments if you have no real interest in it. Superdrug offers an extremely cheap option, but with their marketing budget, their margin might come from increased footfall in their store. The hope that by attracting aesthetics patients they’ll also cross-sell make-up or other beauty products. (something you should consider doing no matter your price)

  3. You have no marketing strategy for it.

    If you don’t know how to connect your service to your paying customers, then there’s really no point investing in not just this, but any service. Our Powerful Aesthetics Marketing service is perfect if you don’t want to do this yourself.

If you’re in this position currently, consider improving these areas. It’ll massively ramp up your chances of success.

Marketing your Aesthetics Clinic – Setting yourself up for success

Let’s just make it clear what I mean by marketing – connecting your product/service to your customer. Without that, you’re not going to get anyone into your clinic. If no one knows you offer the service, how can they buy it from you?

Relying on people seeing your service in your pharmacy is going to be slow, slow going. Generally speaking, the market for your aesthetics clinic and the market for your pharmacy will have limited crossover. We’re talking about very different customers. So you need a very different marketing strategy. Your offering could be completely different from an Aesthetics Clinic down the road from you too. So you could need a very different strategy from them.

Your logo, your branding, your website, your social media, your content, even your premises will need to reflect the service you’re offering. And that might sound like a lot of work. But Aesthetics Clinics can make you lots of money. No one ever gets that without work. Set up in the right way though, you can reap handsome rewards. But it’s all dependent on the marketing.

Logo/Branding

Image is everything. For the vast majority of your customers, their first impression and their decision to visit your Aesthetics clinic will be made online. So you have to look, sound, and feel like a brand they’d expect to buy a treatment from.

Website

If you want to have your Aesthetics Clinic share a website with your pharmacy, then the bar for visual appeal needs to be set for the Aesthetics business, not the pharmacy. Your pharmacy customers won’t be put off by a website that looks excessively good for a pharmacy, but your aesthetics customers will be put off by a website that doesn’t look good.

The impression it gives? “If you can’t make your website look good, how can you make me look good?”

SEO

Let’s go back to the definition of marketing. Connecting your service to your customer. The perfect time to do this than when the prospective customer is searching for the service.

At it’s core, SEO means that your website gets found when people search for things. Want your Aesthetics Clinic to be found when people search for “Botox Injections?” You have to optimise your website for that phrase. The video below demonstrates Google searches for different key phrases “botox injections” and “aesthetics injections” and shows how different websites show up for what is a very similar phrase.

 

 

Your average ignoramus like me wouldn’t have a clue about the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery. So it’s important to be found for all the different search terms that people will use when they want your service.

Understanding what people are searching for is critical to getting your service found. If you’re trying to be found for “Aesthetics Clinic” instead of “Plastic Surgery” for instance, you’d be barking up the wrong tree. Plastic Surgery is searched for around 30x more on average and sometimes 50x more. Even though you don’t offer Plastic Surgery, you could optimise a blog post with the title “Plastic Surgery vs Cosmetic Surgery? What’s the difference and which one fits your needs?”

The same is true for “Botox Injections” – and any other service you’d offer. Just like people don’t search for a pharmacy when they want an earwax removal or a travel vaccine, people don’t search for an aesthetics clinic when they want treatments, they search for the treatments.

 

A Google Trends graph showing the difference in search terms between "Botox" (shown in blue) and "Aesthetics Clinic" (shown in red)

A Google Trends graph showing the difference in search terms between “Botox” (shown in blue) and “Aesthetics Clinic” (shown in red)

 

Social Media

The Social media strategy for Aesthetics Clinics differs from a pharmacy strategy in a number of ways. Aesthetics is a visual domain and needs a visual strategy to match. The primary audience for aesthetics is on Instagram, but that doesn’t mean ignoring Facebook, or even Nextdoor. There are tools to utilise on each platform that can help to not only capture new business, but also retain your existing business. This is super critical for aesthetics, as treatments like fillers require repeat visits every few months. Customer retention should be a big focus of your strategy.

 

Paid Ads

Paid ads combine the best of Social Media and Search Engines and hand it to you on a plate. Top of Google. Seen on Social Media. Guaranteed.

What’s the catch? You have to pay for it, naturally. But don’t let that put you off.

Digital advertisements provide better value, better analytics, and better targeting than any other form of advertising. Why does anyone advertise? Because the money it costs you to advertise is far less than the money you make by advertising. Creating and developing a successful ad campaign can be the difference between success and failure.

Ads are especially useful for getting business in the first few months while your organic strategy is growing.

Want help marketing your Aesthetics Clinic?

Our Aesthetics Marketing makes your clinic visible, accessible, and convenient to the relevant people and sets you up to capture the market and the profits which follow.

Understanding what people search for is critical in getting your service found. If you’re targetting “Aesthetics Clinic” instead of “Botox” for instance, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Plastic Surgery is searched for around 30x more on average and, in this spike,100x more.

Harnessing these trends both on Google & Social Media is fundamental to a successful Aesthetics clinic, which is a great opportunity to grow a large revenue stream.

 

LinkedIn poll for popular services in pharmacy

(Taken from our current poll on LinkedIn #impartial)

 

Our Aesthetics Marketing makes your clinic visible, accessible, and convenient to the relevant people and sets you up to capture the market and the profits which follow.

Interested in the opportunity to run an excellent aesthetic clinic in your pharmacy? Check our Powerful Aesthetics Marketing and talk to us about how we can help you set up.

 


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Digital health pharmacy
With so much focus on streamlining business practices and revenues, it’s easily forgotten that Digital Health is ultimately about improving patient health. We’ll look at four great digital health solutions to offer in your pharmacy in 2021 which benefit your patient as much as your pharmacy.

 

digital health services revolutionising patient care

There are lots of services to offer in your pharmacy, but we’re highlighting some of the top ones for 2021.

The Digital Health services to offer in your pharmacy

 

1. TympaHealth

 

TympaHealth’s range of ear health has brought another service for pharmacies to offer to their communities, and it’s absolutely taken off across the UK.

 

The Technology

As shown in the video above, TympaHealth integrates health technology with mobile technology. It also combines the ability to conduct hearing tests and micro-suction into one piece of kit.

Benefits of the service

With most GP’s dropping the ear wax removal during COVID-19, patients are actively seeking out the service. If your pharmacy is appearing on search engines when people search for “ear wax treatment” or similar, you’ll be reaping the rewards already.

Micro-suction, for example. typically takes between 10-20 minutes per appointment, with most prices around £50. So it’s decent bang for your buck. If you automate the process for booking appointments, you really begin driving your profit/minute conversion into an attractive proposition for your pharmacy.

The TympaHealth offering provides more than just ear wax removal, and the process is one that assures patients that their overall ear health is in good hands. This assurance and professional service gives confidence in your pharmacy’s ability to deliver other services, too.

As far as initial services to trial, moving towards a more service-driven pharmacy model, TympaHealth’s Ear Health service is a great place to start in 2021.

 

2. Allergy Testing

 

The world has never been more self-aware and proactive when it comes to intolerances and allergies. One only has to stroll down the dairy aisle of a supermarket and see all the Lactose-free products on offer to know that intolerances and allergies are at the forefront of people’s minds nowadays.

 

 

The Technology

PharmaDoctor partnered with Klarify.me who innovated DIY Allergy Test Kits for people to order and carry out at home. The Klarify test kits detect the body’s reactions to allergen extracts and components, which allows for comprehensive precision testing on hundreds of allergens.

The PharmaDoctor service gives you the accredited training necessary for delivering the service for patients. It’s a useful service, as a lot of patients struggle extracting blood themselves.

Easy Upsell

Someone buying Antihistamines? Just as you look for warning signs with health conditions, allergies are now something you can screen for and test, without having to refer anyone externally.

Benefits of going private

Of course, allergy tests are available through the NHS, but an allergy test service offers the benefit of not having to a) wait months to find out if you can eat or drink a certain foodstuff and b) keep a food diary in attempts to try and determine the source of intolerance.

If you’re in an affluent area where people invest money to save themselves time, this service could be very popular.

3. Pharmaself24

 

Pharmaself24 brings ATM technology to prescriptions. Think about that. How much more convenient did the banking experience become when withdrawing cash didn’t require queueing up and speaking to someone? Not only for the patients but for the banks. It meant the tellers could give more useful services to people who needed more complicated problems solving.

It’s hardly a secret in the industry that margins on prescriptions have put a lot of pressure on pharmacies to come up with alternative solutions to increase their revenue, in some cases to stay afloat. It doubles up as both a convenient service and efficient automation, Pharmaself24 is a great way for your pharmacy to automate the collection of medicines, become more convenient for patients, and free up your staff’s valuable time.

 

 

The Technology

The tech works in a similar way to an Amazon lock-box.

  1. The patient registers with you for the service.
  2. They re-order their prescription as usual (hopefully through a prescription-reordering app).
  3. You prepare the prescription as usual.
  4. Once prepared, and loaded into the Pharmaself, a text alerts the patient that their prescription is ready for collection and gives them a PIN for the machine.
  5. The patient collects their prescription whenever they want, 24/7.
  6. As it’s all digitised, the Pharmaself24 keeps a full audit trail from loading to collection.

It’s an incredible solution for your patients. During the pandemic, it really hammered home its utility, offering a chance to collect prescriptions without any need to come into contact with another person. See how we drove 100’s of EPS Sign-ups through Pharmaself24 marketing.

In a post-pandemic world, the value of a Prescription Collection Machine is intrinsic to customer convenience. And customer convenience is in turn, crucial to customer retention. 24/7 collection is so convenient for the working population, as well as people whose work shifts change.

Why would you queue, or collect at hours that don’t suit you, when you don’t have to?

Competitive Customer Convenience

Customer convenience isn’t a problem when you don’t have convenient competition. But the second someone else is offering 24/7 collection nearby, you’re going to start losing customers. Why wait until you’re losing customers? You could be the one with the machine and accumulating more customers.

Another source of this competition is online pharmacies. They already offer an extremely convenient service. But people might actually prefer to collect their prescriptions. People living in a block of flats for instance may have delivery difficulties. People who aren’t at home a lot might not want their prescriptions sat on their doorstep getting rained on. It’s not going to be the biggest source of people signing up, but it’s another string to your convenient bow.

With digital health in mind, this is a great service for patients. Many patients often complain about their prescriptions not being ready on time. Their dependence on their medication makes timeliness a major concern for them. Streamlining the process and giving round-the-clock access to collections severely reduces prescription dispensing time and decreases occurrences of patients going without medication (whoever’s fault it is).

For so many reasons, Prescription Collection Machines like the Pharmaself24 are absolutely one of the top digital health innovations to adopt in 2021.

Already offer Prescription Collection or are planning to? Check out our Pharmaself24 marketing packs to massively increase EPS sign-ups in your community.

 

4. Instant Dentist

When it comes to convenience, and tech which disrupts industries, Dental Health is a prime example.

 

 

Dentists have one of the ultimate reputations for being hard to get an appointment with. By the time a toothache gets seen to, it’s too late – it’s either gone away or there was no stitch in time to save the nine. The attraction of Instant Dentist is banishing that barrier.

The Technology

As you can see in the video above, Instant Dentist works via photos and questions uploaded through an app, which Online Dentists then use to make assessments. (It’s probably a good idea to dedicate a private space in your pharmacy for people to take these photos to avoid embarrassment.) The Online Dentists then communicate with the patients via the app to prescribe treatment or products for their issue.

Why should I offer the service?

Boots on the ground, to use the old military phrase. People will love the very concept of Instant Dentist, so it’s a great thing to stick in your windows, preferably on an eye-catching digital screen, but posters would work too. (The reason I prefer digital screens for pharmacies offering digital services like that is that it sets the tone for a hygienic, clean, modern facility.) Footfall, at the time of writing, is still a touchy subject, with lockdown only just now beginning to ease.

However, if you market Instant Dentist digitally, (which you absolutely should) then it’s a lockdown-proof service anyway. People have to leave their homes to go to a dentist. The Instant Dentist service is just a different location to get an available dentist consultation.

The service is a completely free setup. As it’s a remote service that simply connects the patients to dentists, there isn’t any additional work for you or compliance to meet.

And you get a revenue split.

Increase visitors to your pharmacy and increase revenue.

It’s that simple.

 

5. Video Consultations

 

Even coming out of lockdown, video consultations are a super convenient solution (which also broadens your geographical catchment area) and are now culturally normalised.

 

Pharmacy Mentor can integrate Video Consultation software into your Pharmacy Mentor Website

 

Even the elderly market adopted the use of this technology during the pandemic to stay in contact with family. And for the elderly, video consultations solve the problem of mobility. Offering video consultations alongside in-person appointments makes your service accessible to everyone.

The important considerations when offering video consultations are the experience and security.

User Experience

No one wants a laggy video call where you struggle to see and hear someone. A solid pharmacy internet connection is a necessity to offer this service.

Safeguarding & Security with Video Consultations

There are significant differences between video calls with friends versus patients. Be mindful of confidentiality over video calls. Treat them with the same respect you’d give to face-to-face consultations is key.

Here is the NHS guidance for providing safe video consultations in a healthcare environment.

 

Want to talk more about which services to offer in your pharmacy?

 

Get in touch! We can help with everything you need to get started, including attracting more people to your pharmacy by marketing these services expertly.

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Email Marketing for Pharmacy - The Ultimate Guide
Attention is an opportunity for relationship building, identifying problems, and presenting solutions. A well-planned email campaign gets you regular attention and the results that follow.

 

Sending emails requires email addresses to send them to. It also requires permission to comply with GDPR. We covered this in our article on Data Collection for Pharmacies, so we won’t include it here. But it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re serious about emails for your pharmacy.

 

 

Email Marketing for Pharmacies – Where to start

 

Probably the first thing to establish in your own head is that email has replaced post for most people. Mail used to be the primary form of communication to people. But the world has changed. If I wrote someone a letter nowadays, I wouldn’t expect a response within a week at least. There’s no interaction or functionality with a letter. I can’t touch it and visit a website. I don’t have to store it safely in my house if I want to refer back to it later. It’s expensive and time-consuming and it just can’t do what emails can.

That doesn’t mean there’s no room for letters in a marketing campaign, but if you sent letters as regularly as you sent emails, it would cost you a fortune and you’d probably get complaints. It’s a lot easier to delete an email than it is to throw away a letter.

 

digital button for email marketing for pharmacies

Email Marketing for Pharmacies by Pharmacy Mentor

 

The benefits of Email Marketing for Pharmacies

Email marketing isn’t flash or showy, and that’s generally why it’s underused. It’s private, so it never really gets the publicity of a popular social media post, or a glamorous TV ad. Out of sight, out of mind. But here’s why it should be on your mind and on your to-do list…

Inexpensive

Even if you value time and have us do it, our admin fee and your email software are the only costs. There’s no additional budget necessary. Compared to paid marketing, another fantastic customer acquisition tool, email marketing is inexpensive and generally performs better than any other form of marketing for the investment.

Targeted

Splitting your customer base up to personalise and tailor your emails.

For instance, customers who come in for clinical services may not have prescriptions. If you’re sending them emails about prescriptions, they may unsubscribe. The same is true for any irrelevant communications. There’s only so much attention people pay to things that aren’t relevant to their interests.

Trackable

With most email software, you can track the number of opens, link clicks, and unsubscribes. All these help analyse the effectiveness of the emails. So if something isn’t working, you know about it and adapt. And if it is working, you continue doing what works. Combine this with Google Analytics on your website, and you can track where your website traffic comes from. Since marketing effectiveness varies for a whole host of reasons, tracking and analysis are massive.

Convenient for mobile and desktop users

Your market consists of both older and younger generations, each with their own preference for devices and software. Almost everyone has an email address and when people check their emails, they often have more time on their hands. (Checking emails replaces the time that less mail through the door has saved, which people only did when they have time to read full letters.)

Regular + Relevant = Revenue

For memory’s sake, you can break down the three key things you want from an email campaign into 3 R’s. Here’s why.

regular add relevant equals revenue

Regular

This doesn’t mean every day. Regular means predictable, and as you’d expect. I might expect to hear from a pharmacy once every two weeks. But if I signed up for a holiday deals bulletin, I expect a daily roundup of any deals. The right amount of emails for one person might be too many for another. Like anything in marketing, it’s worth testing to see where the sweet spot is in your audience.

Of course, you could have a great one-off email you send out and then not send another one all year. This isn’t a failure, but it’s not maximising success.

Relevant

In other words, not spam. Spam targets everyone and hopes it’s relevant for some people. You want your marketing lists as relevant as possible. You can segment your mailing list to maximise relevance. People engage more when they feel an email is really speaking to them as an individual. Targeting women for a period delay service? If you segment your mailing list, you can talk in a way women respond to, but men wouldn’t.

Revenue

If you’re not getting revenue, you might as well not show up. It’s last because you need the first two before you get it. But ultimately, revenue is the main reason you’re marketing in any form. Using call-to-actions is key here. Fortunately, people are familiar with taking action after reading an email, so you’re playing into an already existing mindset.

As with all aspects of your marketing, you want to be proactively pushing the right services at the right time. It’s no good promoting flu jabs in July. We have a Pharmacy Marketing Calendar which we use to develop strategies for your pharmacy if you need help structuring your campaigns.

Online Payments

If you’re not already set up to take online payments – you should be. Not accepting payments online nowadays is the equivalent of not having a card machine. You lose out on so much customer spend because you can’t take their money the way they want to give it.

 

Ready to adopt email marketing for your pharmacy?

 

Get in touch! We can help with everything you need to get started, including which software works best for pharmacies.

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Data Collection for Pharmacy
Sometimes the path of improvement for your pharmacy is obvious. Struggling with too many phone calls? Let people communicate with you online instead. Need to increase your revenue? Start offering private clinical services. But sometimes there are things that can drastically improve your fortunes that don’t immediately spring to mind.

Communicating with people when they’re not in your physical location was, once upon a time, a tricky accomplishment. Often costing hundreds of pounds every time you did with ads on TV, Radio or in the newspaper, or physically sending someone letters, which costs P&P. Data collection for pharmacies and squeezing the value out of the data with technology has changed the game.

Data collection for pharmacies

How to collect data in a pharmacy

An Unexplored Goldmine

This is the usual scenario in a pharmacy…

  1. A person walks into the pharmacy
  2. That person comes and collects a prescription or buys something over the counter
  3. The person walks out of the pharmacy

If that person experienced great customer service, it’s likely that they will come back again. But who knows? They’ve got the Amazon app and it might just be a bit more convenient for them to do what they needed to do online. This issue is once they have left your pharmacy, how are you going to make sure you can continue communicating with them so that they continue using your services?

Of course, social media helps massively and making sure you’re services are plastered over Google, but these are not direct or personal forms of communication. This is where intervening in the above scenario is key and represents a gold mine for pharmacy.

How many people have walked into your pharmacy in the last 10 years? 10,000’s. That’s 10,000’s of opportunities to intervene and collect the data from a customer/patient to communicate with them digitally and directly thereafter.

But what data do you collect?

In an ideal scenario, you want to collect:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Telephone
  • Address
  • Gender
  • DOB
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Services they are interested in

As you can imagine, this information for your pharmacy is extremely useful when targeting certain demographics with the various services you provide and the products you sell.

But how do you go about collecting people’s data?

Data & Permission

You can’t email someone without their contact details, or their permission to contact them in line with GDPR. So how do you get both?

Easy. Ask for it. Saam, Pharmacy Mentor’s CEO, used to have a simple script he’d use every single time when working as a pharmacist.

“Hey Mr. Smith, we’re trying to improve communication at the Pharmacy, would you mind filling in this form whilst you wait?”

No one ever said no. That form can be a paper form or you can have a pre-populated form on Mailchimp or a similar subscription tool. With that one simple form, you can get their details and permission to contact them directly and build up an email list over the years that can have a direct impact on patient retention and business revenue.

But that seems a bit slow to grow?

How many people come in to collect their prescriptions every day? Conservatively speaking, collecting 20 sets of contact details every day gives you a list of 400/month. That’s a lot of attention. You’re in a unique position as a community pharmacy that people aren’t skeptical of leaving you their details.

Hotel Chocolat, Hugo Boss, they offer discounts on their products just to get their hands on the customer emails. That’s how valuable contact details are for big brands. And why do they do it? Because targeting customers with special offers around Valentine’s Day and Christmas, or letting them know when there is a sale on, makes them money.

Next week we’ll be releasing an article on making the most out of email marketing for pharmacies. But for now, start growing your mailing list!

Websites and Email Opt-ins…

Data collection doesn’t stop in your physical pharmacy either. Your website can host more visitors than your physical pharmacy. The same concept applies to any visitor. How are you making sure they come back?

Email opt-in forms on your website capture visitors’ information whilst they’re on your site. Utilising pop-up windows to capture visitor information works well, especially when paired with an incentive to sign-up. Pairing a Pharmacy Mentor website with our email marketing campaigns is a great way to get an email list up and running quickly.

Loyalty Schemes

This is a slightly separate tactic, though it’s related to Data Collection. It’s all about capturing the person who’s walked into your pharmacy and making sure they come back to you. That way you grow your revenue and stay in business. Sell a man some Bonjela, you’ll remove his toothache for a day. Sign him up to your loyalty card whilst you’re doing it, and you’ll remove his toothache for life. Because now he’ll come back when you target him with your special offers on Bonjela.

There’s only one word required to convince you of the power of a loyalty scheme in pharmacy…Boots. Their Advantage card lives in the memory as one of the first. Since 1997, it’s offered customers money off for returning to their stores. It’s one of the biggest loyalty schemes in the UK. So why wouldn’t you want to copy that?

Upfront costs of loyalty schemes

Boots invested £30million into their Advantage scheme. There’s a small chance you think that’s too much? But there are solutions for small businesses.

Swipii is a loyalty card app for local businesses, without the upfront cost. Instead, you get charged a percentage when people take advantage of the cashback offers. As always, a smaller profit on a sale is better than no profit on no sale. There are multiple options out there offering similar solutions, some may suit your pharmacy more than others.

As the title of this article suggests, these are just the sparkling nuggets sticking out of the rock in the goldmine that is Data Collection for pharmacies.

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nextdoor social media app on pharmacy mentor phone
You might think Nextdoor is just another social media app, and too much like hard work to adopt. Here’s why you should reconsider using Nextdoor for your pharmacy…

Why use Nextdoor for your Pharmacy? So much of the internet is engineered for remote, geographically neutral business. You buy without ever meeting anyone or even leaving your home. Most social media & online apps are focus on connecting you to communities based on interest, rather than proximity.

This works in the mainstream because there is more that connects us than living in the same area.

But living in the same area does connect us. If living through a lockdown has taught us anything, it’s to appreciate the things on our doorstep.

Nextdoor specialises in local community

Harnessesing the power of local in a simple way that most other apps don’t, Nextdoor specialises in connecting local people and takes it to the next level. They’ve recognised how popular those local neighbourhood groups you get on Facebook are, and based their entire app on making that experience as good as it could be. Instead of one page where everyone is talking about everything, you’ve got local interest groups, events, and Local Deals – all of which you can take advantage of as a pharmacy.

nextdoor features you can use as a pharmacy

The range of features on Nextdoor.

1. It’s for Local People & Local Businesses

The challenge for small businesses with big social media platforms like Facebook & Instagram is how over-populated and commercialised they are. Nextdoor isn’t overcrowded. There isn’t so much noise that it’s hard for anyone to get heard. Nextdoor is about connecting local communities with local events and news.

This is what attracts the attention of so many users. Look at this local community facebook page and see how active it is (and this is just a village). Nextdoor plays on this popularity. When you want to advertise your services, you want attention from a relevant target audience. A Community Pharmacy should be at the heart of every neighbourhood on Nextdoor, because Nextdoor gives you both.

The competition and standard on Nextdoor from businesses is…practically zero, especially compared to Facebook. In fact, in my neighbourhood, the only actual business set up and using it in the right way is a local pharmacist.

As an added bonus, to sign up for Nextdoor, users must enter their address and verify their mobile phone number. This means Nextdoor doesn’t suffer from anonymous, spam, or abusive accounts, so you won’t get the type of negative comments you sometimes see on Facebook or Twitter.

2. It’s Word of Mouth, Online

Word of mouth – often touted by business owners as the best form of marketing. There’s certainly nothing like other people recommending your business. You can shout about how great you are, but coming from an independent source means twice as much.

People in the community are constantly asking for recommendations. Whilst you can be recommended regardless of whether or not you’re on Nextdoor, people can link your profile when recommending you. Your profile keeps all your recommendations, so people see how trusted you are in the community. This separates you and the competition when you’re both receiving recommendations.

These community pages are often untapped for the targets that matter most, like EPS & delivery sign-ups. You can advertise this as well as waiting for recommendations.

3. An Active, Engaged Audience

Nextdoor doesn’t have anywhere near as many active users as Facebook, but Facebook is a diverse crowd. Some people Facebook to post pictures, others to catch up with friends. In fact, very few people go on Facebook to keep up with the businesses on there! It just happens you can attract their attention whilst they’re there. Nextdoor is about what’s going on in the local community. It’s about finding the best places to go in the area. Showing up to people on Nextdoor has a higher chance of converting into paying business, because that’s often why people are there in the first place.

The Local Deals is the PERFECT place to promote any clinical services you offer. It’s basically like Groupon, but for local businesses. Just by discounting your service slightly, you’ll get free exposure and advertising in the Local Deals section and attract markets that wouldn’t otherwise find you.

nextdoor local deals section

The Local Deals section on Nextdoor – criminally underused by businesses. This is an opportunity for instant visibility to people with purchasing intent.

There’s also a functionality where you can create a local interest group. Because you register as a person before you register your business, you could start a “Health & Wellbeing” focus group in there for people interested in staying healthy. As a trusted pharmacist, you can use your personal brand to enhance your pharmacy’s reputation by offering relevant advice and products to your community when they’re asking questions about it.

The time is now to use Nextdoor for your Pharmacy

Nextdoor #4 Top Free Apps in Social right now, with over 10 million downloads. The app is absolutely on people’s radar right now. How long it remains so is the question always asked of any new popular app. But that doesn’t matter. Opportunities don’t have to last forever to be opportunities. Right now, people in your community are on Nextdoor. It’s so under-utilised by businesses right now, that Ad-spend and organic reach are through the roof value for money.

If Nextdoor is only hot right now, then now is exactly when you want to be utilising the attention. If Nextdoor rises in popularity, then now is the perfect time to establish yourself before there’s any competition. Either way, now is the right time to sign up to Nextdoor.

Unsure of how you’d use the app?

Speak to our support team today about our Nextdoor management. We’ll employ the same tactics we generate results for other pharmacies with, giving you the best representation possible in your community.

TIP: When signing up for your Nextdoor account, visit the email notifications. You don’t want an email every time Mary from Manchester Road thinks her cat is missing.

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the pharmacy mentor team working from home
Our level of personal service hasn’t changed, but we’ve improved our processes. And they’re here to stay.

We avoided most of the disruption caused by COVID-19 globally. Pharmacy Mentor was already set up in a way that lends itself to remote, digital working. Most changes we made are more a result of growth than the pandemic.

Though we’re fully remote until we can get back to the office, the work ethic of our team remains strong. We use Slack for immediate internal communications, meaning issues are still solved promptly and efficiently. The only thing we miss is interacting with each other at the office.

Our Improved Customer Service Process

Pharmacy Mentor focuses on providing an excellent standard of customer care. Previously we’ve managed this through direct support channels like Telegram & WhatsApp. where every client gets a dedicated channel upon signing up for a service with us.

With our team and client base growing, however, this needed streamlining.

Our new Support Portal guarantees your request is logged and follows a rigid protocol of action and double-checks. meaning your request is efficiently and accurately dealt with.

  • Sales & Upgrades
  • Technical Support
  • General Enquiries

Getting in touch with us hasn’t changed

If you aren’t already a client, then you can get in touch through either Contact Us or the LiveChat on our website.

If you are a client, you can still get in touch with us in all the usual ways: Email, Whatsapp/Telegram, or booking a call through Calendly with the team member you need.

Transparency in how we work on your projects

We’ve shored up other internal processes so they’re manageable remotely. This actually works better because everyone in the company has visibility over exactly which stage a project is in. For clients, this means if they want to know timescales or where their project is up to, we can give answers with a high degree of detail, even if the person working on the project isn’t available to discuss it.

Want to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest ways of growing your pharmacy business? Subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates, including articles like this one. Be sure to check your email for confirmation and always check our Privacy Policy before signing up.