distance selling pharmacy website
The new Distance Selling Pharmacy Websites Regulations come into effect on both January 1st and then April 1st, 2021. What do the regulations mean for you? We break everything down so you understand what you need to do.

 

We’re working in collaboration with Rushport Advisory, a leading consulting firm covering the pharmacy market. They have helped us curate this article and are guiding us to deliver the most robust and legally compliant distance selling pharmacy website on the market.

What do the new regulations say?

The exact wording for the Distance Selling Pharmacy Website Regulations are as follows:

28B An NHS pharmacist in respect of distance selling premises must ensure that there are arrangements in place at those premises which enable a person performing pharmaceutical services to communicate confidentially with a person accessing pharmaceutical services—

(a) by telephone or another live audio link; and

(b) via a live video link.”

This regulation is effective from January 1st, 2021.

28C “An NHS pharmacist (P) in respect of distance selling premises must ensure that P has a website for use by the public for the purpose of accessing pharmaceutical services from those premises, on which there is an interactive page, clearly promoted to any user of the website when they first access it, which provides public access to a reasonable range of up to date materials that promote healthy lifestyles by addressing a reasonable range of health issues.

This regulation comes into effect on April 1st, 2021.

What does that mean for you?

A closer look at 28B

Most pharmacies already have a telephone line and internet access already. But the requirement of confidentiality from the pharmacy premises means you need an area where a member of the pharmacy staff cannot be overheard when communicating with patients.

As well as communicating by phone (or an “audio link”), note the regulations state AND via a “live video link”. This means you need to have both options available. This is fairly straightforward to implement provided you have a laptop and internet connection through apps like Zoom, Teams or Skype.

video and audio call software for patient consultation

We’re in the digital age. So people expect digital communication.

A closer look at 28C

This regulation is a little bit trickier to get into place and is also quite vague. Terms like you must provide access to a “reasonable range” of up-to-date materials clearly depends on who you are reasoning with.

The local NHS area teams ultimately will decide and so it’s likely to be their standards you must match. But don’t try and match the requirements. Blow them out of the water. The difference isn’t big between the two and will ultimately benefit your business anyway.

Here’s everything you need to comply with Regulation 28C

A website

Most DSP’s still do not have a website, believe it or not. If you’re operating without one, you need to get one.

An “interactive page”

A website that doesn’t have interactive pages is known as a “brochure website” because it performs in the exact same way as a brochure or leaflet. That is to say, it doesn’t really do anything other than display information. An interactive web page makes the user actively engage with the site (think links to other resources.)

distance selling pharmacy website

Your website needs to be interactive. We design the best interactive modern sites.

The interactive page must be “clearly promoted” to any user of the website when they land on your site. This is another term in the regulations that is open to interpretation with both terms.

What does clearly mean? It could just be that you don’t hide links to the page within a huge body of text (though it’s unclear why you’d ever do that.) In which case, having it as part of the “menu” of your website, accessible on every page would meet that requirement.

What does promoted mean? Do you have to draw attention to it? If so, a banner on every page encouraging visitors to the interactive page would meet the requirements.

It’s highly unlikely that the regulatory teams will nit-pick. If you show them a modern website with a great user experience (ie. it’s intuitive) and up-to-date information (rather than NHS regulations from 2013 – we’ll talk about that now).

A good range of health content

Pharmacy Services

DSP’s need to showcase their service offering

This is where you may get frustrated. Only because creating content is a time-consuming process when you’re not familiar with it. Naturally, you want to be doing other things with your time. Outsourcing this work will save you a headache. We can help you with this (and the whole project) in a cost-effective way because we live and breathe health content and create pharmacy websites every day.

It’s tempting to simply copy and paste content from other pharmacy websites, but resist this temptation. Copied and pasted content is traceable and you could find yourself in breach of copyright laws with regards to someone’s intellectual property.

The crux of the new regulations is there’s no hiding as a product-only pharmacy, where you do little more than package prescriptions. Offering a channel of communication for consultation with the patients using your service is now mandatory.

You’re expected to carry this into your website. It can’t be just a prescription production line anymore.

We mentioned this before, but ultimately these Distance Selling Pharmacy website regulations improve your service to patients. That isn’t something to begrudge, but something to embrace. Realise that with an amazing website that is simple for your patients to use, those same patients will show you more loyalty.


Looking for help in meeting the new Distance Selling Pharmacy website regulations? Please get in touch with us. As we offer website services almost exclusively to pharmacies, we have all the knowledge already of what you’ll need to get set up.

We’ll be glad to help.

 

The demand for a Covid-19 Vaccine will be sky-high. How do you market the Covid-19 vaccine as a pharmacy professionally and effectively?

How and when will Community Pharmacies be able to offer the Covid-19 vaccine?

The Covid-19 vaccine is getting its first major rollout in the UK. Community pharmacy is expected to play a part in the massive vaccination drive. However, because of the specific storage requirements of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, it’s unlikely many will play a part initially, so it might be a while until you can market the Covid-19 Vaccine for your pharmacy.

If you think your pharmacy might be eligible to be a primary location for Covid-19 vaccinations, see this publication from the PSNC for guidance and requirements in becoming a vaccination site.

We won’t go into how to offer a Covid-19 vaccine in this article though, as that’s been covered plenty of times by the governing bodies in pharmacy.

What we’re going to cover is how to market the vaccine if you do end up offering it. The tips we’ll cover will both drive people to your Covid-19 vaccine service AND make your life easier.

  1. How to use Facebook, including setting up auto-replies and posting.
  2. Creating a dedicated COVID-19 vaccine page on your website
  3. Updating your Google Business Profile
  4. Advertising Your Service (without breaching policies)

1. How to use Facebook to generate awareness, build trust, and save you time

The vast majority of the UK will have Facebook profiles, and it’s a source of information that is widely shared. As a trusted healthcare provider, sharing accurate advice with links to the NHS or the UK Gov. site helps build trust in your community and keeps them aware of when they might be eligible for the vaccine.

 

example of a facebook health post for covid

An example of a Facebook post you should share with your community,

 

Every pharmacy gets those people who come in and want to ask you every question under the sun whilst 10 customers look at their watches in the queue behind them. Imagine being able to tell them that they can find all the information on your Facebook page, and if they still have any questions to send you a message on there. (More on this below!)

It is unclear at this early stage as to whether you will be allowed to promote a COVID-19 vaccine service on Facebook at all. During the pandemic, Facebook have been extremely strict on allowing any promotion of anything which claims to protect against COVID-19. Whether this changes with approved vaccinations remains to be seen. You should always check with your friendly neighbourhood Pharmacy Mentor before promoting via Facebook. We keep ourselves up-to-date with exactly what you are and aren’t allowed to promote on Facebook. You don’t want to end up with your Facebook page being banned.

auto replies on facebook to help manage covid-19 vaccine service

Auto-replies on Facebook

Set Up Auto-Replies on Your Messages Inbox

This useful trick is for busy pharmacists who don’t have time to answer messages on Facebook. It also gives a channel of communication for your patients who prefer using Facebook.

Think of all the common questions you get asked about services.

Is it free?

What are your opening hours?

Do I have to book? Etc, etc. 

We manage a lot of Pharmacy Pages, we know the types of questions people ask. It’s normally something they could Google, but prefer to stay on Facebook.

Instead of their message going into a black hole and making you look bad at responding, you can set up an automated response to Frequently Asked Questions.

You should always try to answer the question if possible. But you can also give them a call-to-action as well. Include links or phone numbers in this response, whatever your preference and tell them how to book or where to find out more information.

2. Create a dedicated Covid-19 Vaccine page on your website

 

example website page for covid-19 service

Example page for a client of ours

 

Your website is your online shop window, so make sure you or your developer updates it to reflect that you’re providing the Covid-19 vaccine service. As soon as the user lands on the site, they can’t miss it. Have one button which leads to a blog post/web page about the service for the patient to learn more, and one that jumps straight to a booking calendar link for people who want to jump straight in.

Pharmacies we worked with did similar things for Covid-19 PCR Testing.

The content of this dedicated page should make both yours and your patients’ lives easier. Set expectations. Give information. Answer Frequently Asked Questions.

All of this helps streamline your processes and create more revenue.

Screening & Risk Assessment Forms

Most clinical services have elements of risk, meaning patients often need screening for pre-existing health conditions or other factors that can present risks such as age or current medications. Most recently at the time of writing, people receiving the Covid-19 vaccine appear to be at risk if they have strong allergic reactions.

Rather than waiting for the patient to come all the way into the pharmacy, or you having to phone them, why not have a form on your website that they can fill in? It saves both parties time and hassle.

Let people book their Covid-19 Vaccine online with you

Another amazing time-saver for you, and more convenience for your customer, keeping your phone lines free and your vaccinations organised automatically. Adding a booking calendar to your website allows you to take bookings not only for Covid-19 Vaccines, but for any other service you offer like Flu Jabs.

If your customer is booking at any time when your pharmacy isn’t open, the ability to book online is critical for making sure their experience with you gets off to a good start.

You aren’t just competing with other pharmacies for convenience….people can book their hair appointments online nowadays. They expect you to provide this option, and it doesn’t give the best impression of you if you don’t.

It’s worth mentioning that for most other services, it’s also a huge advantage to allow people to pay for their service when they book it. For one, it’s another major convenience for them. But it’s also a really committing action. People are a lot less likely to call up and cancel appointments when they’ve paid for them.

3. Update your Google My Business

 

a google my business post showing the public helpful information about Covid-19 policies

Superb marketing tool

 

First things first, if you don’t already have a Google My Business profile, get one. For popular businesses like pharmacies they often get automatically generated. But if you’re not in charge of what’s on your profile, you don’t know what people are seeing when they find you online.

Presuming you’ve already got control of your account, for major pharmacy events like flu season and Covid-19, you want to make sure it’s updated so when people Google vaccines, they are reassured by your presence. Take the example above for Covid-19. People seeing this pharmacy are aware of the safety measures in place before attending. This lets your patient know what to expect and reassures them that you’re the right place to go.

If you’d like to set up your pharmacy on Google My Business, then you can take this quick course which will walk you through the whole process, step-by-step. Using instructional videos, the Drive Pharmacy Footfall with Google course will teach you how to use the tools within Google My Business to attract new customers.

4. Harness Google Ads and organic rankings

 

a range of google ads for covid-19 PCR tests

Be sure to check the Google Ads policies first

 

How do people who don’t know about your pharmacy find you? Heck, how does anyone find anything these days? Google, of course! (Other search engines are available.) Though being found on Google is pretty competitive.

How do you make sure you appear on Google when people are searching? Well, two ways really.

The easiest way is Google Ads

As shown in the image above. See how many ads show up before you even get a look-in with an organic page? The downside to Google Ads? Cost. The cost gets higher and higher the more competitive the search you’re trying to be top of is.

Note: It may not be possible to run Google Ads for the COVID Vaccine through your pharmacy due to the changing Google Ads policies.  Stay up to date today and seek our guidance if necessary.

If you’re willing to test for a return on investment, Google Ads is a fantastic way to help you get the thousands of visitors that flow through Google every day to your website.

The most sustainable way is optimising your web page for SEO

Remember that dedicated web page we talked about earlier? Well, optimised in the right way, Google shows your article to more people. If your optimised web page is top of Google, that’s like being one of those department stores at the entrance to a shopping mall. People have to go through you first every time. Unlike those department stores, you don’t have to pay a premium rent (that’s Google Ads). With an optimised web page, Google rewards you for giving it a super relevant and optimised page to show people by showing it to people first, for free.

Interested in seeing this in action for a pharmacy? Check out this in-depth look at getting found on Google. It’s a case study of using the power of Google to promote COVID-19 PCR tests for a pharmacy, back when no one else was really doing it.

Avoiding Facebook Advertising

We won’t go into this in too much detail, but Facebook’s Ads Policy, which you won’t (and that’s fine), prevents you from promoting almost everything to do with COVID-19 right now. Recently you couldn’t promote so much as a face mask without facing a suspension of your Ads account. But this may change in the future.

You should also avoid posting too much on your Facebook page about any COVID-19 service, as we have seen pharmacies have their entire pages banned for such activity. Again, this may change, and we’ll update this article if it does.

But for now, avoid Facebook for directly promoting the COVID-19 Vaccine.

 


Need help with promoting your pharmacy services? Simply get in touch.

Online Payment Gateways for Pharmacy

 

The Kings of Convenience, Amazon, are here to make things easier for your customers. You need to be just as convenient if you want to keep hold of them.

 

Accepting Online Payments for Your Pharmacy

If COVID-19 didn’t stress the importance of being able to take online payments for your pharmacy, Amazon’s recent inroads into the pharmacy world should.

Recently we talked about the importance of a website that works for you. Being able to accept payments is one of the key elements of a brilliant pharmacy website.

I tell people all the time that they aren’t competing with other pharmacies, but the general expectation of the public to what they should be able to do online now. Is it really too much to ask that someone can book and pay for a service online from you?

Well, now you are competing against other pharmacies. Amazon Pharmacy isn’t just out for you, but for everyone. Everyone will be stepping their digital game up.

This isn’t the beginning of the digital wave. The wave has been swelling for a long time. But it’s only just now reaching Community Pharmacy. If you haven’t bought into the idea yet that things are going to change dramatically in pharmacy, then soon it will be too late to surf the wave. Soon the wave will be crashing down on you and pulling you under.

Fortunately, a lot of pharmacies are now taking action. Also, with the evolution of digital health and mobile technology, and the ability to provide a vast array of private services, there are so many more reasons why taking payments online is a fantastic thing to do for your patients. We’ve had a lot of questions recently about online payments for pharmacy. Which one is the best? The cheapest? Which one has the best customer service?

We’ve certainly learned a few things over the last year about pharmacy payment gateways. For example, Stripe, a brilliant online payment gateway that we use for our own business, does not generally accept pharmacies as customers.

So we decided to write this article to give you an idea of the options available to you.

Here, in no particular order, are the Top 3 Online Payment Gateways for Pharmacy in the UK. 

As we gather more data and build more eCommerce solutions for pharmacy, this article may change.

 

Paypal online payment gateway for Pharmacy

 

PayPal – Trusted Name, Transparent Fees

PayPal is probably the easiest payment gateway to add to any website. It’s also one of the most trusted names in online payments, which gives people convenience and confidence – two crucial factors when you’re looking to defend against convenience on an Amazonian scale.

PayPal is everything you’d want from a modern payment services provider: transparent, affordable and flexible even for the smallest of businesses.

It’s optimised for mobile and major eCommerce CMSs such as WooCommerce (WordPress), Magento, Wix, BigCommerce and Shopify – not something all gateways can claim.

PayPal’s pricing is also completely transparent. Their comprehensive list of merchant fees means you know exactly what you’ll be charged for depending on the kinds of transactions you’re accepting. There’s a high chance you only need to look at the Domestic Card Payment rates if you’re a UK-based pharmacy.

The ideal PayPal customer is going to be a small business with a relatively high volume of card transactions every month – some pharmacies definitely fall into that bracket. 2.75% transaction fees for UK-based companies are pretty steep by anyone’s measure. However, that rate decreases the greater the volume of sales you make is. If you can turn over £15k sales every month, it’s highly affordable at 1.0%.

On the downside, PayPal business customers are known to complain about funds not being released for lengthy periods and getting a resolution can take too long in the case of customer disputes. This is often just whilst PayPal verifies you as a trusted seller, but it can still be a pain if your cashflow is tight. On a similar note, its customer support team is generally quick to respond but often slow to resolve issues.

  • Transaction Fees: 1.9%-3.4% + 20p per transaction
  • Chargeback Fees: £14
  • Monthly Fees: £20 per month (Web Payments Pro)
  • Set-Up: No Fee

Click here to sign up to PayPal

 

Pharmacy Mentor are Partnered with PayPal, so if you want to get in touch to see if we can get you a better deal, please contact us and we will refer you to them.

 

payment system for pharmacy

Nochex – No account needed, maximum convenience – This is now not recommended. Update to follow.

Nochex positions itself as the “#1 Alternative to PayPal & Stripe” for businesses in the UK. (Stripe doesn’t allow pharmacies to set up an account – which is why it isn’t on this list.) However, Nochex is a little different from its rivals and this will suit some businesses – or, perhaps in our case more importantly, some customers – more than others.

Customers don’t need to have an account to make payments through Nochex, which is a major plus point for providing this payment option on your site, especially as a pharmacy. People often don’t want to set up an account to pay a smaller fee, especially a one-off fee if they’re booking a service with you for the first time. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to buy from you. If someone went to pay by card in your pharmacy, and you told them before they did they had to set up an account with you? They wouldn’t be very impressed, especially if they were in a rush.

This is taken from the Nochex website:

“Nochex as an online payment service has been providing online payment processing services to small and medium-sized enterprises for many years. Many years ago we decided to actively support entrepreneurs as a PayPal alternative. We don’t automatically take the part of buyers, we give you the time to resolve disputes. Moreover, we won’t automatically freeze your funds, or even close your account, just because a computer says that is the thing to do. We talk to you, and we listen.”

If customer service is your main priority, Nochex might be a better option than PayPal.

Nochex doesn’t provide any hardware like tills or card machines for face-to-face payments, so you’ll need to get these from elsewhere if you need to take payments in person.

Remember, it’s generally a good idea to have more than one gateway on your site so people without a PayPal or Amazon account can still make a payment. So, even if you need tills and card machines, Nochex is still a great payment gateway, simply because people don’t need an account to use it.

Pricing starts at the same rates as Paypal, 2.9%+20p per transaction. But their volume discounts aren’t disclosed on their websites. If you like mysteries, that’s great, but less so if you want to plan things meticulously. Nochex makes our top online payment gateways for pharmacy in 2021. 

  • Transaction Fees: 2.9% + 20p per transaction
  • Monthly Fees: None Disclosed.
  • Set-Up: None disclosed.

Get a Nochex account

 

best online payment system for pharmacy

Cardstream – completely white-label, brandable payments

Cardstream is the only company in the UK to provide a fully independent “white-label” payment gateway, meaning you can use your brand and make yourself look ultra-professional. This system allows you to accept card payments on your website, whilst also providing a real-time virtual terminal so you can take payments over the phone.

The key difference with Cardstream? It’s entirely independent from banks and other payment companies that actually processes the card payments. This means you can use Cardstream as your payment gateway whichver bank is handling your card payments, and seamlessly integrate a fully customisable gateway into your website.

While Cardstream is an independent company, it has connections with a vast network of global acquirers and payment firms. So if you don’t already have one on board, they can help.

  • Transaction Fees: 9.9p added to other fees after 350 transactions
  • Monthly Fees: £18 Month
  • Set-Up: No Fee

Let’s explore Cardstream

 

So which is the best online payment gateway for your pharmacy?

The best online payment gateway providers for pharmacies in the UK enable you to take card details online and they’re all highly capable options. In reality, the best choice for your business is going to come down to additional factors, such as the other payment services you need from a provider and the transaction fees you can expect to pay. It also depends on what you prefer more, lower fees, or better customer service.

PayPal, Nochex and Cardstream give you a varied selection to consider initially. Then it comes down to flexibility vs simplicity. 

 


Have you been using a particular payment system for your online pharmacy sales and transactions? Finding a solution useful or poor? We’d love to hear from you.

If you’re looking for help in selecting the right online payment gateway for your pharmacy, please get in touch with us. We’ll be glad to help.

 

Google Ads for Pharmacy
Google Ads for pharmacies. They’re happening on a small scale right now for Travel Clinics and Private Services, compared to the rest of the business world. But they’re growing, as people realise how much money they can make using them.

How do Google Ads work?

Even if you appear at the top of the page organically, companies and pharmacies using Google Ads appear above this because of the way the Google results are laid out. (Strangely, Google rewards people giving them money?)

google results page layout

How Google search displays when you search for locations like “Travel Clinic”

How do they do it?

It’s really simple.

  1. Create a Google Ads account.
  2. Make a Google Ad.
  3. They choose search terms to target, such as “Travel Clinic.”

Then when people search for things that are related to Travel Clinics on Google, e.g., Travel Vaccinations – the ad appears like this:

google ads search results page

Ads display at the top of Google for the search terms they target.

 

It might seem like a waste of money to pay for ads to appear when you are already ranking at the top organically, but if you don’t, you’re giving advertisers an opportunity to appear above you and steal the customers who were looking for you.

Especially when they’re searching for something like “Travel Vaccines.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t go home and search for Travel Clinics to relax. It’s because I need one. Now assume I don’t care where I get my vaccine from, I just want the damn thing. So I’m going to click on the first relevant thing I see.

And if that’s an Ad, that’s exactly what I’ll click on. If they make it easy for me to book on their site, and they’re the price I’m expecting to pay, then I book my appointment and go on with the things I actually want to be doing.

And that’s it. Deal done. Transaction over. It cost that business however much Google charged them for a click, which on average is between 50p-£1.

How can you get a piece of that sweet, sweet Google Ads pie?

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ’em. Funnily enough, it’s really simple.

  1. You create a Google Ads account.
  2. Then you make a Google Ad.
  3. You choose search terms to target, such as “Travel Clinic.”

Then when people search for things that are related to Travel Clinics on Google, e.g., Travel Vaccinations – the ad appears as above.

If that all sounds familiar, it’s because it’s exactly the same process that they used to get all the customers unchallenged. Except now you’re actually competing for the business, not just standing by and letting them take it.

The best part? You have something they don’t. You have access to a digital marketing agency that runs Google Ads for pharmacies all the time. 

We know the ads that work, the best times to run them, and the way to set them up for success. Your ads will attract clicks, even when alongside another ad.

Unconvinced by Google Ads?

You’ll likely want to understand how this happens, to get similar results for your pharmacy.

You might have tried Google Ads for your pharmacy and not seen much success from them. You might have heard horror stories of people pouring thousands of pounds down a black hole with no return. This is entirely possible, when Google Ads are run without the proper knowledge of how to get results.

But our results speak for themselves. Here’s an Ad we pointed towards a website. Note – we are showing you SMART Campaigns here, not Advanced Campaigns. We’ll be adding info about Advanced Google Ads at a later point.

 

statistics for a Google Ad

Example SMART Google Ad Campaign

It gave the option to call immediately or visit the website for more information, as well as links to book appointments for that service. 50p/click which is the low end of average. Think we’re showing off? I literally just picked a random ad. Here’s another one. (This was the second one we looked at, I can’t even guarantee it’s the best performing.)

statistics for a flu jab google ad

This Ad targeted flu jabs and averaged approximately 30p a click in North London.

This second Ad was promoting a Flu Jab service (the Pharmacy forgot they’d asked us to do it and were wondering why they were getting private flu jab enquiries!) They got an even lower cost per click at 30p! This one was aimed at driving calls to the pharmacy and physical visits./span>

Google Ads for pharmacies get found by so many search terms

The search terms this ad got results for.

You lose customers by not showing up when they’re searching online.

Exceptional results even without a massive budget.

Both of these ads are LOW budgets. And we don’t recommend that. For multiple reasons.

  • Our management fee remains the same regardless of your budget (unless you want super serious Ads). So the more you spend, the greater the value is.
  • The same is true of Google’s charges. The more you budget, the lower your average cost per click is. It’s the equivalent of buying in bulk.
  • A limited budget means that your ad switches off during the day when it’s used up it’s budget. This means lots of people could be searching for your service and your ad stops displaying whilst your competitors keeps going. And they go back to winning all the business.

Also, please note that the above ads were run on SMART campaigns which is the basic form of Google Ads. Advanced Ads require more budget and management fees because of the data we are gathering. We’re learning exactly how to make the best ROI from every pound we spend.

Ready to start getting clients with Google Ads? Book a call and we’ll get you up and running.

 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a massive period of uncertainty for pretty much everyone. But where there is chaos, there is also opportunity. In this particular case, for pharmacies, the opportunity was marketing PCR Tests.

The Opportunity

The demand for PCR tests quickly picked up when lockdown was lifted and people were allowed to travel again. 

pcr test google trends

This graph shows the popularity of the search on Google over the past 12 months.

The Results

Pharmacy Mentor harnessed this demand for our clients who offered PCR testing. We also recommended that other pharmacies begin to offer PCR testing through their pharmacy as a result of the trend analysis. 

Here are the stats for one of them:

website statistics marketing pcr tests showing 89 thousand page views and 28 thousand new users

Off the wall statistics for an independent pharmacy website.

 

This reads like a marketing symphony. Imagine for a second that this was a physical pharmacy…

  • New users: – 28,702 people have walked into your pharmacy off the street. 28,702 people.
  • Sessions: – Those people came into the pharmacy on average 1.54 times.
  • Page Views: – Of the 90k page views, the consultation form page had 18.5k views. So, of those 28,000 people who walked into your pharmacy to ask about PCR tests, 18,500 signed up for a consultation.

Good Problems

It’s really been a bit of a problem. Because it’s not easy to cope with such demand.

Fortunately, the fact we have Telegram & WhatsApp support for our clients means they get instant support whenever they need it. And this did need quite a bit of support!

A separate phone-line and email had to be created for PCR requests and all other requests on their website. Fortunately, having created their website too, so we could do this immediately.

On-site consultations needed to become online consultations to make room for flu jab appointments. I’ll say that again. To make room for flu jab appointments. The pharmacy was wall-to-wall booked with PCR consultations.

Then online consultations booked up. We had to turn the form off temporarily because there was too much demand and people couldn’t book appointments.

We’ve had to evolve the website to be able to accept online payments to streamline the money coming into the business. Not a bad problem to have.

“Please help, I have so many calls and requests per day, I can’t process it all.” At its peak, marketing PCR tests was making this pharmacy £5k/day.

How we did it

You’ll likely want to understand how this happens, to get similar results for your pharmacy.

Two words. Keyword Optimisation.

Understanding how Google works, we created and optimised two articles for their website (yes, you need a website for this to work). Our keyword research found the terms that people mostly used to search. We published each article – making it both user-friendly (easy to read, easy to use) and Google-friendly (clearly optimised for keywords and formatted well).

A couple of weeks later, due to the lack of competition, the articles topped Google for the relevant keywords, beating the Government websites.  

We created a digital form on the site for people to fill in so they could book everything online, as well as a payment mechanism.  Two reasons for this:

  1. It’s easier for you as a pharmacist to manage.
  2. It’s better for the customer/patient – because when people are searching the internet:
  • they aren’t always in a position to pick up the phone
  • Phone lines might be busy
  • your pharmacy might be closed when they’re searching for the service (in the evening!)

You lose customers by not allowing them to do everything online.

Able to act with our finger on the pulse

There was obviously the matter of timing, too. That’s why we’re the perfect healthcare partner. We know the heartbeat of healthcare when it comes to marketing throughout the year.

Overall, the investment on this project from the pharmacy was around £500. This resulted in making £1,000’s/day.

When the opportunity knocked, we answered.

Our monthly marketing packs give you access to what is essentially a remote marketing department. With constant dialogues from our team, you’ve got instant access to the trends and the tactics that maximise impact – from those trends, for your pharmacy.

PCR testing is an exceptional bubble, for sure. If you do offer PCR tests, get in touch now because we can maximise your impact.

But this strategy works for all the PGDs and on-site services you offer, as well as eCommerce. There’s a massive vacuum on Google in the world of healthcare. Waiting for pharmacies like yours to fill it – and fulfil the demand of all the thousands of searches happening every day.

Looking for help in marketing your services better and building an online presence? Please get in touch with us. We’ll be glad to help.

 

“When you provide your audience with a unique innovative solution that will help make a difference to their lives, such as the ability to collect prescriptions conveniently 24/7, 365 days a year,  it’s a beautiful recipe for marketing.”
Saam Ali – Founder and CEO, Pharmacy Mentor

About

Pharmacy Mentor worked with Hub and Spoke Innovations to understand how to drive more people to sign up and use the Pharmself24 machine in the pharmacies that they are installed in.

Challenges

  • A Pharmaself24 machine is installed into a pharmacy but the only way pharmacy owners are signing people up is when the person comes into the pharmacy.
  • Although the machine provides the most convenient way to collect prescriptions, 1000’s of people in the community still don’t know about it.
  • The pharmacy has no or a poor digital avenue to allow for patients to sign up easily.
  • The pharmacy owner does not know what is the best way to sign people up or have the time to implement.

Solutions

Pharmacy Mentor works with the pharmacy to employ an affordable and effective digital marketing strategy that will:

  • Provide several digital avenues (website, social media, online forms etc) to understand which works best.
  • Create and execute highly engaging, localised and targeted sponsored Ads.
  • Analyse the results of the Ad and reform to make even more effective.

Results

We’re helping an increasing number of Pharmself24 customers Nationally reach their target audience more effectivly, increase awareness of the machine and drive signups.

Example No.1

Pharmacy in Central Scotland

  • Purchased a £99 Ad pack from us
  • Developed 804 clicks
  • Reached 11,256 people in a 3km radius around the pharmacy
  • Converted 199 patients

 

Phenomenal ROI achieved with this Ad

 

Example No.2

Pharmacy in Northwest England

  • Purchased a £99 Ad pack from us
  • Developed 415 clicks
  • Reached 10,208 people in a 2km radius around the pharmacy
  • Converted 127 patients

 

Conclusion

Digital marketing plays a key role in helping more people know about the unique services you offer. It can very effectively engage the audience around your pharmacy and get them to take action, such as signing up to use your Pharmaself24 machine. It is by far the most affordable marketing and should be an integral part of a pharmacy’s business model.

 


Saam Ali - The Pharmacy Mentor

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

Healthtech for Pharmacies

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

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

How to market your pharmacy (1)

 

Marketing your pharmacy effectively today is of paramount importance.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

How to market your pharmacy 

 

How to market your pharmacy

 

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

 

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

 

In-store Marketing

 

1. Train your pharmacy team

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

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

 

2. Have awesome in-store marketing collateral

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

 

3. Design your pharmacy better

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

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

 

T3 Pharmacy Design

Designing your pharmacy better is an extremely effective marketing strategy

 

4. Digital TV Displays

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

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

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

 

5. Use a loyalty scheme

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

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

 

6. Hold monthly in-store events

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

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

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

 

7. Make your instore products digital

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

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

 

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

 

Direct Marketing

 

8. Digitise your direct communication with patients

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

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

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

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

 

9. Harnessing the right PRM System

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

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

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

 

10. Drive conversions through a Mailshot

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

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

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

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

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

 

11. Visit key stakeholders and other businesses in the area

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

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

 

12. Attend local events and network

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

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

 

Inbound (Digital) Marketing

 

13. Facebook and Instagram

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

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

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

 

14. Local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

15. Paid Advertising across Google

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

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

 

16. Have a good pharmacy website

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

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

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

 

17. Develop an online booking system

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

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

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

 

Pharmacy Online Booking System

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

 

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

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

 

18. Other social media channels

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

The options are genuinely endless. And frightening at times.

 

Analytics

 

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

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

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

Analysing your results on a monthly basis is key.

 


 

My name’s Saam and I wrote this.

 

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

 

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

All the best.

 


 

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

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

 

Reportsmart - Pharmacy Incident Reporting Made Easy

LEARN THROUGH VIDEO

LEARN THROUGH READING

What are we going to learn?

(Reflection)

 

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

 

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

 

How and why is this learning relevant?

(Reflection)

 

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

 

Reportsmart aims to improve that and deliver even more value.

 

What is Reportsmart?

(Planning and Action)

 

Reportsmart

 

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

 

How does it work?

(Planning and Action)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Evaluation

 

Reportsmart

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Add to your MyGPhC Records

 

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

 

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

Clinical Pharmacy Apps

As technology and artificial intelligence has evolved significantly over the past decade, so has the way we consume information in our daily lives whether it’s at work or at home.

As professionals and as patient’s we are using technology more and more intuitively to help support us in all aspects of life.

I firmly believe to provide the best service to your patients, you need to have the most up-to-date knowledge base and there are many apps that can help you with this.

The best clinical pharmacy apps I feel that you should be using in 2019 to ensure you have the latest and most relevant information to deliver the best possible care are:

 

The BNF

 

The BNF App

 

This is a must-have app as a pharmacist. Admittedly the old version was pretty poor. It was slow, required you to pay and login via open Athens. However, this new version is a lot more refined and responsive. It is logically presented, with hyperlinks in the text to help guide you through the content. The interaction checker is really helpful and is a quick way to check drug interaction without having to flick through the pages from the book.

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

Micromedex Free Drug Reference

 

Micromedex Free Drug Reference

 

Micromedex Drug Reference is a great drug information app. It includes useful information on IV compatibility, drug interactions, and off-label indications.

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

SIGN Guidelines

 

SIGN Guidelines Clinical Pharmacy Apps

 

Contains all the latest guidelines for you on the move. It also allows you to send the guidelines to yourself as a PDF document. The iPad version even has the split screen feature, really useful if you need type and read. NICE too had an app however, they have recently withdrawn it from the app store.

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

Medscape

 

Medscape Clinical Pharmacy Appa

 

Amazing app! Definitely one of my personal favourite of all the clinical pharmacy apps out there! It is a great app for all healthcare professionals. It offers the latest medical news, expert-opinions, point-of-care drug and disease information and relevant professional education. It also has many more reference materials, online calculators, formularies, etc. Plenty of CPD’s can be done from this app alone!

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

MD Calc

 

MD Calc Clinical Pharmacy App

 

Ever been stuck looking for medical calculator? It contains all the calculator/scoring tool that you will ever need! A really useful app for Independent Prescribers!

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

Patient Access

 

Patient Access

 

One stop shop for patients and professionals! Patients can use this app to make appointments with their GP’s and repeat prescription service. For professionals, there are featured articles, medical tools, and resources available for their development.

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

RightBreathe

 

Rightbreathe

 

Have you felt confused by the number of inhalers that are now available in the market? Gone are the days of just a ‘blue’ and a ‘brown’ inhaler. So many combinations of molecules and devices are now available, it’s difficult to know where to begin from. This is a fantastic
app to supplement your counselling on inhalers. It has information for all the inhalers available in the market and video tutorials for each of them. For healthcare professionals, they have made available treatment pathways for Asthma and COPD recommended by BTS, SIGN and NICE.

Available on: Apple and Google Play

 

So there you have it. The best free clinical pharmacy apps of 2019. I hope you find these apps as useful as I do in my daily life as a hospital pharmacist and as a locum community pharmacist. Technology is here to make your life easier, so harness it at work and deliver better care to your patients.

 

Mikin Patel – MPharmS, PG Clin Dip

 

 

 

 

 


 

Mikin is currently a Lead Pharmacist in Gastroenterology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. His daily life as a hospital pharmacist entails of providing clinical pharmacy services, optimising medicines management, policy & guideline writing, financial reporting and liaising with local commissioners in producing commissioning pathways for high-cost drugs (e.g. biologics). He also locums in community pharmacies on weekends to ensure his practice is up-to-date in both sectors.

Mikin is a contributing writer for Pharmacy Mentor with a keen interest in digital health. If you’re a healthcare professional passionate about how the digital revolution is transforming pharmacy and healthcare and would like to write for us, please get in touch!

 


 

Pharmacy Mentor is a marketing agency specialising in the pharmacy sector but we also help pharmacists understand what and how to use technology to improve business, practice and patient care. You can access more CPD modules here.