Our vision is for pharmacies to become self-sufficient digital healthcare hubs within their community (and beyond). We’re supporting 1000’s of pharmacies on this journey by helping them digitise their businesses. This article covers some of the main areas we’re focused on improving in 2021, bringing pharmacies into the modern digital age.
Our focus in 2021
Comfort is the death of progress. For a long time, pharmacies were comfortable. Progression was slow. But the world moved on. And now pharmacies are uncomfortable, with increasing online competition and the well-documented decreasing margins for prescriptions. Much of the pharmacy focus in the mainstream media is on impending doom. Because, inevitably, if pharmacies fail to change, closures aren’t far away.
But our focus isn’t on the negatives of inaction. But on lighting the way and showing you the wealth of opportunity that exists along with the continuously evolving digital world. You can read more about our vision and mission here. The future of pharmacy is digital and we intend to lead the sector along this beautiful path.
The 3rd Edition of Mastering Digital Pharmacy is on the way and we’ll update you exactly when that is released this year. But this really does form the backbone of everything we do here at PM. Education and helping you understand why these wonderful digital tools and technologies are so important, and how you can implement them, will always remain a priority for us.
Framework & Best Practice
As well as delivering a multitude of digital marketing and development services, a big focus of ours is on teaching the industry of the framework and best practice which makes that transition smooth and profitable. And that’s what we’ll explore in this article. Incredibly important (but not all) aspects of the expansive digital model, how they work together and why pharmacies need to adopt this model for a profitable service-driven practice.
Pharmacy Mentor is helping pharmacies thrive in the Digital Age, but what are the most important areas of change? What are we doing to deliver the change to our clients? And what are we doing outside of this to bring our support to more pharmacies, whilst ensuring our high standards of service to our existing clients doesn’t drop?
It’s a challenge for sure. But we’re equipped with the right people to handle that, and we’re really excited about this year.
1. Supercharging Web Development
Websites are the central hub to the digital machine. They’re critical for local discoverability, as well as the convenience and functionality they offer. They unquestionably belong at number 1 on our priority list, because they should be number 1 on a pharmacy’s priority list. Let’s explain why.
An ever-increasing world of opportunity
A website is the digital representation of a pharmacy. A great website has the capacity to host the entire business (see online pharmacies and doctors), so it can help to take a huge amount of pressure off a physical pharmacy – if it’s set up right.
A great website gives a great first impression. It streamlines your business and reduces admin and time on the phone. They can reach a massive audience. Websites allow people to:
- Nominate pharmacies for electronic prescription services
- Reorder repeat prescriptions
- Book and pay for private clinics
- Order prescription treatments via PGD and/or their prescribing qualifications
- Speak to your pharmacist via video
- Shop and buy their GSL and P medicines
- and much, much more…
They are not a “nice to have” thing anymore. It’s not something to leave until next week. You MUST treat your website with as much care and consideration as your physical business. It’s an ESSENTIAL part of your business model.
What we’re focusing on
We play a key role in helping pharmacies do all these things. Our focus is on delivering impactful modern websites with great value and a brilliant user experience. However, we’re also focussing heavily on development to evolve our sites so that they generate even more traction and revenue for our pharmacies with easier overall management.
You must invest well for a website and service because if you do, you can expect to see superb returns. Pharmacy Mentor websites are so in demand that since last year, we’ve grown the web team to 8 people. We’ve recently welcomed a new Head of Web Development and two web developers to our team, a massive catalyst for our website production and evolution.
We have extremely exciting development plans for 2021 (and beyond) and we’ll be releasing regular updates often.
2. High-performance keyword optimisation
There’s no point in having a website if no one can find it.
If your website is the library you want people to visit, blogs & SEO are the books that they come in for. The more books you have, the more visitors your library gets. I mean, the words you’re reading right now demonstrate this.
Writing informative and keyword optimised pieces that offer value brings people to your website. If you’re talking about something they need to solve a problem, and you also offer the solution on your website, you can link them like this.
Linking a relevant service in this way is how you convert people from visitors to customers. Just like someone coming into your pharmacy because they want Ibuprofen for a toothache, but then a good conversation with a pharmacist or an advert on a digital screen lets them know they can consult with a dentist digitally.
SEO make sure that people come to your website for what they’re looking for, instead of someone else’s. And we’re going to make sure through brilliant planning and execution, that this happens more and more.
3. Raising the social profile
Social Media is about connecting with your community and once again, is a mandatory business tool. Communicating what you’re doing in a much more informal way. It works because people like to spend time on Social Media. People don’t enjoy Googling things. They do it because they need something. People spend time by choice on Social Media, so if you can connect with them, you’re guaranteed attention and develop a more loyal relationship.
It also still serves the purpose of driving traffic to your website, or getting people to call and visit your pharmacy…it’s just a different avenue.
A community pharmacy becoming a health hub for its community should have a strong connection to that community. It’s still a big focus of ours for this reason. The recommendations, photos & ability to communicate quickly with your patients and customers are all assets that will work for your business.
4. Data Collection, Email Marketing and Analysis
Email Marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing and something most pharmacies don’t utilise. Pretty much every retail store on the high street ask you to sign-up to their mailing list.
Why not pharmacies? They’re amongst the most trusted establishments on the high street. Patients and customers trust their data to companies they feel personally connected to. Ignoring the opportunity this presents is a massive waste.
We’re also focusing a lot more helping pharmacies understand analytical tools within all the marketing channels but also things like Search Console and Google Analytics. As any marketer would know, this is key to driving better strategies and growth.
Again, educating pharmacy owners about the opportunities available to them is almost as big a focus as delivering the services.
5. Driving growth through Paid Advertising
A common fallacy of Paid Advertising on Social Media is that it’s for when you can’t do organic social media properly. When people think of Social Media, the thought of paying for it seems abhorrent, when you can post for free.
But the opportunities available through paid advertising are simply different (and better.) The difference is, they’re more expensive.
I won’t go into too much detail here, (for that you can read our articles about Google Ads and Facebook Ads through these links) but Paid Digital Advertising has a place in every digital strategy somewhere.
The question is HOW not WHY
Incorporating paid advertising as part of your digital strategy is a must (it’s that good), no matter what level you’re at. The big difference-maker with Paid Digital Advertising is in the how. As lots of companies try to do it themselves, get very little (if any) return and then throw the baby (paid marketing) out with the bathwater (their rubbish attempts).
Think if you were going to put an advert out on TV, or Radio. Would you try and record it yourself? Of course not! But people have this sense that they can do it themselves and get great results with paid marketing.
Our focus with Paid Advertising is to raise awareness of its true power and then harness that power for our clients. We’re opening up a whole new division within our company that focuses purley of paid advertsing becuase we know that this is such an important factor for pharmacy growth.
Want to talk about exploring any of these options in your pharmacy?
Get in touch! We’ll analyse your position in the market for the services you want to focus on, and give you a practical plan to make it successful.