how to advertise your pharmacy online
Advertising your pharmacy is a no-brainer. Every business needs to promote what it does. But how you advertise your pharmacy affects how effective that advertising is. This guide walks you through the best advertising tactics and how to deploy them.

The most beneficial ways of advertising your pharmacy:

  • Using social media adverts like Facebook & Instagram
  • Creating useful content on topic areas around your pharmacy
  • Using video content
  • Adverts at the top of Google
  • Your Pharmacy display

Advertising your pharmacy

Advertising your pharmacy online

The majority of this guide will focus on digital advertising. Whilst traditional advertising platforms can still be effective, from a cost perspective, digital advertising is often better than traditional forms of advertising. Because we always want the most bang for your buck, we always recommend digital advertising.

Advertising online is the absolute way to go for independent community pharmacies. What often puts pharmacies off advertising online is the lack of understanding of how it works.

Newspaper advertising is simple, right? All you need to do is get a photo, write some words and call the paper and say I’d like to take out an ad.

Digital advertising can be just as simple. Instead of calling the newspaper though, you call an independent pharmacy marketing agency like us.

Digital advertising is only difficult if you want to do it yourself AND you don’t know what you’re doing.

Advertising your Pharmacy on Facebook & Instagram

Realistically, this section could be about any social media, but we focus on Facebook & Instagram for a simple reason. The majority of your pharmacy’s target market’s attention is on those platforms.

Whilst TikTok might be the talk of the town, the reality is that it’s only so talked about because young people use it, and young people are the most vocal online. You can use TikTok, and it can be effective, but only for specific circumstances. Take advertising Emergency Contraception, with an advert created for a younger audience. As a one-off, TikTok makes sense.

But for the majority of pharmacy services you’d want to advertise, Flu Jabs, Ear Wax Removal, Vitamin B12 jabs, Prescription Delivery – the audience is older. And older audiences are on Facebook & Instagram.

Advertising on Social Media is best for products & services people aren’t aware of

They’re scrolling on social media, not actively looking for solutions to their problems. So your advert reaches out and shows them something they need but weren’t thinking about, and convinces them to take action.

This works best when it’s direct and to the point. Itchy scalp? Buy this shampoo. Yellow teeth? Buy this teeth whitener.

It works well for services too. Ears full of wax? Ear Wax Removal service. Long waiting list for a flu jab? Walk-in appointments available.

How do you make sure the person seeing your advert needs the service?

Targeting Your Audience

Without a doubt, the single best thing about digital advertising is targeting specific audiences. Have a service that’s only relevant for 50 to 60-year-old women living within 5 miles of your pharmacy? No problem. With Social Media advertising, you can make sure only the people who belong to that audience see your advert.

It doesn’t just have to be age and gender, either. You can target interest groups too. People who like health and nutrition pages may be more interested in your healthy living products, for example.

Blending in

Here’s something that’s not talked about enough. The adverts which get the most attention on social media don’t look like adverts. They look like social media posts.

When you’re watching the TV, you watch it for the programme. When ads come on, you go and boil the kettle, you nip to the toilet.

As a general rule, people avoid adverts. So you need to make your social media adverts blend in with other social media posts as much as possible.

How to create pharmacy adverts for social media

The number one rule of creating ads for social media? Feature people.

People use social media to connect with the people in their lives. As a community pharmacist, you are a person in someone’s life.

Connecting those two facts is critical for success on social media.

You only get one chance to make a first impression

In the fickle world of scrolling, you need to both grab attention and keep it. That means text which immediately tells people that what you’re talking about is relevant to them. It means using a tone of voice that holds people’s interest.

These things are easier said than done. Organic social media can seem raw and unpolished, even having spelling mistakes and still be successful, etc. The worst-case scenario with organic social media is you post again. It’s free. But with advertising, it can be an expensive game figuring out what text works best.

That’s generally why it’s actually cheaper to advertise with a pharmacy marketing agency like us. Instead of spending so much time and money trying to find the right formula, you pay us and we use the same formula that works for the hundreds of other pharmacies we advertise for.

Following advertising guidelines

There are strict rules around advertising pharmaceuticals, for obvious reasons. An unfortunate side-effect of that, however, is that it means automated systems occasionally flag your adverts for breaching advertising policy even if you haven’t done anything wrong.

Promoting sign-ups to your Prescription Reordering App for instance can be incorrectly red-flagged because you use the word “prescription”.

For these reasons, it’s again beneficial to seek guidance from a marketing agency that specialises in the pharmacy industry. We’re acutely aware of what you can and can’t say when it comes to Facebook & Google’s advertising policies.

Using Video Content for Pharmacy Advertising

What are the benefits of using Video Content in adverts?

The human eye is attracted to movement from an evolutionary standpoint. Movement attracts attention. Advertising is an attention game. So video is naturally a great fit for advertising.

But video offers more advantages than that.

Videos allow longer, complicated ideas to be expressed. As any advertising space is restricted, any images or text are also restricted.

Videos, on the other hand, utilise that space so much better.

What should the video be about?

A great place to start with videos is taking whatever you would’ve advertised with image & text, and turning that into a video.

Advertising a flu vaccination, for example, which works well on social media. Pharmacies often use stock images of injections, or even a good picture of a pharmacist. And they do work because it still gets noticed by people keeping a keen eye out for flu vaccination information.

But videos work better.

I’ll always remember taking the time out to show a client the type of video that would work for promoting flu. I sent a quick 30-second video with my phone just to show how simple the video could be and told him to do something like that.

He recorded a video explaining why the flu vaccine is so important and we used that in a Facebook advert. It got tens of thousands of views and the pharmacist told me that people were constantly telling him they’d seen him on the internet when they came into the pharmacy.

How can I make a professional video for an advert in a pharmacy?

The biggest fallacy of social media content is that highly polished = successful.

The above example I gave where the pharmacist recorded themselves in the back room talking about the flu vaccine with their phone camera – that’s the most production you need. Social media is full of homemade content. No one’s expecting 20th Century Fox levels of production. In fact, in the interest of blending in to make people feel like what they’re watching isn’t an advert, it shouldn’t be polished. Talk to them as though they’re in your pharmacy and you’re on the right track.

So, long story short, you don’t need professional standard videos for social media. A video shot on selfie-mode on your smartphone is good enough.

Advertising at the top of Google

Google Ads are a great way of reaching people actively searching for your services.

This is ideal, as you know the people seeing your ad want the product or service you’re advertising. That means you’re not spending money showing ads to people who’ll never buy your services. (We talk about that in more detail in our “5 ways Digital Advertising beats Traditional Advertising article.”)

Every upside has a downside, and this one is that Google isn’t useful for advertising things people don’t search for. Prescription Delivery, for example, is just not something that enough people are searching to make it worth advertising.

Will my ad be shown to people outside of my area?

For most people, Google is a magic portal to the internet. So it’s legitimate to wonder how it works. With Google Ads, one of the ways you can target who you’re paying to see your ad is by postcode, which is perfect for community pharmacies. This means no wasting money advertising to people who live too far away to access your pharmacy.

Can I advertise my pharmacy through Google My Business?

Google My Business is not the same as Google Ads.

That said, it is a pre-requisite. You can only advertise on Google if you’re registered with Google My Business, so you might as well optimise your presence.

if you’re interested in using Google My Business to promote your pharmacy for free, here’s a more in-depth look at how Google My Business works for community pharmacies.

Creating a visually attractive Pharmacy Display

When talking about Community Pharmacy, it would be remiss to ignore the fact that many pharmacies are located in high footfall areas, such as village centres and high streets.

This is the one space you’ve got free advertising – so make the most of it!

Just…exercise moderation when advertising in your pharmacy display. There’s nothing worse than the dreaded blanket of posters.

You want your pharmacy to appear clean. It’s a healthcare environment after all, and your window is often the first impression people have of your pharmacy.  But we do want to utilise this space for advertising, giving people a reason to visit.

As is often the case, the sweet spot is the balance in-between the two.

You don’t want to miss out on showcasing your services, but poster overcrowding looks untidy – too many posters means people don’t focus on any of them.

The optimal solution is a digital screen – rotate as many messages as you like in a clean, eye-catching way without taking up too much space or time.

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