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There are lots of guides for all the processes and procedures of selling your pharmacy. This is not one of them. In this guide, we’ll focus entirely on how digitisation can raise your sale price.

Selling Your Pharmacy 101

When it comes to selling your pharmacy, you obviously want the best price possible. But for every person selling a pharmacy, there’s someone buying. They want the best price too. So how do you go about convincing that buyer to spend more money on your pharmacy business?

It starts by thinking like a buyer.

Do pharmacy buyers know how valuable their digital asset is worth?

What do buyers want when buying a pharmacy?

Some of the main considerations when purchasing a pharmacy are:

  • How profitable the business is
  • Whether revenue is trending up or down
  • The potential for growing the business
  • Spotting opportunities to save money where the existing business doesn’t
  • The volume and mix of prescriptions
  • The categorical mix of the pharmacy’s patients, e.g. clinical, prescription, retail
  • Status of contracts

But the main considerations we’ll explore in this article are the ones we’ve highlighted.

Whilst there are people who prefer buying struggling businesses and turning them around, most buyers want a healthy business. The majority of bets in a horse race are on the favourite. And higher profit margins equals a higher purchase price.

Stable. Replicable. Predictable.

But here’s the rub. What buyers really value is continuity in those high profits. The continuation of that upwards revenue trend. It’s great that you’re generating all those profits. But if you leave the business? Taking your extensive local knowledge, partnerships you’ve developed over years, and the understanding of your pharmacy team with you? Where’s the assurance that the healthy business they’ve bought won’t fall down around their ears?

What they want, with a healthy business, is business as usual. Stability in transition. Predictability for the future, which means replicable business practice. Savvy pharmacy buyers will poke holes in valuations that don’t have these characteristics, driving down the price. So in this instance, digitisation doesn’t necessarily raise the price of your pharmacy, but it does prevent it from being driven down.

The more systemised, the more automated, the more robust processes in place, the better. Digitisation is a major component in all three.

How do digital systems increase the value of your pharmacy?

Well, in the purest form, digital systems, (e.g. websites) are an asset. If your pharmacy is worth £980,000 and you spend £20k on a website, now your pharmacy is worth £1m. So if you’re planning on selling your pharmacy, a website is a reasonably risk-free investment, as you can build it into the value of your business.

Naturally, that only works if you own the website. Website rental software, the type you pay for year-on-year, doesn’t belong to you, nor does any data contained within it. Therefore, you cannot build it into the value of your business.

Another way digital systems increase the value of your pharmacy, is the opportunity for revenue growth, especially in the future.

An existing marketing list, a website where several of your services get found on Google, an engaged audience on Social Media…these are all things that take time to cultivate. And time = money. Especially time well spent.

Since pharmacy sales usually take a while to go through, provided you haven’t even begun the process yet, you’ve still got plenty of time to digitise your pharmacy.

Why ignoring data is a disaster

For a start, let’s make one thing clear. Data is the most valuable commodity in the world. That’s why companies like Google, Amazon and Meta are so big.

There are three important questions to answer before you can assuredly include data into the valuation of your business.

What data does your pharmacy business own? (Important distinction which I will clarify later)

How does your pharmacy collect data?

What does your pharmacy do with the data?

How valuable data appears throughout your Digital Ecosystem

  • A proper website provides digital infrastructure which both harvests and utilises useful data for your pharmacy business
  • A healthy social media presence helps transition a change of management with the pharmacy’s existing community
  • Email Marketing Lists retarget existing pharmacy users and drive repeat business
  • EPOS systems with key consumer insights both in-store and via eCommerce help with retail sales and promotions
  • Paid advertising accounts with data on previous campaigns aid future campaigns

There are always due diligence processes during the purchase of a pharmacy, ensuring a pharmacy is as it claims in the listing. Data is concrete. It can’t be questioned.

Google Analytics for Your Website

Let’s say you’re top of Google, and you get 1,000 clicks per month on that page. With a quick calculation on Google Ads, you can understand how much each click is worth for the keyword you’re ranking for.

If it costs £1/click for you to appear on Ads for “Yellow Fever Vaccine” and you’re getting 1k clicks per month? That’s £1k/month you can incorporate into the value of your business.

But you cannot do that without having the data. You cannot have that data without having a website. And this is why digitisation built into your business is a really quick way to increase the value of your business.

Don’t own your website? You don’t own the data within it either.

In the same way that if you owned a fleet of vans, you can incorporate the assets into the value of a business, but you can’t if they’re rentals, you can’t incorporate either a website or its data into your business valuation if you don’t own them.

Want some other quick ways to increase the value of your pharmacy?

A good yardstick for measuring the progress of your pharmacy by taking The Perfect Pharmacy Scorecard. 30 questions. 5 minutes. Tailored report, with advice for improvement in each area depending on how you score. Then a 5-day email action-plan diving into more detail on each major area of a pharmacy business (non-clinical).

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artifical intelligence in pharmacy
With massive advances in recent years, AI in pharmacy isn’t far away. And the changes AI will bring to pharmacy promise to be massive.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Artificial Intelligence is another term for machine learning. It traces its roots back to World War 2. Alan Turing, a renowned logician, was recruited to break the German military’s Enigma Code – a process that could not have been achieved by humans. The machines (called Bombes) learned what to do, effectively by learning what not to do, using laws of logic. Similarly, machines are now more than a match for humans at Chess, demonstrating that when it comes to logic, the human brain has limitations that machine learning does not.

Whilst the application of AI has advanced significantly since then, the core concept of how it works is pretty much identical. Humans use available information as well as reason in order to solve problems and make decisions, so why can’t machines do the same thing?

The limitation has always been the amount of information that computers can store. But increasingly, with storage (where the AI stores its knowledge) and the data sets (from which AI can learn) both massively increasing over the decades, this limitation is a thing of the past.

AI is inextricably linked to Big Data, which is just as important, if not moreso, as the data is what gives the AI the information to learn. There’s no point in having a big brain if you never learn anything. Arguably, AI is worthless without the data to learn from, whereas we’d at least be able to interpret Big Data in a limited capacity with our soft, human brains.

word cloud featuring pharmacy, data, ai, pharmacist and other associated words

How does AI impact Pharmacy right now?

The frontline of pharmacy is probably yet to feel the full force of the impact AI is making on the wider Pharmaceutical Industry. Whilst facial recognition and speech pattern monitors can be used to detect rare diseases, it isn’t like these systems are in operation in community pharmacies.

Something that is more accessible is compliance technology. though perhaps not in the guise that it’s needed quite yet.

Another accessible option for pharmacies is artificial intelligence Sentiment Analysers, which are in a trial phases of a rollout for things like phone calls.

Sentiment analysers

Sentiment analysers are artificial intelligence programmes that analyse speech & voice patterns and detect in real-time how the person on the other end of the phone is feeling. If you’ve ever used Grammarly, and it’s shown you how your writing might come across to your readers, that is sentiment analysis at work.

Now, you might think it’s obvious when someone is angry at you on the phone. And it is. But over the course of hundreds of phone calls, seeing the analysis of the trigger words which cause this anger, as well as the words used to calm people, might well give you insights leading to more effective phone conversations. Not only for you, but your entire team. This is the sort of insight that it’s almost impossible to analyse when we’re the ones holding the phone conversations, as we’re usually focused on what we’re doing, rather than analysing ourselves.

How can AI impact Pharmacy in the future?

The limit to this question will be found in the limitation of the human imagination. Pointed in the right direction, and given the right data, there aren’t many areas that AI can’t improve.

  • Drug development & efficacy (both linked to genetics)
  • Patient compliance
  • More data informed patient health & proactive interventions
  • Risk assessment & Fraud reduction
  • Driverless Delivery
  • Sentiment Analysers
  • More efficient clinical trials

Not all of these directly impact pharmacy, but pharmacy feels the ripple effects of the shock waves in healthcare.

These are the areas that AI can impact pharmacy. But let’s look in more detail at some of the areas where AI almost certainly will impact Pharmacy in the future.

Driverless Delivery

Driverless cars across all roads are still decades away, say experts in the field of AI. But the rollout of smaller, driverless delivery vans like the type that deliver Domino’s Pizza are on the horizon.

Depending on your model, your preferences and your priorities, you might reject this idea.

“I like my delivery driver and they have a great relationship with the patients,” you say. I think that there’s definitely a big argument for retaining the service of a delivery driver. Especially considering serving an elderly population who aren’t tech savvy. They aren’t going to want to start messing around with PINs sent by text and entering it into the van. And there’s also a strong argument for the social contact that delivery drivers give isolated patients being a part of the service to the community.

However, there is a credible argument for utilising both driverless and driver…ful vans. Just like the Pharmaself24 works alongside your counter staff, the driverless delivery van could be a great addition to your arsenal. It gives a green option to a more tech-savvy, environmentally conscious generation. And a more convenient option to those who don’t need social contact from the delivery driver.

From the perspective of a pharmacy business owner, it’s another case of automation making fiscal sense. Why pay for another delivery driver and a van, when you can just pay once for a driverless van? That isn’t necessarily a rhetorical question, but it’s certainly one you’d consider from a business perspective.

Monitoring Patient Behaviours

AI can revolutionise healthcare, not just pharmacy.

It would rely on some sort of large shared database, as machines, like humans, can only learn from information they have access to. But coupled with Big Data from health apps, medical records and other sources (ideally encrypted, protected from third parties and shared across healthcare institutions) Artificial intelligence should allow frontline healthcare professionals like pharmacists incredible insights to inform patient conversations with.

Imagine having the knowledge that 43 year old men statistically don’t finish their course of antibiotics, or that people from a certain background traditionally don’t respond well to a certain medication. Think about how much great advice you can give. If you weren’t in a care setting, you’d clap your hands together and evil laugh with all the power now at your disposal. And I painted that hyperbolic picture tongue-in-cheek because, naturally, patients still need to be treated as individuals. This sort of power shouldn’t blind us to the need for individual care. But it certainly makes giving tailored care easier.

heart rate monitor on a wearable watch

Wearables

This is an important one for pharmacies to pay attention to for two reasons.

AI knows cardiac patterns which lead to serious issues, and people wearing health tech can be given early warning signs. The more innovation happens with wearables, the more interventions can be made proactively, instead of reactively. Which in healthcare, makes a massive difference. It’s a lot easier to prevent a heart attack than it is to recover from one.

As a pharmacist, there will almost certainly be a consultation opportunity either to address these Early Warning Signs, or to monitor the use of and advise on the data provided by wearable technologies so that it never reaches that stage. AI will do most of the legwork here when it comes to interpreting and analysing the data. As the pharmacist, it will be your job to give tailored advice based on the AI’s findings. Perhaps it’s a dietary change, perhaps an increase in exercise, perhaps it’s a prescription. Either way, it’s very similar to general health checks now, except far more informed by data, not only from that specific patient, but by all the data gathered by wearables.

Pharmacies perfectly positioned purveyors

The second reason this is important for pharmacists, is because pharmacies should already be looking to be leading distributors of wearable health technology. When people buy in-person, it’s because they want advice about the products from experts. Who better to sell wearable health technology than the health professional who works with them? When the world of wearables reaches its peak, you don’t want to be just learning about them. This is a relevant retail offering, and the sooner you get on board, the better for your pharmacy business. Activity trackers are only the beginning of wearable health tech. Innovations in this area will continue to develop, with nano-technology making the wearables less cumbersome and easier to wear. But it is AI, which makes everything possible.

Of course, there’s going to be people who reject wearing technology, for a number of reasons. So it won’t immediately make every patient interaction super easy. But for the ones who do, you can look forward to better informed consultations.

Monitoring Fraudulent Behaviour

It feels as though I read about a struck-off pharmacist every other week for some fraudulent behaviour or other. But the beauty of AI, especially when coupled with shared data, such as from SystmOne, is that once fraudulent behaviour happens, and happens, and happens again, the system learns the unconscious patterns in an organisation that lead to fraudulent behaviour. The financial world deploys similar systems. In fact, $217 billion has been spent on AI systems preventing fraud and assessing risk within the banking industry alone. Obviously, the expense of these systems is large (these systems usually start at around £100k), however, as technology advances, it will grow increasingly more affordable.

It isn’t just pharmacist fraud either. Prescription fraud faces a tough future, (provided we move to a fully digitised system,) not just with AI detecting fraudulent patient behaviour, but also from blockchain technology. Blockchain is actually the better of the two at stopping fraud (certainly for now) as current anti-fraud AI technology doesn’t work in real-time.

Could A.I. go badly for Pharmacy?

We could wish for AI tomorrow and end up regretting embracing the technology too fast, or for the wrong reasons, Black Mirror style.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Well, probably the worst-case scenario is the malevolent use of Big Data. There’s a definite argument for whoever controls the data holding too much power. Especially as corporations, whose primary directive is to make more money, are the ones investing heavily in AI. This is especially true if one company ends up as the dominant force in the industry.

Coincidentally, a short while after I wrote the sentence about Big Data being used malevolently, I came across a company called Benevolent AI, involved in drug discovery & development. It’s either sheer coincidence, or the AI industry is already proactively setting the perception this kind of criticism.

AI – Always Infallible?

There’s also the potential for AI to get things wrong. When you consider that it learns solely from data, without the experience or the perspective of a human, then what happens when the data it’s making decisions on is inaccurate, or incomplete? For instance, facial recognition technology isn’t as effective on Black & Asian faces. Imprisoning incorrectly is an issue. Diagnosing incorrectly and prescribing medication for an ailment someone doesn’t have? Also not ideal. Now, there are failsafes we can put in place. But misinterpreted data, or conclusions drawn from incomplete data are potential pitfalls that need accounting for.

What do I need to do as a pharmacist?

Eventually AI will go mainstream and become the default in healthcare settings. As and when this happens, naturally everyone must adapt.

But until that point, my advice is proactively seek out these technologies and innovations, as soon as you can. They make your life easier, and your patients lives better.

Why would you not want that as soon as possible?

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We’re delighted to announce our latest collaboration with Alphega Pharmacy UK, a massive step towards our goal of helping every independent community pharmacy digitise & market themselves better.

Alphega Pharmacy is a leading European network of independent pharmacists, with over 1,000 member pharmacies across the UK.  Their aim of improving the health and wellbeing of communities by delivering a future vision for independent community pharmacy is perfectly aligned with our own vision to improve access to healthcare through pharmacies.

The aim of the relationship

Alphega offers member pharmacists who join their group a full range of services and support, assisting with the success of their pharmacy. With exclusive member benefits like the Alphega App & the Alphega Pharmacy Business Academy, they focus on improving the infrastructure of the pharmacy business.

This complements the service Pharmacy Mentor offers to pharmacies. Marketing in any industry is easier when the business you’re promoting is convenient and practical for its users. With Alphega helping its members streamline their business, and Pharmacy Mentor promoting that pharmacy to its community, the pharmacist can focus on what they do best. Helping patients.

So as a partnership, it makes perfect sense. Pharmacy Mentor already worked with several Alphega Pharmacy members, to great success. We welcome the opportunity now of promoting more Alphega members to their prospective patients.

How Pharmacy Mentor help Alphega Members

Pharmacy Mentor helps Alphega Members build on the platform Alphega provides them. For instance, we can help member pharmacies increase their sign-ups to the Alphega App either through specialised Alphega-Only marketing packs for them, or our exclusive Alphega-Members Only course, which gives up to 4 employees access to learning modules, showing them how to do it themselves.

A word from Pharmacy Mentor CEO, Saam Ali

“We’re so excited to be working closely with Alphega Pharmacy and their members. Our collaboration means that we’re going to be supporting the digital growth of Community Pharmacy and improving access to healthcare. This sits perfectly in line with our mission and vision.”

Most community pharmacies have a pharmacy website. But just having a website is pointless if it doesn’t serve a purpose for your pharmacy.

What makes a good pharmacy website?

A good pharmacy website is one that creates value for your business. Good pharmacy websites are assets, just like a member of your team. And just like a member of your team, your website should be nurtured, not neglected.

This is a list of 5 features you should treat your website to. With all these in place, you’ll quickly see the value of a “good” pharmacy website.

what does a good pharmacy website look like?

1. Discoverability (Search Engine Optimisation)

Creating a website that gets no visitors is about as useful as opening up a pharmacy in the middle of the Sahara desert. Ie, you just shouldn’t bother.

With every website should be a plan to acquire visitors. Don’t have one? Get one.

A lot of people expect that somehow when their website is built, visitors will sort of just, happen.

There’s a definite blind spot between consumers and website designers, where consumers expect this to be part of their website build, and designers don’t ask the right questions for the client to realise that the on-page content needs to be optimised for search engines to pick it up.

So, whose responsibility is it?

I sympathise a little with the designers. Designers see themselves as architects, not interior designers. You wouldn’t expect your architect to choose your wallpaper. That’s how most web developers see the written content on your website. As your responsibility. After all, their speciality is coding, not writing.

However, I sympathise more with the business buying the website. Websites are relatively new, compared to my analogy of houses and architects. And because they’re new, there isn’t a common understanding of how they work. So in my view, it’s on the agency, service provider to make sure the client is at least aware of what having a website entails.

However, there are a surprising number of web development agencies who wash their hands of the success of a website once it leaves the design phase.

We are very transparent with our clients that without an SEO strategy in place to attract visitors to their site, the website won’t be as effective.

What is SEO and how does it attract visitors?

If you don’t know what SEO is or how it works, I’d strongly recommend you check out our complete guide to SEO. But in a nutshell, SEO is the process of optimising your website so it shows up on search engines.

SEO tells Google what searches you’d like to show up for

Whilst there are a lot of technical aspects that contribute to SEO that do fall under the responsibility of your web development team, your on-page content (ie the words on your website) determines which search terms you want your website to show up for. So it’s massively important this is given the attention it deserves, not swept under the rug like it often is.

Is there no other way to attract visitors?

Technically, there could be other ways you attract visitors to your pharmacy website, but realistically, most pharmacies don’t have anything like the right online infrastructure in place to do this. For instance, you could have a great email or social media funnel which regularly links to your website. But even if you did, that’s no reason to close the door on an opportunity to attract thousands of new visitors.

2. Modern, mobile-friendly design

Design matters so much when it comes to your website. Website design isn’t just how a website looks, but also how it works, how it’s laid out, and how easy it is to use. And especially nowadays, how easy it is to use on a mobile device.

Why design of a pharmacy website matters so much

In this whole section on design, and I can’t promise it will end there, user expectations will dominate the conversation.

Expectation vs Reality

There are three levels to expectations. You can either exceed, meet, or fall short of them. And at the time of writing, so many pharmacy websites fall short of the public’s expectations.

Where do these expectations come from? Experience. And not just with a pharmacy website. But with any website.

Your pharmacy website should be as easy to use as any modern website, because that’s what you’re up against in the eyes of the public.

If your website doesn’t meet expectations, people will leave, and quickly.

Ever-evolving design

Great design starts with good foundations, but it shouldn’t end there. Once your site is live, you can analyse how users are interacting with your site.

Understanding how your users behave on your website helps you create an even better design, which encourages more users to spend more time on your pharmacy website. The longer they spend on your website, the more they understand what you offer. The more they understand what you offer, the more likely they are to take you up on that offer. It’s a lovely little chain that all starts with the design of your site.

What are the expectations of a pharmacy website?

Expectations for a pharmacy website would be the same as the expectations of a pharmacy:

  • Clean and spacious feel
  • Intuitive layout
  • Clearly signposted areas of interest e.g., prescriptions, clinics, products
  • Short waiting times
  • Information & advice available on demand
  • Accessible contact
  • Ability to book and pay for services & products

The more you imagine replicating your pharmacy experience on your website, the better your website will be.

A good user experience (UX)

The bar for best practice is constantly being raised, as both technology and developer’s skills improve. This is why older designs aren’t feasible anymore. It’s like modern cars being designed without anti-lock brakes, or power steering. The technology is there, so there’s no excuse to not incorporate it into your design. Asking people to use your old website with poor functionality is like trying to sell a car from the ’90s in a new showroom. No one’s going to accept it.

3. Updated Information

Updated information on a pharmacy website helps both you and your community. The last thing your pharmacy team needs is pressure from patients who’ve read something on your website that doesn’t apply anymore, such as opening times, or prices.

Consistently updating your website might seem like a lot of effort. But if you think of how many people that information serves, compared to how many times you’d have to individually explain it over the phone or in-person…it is actually a time-saver.

Imagine how many fewer phone calls you’d get if your website had up-to-date COVID information on it. (Now, that particular example is extreme, as it isn’t your information, and it’s changing constantly, but it’s a relevant example for the moment.)

Search engines love updated content

Updated information also helps with your on-page SEO, which we talked about earlier. Search engines want to give their users the most relevant information for their queries, so fresh information has a better chance of being recommended more highly.

4. Booking Calendar

A booking calendar gives all your online marketing activities a focal point. It gives your customer journey a finish line. In short, as a pharmacy aiming for more clinical bookings – it’s your marketing’s raison d’etre (the reason it exists).

Directing people to your booking calendar

Social Media Posts

Now, this doesn’t mean that every time you make any post on social media ever, you link your booking calendar. But anything that relates to your services can (and should) absolutely have a link to book the service in question.

Blog Posts

The same goes for any blog posts you do. The reason you should be blogging is to drive relevant traffic to your website. Relevant, in a pharmacy’s case, means people who might well become patients or customers. Throughout these blogs, but especially at the end of the blog, you need to provide a link and show people they’re able to book now.

If the blog is about a health condition, there’s a good chance they’ve just searched their symptoms on Google. Now they’ve come to your website because of the updated information on your website that you’ve optimised for search engines, (see points 1 & 3), you might link to booking a consultation with a pharmacist.

If they found your private clinic page, it means they’re looking for treatment, and there should be an option to book that treatment, making it as easy as possible for people to use your pharmacy.

Free up your pharmacy team

Your pharmacy team is too busy to handle bookings. Especially when it’s often not just bookings, but rescheduling or cancellations. (20% to 30% of patients cancel or re-book their medical appointments ((Well App, 2021)).

Booking calendar on a pharmacy website

This pharmacy website has a separate booking calendar for each category of clinical services.

Improve Your Patient Experience

Booking an appointment online takes less than a minute. Booking over the phone takes 8.1 minutes on average, taking into account being put on hold. (CalendarHero, 2021).

87% of potential new patients do not leave a message or book an appointment when reaching voicemail (CallTracker).

An elegant solution, a simple website addition

Let your website handle your pharmacy bookings and you get:

  • Increased bookings – physicians who offer online appointments alongside phone appointments were booked 24% more than those who offer phone appointments only (Dental Economics, 2021).
  • Out-of-hours bookings made – 43% of patients search for health care professionals after business hours (Dental Economics, 2021).
  • Minimise no-shows (especially in combination with text/email reminders)
  • Give a sensible Call-To-Action (CTA) for any service-related digital marketing activities
  • Efficient appointments – online appointment scheduling makes time for two extra patients every day (Deloitte).

Booking software is cost-effective, especially if you have an already thriving clinical business. Just in the time saved for your pharmacy team, it pays for itself.

5. Payments

Having an online payments solution on your website hinges on whether or not you sell products or take bookings through your website. But on the assumption that you’re doing at least one of those two things, taking payments online is a real must.

Why should I accept payments on my pharmacy website?

Firstly, with a pharmacy eCommerce website, (follow the link for a how-to guide for eCommerce), payments are a must. You can’t sell products if you can’t take payments. There isn’t much more that needs to be said on that.

Even if you’re only promoting clinical services, however, taking online payments on your pharmacy website is a massive boon. We touched on minimising no-shows in the previous point, and it applies again here. When someone has paid for a service, they’re committed to showing up, allowing you to run your clinic without constantly wondering if the next patient’s going to be there.

It’s more convenient for both you and your patients

If a patient has already paid, they don’t need to remember to bring anything to the appointment. There isn’t an issue if your card machine stops working, or if you don’t have the right change.

Also…

Payments take up everyone’s time

Let’s say private Flu Vaccine Clinic appointment slots are 5 minutes, and it takes a minute to make a payment.

For every 5 patients you see, you lose an appointment slot. And if your calendar doesn’t take this time into account, it can quickly make your time run over for your appointments.

Allowing people to pay when they book kills two birds with one stone, allowing your clinic to run efficiently, and with peace of mind that those appointments will actually be fulfilled. Read more about online payments here.

Online Payment Gateways for Pharmacy

Read our article for the Top Online Payment Gateways for your Pharmacy.

 


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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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pharmacy automation: what you need to know - with a robot pushing a cardboard box
Pharmacy automation has existed since the 1960’s, yet full automation is still a long way away for most pharmacies. Automation comes in many different forms, and whilst most articles cover one form or another, this article covers all bases.

Pharmacy Automation includes:

  • Websites
  • Dispensing Robots
  • Digital Displays
  • PMR Systems
  • Prescription Reordering Apps
  • Electronic CD Registers
  • Prescription Collection Points
  • Pharmacy Management Systems

Get your automating ducks in a row.

Answering the most asked questions around Pharmacy Automation

What does automating mean for a pharmacy?

Automating in a pharmacy isn’t just about robots taking over. It means taking repetitive tasks and devising a way to achieve the same outcome without human input. In the industrial age, that meant human redundancies. In pharmacy, that means the staff trained for patient care are now released from the shackles of these administrative tasks. Rather than redundant, they’re released for valuable tasks instead of functional tasks.

Does automating mean fewer employees in the pharmacy?

No. Automations typically means your staff can spend more time on value-adding tasks that can’t be automated, such as customer service and patient care.

How many team members do you know that love being in the back room with no windows? Your pharmacy team will almost certainly be happier out in the front, assisting and helping the people in their community. And improving that care leads to higher revenue through cross-selling, and the ability to spend time on private clinical services. Meaning you could even employ more team members.

Can the role of a pharmacist be automated?

No. A pharmacist is still needed for their medical judgment and expertise, as well as patient consultations. However, a pharmacist’s life can be made considerably easier with automation. Instead of spending their valuable time on administrative tasks, they can be freed up to spend all their time doing what they do best.

Which is the best pharmacy automation to start with?

The best place to automate your pharmacy is wherever you and your team are spending the most time.

Typically, that will be around prescriptions. But are you spending more time on the phone than you are dealing with the prescriptions? Or would you have more time to answer the phone if you weren’t so busy counting pills and updating CD registers?

Well, the feedback we get from pharmacies suggests that the majority of phone calls they receive are around prescriptions. Specifically, patients asking when their prescriptions will be ready to collect. There are numerous ways to automate prescriptions.

Adding an automated phone message when people call your pharmacy

e.g., “Thank you for calling our pharmacy. If you’re calling to find out when your prescription is ready, please download our app/send us an email, where we will get back to you as soon as possible.”

Dispensing Robots

This is a big one if you have a big prescription business. So much so, it’s probably the go-to thing pharmacists would think of when you say the phrase “pharmacy automation.”

A dispensing robot is invaluable not only in saving you time on dispensing, but also in reducing errors.

If you have a village pharmacy where the amount of prescriptions isn’t a huge drain on your team’s time, it’s probably the case that your resources are best spent elsewhere. But if you’re dispensing multiple thousands of prescriptions? It’s window-shopping for robots time.

How do websites automate pharmacy?

Websites have the potential to automate almost every administrative element of pharmacy. Of course, the limitation is budget.

Websites can integrate with just about any software with the right amount of development, but there’s a sweet spot when it comes to balancing affordability with functionality.

And for that reason, I won’t go too deep into the potential. We’ll focus instead on what most pharmacies can achieve with a website when it comes to automating.

Automating Medicine Sales & Clinical Bookings

Websites don’t only automate processes for you, they also automate for your patients. Instead of having to visit the pharmacy to collect medication (which doesn’t really make sense for a sick person when you think about it), the entire journey can be completed online – even down to risk assessment.

Below is an excerpt from our article on How to Build An Online Independent Prescribing Clinic – and it shows how the process of evaluating suitability for POM’s & P-line medicines can be done entirely by the patient, meaning you only have to sign it off.

“For example, a patient ordering Treclin for acne through your website will be prompted to start an online consultation. They’re then taken step-by-step through a comprehensive consultation – just like you’d take them through in the pharmacy. Questions don’t become answerable until the last one is completed, ensuring 100% accuracy. But this is an example user journey, not the only one. It depends on how the GPhC sees this as regulatorily sound.”

Independent Prescriber websites

A megamenu from a Pharmacy Mentor website for an Independent Prescriber

For clinical services, your patient can book, pay for and fill out a pre-assessment questionnaire, all on a pharmacy website. That means the sole focus of the appointment is patient care and treatment.

This process is so appealing for a prospective patient that if you’re the only pharmacy around offering this convenience, you’ll begin amassing patients. Which, with your system automated, won’t put the strain that an increased volume of patients would usually bring on your team.

Of course, the opposite is true. Wondering why no one’s signing up for your service? Or why your prescription business is thinning? There might well be a pharmacy with a simpler, automated process amongst your competitors.

Automating Data Collection

How do you ensure when someone visits your pharmacy, or your pharmacy website that they come back again?

By adding them to a mailing list, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to communicate with the people who’ve already chosen your pharmacy once. But since we’re in the business of automating, you can automate that process too. Any visitors to your website can be prompted to sign-up to your mailing list with a pop-up. What you incentivise this with is entirely down to you, be it signing up to EPS, 10% off their next retail purchase, or special email-only offers. The important thing is you can then re-capture the business.

To automate the process for visitors into your pharmacy, you can hand the patient an iPad whilst they wait for their prescriptions (if they’re interested in joining your mailing list of course) with a sign-up form. This is what retail stores do as normal practice now.

Prescription Collection Points – the new ATM?

Prescription Collection Points were niche only a couple of years ago. But that’s the thing about revolutionary tech. It’s all early adopters until they start talking about how much it’s changed their lives.

And Prescription Collection Points have changed pharmacies’ fortunes. Some of the busiest pharmacies in the UK are using Prescription Collection Points (plural) to manage tens of thousands of prescriptions – a volume they can only manage with the Collection Points. And a volume they attracted in part by offering the collection service.

Take a look at this Case Study we developed that harnessed the power of a Prescription Collection Machine.

History repeating itself

It shouldn’t be a surprise. This is the exact same function that banks took decades ago with the introduction of the ATM. At the time, the conventional wisdom was there was no way customers wouldn’t want to see a bank teller to withdraw money from their account. Now, can you imagine preferring queuing in a bank to using an ATM?

Bank staff members were suddenly released from these cash-dispensing jobs, where mistakes in counting were rife, and instead re-allocated to in-depth customer service where they could recommend bank products as solutions to people’s financial problems.

Sound familiar? Replace money with medicine in that last sentence and you’ve got yourself an exact parallel with pharmacy.

You don’t need me telling you that prescriptions are the biggest time sink in pharmacy. So, if you’re automating to free up time, a Prescription Collection Point seems like a pretty good place to start.

Patient Medication Record Systems (PMRs)

PMRs are commonplace in pharmacies, but that’s a bit like saying computers are common in people’s homes. Yes, a computer makes your life easier, but if you’re still running Windows 95 with dial-up Internet, your life is still significantly harder than someone with the latest software on superfast broadband.

PMR systems range from basic medication management software, with clunky interfaces and slow loading times, to state-of-the-art Pharmacy Management Systems which integrate with Dispensing robots and pretty much any healthcare app.

Not all PMRs are created equal.

Upgrading your PMR system is another potential revolutionary moment for your pharmacy team.

Want some guidance on the different PMR systems available? Check out our Ultimate PMR Systems Guide, which explores the offerings from the top providers in the UK.

Automating business admin with Pharmacy Management Systems

What is a Pharmacy Management System?

A pharmacy management system is software providing a digital overview of your organisation. It enables reporting, analysing, and informed management decisions that come as a result.

What is the difference between a Pharmacy Management system (PMS) and a Patient Medication Records System (PMR)?

Think of a pharmacy management system as your digital business assistant. Anything to do with the business side of a pharmacy business is taken care of there. A PMR system is usually for medication management. It focuses on the pharmacy side of a pharmacy business.

Recently, however, the worlds of PMR and PMS are bleeding into each other. Ultimately, it’s all software. And software can be programmed to do whatever you need it to. So it shouldn’t come as much surprise that overlap is starting to occur between PMR and PMS providers.

It certainly makes life easier having everything integrated into one central location.

What does a Pharmacy Management System facilitate?

A PMS in Pharmacy can cover pretty much anything you want it to. Often the software is developed bespoke, or for more off-the-shelf solutions you can select module components to build up a system that fits your business model.

So how do Pharmacy Management Systems automate your tasks?

The answer is that running your pharmacy business without a Pharmacy Management system is like running your life without a smart phone. Sure, you could. Historically, we did it with no problem. But, with something right there making so many different things accessible and simple in one place, why would you?

Pharmacy Management Systems bring all aspects of your pharmacy into one digital space, including but not limited to:

  • Stock Levels
  • Sales
  • HR & Training
  • SMS Communications & Patient Data
  • EPS

Digital Displays

How do digital displays automate pharmacy?

First, let’s refresh the notion of what displaying anything in your pharmacy achieves. The purpose of a pharmacy display is to attract attention to communication/promotion.

But what happens when you have multiple things you need to tell your community, or multiple products/services you want to draw their attention to?

This is where the dreaded wall of posters usually rears its oh-so-ugly head.

And where the messages and promotions all drown each other out into one big noise that nobody pays any attention to.

Ok, but what does that have to do with pharmacy automation?

Well, the process of automating your displays conveniently goes hand-in-hand with your objective of communicating effectively, so it’s worth mentioning as an added bonus.

With a digital display, all the messages and promotions you want to display can be added to a playlist (including any social media posts you create.) The playlist then automatically loops each message, giving each and every message its own moment in the spotlight.

Say goodbye to endless pinning up and pulling down posters when they’re no longer relevant. Just relevant, clear communications, whatever season you’re in. It’s smaller automation, but every little helps.

Prescription Reordering Apps

What is a prescription re-ordering app?

A prescription re-ordering app is a bit of software that allows patients who sign up for the app to re-order their repeat prescriptions through the app, either on their desktop or mobile. Traditionally these re-orders would either have to be done over the telephone or in the pharmacy.

How do they help automate my pharmacy?

Short of integrating something similar into your own website and systems, (which as a bespoke project would cost a lot) Prescription Re-ordering Apps are an incredible reliever of the infamous endless phone calls.

Not only does the patient not have to contact the pharmacy over the phone to order the prescription, but they’re also alerted when their prescription is ready for collection/delivery. Patients checking whether their prescription is ready is another major source of phone calls, so automating this frees up your team’s time (and sanity) from answering those calls.

prescription reordering apps on a mobile phone

An example selection of prescription reordering apps as they appear on a user’s phone.

Are all prescription re-ordering apps the same?

No. Just like any other pharmacy software, different providers have different focuses for their apps, and there is no one-size-fits-all. It’s important to consider that the app you select won’t just be used by your team, but by your patients. User-friendliness, or lack of it, will reflect on your business.

I could go into more depth, but we’ve already done that.

We’ve written a guide to some of the top Prescription Re-ordering Apps if you want some more guidance for which app to choose for your pharmacy.

Electronic CD Registers

To stay compliant with the law, you must account for all controlled drugs on your premise, which isn’t news to you.

It probably isn’t news to you either that you can do all this electronically. Or that this is way more efficient than writing everything down, for a number of reasons:

  • Everything is recorded automatically, meaning auditing/paper trails are done instantly by just filtering the relevant data.
  • Fewer mistakes are made, which means less work chasing up errors.
  • Easier mistake rectification. Accidentally dispensed out-of-date medicines? Rather than searching through lots of paper files, you can identify where that medicine has gone at a touch of a button. That said, if you use an Electronic CD register, you probably didn’t dispense out-of-date medicines (though mistakes happen!)
a large cabinet with lots of files

Say goodbye to huge filing systems.

Of course, you must make sure your Electronic CD Register software is compliant, but unless you’re building it yourself, unsurprisingly, most Electronic CD Register software providers in the UK have compliance with the UK law as standard.

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Are you stuck for pharmacy blog post ideas?

Blogs are central to promoting your pharmacy business online. After all, business websites that include a blog have a 434% better chance of ranking highly on search engines like Google.

But if your pharmacy blog only has one entry – “Welcome to our blog”  – you risk losing credibility and it may even harm your Google ranking.

Coming up with healthcare blog ideas is a chore and if you’re a pharmacy owner, you probably don’t have time for writing content.

But consider these statistics on why you need to commit time and resources to your blog:

  • 66% of marketers also use their blog content for their social media posts
  • 81% of people consider blogs to be trusted sources of information
  • 94% of people will share a blog if they think the content is helpful.

Trusted and helpful? That sounds exactly like a community pharmacy.

Getting started, or revitalising an existing blog is a lot easier with these fourteen pharmacy blog post ideas that will last forever:

The 14 Pharmacy Blog Post Ideas which last forever

1. Tips for staying healthy

Get straight down to business and offer some advice on staying healthy. Ideas on maintaining a healthy lifestyle are great, but avoid getting preachy. Other topics could be how to reduce IBS symptoms, common allergy triggers, or avoiding flu this winter (don’t forget to link to your flu jab service).

2. Think seasonal

New Year is weight-loss and quitting smoking, spring is getting travel vaccines for summer holidays. Summer is allergies and sun protection.  Winter is avoiding colds and looking after our elderly.

3. Frequently asked questions

What are those questions you get asked time and time again? Answer them in a blog post!

4. Frequently un-asked questions

What are the questions your customers may be too embarrassed to ask? Such as how do you use a suppository. Answer these in a blog post too.

5. Instructional Vlogs

Take a tour of your pharmacy including your consultation rooms; show where to find the sunscreen or painkillers or demonstrate how to properly use an inhaler. Vlogs can be found on YouTube just as easily (if not more easily) than articles on Google. Because Google owns YouTube, you can often find videos in the results for a search when it’s appropriate. There is a big gap in the market for How-To videos for healthcare, which pharmacists could fill easily and get their pharmacy and products in the spotlight as a result.

The Ultimate Guide to Driving your Pharmacy Business in the Digital Age

Download your FREE copy of “Mastering Digital Pharmacy – The Ultimate Guide to Driving your Pharmacy Business in the Digital Age” now.

6. Pharmacy vs GP

As the pharmacist’s role in the community continues to evolve, patients’ awareness of accessing healthcare can be left behind. So let your customers know when they should visit their GP and when they can come to you instead.

7. A day in the life

Go through a typical shift for different roles within your pharmacy team. How does an early shift compare to an evening or weekend shift?

8. New Services

Offering a new service to patients? How else are they supposed to find out more about it? Write details of the service, why it’s beneficial, and how patients can use it.

9. Customer success stories

Tell the story of a recently treated patient (anonymously, of course.) This could be how you were able to source an out-of-stock medicine or spotting a serious symptom and referring to a hospital.

10. Spotting the signs of…

… someone having a stroke, sepsis, or bad reactions to new medicines.

11. Discuss something controversial

Maybe there is a new wonder drug available or what about the use of medical cannabis? Talk about it, however, remember to present a balanced view.

12. Charity work

Writing about the charity work you do is a great way to show your customers what a friendly and helpful community pharmacy you are. Not only that, but if you let the charity know you’re writing a blog about them, they’ll almost certainly share it with their audience.

13. Staff profiles

You can keep it strictly professional and talk about training, qualifications and career motivation. Or keep it fun with favourite ice cream flavours or whether they prefer cats or dogs.

Include a decent photo too as that will add to the friendliness of your pharmacy team.

14. Myth-busting posts

Quick advice posts that dispel mistakes people often make. For example, “What NOT to do if you burn yourself”, “What to do if you forget to take your prescription” etc.

These catchy titles draw people into your post, and your article can get stuck into the advice.

Your pharmacy blog post ideas need to offer helpful content

Remember what you are trying to achieve with your pharmacy blog post ideas. It’s more than selling services. It’s about building the reputation of being professional, helpful and friendly.

By demonstrating how knowledgeable and helpful you are, you are more likely to:

  • Get social media shares
  • Gain links from other websites
  • Turn web traffic into pharmacy customers

Interested in learning more about how Pharmacy Mentor can help with your digital marketing including blog posts? Contact us here.

Marketing statistics source https://expresswriters.com/blogging-statistics/

About

A large pharmacy group needed a new website & wanted to improve the efficiency of their internal communications. They really wanted a partner for all things online rather than just a web agency. After developing a front-end (public-facing) website for them, they then commissioned us to build an intranet in the back-end of the website.

Challenges

The challenges faced with the public-facing website were mainly down to taking their existing bold, brave, and green branding and creating a design that looked great and modern but also didn’t alienate older customers. The issue with the current website was that newer customers weren’t getting a contemporary experience and that meant potential revenue loss.

The challenges with building the intranet were creating an intuitive intranet and getting the buy-in from the staff members who’d need to use it as a result. Up until that point, they’d been using third-party software like Dropbox and GoogleDrive, which wasn’t efficient across multiple pharmacies, nor was it as secure. There were issues of keeping important company documents and assets across multiple different platforms, i.e. Google Drive, Sharepoint. It’s hard at that point for team members to understand which the most recent document was without inefficient searching across multiple software platforms.

They also wanted to centralise end of month processes, make sure pharmacies had up to date medicine prices without sending bulk emails, and places where the staff could accessing training easily, amongst other things.

Solutions

Pharmacy Mentor first re-designed the older public-facing website. We delivered a modern website design that still retained the “feel” of the brand. This built a lot of trust with the pharmacy group as a result of the work we did here. So much so that they asked us to create the back-end of the website for them.

  • The CRM we created in the intranet has forums, allowing for quick company-wide messaging and feedback.
  • It also has a cloud-storage solution, meaning no more third-party software for important company assets and documents.
  • The whole system was created with ease-of-use as a priority, to get maximum buy-in from the staff.
  • It allows for all staff to access training easily.
  • It allows dispensed to upload month-end via intuitive forms.
  • All communication is now centralised rather than sending emails and WhatsApp’s, where things get lost.
  • They have “group forums” for all types of situations, for example, “Out of Stock Medicines” and “Pre-reg students”.
  • The solution is flexible to allow for any 3rd party integrations like Mailchimp Newsletters or Hubspot.
  • The solution is mobile friendly so that staff can access it on the go.
  • The solution has in-built HR mechanisms to support holidays/sick leave and other requests

Results

The pharmacy group can now share information company-wide, and get feedback from every single member of staff. This allows the headquarters to coordinate far easier, with much simpler management of multiple branches. It also means a more holistic experience for employees, with a system that doesn’t require much training.

This second project was a lot more involved but has been a huge success since its launch a few months ago and all company members are active on the platform. Feedback has been that team members find it far easier to get the important info they need.

Pharmacy Management System

We’ve balanked out any confidential information

Want to create a cutting-edge pharmacy website with us? Simply get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help.

About

A pharmacy based in Wales with no digital presence at all, no website, no social media, no email marketing.  The pharmacy is in Wales which means they don’t have EPS either.  They’ve also recently started an Ear & Hearing Health Clinic, as well as signed up for a prescription-reordering app.

Challenges

The challenges of having no digital presence whatsoever were primarily:

  • Customer acquisition for private clinics, prescriptions, and sign-ups for their new Prescription Collection Point & prescription reordering app.
  • Their phone was constantly ringing and they wanted to move away from dealing with phone calls.
  • They were restricted to offline advertising.
  • Being in Wales, they also don’t have EPS, so another solution to automate needed to be considered.
  • They have no way of cross-promoting their services to their existing community.

Solutions

Website & SEO

Pharmacy Mentor began by developing their website with a booking calendar, we created Search-engine-optimised (SEO) blog posts (what is SEO?) for their private clinics (e.g., ear wax removal and both NHS & Private flu jab clinics.) We then implemented the following:

  • We created optimised blog posts, written clearly and informatively. The blogs give prospective patients all the information they need to make an informed appointment booking.
  • At the end of their SEO blogs for their clinics are calls-to-action with a conveniently integrated booking calendar.
  • We promote the prescription re-ordering app through organic Facebook channels, as well as the website.

Prescription Automation

  • We created a unique EPS-style form for them. Patients fill in the form, select their local GP and nominate them as a pharmacy. This is then sent to the GP’s for admin/approval.
  • We designed a poster with a QR code to attach to the Prescription Collection Point. This QR Code is linked to the sign-up form for the service.
  • Anyone who signs up to the PCP service gets automatically sent a custom-designed branded welcome email explaining the service and what they need to do. The email has a picture of the pharmacy team which instills a sense of connection early on. It lets the patient know that despite signing up for an automated system, there are real people working behind the scenes.

Social Media & Advertising

  • We created an optimised Facebook & Google profile for their pharmacy. Managing these with branded content is growing awareness in their community of what the pharmacy offers.
  • We create and run ad campaigns both on Google, promoting their Flu Jab clinics, as well as Facebook Ads promoting their Ear Wax Removal service. The Facebook ads in particular drive multiple bookings per week.

The primary function of the ecosystem is to attract new patients digitally (ie with no input from the pharmacists) and retain them within a digital system, be that the Facebook page, an email list, the Prescription re-ordering app, or the PCP sign-up system.

Results

There are a lot of good results here, because starting from zero leaves a lot of ground to cover.

The revenue isn’t being tracked through the website, hence displaying as zero.

Website & SEO

  • We installed analytics into their site two weeks ago, 567 sessions and 1000 page views since that time. (Previous performance is, unfortunately, untracked, but these are good stats for a pharmacy that 6 months ago had no digital presence.)
  • 44% of their website traffic comes from Social Media & Google, directly through the ongoing Social Media & Blogging work we do for them.
  • The booking calendar on their website means all clinic appointments are now booked online. Meaning fewer phone calls.
  • In the past month, they’ve seen 166 appointments booked for either Ear Wax Removals, Ear Health Checks, or Flu Jabs.

Additional Results

  • Their email marketing list is currently at 177 subscribers since its creation 2 months ago. This is currently used to inform patients of services available at the pharmacy, but there’s more potential for promoting products and special offers.
  • We are driving signups to their Prescription Collection Point through both organic Facebook posting, and Facebook Ads.
  • The Prescription Collection Point also generates sign-ups through its QR code, meaning patients who see it and like the idea can sign-up immediately without having to contact the pharmacy. Meaning fewer phone calls.

Overall, the digital ecosystem is up and running successfully. The pharmacists are enjoying the time they get to spend on patient care instead of admin. The digital marketing we’re doing is driving patients to the pharmacy and all the pharmacists have to worry about is patient care. The results aren’t out of this world compared to pharmacies who’ve been operating digitally for years. But this is the very start of this pharmacy’s digital journey and they’re already seeing the benefits.

Now we have analytics installed for them, we can review and optimise our tactics further, which will mean increased success rates further down the line.

Want to start your digital journey with us? Simply get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help.

81k visitors in 6 months - seo for websites

About

A pharmacy focused on private clinical services. They wanted to fill their calendar with clinical appointment bookings, as the profit margins on these services are substantial. They also wanted to reduce the typical level of administration that would come with managing clinical appointments.

Challenges

The clinic needed to be marketed specifically to patients with needs for clinical services, in order to keep the marketing budget efficient.

For most of the clinics, the patients would need a pre-consultation assessment, in order to assess their suitability for treatment(s).

Patients were largely unaware that a pharmacy would offer the services they sought.

Solutions

Pharmacy Mentor recommended a Search Engine Optimised blogging strategy.

Because of the size of the budget, we wanted to better track and analyse what was happening, which meant using our Advanced Google Ads management.

  • We created a series of blog posts (1 every 2 weeks) with a focus around the keywords that best represented each clinic, e.g., “Vitamin B12 injections+location.”
  • The blog posts were written clearly and informatively. Walking prospective patients through recognising their symptoms, to what to expect from the treatment.
  • At the end of the blog is a call-to-action with a conveniently integrated booking calendar.

The idea is to create a funnel for each individual clinic, giving every patient an informed, intuitive journey from Google Search to appointment booking.

Results

Each blog post for each clinic ranks #1 on Google for (name of service)+(location). e.g. Blood Tests + Location.

As a result, this pharmacy has generated 81k clicks between the end of March 2021 and the beginning of October 2021.

The margins aren’t exact, as we’re talking about a collection of different services but let’s say for ease of maths, that the average clinical appointment only generates a profit of £10.

If less than half (40k) of those clicks booked an appointment, that would be £400k of revenue generated over 6 months.

Naturally, this is a case study, so it isn’t typical of results. But it shows what can be done.

pcr x seo - graphs showing 36600 pauser sessions and over sixty thousand page views

This image above shows a recent spike in activity due to a recent re-introduction of Day 2 PCR testing. This pharmacy was already #1 on Google for PCR test+location. As a result, when the demand for this service spiked, they were the ones who benefited from 7,000+ page views a day. And that’s the secret to SEO. It is a proactive tactic to capture the business of tomorrow. If you want results today, you need to have started work six months ago (or 2 years ago, as was the case with this pharmacy.)

Want to start your SEO journey with us? Simply get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help.