Pharmacy Mentor and Tympa Health: Revolutionising Your Ear Health Services
We are delighted to share exciting news about our recent collaboration with Tympa Health, a partnership that is set to reshape the landscape of earwax removal services in pharmacies.
At Pharmacy Mentor, our commitment to advancing pharmacy services aligns seamlessly with Tympa Health’s cutting-edge approach to ear healthcare. This partnership represents a strategic fusion of expertise, with Pharmacy Mentor bringing forth targeted marketing strategies and Tympa Health introducing revolutionary ear microsuction devices and solutions.
It’s the perfect partnership to help improve access to this wonderful service, and improve the healthcare of our Nation.
Elevating Earwax Removal Services through Marketing
Pharmacy Mentor is empowering pharmacies to effectively market their earwax removal services. Through tailored digital campaigns, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), beautiful ear clinic websites, and strategic branding efforts, we aim to position pharmacies as go-to destinations for professional ear health services, in particular, ear wax removal. Our goal is to not only boost service visibility, but also to underscore the importance of seeking expert care for ear health.
The Tympa Health Advantage: Cutting-Edge Microsuction Devices
At the heart of our collaboration is Tympa Health’s state-of-the-art microsuction technology. Unlike traditional methods that may be uncomfortable for patients, Tympa Health’s devices offer a more efficient, gentle, and patient-friendly solution. Pharmacies that partner with Tympa Health gain access to these pioneering devices, placing them at the forefront of earwax removal services. This advancement not only enhances the patient experience but also sets a new standard for professionalism in the field.
Key Benefits of Partnership for Pharmacies
Technology Leadership: Partnering with Tympa Health allows pharmacies to develop a comprehensive ear clinic with access to advanced microsuction devices, showcasing their commitment to embracing the latest technologies in healthcare.
Enhanced Patient Care: Tympa Health’s devices prioritise patient comfort, resulting in a more pleasant and efficient earwax removal experience. This patient-centric approach contributes to positive feedback and increased trust in pharmacy services.
Strategic Marketing Support: Pharmacy Mentor provides pharmacies with valuable resources, critical marketing strategies, and insights to supercharge their clinic. From powerful online campaigns to community engagement strategies, we ensure that pharmacies effectively communicate their earwax removal services, and help patients find them when they need the service.
Discounts on Services: To help pharmacies invest in marketing support around this service, we’ve agreed to provide discounts to those using Tympa Health Technologies for the first time. *
Empowering Education: As part of our partnership, we are going to provide more valuable, unique and free education in the form of blogs, webinars, videos, articles, and more. Our companies are big on education, and this is a core element of our partnership. Check out the Tympa Academy and The PM Academy. Watch this space.
Community Integration: Through joint efforts, our partnership encourages pharmacies to actively engage with their local communities. This not only promotes earwax removal services but also raises awareness about the importance of overall ear health.
Growing Number of Case Studies
Our marketing activities mean that our clients are reaching, engaging and converting patients on a whole new level. It excites us greatly when we plant one of our pharmacies high on the first page of Google for very popular keywords. Or when we can see how many patients we’ve booked in via the paid adverting we do. It’s what we do, and we’re learning how to do it better every single day.
We’re promoting the ear wax removal service for pharmacies across the UK and Ireland with plenty of success. Here’s just one of those case studies that showcases how we’ve helped completely transform a pharmacy via this clinic. Their (continued) growth has been phenomenal:
A New Level of Business
The collaboration between Pharmacy Mentor and Tympa Health signifies a pivotal moment in the evolution of both pharmacy services and digital marketing for pharmacies.
By seamlessly integrating marketing excellence with advanced earwax removal technology, we are not only enhancing the quality of care provided by pharmacies, but also setting new standards for patient-centric services.
As we continue to embrace innovation and prioritise patient well-being, the future of earwax removal services certainly looks promising. Contact our Growth Team to find out more and book a free marketing strategy consultation.
You’ve just set up an ear wax removal clinic in your pharmacy. The staff are trained, your consultation room is primed, and you’re ready to go!
But nobody is coming into the pharmacy. The odd person is signing up because they’ve seen it when they’ve come in for their prescription.
So, how do we get loads of people coming in?
One word. Marketing.
Marketing is the means that will help people find you online, generate engagement in the community and get people knowing you now offer this wonderful service.
If you don’t have a marketing plan around your ear health clinic, you’re gonna struggle with uptake. In a nutshell, that is.
And that’s why Pharmacy Mentor exists. To help you unlock the true potential of this incredible service offering. Ear wax removal is in great demand in your area, but the people around you just don’t know it exists. So we need to get in front of them.
Our team at Pharmacy Mentor have come up with an expert guide on how to market your ear wax removal service in the UK. We will be diving into the fascinating world of audiology and sharing valuable insights on how to effectively market your service.
Partnering closely with TympaHealth, the world’s first all-in-one ear and hearing healthcare assessment platform, we aim to empower healthcare professionals with the tools and strategies to promote their services efficiently.
Understanding the Market
Before delving into marketing strategies, it’s crucial to understand your target market.
Who are the potential clients seeking ear wax removal services? Where are they likely to begin searching for the service?
Identifying your audience helps tailor your marketing approach to their specific needs. Consider demographics, such as age groups, professions, and lifestyles, to refine your messaging and outreach.
Hint: Google (Search and Maps) is the biggie to dominate here. Get yourself plastered all over here for ear wax removal search terms. Speak to us to find out how exactly to do this.
Develop a Strong Online Presence
In the digital age, a robust online presence is non-negotiable. Start by creating a user-friendly website that showcases your ear wax removal services, staff expertise, and the advanced tools provided by Tympa Health.
Optimise your website for search engines to ensure it ranks high in relevant searches. We also recommend harnessing social media platforms, in particular, Meta (all channels), Google Business and TikTok, to engage with your audience, share informative content, and build a community around ear care.
Hint: The revenue you can make from this service is significant enough to treat as a whole new business. Consider creating a website designed specifically for this service alone.
Value is everything. Free, helpful content is KING.
Educate your audience about the importance of ear health and the benefits of professional ear wax removal. Develop blog posts, infographics, and videos that explain the procedure, highlight the risks of DIY methods, and emphasise the safety and efficiency of your services. Position your clinic/pharmacy as a trusted source of information, fostering credibility and building trust with potential clients.
Hint: Social media is a great channel for this. If you can do 1 x 30 sec video every month on this topic, it will go very far.
Collaborate with Local Healthcare Providers
Forge partnerships with local healthcare providers, such as general practitioners, audiologists, and paediatricians. Establishing a referral network can significantly boost your clientele. Provide these professionals with informational materials about your services and offer to reciprocate by referring patients in need of further care.
Drive ROI Quickly with Paid Advertising
One of the most effective and quickest ways to generate revenue from your ear health service, and in particular, microsuction ear wax removal, is via Google Ads. This is where we are paying to be seen right at the top of Google for relevant search terms associated with the clinic. For example, very popular keywords like “ear wax removal” or “ear syringing near me”.
Ideally, you want to be pointing people to more information about your clinic on your website, and get them to take action, like book an appointment or fill in a lead form, so we can track the conversion accurately.
We’re doing this for pharmacies across the UK with great success. Looking for help? Get in touch today.
Utilise Tympa Health’s Technology
Leverage the cutting-edge technology offered by Tympa Health to differentiate your services. Highlight the convenience and precision of the all-in-one ear and hearing healthcare assessment platform.
Use before-and-after visuals to demonstrate the effectiveness of your ear wax removal services, emphasising the advanced diagnostics and treatment capabilities at your disposal.
Tympa Health have their own marketing assets that they will provide for you when you sign up to the service, to help you along your marketing journey.
Optimise your online presence for local searches to ensure your ear wax removal/ear health service is easily discoverable by individuals in your vicinity. Build out a keyword map so that you can create highly targetted content.
Optimise your Google My Business listing, include relevant keywords in your website service page content, and encourage satisfied clients to leave positive reviews. Local SEO practices enhance visibility and attract clients in your geographical area.
Hint: This is possibly THE most important tactic amongst the many here. Investing in this now will reap long-term rewards. Our CEO talks about SEO in more depth in this blog post.
Offer Promotions and Discounts
Entice potential clients with special promotions and discounts. Consider offering a discounted first visit or a package deal for multiple appointments. After all, ear wax comes back, right?
Limited-time promotions create a sense of urgency, encouraging individuals to take action and schedule an appointment for your ear wax removal services.
Host Community Events
Engage with your local community by hosting events that focus on ear health. Conduct informational sessions, workshops, or free ear check-ups at community centres, schools, or local businesses. These events not only educate the public but also provide an opportunity for face-to-face interactions, fostering a personal connection with potential clients.
Hint: The Facebook/Instagram Events platform is excellent and will allow you to conduct LIVE broadcasts to your audience.
Develop a Referral Program
Encourage satisfied clients to refer their friends and family by implementing a referral program. Offer incentives, such as discounted services or complimentary ear care products, for each successful referral. Word-of-mouth marketing remains a powerful tool in the healthcare industry, and a referral program can amplify your reach.
Feature testimonials and success stories on your website and promotional materials. Real-life experiences from satisfied clients add a human touch to your marketing efforts, instilling confidence in potential clients. Encourage clients to share their before-and-after experiences, showcasing the positive outcomes of your ear wax removal services. This can be super powerful.
Stay Informed and Adapt
The healthcare industry is dynamic, with new technologies and trends emerging regularly. Stay informed about advancements in ear care and hearing health. Adapt your marketing strategies accordingly, ensuring your services remain aligned with the latest developments. Regularly update your website and social media channels to reflect your commitment to providing state-of-the-art ear wax removal services.
Speak to Our Team
In conclusion, marketing your ear wax removal service requires a strategic and multi-faceted approach. By understanding your target audience, harnessing digital platforms, educating the community, and utilising Tympa Health’s innovative technology, you can create a compelling marketing strategy that sets your ear care clinic apart.
Remember, success in marketing is an ongoing process of adaptation and refinement, so stay committed to delivering exceptional ear care and promoting the well-being of your community. The Pharmacy Mentor team are here to support you on your journey to marketing success! Contact our team today to find out more or to get help with your marketing strategy.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/3-Featured-Image-2.png16202880Courtneyhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Pm-Logo-Christmas-copy-300x59.pngCourtney2023-11-30 13:45:492023-12-10 19:34:14Unlock Success: A Comprehensive Guide on Marketing Your Ear Wax Removal Service
The Pharmacy Show 2023 marked a pivotal moment for the Pharmacy Mentor team as our CEO, Saam Ali, took the stage to share a wealth of knowledge on navigating the intricate landscape of digital marketing for pharmacies and how to generate revenue as an independent prescriber. Saam’s extensive experience as a Pharmacist and digital parcticioner formed the cornerstone of a comprehensive presenation, primarily aimeed at prescribers. It not only provided tips to elevate profitability but also underscored the significance of digital marketing practices in the dynamic world of pharmacy business and online prescribing – which is booming right now.
Pharmacy Show Presentation Transcript
The following is a transcript of the presentation given. To download the slides, be sure to sign up to The PM Academy!
Who else is growing a bit tired of seeing the doom of the NHS and pharmacy on the news right now? Headlines like “Record numbers of pharmacies closing”, or “Call to save struggling pharmacies on ‘precipice of collapse”.
I think I’ve just grown numb to it now, and even though I know it’s great clickbait, and I’m inclined to read it, I scroll past. It’s bloody depressing! I think the important thing to note from all this propaganda is that with the likes of AIM and the PSNC trying to change things at a government level, which I absolutely back and needs to happen, pharmacies have to take things in their own hands.
Because I don’t believe it will get any better on that side of pharmacy. Even if we get a cash injection, it still won’t be enough.
So, we’ve got to innovate.
We’ve got to find new ways of making it work. That’s what business is all about.
My names Saam, and I’m the CEO at Pharmacy Mentor. It’s our mission to improve access to healthcare through pharmacies, and we’re working with a growing number of pharmacy owners and independent prescribers to help them harness the power of their IP qualification and the internet. Over the next 20-minutes, I’m going to talk to you about the massive opportunities that exist for you in the digital space right now. I’m also going to take you through exactly how a click on the internet turns into a patient for you, and what tools you need to make that happen.
Let’s get stuck in.
Let’s take a moment to talk about where we are today as pharmacist IP’s in the UK. Years ago, we were essentially dispensers. Today, however, our role has become increasingly clinical.
We’re now diagnosing and treating conditions from hypertension to diabetes, and much more. It’s reported that 26% of all Pharmacists are now IP’s. I remember when I was practising…I could name only a couple of IP’s I knew personally.
But today, every 2nd person we speak to at Pharmacy Mentor is an IP.
Not only has our scope expanded, but so have our settings. You can find IP’s in community pharmacies, hospitals, GP surgeries, and deeply integrated within the NHS framework. But it’s not all smooth sailing. While the clinical role expansion and revenue streams offer great opportunities, we are also wrestling with regulatory complexity and the need for continual skill development.
Looking forward, what’s exciting is the promise of even greater autonomy.
Picture this: more digitalisation, more telemedicine, AI integration, and potentially, a broader range of medicines we can prescribe.
The next five years are set to transform the way we practise and the opportunities available to us.
Now some IP’s are already capitalising on this. And they’re capitalising big. You’ll have seen a growing number of online pharmacies out there, selling POMs for a variety of conditions. They’ve amalgamated their skill set with a digital ecosystem that allows them to prescribe online, dispense and generate revenue. It’s a great model and a model that millions of people across the UK much prefer to use instead of going to see their NHS GP. Why? Because it’s massively more convenient and it’s inline with how patients behave today. As an IP, the biggest opportunity lies in the digital ecosystem you create, not only to generate wealth, but to provide better access to medicines. In this next segment, I’m going to show you how it should be done. And the way I’m going to show you is by going through each of the steps a patient takes from the point of problem identification, to them receiving their medication, supported by the tools and techniques needed to enable a successful journey.
The successful patient journey for this type of website is as follows. It starts off with The Search. And then they go through a series of events before they end paying for a treatment, and engaging with your company some days after. Let me take you through each of these steps individually which will help depict exactly how you should be setting up a strategy that will drive revenue.
The first and most important stage is the ‘The Search,’ or as I like to call it, ‘Existential Crisis 101.’ In the infinity of the digital realm, if you’re not searchable, you’re as invisible as a chameleon on a rainbow.
Now I’m not going to get into the thick of what these are, but, think of these as your “breadcrumbs”. The better you are at dropping them, the easier it is for customers to find their way to you.
And there are 1000’s of them. Some big, popular ones, like “viagra for men”, and some smaller ones like “does viagra make you last longer”. The more keywords you can target, the better.
But how do you know what keywords to target?
Using online tools like SemRush. That’s what we use at PM. This beautiful software helps us understand how big and popular these breadcrumbs are.
Ok cool. So I know what kind of breadcrumbs I need to target.But where should I be dropping them?
Everywhere is the simple answer. On as many digital channels as you can. But you should be dropping 90% of them on Google. That’s where most of your patients initiate the search and find them.
Ok – so HOW. How do we get these keywords on Google?
First up, and my absolute joy in the world, SEO – your North Star.
If you’re not investing in Search Engine Optimisation, you’re not just playing hide-and-seek; you’re hiding while everyone else is seeking…elsewhere. Please understand that this is THE most important marketing tactic for online pharmacies, and every other pharmacy business out there. It is THE tactic that will help build sustainable and consistent website traffic and it THE tactic you should be giving precedence over all other marketing strategies. And for SEO to work, you need a website, naturally, and you need to develop optimised content on your website. So all of your product and condition pages need to be technically optimised, and you should be creating new optimised content in the form of blogging, very regularly and consistently – at least once a week.
I’m not going to go deeper into the realm of SEO right now. But take note, SEO is business critical.
Another powerful way to help people find your breadcrumbs is via Paid Advertising, again, on Google. Think of Paid Ads as ‘boosters,’ like a SpaceX rocket, propelling you quickly but at a cost.
Effective? Absolutely. Sustainable as your only strategy? Unless you’ve got Musk’s wallet, probably not.
Furthermore, the Google Ads Police don’t really like pharmacies, because your drug dealers.
Navigating Google Ads for online pharmacies is like walking through a minefield blindfolded while juggling flaming torches. One small change on an advert or your website can see a well-performing campaign get blocked, halting any conversions from happening. So, let’s say you’re spending £10,000 per month on that campaign and you’re generating £25,000 a month.
Gone in space of milliseconds.
That’s why I’m so heavily against businesses relying purely on this form of advertising. Luckily, we at PM have been through these painful experiences and know best how to navigate them. Therefore, if you need guidance in this area of the business, we can certainly help.
So, to wrap this up—’The Search’ – it’s about spreading those breadcrumbs and showing up in search results when the patient needs you.
But, in this vast digital sea, it’s also about showing up like a VIP.
Q: As a user, if you’re looking to “buy propecia online”, which one of those search results are you more inclined to click on?
We’d probably click the top one there right?
In fact, this exact result outranks the other by about 7 pages on Google, in reality. The bottom result is pretty much invisible, and the top one is driving tonnes of traffic and revenue.
This is pure SEO.
SEO is what makes that top result look so desirable to click, and comes up on page 1 when you search for that term.
Following the click, the patient moves into the next stage: Consideration and Engagement.
Picture this as the ‘first date’ after you’ve caught someone’s eye. They’re interested but not sold yet.
How do you turn that tentative curiosity into real engagement? Let’s stick with the example from before, where someone is looking to “buy propecia” online. If your SEO is good, they’ll more than likely land on your product page. As always, content is king. So this has to be the main focus. Help people learn about the product and condition with the most up to date information.
Include videos where you can, and help readers understand that a medical professional, for example, you, has curated the content.
Product reviews and social proofing play a big role too. It’s like asking a friend about a restaurant before booking a table — you want to know it’s worth your time and money. Testimonials, user-generated content and badges of authority help assure the patient that “Yes, you’re in good hands”.
Price naturally influences people so ensure you’re remaining competitive. And one feature that I absolutely love on a website is Live Chat – and I think it’s essential for sites like these.
I’m a patient and I want to know I’m being looked after.
If I have any burning questions about the medication I’m about to buy, I want to chat to someone from the team. And finally, is the overall experience I’m having good? Is the site slow or fast? Is it easy to navigate and find what I need? Are you sure it’s mobile friendly?
To sum up, Consideration and Engagement is all about convincing your customer that they’re not just making a choice, but the right choice. It’s about moving from ‘maybe’ to ‘let’s do this’.
And when the patient has now committed to you, they’ll begin a consultation process before they go ahead and select their preferred treatment.
Again, note the words “User Experience”. With a site like this of course, you’ll need to ensure that compliance is adhered to at all times.
But when it comes to conversions, you’ve got to think of it from a user’s perspective.
They want the quickest, most streamlined sale possible.
So keep the consultations clear and concise, and as short as you possibly can.
Obviously, we can’t cut corners on patient safety – I’m not saying that.
However, I’m talking with my marketing head on right now and UX is such an important factor for conversions.
So, how do you make sure you’ve got the smoothest UX?
Ideally, you need to work with a development agency who understands UX design.
But, it’s also a continuous development to perfect it – it requires taking on relentless patient feedback.
Now, at this stage of the patient journey, we at PM believe that once the patient has completed the form, it’s at this point when they should sign up to the site too. They won’t want to fill out the form again and they’ve already committed to you in their heads, so they’re more likely to sign up.
Again, it’s all about UX.
And this is also when the email automations kick in too – an incredibly important stage. When a system like this is built, an email marketing solution should be developed alongside it.
It’s one of the ways you’re going to keep your future patients engaged and drive more revenue. So, your sign up process should include a marketing opt-in feature – this will give you permission to send promotional materials to them down the line.
Following the treatment selection, we enter the checkout and payment confirmation stage.
Offer multiple ways of paying, and if you can, offer Apple – Google Pay. Hugely popular and it’s the preferred way of paying these days. And we need to make sure the patient is able to track their order through the stages, and contact you if they have any concerns.
Once we’ve processed the prescription from our side, we’re either going to send it by Royal Mail, DPD or the likes.
Or, they’re gonna pick it up in your pharmacy, maybe from your 24/7 collection machine if you have one, or an amazon locker.
Make it as convenient for them as possible.
But the journey doesn’t stop there. Far from it. What most businesses fail to do is infuse marketing at every single touch point of the patient journey. But those that do take their business to the next level.
In the packaging of the medicine, include a marketing leaflet where the patient can scan a QR code to leave a review for you online. And, why not offer them a 10% discount on their next order? It’s all about continuous, tactical engagement. A day later, send them a follow up email too.
In that email, provide them with a link to review you online. So you’re attacking the patient from both sides to leave you a review! We underestimate the power of reviews – they’re a major influencer in patient purchasing, but they also act as a powerful tool to help you build a better business.
Getting a bad review is just as good as getting a 5-star review, because your customer is telling you what you need to do to be better next time.
And, if you’ve got email marketing set up, you can send out automated emails to your new patients, by setting up an automation flow. Email is still a super powerful tool to keep your patients engaged in the long run, and keep them coming back for more.
So there you have it.
We’ve just gone through the typical steps in the patient journey, and the enablers for those.
And ultimately, if you can get those right and your patients are happy with the service you provide, you’re gonna experience growth.
That’s the law of business.
And let’s not forget the ‘spice rack’ of our marketing kitchen – those other ingredients that can add depth and flavour to your whole strategy. I’m gonna rapid-fire through these.
Firstly, PR. If you can develop a relationship with a big online healthcare organisation, and get a backlink in a publication, that’s gonna be super powerful.
Social Media– you’ve got to at least have a presence on the major channels, but if you have the budget, then I’d spend it on TikTok.
Affiliate Marketing – This is the ‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours’ of the digital world. A robust affiliate network can act as an extra set of hands, pulling customers into your ecosystem.
Influencer Marketing – They’re not just selfie experts; they’re niche opinion leaders who can give your product the royal seal of approval.
And last but not least, Local Marketing. If you’re brand new to the online world, and particularly if you’re a Community Pharmacy, then you can start off with marketing locally, and spread further from there. Or, you may not want to go National and target locally anyway, for example, your city. We can hone in on that.
I mean, if you’re a business in Sheffield, that’s 500,000 people you can target – it’s pretty big.And it’s definitely worth mentioning some detours and potholes that can derail your journey. Think of this as your GPS warning you about traffic jams and road closures.
First up, the ‘Quick Win Mindset.’ This isn’t a sprint; it’s more of a marathon – a very hilly and unpredictable one. If you’re looking for instant gratification, you’re in the wrong game. Quick fixes often lead to quick failures.
Persistence and consistency is key.
Secondly, adopting a No-Marketing or Single Marketing Channel approach. That’s like trying to row a boat with one oar – you’ll just go in circles. Your marketing strategy needs to be multi-faceted, just like your audience.
Also, please work with a developer or agency who know pharmacy. Imagine going to a dentist for a foot injury; they’re both doctors, but the expertise doesn’t translate. This will end up costing you more than it’s worth.Make sure you choose the right payment gateway, otherwise, you could see your payments system drop at any given point.
Another common blocker is the content of your website. Who’s going to be uploading the products to the site? Do you have time to do this? Do you have the images? Make sure you have a plan for this, otherwise, it could drag on forever.
And lastly, Not Adapting. The digital landscape is as stable as a leaf in the wind. If you don’t evolve, you’re obsolete. It’s that simple.
So how can we help at PM?
Well, we’ve been in the pharmacy marketing and website space for around 7 years now, and specifically the online prescribing space for around 4 years.
This has been a big focus of ours due to the increasing demand of systems like these. But we also know where pharmacy is going and how important this is for its future. It’s why we built the Ultimate Pharmacy Website, or the UPW.
You can learn more about the system on our website but it essentially allows IP’s to begin trading online, and has been built around the ideal patient user journey we’ve been through today.
It’s a product that we’ve already built, to help you get set up in the quickest way possible. However, we know that one size does not fit all. And that’s why we build bespoke online prescribing systems too, which are developed to your exact requirements.
In terms of marketing, we’re highly experienced in driving growth through system like these, in particular with SEO, Paid Ads and Email.
And we’ve been through the marketing pitfalls that you can easily come across, especially with Paid ads – so we’ve developed protocols on how to avoid these.
We’re also partnered with Rushport Advisory – so we’re always at the forefront of compliance.
And if you already have a website of this type, then you can check if it’s compliant or not, completely free, using an online tool that we’ve co-developed.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/unnamed-3.png5961060Courtneyhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Pm-Logo-Christmas-copy-300x59.pngCourtney2023-11-14 10:50:332023-11-14 13:15:14How to Maximise Revenue as an Independent Prescriber: Saam Ali’s Insights at The Pharmacy Show 2023
Few things altered the course of Community Pharmacy’s destiny more than the digital revolution. With the rise of technology and the ever-increasing use of the Internet, pharmacies offer more services to more people than ever before.
In this article, we’ll explore the pharmacy industry landscape before and after the pharmacy digital revolution, with a focus on the impact of digital marketing on patient behaviour and experience.
The Digital Revolution in numbers:
721 million UK Prescriptions Dispensed in 2005 (Pharmaceutical Journal).
1.14 billion UK Prescriptions Dispensed in 2022 (NHSBSA).
Before the digital revolution, brick-and-mortar pharmacies provided medication and other healthcare basics to patients, with many supplementing this with convenience retail products.
Patients typically visited in person – purchasing their medication, asking pharmacist’s advice, and getting their prescriptions filled.
It was a simpler time, but it had its limitations.
People generally wouldn’t consider the pharmacy their first port of call for healthcare. The default for patients feeling unwell, was the doctors or the hospital.
Patients had absolutely no clue what was wrong with them. (Now they come in telling you the 10 different things they think it could be after they Googled it.)
Even if they visited the pharmacy, physically visiting can be inconvenient, and the pharmacy’s choice of products and services was limited. Pharmacies weren’t the one-stop health hubs they are today.
The Evolution of Margins on Prescription Items
Because there was only one accessible channel for prescriptions (visiting a pharmacy), the government had no option for decreasing margins on prescriptions, without risking pharmacies simply not renewing contracts and/or running them out of business.
Pharmacy was comfortable, profitable and safe.
Just because there are new digital ways of doing things, if your way of life is working for you, why change?
Automation, Digitisation, & Competition
Any one of these on its own is enough of a driver for impacting Rx margins – and the digital revolution brought all three at once.
Digitisation similarly reduces the admin on many previously non-digitised tasks.
Competition from companies who adopt these methods earlier, especially bigger companies who can afford big investments and then lower their prices accordingly, means margins on smaller, community pharmacy independents are squeezed.
There is no solution but following suit. You cannot beat them. You have to join them. Advancing technology is inevitable.
Digitise. Automate. Compete.
And, concurrently, stop relying on prescriptions!
With margins so tight, most people are looking at private clinics now, for good reason.
But, because everyone is doing it, competition is there again.
So Digitising, automating and competing is necessary here too.
With the advent of the digital revolution, or rather, ten years after every other industry digitised, pharmacies expanded their reach and began offering a wider range of services to patients.
Many pharmacies now offer online consultations and prescription services, making it even more convenient for patients to receive the care they need.
Increasingly, selling medication and taking clinic bookings online is growing evermore easier from an administrative point of view, making it even easier for patients to access the healthcare they need.
Pharmacy is now becoming contemporary. Many of the things the public take for granted (e.g., discovering services online through Google, booking appointments and paying for them online) are becoming standard across pharmacies.
Until your pharmacy does this, don’t be surprised if your clinics aren’t filling up.
Planning on becoming an Independent Prescriber soon? Talk to us about building an Online IP Clinic, which you can manage entirely through your website.
Changing with the times
One of the most significant changes brought about by the digital revolution was the impact of digital marketing on patient behaviour and experience.
With the rise of the Internet and social media, pharmacies reach a much larger audience than ever before. Some of the data we see from the pharmacies we help is staggering. Travel Clinics, PCR testing, Ear Wax treatments…they’re driving six figures, and in some cases, seven figures in annual revenue for the pharmacies who’ve embraced the new model and invested in proper digitisation.
Digital marketing techniques such as search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising help promote products and services. This enables reaching patients who otherwise wouldn’t know a pharmacy provides these services.
The altogether necessary digital revolution
With the ever-increasing population, the old model simply wouldn’t be viable. That’s partly why Prescription Collection Points are so popular with communities – they don’t have time for queueing behind countless other people collecting their prescription at the same time.
Whilst some mourn the loss of personal patient care, however, technology actually supports more face-to-face interactions.
Think about it, how much time would you get to talk to patients if all of your patients still visited your pharmacy?
Video consultations enable personal service for people who can’t access the pharmacy for whatever reason.
Digital marketing has also changed the way patients interact with pharmacies.
You aren’t just competing with other pharmacies, you’re competing with modern expectations of a service business. Booking haircuts online is possible, so why isn’t your pharmacy taking bookings online?
In addition to reaching a larger audience, digital marketing also allows better targeting of marketing efforts for pharmacies. For example, using data analytics and customer profiling to identify specific needs of their target audience, allowing for more effective marketing campaigns and tailoring of products and services, meeting the specific needs of patients.
Another plus of digital marketing for your pharmacy is building stronger relationships with your patients.
Pharmacies communicating with patients via email, social media, and other digital channels keep patients informed about new products and services, as well as any changes to their medication or treatment plan.
Educating patients about various health conditions, treatments, and medications, helps improve patient outcomes and build confidence and trust in your pharmacy. All with the added benefit of letting people know that your pharmacy offers the solution!
Whilst the pharmacy industry in the United Kingdom has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, the revolution isn’t over. If anything, it’s only just getting started.
If you’re interested in how new technology may further impact pharmacy, check out these articles:
Emergency Contraception & Erectile Dysfunction services are such important services, providing care to people in vulnerable situations. But navigating ethics, regulations, and public perceptions when promoting these services is tricky.
Marketing Emergency Hormone Contraception and Erectile Dysfunction (EHC & ED) is important to get right. Not only does it help deliver care and change lives for the people in your community, but marketed correctly, these services help keep your business profitable and sustainable.
So let’s take a look at effectively marketing your ED & EHC services in 5 simple steps.
1. Sensitivity first
As a pharmacist, you don’t need me telling you that Erectile Dysfunction & Emergency Hormone Contraception are both sensitive services from a patient’s perspective. Discretion, judgement free delivery of these services is a must. And whilst neutrality is one thing, compassion also goes a long way.
You probably manage your services in this way – but not everyone does. Patients may have previous bad experiences, so make your pharmacy’s approach clear.
Remember: your entire pharmacy team needs to be 100% sure on how to manage these patient experiences. Semi-regular briefings help keep everyone on the same page.
2. Perfect Patient Experience
Other than your pharmacy team’s conduct, there are ways of providing a service which your community values.
The main things they value with both services are discretion, safety and effectiveness.
That’s one of the main draws of the direct online route – people ideally want complete privacy.
Whilst you might not win over every single patient who might’ve otherwise gone online, providing an environment promoting privacy gives a convenient alternative.
Consider offering at least one of the following:
A Pharmacy Messenger/WhatsApp channel for patients to communicate through.
Online booking facilities for private consultation rooms.
3. Advertising Do’s & Don’t’s for EHC & ED
As per medicine advertising guidelines, you cannot directly advertise Prescription-Only Medicines (POM’s). It’s good practice to promote the service or condition you’re treating rather than the medicine itself.
You’ll also likely need LegitScript verification for advertising these services. Pharmacy Mentor can assist you with this process.
DO show sensitivity in your wording of any advertising of your service
DO make use of Local SEO & Sponsored Social Media Ads to advertise your service.
DO make sure you aren’t violating terms and conditions when using Facebook & Google.
DO Ask Pharmacy Mentor for advice if you aren’t sure.
DON’T Include ED or EHC in any discounts or special offers. This makes patients feel like you’re charging more than you could ordinarily.
DON’T Advertise POM’s directly. Always advertise the condition or service.
DON’T forget your pharmacy reputation is affected by the style of your advertising, for better or worse.
DON’T try to compete on price – compete on service and trust instead.
Making your EHC & ED Services get clicks on Google
There are two stages of getting clicks on Google.
The first is appearing on Google in the first place. But we’ll cover that in the next section.
How do you ensure your website is the one that gets clicked, instead of your competition?
Put your USP in your headline
Your opening line on anything promoting your service is like a headline of a newspaper. Grabbing your audience immediately is the name of the game, but it requires balance, so you aren’t perceived as clickbait or spammy, especially on sensitive subjects like ED & EHC.
There’s limited space for your headlines, so prioritising is key.
What is your main USP? The reason your consumers choose you over your competitors? Those should be in your headline.
The Superdrug advert below does a good job with “No Doctors Visit Required.” This addresses a concern of their target market (convenience) and therefore speaks more directly to them than other Ads.
For Community Pharmacy, your USP might be safety and professional advice in-person. Or it might be that patients can collect immediately without waiting for delivery.
For patients who don’t want to leave their home, consider offering a video consultation.
Remember, this headline is solely about getting the click. Once the patient has clicked on your headline, this can link to a webpage with much more information. You don’t have to put everything about your service in the headline.
Promoting Your Service through Social Media Adverts (Paid)
Social Media (especially paid advertising through social media) is a great place to promote private services. Especially ones that people often delay treatment for, such as Erectile Dysfunction.
However, sensitivity is once again paramount.
Avoid profiling. Social Media sites terms and conditions prohibits negative profiling in social media copy.
You can restrict EHC marketing to women and ED to men – but you can’t specify your target audience using your copy – this is profiling.
Examples of Adverts that Meta (formerly Facebook) Will & Won’t Accept:
An example of unacceptable profiling in a Meta Ad:
Are you a young, nervous woman who needs the Morning After Pill?
Middle-aged and struggling with ED?
The phrasing of “young & nervous” makes the person reading the advert feel targeted. And whilst that’s acceptable for some forms of advertising, when it comes to sensitive subjects like EHC, ED & Weight Loss, it’s prohibited.
Also avoid words like “struggling” as it paints a negative light and Meta doesn’t want their users feeling negatively whilst using their Instagram & Facebook.
Example of acceptable Meta Ad copy:
Need professional, confidential advice about the Morning After Pill?
Get professional, medical support for ED and feel your best self!
Difficulties in advertising – don’t get banned
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for pharmacies to advertise online at all without LegitScript.
Companies like Meta & Google were previously pretty lax on advertising around medicine. But since the pandemic, with an increase in illegitimate drugs being sold online, their regulations are far stricter. Pharmacies have found themselves permanently bannedfrom advertising for advertising in a way previously deemed fine.
Not sure if you need LegitScript Certification?
Talk to Pharmacy Mentor and we’ll discuss whether you need certification based on your advertising activity.
4. Providing Information & Guidance Online
As a pharmacist, you’re the most convenient source of trusted healthcare advice in your local community.
It’s this advice which is what direct online solutions cannot offer, and it’s what increases your market share, promoted correctly. One of the biggest concerns with emergency contraception, as an example, is safety. People feel reassured having a qualified professional in front of them telling them it’s safe.
However, giving guidance online is important. People typing in these questions in your local area finding you as the source of the answer means more patients. Younger people especially search for advice online before seeking it elsewhere. Creating content for your website around both EHC & ED means when your community searches these questions, you appear with answers.
Once they visit your site for the answers, you simply guide them towards your pharmacy for their treatment.
Whilst many pharmacy services are seasonal, Emergency contraception & Erectile Dysfunction demand is consistent through the year, meaning a stable source of revenue for your pharmacy.
5. A New Way to Serve Your Community
For Community Pharmacy, your competition, as usual, is Online Direct Suppliers, offering convenience (not having to leave the house) as their USP with same-day or next-day delivery.
With our Independent Prescribing Website Add-on, you can rival this service. Take orders, payments and approve online risk-assessment forms. This process saves you time by automating all the administrative processes, gives you an audit trail, and lets you focus on care.
After that, encouraging the patient to collect in the pharmacy is the best port-of-call, as you can then give them the advice they need with the meds. We even built a specific “Pay Now, Collect-In-Store” option for Community Pharmacy.
How much should you spend on marketing your pharmacy? It’s a question we get a lot. With a few things to consider, this article gives some insight into our experience with client budgets and success rates.
How to get comfortable with your marketing budget
Spending money marketing your pharmacy is no longer optional. Nowadays, if you’re not marketing your pharmacy, even your existing patients are at risk of being poached by either online pharmacies or local pharmacies who are marketing. But it’s important to know your pharmacy marketing spend.
When it comes to your pharmacy revenue, it’s natural to want more. More patients. More profit.
But when it comes to marketing spend for your pharmacy? Suddenly you’ll feel an overwhelming urge to want less. Less agency fees. Less advertising budget.
And that’s understandable. You don’t want to pay any more than you should, but you recognise that speculating and accumulating often correlate. The balance of what you’ll end up paying usually lies somewhere between the two.
Know when to say no
Unless a pharmacy is prepared to be marketed, piling loads of money into a marketing campaign is wasteful. Just because you want something to happen, doesn’t mean it will.
More budget does not necessarily equal more sales (though of course, in the right circumstances it can). This is simply a word of caution against flawed marketing. Many people have been burnt by either inefficient, incompetent, or inept marketing at some point in their past.
Make sure whoever’s responsible for your marketing has a good track record, or knows your industry or business incredibly well. Preferably both. Not everything in marketing works all of the time, but controlling the parameters is important so nothing ever gets out of hand.
What needs bearing in mind with this statistic is that whilst 10% of an average community pharmacy turnover (between 50k-100k/month) seems like a lot of marketing spend, (£5k-10k/month) this figure incorporates things like wages or agency fees, as well as the time you spend on research, recruitment, and training, which ultimately has a monetary value.
This is understandably at the forefront of pharmacy business owners’ minds. You want the most bang for your proverbial buck. Income must be balanced with outgoings, after all. Typically the way people think about this is “how many patients are going to come into my pharmacy as a result of this marketing action?”
That obviously would generate a good figure in your head of what you’d like to spend. If you stand to make £1k from a marketing action, then naturally you’d spend £500 on it. And whilst that’s certainly a measure, the issue is a little more nuanced. How do you know what you stand to make, for instance? This is where the reliable agency comes into play. It’s why an agency specialising in an industry is ideal. Because you have to rely on experience to know what’s possible, to understand what you’re likely to get. And therefore, what the right amount to invest is.
Sales and leads are an essential part of any business, and so this is naturally something you’ll want to see as a result of your marketing. Digital marketing is amazing for tracking and analysing stats, so provided you get your analytical tools set up, measuring the effectiveness of your spending is available from the first visitor to your website to the last person to click on a Facebook Ad. Measuring how many people it takes to see your advert before you get a conversion into a sale helps you understand how much budget you need to put into an advert, for instance.
But what about websites? It’s baffling that people would spend more on a billboard advertisement than they would on their website. An advert may cost you £500 for one month and get 10,000 eyeballs on it. Your website will last a minimum of 5 years, and if it’s done right, will attract hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of visitors over the course of this time. And people don’t want to spend over £1,000 on this? A good website, and search engine optimisation which helps people find it through Search Engines like Google, are the most cost-effective investments you can make. Trying to cut corners and reducing your marketing budget on areas like this hamstrings your business’s potential for growth.
The invisible R.O.I. is hard to measure, for obvious reasons. But it does exist. And sometimes it can be the most powerful return from your marketing.
If I asked you to name a brand of sportswear, you’d probably immediately think of Nike, or Adidas. This is because they’ve marketed so relentlessly and consistently that they’re the first thing that comes to mind. Now, you might not race out to buy their trainers when you see their adverts, but the fact you remember them is the invisible ROI I’m talking about.
And this is something that directly correlates with your marketing budget. What price would you put on being the first place people thought of when they need healthcare, be it a service or a retail product? That figure may be hard to quantify, but it’s certainly worth bearing in mind when you’re considering how much to invest in advertising. It’s also a consideration when thinking about your branding budget, which is a much ignored, yet important part of marketing.
For a local business, you might only ever be able to get to the forefront of your local community’s minds, but that does require significantly less spend than a national campaign. You can also lean heavily on your personal branding, and the fact that your local community will recognise your face online. For bigger businesses, or online pharmacies, it’s far more important that your branding stands out, because that’s how people both recognise and remember you.
Diminishing returns in pharmacy marketing
The law of diminishing returns certainly applies to marketing to your local community.
How are websites like wine? Read below.
Turning Websites into Wine
To continue with the example of websites, it’s a bit like a bottle of wine. You don’t want to buy a really cheap one, because you won’t like it, and you might as well not have bothered. It’s a complete waste of money.
You can also overspend. No matter how much money you put into it, there is only so good a bottle of wine can get.
The happy medium, where you spend £7-15, you’ll probably find a perfectly good bottle of wine that does the job.
It’s pretty much the same with websites. The average community pharmacy should be spending between £4-10k on a website, depending on their current need. Only much bigger businesses should be spending more than that. Any less than that, and you’re looking at something which probably isn’t worth the money you’re investing into it.
Let’s say you’re advertising a Flu Vaccine Clinic. There is only a certain amount of people that will come to your pharmacy for the jab. Obviously, if all of those people have signed up for their jab, you wouldn’t want to continue to push your ad out and spend extra budget. But what’s slightly less obvious is the point where your spend stops being as efficient. This is all about measuring and analysing. Over the course of a few months, you can tell where the optimal level of budget is for that service, and adjust your budget accordingly, in that instance, for the next flu season.
Products, on the other hand, provided you are able to ship nationally, have a much higher ceiling for saturating your market. If all people have to do to buy from you is tap a button on their phone, then it doesn’t matter if they’re in Gretna Green or Greenwich. You can spend a lot more on marketing eCommerce before it stops being effective. Of course, you need to have an effective eCommerce website to be worth spending money on sending people to it. Check out our guide on creating a successful eCommerce website here.
So how much should I budget for my pharmacy marketing?
The devil is absolutely in the details here, and it definitely does differ from pharmacy to pharmacy depending on what your objectives are.
Newer pharmacies, or pharmacies that haven’t previously had a digital presence, should be spending more on brand awareness, specifically in your local community. This will typically skew your budget towards things like SEO & Social Media. But once you’ve established yourselves as a brand online, it’s time to focus on converting that awareness into business.
At that point, you’ll want to heavily invest in a digital ecosystem. Central to this system is an awesome pharmacy website, allowing clinical bookings, EPS nomination, data collection,online payments and attracting patients from search engines with great SEO content. You’ll also want to invest in email marketing, which helps retain your patients and drives more revenue from people who’ve already used your business.
All these things are part of a wider strategy. Some elements that might be less costly are still important. Just like the tyres on a car don’t cost as much as the engine, but you can’t run a car without them. It’s important that you invest in a whole strategy.
It’s also worth bearing in mind, that a website is an investment you only need every 5-10 years. Divide your total spend by between 60-120 to find your monthly spend depending on how many years you expect the website will last.
Marketing spend for QuicklyGrowing Your Pharmacy Business
After noticeable growth in your business, in either your prescriptions or clinical arms? For example, if you’re starting a new private clinic, a spend of around 6-10% of your monthly revenue is normal.
Marketing spend for Maintaining the Growth of Your Pharmacy Business
If you’re feeling the pinch with the competition and you’re looking at preventing any drop-off, and maintaining your churn rate, you’re looking at less investment. Nevertheless, you still need to invest between 2-5% of your monthly revenue, which is usually enough for keeping your business healthy.
Spending Less on your Pharmacy Marketing?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that cutting your expenses is a good thing. It’s only good if you’re still getting the same returns. Marketing is an investment in growing your business. If you’re spending below the figures we’re talking about, the likelihood is that you’re missing out on business. Your pharmacy will suffer in the long run as a result of these budget cuts.
Want to get real specific?
Without talking to you about your specific services and business objectives, there’s no way we can be more specific than giving you a general idea of the budget you should commit to marketing.
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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.
“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.”
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Looking for an Independent Pharmacy Marketing Agency can be a hard task, especially if you don’t really understand marketing. This guide explains what you need to look for, so you can find an agency with confidence.
An Independent Pharmacy Marketing Agency should:
Understand how an independent pharmacy works
Understand the strict rules around advertising for pharmacies
Practise what they preach
Offer pricing that makes sense
Have a range of case studies that make sense
Where to start
There’s a lot to consider when entering into any business agreement. As an independent pharmacy marketing agency working with hundreds of pharmacy owners and superintendents, we understand what makes a good partnership. Like all partnerships, it’s a two-way street. For a truly successful working relationship, you have to understand what the agency needs from you and be willing to work with them too.
But in this article, we’ll focus on the independent pharmacy marketing agency and what they should bring to the table.
Naturally, if you’re like most people that have ever existed, your initial instinct will be to hunt down the prices and find the cheapest option.
And whilst that instinct is of course a consideration, I’ll explain why the price tag isn’t the be-all and end-all.
Don’t be drawn in by a low price tag
Price comparisons are only comparisons when the product is the same. Is the new iPhone cheaper from one supplier than another? Great. Grab the cheapest deal.
But if one life insurance policy costs £5/month, and another costs £100/month? It would be foolish to rush out and grab the cheapest deal without knowing what you’re getting. If the £5/month deal only pays out £50 if you get hit by lightning, whilst the £100/month policy pays out £1 million, whatever happens, it’s clear that the £100/month policy was by far the better option.
Comparing service offerings from marketing agencies means comparing what’s being delivered, as well as the levels of service you receive. Once you have an idea of what’s being delivered, you can begin figuring out the comparative costs.
Return on Investment (ROI)
What’s also worth assessing is what return you’re going to see on the investment you’re making. It’s something you can address with an agency in any talks you have prior to signing any agreements.
Now, marketing is hugely variable, so not even the best agencies can give you accurate figures for your business. That’s crystal ball territory. But what they should do is discuss how businesses similar to yours have performed to give you an idea of what to expect.
Does the marketing agency practise what they preach?
A pretty simple way of finding out if a marketing agency is worth employing is to check how they market themselves, especially with regards to the specific services they’re offering to you.
Sign-up to their mailing list and see what their emails are like. How does their website compare to other agency websites? Check their social media out. Do they rank well on Google for a range of different search terms? Do they create how-to videos?
You’re choosing an agency to represent you. How they represent themselves gives a good indication of how your pharmacy will be represented.
I mentioned them before, but as well as executing their own marketing strategy well, nothing gives you more proof than what the agency has achieved with other pharmacies like yours.
Compare them with other case studies. Make sure to pay attention for stats, rather than just wild claims. Anyone can say they’ve increased sales, but that might mean generating one sale.
Why an independent pharmacy marketing agency should understand pharmacy
Okay, I wrote that heading a little obtusely. It’s pretty clear that it helps to know the subject you’re going to market.
But aside from that, we know the most precious commodity in pharmacy is time. Whilst it can be helpful to get an outside perspective on your business, you don’t want to be spending all your time educating your agency and fielding questions on all the ins and outs of pharmacy.
At Pharmacy Mentor, for instance, we balance the two. Our CEO is a pharmacist, and every new team member gets trained in pharmacy knowledge. What that means as an agency is bringing all the fresh marketing ideas to the industry whilst keeping our client interactions to analysis and strategy.
Whatever agency you look at, make sure they have that understanding.
Any agency working with pharmacies must understand the advertising policy around Pharmacy
Marketing fashion or any other simple consumer products online is simple, at least when it comes to rules to follow. You’d have to do something pretty outrageous to get an advertising account banned in most industries.
But with advertising pharmacy on digital channels, caution is highly advised. We’ve had several clients come to us with accounts that have been banned for advertising prescription medicines, and others banned for promoting their COVID-19 vaccination service & PCR tests.
Once you are banned, it’s nigh-on impossible to get un-banned. This is really harmful to your marketing prospects, as advertising can be a massive source of new business.
So it’s critical that whomever so handles your advertising…is aware of the minefield they tread.
Facebook & Google’s Policy on advertising pharmaceuticals
This is because Facebook and Google‘s advertising policies have extremely strict policies for certain areas of medicine on their platform. I’ve linked them there so you can have a quick peek, but often what you’ll find is it’ll say things like “as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion.”
Now, what that means is, it isn’t explicitly written anywhere what you can and can’t say. And your advertising account can be banned without warning for breaching the advertising policies around pharmaceuticals.
What that means is, if you value your ability to advertise online, you need to tread carefully when advertising your pharmacy. From an agency standpoint, that’s why it’s important to work with people who know what the rules are. Pharmacy Mentor are have both Google & Facebook agency reps who help us navigate this terrain, and it’s worth its weight in gold.
Found this article helpful?
At Pharmacy Mentor we’re on a mission to help every Community Pharmacy in the UK digitise their pharmacy and thrive in the new age of digital healthcare.
If you’d like to have a conversation with us about marketing your pharmacy, please fill out our contact form. A member of our team will contact you for a chat about what you’re looking to do and the best way to proceed.
You can also sign-up for our newsletter below and start receiving weekly emails with all our latest tips on the best ways to connect your community with your services.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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The demand for a Covid-19 Vaccine will be sky-high. How do you market the Covid-19 vaccine as a pharmacy professionally and effectively?
How and when will Community Pharmacies be able to offer the Covid-19 vaccine?
The Covid-19 vaccine is getting its first major rollout in the UK. Community pharmacy is expected to play a part in the massive vaccination drive. However, because of the specific storage requirements of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, it’s unlikely many will play a part initially, so it might be a while until you can market the Covid-19 Vaccine for your pharmacy.
We won’t go into how to offer a Covid-19 vaccine in this article though, as that’s been covered plenty of times by the governing bodies in pharmacy.
What we’re going to cover is how to market the vaccine if you do end up offering it. The tips we’ll cover will both drive people to your Covid-19 vaccine service AND make your life easier.
How to use Facebook, including setting up auto-replies and posting.
Creating a dedicated COVID-19 vaccine page on your website
Updating your Google Business Profile
Advertising Your Service (without breaching policies)
1. How to use Facebook to generate awareness, build trust, and save you time
The vast majority of the UK will have Facebook profiles, and it’s a source of information that is widely shared. As a trusted healthcare provider, sharing accurate advice with links to the NHS or the UK Gov. site helps build trust in your community and keeps them aware of when they might be eligible for the vaccine.
An example of a Facebook post you should share with your community,
Every pharmacy gets those people who come in and want to ask you every question under the sun whilst 10 customers look at their watches in the queue behind them. Imagine being able to tell them that they can find all the information on your Facebook page, and if they still have any questions to send you a message on there. (More on this below!)
It is unclear at this early stage as to whether you will be allowed to promote a COVID-19 vaccine service on Facebook at all. During the pandemic, Facebook have been extremely strict on allowing any promotion of anything which claims to protect against COVID-19. Whether this changes with approved vaccinations remains to be seen. You should always check with your friendly neighbourhood Pharmacy Mentor before promoting via Facebook. We keep ourselves up-to-date with exactly what you are and aren’t allowed to promote on Facebook. You don’t want to end up with your Facebook page being banned.
Auto-replies on Facebook
Set Up Auto-Replies on Your Messages Inbox
This useful trick is for busy pharmacists who don’t have time to answer messages on Facebook. It also gives a channel of communication for your patients who prefer using Facebook.
Think of all the common questions you get asked about services.
Is it free?
What are your opening hours?
Do I have to book? Etc, etc.
We manage a lot of Pharmacy Pages, we know the types of questions people ask. It’s normally something they could Google, but prefer to stay on Facebook.
Instead of their message going into a black hole and making you look bad at responding, you can set up an automated response to Frequently Asked Questions.
You should always try to answer the question if possible. But you can also give them a call-to-action as well. Include links or phone numbers in this response, whatever your preference and tell them how to book or where to find out more information.
2. Create a dedicated Covid-19 Vaccine page on your website
Example page for a client of ours
Your website is your online shop window, so make sure you or your developer updates it to reflect that you’re providing the Covid-19 vaccine service. As soon as the user lands on the site, they can’t miss it. Have one button which leads to a blog post/web page about the service for the patient to learn more, and one that jumps straight to a booking calendar link for people who want to jump straight in.
Pharmacies we worked with did similar things for Covid-19 PCR Testing.
The content of this dedicated page should make both yours and your patients’ lives easier. Set expectations. Give information. Answer Frequently Asked Questions.
All of this helps streamline your processes and create more revenue.
Screening & Risk Assessment Forms
Most clinical services have elements of risk, meaning patients often need screening for pre-existing health conditions or other factors that can present risks such as age or current medications. Most recently at the time of writing, people receiving the Covid-19 vaccine appear to be at risk if they have strong allergic reactions.
Rather than waiting for the patient to come all the way into the pharmacy, or you having to phone them, why not have a form on your website that they can fill in? It saves both parties time and hassle.
Let people book their Covid-19 Vaccine online with you
Another amazing time-saver for you, and more convenience for your customer, keeping your phone lines free and your vaccinations organised automatically. Adding a booking calendar to your website allows you to take bookings not only for Covid-19 Vaccines, but for any other service you offer like Flu Jabs.
If your customer is booking at any time when your pharmacy isn’t open, the ability to book online is critical for making sure their experience with you gets off to a good start.
You aren’t just competing with other pharmacies for convenience….people can book their hair appointments online nowadays. They expect you to provide this option, and it doesn’t give the best impression of you if you don’t.
It’s worth mentioning that for most other services, it’s also a huge advantage to allow people to pay for their service when they book it. For one, it’s another major convenience for them. But it’s also a really committing action. People are a lot less likely to call up and cancel appointments when they’ve paid for them.
3. Update your Google My Business
Superb marketing tool
First things first, if you don’t already have a Google My Business profile, get one. For popular businesses like pharmacies they often get automatically generated. But if you’re not in charge of what’s on your profile, you don’t know what people are seeing when they find you online.
Presuming you’ve already got control of your account, for major pharmacy events like flu season and Covid-19, you want to make sure it’s updated so when people Google vaccines, they are reassured by your presence. Take the example above for Covid-19. People seeing this pharmacy are aware of the safety measures in place before attending. This lets your patient know what to expect and reassures them that you’re the right place to go.
How do people who don’t know about your pharmacy find you? Heck, how does anyone find anything these days? Google, of course! (Other search engines are available.) Though being found on Google is pretty competitive.
How do you make sure you appear on Google when people are searching? Well, two ways really.
The easiest way is Google Ads
As shown in the image above. See how many ads show up before you even get a look-in with an organic page? The downside to Google Ads? Cost. The cost gets higher and higher the more competitive the search you’re trying to be top of is.
Note: It may not be possible to run Google Ads for the COVID Vaccine through your pharmacy due to the changing Google Ads policies. Stay up to date today and seek our guidance if necessary.
If you’re willing to test for a return on investment, Google Ads is a fantastic way to help you get the thousands of visitors that flow through Google every day to your website.
The most sustainable way is optimising your web page for SEO
Remember that dedicated web page we talked about earlier? Well, optimised in the right way, Google shows your article to more people. If your optimised web page is top of Google, that’s like being one of those department stores at the entrance to a shopping mall. People have to go through you first every time. Unlike those department stores, you don’t have to pay a premium rent (that’s Google Ads). With an optimised web page, Google rewards you for giving it a super relevant and optimised page to show people by showing it to people first, for free.
Interested in seeing this in action for a pharmacy? Check out this in-depth look at getting found on Google. It’s a case study of using the power of Google to promote COVID-19 PCR tests for a pharmacy, back when no one else was really doing it.
Avoiding Facebook Advertising
We won’t go into this in too much detail, but Facebook’s Ads Policy, which you won’t (and that’s fine), prevents you from promoting almost everything to do with COVID-19 right now. Recently you couldn’t promote so much as a face mask without facing a suspension of your Ads account. But this may change in the future.
You should also avoid posting too much on your Facebook page about any COVID-19 service, as we have seen pharmacies have their entire pages banned for such activity. Again, this may change, and we’ll update this article if it does.
But for now, avoid Facebook for directly promoting the COVID-19 Vaccine.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/How-to-market-the-covid19-vaccine-1.png10801920Saam Alihttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Pm-Logo-Christmas-copy-300x59.pngSaam Ali2020-12-16 09:42:162020-12-28 09:52:32How to Market the Covid-19 Vaccine for your Pharmacy
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