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Digitise your Prescribing Clinic & Revolutionise your Pharmacy

In this presentation, delivered at The Pharmacy Show 2022, Saam will show you how you can turn your PGD or Independent Prescribing status into £10,000’s per month. He shows you what digital tools, mechanisms and formulas you need to adopt to make it work.

 

 

The presentation has been transcribed below:

Slide 2

After she said those words and shot me down in front of a room full of people, I did something that would change the course of my life forever.

I got up, adjusted my tie, and said “I won’t do this anymore”. And walked out.

That was the last meeting I ever had with them, back in 2012.

I was working for one of the big corps and I had a very well-paid job. But towards the end of my time there, it felt like I was wearing a straight jacket to work instead of a suit jacket.

I had so many ideas for growth, but they just didn’t get listened to. I understood, of course. It’s tough to get anything through the big corporate red tape.

But I needed to grow.

And the only way I could do that was to break free and personally innovate.

Slide 3

As much as I love the NHS, I see it as a bit of a straight jacket for Community Pharmacy.

It’s very restrictive.

The market for prescriptions is heavily saturated, you’re getting paid less, and you don’t set the prices.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t focus on driving item numbers – it’s always gonna be part of your business model.

But, I’m sure you’ll agree, things a getting tighter.

But because you’re an Independent Pharmacy where no red tape exists and where you make the decisions about where your business goes, there are no boundaries like I had all those years ago.

You’ve got room to innovate.

And that tightening NHS grip can loosen if you put more time and energy into offering private clinical services.

It’s incredible what pharmacies can offer today.

And, with the help of the brilliant companies in this expo, you can become, I believe, the most powerful, diverse health hub in your city.

There’s so much potential for growth down this route.

Slide 4

Yet, like my store manager all those years back, I’m still hearing these sentences from time to time.

The way of the NHS has been a habit.

But these comments don’t stand any more, and here’s why…

Slide 5

I’ve broken it down into chunks:

  • Your sphere of Influence
  • The Boom in Private and Digital Healthcare
  • How our behaviour has now altered
  • Your ease of access to training
  • Revenue Potential
  • And Digital Marketing

Slide 6

When you go down the clinical route, your sphere of influence as a business grows significantly.

Traditionally, with the NHS dispensing model, you cater to the people who live within the 1 to 2-mile radius around you.

However, if you start offering a Travel Clinic, a Weight Management Clinic or an Ear Wax Removal clinic for example, you’ve immediately expanded your target audience to cover the entire city.

This is what we need to understand.

People are willing to travel much greater distances for these services, meaning you’ve 10 times’d your sphere of influence.

Slide 7

If I open Google Maps and type in the word “Pharmacy”, I get a load of pharmacies pop up, naturally.

It’s saturated.

However, if I type the keywords “Travel Clinic” or “Weight Loss Clinic”, less than a handful of clinics pop up and none of them are pharmacies.

Question: Do we have any pharmacy owners from Sheffield in the audience today?

Because if I was that pharmacy owner from Sheffield, I’d go home after this show and work out how I’m going start delivering a Travel and Obesity Clinic.

Then, I’d optimise them so well online that I’d literally sink the competition that I can see on there.

My clinics would show up first with 100’s of reviews on them, and I’d be making a fortune.

That’s how unsaturated this market is still.

Once again, my target audience is the city, not just S10.

Slide 8

The pandemic has also helped private healthcare boom over the last couple of years.

More people are looking for alternative ways to get better because the NHS is so rammed and people prefer to pay to get better quicker.

Slide 9

And many of these private entities are online too. Now is as good a time as ever to get in on this growing space.

Slide 10

Our digital behaviour has changed too. We’ve become supercharged digital users.

The stats there that should glow for a local pharmacy is that…

  • “Near me” searches for healthcare services have doubled since 2015.
  • And roughly 97% of people who use online search, look for local businesses.

They are very powerful indicators of the opportunity that is in front of a clinic service-oriented pharmacy.

Slide 11

It’s also easier to get started delivering private services.

More of us are becoming independent prescribers, and firms, like PharmaDoctor, make it super easy for us to begin supplying POMs under a PGD.

TympaHealth, another fabulous company, allows you to provide an ear clinic in your pharmacy.

Medicheks allows you to supply blood testing kits.

And Nurokor means you can operate a pain clinic in-store.

Essentially, you have the opportunity to become a complete health hub in your community, which…

Slide 12

Can generate a shed tonne of new revenue for you.

Take a look at this pharmacy for example. They offer a plethora of services, including a Travel Clinic, a Private GP, Blood Testing and Vitamin B12 injections.

The graph you can see is website traffic over time. They reached an all-time high between 2021 and 2022, achieving 5000 website page views a day at one point, and they were generating over £100,000 a month from their private services alone.

The way I see prescriptions now is not about the money you make from them under the NHS.

I see them as a vehicle for converting those patients into private service customers.

Slide 13

And that’s where digital marketing comes into play – which is the way you’re going to drive as much revenue from them as possible.

It’s time to think of your NHS patient database as a pool of clients you can upsell to.

If you’ve got 5000 patients on your PMR system, you have to get them enrolled onto your website.

And even better, WhatsApp or an email marketing solution, so you can communicate with them directly.

But that’s only 5000 people.

Remember earlier, I talked about how your sphere of influence has increased – we’ve got another 500,000 people we can potentially service.

So we need to think about SEO, Paid Ads and Social Media to communicate to those. I’ll come onto these later.

But firstly, if you’re prescribing POMs, or you’re delivering any other clinic, you’ve got to think about how you can digitise them.

Why?

So that you can make it as convenient as possible for the patient to use the service.

Making it digital reduces the administrative burden for yourselves, and ultimately increases conversions.

That’s what I’m going to talk about now.

Slide 14

To demonstrate this, we’re going to focus on the following services that are in growing trend and popularity:
Prescribing POMs as an IP or through a PGD

And, what I’ve termed the more “Invasive Clinics” where you have to get more involved, such as a travel clinic or ear wax removal service.

Slide 15

As an IP, or if you’re working with a private doctor, you can offer all types of POMs, whether it be under the condition of Asthma, UTIs or Migraines, for example.

To make it as easy as possible for the patient to begin their consultation with you, you must digitise it.

And the best way to do this is through your website.

 

Digitise your Prescribing Clinic & Revolutionise your Pharmacy - PS 2022

 

Slide 16

That’s why we had to build a solution for it.

Following a digital consultation, a patient can pay for their medicines online and collect them in your pharmacy, or have them delivered.

Let me give you a short tour of it right now…

Slide 17

A patient can select the condition that they are wanting to treat and learn about the treatments available under that condition.

Slide 18

They’ll then be able to begin a consultation via a risk assessment form online or by booking in for a virtual meeting with you.

Slide 19

This where you ask the questions required for supplying the medicine.

As an IP, you’re able to add and edit as many questions as you want, to make them unique to you.

Slide 20

Following the consultation, the patient can then choose which medicine they prefer to purchase.

Slide 21

They’ll then go through the checkout process where they can choose whether they want to collect in the pharmacy, or have it delivered.

And finally, they’ll be able to pay for the medicine online.

Slide 22

As a patient, I can access my personal dashboard and understand where my order is at in the process, and I can message the pharmacy directly too.

It doesn’t really get any easier than that as a consumer, and that patient pathway is in line with the current GPhC guidance.

Slide 23

Now as an IP, you’ll be notified of the order via email and you’ll see the order come through in the back of the system.

This is where you have to decipher if you’re happy with the consultation that’s just happened.

This is a very important step, and you have to be confident that the medicine they have selected is suitable for supply.

The GPhC are increasingly asking for evidence of intervention at this stage – so you have to make sure you can show it.

Slide 24

If you’re happy with everything, then you can approve the consultation.

This will automatically generate a private prescription for you, so you can dispense it.

That’s how you digitise your IP clinic and you can now service the entire UK if you wish with that system.

Slide 25

If you’re offering POMs through a PGD, you can use a variation of the system I’ve just shown you.

However, it also does depend on the PGD that you’re using, and it must comply with the regulation set by it.

Slide 26

But, as an example, let’s look at Norethisterone, which is a common treatment given under a PGD, for period delay.

Firstly, make sure you’ve got content on your website about it, whether that’s through a page or a blog.

But then you’ve got a few options about how your patient interacts with you.

If the PGD supplier has their own online portal, which a lot of them do, then we can redirect them to that system.

Alternatively, they may be able to go through the Ultimate PM software, which I’ve just shown you.

Or, the patient can access a booking calendar where several things can happen before dispensing:

Slide 27

They can book in to speak with the pharmacist virtually

You could ask them a series of questions, just as a risk assessment does

And you can take payment for the medication online before they pick up the medicine in-store

The virtual world is pretty boundaryless.

There’s loads of ways you can digitise the process but the way you do it depends on how you’re offering it.

Slide 28

So what about the more invasive clinics where you have to do a physical examination, injection or procedure?

Slide 29

Well, for some of them, I would always build a separate website around that particular service, and connect it to my main website.

That’s primarily because of the demand and search volume around them, and how much money you can make from it.

If you’re looking to really dominate your city, I would always create a separate website for your:

  • Travel Clinic
  • Weight Management
  • Ear Wax Removal
  • Aesthetics

I’d arrange the websites to be sub-sites, with links in between all of them, to maximise SEO, which I’ll get onto in a minute.

Slide 30

The next thing I need to consider is an online booking system. I touched on this just now.

Slide 31

And I’d always have a live chat system connected so that I can talk to my patients directly.

I’d also install a solution, such as Mailchimp, where I’m building a patient database.

That right there, is an immense, beautiful, digital, revenue-generating, sustainable clinical pharmacy ecosystem that can revolutionise your business.

Slide 32

But, once you get your digital base set up, it doesn’t right stop there.

We need to get people to find these services online, so we need to market ourselves.

So, what’s the best way of doing this?

Slide 33

Let’s split this into internal marketing and external marketing.

Internal being the patient base you already have, such as those on your PMR system and those people that walk into your pharmacy.

And external being those people who don’t know your pharmacy or services exist as yet.

Slide 34

If you’re an established Pharmacy and you already have a patient database in your PMR, that’s the first move you’ve got to consider.

They are your patients already, and they trust you. Trust is the biggest influencer in using a service.

So you’ve got to find a way to communicate with them digitally.

Also, get large, bright TV screens inside your pharmacy and the shop windows.

And, very importantly, get your team trained up and involved in the services.

Make them champions for particular clinics, and even incentivise them for getting people to sign up.

This can make a huge difference.

Slide 35

So that’s internal. What about external?

How are you going to influence them?

Well firstly, you’ve got to understand how people are searching for these services, and work from there.

Question: Any idea where people might be looking?

Yep, you guessed it. Google.

You have to start dominating this search engine locally.

And the two best ways of doing this is through SEO and Paid Advertising.

In last years’ Show, I dedicated a whole session on SEO. It is truly business changing and cannot be ignored when offering private clinics.

There’s loads of information on our website about it, and I’ve popped a link to a great guide on there, that you can read later.

But to get to the top of Google immediately, whether that’s on Search or Maps, it’s all about Google Ads.

Again, I’ve popped a link on there to a comprehensive guide.

It’s a massively powerful tactic, but it’s important to know that Google have clamped down on advertising POMs and pharmacy-related services.

It’s because of the nature of the content. So you do need to tread carefully and that’s why LegitScript on there too.

This certification helps legitimise your business for the giant advertising platforms out there, like Facebook and Google.

And of course, we can’t forget about Social Media too, the best way to generate engagement in your Community.

Post about the services you’re offering, but make the posts as engaging as possible!

It’s pretty saturated, so you really need to cut through the noise with excellent content.

Slide 36

Video.

People want to see a video of their local pharmacist talking about these services and it’s the ultimate way to build trust.

As well as the biggies out there like Facebook, Insta and Google Business, it’s well worth exploring TikTok now too.

Slide 37

So, how do you get started?

Well, the first thing you need to do is to seek help.

You can’t do this on your own, and that’s why you have the amazing organisations in this expo today.

But the important first step is delivery.

You’ve got to make sure that you can deliver on the ground and give great customer service

And following that, a digital strategy needs to be developed that can be embedded into what you’re offering.

Whoever you work with, it’s important that they understand your business through and through.

Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time explaining what your business is and how it works.

Slide 38

But it all comes back to mindset and innovation, and a strong drive to change and evolve.

One of the big blockers in pharmacy today is time.

So you need to think about how you can release more of it to be able to head in this direction.

Are you ready to go beyond the boundaries of the NHS?

Are you ready to step into private clinical territory?

And are you ready to digitise with it and revolutionise your pharmacy.

Slide 39

My names Saam and thank you so much for listening.


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Boosting Travel Clinic Bookings with Google Ads Pharmacy

About

This community pharmacy wanted increased Travel Clinic bookings. On the cusp of summer, making immediate impact was high on the agenda. The pharmacy already had an optimised Travel Clinic page on their pharmacy website designed by Pharmacy Mentor. With a budget of £300, they talked with us discussing their needs and our Diagnose & Prescribe team recommended a Google Ads strategy.

Challenges

  • Appearing efficiently for target audience.
  • Tracking return on investment.
  • Ensuring effective use of budget.
  • Creating copy for the ad which encourages clicks.

How we did it

Pharmacy Mentor created and ran a smart Google Ad in the pharmacy’s area, which appeared throughout Google’s search network. We linked the advert directly to the pharmacy’s Travel Clinic page, which has a call to action button “Start a Travel Consultation.”

Tracking

We placed an analytical tracker on the “Start Travel Consultation” button on their website, measuring the amount of people who not only visited their website, but actively began the booking process.

Results

After just £277 (not even the full £300 budget):

  • 2.3k people saw the advert
  • 333 clicks
  • 82 consultations started online
  • 35 Calls direct to the pharmacy

The pharmacy took plenty of bookings and they were delighted. They couldn’t wait to reinvest those profits in additional advertising. We have continued to propel their Travel Clinic to this day with Google Advertising.

Interested in boosting your Travel Clinic with Google Ads? Simply get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help.

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 of targetings who sees your ads is by postcode – 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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About

A pharmacy with a travel clinic providing PCR testing. They were managing their own Google Ads, and spending a lot of budget without seeing much return.

Challenges

The market was competitive, in a big city, especially after the local airport started doing same-day testing. They were spending between £82-£156 a day on their Google Ads, and their conversion rate was 1.5%.

Conversion rate with an ad is the number of people who saw the ad who also then went on to take action (e.g. by calling the pharmacy). This was set by default to anyone who called the pharmacy counting as a lead. Often calls would be a waste of time, and so the conversion rate wasn’t really meaningful.

That means they spent on average £1 for every lead, and only 1 lead out of 100 was converting into a customer. Unless that one lead was buying multiple PCR tests, they weren’t making their money back on that ad spend. We spoke to them about improving their return on investment.

Solutions

Pharmacy Mentor took over the management of the pharmacy’s Google Ads, to link with the Search Engine Optimised (SEO) landing page for PCR testing we had done earlier.

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.

  • Utilised Google Tag Manager to monitor activity on the landing page.
  • Tailored every aspect of the ad to suit the business.
  • Analysed the budget to control the cost of each lead, including staying competitive with competitor budgets.
  • We set a parameter of a call lasting over 45 seconds with the pharmacy to count as a qualified lead. Calls under that time were usually a waste of time and of no value.

Results

The conversion rate after we took over the ad exploded from 1% to 21%. (not forgetting that we’d actually made it harder for someone to qualify as a conversion.)

We estimated conversions conservatively at £95 (the cost of a single PCR test) which brings you to the £257k figure shown below in the red box.

That’s the estimated revenue generated.

£257k.

With a spend of £19k.

In reality, people often bought more than one PCR test when booking, so the actual revenue generated may well be higher.

Whether it could’ve been higher or not, £257k return from £19k investment is a result I don’t think anyone could argue with.

 

 

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

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

How do Google Ads work?

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

Google Adverts for Leeds Travel Clinic

How do they do it?

It’s really simple.

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

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

google ads search results page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unconvinced by Google Ads?

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

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

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

 

statistics for a Google Ad

Example SMART Google Ad Campaign

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

statistics for a flu jab google ad

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

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

Google Ads for pharmacies get found by so many search terms

The search terms this ad got results for.

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

Exceptional results even without a massive budget.

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

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

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

Want to increase clinical bookings with Google Ads? Book a call and we’ll get you up and running.

 

 

“We had no digital presence before we used the services provided by Pharmacy Mentor and our profits were being eaten up by ridiculous fees. Now, we’re generating over 100 bookings per month through our own slick and seamless, money-generating automated system.”
Pharmacy Owner – Edinburgh, Scotland

About

This pharmacy is a local independent community pharmacy serving the populations in Edinburgh. They are a popular, long-established chemist who understands that innovation is the only way forward in this tough, competitive climate.

Challenges

The challenges that they faced were:

  • He knew the pharmacy had the potential to deliver many more pharmacy service consultations but he didn’t know how to achieve that.
  • He wanted to avoid giving half of his profits away to the company that provided the PGDs for him.
  • He had no marketing strategy of his own. The pharmacy had no digital presence.

Solutions

Pharmacy Mentor works with them to develop a bespoke digital marketing strategy with the goals of:

  • Building their own online booking system with integrated Pharmadoctor PGD consultations
  • Integrating the online booking system into their pharmacy website
  • Building a dedicated Travel Clinic website to dominate keywords associated with their Travel Clinic
  • Develop and execute an organic social media strategy through Facebook, Instagram, and Google My Business
  • Drive higher numbers of bookings through paid Google Adwords

Results

With the entire scope of marketing conducted, we have transformed the business in terms of the pharmacy services they offer, their Travel Clinic in particular. We have significantly increased monthly revenue and profits for them.

Notable outcomes of marketing efforts:

  • Positioned on page 1 of Google for most search terms associated with their pharmacy services in the locality, organically. This was achieved 3 months after the build and optimisation of their new website. The website is generating over 300 new users and >1000 page views per month, organically.
  • Our marketing efforts have now begun to generate well over 100 bookings of various pharmacy services every month. The Travel Clinic and Medicspot being up there with the most popular:

 

Total bookings generated in September 2019

 

  • Google Ads have been performing very well over the last two months with click-through rates (CTR’s) averaging 16% and average conversions at 22%, which is much higher than the industry average.

 


Saam Ali - The Pharmacy Mentor

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

Travel Clinic Pharmacy

CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO ACCESS THE LECTURE SLIDES

How to Market your Travel Health Clinic

Marketing your Travel Clinic is absolutely, 1000% required for its success. But, putting a poster up about it in your pharmacy and phoning up the GP to let them know you offer it doesn’t cut it. We live in a time where more and more travel clinics are coming into existence and competition is on the rise. Furthermore, you have a plethora of marketing channels that, when used effectively, will drive up to 1000% more consultations in some circumstances. So, it makes sense to have a solid marketing plan in place when offering a Travel Clinic.

 

In November 2018, our Director, Saam, presented at The Travel Health Conference. And yes, he aptly presented “How to Market your Travel Health Clinic”. In the presentation, he gives you a breakdown of what channels you should be thinking about, both online and offline, when marketing your Travel Clinic for optimum awareness and conversions.

 

In this learning module, we’ve transcripted the whole presentation for a better, more effective learning experience. If you have any questions or would like help in marketing your Travel Clinic, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at support@pharmacymentor.com.

 


 

The Pharmacy Mentor team are partnered with PharmaDoctor and ECG Training to provide pharmacies with a One-Stop-Shop solution to the effective running of a Travel Clinic. Make sure you check them out!

 


Slide 2

Sometimes, especially as business owners, we forget the most important reason we do what we do in the pharmacy. So, to begin this presentation, I’d like to remind everybody in this room, including myself, what that reason is.

 

It’s to help people. We’ve been granted a position to help improve people’s lives every single day.

 

That is an incredibly prestigious position to have and something we should all be grateful for. I’m sure you can agree that there’s no better feeling than when a patient has thanked you because you’ve made their life better.

 

And it’s this principle of helping people that should always lie at the forefront of your Travel Clinic. We get so entangled in our daily operations in the pharmacy, it’s something that we often forget. Providing your best patient care must be at the top of your agenda.

 

Slide 3

Supporting this Golden Principle are the reasons why running a Travel Clinic is a good idea:

 

  • We’re improving access to yet another healthcare service. It makes sense – we’re the most accessible healthcare team there is.  

 

  • Over 70 million trips abroad are made every single year in the UK but only 50% of those seek advice before travelling. This represents a huge opportunity for Community Pharmacy to step in and make a real difference.

 

  • And if you do step in, then you’re looking at potentially making a lot of money from it. I’m working with some owners who are making close to 5 figures a month purely from Travel Health and there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

 

  • And of course, you’ll be reducing pressures on GP’s and the NHS who are notoriously known for being at full capacity and overburdened.

 

Slide 4

The vast majority of pharmacies in the UK who employ a travel clinic are not experiencing the maximum benefit of it, nor are the people they deliver the service to.

 

Pharmacies could be making a much greater impact in their Communities and offering their patients a better overall experience. While delivering an outstanding service to your patient is critical to its success, an equally important factor is how you market it. This is an area that most business owners struggle with but is where much of the opportunity exists.

Slide 5

Improving your marketing around your travel clinic will increase how many people use your service. That’s an absolute fact and that’s why marketing exists.

 

Q. So how do we improve and maximise our marketing?

 

In fact, let me rephrase that.

 

Q. How do we improve and maximise our marketing with the budget and resource we have?

 

Marketing can be very complex and the more you can budget for it, the more you can get out of it. But we’re not made of money of course – we have our limits. And it’s complexity means that I won’t be able to fit everything into the next 20 minutes I’ve got with you anyway.

 

Rather, I’m gonna summarise the most important elements of marketing you should consider for this particular service, with more of a focus on the digital side of things.

Digital marketing seems to be the biggest challenge for pharmacy owners but it happens to be an area of expertise for me.

 

Slide 6

Let me give you a 30-second synopsis of me and what I do. I’m a Community Pharmacist of 12 years and counting and many moons ago, I set up one of the first ever travel clinics at Boots which was a great success.

 

However, back in 2014, I took a break from practice and dived head first into the online and technology sector. I taught myself how to build websites, learned how to create high-quality digital media and have been perfecting digital marketing ever since.

 

So, at the beginning of 2017, I launched a digital marketing agency that focuses primarily on the Community Pharmacy sector. Through trial and error, keeping up to date with the latest social and digital trends, and evaluating data and feedback, we know which channels make a real difference to your pharmacy business.

 

Slide 7

So, getting back to answering this important question…How do we improve and maximise your marketing with a reasonable budget?

 

Well, there are three types of marketing you need to consider. These are:

 

  • In-store marketing
  • Direct marketing
  • And Inbound marketing, of which Digital marketing is a big part of.

 

Let’s go through each one individually…

Slide 8

In-store marketing is something you’ll all be familiar with and is pretty standard duty. I’m not going to go into too much detail about this type of marketing because you guys will know quite a lot about that already.

 

There are a couple of items I would like to mention however that I feel are very important. In-store marketing involves your staff actively talking about the service in your store. I know, as a pharmacist myself and having locumed across the country, that staff fail to talk about these types of services, even when the subject pops up in conversation! It’s a pandemic across many pharmacy teams.

 

But it exists because the staff have not been briefed well enough to talk about them confidently to a patient. They don’t know what the purpose of the service is and what it all entails.

 

So, my advice on that front is to turn every single member of staff into confident marketing machines. Give them the reasons behind WHY you’re going to implement a travel clinic and a brief about what it involves. If you’ve got a training module to show them, then that’s even better.

 

And very importantly, make sure everyone knows how to book someone in for an appointment. You’re gonna lose sales otherwise. Developing your staff is developing your business.

 

Slide 9

The other item I’d like to mention is about digitising your in-store marketing. More and more pharmacies are adopting for digital displays and there’s a good reason for it.

 

Since the launch of the smartphone, the human brain has become complacent. Our attention span today, quite sadly, is at an all-time low at just 8 seconds. That means, if our mind isn’t constantly stimulated, we get bored quickly and forget easily.

 

That’s why video is the most engaging and converting form of content marketing there is today.

 

If you don’t yet have digital displays in your pharmacy then I strongly suggest you think about investing in them. Not only will they help you convert more customers, but they will also save you plenty of time in constantly changing marketing material in the long run.

 

Slide 10

The next type of marketing is Direct Marketing.

 

This is where you contact businesses, organisations, and people directly to let them know you’re offering a travel clinic. It’s targeted, personal, cost-effective, and does deliver an ROI.

 

Yet, hardly any pharmacies employ it.

 

Slide 11

How many of you have mailed out letters to your Community?

 

You’ve all seen the letters sent out by Pharmacy2U. That’s direct marketing on a HUGE scale and although their copy is dubious to say the least, they’ve not broken the law and it’s been hugely successful for them.

 

What’s stopping you from doing the same on a local level? There are plenty of services that can help you with this. However, do bear in mind that this is one of the more expensive options.

 

As well as contacting the end user directly, you should definitely consider sending out letters to every one of the following in your city or catchment area:

 

  • GP Surgeries – That’s a given.
  • Travel agents – Again, fairly obvious why.
  • Police Stations – Because police officers need to have a Hep B vaccine for their work
  • Mosques – Because Muslims will need the meningitis vaccine before they travel to hajj
  • Colleges and Universities – Because many students take a GAP year abroad
  • And any other type of organisation you think will be affiliated with your target customer

 

Again, we’re always having to consider budget here. But mailing out to more people and organisations will lead to more people knowing about and using your clinic.

 

Slide 12

Email marketing is another form of direct marketing, has been around for decades, and can be effective. However, since your a local pharmacy, it’s unlikely that you’ll have any email addresses to begin with.

 

They can be sourced online, but bear in mind, if you buy a bunch of cold emails to market to, you’re conversion rate will be much poorer than a list you’ve built up yourself over time. I’d avoid this type of marketing unless you already have a list of people to market to.

 

Slide 13

So, an alternative this could be the use of LinkedIn. This channel allows you to reach out directly to the people and key stakeholders that matter to you. If done correctly, this can be a very powerful form of marketing.

 

If you’re already connected with a key stakeholder, i.e. they are your 1st-degree connection, simply send them a message to let them know you’re now offering a Travel Clinic.

 

If they’re, say a Director of a company, why not send over a digital voucher giving all 200 employees a 10% discount off their travel health purchases.

 

I know this type of marketing is effective because I do it for my own business with success and some clients of mine have had success with the flu season at present.

 

And if you’re not connected on a 1st-degree level to any important key stakeholders, you can always pay to message them directly. Now I’m not entirely sure how effective this kind of paid outreach is in terms of conversions but it’s just another option you could try. Budget with £50 and see what kind of results you get. Marketing is all about testing to see what works and what doesn’t work.

 

Slide 14

There’s another form of direct marketing which is relatively new to the scene but is making a significant impact in the local business world. That is WhatsApp marketing.

 

I only know a very small number of pharmacies employing WhatsApp Business in their strategy but the feedback has been excellent from it. It makes sense. It’s the easiest and most popular form of direct messaging we have today. On top of that, all messages are securely encrypted for confidentiality.

 

I highly recommend that every pharmacy owner UK employs WhatsApp Business in their marketing strategy.

 

It’s gonna improve conversions for your Travel Clinic and every other service you offer in store, and your customer loyalty will go through the roof. Can you imagine how happy customers will be WhatsApp’ing their local pharmacist?

 

I’m pretty sure this app is gonna reduce the number of phone calls you’ll get at the pharmacy too. It’s a real winner in my eyes.

 

Slide 15

There are, of course, other forms of direct marketing you could employ, such as:

 

  • Leaflet dropping, again proven to be effective
  • Using Swipii, the digital loyalty scheme that seems to be going viral in the local business world
  • And messaging people directly through other social media channels, such as Instagram and Facebook.

 

The more methods of direct marketing you can cover, the more likely you are gonna convert people.

 

Slide 16

And finally, we arrive at the realm of inbound marketing.

 

This type of marketing is a technique of drawing in the customer using content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimisation, and branding. It’s kind of like your in-store marketing, but online.

 

Let me explain what and why you should employ the following marketing tactics to promote your travel clinic.

 

Slide 17

If you’re running a travel clinic, it’s absolutely mandatory today that you give the patient the option to book an appointment online. Or at least, for them to be able to begin their consultation online.

 

We’re in the year 2018, not 1998. As a consumer myself, it horrifies me when I see that I have to ring up and speak to another human being, just to book me in. For the sake of the consumer and yourselves, please, automate this process. Make it as seamless and simple as possible for the patient.

 

Having a booking calendar and online consultation process is one thing. But they render useless if no one can find it. So, How do we get people to find this online?

 

Well, there are loads of ways we can do this. Too many to go through with the length of this article, but, I’m gonna explain a few of the most important ones you should consider.

 

Slide 18

Creating good quality content in the form of a blog, which is usually incorporated into your website, will help people find your Travel Clinic much more effectively. That’s because it caters for how we are searching for this service in the first place.

 

When someone is looking for a service they’d like to use today, they won’t type the name of a business into Google, they type the exact phrase of the service they want to find. These are called “keywords”.

 

In terms of a Travel Clinic, people are logging onto Google Search and typing in “travel clinic + location”. That’s why, if you have a piece of content online, such as a blog post, optimised for these specific keywords, you can get to page one of Google. And if your blog post has a link directing patients to your online consultation form, then it’s a winner.

 

Slide 19

I often get asked if it’s worth conducting Google Ads. For your Travel Clinic, the simple answer is, yes it is.

 

You only need to type “travel clinic + your location” into Google to understand this. For example, if you type in “Travel Clinic Luton”, you’ll see a bunch of Ads right at the top of the first page. This shows you how competitive those keywords are.

 

Google Ads are worth trying, like all marketing channels, to see if you get a good ROI. However, this type of marketing is complex, usually requires more of a budget and will most definitely require outsourcing. If this is something you’d like to do, then come and speak to us.

 

As examples, check out these landing pages promoting Travel Test Packages and COVID19 PCR Testing. They are making £1000’s a month through advertising on Google Ads. 

 

Slide 20

Keeping on the subject of Google, your Google My Business profile is yet another extremely valuable tool when marketing your Travel Clinic.

 

When you type the exact name of your business into Google, you’ll see a profile appear, like the one you can see in the corner of the map there. It holds vital information regarding your pharmacy. That’s your Google My Business profile.

 

By verifying your business on Google, you’re able to add plenty of information to your profile about your Travel clinic for people to see. You can even add photos and videos, just like we’ve been doing for this pharmacy. And you can also categorise your business as a travel clinic too, secondary to a pharmacy.

 

Enabling this will mean that when someone is searching for a Travel clinic in your area, your pharmacy will be seen on the map. Tremendously powerful and again, should be mandatory in terms of marketing.

 

Slide 21

And of course, one of my favorite types of marketing that can’t be excluded from your marketing strategy is Facebook Ads.

 

Paid advertising on Facebook is by far the quickest and most cost-efficient way to reach 1000’s of people in your locality. Furthermore, you’re able to target your preferred customer.

 

As an example of how effective Facebook Ads can be, we created an Ad for a pharmacy down in Birmingham, to promote the launch of their travel clinic. We spent £10 and targeted only the people within a 10-mile radius of the pharmacy, between the ages 18 and 65, and who are interested in travel topics. Two days after publishing, the pharmacy sold £400-worth of Travel Health products to a single customer. And we know that this sale was attributed to the Ad because we asked the guy how he knew about the service.

 

As another example, for a pharmacy down in Colchester, we pushed a £50 Ad to promote the launch of their travel clinic, targeting similar demographics. The Ad reached 19,000 people in the area, and in that first month, the pharmacy completed 11 consultations and totaled £1,200 net profit. Again, we know the Ad influenced people because we asked them how they knew about the service.

 

Facebook is a must for Community Pharmacy. I’d budget around £25 to £100 a month to market your travel clinic at a single location, at least for the first few months of its launch, and then in the summertime again.

 

Once more, please talk to us about the best strategy to deploy when it comes to Facebook Ads.

 

Slide 22

There are many other Social Media channels you can market through, but one other worth mentioning quickly is Instagram.

 

With around 18 million monthly users and a largely younger demographic between the ages of 18 – 34, Instagram can come in handy.

 

What I like about it in terms of marketing your travel clinic is that you can create good and engaging campaigns just by using high-quality travel images. It’s definitely worth employing and building up a local audience with time.

 

Slide 23

So to summarise what we’ve been through right now:

 

  • When it comes to in-store marketing, as well as making your pharmacy look pretty with posters and leaflets, think about how you’re going to prepare your team to become marketing machines and about digital displays.

 

  • For direct marketing, we talked about how mail marketing can be very potent. We dabbled in LinkedIn marketing and its direct messaging feature, and I highly recommended the incorporation of WhatsApp Business or PharmZap.

 

  • And for inbound marketing, we briefly discussed the importance of an online booking calendar, how blogging can improve the visibility of your Travel Clinic on search, how it could be worthwhile conducting Google Ads, how optimising your Google My Business profile will place your clinic on the map, and the power of Facebook Ads.

 

If you manage to conquer all of those marketing channels, you’ll no doubt be the king of Travel Clinics in your region.

 

Slide 24

Now, you’ll probably have read this and will be thinking…“Well, how on earth am I going to implement all of that? I don’t have the time nor the skill to execute.”

 

You’re right. Time is a huge limiting factor. But marketing is a journey, not a sprint. It can be implemented gradually and adjusted accordingly so you’re only focussing on the things that work.

 

If you can do some of it, or a competent member of staff could take on some tasks, then that’s great. And of course, you have external help too. You know more than me that it’s all about utilising every possible resource you have available to you.

 

Slide 25

And finally, I must mention the word “strategy”. This is key for any business activity and it absolutely applies to marketing as well. Following a well-laid out plan always produces better results than when executed blindly.

 

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us to help you develop a solid marketing strategy for your business, or if you need assistance in marketing your travel clinic.

 

 

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