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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.

Pricing

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.

If an agency is proud of the results they achieve, you’ll find they post case studies highlighting the work they’ve done. Again, this isn’t necessarily replicable for your business, but it gives you an indication of what’s possible.

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.

Case Studies

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.

Make sure to check out the agencies’ case studies.

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.

Are you stuck for pharmacy blog post ideas?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 14 Pharmacy Blog Post Ideas which last forever

1. Tips for staying healthy

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

2. Think seasonal

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

3. Frequently asked questions

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

4. Frequently un-asked questions

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

5. Instructional Vlogs

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

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

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

6. Pharmacy vs GP

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

7. A day in the life

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

8. New Services

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

9. Customer success stories

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

10. Spotting the signs of…

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

11. Discuss something controversial

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

12. Charity work

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

13. Staff profiles

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

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

14. Myth-busting posts

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

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

Your pharmacy blog post ideas need to offer helpful content

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

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

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

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

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

Promoting Dementia Awareness as part of a HLP Campaign we launched

Promoting Dementia Awareness as part of a Healthy Living Pharmacy Campaign we launched

“Pharmacy Mentor are currently managing our Social Media strategy (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google My Business) and we’re very happy with the quality of posts being published. Since we went digital, we have noticed an increase in footfall to our pharmacy and by tagging local businesses in our posts, we’re creating better relationships in the area.”
Huma – Director and Superintendent Pharmacist

About

Dr Pharmacy is an Independent Contractor situated in Luton and is the only pharmacy that is open from 9am until Midnight, 365 days a year in the whole of North London.

Challenges

The Director and Superintendent Pharmacist of this business further educated herself on the importance of Social Media for Community Pharmacy and understood that going digital provided an opportunity to engage the local community better. However, due to a lack of time and expertise, she needed help in implementing and managing this part of her business.

Solutions

Pharmacy Mentor executes The Social Media Driver Pack and then upgrades and continues to implement The targeted Social Media GROWTH and Search Engine BOOSTER Pack.

Results

TARGETED audience growth across all social channels has been growing steadily with growth spikes occurring when doing paid Facebook Ads. These targeted Ads typically reach between 10,000 and 20,000 people in the local and surrounding areas. Huma, the director, believes there has been a noticeable change in footfall since implementing a social media strategy. Tagging local businesses and important local authorities, such as the NHS Luton CCG, is provoking shares and comments across their pages to help build brand awareness and improve relationships

Recently created a blog attached to their website and now producing highly targeted content to promote their pharmacy services in the area (local SEO). Already gaining traction with comments from the public but will update with results as this matures.


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’d be glad to help.

LEARN THROUGH VIDEO

LEARN THROUGH READING

Changing the Landscape of Google and Healthcare

I firmly believe that if Community Pharmacies become more proactive online, we’d cause a shift in healthcare. We could change the behaviour of potential consumers which would then lead to the use of more pharmacy services. We live in a digital world where more and more people look for information online before conducting their activities. Imagine if a person searched for a term on Google and the first thing that popped up was linked to your Pharmacy…we may just be able to influence that person’s decision to use our services. I believe one way in which we could achieve this is through blogging.

A powerful form of Content Marketing

Blogging is a powerful form of content marketing that anybody can do, but there seems to be a huge deficiency in its application in Community Pharmacy. Time and time again have I come across a pharmacy website that has a blog or news section on there that looks like the image below.

 

An empty blog on a pharmacy website

 

It’s a real shame because 1) It looks unprofessional, and 2) It’s a place where you may be able to impact the people in your catchment area, improving their access to healthcare, while winning more business in the process. Let me explain how.

Independents currently don’t exist on Google

Let’s say you’re an Independent Community Pharmacy in Southampton that offers a flu vaccination service. If a consumer would like to get a flu vaccine, they may well log onto Google and type in the search term “flu vaccination Southampton” or “flu jab Southampton”. As it stands, both of these search terms result in a variety of options for the consumer, but I don’t see a single Independent Contractor for at least the first 4 pages. And we all know that it’s extremely rare that anyone visits even the 2nd page of Google. Even though most Independent Pharmacies now offer a flu vaccination service, to that consumer, we simply do not exist.

 

Currently, Independents don’t exist for search terms specific to their pharmacy business

 

The story could be different through Blogging

However, if you created a solid blog post that was optimised specifically for those keywords and which led to your services, the story could be different. Having a look at the content that currently exists out there, I believe it to be highly probable that an Independent could position themselves somewhere close to the top of the rankings, increasing the likeliness of consumers using their flu jab service.

This is exactly what I’ve started doing with one of the chemist’s I’m working with. Like most pharmacies, they offer an emergency contraceptive service and so a few weeks ago I began experimenting with some keywords on Google to see what kind of landscape I was dealing with. I found that a search term that people are looking for on Google is “morning after pill Sheffield”. At that time, as I expected, there was not a single service or article that directly led the consumer to an Independent Community Pharmacy for at least the first 3 pages. All I could see on there were surgeries, hospitals and of course some paid google ads from the big corps, Boots and Lloyds.

So, what did I do? I created a simple blog post on the topic of Emergency contraception, focusing on the keywords “morning after pill Sheffield”. Right now, only three weeks down the line, this blog post sits on the first page of Google at position 3 and as I continue to promote the post across their social platforms every now and then, it’s quite likely that it will top Google for that search term. Hopefully, this blog post may just influence more consumers to go and see a pharmacist to get the morning after pill.

 

In less than 3 weeks, this simple yet optimised blog post has reached position 3 on Google

One blog post a month, per pharmacy

Can you imagine if every single independent contractor started blogging for search terms associated with their business in their locality? We’d end up dominating the Google rankings and that really is no exaggeration. I’ve just shown you how easy it can be done. All it would take is one optimised blog post a month, per pharmacy, and we might be able to direct 100’s, if not 1000’s more people towards pharmacy services.

More examples of blog articles I’ve created for Independents that have reached Page 1 on Google, significantly improved the visibility of their service and are generating leads are:

If you want to start blogging or you’d like me to take a look at the blog post you’ve already created to see how it might be improved, then please get in touch and I’ll help you. Together, we can make Community Pharmacy stronger.

Thanks for visiting and see you in the next learning module!

Saam