Posts

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.

If you think your pharmacy might be eligible to be a primary location for Covid-19 vaccinations, see this publication from the PSNC for guidance and requirements in becoming a vaccination site.

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.

  1. How to use Facebook, including setting up auto-replies and posting.
  2. Creating a dedicated COVID-19 vaccine page on your website
  3. Updating your Google Business Profile
  4. 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.

 

example of a facebook health post for covid

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 to help manage covid-19 vaccine service

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 website page for covid-19 service

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

 

a google my business post showing the public helpful information about Covid-19 policies

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.

If you’d like to set up your pharmacy on Google My Business, then you can take this quick course which will walk you through the whole process, step-by-step. Using instructional videos, the Drive Pharmacy Footfall with Google course will teach you how to use the tools within Google My Business to attract new customers.

4. Harness Google Ads and organic rankings

 

a range of google ads for covid-19 PCR tests

Be sure to check the Google Ads policies first

 

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.

 


Need help with promoting your pharmacy services? Simply get in touch.

PCR Test Pharmacy
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a massive period of uncertainty for pretty much everyone. But where there is chaos, there is also opportunity. In this particular case, for pharmacies, the opportunity was marketing PCR Tests.

The Opportunity

The demand for PCR tests quickly picked up when lockdown was lifted and people were allowed to travel again. 

pcr test google trends

This graph shows the popularity of the search on Google over the past 12 months.

The Results

Pharmacy Mentor harnessed this demand for our clients who offered PCR testing. We also recommended that other pharmacies begin to offer PCR testing through their pharmacy as a result of the trend analysis. 

Here are the stats for one of them:

website statistics marketing pcr tests showing 89 thousand page views and 28 thousand new users

Off the wall statistics for an independent pharmacy website.

 

This reads like a marketing symphony. Imagine for a second that this was a physical pharmacy…

  • New users: – 28,702 people have walked into your pharmacy off the street. 28,702 people.
  • Sessions: – Those people came into the pharmacy on average 1.54 times.
  • Page Views: – Of the 90k page views, the consultation form page had 18.5k views. So, of those 28,000 people who walked into your pharmacy to ask about PCR tests, 18,500 signed up for a consultation.

Good Problems

It’s really been a bit of a problem. Because it’s not easy to cope with such demand.

Fortunately, the fact we have Telegram & WhatsApp support for our clients means they get instant support whenever they need it. And this did need quite a bit of support!

A separate phone-line and email had to be created for PCR requests and all other requests on their website. Fortunately, having created their website too, so we could do this immediately.

On-site consultations needed to become online consultations to make room for flu jab appointments. I’ll say that again. To make room for flu jab appointments. The pharmacy was wall-to-wall booked with PCR consultations.

Then online consultations booked up. We had to turn the form off temporarily because there was too much demand and people couldn’t book appointments.

We’ve had to evolve the website to be able to accept online payments to streamline the money coming into the business. Not a bad problem to have.

“Please help, I have so many calls and requests per day, I can’t process it all.” At its peak, marketing PCR tests was making this pharmacy £5k/day.

How we did it

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

Two words. Keyword Optimisation.

Understanding how Google works, we created and optimised two articles for their website (yes, you need a website for this to work). Our keyword research found the terms that people mostly used to search. We published each article – making it both user-friendly (easy to read, easy to use) and Google-friendly (clearly optimised for keywords and formatted well).

A couple of weeks later, due to the lack of competition, the articles topped Google for the relevant keywords, beating the Government websites.  

We created a digital form on the site for people to fill in so they could book everything online, as well as a payment mechanism.  Two reasons for this:

  1. It’s easier for you as a pharmacist to manage.
  2. It’s better for the customer/patient – because when people are searching the internet:
  • they aren’t always in a position to pick up the phone
  • Phone lines might be busy
  • your pharmacy might be closed when they’re searching for the service (in the evening!)

You lose customers by not allowing them to do everything online.

Able to act with our finger on the pulse

There was obviously the matter of timing, too. That’s why we’re the perfect healthcare partner. We know the heartbeat of healthcare when it comes to marketing throughout the year.

Overall, the investment on this project from the pharmacy was around £500. This resulted in making £1,000’s/day.

When the opportunity knocked, we answered.

Our monthly marketing packs give you access to what is essentially a remote marketing department. With constant dialogues from our team, you’ve got instant access to the trends and the tactics that maximise impact – from those trends, for your pharmacy.

PCR testing is an exceptional bubble, for sure. If you do offer PCR tests, get in touch now because we can maximise your impact.

But this strategy works for all the PGDs and on-site services you offer, as well as eCommerce. There’s a massive vacuum on Google in the world of healthcare. Waiting for pharmacies like yours to fill it – and fulfil the demand of all the thousands of searches happening every day.

Looking for help in marketing your services better and building an online presence? Please get in touch with us. We’ll be glad to help.

 

LEARN THROUGH VIDEO

LEARN THROUGH READING

I want to give you some statistics from the Social Media giant, Facebook, that I’m sure you will agree, are completely absurd.

  • 1.9 billion people use Facebook every month, which is an increase of 17% from the year before, and is more than Twitter, Whatsapp and Instagram combined.
  • 1.2 billion people log onto Facebook every day.
  • And every 60 seconds, 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 126,000 photos are uploaded.
Ref: Zephoria Digital Marketing

Facebook cannot be ignored. In fact, we can’t get away from the damn thing, and in this video, I’m gonna give you 5 reasons why you, as an Independent Pharmacy, should start using Facebook for your business.

Popularity

Firstly, Facebook is the most popular Social Media platform by a long, long way. More and more people continue to use Facebook and if you think the elderly don’t use it, think again. According to a report by SproutSocial, 56% of adults aged 65 and over, use Facebook. If your patients and customers are on their, it’s ideal for you to be there too.

Free and Powerful Marketing Tool

Secondly, it’s a free and very powerful marketing tool that will improve your sales and strengthen your brand. Organising in-store events, creating promotional offers and targeting a specific demographic of your local area are just a fraction of the tools Facebook offer which can really help boost your revenue.

Deliver Better Healthcare

Healthcare isn’t bound by the walls of your pharmacy any longer. Facebook is an extremely effective channel for delivering health advice and can be used to help more and more people stay healthy.

Build Stronger Relationships in the Community

Building relationships has never been faster and more effective. Through Facebook, we can communicate with local businesses and the community with ease, and as every business knows, better relationships mean better business.

Push Forward the Profession

And finally, by harnessing the power of Facebook, you’ll be pushing forward our profession. The more we use Social Media in general, the more we will establish ourselves as primary care in the community.

We can use Facebook to help the NHS Crisis

Facebook is undeniably important, and not just for your business and our profession, for the healthcare system as a whole. I fully believe that if every pharmacy in the UK learns to implement a solid Social Media strategy, it will help with the NHS crisis. Medicines wastage, unnecessary A&E referrals and GP waiting times could all be indirectly improved.

If you’d like to implement a Social Media Strategy within your Pharmacy, check out the Pharmacy and Social Media Mastery Course where you and your team can learn how to drive sales, improve your brand and build a stronger community.

Saam