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.
- How to use Facebook, including setting up auto-replies and posting.
- Creating a dedicated COVID-19 vaccine page on your website
- Updating your Google Business Profile
- Advertising Your Service (without breaching policies)
1. How to use Facebook to generate awareness, build trust, and save you time
The vast majority of the UK will have Facebook profiles, and it’s a source of information that is widely shared. As a trusted healthcare provider, sharing accurate advice with links to the NHS or the UK Gov. site helps build trust in your community and keeps them aware of when they might be eligible for the vaccine.
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.
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
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
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
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.