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Ultimate Guide to Black Friday & Cyber Monday for Pharmaciy
Black Friday & Cyber Monday starts on the final Friday of November. This year, it will fall on 25th November. This guide shows you everything you need for making a massive boom in your pharmacy’s bottom line this Black Friday weekend.

What is Black Friday & Cyber Monday?

Black Friday & Cyber Monday are Red Letter Days when it comes to shopping. In recent times, they’ve been joined by “Small Business Saturdays,” where supporting local businesses is encouraged. But by and large, Black Friday & Cyber Monday are the attention grabbers.

Black Friday

Black Friday is a significant date because it’s the first weekend after the final payday before Christmas. The event pre-dated offers and promotions, and was simply a date where most people would conduct their Christmas shop.

Over time, that overwhelming volume of shoppers drove competition between businesses, who’ve steadily driven down prices in attempts to lure customers through their doors.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is a more recent addition, created by retailers to encourage eCommerce spend and traditionally offers deals on smaller electronic goods and items. It is only really a thing because of Black Friday.

However, with the rise in prominence of eCommerce in recent years, Cyber Monday is actually bigger than Black Friday!

How much do people spend on Black Friday weekends?

The average UK consumer is predicted to spend £283 over the Black Friday weekend, a whopping 25% increase from last year, according to research from Emarsys.

“But there’s a Cost of Living crisis!” I hear you yelling in your brain at me. “Surely people will spend less?!”

It’s precisely because there’s an economic downturn that people will spend more on Black Friday.

With less money to spend, people want more bang for their proverbial buck. Saving 30% on your overall Christmas spend sounds far more attractive when you’re spending 70% more on heating your house.

So let’s get into how you and your pharmacy make Black Friday & Cyber Monday work for you.

1. Pick your promotions and choose your discounts carefully

Standing out on Black Friday is massively down to what your promotions are, and what they include.

Balancing that with remaining profitable is where the sweet spot in the Venn diagram is.

Offering 90% discounts gets you noticed, but leaves you out of pocket.

Offering 5% discounts keeps your margins high, but won’t attract loads of new business.

Figuring out the best promotions depends on what you offer as a pharmacy, who your local community are, and who your competitors are.

Be careful (read also: Don’t do this) around including things like Emergency Contraception in promotions. Boots did this and faced a lot of backlash, suggesting if they could afford to make the prices lower, they should do that permanently.

Luxury, cosmetic and retail items are your candidates. Urgent health necessities should be avoided.

The opportunity of Black Friday weekend is bigger than the weekend

And don’t forget that attracting new business generates more awareness for your pharmacy in the future. If you made a small loss on Black Friday weekend but gained hundreds of new patients going forwards, that’s potentially a worthwhile trade-off.

For example, offering a heavy discount on a new service, like Ear Health Clinics, gives people a reason to try your service instead of their regular provider. Blow them away with your service, and you become their new regular provider. Private healthcare services like this help you stand out on Black Friday, because most retailers cannot offer them, making it unique.

2. Utilise your Social Media platforms

A pharmacy’s social media followers have almost certainly visited the pharmacy before and enjoyed the experience. Why else would they follow you on Social Media?

It’s a no-brainer to promote your deals to your own community, those who trust you are your most likely visitors.

How much promotion is too much promotion? The 80/20 rule is a good rule of thumb. If 80% of your content is organic, community-based posts for your community, 20% can be promotional. If you post five times a day, one of these can be a Black Friday post. Five times a week? One of these can be a Black Friday post.

Please don’t post the same post over and over again. That’s how you lose followers.

Also, bear in mind you’re adding to a lot of Black Friday noise – try and stand out with your content as well as your offers.

3. Send Black Friday Promos to your Mailing List (if you have one!)

Emails are one of the best options for getting your promotions out to your community. Why? Because unlike with social media, you guarantee that the email is sent to the recipient. Yes, they may not check their emails, and yes they might not open your email, but it guarantees that chance.

Social media, unless your post has attracted a lot of engagement, may only be seen by 10% of your following.

Emails get sent to every single person on your mailing list.

Don’t have a mailing list for your pharmacy? Read, (or bookmark to read later) our complete guide to Email Marketing for Pharmacies.

Sending an email a week before your Black Friday deals, the day before, and on the day, makes sure you’re at the forefront of people’s minds when they’re thinking of the deals they can get.

So if you do have a mailing list, use it! (And if you don’t have one, get one!)

4. Beat your competitors’ Black Friday deals

Black Friday was borne out of competition for consumers’ attention, and it remains the tinder on which the money in consumer’s pockets burn.

Paying attention to your competition is critical.

After all, it doesn’t matter if you’re offering 20% off if a pharmacy across the road is offering 30% off everything. There’s loyalty to your pharmacy, but there’s also loyalty to one’s own bank accounts.

5. Don’t be afraid of spending money (especially promoting eCommerce offers!)

If you’ve got an eCommerce arm to your pharmacy business, capitalising on Cyber Monday is an option you shouldn’t overlook.

With the potential to make multiple thousands of pounds in retail sales, spending a couple of hundred pounds guaranteeing people find your website and products isn’t a bad idea.

With both Google Ads & Facebook Ads, your discounts and offers can be seen by thousands of people on a weekend where spending money is at the forefront of their minds.

If, because you’re a pharmacist and not a digital marketer, you want help managing digital advertising, we can help.

6. Feature your products in your promotions!

It isn’t enough to say 20% off everything in-store, especially when, as a pharmacy, you’ll have to put the dreaded asterisk* against everything* to exclude prescription medication.

When every retailer is offering these discounts, yours won’t stand out.

Feature and promote the products you believe generate the most excitement in your store, like NuroKor or Fitness trackers! Discounts on bigger ticket items are the most enticing reason people visit specific retailers.

So if you’re discounting them…feature them in your promotions!

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pharmacy iot
The Internet of Things (IoT) is next up in our series of articles on how Future Technologies will impact pharmacy. In this article, we’ll examine how other industries use IoT, how pharmacy currently utilises it, and how its impact will grow as technology advances.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT) and how does it work?

The Internet connects computers across the world across the same network (the world wide web). The Internet of Things works in a similar way, but instead of Personal Computers (PC’s), it connects…well, things.

The “things” in question are manufactured with components that can communicate with other devices and send data through signals, as well as their primary function. These are “Smart” devices. Things like smartphones and Smart TVs are already ingrained into the fabric of the modern world.

The Internet of Things is growing

Increasingly, entire households are becoming “smart”, controlled via a Home Device like the Amazon Echo or Google Dot.

Inhabitants can simply declare, “Alexa, it’s dark in the lounge” and the lounge lights up. Or, “Alexa, it’s party time!” and be greeted by Despacito, a whole different lighting arrangement, and the jacuzzi firing up.

IoT technology works by connecting all these devices to a centralised CPU, which processes, organises and analyses all the data sent to it from each connected device. In industrial usage, the central processing unit often configures and facilitates the devices communicating and interacting with each other, too.

Healthcare should focus on providing the best care, not caring about the best provider.

The future is automated

This all happens without human interaction, barring setting up the device and its instructions.

The Internet of Things is still in its infancy, like the rest of the technology in “Industry 4.0.”  And like most of these fields, it benefits from its interactions with other technology, such as Artificial Intelligence & Big Data. With every passing day, more devices are becoming “smart”, and optimising their use for how we live.

But let’s explore how it’s currently utilised, before taking a prospective look at how pharmacies can harness it further.

How is IoT currently used in Pharmacy?

Manufacturing, supply chain management, and warehousing all use IoT along the production and storage chain.

If you’re a frontline pharmacist, you’re wondering when any of this technology affects you in your pharmacy. Just like all technology, when it’s first released, it’s generally super expensive and not worth the investment for smaller businesses.

But as the IoT technology grows cheaper, the good news is that pharmacy IoT almost certainly brings massive improvements for patient care.

How can Pharmacy harness IoT further in the future?

Whilst, in the changing landscape of Earth 4.0, anything is feasibly possible, I’ll restrict this section to the imaginable impact.

  • Monitoring the “Cold Chain” of refrigerated drugs.
  • Improved treatment quality
  • Smart wearables monitoring and linking patient health data to the PMR.

Smart wearables and digital health tech

Monitoring medicine use, as well as the impact of medicine on things like heart rates, and blood sugar spikes. This could radically improve the New Medicine Service. Imagine patients taking home specific wearables or sensors with them when starting a new treatment and new medicines.

Monitoring someone’s health remotely and automatically during a period of new treatment?

Now that’s smart.

Monitoring the Cold Chain of refrigerated drugs

IoT devices already check and control temperatures of food. Think sensors with medicine that detect if they’ve been outside controlled temperatures long enough to spoil. Barring technology malfunction, which is rare, the efficiency and assurance of drug controls skyrockets, when you have paper trail proof the drugs have never gone above a certain temperature.

Improved treatment quality

As we touched on in the future tech guides to AI and Big Data, ultimately, the more data you’re working with when consulting a patient, the more informed your judgments are. That’s only a good thing when it comes to patient outcomes.

A great example here is tracking outpatients rehab/recovery with Smart devices, guaranteeing patients adhere to drugs and physio exercises by having them having to record it with a smart device, either one that dispenses the drugs at the right time, or one that detects the motion necessary for someone completing rehab exercises.

The major difference-maker

The biggest impact of an IoT pharmacy, in particular community pharmacies, is in enabling pharmacies’ evolution towards becoming the first point of contact for healthcare.

Let’s demonstrate with a simple example of this in action.

Patient X has diabetes.

Monitoring diabetes includes:

  • Blood glucose levels
  • Blood pressure
  • Weight
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Heart health
  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Medications
  • Eye, kidney, and foot health.

Patient X consents to data sharing between their devices and their Patient Medication Record in the pharmacy.

Some of these are easier to monitor from home than others. So Patient X wears a smart heart rate monitor measuring both sleep and heart rate, and weighs themselves regularly on smart weighing scales.

If the smart devices detect data out of healthy ranges, the PMR raises an amber or red warning on Patient X’s record, which automatically triggers an SMS & email being sent advising the patient to visit the pharmacy.

The pharmacist then performs a range of checks, exploring the patient’s health more extensively.

The patient is then advised further: either referred, or advised on further monitoring and behavioural precautions.

This gives the patient more control and agency over their health, whilst not letting poor health slip through the cracks just because it wasn’t in line with a 6-monthly health checkup.

What are the challenges in adopting an IoT Pharmacy Practice?

Whilst IoT tech undoubtedly has benefits for pharmacy, like all things, there’s always risk involved and different challenges posed.

Here are a few of the major challenges pharmacy will face when further integrating IoT into standard practice:

  • Data Security & Privacy
  • Universal Functionality & Integration
  • IoT is 24/7/365
  • Internet Connectivity
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Current limitations of IoT

Data Security & Privacy

This is the biggest issue surrounding IoT technology. Though it feels unavoidable with Smart Cities developing all over the world. How do you opt-out of IoT when you live in a Smart City?

But the point stands. There are a whole raft of issues when it comes to patient data, especially when you’re entering the realm of real-time monitoring and Big Data. With a data leak, hackers aren’t just accessing that Patient Y has IBS, they’re potentially accessing what their current blood sugar levels are. Scary potentials follow with possible uses of that information.

Universal Functionality & Integration Issues

What happens if Apple develops a great network of devices that all work harmoniously with one another, but then Google brings out a revolutionary singular device that massively improves patient outcomes? Google’s tech historically tends not to work with Apple. But healthcare should focus on providing the best care, not caring about the best provider.

Your Alexa not synchronising with your iPhone is an inconvenience.

The fact that situations such as this might arise in healthcare is unconscionable.

Morally, innovation in healthcare tech shouldn’t be exclusive.

IoT is 24 hours a day

Whilst hopefully the automated nature of the technology means you don’t need 24/7 human monitoring, it may mean requiring the technology being left switched on 24 hours a day. Hopefully that’s all handled on cloud servers and this is a non-issue. But if it is, then keeping your systems online all day could run up costs.

Cost-effectiveness

Continuing that thread, the overall cost of these devices needs paying by someone. Unless the NHS, (or your respective healthcare system) is going to front the investment for these costs some day, pharmacies must invest in their own progress as usual.

That said, pharmacies fulfilling this role in the healthcare of local communities means there’s potentially more substantial contracts from the NHS. So it’s an investment for generating more revenue at the other end (as you’d hope most investments are!).

Current limitations of IoT tech

Before IoT becomes universal, there are a few barriers the technology itself must overcome.

  • Battery life on devices
  • The distance between device and receiver currently only works via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, severely limiting its range.
  • More compatible devices (currently limited by demand and expense at the moment.)

An IoT pharmacy would improve patient care, and we need to embrace IoT as soon as possible.

All in all, if we’re using smart sensors for cooking steaks to perfect temperatures, it seems about time as a society that we began investing into more technology for keeping people healthy.

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Nurokor Lifetech Logo
As healthcare heads into an increasingly digital future, NuroKor Bioelectronics is taking great pains to make pain a thing of the past. And their expansion into sports recovery and performance opens the door to a much wider market.

What is NuroKor Bioelectronics?

For those of you in pharmacy who are unfamiliar with NuroKor (I suspect an increasing minority), NuroKor is a bioelectrical technology company which works with the body’s bio-electricity. They focus on the software behind the hardware (a little bit like the pain behind the person).

Anyone can claim they’re treating someone by using a stimulation device on a body, (with varying degrees of effectiveness) but it’s the patterns and frequency of the electricity which separates an electric stimulation from bioelectrical pain treatments.

Consistently basing their developments on evidence-based research, what sets NuroKor apart is their programmes with proprietary patterns and frequencies of bioelectricity to achieve the best solution for each use.

NuroKor LifeTech, their signature line of devices, has several uses, including:

  • Pain Management
  • Sports and Injury Recovery
  • Training Performance
  • Reducing Inflammation
  • Preventing Muscular Atrophy

How does NuroKor work?

Let’s begin with the obvious. Because it works with the body’s bioelectricity, the NuroKor device sends electric impulses through the electrode patches the user attaches to the target area on their body.

Peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) is one of the forms of stimulation that the device uses to manage pain, which for a pharmacy is likely to be the primary purpose for patients. These impulses travel via the skin and trigger responses from the peripheral nervous system and influence the desired effect.

The device itself has 5 programmes, for different types of treatment:

  • Pain – for pain reduction
  • Pain Plus – for pain reduction and anti-inflammation
  • Recovery – for use after exercise
  • Performance – for use during exercise
  • Microcurrent – a setting with no sensation for body repair after injury or exercise

What do Nurokor’s users say?

NuroKor recently surveyed (2021) 112 of its users. The survey showed that people generally experienced reduction in severity of their pain after NuroKor use. Here are some of the key notes of the study:

  • All participants (100%) reported a decrease in pain intensity following treatment with NuroKor mibody, and
    80% responded ‘yes’ to having a reduction in frequency or duration of pain at the time of survey response. 
  • A majority (60%) of participants also decreased their use of pain relief medication following treatment
    with the device.
  • Participants gave an average NRS score of 8.1 (Standard Deviation: 1.9) when asked how beneficial they found the treatment
    with NuroKor (NRS 10 = very satisfied).

What kind of pain does it treat?

NuroKor devices manage musculoskeletal pain, so some of the popular uses are for:

  • Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Frozen Shoulder

Does that mean NuroKor replaces pain medication?

For patients living with Chronic pain, medication is often problematic.

Obviously replacing painkillers altogether is the ambition, and in some cases this is achievable.

Of course people won’t come off their medication in every case. Even NuroKor are careful with their wording on their own website…the initial aim is to reduce dependency on pain medication. But whilst it might not replace medication completely, reducing reliance on opioids, painkillers, and anti-inflammatories, as well as all the accompanying side effects, is a massive stride for healthcare.

How can pharmacists work with NuroKor?

Stocking NuroKor products just as you’d stock any product is the most basic way of incorporating NuroKor into your pharmacy.

But offering continuous pain management consultations, having live demonstrations and group Q&A sessions on Living with Chronic Pain are far more engaging options that add value to your community.

Sounds like a lot of work – will it make me money?

Even if you’re purely revenue-focused, these are prime ways of generating some excitement in your pharmacy – offering events and Live Demos are footfall-drivers. (They also help sell the product, too)

Think about the Apple Store, and how they display their products. Treat your NuroKor devices like an iPhone. Showcase it.

And of course, (if you aren’t purely revenue-focused) if you believe in the reduction of reliance on painkillers in your community as well? Then NuroKor and this way of promoting it are a match made in heaven.

What’s the future of NuroKor?

Whilst NuroKor isn’t currently mainstream, it’s emerging. Between pain management and sports and injury recovery & performance, it’s easy to envisage a future where every household has technology like this. Especially when you consider the fact they also have devices for horses and, soon, dogs.

It’s also exciting to think that NuroKor has had such positive feedback from their users, when the field of research is still relatively young compared to other medical fields.

As the research improves, so will the effectiveness of the devices. As the effectiveness of the devices improve, the reliance on painkillers decreases.

Continuous Advances could have wider ripple effects on healthcare

As advances are made, the prospective use of Bioelectronics throughout healthcare becomes more widespread. For instance, bioelectric neuromodulation’s anti-inflammatory effects are already being investigated for use with gastrointestinal purposes. This is just one example of a whole body (literally) of potential for the work around bioelectricity.

Because of NuroKor’s focus on software, it’s worth bearing in mind that developments in other areas of software. The development of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data impacts the effectiveness of NuroKor, and other similar technologies. As these other technologies develop, research becomes more reliable, clearer and catalyses the whole development process. Evolving the use and implementation of the devices with developments in technology like the metaverse is another area that NuroKor, and all digital healthcare have cause for excitement.

Reducing the Burden on the NHS

Bioelectronic devices such as those developed by NuroKor represent potentially major savings for the NHS. Not only through its preventative nature, but through the reduction in painkiller use and consultation time. (If people aren’t in pain, they don’t feel any need to contact the doctor).

Taken from an article published by NuroKor:

With this in mind, the demonstrated ability of bioelectric technology to treat non-healing ulcers, combined with existing population data has shown that, if applied at scale, NuroKor could (conservatively) save £50,000 per year per NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG) in wound care alone.

With 211 CCGs, a national roll-out could, theoretically, then lead to annual savings of over £10M to the NHS in this one-use case.

Interested in learning more about Bioelectronics?

NuroKor’s CEO Rick Rowan hosts The Bioelectronics Podcast where he speaks with experts in the field on the latest news and developments within bioelectronics.

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rank higher on google maps for pharmacies
Google Maps is a common way people search for local services when they don’t know where to go. Let’s look at 7 ways to improve your pharmacy’s ranking on Google Maps for pharmacies.

1. Register & Optimise your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)

The first way for pharmacies to rank higher on Google Maps is simple.

Bizarrely, Google prefers showcasing businesses who’ve registered in their directory.

So registering your pharmacy’s Google Business Profile is a pretty good first step in ranking higher on their recommendations.

You won’t rank well on Google Maps if you haven’t claimed your own business profile. If you haven’t done this already, do it immediately. If you don’t know how to, contact us now.

Once, you’ve verified the business as yours, there’s a profile completion guide which walks you through all the steps for optimising your profile. Google majorly prefers recommending fully completed profiles.

2. Regularly Update Your Profile

Whatever the primary reason for visiting your pharmacy is on any given week, there’s your weekly update. (We find once per week is plenty for this.)

Sun skincare, flu vaccines, Travel Vaccines, hayfever relief; whatever the hot topic is, publicise it on your Google Business Profile.

Including photos, videos, special offers,  and links to your relevant blog posts/web pages etc., enhances the experience for Google’s users. (Google likes that!)

3. Optimise Your Website for Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Ranking well on Google Maps isn’t just about your Google Business Profile. Google wants relevance if it’s recommending websites to its users. Optimising your website’s content, and reflecting your local services in a way Google understands, let’s the search engine know that recommending your site isn’t a mistake.

Google prioritises speed, convenience and relevance.

Is your website poorly laid out, hard to navigate, and scant on information? Don’t expect glowing recommendations from Google.

Not sure if your website is properly optimised?

Get a free pharmacy SEO audit from Pharmacy Mentor and find out how Google views your website.

4. Embed Google Maps on your Contact Us Page

You won’t find this in your guidebooks, but it’s almost certainly a factor. A smooth transition with visual consistency from the Google Maps app to a Google Map embedded onto your website is another element of an intuitive user experience. Which, as discussed, Google loves.

5. I’ll take the Google Reviews, with a side of Google reviews, please

Google Reviews would be number 1 on this list if it made any chronological sense, as it’s possibly the most influential factor (you can control) in determining your rank on Google Maps.

Remember, Google is in the business of recommendations.

Hundreds of people recommending you through Google’s own reviews & recommendations section? Google recommending you highly too is a no brainer.

Remember, bad reviews come with the territory. Check out the video above for a guide on responding to negative reviews online.

The biggest way of attracting new Google reviews is to…ask! Whenever patients experience great service in your pharmacy, ask them if they’ll leave you a Google Review! Make it easy for them with a handy QR code. Check out our Get More Google Reviews section of our shop.

6. Make Directories Your Directive

The most important pieces of information on your Google Business Profile, website, and across the web are your Name, Address and Phone Number. (NAP)

It’s important that potential visitors have consistent and accurate information on you across all of these sources.

Not sure if your NAP are up-to-date across the Internet?

Simply search your business name and note all of the places your business details are. If they’re not all up-to-date, reach out to the directory owner and update them. Or get us to do it for you.

7. Engage with your community

Google also rewards your efforts to support other businesses in your community.

Build active partnerships with other small businesses around your community.

Build on existing partnerships like your GP surgery. Promoting each other’s businesses through your Google Business Profile, by linking to each other’s website and services are great ways of boosting each other’s business.

Be sure to also activate the messaging feature on your Google Business profile so that people can reach out to you directly. This is becoming more and more popular and we’re seeing an increasing number of messages come through to our pharmacies every week.

Does all of this sound like a lot of work?

We get that. Running a business is a full-time job. Marketing is another.

We love helping pharmacies rank higher on Google Maps. Hit that button below to get in touch.

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pharmacy google maps ads
So many people use Google Maps to get to where they’re going…and a lot of them use Google Maps to find somewhere to go, too. If you’re amongst the first places to show up on Maps, you can be sure you’ll get the lion’s share of people travelling to your pharmacy.

But how do you get your pharmacy to appear first in those results?

There are many factors contributing to a high maps ranking, similar to many factors determining how highly a website ranks on Google.

You can work on these, and organically climb the Google Maps rankings.  Check out our 9 Key Steps to Ranking Higher on Google Maps for a DIY guide to boosting your Google Maps ranking organically.

But there’s a NEW, guaranteed way of appearing first.

Get your pharmacy ranking first on Google Maps with Google Maps Ads

One of the biggest determiners for high rankings on Google Maps is the volume of people who visit the stores. This skews massively to bigger chains, like we see in the image below. Tesco are almost exclusively in the top rankings, because Google tracks people’s mobile phone locations. As people walk around Tesco, Google registers this as a visitor for Tesco Pharmacy. Pharmacies in Shopping Centres also benefit from this.

Google Maps Ads bypasses this, guaranteeing smaller independent pharmacies top the rankings ahead of the big chains.

This is an incredible opportunity for capturing new patients, as people searching for pharmacies on Google Maps clearly don’t have an affiliation or a regular pharmacy. Not only that, but people searching on Google Maps have intent. They’re clearly visiting a pharmacy.

But whilst Google Maps Ads puts you in that position, maximising the appeal of your listing is important.

Let’s run through three quick steps to making your pharmacy look like the best option.

1. Get Google Reviews, as many as you can

As shown in the example, whilst Irwin Mitchell appear top, their overall rating is 3.8 out of 5. Just two positions below them, their competition has 4.4 stars, with more reviews, and because it’s an organic listing, the reviews are displayed.

With more reviews and a higher rating than your competition, it’s more likely that more people will click on your listing.

Of course, being top with a lower rating is better than being 7th with a lower rating, but let’s shoot for the stars.

Want help increasing your Google Reviews? Check out the Google Review section of our shop.

2. Wow with a welcoming Google Business Profile image

When someone clicks on your Google Business listing, it expands into a larger profile. The featured image on this profile is your first impression.

Making a good first impression all but seals the deal. Your shop front makes the most sense, so they can recognise your business from the street. But if you have a run-down shop front, put your best foot forwards. A photo of your interior or your team works, whichever represents your business best. Take a look at what Saam says when he goes through this step-by-step.

3. Keep your Google Business Profile Updated

Special offers, opening hours, and current services are amongst the next things people will see on your Google Business profile.

Make sure they’re updated.

Nothing turns people off a visit to a business more than uncertainty. If you haven’t manually added your opening times into your Google Business Profile, it comes up with estimated opening times for you.

No one’s driving somewhere that might be open when there’s somewhere else that’s definitely open.

Too much for you to keep up with?

We get that. Running a pharmacy is a full-time job. Marketing is another.

We love helping pharmacies rank higher on Google Maps. Hit that button below to get in touch. Whether it’s Google Maps Ads, or helping you rank organically, we can help. Click here to contact us today.

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Big Data played a massive role during the pandemic, and it’s set to continue changing the world of pharmacy.

If you’re a pharmacy owner, or pharmacist of any kind, Big Data is already impacting your life. And its impact will grow exponentially. How can I say that with such certainty? Because Big Data is shaping the future, which affects everyone. But in this article, we’re concentrating on the specific impact that Big Data may hold for pharmacy in the future.

What is “Big Data”?

Big data is information, and lots of it. So much, in fact, analysis by anything other than powerful computers is impossible. In healthcare, hospitals and clinics across the world generate 2,314 exabytes annually. An exabyte is to a gigabyte what the Sun is to the Earth. If that seems like too much to wrap your head around, it’s because it is. Even traditional computers cannot compute that much data.

Every minute, on the Internet:

  • 2.1 million Snapchats sent.
  • 3.8 million searches on Google.
  • 1 million people log into Facebook.
  • 4.5 million videos watched on YouTube.
  • 188 million emails sent.

That’s a lot of data. And though it might not seem like it, data tells stories. Advancing into a more data-centric world, understanding these stories influences our capacity to adapt.

Working against the numbers is like sailing against the wind. Working without numbers is like sailing without a compass. Naturally, working with the numbers is the preference. So a future with more numbers gives us a better chance of making better decisions.

How does Big Data work with AI?

Artificial Intelligence is inextricably linked with Big Data. AI learns best with the massive amounts of information provided by Big Data. And Big Data is too big for anything except automated systems and AI to collate and manage.

So how can Independent Community Pharmacy use all that data?

Because of the scale of Big Data, I can’t see Community Pharmacies harnessing Big Data directly. The infrastructure required isn’t affordable or even worthwhile for a comparatively small business.

What is a possibility is centralising all this data and making relevant data accessible to pharmacies. Third party service providers utilising Big Data may also improve the quality of life for Pharmacists, as we’ll explore later.

It’s also likely with pharmacy’s integration with the rest of the health service, that as Big Data impacts healthcare, pharmacy will feel the ripple effects.

Your pharmacy’s data as part of Big Data

Rather than using the Big Data, Community Pharmacy may find itself being used by Big Data. Community Pharmacies provide anonymised patient data into the huge database, where it can provide that bigger picture. Obviously this is a subject of much discussion, balancing privacy and data-protection with the wider benefits of data-sharing from a health perspective.

Since companies like Meta & Google already harvest (anonymised) personal data for profits, lobbying for improved individual healthcare through shared data doesn’t sound too underhanded.

Privacy Concerns

Protection of this data from privatisation & for-profit ventures, however, is a notable concern. There is a lot more red-tape, as always, when it comes to health data too. A technical employee from Facebook hypothetically seeing information about your account is one thing. But health records are a more serious breach.

When it comes to Big Data, a single Community Pharmacy may also be impacted, not because of what you can see and action because of that bigger picture, but because you’re a part of it. As the bigger picture is seen clearly, decisions could be made which hold ramifications for every community pharmacy, or individual ones. An example could be the value of individual pharmaceuticals if the processes for drug trialling becomes radically simplified.

Another practical example is identifying certain geographical areas prescribing more antibiotics compared to other areas. Regulatory bodies can identify pharmacies and surgeries in these areas using Big Data and run targeted campaigns aimed at either reducing these prescriptions, or increasing them in surrounding areas if they’re also showing reduced hospital admissions.

Is Big Data impacting pharmacy right now?

Big Data is very much underway as a phenomenon in the both the industry and the wider world.

Tracking footfall with smartphone GPS

There exists already an advanced form of advertising tracking, typically for humongous advertising behemoths (think McDonald’s level), where through smartphone tracking, advertising agencies can trace someone who was within line of sight of a billboard, for example, and then visited a McDonald’s restaurant.

Like any technology, when first introduced, they’re expensive and generally unavailable to the wider public. But just like 4KTV’s, Smartphone location tracking draws nearer to the mainstream. It already exists in diluted form, if you’ve ever seen on your Google My Business profile, this is GPS phone tracking in action.

Imagine this, but with more insights for your pharmacy business. Where do they travel from? Where did they go before your pharmacy? What’s the average age of people who visit you on a weekend? How many of the people who saw your social media post visited your pharmacy in the next 7 days?

How might Big Data impact Community Pharmacy in the future?

Big Data’s impact on Community Pharmacy will increase exponentially, parallel to data’s impact on our lives in general.

The limitation is the same as data’s limitation has always been – the people analysing the findings and the way that we collect data.

  • Drug development
  • Patient compliance
  • More data informed patient health & proactive interventions
  • Risk assessment & fraud reduction
  • More efficient clinical trials
  • Assisting with Pharmacy Purchasing, both for purchasing pharmacy assets and pharmacy businesses.

Not all of these directly impact pharmacy, but pharmacy feels the ripple effects of the shock waves in healthcare.

How wearable technology helps Big Data

Wearables are small electronic devices that, when placed on your body, can help measure temperature, blood pressure, blood oxygen, breathing rate, sound, GPS location, elevation, physical movement, changes in direction, and the electrical activity of the heart, muscles, brain, and skin.

These measurements help with all levels of assessment for a wide variety of ailments.

Think about trying to diagnose someone without any information. Naturally, the more informed we are, the better our judgment becomes.

Informing Patient Interactions with Big Data

Big Data from health apps, medical records and other sources revolutionise your conversations with patients.

Pharmacy is an analytical profession. Interpreting patients data alongside Big Data trends means better prescribing pre-treatment, and better medication assessments post-treatment. Of course, for individual care like this, opting-in to data tracking becomes necessary for patients.

As a pharmacist, there will almost certainly be a consultation opportunity either to address these Early Warning Signs, or to monitor the use of and advise on the data provided by wearable technologies so that it never reaches that stage.

Wearables should in theory hand agency and power over to the patients. Whether this inspires a new generation of health-conscious patients, time will tell.

What are some of the barriers to Big Data for Pharmacy?

The biggest barrier is in both the centralisation of data and the privacy associated with data tracking. Maybe approval for centralised data never arrives. Perhaps in ten years, the public are hyper-aware and precious about their personal data and turn GPS tracking off.

Preventing databases from hacking and exposing large amounts of people’s health data is obviously a great concern. Mitigating and preventing this is necessary before approaching anything like centralised health data.

Whoever holds the data holds the power

Meta & Google currently hold vast quantities of the world’s data. They don’t exactly hold the best reputation as a result of the profits from this data. When basing big decisions on the data, trust in the source and credibility of this data is a pre-requisite. Large corporations hardly have a clean record of telling the truth with data.

What do I need to do as a pharmacist?

Informing your decisions with data is always a smart move. Big Data will bring more data to your door. Getting experience handling and basing business decisions on data now is great preparation for a data-filled future.

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what would a metaverse pharmacy look like? accompanied by a metapharmacist
With different forecasts for how a digital Metaverse could change the world, let’s examine what a metaverse pharmacy could look like in the future.

What is a Metaverse?

The Metaverse, the most renowned metaverse, is a virtual reality project being worked on by the company formerly known as Facebook, MetaTheir goal is creating a hybrid community spanning both real and virtual worlds.

However, metaverse is a term (dating back to the 70’s!) used widely across developers for any virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. (Essentially, Meta just piggybacked the term so that their Metaverse sounded like the original).

the meta metaverse promo

A vision of Meta’s Metaverse

What’s the difference between a digital presence and a Metaverse pharmacy?

A metaverse pharmacy is like if your pharmacy and your pharmacy website had a baby.

So the main difference between a digital presence and a metaverse pharmacy is the way users interact with it, as well as how pharmacists would interact with it.

It will depend on the direction that metaverse development takes in the future.

What is the future of the metaverse?

The problem is that there’s lots of different metaverses out there. Meta have theirs, Microsoft has their own version…even Fortnite, (that’s a video game, if you don’t have kids) has something they label a metaverse, but none of them interact.

Right now, a lot of companies are building their own ring-fenced versions of the metaverse for their very specific needs and niches.

The metaverse happens when you’re able to jump between digital worlds seamlessly. And it’s unclear as yet whether this will ever happen.

When will society fully embrace metaverse technology?

Before wider society embraces the metaverse, a number of issues need solving.

  • Clunky eyewear, with battery issues
  • Regulations (which will constantly change)
  • Motion sickness
  • Security and data privacy issues
  • Complex & costly hardware

Could pharmacy exist in a metaverse?

Yes. In fact, it already does. A pharmacy in Decentraland. Which, if you’re wondering, is a digital location. That’s right…a physical location in an unlimited digital space. Depending on which way the metaverse develops, physical digital addresses are either extremely valuable or completely worthless.

Whilst it’s worth bearing in mind that this is a blend of cyberspace and reality, the idea that it matters where something is located in this world is…debatable, at least.

What would a metaverse pharmacy look like?

Let me paint a hypothetical picture of a potential metaverse pharmacy.

1. Getting to the pharmacy

I pop on my digital glasses, and I open up a top-down digital map of my local town centre, like the interactive ones you get in shopping centres. After browsing, I find Metaverse Pharmacy, and select “Enter Metaverse Pharmacy.”

The virtual door opens and I find a bunch of avatars from my local community also visiting the pharmacy (at the moment these Avatars look like they do on the Nintendo Wii, so, room for improvement). I’m after a new sun cream for my child with sensitive skin.

I approach the pharmacist’s avatar, highlighted with a Green Cross floating above their head. They’re “engaged in a private consultation”. I join a queue, which automatically brings me into a private chat with the pharmacist when they’re available.

2. Virtual shopping

Whilst I’m waiting, I’m exploring a virtual shelf which asks me what I’m interested in. After selecting sun creams, the range is pulled up in front of me and I swipe through the options. All the relevant information displays alongside them, including a “Pharmacist recommends for” section, which explains the different SPFs. Pretty swizz. I like this system, I couldn’t have imagined it better.

Suddenly, I hear a beep and see a countdown, alerting me I’m being brought into the private consultation with the pharmacist. I’m now face-to-face with the pharmacists avatar. They’re wearing a white coat and glasses, and look bloody trustworthy.

3. Private online consultation

They state their name and GPhC number, before checking my name, date of birth and address for security. Once that’s clarified, they ask how they can help.

After quickly consulting me about my child’s skincare issues, the pharmacist tells me Garnier Ambre Solaire Kids Sensitive Advanced SPF50+ is hypoallergenic, has no perfume or colourants, making it ideal for children with sensitive skin.” They couldn’t have said it better if they’d copied and pasted it from a pharmacist’s recommendation online.

4. Paying digitally for real products

They ask if I’d like one sending to my address, and tell me it will cost 5 metacoins. (It’s highly likely a metaverse will run on some form of cryptocurrency-based economy.)

I confirm I’d like that, and before departing, they ask if I’m going abroad anytime soon. I say yes, that’s why I’m buying the suncream. After discovering I’m going to Thailand for a wedding, they book me in for a travel vaccination in the real pharmacy. I’m given the option of paying in cryptocurrency or GBP. Since we’re in my imagination, I’m rolling in metacoins. So I book and pay for my travel vaccines there and then.

Returning home, by which I mean removing my digital spectacles, the sun cream I needed is on its way and I’m booked in.

How could a metaverse pharmacy operate?

There’s an obvious reality that cannot be digitised. You cannot physically treat a digital avatar. Any metaverse pharmacy could focus on prescriptions and consultations, health advice and e-commerce – but vaccinations and other physical treatments would still require a physical location.

Would a metaverse pharmacy expand the boundaries of catchment areas?

This depends on exactly how metaverse technology develops.

If it develops into a singular cyberspace, a platform like the Internet, then it would benefit pharmacies with a strong digital presence across social media, or pharmacies with lots of directory links from other places.

Monopoly Concerns

However, if a company like Meta monopolises a single metaverse, with restricted digital real estate, it’s entirely possible that one monstrous behemoth metaverse pharmacy employs tens of thousands of pharmacists to manage millions of virtual reality goggle-wielding patients. After all, if geography is no longer a barrier, there’s nothing stopping a once-limited by physical space conglomeration from serving everyone who needs a health consultation.

It’s an open door for tech-giants like Amazon – fulfilling a centralised prescription/eCommerce logistics contract in partnership with a huge centralised pharmacy. Perhaps Amazon even becomes that huge centralised pharmacy.

However, there are question marks here over how viable these mass-market solutions are. Amazon have issues keeping their warehouses fully staffed as it is. So, hopefully, this type of monopolising conglomerate never materialises. But if it does, I for one welcome and have always welcomed Overlord Bezos.

Avoiding this requires a decentralised metaverse (like the aforementioned Decentraland.) The community governing the rules means less capacity for tyrannical power.

A new meaning of social networks and links

At the moment, backlinks work by linking from one website to another. Building links on a metaverse could transport you from one place to another.

For instance, imagine ending a metaverse GP visit with a link to a metaverse pharmacy, transporting you instantly from the metaverse doctor to the metaverse pharmacist. You get an NFT prescription unique to you, with an EPS system which works on the blockchain. And within 10 minutes, issuing and delivering your prescription is complete, securely and conveniently.

In that way, your prescription base could be entirely dependent on your metaverse partnerships. Your professional network online could form the foundation of your metaverse business. The more metaverse GP’s linking to your metaverse pharmacy, the more referrals you get.

Of course this is conjecture right now. But based on the way the Internet works currently, it’s a realistic projection of how the metaverse could function.

So how far away is mainstream metaverse pharmacy?

For any metaverse going mainstream, it requires a few different technologies working together.

  • Currency, being crypto or otherwise.
  • Blockchain
  • NFTs (ownership of digital assets)
  • Internet of Things

Whilst this tech is all in its infancy, it’s unlikely we’ll see mainstream adoption of metaverse. Healthcare is probably the last industry the metaverse will affect, since it’s so highly regulated.

But smartphones had issues when they first came out, and there’s no doubting the impact they’ve had on our world.

In 5-10 years, when these technologies develop, the metaverse will follow shortly after.

So should I…y’know…do something?

My personal advice for preparing for something like the Metaverse is treating it a bit like cryptocurrency.

  1. Being aware of its existence, and understanding potential consequences is fundamental.
  2. If you wanted to try and get in early, the potential returns could be massive. Imagine being the only fully operational metapharmacy, if prescriptions suddenly became able to be dispensed through the metaverse…
  3. However, caution is mandatory with such a rapidly shifting landscape. Investing thousands into a metaverse pharmacy only for the technology to change could render your entire investment worthless.

I think it’s a case of when, rather than if, pharmacies will enter the metaverse.

Understanding that you might need an entry plan at some point means that when the time comes, you’ll be readier than most.

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A successful Travel Clinic is one of the most profitable private services for Community Pharmacies. But how is success achieved? How are those profits unlocked? Let’s go through the Top 5 ways any community pharmacy can boost their Travel Clinic bookings.

Is running a Travel Clinic worth it?

By now, most pharmacists in the UK understand the opportunity of Travel Clinics. But that’s the drawback for a lot of people. “Everyone’s doing it,” you think. It’s not worth doing when it’s so competitive, right?

Wrong.

Making your Travel Clinic successful

Despite the fact that a lot of pharmacies now run Travel Clinics, unless your local competitor happens to be dominating the space, it’s absolutely worth your pharmacy running one too. Even if they are dominating the space, it’s likely because there is no competition.

1. A Travel Clinic Website

Travel Clinics have huge revenue potential. Some of our clients make enough money from their Travel Clinic alone, it is its own business. Any successful Travel Clinic should have its own website. Just in the same way that Argos is owned by Sainsbury’s. You’ll often find Argos stores within Sainsbury’s stores, and yet the websites are kept completely separate.

Why?

Because they’re two separate businesses, with different services and products on offer, trying to jam everything into one website dilutes the message and dilutes the brand.

Some of main benefits of a separate Travel Clinic website:

  • A more intuitive patient journey with specific online booking calendars
  • Doesn’t confuse your pharmacy website
  • Focused Travel Clinic content

Google Adverts for your Travel Clinic

What do you do when you know what you need but you don’t know where to get it? It certainly isn’t flicking through the yellow pages anymore. You do what everyone does. You Google it.

I’ve heard people judge Google Ads before they’ve tried it. “I don’t click on ads,” they said. They presupposed that because they didn’t click on Ads, nobody does.

Do people click on ads?

The reality is, people do. Without getting too bogged down with the hows and the wherefores, most searches don’t have commercial intent. Around 93% of searches on Google are either informational or navigational, according to a survey. And those people do not click on adverts, in general. Of course they don’t. If you’re looking up how to cook fish, it’s unlikely you’re clicking on an advert selling fish, no matter how low the low prices are. Because if you’re looking up how to cook it, the chances are you already have the fish.

But if you’re searching for cheap fish, then the odds of you clicking that ad leap like a salmon.

A 2021 study carried out by GroupM UK and Nielsen reported that 94% of total search engine clicks go to organic results, with just 6% of click share left for paid search ads.

The stats for searches with commercial intent (7%) matching up with the overall click share of searches being (6%) shows that, contrary to popular opinion, searches with commercial intent do get clicks. Which is great, because those are the clicks you’re after. Paying for people to click on your ad when they aren’t booking an appointment is a waste of money.

2. Google Maps Ads

Google Maps advertising is a recent addition to the marketing arsenal available to pharmacies. Just in the same way you would advertise anywhere else, Google Maps advertises…well, in Google Maps. When people search on Google Maps for “Travel Vaccines”, “Travel Clinic” and other related searches, that is a HUGE signal of intent. You don’t ask generally for directions unless you’re on the way.

Appearing at the top of the results on Google Maps is a great way of increasing walk-ins for your Travel Clinic. And because it’s new, there isn’t a lot of competition on the platform.

3. Google Search Ads

If you want any proof that Google Search Ads work, you only need look at who’s currently running them in your area when you Google “Travel Clinic”. More often than not, it’s the big boys.

I can’t compete with them,” you say. The reason the top results on Google win is convenience. Shopping around takes time. But community pharmacies win at convenience. The likelihood is that people will pick the option closest to them, and that’s you. (For example, my nearest Clinic by clicking on a big supplier was in a neighbouring town, over 30 minutes drive away.) If there was a rivalling community pharmacy with an option close to the top on Google, I’d 100% go there instead.

Search Engines – Get found for “Travel Clinic” in your area

A common misunderstanding with websites is that just having one is enough. Without understanding the intricacies of the Internet, it’s a fair assumption. But having a website is just like having a pharmacy. If it isn’t listed on the map, how can people find it?

How do search engines work?

Search Engines like Google help Internet users navigate the world wide web. You almost certainly know that already. Like you know that when you put your foot down on the accelerator, your car goes forward. And you can know that, but not understand how the engine works. The same is true for how Search Engines work. You understand what they do, but not how they work.

Every website is designed, just like every car is assembled. But just like a Mini Metro is built differently to a Ferrari Enzo, website design varies too.

Search Engines regularly run what are essentially MOT’s across all websites, assessing them for suitability for users.

4. Optimising your Website for Search Engines

Optimising your Website for Search Engines is like letting an engineer fine-tune your car before it goes in for its MOT. Without it, you probably won’t check all the boxes, and you’ll be ranked lower. With it, you’ll tick every box and have a much higher chance of ranking amongst the top results on Google.

5. Optimised Travel Clinic Content helps your website get found

Search engines will only point people in the direction of your website if it thinks your website has what they’re looking for.

How do the search engines know if your website has what they’re looking for? You write content for it.

For instance, if you want to be found for Yellow Fever Vaccines? Create a page specifically for Yellow Fever. Answer some FAQ’s and away you go.

Want to learn more about how content on your website can help drive footfall into your pharmacy? Check out Why every Community Pharmacy should be Blogging.

Read our Complete Guide to Winning Google for…a Complete Guide to Winning Google. It breaks down SEO, how people use Google and how combining the knowledge of those two things gets your pharmacy higher up that results page.

Combining these three tactics is a winner

How do we know? Every Travel Clinic we’ve helped market using all three of these tactics in their strategy is a successful business.  (Website/Ads/SEO).

Want Pharmacy Mentor’s help with your own Travel Clinic marketing? Book in a call for a chat with our Pharmacy Growth Specialists.

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There are lots of guides for all the processes and procedures of selling your pharmacy. This is not one of them. In this guide, we’ll focus entirely on how digitisation can raise your sale price.

Selling Your Pharmacy 101

When it comes to selling your pharmacy, you obviously want the best price possible. But for every person selling a pharmacy, there’s someone buying. They want the best price too. So how do you go about convincing that buyer to spend more money on your pharmacy business?

It starts by thinking like a buyer.

Do pharmacy buyers know how valuable their digital asset is worth?

What do buyers want when buying a pharmacy?

Some of the main considerations when purchasing a pharmacy are:

  • How profitable the business is
  • Whether revenue is trending up or down
  • The potential for growing the business
  • Spotting opportunities to save money where the existing business doesn’t
  • The volume and mix of prescriptions
  • The categorical mix of the pharmacy’s patients, e.g. clinical, prescription, retail
  • Status of contracts

But the main considerations we’ll explore in this article are the ones we’ve highlighted.

Whilst there are people who prefer buying struggling businesses and turning them around, most buyers want a healthy business. The majority of bets in a horse race are on the favourite. And higher profit margins equals a higher purchase price.

Stable. Replicable. Predictable.

But here’s the rub. What buyers really value is continuity in those high profits. The continuation of that upwards revenue trend. It’s great that you’re generating all those profits. But if you leave the business? Taking your extensive local knowledge, partnerships you’ve developed over years, and the understanding of your pharmacy team with you? Where’s the assurance that the healthy business they’ve bought won’t fall down around their ears?

What they want, with a healthy business, is business as usual. Stability in transition. Predictability for the future, which means replicable business practice. Savvy pharmacy buyers will poke holes in valuations that don’t have these characteristics, driving down the price. So in this instance, digitisation doesn’t necessarily raise the price of your pharmacy, but it does prevent it from being driven down.

The more systemised, the more automated, the more robust processes in place, the better. Digitisation is a major component in all three.

How do digital systems increase the value of your pharmacy?

Well, in the purest form, digital systems, (e.g. websites) are an asset. If your pharmacy is worth £980,000 and you spend £20k on a website, now your pharmacy is worth £1m. So if you’re planning on selling your pharmacy, a website is a reasonably risk-free investment, as you can build it into the value of your business.

Naturally, that only works if you own the website. Website rental software, the type you pay for year-on-year, doesn’t belong to you, nor does any data contained within it. Therefore, you cannot build it into the value of your business.

Another way digital systems increase the value of your pharmacy, is the opportunity for revenue growth, especially in the future.

An existing marketing list, a website where several of your services get found on Google, an engaged audience on Social Media…these are all things that take time to cultivate. And time = money. Especially time well spent.

Since pharmacy sales usually take a while to go through, provided you haven’t even begun the process yet, you’ve still got plenty of time to digitise your pharmacy.

Why ignoring data is a disaster

For a start, let’s make one thing clear. Data is the most valuable commodity in the world. That’s why companies like Google, Amazon and Meta are so big.

There are three important questions to answer before you can assuredly include data into the valuation of your business.

What data does your pharmacy business own? (Important distinction which I will clarify later)

How does your pharmacy collect data?

What does your pharmacy do with the data?

How valuable data appears throughout your Digital Ecosystem

  • A proper website provides digital infrastructure which both harvests and utilises useful data for your pharmacy business
  • A healthy social media presence helps transition a change of management with the pharmacy’s existing community
  • Email Marketing Lists retarget existing pharmacy users and drive repeat business
  • EPOS systems with key consumer insights both in-store and via eCommerce help with retail sales and promotions
  • Paid advertising accounts with data on previous campaigns aid future campaigns

There are always due diligence processes during the purchase of a pharmacy, ensuring a pharmacy is as it claims in the listing. Data is concrete. It can’t be questioned.

Google Analytics for Your Website

Let’s say you’re top of Google, and you get 1,000 clicks per month on that page. With a quick calculation on Google Ads, you can understand how much each click is worth for the keyword you’re ranking for.

If it costs £1/click for you to appear on Ads for “Yellow Fever Vaccine” and you’re getting 1k clicks per month? That’s £1k/month you can incorporate into the value of your business.

But you cannot do that without having the data. You cannot have that data without having a website. And this is why digitisation built into your business is a really quick way to increase the value of your business.

Don’t own your website? You don’t own the data within it either.

In the same way that if you owned a fleet of vans, you can incorporate the assets into the value of a business, but you can’t if they’re rentals, you can’t incorporate either a website or its data into your business valuation if you don’t own them.

Want some other quick ways to increase the value of your pharmacy?

A good yardstick for measuring the progress of your pharmacy by taking The Perfect Pharmacy Scorecard. 30 questions. 5 minutes. Tailored report, with advice for improvement in each area depending on how you score. Then a 5-day email action-plan diving into more detail on each major area of a pharmacy business (non-clinical).

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How much should pharmacies spend on marketing?
How much should you spend on marketing your pharmacy? It’s a question we get a lot. With a few things to consider, this article gives some insight into our experience with client budgets and success rates.

How to get comfortable with your marketing budget

Spending money marketing your pharmacy is no longer optional. Nowadays, if you’re not marketing your pharmacy, even your existing patients are at risk of being poached by either online pharmacies or local pharmacies who are marketing. But it’s important to know your pharmacy marketing spend.

When it comes to your pharmacy revenue, it’s natural to want more. More patients. More profit.

But when it comes to marketing spend for your pharmacy? Suddenly you’ll feel an overwhelming urge to want less. Less agency fees. Less advertising budget.

And that’s understandable. You don’t want to pay any more than you should, but you recognise that speculating and accumulating often correlate. The balance of what you’ll end up paying usually lies somewhere between the two.

Know when to say no

Unless a pharmacy is prepared to be marketed, piling loads of money into a marketing campaign is wasteful. Just because you want something to happen, doesn’t mean it will.

More budget does not necessarily equal more sales (though of course, in the right circumstances it can). This is simply a word of caution against flawed marketing. Many people have been burnt by either inefficient, incompetent, or inept marketing at some point in their past.

Make sure whoever’s responsible for your marketing has a good track record, or knows your industry or business incredibly well. Preferably both. Not everything in marketing works all of the time, but controlling the parameters is important so nothing ever gets out of hand.

Pharmacy Mentor is proactive with this, working with our clients to understand how the strategy is impacting their business, and changing the tactics if needed.

Marketing Budget as a % of Revenue

how much should you spend on marketing your pharmacy? this graph shows a range of figures from different industries, where healthcare, which is the relevant industry to pharmacy, shows 10% of total revenue should be spent on marketing.

Source: The CMO Survey & Deloitte Digital

What needs bearing in mind with this statistic is that whilst 10% of an average community pharmacy turnover (between 50k-100k/month) seems like a lot of marketing spend, (£5k-10k/month) this figure incorporates things like wages or agency fees, as well as the time you spend on research, recruitment, and training, which ultimately has a monetary value.

One of the benefits of using an independent community pharmacy marketing agency like Pharmacy Mentor, is that you’re already saving on the cost of hiring and training an employee.

R.O.I. (Return on investment)

This is understandably at the forefront of pharmacy business owners’ minds. You want the most bang for your proverbial buck. Income must be balanced with outgoings, after all. Typically the way people think about this is “how many patients are going to come into my pharmacy as a result of this marketing action?”

That obviously would generate a good figure in your head of what you’d like to spend. If you stand to make £1k from a marketing action, then naturally you’d spend £500 on it. And whilst that’s certainly a measure, the issue is a little more nuanced. How do you know what you stand to make, for instance? This is where the reliable agency comes into play. It’s why an agency specialising in an industry is ideal. Because you have to rely on experience to know what’s possible, to understand what you’re likely to get. And therefore, what the right amount to invest is.

Visible R.O.I.

Sales and leads are an essential part of any business, and so this is naturally something you’ll want to see as a result of your marketing. Digital marketing is amazing for tracking and analysing stats, so provided you get your analytical tools set up, measuring the effectiveness of your spending is available from the first visitor to your website to the last person to click on a Facebook Ad. Measuring how many people it takes to see your advert before you get a conversion into a sale helps you understand how much budget you need to put into an advert, for instance.

But what about websites? It’s baffling that people would spend more on a billboard advertisement than they would on their website. An advert may cost you £500 for one month and get 10,000 eyeballs on it. Your website will last a minimum of 5 years, and if it’s done right, will attract hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of visitors over the course of this time. And people don’t want to spend over £1,000 on this? A good website, and search engine optimisation which helps people find it through Search Engines like Google, are the most cost-effective investments you can make. Trying to cut corners and reducing your marketing budget on areas like this hamstrings your business’s potential for growth.

Invisible R.O.I.

The invisible R.O.I. is hard to measure, for obvious reasons. But it does exist. And sometimes it can be the most powerful return from your marketing.

If I asked you to name a brand of sportswear, you’d probably immediately think of Nike, or Adidas. This is because they’ve marketed so relentlessly and consistently that they’re the first thing that comes to mind. Now, you might not race out to buy their trainers when you see their adverts, but the fact you remember them is the invisible ROI I’m talking about.

And this is something that directly correlates with your marketing budget. What price would you put on being the first place people thought of when they need healthcare, be it a service or a retail product? That figure may be hard to quantify, but it’s certainly worth bearing in mind when you’re considering how much to invest in advertising. It’s also a consideration when thinking about your branding budget, which is a much ignored, yet important part of marketing.

For a local business, you might only ever be able to get to the forefront of your local community’s minds, but that does require significantly less spend than a national campaign. You can also lean heavily on your personal branding, and the fact that your local community will recognise your face online. For bigger businesses, or online pharmacies, it’s far more important that your branding stands out, because that’s how people both recognise and remember you.

Diminishing returns in pharmacy marketing

The law of diminishing returns certainly applies to marketing to your local community.

How are websites like wine? Read below.

Turning Websites into Wine

To continue with the example of websites, it’s a bit like a bottle of wine. You don’t want to buy a really cheap one, because you won’t like it, and you might as well not have bothered. It’s a complete waste of money.

You can also overspend. No matter how much money you put into it, there is only so good a bottle of wine can get.

The happy medium, where you spend £7-15, you’ll probably find a perfectly good bottle of wine that does the job.

It’s pretty much the same with websites. The average community pharmacy should be spending between £4-10k on a website, depending on their current need. Only much bigger businesses should be spending more than that. Any less than that, and you’re looking at something which probably isn’t worth the money you’re investing into it.

Services

Let’s say you’re advertising a Flu Vaccine Clinic. There is only a certain amount of people that will come to your pharmacy for the jab. Obviously, if all of those people have signed up for their jab, you wouldn’t want to continue to push your ad out and spend extra budget. But what’s slightly less obvious is the point where your spend stops being as efficient. This is all about measuring and analysing. Over the course of a few months, you can tell where the optimal level of budget is for that service, and adjust your budget accordingly, in that instance, for the next flu season.

eCommerce

Products, on the other hand, provided you are able to ship nationally, have a much higher ceiling for saturating your market. If all people have to do to buy from you is tap a button on their phone, then it doesn’t matter if they’re in Gretna Green or Greenwich. You can spend a lot more on marketing eCommerce before it stops being effective. Of course, you need to have an effective eCommerce website to be worth spending money on sending people to it. Check out our guide on creating a successful eCommerce website here.

So how much should I budget for my pharmacy marketing?

The devil is absolutely in the details here, and it definitely does differ from pharmacy to pharmacy depending on what your objectives are.

Newer pharmacies, or pharmacies that haven’t previously had a digital presence, should be spending more on brand awareness, specifically in your local community. This will typically skew your budget towards things like SEO & Social Media. But once you’ve established yourselves as a brand online, it’s time to focus on converting that awareness into business.

At that point, you’ll want to heavily invest in a digital ecosystem. Central to this system is an awesome pharmacy website, allowing clinical bookings, EPS nomination, data collection, online payments and attracting patients from search engines with great SEO content. You’ll also want to invest in email marketing, which helps retain your patients and drives more revenue from people who’ve already used your business.

All these things are part of a wider strategy. Some elements that might be less costly are still important. Just like the tyres on a car don’t cost as much as the engine, but you can’t run a car without them. It’s important that you invest in a whole strategy.

It’s also worth bearing in mind, that a website is an investment you only need every 5-10 years. Divide your total spend by between 60-120 to find your monthly spend depending on how many years you expect the website will last.

Marketing spend for Quickly Growing Your Pharmacy Business

After noticeable growth in your business, in either your prescriptions or clinical arms? For example, if you’re starting a new private clinic, a spend of around 6-10% of your monthly revenue is normal. 

Marketing spend for Maintaining the Growth of Your Pharmacy Business

If you’re feeling the pinch with the competition and you’re looking at preventing any drop-off, and maintaining your churn rate, you’re looking at less investment. Nevertheless, you still need to invest between 2-5% of your monthly revenue, which is usually enough for keeping your business healthy.

Spending Less on your Pharmacy Marketing?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that cutting your expenses is a good thing. It’s only good if you’re still getting the same returns. Marketing is an investment in growing your business. If you’re spending below the figures we’re talking about, the likelihood is that you’re missing out on business. Your pharmacy will suffer in the long run as a result of these budget cuts.

Want to get real specific?

Without talking to you about your specific services and business objectives, there’s no way we can be more specific than giving you a general idea of the budget you should commit to marketing.

Talking to our Pharmacy Growth Consultants is a great next step if you’re looking to make better use of your marketing budget.

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