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.
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.
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.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Pharmacy-Google-Maps-Ads-Get-seen-first-on-Maps.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-07-22 11:00:592022-07-22 11:44:13Pharmacy Google Maps Ads: Get seen first on Maps
Big Data played a massive role during the pandemic, and it’s set to continue changing the world of pharmacy.
Big Data affects pharmacy owners and pharmacists of any kind. And its impact is growing 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.
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.
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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https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/How-is-Big-Data-changing-pharmacy.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-07-21 13:30:282022-10-10 09:06:40How is Big Data changing pharmacy?
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, Meta. Their 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).
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)
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.
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.
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.
Being aware of its existence, and understanding potential consequences is fundamental.
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…
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?
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.
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.
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).
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/The-Top-5-ways-to-boost-Travel-Clinic-bookings-in-your-Pharmacy-1.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-06-25 08:00:402022-07-12 11:08:26The Top 5 ways to boost Travel Clinic bookings in your Pharmacy
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.
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).
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/PM-Selling-Your-Pharmacy-3.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-06-25 07:51:482022-06-25 07:51:48Selling Your Pharmacy? To increase your value, don’t ignore the data.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 QuicklyGrowing 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.
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With massive advances in recent years, AI in pharmacy isn’t far away. And the changes AI will bring to pharmacy promise to be massive.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Artificial Intelligence is another term for machine learning. It traces its roots back to World War 2. Alan Turing, a renowned logician, was recruited to break the German military’s Enigma Code – a process that could not have been achieved by humans. The machines (called Bombes) learned what to do, effectively by learning what not to do, using laws of logic. Similarly, machines are now more than a match for humans at Chess, demonstrating that when it comes to logic, the human brain has limitations that machine learning does not.
Whilst the application of AI has advanced significantly since then, the core concept of how it works is pretty much identical. Humans use available information as well as reason in order to solve problems and make decisions, so why can’t machines do the same thing?
The limitation has always been the amount of information that computers can store. But increasingly, with storage (where the AI stores its knowledge) and the data sets (from which AI can learn) both massively increasing over the decades, this limitation is a thing of the past.
AI is inextricably linked to Big Data, which is just as important, if not moreso, as the data is what gives the AI the information to learn. There’s no point in having a big brain if you never learn anything. Arguably, AI is worthless without the data to learn from, whereas we’d at least be able to interpret Big Data in a limited capacity with our soft, human brains.
How does AI impact Pharmacy right now?
The frontline of pharmacy is probably yet to feel the full force of the impact AI is making on the wider Pharmaceutical Industry. Whilst facial recognition and speech pattern monitors can be used to detect rare diseases, it isn’t like these systems are in operation in community pharmacies.
Something that is more accessible is compliance technology. though perhaps not in the guise that it’s needed quite yet.
Another accessible option for pharmacies is artificial intelligence Sentiment Analysers, which are in a trial phases of a rollout for things like phone calls.
Sentiment analysers are artificial intelligence programmes that analyse either text, or speech & voice patterns and detect in real-time how a person is feeling based on that analysis. If you’ve ever used Grammarly, and it’s shown you how your writing might come across to your readers, that is sentiment analysis at work.
Now, you might think it’s obvious when someone is angry at you on the phone. And it is. But over the course of hundreds of phone calls, seeing the analysis of the trigger words which cause this anger, as well as the words used to calm people, might well give you insights leading to more effective phone conversations. Not only for you, but your entire team. This is the sort of insight that it’s almost impossible to analyse when we’re the ones holding the phone conversations, as we’re usually focused on what we’re doing, rather than analysing ourselves.
How can AI impact Pharmacy in the future?
The limit to this question will be found in the limitation of the human imagination. Pointed in the right direction, and given the right data, there aren’t many areas that AI can’t improve.
Drug development & efficacy (both linked to genetics)
Not all of these directly impact pharmacy, but pharmacy feels the ripple effects of the shock waves in healthcare.
These are the areas that AI can impact pharmacy. But let’s look in more detail at some of the areas where AI almost certainly will impact Pharmacy in the future.
Driverless cars across all roads are still decades away, say experts in the field of AI. But the rollout of smaller, driverless delivery vans like the type that deliver Domino’s Pizza are on the horizon.
Depending on your model, your preferences and your priorities, you might reject this idea.
“I like my delivery driver and they have a great relationship with the patients,” you say. I think that there’s definitely a big argument for retaining the service of a delivery driver. Especially considering serving an elderly population who aren’t tech savvy. They aren’t going to want to start messing around with PINs sent by text and entering it into the van. And there’s also a strong argument for the social contact that delivery drivers give isolated patients being a part of the service to the community.
However, there is a credible argument for utilising both driverless and driver…ful vans. Just like the Pharmaself24 works alongside your counter staff, the driverless delivery van could be a great addition to your arsenal. It gives a green option to a more tech-savvy, environmentally conscious generation. And a more convenient option to those who don’t need social contact from the delivery driver.
From the perspective of a pharmacy business owner, it’s another case of automation making fiscal sense. Why pay for another delivery driver and a van, when you can just pay once for a driverless van? That isn’t necessarily a rhetorical question, but it’s certainly one you’d consider from a business perspective.
Monitoring Patient Behaviours
AI can revolutionise healthcare, not just pharmacy.
It would rely on some sort of large shared database, as machines, like humans, can only learn from information they have access to. But coupled with Big Data from health apps, medical records and other sources (ideally encrypted, protected from third parties and shared across healthcare institutions) Artificial intelligence should allow frontline healthcare professionals like pharmacists incredible insights to inform patient conversations with.
Imagine having the knowledge that 43 year old men statistically don’t finish their course of antibiotics, or that people from a certain background traditionally don’t respond well to a certain medication. Think about how much great advice you can give. If you weren’t in a care setting, you’d clap your hands together and evil laugh with all the power now at your disposal. And I painted that hyperbolic picture tongue-in-cheek because, naturally, patients still need to be treated as individuals. This sort of power shouldn’t blind us to the need for individual care. But it certainly makes giving tailored care easier.
This is an important one for pharmacies to pay attention to for two reasons.
AI knows cardiac patterns which lead to serious issues, and people wearing health tech can be given early warning signs. The more innovation happens with wearables, the more interventions can be made proactively, instead of reactively. Which in healthcare, makes a massive difference. It’s a lot easier to prevent a heart attack than it is to recover from one.
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. AI will do most of the legwork here when it comes to interpreting and analysing the data. As the pharmacist, it will be your job to give tailored advice based on the AI’s findings. Perhaps it’s a dietary change, perhaps an increase in exercise, perhaps it’s a prescription. Either way, it’s very similar to general health checks now, except far more informed by data, not only from that specific patient, but by all the data gathered by wearables.
Pharmacies perfectly positioned purveyors
The second reason this is important for pharmacists, is because pharmacies should already be looking to be leading distributors of wearable health technology. When people buy in-person, it’s because they want advice about the products from experts. Who better to sell wearable health technology than the health professional who works with them? When the world of wearables reaches its peak, you don’t want to be just learning about them. This is a relevant retail offering, and the sooner you get on board, the better for your pharmacy business. Activity trackers are only the beginning of wearable health tech. Innovations in this area will continue to develop, with nano-technology making the wearables less cumbersome and easier to wear. But it is AI, which makes everything possible.
Of course, there’s going to be people who reject wearing technology, for a number of reasons. So it won’t immediately make every patient interaction super easy. But for the ones who do, you can look forward to better informed consultations.
Monitoring Fraudulent Behaviour
It feels as though I read about a struck-off pharmacist every other week for some fraudulent behaviour or other. But the beauty of AI, especially when coupled with shared data, such as from SystmOne, is that once fraudulent behaviour happens, and happens, and happens again, the system learns the unconscious patterns in an organisation that lead to fraudulent behaviour. The financial world deploys similar systems. In fact, $217 billion has been spent on AI systems preventing fraud and assessing risk within the banking industry alone. Obviously, the expense of these systems is large (these systems usually start at around £100k), however, as technology advances, it will grow increasingly more affordable.
It isn’t just pharmacist fraud either. Prescription fraud faces a tough future, (provided we move to a fully digitised system,) not just with AI detecting fraudulent patient behaviour, but also from blockchain technology. Blockchain is actually the better of the two at stopping fraud (certainly for now) as current anti-fraud AI technology doesn’t work in real-time.
We could wish for AI tomorrow and end up regretting embracing the technology too fast, or for the wrong reasons, Black Mirror style.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Well, probably the worst-case scenario is the malevolent use of Big Data. There’s a definite argument for whoever controls the data holding too much power. Especially as corporations, whose primary directive is to make more money, are the ones investing heavily in AI. This is especially true if one company ends up as the dominant force in the industry.
Coincidentally, a short while after I wrote the sentence about Big Data being used malevolently, I came across a company called Benevolent AI, involved in drug discovery & development. It’s either sheer coincidence, or the AI industry is already proactively setting the perception this kind of criticism.
AI – Always Infallible?
There’s also the potential for AI to get things wrong. When you consider that it learns solely from data, without the experience or the perspective of a human, then what happens when the data it’s making decisions on is inaccurate, or incomplete? For instance, facial recognition technology isn’t as effective on Black & Asian faces. Imprisoning incorrectly is an issue. Diagnosing incorrectly and prescribing medication for an ailment someone doesn’t have? Also not ideal. Now, there are failsafes we can put in place. But misinterpreted data, or conclusions drawn from incomplete data are potential pitfalls that need accounting for.
What do I need to do as a pharmacist?
Eventually AI will go mainstream and become the default in healthcare settings. As and when this happens, naturally everyone must adapt.
But until that point, my advice is proactively seek out these technologies and innovations, as soon as you can. They make your life easier, and your patients lives better.
Why would you not want that as soon as possible?
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Pharmacy Dispensing Robots can revolutionise pharmacy workflow. But significant investments require confidence in the option you’re picking. This guide curates some of the best offerings on the market into one place, giving you convenience and guidance to start your journey to the promised land of automated dispensing.
Prescription Dispensing Robots, broken down into parts.
If you’ve arrived at this page, you’re probably quite advanced in your decision to acquire a Pharmacy Dispensing Robot. Dispensing Robots automate tasks like dispensing pills, searching for medication, and managing stock levels. They can radically change the workflow of your pharmacy.
But when it comes to all the different options offered by providers, the analysis paralysis is real. Even just one provider has a wide range of options – it’s tricky to narrow down exactly the specification you need. Finding the sweet spot of balancing the cost to impact ratio is the end goal, but with so many options, it’s easy to feel overloaded with information.
So before you decide on four arms or one, Chaotic or Channel-fed dispensing, storing or packaging…read this guide and make your life a little easier. After all, that’s what Pharmacy Robots are supposed to do!
Most community pharmacies have a pharmacy website. But just having a website is pointless if it doesn’t serve a purpose for your pharmacy.
What makes a good pharmacy website?
A good pharmacy website is one that creates value for your business. Good pharmacy websites are assets, just like a member of your team. And just like a member of your team, your website should be nurtured, not neglected.
This is a list of 5 features you should treat your website to. With all these in place, you’ll quickly see the value of a “good” pharmacy website.
1. Discoverability (Search Engine Optimisation)
Creating a website that gets no visitors is about as useful as opening up a pharmacy in the middle of the Sahara desert. Ie, you just shouldn’t bother.
With every website should be a plan to acquire visitors. Don’t have one? Get one.
A lot of people expect that somehow when their website is built, visitors will sort of just, happen.
There’s a definite blind spot between consumers and website designers, where consumers expect this to be part of their website build, and designers don’t ask the right questions for the client to realise that the on-page content needs to be optimised for search engines to pick it up.
So, whose responsibility is it?
I sympathise a little with the designers. Designers see themselves as architects, not interior designers. You wouldn’t expect your architect to choose your wallpaper. That’s how most web developers see the written content on your website. As your responsibility. After all, their speciality is coding, not writing.
However, I sympathise more with the business buying the website. Websites are relatively new, compared to my analogy of houses and architects. And because they’re new, there isn’t a common understanding of how they work. So in my view, it’s on the agency, service provider to make sure the client is at least aware of what having a website entails.
However, there are a surprising number of web development agencies who wash their hands of the success of a website once it leaves the design phase.
We are very transparent with our clients that without an SEO strategy in place to attract visitors to their site, the website won’t be as effective.
What is SEO and how does it attract visitors?
If you don’t know what SEO is or how it works, I’d strongly recommend you check out our complete guide to SEO. But in a nutshell, SEO is the process of optimising your website so it shows up on search engines.
SEO tells Google what searches you’d like to show up for
Whilst there are a lot of technical aspects that contribute to SEO that do fall under the responsibility of your web development team, your on-page content (ie the words on your website) determines which search terms you want your website to show up for. So it’s massively important this is given the attention it deserves, not swept under the rug like it often is.
Is there no other way to attract visitors?
Technically, there could be other ways you attract visitors to your pharmacy website, but realistically, most pharmacies don’t have anything like the right online infrastructure in place to do this. For instance, you could have a great email or social media funnel which regularly links to your website. But even if you did, that’s no reason to close the door on an opportunity to attract thousands of new visitors.
2. Modern, mobile-friendly design
Design matters so much when it comes to your website. Website design isn’t just how a website looks, but also how it works, how it’s laid out, and how easy it is to use. And especially nowadays, how easy it is to use on a mobile device.
Why design of a pharmacy website matters so much
In this whole section on design, and I can’t promise it will end there, user expectations will dominate the conversation.
Expectation vs Reality
There are three levels to expectations. You can either exceed, meet, or fall short of them. And at the time of writing, so many pharmacy websites fall short of the public’s expectations.
Where do these expectations come from? Experience. And not just with a pharmacy website. But with any website.
Your pharmacy website should be as easy to use as any modern website, because that’s what you’re up against in the eyes of the public.
If your website doesn’t meet expectations, people will leave, and quickly.
Great design starts with good foundations, but it shouldn’t end there. Once your site is live, you can analyse how users are interacting with your site.
Understanding how your users behave on your website helps you create an even better design, which encourages more users to spend more time on your pharmacy website. The longer they spend on your website, the more they understand what you offer. The more they understand what you offer, the more likely they are to take you up on that offer. It’s a lovely little chain that all starts with the design of your site.
What are the expectations of a pharmacy website?
Expectations for a pharmacy website would be the same as the expectations of a pharmacy:
Clean and spacious feel
Clearly signposted areas of interest e.g., prescriptions, clinics, products
Short waiting times
Information & advice available on demand
Ability to book and pay for services & products
The more you imagine replicating your pharmacy experience on your website, the better your website will be.
A good user experience (UX)
The bar for best practice is constantly being raised, as both technology and developer’s skills improve. This is why older designs aren’t feasible anymore. It’s like modern cars being designed without anti-lock brakes, or power steering. The technology is there, so there’s no excuse to not incorporate it into your design. Asking people to use your old website with poor functionality is like trying to sell a car from the ’90s in a new showroom. No one’s going to accept it.
3. Updated Information
Updated information on a pharmacy website helps both you and your community. The last thing your pharmacy team needs is pressure from patients who’ve read something on your website that doesn’t apply anymore, such as opening times, or prices.
Consistently updating your website might seem like a lot of effort. But if you think of how many people that information serves, compared to how many times you’d have to individually explain it over the phone or in-person…it is actually a time-saver.
Imagine how many fewer phone calls you’d get if your website had up-to-date COVID information on it. (Now, that particular example is extreme, as it isn’t your information, and it’s changing constantly, but it’s a relevant example for the moment.)
Search engines love updated content
Updated information also helps with your on-page SEO, which we talked about earlier. Search engines want to give their users the most relevant information for their queries, so fresh information has a better chance of being recommended more highly.
4. Booking Calendar
A booking calendar gives all your online marketing activities a focal point. It gives your customer journey a finish line. In short, as a pharmacy aiming for more clinical bookings – it’s your marketing’s raison d’etre (the reason it exists).
Directing people to your booking calendar
Social Media Posts
Now, this doesn’t mean that every time you make any post on social media ever, you link your booking calendar. But anything that relates to your services can (and should) absolutely have a link to book the service in question.
The same goes for any blog posts you do. The reason you should be blogging is to drive relevant traffic to your website. Relevant, in a pharmacy’s case, means people who might well become patients or customers. Throughout these blogs, but especially at the end of the blog, you need to provide a link and show people they’re able to book now.
If the blog is about a health condition, there’s a good chance they’ve just searched their symptoms on Google. Now they’ve come to your website because of the updated information on your website that you’ve optimised for search engines, (see points 1 & 3), you might link to booking a consultation with a pharmacist.
If they found your private clinic page, it means they’re looking for treatment, and there should be an option to book that treatment, making it as easy as possible for people to use your pharmacy.
Free up your pharmacy team
Your pharmacy team is too busy to handle bookings. Especially when it’s often not just bookings, but rescheduling or cancellations. (20% to 30% of patients cancel or re-book their medical appointments ((Well App, 2021)).
This pharmacy website has a separate booking calendar for each category of clinical services.
Improve Your Patient Experience
Booking an appointment online takes less than a minute. Booking over the phone takes 8.1 minutes on average, taking into account being put on hold. (CalendarHero, 2021).
87% of potential new patients do not leave a message or book an appointment when reaching voicemail (CallTracker).
An elegant solution, a simple website addition
Let your website handle your pharmacy bookings and you get:
Increased bookings – physicians who offer online appointments alongside phone appointments were booked 24% more than those who offer phone appointments only (Dental Economics, 2021).
Out-of-hours bookings made – 43% of patients search for health care professionals after business hours (Dental Economics, 2021).
Minimise no-shows (especially in combination with text/email reminders)
Give a sensible Call-To-Action (CTA) for any service-related digital marketing activities
Efficient appointments – online appointment scheduling makes time for two extra patients every day (Deloitte).
Booking software is cost-effective, especially if you have an already thriving clinical business. Just in the time saved for your pharmacy team, it pays for itself.
Having an online payments solution on your website hinges on whether or not you sell products or take bookings through your website. But on the assumption that you’re doing at least one of those two things, taking payments online is a real must.
Why should I accept payments on my pharmacy website?
Firstly, with a pharmacy eCommerce website, (follow the link for a how-to guide for eCommerce), payments are a must. You can’t sell products if you can’t take payments. There isn’t much more that needs to be said on that.
Even if you’re only promoting clinical services, however, taking online payments on your pharmacy website is a massive boon. We touched on minimising no-shows in the previous point, and it applies again here. When someone has paid for a service, they’re committed to showing up, allowing you to run your clinic without constantly wondering if the next patient’s going to be there.
It’s more convenient for both you and your patients
If a patient has already paid, they don’t need to remember to bring anything to the appointment. There isn’t an issue if your card machine stops working, or if you don’t have the right change.
Payments take up everyone’s time
Let’s say private Flu Vaccine Clinic appointment slots are 5 minutes, and it takes a minute to make a payment.
For every 5 patients you see, you lose an appointment slot. And if your calendar doesn’t take this time into account, it can quickly make your time run over for your appointments.
Allowing people to pay when they book kills two birds with one stone, allowing your clinic to run efficiently, and with peace of mind that those appointments will actually be fulfilled. Read more about online payments here.
Read our article for the Top Online Payment Gateways for your Pharmacy.
Want to talk more about your pharmacy website?
Get in touch! We can help with everything you need, including everything you’ve read in this article.
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Looking for an Independent Pharmacy Marketing Agency can be a hard task, especially if you don’t really understand marketing. This guide explains what you need to look for, so you can find an agency with confidence.
An Independent Pharmacy Marketing Agency should:
Understand how an independent pharmacy works
Understand the strict rules around advertising for pharmacies
Practise what they preach
Offer pricing that makes sense
Have a range of case studies that make sense
Where to start
There’s a lot to consider when entering into any business agreement. As an independent pharmacy marketing agency working with hundreds of pharmacy owners and superintendents, we understand what makes a good partnership. Like all partnerships, it’s a two-way street. For a truly successful working relationship, you have to understand what the agency needs from you and be willing to work with them too.
But in this article, we’ll focus on the independent pharmacy marketing agency and what they should bring to the table.
Naturally, if you’re like most people that have ever existed, your initial instinct will be to hunt down the prices and find the cheapest option.
And whilst that instinct is of course a consideration, I’ll explain why the price tag isn’t the be-all and end-all.
Don’t be drawn in by a low price tag
Price comparisons are only comparisons when the product is the same. Is the new iPhone cheaper from one supplier than another? Great. Grab the cheapest deal.
But if one life insurance policy costs £5/month, and another costs £100/month? It would be foolish to rush out and grab the cheapest deal without knowing what you’re getting. If the £5/month deal only pays out £50 if you get hit by lightning, whilst the £100/month policy pays out £1 million, whatever happens, it’s clear that the £100/month policy was by far the better option.
Comparing service offerings from marketing agencies means comparing what’s being delivered, as well as the levels of service you receive. Once you have an idea of what’s being delivered, you can begin figuring out the comparative costs.
Return on Investment (ROI)
What’s also worth assessing is what return you’re going to see on the investment you’re making. It’s something you can address with an agency in any talks you have prior to signing any agreements.
Now, marketing is hugely variable, so not even the best agencies can give you accurate figures for your business. That’s crystal ball territory. But what they should do is discuss how businesses similar to yours have performed to give you an idea of what to expect.
Does the marketing agency practise what they preach?
A pretty simple way of finding out if a marketing agency is worth employing is to check how they market themselves, especially with regards to the specific services they’re offering to you.
Sign-up to their mailing list and see what their emails are like. How does their website compare to other agency websites? Check their social media out. Do they rank well on Google for a range of different search terms? Do they create how-to videos?
You’re choosing an agency to represent you. How they represent themselves gives a good indication of how your pharmacy will be represented.
I mentioned them before, but as well as executing their own marketing strategy well, nothing gives you more proof than what the agency has achieved with other pharmacies like yours.
Compare them with other case studies. Make sure to pay attention for stats, rather than just wild claims. Anyone can say they’ve increased sales, but that might mean generating one sale.
Why an independent pharmacy marketing agency should understand pharmacy
Okay, I wrote that heading a little obtusely. It’s pretty clear that it helps to know the subject you’re going to market.
But aside from that, we know the most precious commodity in pharmacy is time. Whilst it can be helpful to get an outside perspective on your business, you don’t want to be spending all your time educating your agency and fielding questions on all the ins and outs of pharmacy.
At Pharmacy Mentor, for instance, we balance the two. Our CEO is a pharmacist, and every new team member gets trained in pharmacy knowledge. What that means as an agency is bringing all the fresh marketing ideas to the industry whilst keeping our client interactions to analysis and strategy.
Whatever agency you look at, make sure they have that understanding.
Any agency working with pharmacies must understand the advertising policy around Pharmacy
Marketing fashion or any other simple consumer products online is simple, at least when it comes to rules to follow. You’d have to do something pretty outrageous to get an advertising account banned in most industries.
But with advertising pharmacy on digital channels, caution is highly advised. We’ve had several clients come to us with accounts that have been banned for advertising prescription medicines, and others banned for promoting their COVID-19 vaccination service & PCR tests.
Once you are banned, it’s nigh-on impossible to get un-banned. This is really harmful to your marketing prospects, as advertising can be a massive source of new business.
So it’s critical that whomever so handles your advertising…is aware of the minefield they tread.
Facebook & Google’s Policy on advertising pharmaceuticals
This is because Facebook and Google‘s advertising policies have extremely strict policies for certain areas of medicine on their platform. I’ve linked them there so you can have a quick peek, but often what you’ll find is it’ll say things like “as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion.”
Now, what that means is, it isn’t explicitly written anywhere what you can and can’t say. And your advertising account can be banned without warning for breaching the advertising policies around pharmaceuticals.
What that means is, if you value your ability to advertise online, you need to tread carefully when advertising your pharmacy. From an agency standpoint, that’s why it’s important to work with people who know what the rules are. Pharmacy Mentor are have both Google & Facebook agency reps who help us navigate this terrain, and it’s worth its weight in gold.
Found this article helpful?
At Pharmacy Mentor we’re on a mission to help every Community Pharmacy in the UK digitise their pharmacy and thrive in the new age of digital healthcare.
If you’d like to have a conversation with us about marketing your pharmacy, please fill out our contact form. A member of our team will contact you for a chat about what you’re looking to do and the best way to proceed.
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https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/perfect-agency-partner.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-01-07 07:38:512022-01-07 07:43:52What to look for in an Independent Pharmacy Marketing Agency
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