Pharmacy Mentor launched a new website for a community pharmacy in October 2021. Understanding that websites aren’t much use without visitors, we recommended that the pharmacy employed a blogging strategy, driving traffic from Google to their website.
The top of Google is a profitable place, making it competitive.
Lots of competing clinics in the local area.
Producing professional, ethical advice in the blog.
How we did it
We talked with the pharmacy owners about what services were most profitable for the pharmacy. Once we knew that, we mapped out a 6-month content strategy, covering a range of profitable services the pharmacy wanted patients to find.
Our blogging team then created optimised blog posts on the chosen subjects. These blogs posts answered FAQ’s, highlighted symptoms, causes and treatments for the relevant query and had relevant high-quality imagery supplementing the text.
We started creating the blogs before the website launched, attracting visitors from the moment it went live.
Using Google Analytics, we tracked the traffic generated by these actions for each specific blog post, as well as for the overall website visitors.
From launch, the site averaged around 30 visitors per day, which meant hundreds per week. But the important thing is that these aren’t just people stumbling across the website.
3.6k targeted visitors to the site since launch
The pharmacy is the top result on Google for every query we created a blog post for
Ear Wax page delivering exceptional results, with over 300 visits in the June 2022.
These visitors are searching for pharmacy services, and they’re finding this community pharmacy online.
The important thing isn’t really how many visitors the website got in the first three months. The important thing is this strategy continually delivers visitors all year round. Especially when Flu season kicks in.
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.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/What-does-a-good-pharmacy-website-look-like.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-01-29 10:36:592022-04-06 08:43:565 features every Pharmacy Website should have in 2022
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
A pharmacy based in Wales with no digital presence at all, no website, no social media, no email marketing. The pharmacy is in Wales which means they don’t have EPS either. They’ve also recently started an Ear & Hearing Health Clinic, as well as signed up for a prescription-reordering app.
The challenges of having no digital presence whatsoever were primarily:
Customer acquisition for private clinics, prescriptions, and sign-ups for their new Prescription Collection Point & prescription reordering app.
Their phone was constantly ringing and they wanted to move away from dealing with phone calls.
They were restricted to offline advertising.
Being in Wales, they also don’t have EPS, so another solution to automate needed to be considered.
They have no way of cross-promoting their services to their existing community.
Website & SEO
Pharmacy Mentor began by developing their website with a booking calendar, we created Search-engine-optimised (SEO) blog posts (what is SEO?) for their private clinics (e.g., ear wax removal and both NHS & Private flu jab clinics.) We then implemented the following:
We created optimised blog posts, written clearly and informatively. The blogs give prospective patients all the information they need to make an informed appointment booking.
At the end of their SEO blogs for their clinics are calls-to-action with a conveniently integrated booking calendar.
We promote the prescription re-ordering app through organic Facebook channels, as well as the website.
We created a unique EPS-style form for them. Patients fill in the form, select their local GP and nominate them as a pharmacy. This is then sent to the GP’s for admin/approval.
We designed a poster with a QR code to attach to the Prescription Collection Point. This QR Code is linked to the sign-up form for the service.
Anyone who signs up to the PCP service gets automatically sent a custom-designed branded welcome email explaining the service and what they need to do. The email has a picture of the pharmacy team which instills a sense of connection early on. It lets the patient know that despite signing up for an automated system, there are real people working behind the scenes.
Social Media & Advertising
We created an optimised Facebook & Google profile for their pharmacy. Managing these with branded content is growing awareness in their community of what the pharmacy offers.
We create and run ad campaigns both on Google, promoting their Flu Jab clinics, as well as Facebook Ads promoting their Ear Wax Removal service. The Facebook ads in particular drive multiple bookings per week.
The primary function of the ecosystem is to attract new patients digitally (ie with no input from the pharmacists) and retain them within a digital system, be that the Facebook page, an email list, the Prescription re-ordering app, or the PCP sign-up system.
There are a lot of good results here, because starting from zero leaves a lot of ground to cover.
The revenue isn’t being tracked through the website, hence displaying as zero.
Website & SEO
We installed analytics into their site two weeks ago, 567 sessions and 1000 page views since that time. (Previous performance is, unfortunately, untracked, but these are good stats for a pharmacy that 6 months ago had no digital presence.)
44% of their website traffic comes from Social Media & Google, directly through the ongoing Social Media & Blogging work we do for them.
The booking calendar on their website means all clinic appointments are now booked online. Meaning fewer phone calls.
In the past month, they’ve seen 166 appointments booked for either Ear Wax Removals, Ear Health Checks, or Flu Jabs.
Their email marketing list is currently at 177 subscribers since its creation 2 months ago. This is currently used to inform patients of services available at the pharmacy, but there’s more potential for promoting products and special offers.
We are driving signups to their Prescription Collection Point through both organic Facebook posting, and Facebook Ads.
The Prescription Collection Point also generates sign-ups through its QR code, meaning patients who see it and like the idea can sign-up immediately without having to contact the pharmacy. Meaning fewer phone calls.
Overall, the digital ecosystem is up and running successfully. The pharmacists are enjoying the time they get to spend on patient care instead of admin. The digital marketing we’re doing is driving patients to the pharmacy and all the pharmacists have to worry about is patient care. The results aren’t out of this world compared to pharmacies who’ve been operating digitally for years. But this is the very start of this pharmacy’s digital journey and they’re already seeing the benefits.
Now we have analytics installed for them, we can review and optimise our tactics further, which will mean increased success rates further down the line.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Digital-Ecosystem-Case-Study.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2021-12-06 14:20:122021-12-06 14:21:03Case Study: Building a Digital Ecosystem from the ground up
A pharmacy focused on private clinical services. They wanted to fill their calendar with clinical appointment bookings, as the profit margins on these services are substantial. They also wanted to reduce the typical level of administration that would come with managing clinical appointments.
The clinic needed to be marketed specifically to patients with needs for clinical services, in order to keep the marketing budget efficient.
For most of the clinics, the patients would need a pre-consultation assessment, in order to assess their suitability for treatment(s).
Patients were largely unaware that a pharmacy would offer the services they sought.
Pharmacy Mentor recommended a Search Engine Optimised blogging strategy.
Because of the size of the budget, we wanted to better track and analyse what was happening, which meant using our Advanced Google Ads management.
We created a series of blog posts (1 every 2 weeks) with a focus around the keywords that best represented each clinic, e.g., “Vitamin B12 injections+location.”
The blog posts were written clearly and informatively. Walking prospective patients through recognising their symptoms, to what to expect from the treatment.
At the end of the blog is a call-to-action with a conveniently integrated booking calendar.
The idea is to create a funnel for each individual clinic, giving every patient an informed, intuitive journey from Google Search to appointment booking.
Each blog post for each clinic ranks #1 on Google for (name of service)+(location). e.g. Blood Tests + Location.
As a result, this pharmacy has generated 81k clicks between the end of March 2021 and the beginning of October 2021.
The margins aren’t exact, as we’re talking about a collection of different services but let’s say for ease of maths, that the average clinical appointment only generates a profit of £10.
If less than half (40k) of those clicks booked an appointment, that would be £400k of revenue generated over 6 months.
Naturally, this is a case study, so it isn’t typical of results. But it shows what can be done.
This image above shows a recent spike in activity due to a recent re-introduction of Day 2 PCR testing. This pharmacy was already #1 on Google for PCR test+location. As a result, when the demand for this service spiked, they were the ones who benefited from 7,000+ page views a day. And that’s the secret to SEO. It is a proactive tactic to capture the business of tomorrow. If you want results today, you need to have started work six months ago (or 2 years ago, as was the case with this pharmacy.)