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Boosting Travel Clinic Bookings with Google Ads Pharmacy

About

This community pharmacy wanted increased Travel Clinic bookings. On the cusp of summer, making immediate impact was high on the agenda. The pharmacy already had an optimised Travel Clinic page on their pharmacy website designed by Pharmacy Mentor. With a budget of £300, they talked with us discussing their needs and our Diagnose & Prescribe team recommended a Google Ads strategy.

Challenges

  • Appearing efficiently for target audience.
  • Tracking return on investment.
  • Ensuring effective use of budget.
  • Creating copy for the ad which encourages clicks.

How we did it

Pharmacy Mentor created and ran a smart Google Ad in the pharmacy’s area, which appeared throughout Google’s search network. We linked the advert directly to the pharmacy’s Travel Clinic page, which has a call to action button “Start a Travel Consultation.”

Tracking

We placed an analytical tracker on the “Start Travel Consultation” button on their website, measuring the amount of people who not only visited their website, but actively began the booking process.

Results

After just £277 (not even the full £300 budget):

  • 2.3k people saw the advert
  • 333 clicks
  • 82 consultations started online
  • 35 Calls direct to the pharmacy

The pharmacy took plenty of bookings and they were delighted. They couldn’t wait to reinvest those profits in additional advertising. We have continued to propel their Travel Clinic to this day with Google Advertising.

Interested in boosting your Travel Clinic with Google Ads? Simply get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help.

About

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.

Challenges

  • 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.

Tracking

Using Google Analytics, we tracked the traffic generated by these actions for each specific blog post, as well as for the overall website visitors.

Results

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.

Want to get more visitors to your website? Simply get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help.

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

Is running a Travel Clinic worth it?

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

Wrong.

Making your Travel Clinic successful

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

1. A Travel Clinic Website

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

Why?

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

Some of main benefits of a separate Travel Clinic website:

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

Google Adverts for your Travel Clinic

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

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

Do people click on ads?

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

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

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

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

2. Google Maps Ads

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

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

3. Google Search Ads

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

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

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

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

How do search engines work?

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

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

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

4. Optimising your Website for Search Engines

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

5. Optimised Travel Clinic Content helps your website get found

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

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

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

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

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

Combining these three tactics is a winner

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

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

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

How to get comfortable with your marketing budget

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

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

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

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

Know when to say no

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

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

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

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

Marketing Budget as a % of Revenue

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

Source: The CMO Survey & Deloitte Digital

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

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

R.O.I. (Return on investment)

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

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

Visible R.O.I.

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

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

Invisible R.O.I.

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

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

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

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

Diminishing returns in pharmacy marketing

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

How are websites like wine? Read below.

Turning Websites into Wine

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

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

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

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

Services

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

eCommerce

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

So how much should I budget for my pharmacy marketing?

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

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

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

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

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

Marketing spend for Quickly Growing Your Pharmacy Business

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

Marketing spend for Maintaining the Growth of Your Pharmacy Business

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

Spending Less on your Pharmacy Marketing?

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

Want to get real specific?

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

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

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why distance selling pharmacies need a dep website immediately
The NHSBSA is currently checking if Distance Selling Pharmacies are operating without a fully-compliant DSP website.

Why you need to have a Distance Selling Pharmacy (DSP) website 

Back on the 5th January, 2021, we released an article called “Distance Selling Pharmacy Websites – What the New Regulations Mean For You”. That article takes you through exactly what the GPhC regulations mean for DSPs.

Essentially, if you want to run a licensed DSP,  you need to have a website, and it needs to fulfil a specific set of criteria. If you need the details, check out the article.

The NHSBSA Check-up

The Pharmacy Provider Assurance Team, part of NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), are in the process of requesting Distance Selling Pharmacies provide them with proof (e.g., a working link to their website) that they are operating with a compliant website.

What this means is you cannot simply get away with not having a website. There are ongoing checks, and these are regulations. So ultimately, you’ll face regulatory action if you aren’t compliant.

How do I create a DSP Website?

Creating a DSP Website is no longer as simple as using a website builder to create a basic website. Since the changes in regulations by the NHS, you need to create a website that adheres to their professional standards. To create a compliant Distance Selling Pharmacy, use our Distance Selling Pharmacy Websites – What the New Regulations Mean For You article as a reference. If you’re building the website by yourself, you can use it to make sure you include every element you need to be compliant.

Outsourcing Website Design

Of course, you might want to leave the website design to the professionals. Pharmacy Mentor work with Rushport Advisory, creating fully-compliant Distance Selling Pharmacy websites for your pharmacy. With our websites, you’re safe in the knowledge that you will pass any NHS auditing of your site.

You don’t want to pay for a website only to find out it isn’t compliant. You’ll have to pay for more development, or worse yet, a whole new website.

Pharmacy Mentor websites are yours to own from Day 1 (some web providers simply rent you their software and it doesn’t belong to your business) and feature everything you need to pass any NHS audit.

Setting up a Distance Selling Pharmacy?

If you’re simply in the process of setting up your Distance Selling Pharmacy, and you’re reading this to understand what you need to do in future? Check out How to Setup a Distance Selling Pharmacy in England. It’s a comprehensive breakdown of all the steps you need to take to set up.

Have any questions about this article? Want us to build a fully-compliant DSP website for you? Get in touch using our contact page.

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.

what does a good pharmacy website look like?

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.

Ever-evolving design

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
  • Intuitive layout
  • Clearly signposted areas of interest e.g., prescriptions, clinics, products
  • Short waiting times
  • Information & advice available on demand
  • Accessible contact
  • 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.

Blog Posts

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)).

Booking calendar on a pharmacy website

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.

5. Payments

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.

Also…

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.

Online Payment Gateways for Pharmacy

Read our article for the Top Online Payment Gateways for your Pharmacy.

 


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About

A large pharmacy group needed a new website & wanted to improve the efficiency of their internal communications. They really wanted a partner for all things online rather than just a web agency. After developing a front-end (public-facing) website for them, they then commissioned us to build an intranet in the back-end of the website.

Challenges

The challenges faced with the public-facing website were mainly down to taking their existing bold, brave, and green branding and creating a design that looked great and modern but also didn’t alienate older customers. The issue with the current website was that newer customers weren’t getting a contemporary experience and that meant potential revenue loss.

The challenges with building the intranet were creating an intuitive intranet and getting the buy-in from the staff members who’d need to use it as a result. Up until that point, they’d been using third-party software like Dropbox and GoogleDrive, which wasn’t efficient across multiple pharmacies, nor was it as secure. There were issues of keeping important company documents and assets across multiple different platforms, i.e. Google Drive, Sharepoint. It’s hard at that point for team members to understand which the most recent document was without inefficient searching across multiple software platforms.

They also wanted to centralise end of month processes, make sure pharmacies had up to date medicine prices without sending bulk emails, and places where the staff could accessing training easily, amongst other things.

Solutions

Pharmacy Mentor first re-designed the older public-facing website. We delivered a modern website design that still retained the “feel” of the brand. This built a lot of trust with the pharmacy group as a result of the work we did here. So much so that they asked us to create the back-end of the website for them.

  • The CRM we created in the intranet has forums, allowing for quick company-wide messaging and feedback.
  • It also has a cloud-storage solution, meaning no more third-party software for important company assets and documents.
  • The whole system was created with ease-of-use as a priority, to get maximum buy-in from the staff.
  • It allows for all staff to access training easily.
  • It allows dispensed to upload month-end via intuitive forms.
  • All communication is now centralised rather than sending emails and WhatsApp’s, where things get lost.
  • They have “group forums” for all types of situations, for example, “Out of Stock Medicines” and “Pre-reg students”.
  • The solution is flexible to allow for any 3rd party integrations like Mailchimp Newsletters or Hubspot.
  • The solution is mobile friendly so that staff can access it on the go.
  • The solution has in-built HR mechanisms to support holidays/sick leave and other requests

Results

The pharmacy group can now share information company-wide, and get feedback from every single member of staff. This allows the headquarters to coordinate far easier, with much simpler management of multiple branches. It also means a more holistic experience for employees, with a system that doesn’t require much training.

This second project was a lot more involved but has been a huge success since its launch a few months ago and all company members are active on the platform. Feedback has been that team members find it far easier to get the important info they need.

Pharmacy Management System

We’ve balanked out any confidential information

Want to create a cutting-edge pharmacy website with us? Simply get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help.

About

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.

Challenges

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.

Solutions

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.

Prescription Automation

  • 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.

Results

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.

Additional Results

  • 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.

Want to start your digital journey with us? Simply get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help.

how to setup a successful pharmacy ecommerce website
A successful eCommerce website massively expands your customer base and increases spend from your existing customer base. How? By putting you in front of their faces when they’re ready to buy.

Online sales rise continually year on year, but if you don’t have a pharmacy eCommerce website, you won’t see a penny of it.

ecommerce sales as a percentage of total retail sales

The components of a successful Pharmacy eCommerce Website

This article is a recipe for sweet success when it comes to eCommerce. But what are the key ingredients you need for the delicious end result?

  • Information-rich product pages/descriptions
  • Simple (and secure!) checkout process
  • A good eCommerce platform
  • Customised design for your specific business
  • Intuitive and convenient categorisation & navigation around the online shop
  • A mobile-responsive version of the site.
  • SEO

Before we start putting the pieces together for a successful site, let’s first take a step back and look at the big picture. (That’s what my mum always told me to do with jigsaws.)

How Pharmacy eCommerce works

Pharmacy eCommerce is about taking your pharmacy business online. Not just the marketing, but the actual sales themselves. We’re not talking about just booking services anymore, but setting up a full online store with products, payments, and postage.

For your customers, this means they can buy from you without ever leaving their homes. Super convenient.

For you, this means expanding your business beyond the previous geographical limits. Check the case study below for an example of what success looks like with a pharmacy eCommerce website!

The present and future of eCommerce

In 5 years’ time, you’ll wear a pair of glasses that connect to your temples. When you think about something you need, the glasses bring up an option to order it straight away from the most relevant supplier.

Ok, I made that up. But only to prove a point. Because that’s essentially how Google works already. And increasingly, how audio works. Let me explain. If you already know how Google and smart devices work, skip the next two headings.

eCommerce on Home Voice Devices

This is how easy ordering products online with smart household devices is.

  1. Start an order, say something like “Ok Google, buy Ibuprofen.”
  2. Google reads off the top search results and asks for confirmation.
  3. Say “Yes” to order, or “No” to get the next search result.
Smart Home Devices can be used for shopping online

Smart Home Devices are increasingly used across modern households.

Depending on your device, you can also specify a preference for a specific company. Simply say “Buy Ibuprofen from JP Pharmacy” to only get results from your favourite shop. Already bought an item? You can say “reorder Ibuprofen” to place the same order again, which should default to the same place you bought it from.

Recognising convenience as the biggest strength of eCommerce, you see how this process could be used to capture and lock down repeat business.

Pharmacy eCommerce websites on Google

We’ve talked many times about how when people need something and they don’t know where to get it, Google is where they go. And so ranking highly on Google is critical to any eCommerce strategy. I won’t go into too much detail here, but if you want to understand why ranking on Google is so important to your strategy, read this pharmacy guide to winning Google.
The additional element you need for eCommerce is optimising those product pages. Pertinent information and relevant product descriptions helps Google index your site, as well as giving a great shopping experience. The combination of those two means you’ll rank well on Google and will reap the profits as a result.

Creating a successful Pharmacy eCommerce website

Now we understand how they work, it’s time to follow our recipe for creating that successful Pharmacy eCommerce website.

Firstly, select the right platform

We use WooCommerce, because of its seamless integration into WordPress sites. What this means is the complete functionality of WordPress with your shop.

Why is that good?

Glad you asked. Just for absolute clarity – an eCommerce platform is not the same as a website. So, using WooCommerce (eCommerce platform) because it works well with WordPress, means you can create an entire website with eCommerce, rather than just one or the other.

Next, Customise your Website

This is important for your shoppers and your pharmacy business too. Once we’ve got our platform, it’s time to think about how it appears online. Customising its appearance and structure makes a massive difference.

For happy customers

Your online shop should be as distinguished an experience as shopping in your pharmacy. That’s not to say it’s the same level of experience. But just as you’d hope to give someone a better experience than your competition, you should strive to deliver a better experience than your competition.

For an efficient pharmacy business

Customising your website for the way you work is another cornerstone for success. Because the website is only the front of the business, like a physical pharmacy building. It still requires work behind the scenes to deliver on the orders.  Understanding how you operate and incorporating that into the website is critical.

On the customer side, it ensures excellent service. From your side, it prevents administrative workload issues. Further than that, the right website design brings a level of automation that improves the profitability of your overall business.

There are also different models and focuses of pharmacies now. Customising a website with these focuses in mind is important. The difference between success and irrelevance can be fine margins. The devil is often in the details.

See that in action as we build an eCommerce solution for an Aesthetics pharmacy in the case study below.

Website Design

Now it’s time to think about presentation. The eCommerce platform was the skeleton, your customised website is the muscles, now it’s time to put the skin on and make the whole thing look pretty.

Interactive and responsive design, including contemporary look-and-feel, good usability and high-quality graphics is the pinnacle.

If people don’t feel like your website is up-to-date, it won’t inspire confidence that your products or services are. I’ve seen websites look so dated, I didn’t buy from them in case it was a business that didn’t even trade anymore. I wouldn’t want my money going somewhere unless I’m sure I’m going to get the product.

Cultivating the intuitive navigation and layout

Presumably you put thought into the layout of your pharmacy. Where products go, what signs you use for different sections, like Prescriptions, Skincare etc. More recently you’ve implemented one-way systems and social distancing stickers on the floors.

This all needs doing for your online shop. Don’t forget the number one reason people are shopping online in the first place – convenience. Making your website as easy as possible to find both the products that people are visiting specifically to buy, as well as recommending similar or alternative products mirrors the journey they’d experience in your pharmacy.

Creating a product ecosystem with integrated SEO

Product ecosystems are simply products that interlink with each other in some way. Think Apple’s iPhone, Airpods, and Apple Watches. If you have one, chances are you’ll want the others.
Product ecosystems help both the buying journey and the Google ranking, so it’s a must for any pharmacy eCommerce website. Linking optimised content with relevant, optimised product pages sounds technical, but it’s really simple in concept.

All it means, translated into simple terms, is that you’re combining the information and advice with your product, as well as linking relevant products. Buying throat numbing spray? You might also be interested in Vapour Rub, Lemsip, and Lozenges.

Including a “How-to-use” guide (or similar) with your product not only helps people to find you on Google, but also instills confidence in the purchase at the moment of decision-making.

Having the relevant information on your product pages boosts your Google rankings too, the same way blog articles and other web pages rank higher with well-organised and relevant information.

Safe & Simple Checkout Process

Picture it.

You pop into the supermarket and pick up a carton of juice for the morning. You get to the checkouts and it’s like Christmas Eve, every checkout has at least three packed trolleys. Do you wait half an hour to buy that juice? Of course you don’t. Because you don’t have the time.

So you leave. You head to a corner shop and pick up juice there. The woman behind the counter says they only accept credit cards. She pulls out a machine that doesn’t look anything like a normal card machine. She says she’ll need to take a photo of your card for security and your signature. Again, you put down the juice and say it’s ok, you’ll go somewhere else.

These are parallels by people’s experiences when giving up online. Even if the website was modern enough to attract the customer and simple enough for them to quickly find what they needed. If the checkout process isn’t simple and secure, you lose customers.

Bear this in mind when selecting an online payment gateway for your pharmacy.

Mobile-responsiveness is now Mobile-First

Once upon a time, optimising for mobile might have been the icing on the cake. Now it’s the self-raising flour. Without it, your website will fall flat. Google recently changed its algorithm, which is the system it uses to analyse and rank websites. Now, your site is judged on the experience it gives to mobile users. This is MASSIVE.

“If it’s your intention that the mobile version has less content than the desktop version, your site may lose some traffic when Google enables mobile-first indexing for your site, since Google won’t be able to get the full information anymore.” – developers.google.com

Why this is important is that you could previously heap tonnes of information onto the desktop version of your site, be judged on that, whilst your stripped-back, simplified mobile version would cruise off the success of your desktop site.

Now, that isn’t the case. This makes it slightly more difficult to strike the balance between informative content and sleek design. You want the information there, but you want to avoid the dreaded “wall of text” that puts off so many users from websites.

Necessary, but desirable

Whilst the Google update now makes Mobile-Friendly websites imperative, the number of mobile users shopping online should be the real incentive.

That one word again. Convenience. If there’s one thing you take away from this article, make it that convenience rules supreme online.

Of course, there is another way…

Just like a recipe, you can take this, and use it to create your own dish. (Though you’d need the technical know-how on top.)

Or, if you’d prefer, the Pharmacy Mentor MasterChefs can whip up a mouth-watering eCommerce solution for your pharmacy. We work with you, understand exactly what it is you need, and produce it. Just like we’ve done countless times for other community pharmacies.

distance selling pharmacy website
The new Distance Selling Pharmacy Websites Regulations come into effect on both January 1st and then April 1st, 2021. What do the regulations mean for you? We break everything down so you understand what you need to do.

 

We’re working in collaboration with Rushport Advisory, a leading consulting firm covering the pharmacy market. They have helped us curate this article and are guiding us to deliver the most robust and legally compliant distance selling pharmacy website on the market.

What do the new regulations say?

The exact wording for the Distance Selling Pharmacy Website Regulations are as follows:

28B An NHS pharmacist in respect of distance selling premises must ensure that there are arrangements in place at those premises which enable a person performing pharmaceutical services to communicate confidentially with a person accessing pharmaceutical services—

(a) by telephone or another live audio link; and

(b) via a live video link.”

This regulation is effective from January 1st, 2021.

28C “An NHS pharmacist (P) in respect of distance selling premises must ensure that P has a website for use by the public for the purpose of accessing pharmaceutical services from those premises, on which there is an interactive page, clearly promoted to any user of the website when they first access it, which provides public access to a reasonable range of up to date materials that promote healthy lifestyles by addressing a reasonable range of health issues.

This regulation comes into effect on April 1st, 2021.

What does that mean for you?

A closer look at 28B

Most pharmacies already have a telephone line and internet access already. But the requirement of confidentiality from the pharmacy premises means you need an area where a member of the pharmacy staff cannot be overheard when communicating with patients.

As well as communicating by phone (or an “audio link”), note the regulations state AND via a “live video link”. This means you need to have both options available. This is fairly straightforward to implement provided you have a laptop and internet connection through apps like Zoom, Teams or Skype.

video and audio call software for patient consultation

We’re in the digital age. So people expect digital communication.

A closer look at 28C

This regulation is a little bit trickier to get into place and is also quite vague. Terms like you must provide access to a “reasonable range” of up-to-date materials clearly depends on who you are reasoning with.

The local NHS area teams ultimately will decide and so it’s likely to be their standards you must match. But don’t try and match the requirements. Blow them out of the water. The difference isn’t big between the two and will ultimately benefit your business anyway.

Here’s everything you need to comply with Regulation 28C

A website

Most DSP’s still do not have a website, believe it or not. If you’re operating without one, you need to get one.

An “interactive page”

A website that doesn’t have interactive pages is known as a “brochure website” because it performs in the exact same way as a brochure or leaflet. That is to say, it doesn’t really do anything other than display information. An interactive web page makes the user actively engage with the site (think links to other resources.)

distance selling pharmacy website

Your website needs to be interactive. We design the best interactive modern sites.

The interactive page must be “clearly promoted” to any user of the website when they land on your site. This is another term in the regulations that is open to interpretation with both terms.

What does clearly mean?

It could just be that you don’t hide links to the page within a huge body of text (though it’s unclear why you’d ever do that.)

In which case, having it as part of the “menu” of your website, accessible on every page would meet that requirement.

What does promoted mean?

Do you have to draw attention to it? If so, a banner on every page encouraging visitors to the interactive page would meet the requirements.

It’s highly unlikely that the regulatory teams will nit-pick, provided you show them a modern website with a great user experience (ie. it’s intuitive) and up-to-date information (rather than NHS regulations from 2013 – we’ll talk about that now).

A good range of health content

Pharmacy Services

DSP’s need to showcase their service offering

This is where you may get frustrated. Creating content is a time-consuming process when you’re not familiar with it. Naturally, you want to be doing other things with your time. Outsourcing this work will save you a headache. We can help you with this (and the whole project) in a cost-effective way because we live and breathe health content and create pharmacy websites every day.

It’s tempting to simply copy and paste content from other pharmacy websites, but resist this temptation. Copied and pasted content is traceable and you could find yourself in breach of copyright laws with regards to someone’s intellectual property.

Embrace the compliance, improve your service

The crux of the new regulations is there’s no hiding as a product-only pharmacy, where you do little more than package prescriptions. Offering a channel of communication for consultation with the patients using your service is now mandatory.

You’re expected to carry this into your website. It can’t be just a prescription production line anymore.

We mentioned this before, but ultimately these Distance Selling Pharmacy website regulations improve your service to patients. That isn’t something to begrudge, but something to embrace. Realise that with an amazing website that is simple for your patients to use, those same patients will show you more loyalty.


Looking for help in meeting the new Distance Selling Pharmacy website regulations?

Please get in touch with us. As we offer website services almost exclusively to pharmacies, we have all the knowledge already of what you’ll need to get set up.

We’ll be glad to help.