This year, Pharmacy Mentor was recognised by Chemist+Druggist for our innovation, bringing home the “Online Initiative of the Year” award for 2022.
Saam & Fran delighted to receive the award. And Hugh Dennis, contractually obliged to appear in the photo.
What was the “Online Initiative” we won the award for?
In response to the rapid evolution of mobile technology and digital health, the change in patient behaviour post COVID-19, and an increase in demand from its clients, the Pharmacy Mentor Web team developed the Ultimate Pharmacy Website (UPW) through the vision, direction and guidance of our CEO, Saam Ali.
Before explaining the components of the UPW, it’s useful to understand what makes a website.
All houses are houses
Whether a standard two-up two-down made from bricks, or a work of architectural beauty on the side of a mountain, a house is still referred to as a house.
You can check a box that says “I have a website” with the most basic website money can buy. But that website won’t bring much value to your pharmacy business. Even the most basic website is a website. The Ultimate Pharmacy Website is also a website. But the two are not the same.
What makes it the “Ultimate Pharmacy Website”?
The Ultimate Pharmacy Website features a collection of bespoke website add-ons, allowing pharmacies to:
Prescribe and dispense prescription-only medicines (POMs) online via patient group directions or independent prescribers
Take payments for medicines online (POM, P and GSL)
“Free prescribe” medicines
Create subscriptions for recurring medicine services
Speak with patients virtually
Take clinic bookings and payments
Process NHS and private prescriptions
Message patients directly
The feedback we’ve had from pharmacies using the Ultimate Pharmacy Website is that it is helping generate new streams of income while saving time administratively. Meanwhile, patients are benefitting from greater access to healthcare and a more timely, hands-on pharmacy service.
Want the Ultimate Pharmacy Website to revolutionise your pharmacy business?
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/1668754540999.jpeg6271200JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-11-30 14:27:262022-12-01 18:26:55We are C+D Award Winners! Online Initiative of the Year 2022
In this presentation, delivered at The Pharmacy Show 2022, Saam will show you how you can turn your PGD or Independent Prescribing status into £10,000’s per month. He shows you what digital tools, mechanisms and formulas you need to adopt to make it work.
The presentation has been transcribed below:
After she said those words and shot me down in front of a room full of people, I did something that would change the course of my life forever.
I got up, adjusted my tie, and said “I won’t do this anymore”. And walked out.
That was the last meeting I ever had with them, back in 2012.
I was working for one of the big corps and I had a very well-paid job. But towards the end of my time there, it felt like I was wearing a straight jacket to work instead of a suit jacket.
I had so many ideas for growth, but they just didn’t get listened to. I understood, of course. It’s tough to get anything through the big corporate red tape.
But I needed to grow.
And the only way I could do that was to break free and personally innovate.
As much as I love the NHS, I see it as a bit of a straight jacket for Community Pharmacy.
It’s very restrictive.
The market for prescriptions is heavily saturated, you’re getting paid less, and you don’t set the prices.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t focus on driving item numbers – it’s always gonna be part of your business model.
But, I’m sure you’ll agree, things a getting tighter.
But because you’re an Independent Pharmacy where no red tape exists and where you make the decisions about where your business goes, there are no boundaries like I had all those years ago.
You’ve got room to innovate.
And that tightening NHS grip can loosen if you put more time and energy into offering private clinical services.
It’s incredible what pharmacies can offer today.
And, with the help of the brilliant companies in this expo, you can become, I believe, the most powerful, diverse health hub in your city.
There’s so much potential for growth down this route.
Yet, like my store manager all those years back, I’m still hearing these sentences from time to time.
The way of the NHS has been a habit.
But these comments don’t stand any more, and here’s why…
I’ve broken it down into chunks:
Your sphere of Influence
The Boom in Private and Digital Healthcare
How our behaviour has now altered
Your ease of access to training
And Digital Marketing
When you go down the clinical route, your sphere of influence as a business grows significantly.
Traditionally, with the NHS dispensing model, you cater to the people who live within the 1 to 2-mile radius around you.
However, if you start offering a Travel Clinic, a Weight Management Clinic or an Ear Wax Removal clinic for example, you’ve immediately expanded your target audience to cover the entire city.
This is what we need to understand.
People are willing to travel much greater distances for these services, meaning you’ve 10 times’d your sphere of influence.
If I open Google Maps and type in the word “Pharmacy”, I get a load of pharmacies pop up, naturally.
However, if I type the keywords “Travel Clinic” or “Weight Loss Clinic”, less than a handful of clinics pop up and none of them are pharmacies.
Question: Do we have any pharmacy owners from Sheffield in the audience today?
Because if I was that pharmacy owner from Sheffield, I’d go home after this show and work out how I’m going start delivering a Travel and Obesity Clinic.
Then, I’d optimise them so well online that I’d literally sink the competition that I can see on there.
My clinics would show up first with 100’s of reviews on them, and I’d be making a fortune.
That’s how unsaturated this market is still.
Once again, my target audience is the city, not just S10.
The pandemic has also helped private healthcare boom over the last couple of years.
More people are looking for alternative ways to get better because the NHS is so rammed and people prefer to pay to get better quicker.
And many of these private entities are online too. Now is as good a time as ever to get in on this growing space.
Our digital behaviour has changed too. We’ve become supercharged digital users.
The stats there that should glow for a local pharmacy is that…
“Near me” searches for healthcare services have doubled since 2015.
And roughly 97% of people who use online search, look for local businesses.
They are very powerful indicators of the opportunity that is in front of a clinic service-oriented pharmacy.
It’s also easier to get started delivering private services.
More of us are becoming independent prescribers, and firms, like PharmaDoctor, make it super easy for us to begin supplying POMs under a PGD.
TympaHealth, another fabulous company, allows you to provide an ear clinic in your pharmacy.
Medicheks allows you to supply blood testing kits.
And Nurokor means you can operate a pain clinic in-store.
Essentially, you have the opportunity to become a complete health hub in your community, which…
Can generate a shed tonne of new revenue for you.
Take a look at this pharmacy for example. They offer a plethora of services, including a Travel Clinic, a Private GP, Blood Testing and Vitamin B12 injections.
The graph you can see is website traffic over time. They reached an all-time high between 2021 and 2022, achieving 5000 website page views a day at one point, and they were generating over £100,000 a month from their private services alone.
The way I see prescriptions now is not about the money you make from them under the NHS.
I see them as a vehicle for converting those patients into private service customers.
And that’s where digital marketing comes into play – which is the way you’re going to drive as much revenue from them as possible.
It’s time to think of your NHS patient database as a pool of clients you can upsell to.
If you’ve got 5000 patients on your PMR system, you have to get them enrolled onto your website.
And even better, WhatsApp or an email marketing solution, so you can communicate with them directly.
But that’s only 5000 people.
Remember earlier, I talked about how your sphere of influence has increased – we’ve got another 500,000 people we can potentially service.
So we need to think about SEO, Paid Ads and Social Media to communicate to those. I’ll come onto these later.
But firstly, if you’re prescribing POMs, or you’re delivering any other clinic, you’ve got to think about how you can digitise them.
So that you can make it as convenient as possible for the patient to use the service.
Making it digital reduces the administrative burden for yourselves, and ultimately increases conversions.
That’s what I’m going to talk about now.
To demonstrate this, we’re going to focus on the following services that are in growing trend and popularity:
Prescribing POMs as an IP or through a PGD
And, what I’ve termed the more “Invasive Clinics” where you have to get more involved, such as a travel clinic or ear wax removal service.
As an IP, or if you’re working with a private doctor, you can offer all types of POMs, whether it be under the condition of Asthma, UTIs or Migraines, for example.
To make it as easy as possible for the patient to begin their consultation with you, you must digitise it.
And the best way to do this is through your website.
In last years’ Show, I dedicated a whole session on SEO. It is truly business changing and cannot be ignored when offering private clinics.
There’s loads of information on our website about it, and I’ve popped a link to a great guide on there, that you can read later.
But to get to the top of Google immediately, whether that’s on Search or Maps, it’s all about Google Ads.
Again, I’ve popped a link on there to a comprehensive guide.
It’s a massively powerful tactic, but it’s important to know that Google have clamped down on advertising POMs and pharmacy-related services.
It’s because of the nature of the content. So you do need to tread carefully and that’s why LegitScript on there too.
This certification helps legitimise your business for the giant advertising platforms out there, like Facebook and Google.
And of course, we can’t forget about Social Media too, the best way to generate engagement in your Community.
Post about the services you’re offering, but make the posts as engaging as possible!
It’s pretty saturated, so you really need to cut through the noise with excellent content.
People want to see a video of their local pharmacist talking about these services and it’s the ultimate way to build trust.
As well as the biggies out there like Facebook, Insta and Google Business, it’s well worth exploring TikTok now too.
So, how do you get started?
Well, the first thing you need to do is to seek help.
You can’t do this on your own, and that’s why you have the amazing organisations in this expo today.
But the important first step is delivery.
You’ve got to make sure that you can deliver on the ground and give great customer service
And following that, a digital strategy needs to be developed that can be embedded into what you’re offering.
Whoever you work with, it’s important that they understand your business through and through.
Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time explaining what your business is and how it works.
But it all comes back to mindset and innovation, and a strong drive to change and evolve.
One of the big blockers in pharmacy today is time.
So you need to think about how you can release more of it to be able to head in this direction.
Are you ready to go beyond the boundaries of the NHS?
Are you ready to step into private clinical territory?
And are you ready to digitise with it and revolutionise your pharmacy.
My names Saam and thank you so much for listening.
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.
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.”
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.
After just £277 (not even the full £300 budget):
2.3k people saw the advert
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.
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.
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
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.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/PM-How-much-should-pharmacies-spend-on-marketing.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-06-14 09:03:522022-06-14 09:03:52How much should Pharmacies spend on Marketing?
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.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/PM-Blog-image-27th-april-4-1.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2022-04-25 12:58:142022-05-01 13:29:03The NHSBSA are checking if Distance Selling Pharmacies (DSPs) have a DSP Website
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
https://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Intranet-Case-Study.png10801920JP Quinnhttps://www.pharmacymentor.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pharmacy-Mentor-Logo-Header-Website-300x56.pngJP Quinn2021-12-06 14:25:012022-04-27 14:16:24Case Study: Intranet for Large Pharmacy Group
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