Why does your pharmacy’s online presence matter? Almost all customer journeys start online, with a simple Google Search being the first action customers take to get information about a specific product or service.
According to Google Trends, searches for “online pharmacy Ireland” increased by 150% since March 2020 and pharmacy-related topics such as “rapid antigen test” and “pharmacy Covid vaccine” are some of the most searched-for topics at the moment.
To attract more customers, pharmacies first need to capture their customers’ attention online which requires an investment of time and resources.
Not sure where to start? Here are 9 ways to build your pharmacy’s online presence.
1. Get your own website
Every pharmacy needs a website. It’s your digital storefront, your corner of the internet where you can publish information about your products and services (within the specified laws and regulations, of course). If you’re serious about developing your pharmacy’s online presence, you’ve got to have a credible website strategy.
2. Make your services bookable online
Create a webpage for each service you offer at your pharmacy so that potential customers can learn more about the service. Not sure what to write about? Think of the questions customers usually ask you before they commit to an appointment. Also, consider including reminders for specific services (e.g. fast 8 hours before the appointment).
Once you’ve captured their attention, let customers easily book an appointment with you online with an intuitive patient appointment system.
3. Start your e-commerce store
Right now, customers are still cautious about shopping in physical stores and want to know if what they want is in stock before making a trip to your store. Google found that searches for the term “in-stock” increased by 700% in 2020 and searches containing the phrase “available near me” more than doubled globally.
However, is an online store worth investing in? What is the long-term ROI for such an investment? While Google expects 78% of retail purchases to be made in stores by 2024, it also means 22% of purchases will happen online.
To continue growing your business and building on your pharmacy’s online presence, you need to adapt to changing consumer behaviour and that includes making your products more accessible online.
There are many e-commerce integrations available that can turn your website into an e-commerce store, allowing costumes to order an arrange a delivery or in-store pickup.
4. Optimise your site for search
Like I mentioned at the start of this article, every customer journey starts with a simple question that is usually typed into Google search. Google then searches through the millions of web pages, analyses each one, and retrieves the right information to present to the user.
- Make sure your website shows up on Google
- Have clear page titles that reflect what the content of the page is about
- Use URLs that closely reflect the page title, not a random string of numbers and symbols
- Meta descriptions are important as they show up as the little snippet below your page title and that tells users what type of content is available on a webpage. Write clear and concise meta descriptions for each page, in no more than 140 characters.
Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash
Your social media channels
5. Create a business account for relevant social media channels
With so many social media platforms available, maintaining a meaningful presence on every platform is a challenge for any team, let alone the one person responsible for marketing your pharmacy.
The key is to determine which platforms your customers are most likely to spend time on and build your presence on those platforms. For most consumer-facing businesses, Facebook and Instagram will suffice.
When creating your business account or business page for these platforms, make sure to include key information like opening times, location, contact information, links to your website, services offered, and so on.
6. Post at least once a week
It’s important to post content regularly on your social media accounts as most platform algorithms favour accounts that generate a steady stream of content for their users.
Here are some ideas you could try out:
- Get to know the team (Carousel)
- How-to book an appointment (Reel)
- Updates about the pharmacy (Regular post)
- Promotions and offers you might be running (Regular post)
Use a free tool like Canva to create beautifully designed posts. You can also save time by scheduling all your posts in batches, for example at the start of each month, and have them automatically publish throughout the month.
7. Engage with your followers
Social media is all about engaging with your followers by responding to comments and replying to messages. A great example of a brand that does really well is Innocent Smoothies.
Again, you don’t have to spend too much time on this. Simply block out 15 minutes a day to check your social media accounts and respond to or like comments where appropriate.
Expanding your pharmacy’s online presence on important directories
8. Claim your Google My Business listing
Every business needs to claim or create its Google My Business listing. When users search for a business, the knowledge pane that appears on the right side of the Google search results page will reflect the information you add to your Google My Business listing. The same information is also displayed in Google Maps whenever a user searches for your pharmacy.
Therefore, it’s important to include important information like your opening times, your address, phone number, email address, website address, and so on.
9. Update your listings on important directories
There are also official directories that your pharmacy should be listed on as it is common for the government websites to link to these directories, especially when it comes to nationwide programmes, such as the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
In Ireland, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland’s (PSI) directory is important as linked to the HSE website and other official websites.
Your pharmacy’s strong online presence
Pharmacies that have an online presence are poised to get the most out of the current consumer interest in online pharmaceutical services. Building your online presence now could help drive success online and in-store in the long run.
Stand out online and offline
HasHealth offers pharmacies the tools they need to take appointments online, send out pre-appointment health questionnaires, manage customer records, and more. Book a call to learn how we can help you deliver a better customer experience.
Header image by Mimi Thian on Unsplash