Needless to say running an independent pharmacy has an endless number of challenges. Today’s world is changing constantly and trying to keep up with just the pharmacy aspect is difficult. Add to that running a small business and trying to keep up with technology and you have a formula for frustration.
As the Internet and social media evolves it is becoming essential to have an online marketing plan. But with so many options and so many places to be online, what are the basics that you need to put in place to help your independent pharmacy connect with the patients in your community?
This brief overview will give you the highlights of what you need to have in place for an online marketing plan.
A Website for Your Independent Pharmacy
All too often small businesses are drawn towards other places online as their sole marketing initiative. Many of these other places such as Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, YouTube and many more work well. But attracting new customers, the foundation for any online marketing endeavor, must start with your website on your domain.
The number one reason you want to have your own website is because, ultimately, it is the only place online where you will have complete control. You can control the appearance, the content, the layout and the quantity of information that you provide your patients/customers. All the social media platforms require you to follow their terms of service and place restrictions on the content that you can publish. You want to make sure that you have a website that allows you to publish any information you choose and in a manor that is consistent with your brand.
Your website needs to be the hub of all of your online marketing activities. You can be on Facebook or Twitter but those activities need to direct people to your website for more information about your business.
Facebook Pages for Pharmacy
Facebook is probably the number one social media platform for online engagement with your customers. You definitely want to utilize Facebook to interact with your current and future customers. The best way to utilize Facebook is to create a Facebook page for your business.
There are many ways to engage people on a Facebook page. Regular posts to your Facebook page will engage your customers and keep your name in front of them. People can see your posts, share them, comment and like them. When they need a service you provide, regular engagement online increases the likely-hood they will come to see you over your competition.
Also you need make sure that you’re using Facebook posts to bring people back to your website. For example, post a story or article on your website. Then post a teaser on Facebook with a link to the article on your website.
Twitter is another popular social network. You can set up a Twitter account for your business at no charge and interact with your customers (called followers on twitter) on a regular basis. In some ways Twitter is like text messaging, creating short but engaging posts that people will interact with.
Make sure that you’re using twitter to bring people back to your website to get more information.
This is an often overlooked strategy for small businesses. People that do business with you often want to get more information and regular updates. Providing that information through an email list gives them that ability.
You want to place a sign-up form on your website that allows people to add their email address. Once you have collected the email address you can send them information about health conditions, services you provide, promotions and specials you offer.
Make sure when you set up an email marketing campaign that you are using a highly respected service so that your emails are delivered reliably. You can find many respected services online, the one we use for PharmerDon, Inc is Aweber.
You can get a free month here http://pharmerdon.aweber.com
The above information is just the beginning for your online marketing endeavors. Over the next few months I will elaborate on each of the points above and provide more information that I hope you will find helpful. If you have specific questions or would like to write a comment please do so below.