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It’s time to stop thinking of a website as a luxury, and start thinking of it as an indispensable part of the way you communicate with your customers.
Here are five reasons you can’t afford to run a pharmacy without a website and why your business plan will thrive with one.
21 October 2019
When people want to learn about your products and services, it’s important to have that information available in one central location that you can direct them to. Even your print ads and brochures should include the address of your website, so potential customers can learn more about what you have to offer. A good website has a ‘halo effect’ on your marketing strategy, enhancing the effectiveness of all your other marketing activities that link to it — so you need to start looking at it as the engine that drives your business, rather than a hood ornament. Need proof this strategy works? Look at the largest discounter in Australia...it works for them.
You might think of a good website as a superfluous ‘nice-to-have’ on top of your core bricks-and-mortar business and offline marketing activities. In truth, however, your website should be the backbone of your marketing strategy. Think about it — your website is the place that every type of communication you have with your customers should be linking back to. For example, you might communicate with your customers via a third-party social media platform like Facebook, but the content you share on Facebook needs to be hosted somewhere, and your advertisements need to send people somewhere.
There’s nothing worse than stagnation. Updating your website is the fastest and easiest way to let people know about changes to your business, whether it’s a change to your physical address, your opening hours, or the services and products you offer your customers. Think of your website as a flyer or catalogue that can be easily changed or updated at any time, without having to pay for a whole new print run. You can add or remove items when you need to, and you can let your customers know about any timely offers or sales you might have. You can also spotlight different things on your home page at different times of year — for example, you can push flu shots to the forefront in April and May, and cold and flu medicines during flu season. Updating your blog on your website is also a great way to ensure your pharmacy stays on top of news and trends in the health industry, leading your customers to see you as a credible, trustworthy and reliable source of information. In short, you should be constantly tweaking your website to ensure your customers are receiving the right messages from you at the right times. If you can't do this - its time to be kind to yourself and your business and get help from experts.
According to Salesforce, 75 per cent of customers expect companies to use new technologies to create better experiences, and 54 per cent think companies need to fundamentally transform how they engage. The pressure is on to get ahead of the digital curve...before your competitors do...
You probably don’t want to be at work at 2am, but you might have customers need answers at that time. When you make your information available on your website, you don’t have to be open 24/7 to be engaging 24/7. Think of your website as an additional salesperson who works around the clock, never gets tired and never takes a holiday — or even a lunch break. Absolutely anytime someone wants to find out more about what you have to offer, they can simply visit your website for the information they need. Even if you are open 24/7, a website still expands your reach by making your pharmacy accessible to customers who might not be able to get to your bricks-and-mortar store, or who don’t even live in your area. As a community pharmacist, your primary focus will always be on, well, your community, and nobody should ever try to change that. But since you should be maintaining a regularly updated website for the benefit of your local customers anyway, it’s a great way to grow your business beyond your neighbourhood without any extra effort on your part.
87% of consumers search for a product digitally before they look for it in-store
The easier it is for customers to find you online, the more opportunities you’ll have to make a sale. Sounds simple, right? Similarly, when you make new products and services available to your customers, you want people to know about it — and 87 per cent of consumers search for a product digitally before they look for it in-store. When people search for particular keywords online, search engines will return a list of web pages that are relevant to those topics. In order to appear on that list, you have to have a website for the search engine to find. You might think that your community pharmacy is too small to be noticed by a massive company like Google, but you’d be wrong. With enough effort and know-how, any site can rank highly. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is just a matter of making sure your website is filled with relevant content and takes advantage of things like long-tail keywords (phrases that are very specific to the products you sell) and meta-descriptions (text that neatly summarises a page’s content). Making your site mobile-friendly will also work wonders for your SEO. Of course, just like your own website, the algorithms that search engines use to determine the relevance of web pages are constantly changing, and you need to keep up with them to ensure your website is being shown to people who might be interested in what you have to offer. That’s one reason why a good website is never ‘finished’ — it’s always a work in progress.
Sending a weekly email newsletter is a great way for you to stay in touch with your customers, help them to learn more about what you do, and keep them informed about new products, services and offers that are available to them. Your website is crucial to the success of your newsletter. You can run lead-generation offers on your website to increase the size of your database — for example, you could provide useful information in a downloadable PDF that visitors to your site would be required to sign up to your newsletter to access. You can also offer discounts and exclusive offers to visitors who sign up for your newsletter. No business can survive without growth, and this is a simple and straightforward way to add new customers to your database. Naturally, your website also plays an essential role when you send out your newsletter to your database. By adding clickable links to your newsletter, you can guide visitors to your website to read your newest content and learn about your latest offers. You can also keep your subscribers engaged by providing them with exclusive offers.As you can see, it is simply not possible to take advantage of all the marketing opportunities available to pharmacies today without a website — so when are you going to start building yours?
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