Maximising your digital potential

John Whittam, Numark’s digital expert, explains how exploiting the likes of email marketing and website advertising can drive customers into your pharmacy

Email marketing campaigns are an effective and effi cient method of communication and consistently offer significantly higher returns on investment than many other more traditional communication mediums such as direct mail.

There are many benefits to using an email campaign to reach out to your contacts. For starters, it’s low cost. The relatively small set up and monthly cost for utilising a professional email client means email marketing offers a cost effective way of reaching a huge number of prospects. It’s also easy to create and track.

Most email clients now have easy to use interfaces that don’t require you to have signifi cant technical expertise and therefore allow you to create engaging and powerful emails in next to no time. Unlike other mediums, results can be tracked directly through your email provider and Google Analytics, which means improvements can easily be identifi ed and implemented.

And, of course, it gives you instant results. Emails are delivered whenever you schedule them and you can see results within minutes. Adding clear ‘calls to action’ can mean the recipient is only a few clicks away from potentially booking an appointment with you.

Awareness boost
Why not try sending an email to your database that highlights the range of services you can provide and communicate the ease of which prospective customers can access these? Try tailoring emails around health awareness dates; so a few weeks before No Smoking Day why not send an email that communicates all the benefi ts of your smoking cessation service and let potential customers know exactly how they can make the most of this. However, do note that data protection laws dictate that you must have prior permission to send marketing emails to any of your database of contacts. Also, any customers that receive any unexpected emails from you are more likely to mark your email as spam, which will have a detrimental effect on deliverability of future emails.

Website promotion
Your website is a fantastic platform to communicate with existing and prospective customers. However, users don’t tend to stick around too long if the benefi ts are not effectively communicated on the homepage. Banners are a powerful way of communicating a message to your users. Numark members can download free template web banners to help convert those website views into customers using the services you have to offer. Don’t have a website? Numark members have access to Enhanced Discount partner ‘The Pharmacy Website Company’ to help build an effective and cost efficient website.

There are a few things to consider when setting up your website:
• Easily identifiable ‘calls to action’ – don’t have your key messages at the bottom of your webpage as they will likely not get seen. For example, when promoting your services ensure the key facts such as cost, how the service can be accessed and reasons to use the service are at the top of the page.
• Don’t include too much on your homepage – your homepage needs to effectively communicate that you are a pharmacy, what your core offering is and what you want customers to achieve from your website. The main menu should focus on the most relevant things for your users/customers, for example, the range of services you offer, over the counter medicines, any offers you have at that time, contact information, etc.
• Easy navigation and user friendly design – a website should allow users to fi nd anything on your website within three clicks. When thinking about the structure, try to maintain consistency throughout. Put yourself in the shoes of the user; think about where they would expect to fi nd particular content.
• Regular maintenance – an outdated website will only serve to detract from a user’s confi dence in your offering. Ensure you set aside time to update your site and ensure the content is relevant. In summer, you may want to offer hay fever advice and in winter focus more on winter ailments.
• Search engine optimisation – optimising your website will mean your website will show higher in search engine results from the likes of Google. This can be critical in driving relevant users to your website. A regular fl ow of new or updated content, along with researching and using keywords in your pages, will most certainly help.
• Mobile friendly – the majority of webpages are now opened on a mobile device rather than a desktop computer and as such you will need to consider accommodating a mobile friendly website design to gain a higher conversion rate.

Whatever your starting point, it is extremely important these days to ensure you are considering digital marketing as part of your overall business development strategy.

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