October 17, 2014
Does your pharmacy have a website? Even if you don’t, that doesn’t mean your business isn’t represented online. A simple Google search might reveal a web presence you never knew existed.
Your pharmacy might be referred to in a blog post, recommended to a friend on Facebook or mentioned in a local news article. Not knowing what is being said about your pharmacy online is not only a missed opportunity to engage with customers, but it could also hurt your business. For example, outdated store hours and contact information can cause confusion among would-be customers, and unanswered negative comments on Yelp or Yellow Page reviews can make you seem uninformed, or worse, apathetic about customer complaints.
Don’t be a business that doesn’t manage its online reputation. Yodle, an online marketing platform, found that more than half of small business owners don’t have a website. If your pharmacy is one of these, you’re missing out on the 57 percent of consumers who use the Internet to find local businesses at least six times a year.
Use these guidelines can help you navigate creating an online presence for your pharmacy.
A website is an important tool for your pharmacy because it offers a way to reach consumers online via a platform that you can control. Unlike comment-driven sites such as Yelp, maintaining your own website lets you promote your pharmacy’s service and products in the way you want.
Create a user-friendly website by including general information, like store hours, location and contact information, clearly on the main page. This will ensure that customers can find accurate information about your pharmacy quickly. Also, make regular updates to the website to share events your pharmacy is hosting and information about specialty services and products you provide.
The tricky thing about the Internet is that is never closes. You can produce high quality service in the pharmacy from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m., but one negative comment on Yelp can give your pharmacy a bad reputation long after store hours have ended. It’s important to stay up-to-date on what’s being said about your business online. Regularly search for your pharmacy in search engines and respond quickly and professionally to negative comments. Keeping up on feedback can prevent scaring off the 88 percent of consumers who read reviews to determine the quality of a local business.
An online presence connects your business to current and potential customers, as well as people who can help raise your pharmacy’s community profile. Look for ways to integrate your pharmacy into online opportunities by forming partnerships with local media outlets and offering your pharmacists up as a source on health stories, for example.
Use the connections you have with your current customers (and counter negative reviews) by asking loyal patrons to write online reviews about your pharmacy on crowd-sourcing sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Research has shown that the more reviews your business has, the more confidence consumers have in the rating of the business.
Consistent branding in your online presence and your brick-and-mortar store can help cement your pharmacy’s identity in consumer’s minds. If you have dedicated your pharmacy to specializing in seniors, for example, make sure your website reflects that identity with large print, and easy-to-navigate options. Keeping branding the same across all platforms—your website, social media channels and in the store—maintains your identity and can help you reach the 69 percent of consumers who said they are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on social media.