June 11, 2018
Inside: Review websites are far more important to your pharmacy than you imagined. Here’s why you can’t afford to ignore them.
We live in an era of constant connection. Every experience gets shared for better or worse. From a bad hair day to a puppy’s shenanigans to a baby’s first walk.
That inclination to share experiences extends to people’s relationship with businesses they use as much as with their personal experiences with family, friends, and furry loved ones.
People can instantly share what they think and feel about businesses on social media and online review websites.
And those websites have completely changed the game for businesses.
And for your pharmacy too.
If review websites, like Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook, aren’t on your radar, you’re overlooking an important opportunity. These websites can help drive new patients to your pharmacy and boost your prescription volume.
Or, you’re putting your pharmacy at risk of missing out on new patients and even losing some.
Review websites have a powerful influence on consumers. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Ninety percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
Take a moment to digest that.
Almost every single person who visits your pharmacy will find your pharmacy online and read reviews before deciding to visit you.
Moreover, the vast majority of them are going to trust what they read.
So, online review websites are the gateway to your pharmacy. Potential patients will consider a pharmacy’s ratings and reviews as a primary factor when choosing a pharmacy.
Getting high ratings and positive review on review websites matters.
For good measure, here are a few more eye-opening statistics:
People viewing online review sites are potential patients for your pharmacy.
Typically, the path to gaining new customers starts with initiating interest. It takes a lot of work, time, and money to get someone interested in considering what your pharmacy offers.
But people on review websites have already passed that step. If they’re looking up your pharmacy, it means they already need a pharmacy. For example, 80 percent of people who look up a business on Yelp intend to make a purchase.
That means almost all the upfront work of attracting new patients has already happened.
All you have to do is convert them.
Ways to convert people to customers:
Rather than seeing review websites as another burden to manage, see them as an advantage.
They’re free marketing. (And the most effective marketing: word-of-mouth.) So, they give you a better shot at competing with the chain pharmacies.
National chains and big box stores have huge marketing budgets for advertising. So, people quickly become familiar with them.
And people are more likely to shop at businesses they’re familiar with than at ones they know nothing about.
Review websites give independents a chance to compete with the big guys. “Review sites are leveling the playing field by allowing consumers to learn as much about independent restaurants as they know about the chains,” Michael Blanding said in an article for the Harvard Business School, using restaurants to talk about the effect of online review on small businesses.
And, review websites reveal the truth about the service at national chain pharmacies. They can’t gloss up their image when thousands of real customers share their real experiences.
If you know your independent pharmacy is superior to your competition, then review websites only help your business.
While you can’t post on review websites yourself, you can encourage your patients to write positive reviews.
Review websites are the easiest, cheapest, and most effective way to attract new patients.
So, which review websites should you be paying attention to? Start with these.
More people will find your pharmacy through Google than through any other review website. Google’s search engine and Google Maps guide consumers to 1.5 billion destinations every year.
The first thing people see when they Google your pharmacy is a rating of one to five gold stars. Next to the star rating, they’ll see the number of reviews. And, they can choose to click to read them.
Google lists the star ratings before your pharmacy’s address, website, phone number, hours of operation, and a brief description.
Because of how prominent the star ratings are when people search for businesses, ratings are paramount for taking people to the next step of reading the comments and investigating your business.
How to set up your business on Google
Yelp is a website and mobile app that connects people with local businesses. It’s the leading local guide for real word-of-mouth on everything from boutiques and mechanics to restaurants and dentists.
Yelp’s influence on consumers has been so strong that critics have asked whether it has too much power over consumer choice.
According to an article from the Harvard Business School, a one-star increase on Yelp leads to a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue.
Yelp reviews also rank high on search engines. That means your pharmacy’s Yelp business listing will display near the top of the page, before other review websites like Foursquare, when people search.
That’s significant because 63 percent of consumers use a search engine to find online reviews. So, even though people are more likely to search for pharmacy reviews on Google than to go to Yelp’s website directly, Yelp will show up near the top of the Google’s search results.
How to set up your business on Yelp
Like Yelp, Foursquare helps people discover new places with recommendations from the community.
More than 50 million people use Foursquare every month.
Although Foursquare isn’t as popular as Yelp, you need to have a positive presence on it. People who use Foursquare might not use Yelp and vice versa. This means you’re missing out on a large number of people if you don’t focus on both websites.
How to set up your business on Foursquare
Facebook isn’t technically a review website. But like Google, it has ratings and reviews for businesses.
Its business pages function like Yelp and Foursquare when it comes to reviews. People can view star ratings and read and write comments about your business.
Importantly, Facebook’s user numbers far exceed Yelp and Foursquare:
And, millions of people don’t use Yelp and Foursquare at all, which means they rely on Facebook and Google results.
People are also far more likely to share or like your business page on Facebook. This can generate more traffic to your business page socially than Yelp or Google.
One survey revealed that Facebook is the most popular way consumers recommend or review local businesses.
Bottom line, you can’t afford to ignore Facebook business reviews.
How to set up your business on Facebook
Now you’re ready to make the most of online review websites.
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