If you have a pharmacy or health and beauty shop, you probably have an online version or perhaps you’ve even chosen to run a 100% online business.
Either way, there’s no doubt that this sector has some unique characteristics that you need to take into account when it comes to making sales.
That’s why today’s post offers you a guide with the best pharmaceutical marketing strategies for 2019.
If your online pharmacy isn’t making sales, fear not: we have the cure. ;)
👉 Pharmacies also need to sell online (like any other business)
Although they have typically been offline businesses, the truth is that more and more pharmacies are going online.
That makes sense since having two points of sales is rather common these days:
- One physical
- One virtual
And the pharmaceutical market certainly hasn’t skipped over this trend.
In fact, in 2018, it was one of the sectors that saw the most growth in the ecommerce world, doubling its invoicing numbers from 2015.
There are several reasons behind that increase:
- Current public interest in general regarding health and healthcare.
- The increased security of online payments (users trust online purchases more).
- How fast orders are delivered (especially when you choose a good logistics company).
- Guarantees for products bought online – the same guarantees that are offered when buying from a traditional pharmacy.
- The fact that online pharmacies are available 24/7/365.
- The possibility of accessing products from top brands at competitive prices thanks to the power of the Internet.
Of course, that last point is a key factor when starting an online business because there are so many online pharmacies with similar offers that it can be difficult to stand out in such a saturated market.
But don’t get discouraged – later in this post, we’ll tell you how you can separate yourself from the pack to make sure you get your slice of the pie ;)
👉 Online pharmacies or health and beauty shops? What are OTC products?
Before we get to the strategies, we need to make some important things clear:
Online pharmacies can only sell medications that don’t require a prescription and they always need to be backed by a physical pharmacy with a license.
That’s to say, just as with a traditional pharmacy, an online pharmacy needs a qualified pharmacist in charge.
Medications that don’t require a prescription are called OTC (Over The Counter). Here you have some examples:
- Painkillers such as paracetamol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen
- Flu or cold medicine, from cough syrups to decongestants
- Creams, ointments, muscle lotions, itch relief products, and hemorrhoid gels
- Antihistamine pills for allergies
- Medicine for diarrhea or constipation
- Vitamin and mineral complexes
- Hygiene and health-related products such as baby bottles, postnatal products, and so on
- Self-care products (band aids, bandages, thermometers)
- Infusions or any other herbs for nutritional use
- And many, many more
As you can see, the catalog can be as long as you like.
If you are just entering this sector, we recommend offering a wide variety of products because OTC products are cheap and you can increase the average checkout price with other products.
We’ll see how to do that later.
Although they may all seem the same, many online pharmacies are actually health and beauty shops since they sell health-related products rather than drugs or medications.
If you have a physical pharmacy, you can sell OTC drugs. If not, you need to stick to other products and start a health and beauty shop.
In any case, let’s see what you can do to help your shop stand out from the rest and sell more.
👉 The best pharmaceutical marketing strategies for 2019
Once you know what type of products you can sell, you can focus on the best strategies to increase your sales (that work for both pharmacies and health and beauty shops).
✅ 1. Use a professional search engine
We’ve already recommended having a wide range of products to increase your average checkout price and to make the business more profitable.
But that has one big disadvantage:
Clients come to your ecommerce shop looking for something, but they might get lost among so many products and categories (and subcategories), which could lead them to a different shop where they can find it quicker.
Have a look at the solution offered by one of our clients, Farma2Go:
Clients go to their website and before they even type in the whole name of the product they’re looking for, the search engine is already showing them:
- Images of different products from the same brand.
- A sidebar to the right with a link to the category page of the brand, a link to the product category, and a filter to order the products by price.
- A banner with a discount to get the second unit with a 50% discount.
Clients don’t waste even a second finding what they need and they might even buy a 2nd product after seeing the offer.
Did you know that Doofinder also offers the following functions?
- If users type “eliocare” when searching for Heliocare, the search engine still understands it.
- It lets you customize the results shown so that you can prioritize the products that you’re more interested in selling (because of surplus stock, better profit margins, etc.).
✅ 2. Online marketing – AdWords
Just like with any other online business, you need to get qualified traffic to your shop to get clients.
One of the best ways to do that is by investing in online ads.
If you prefer to advertise your shop on social networks, here you have information about:
If you prefer to start a Google campaign, our tutorial about Google AdWords for ecommerce will be really useful.
Things to bear in mind:
- Carry out a small study to check what your competitors do (where and how they advertise).
- Have a look at their ads (both at the copy and the design) and the landing page they send clients to.
By doing this, you’ll get an idea of what’s already working in the sector.
✅ 3. SEO positioning
Online ads are a huge source of traffic, but you don’t want to be dependent on paid visitors. That’s why your main goal should be to organically appear in the first positions of Google searches.
Where to begin?
- Read this post about what keywords are (the key to everything).
- Avoid duplicate content on your product cards.
- Learn how to write for SEO.
But, especially, note down everything we tell you in this mega guide about SEO for online shops.
✅ 4. Diversify with other types of products
We’ve already talked about OTC drugs and the fact that they’re normally quite cheap. Just to give you an idea, a box of 20 aspirin is about €4.
That’s why we mentioned the average checkout price for online pharmacies with these types of products being really low.
What can you do to increase it?
Expand your catalog and diversify your offering with other products, such as:
- Creams and lotions
- Nutritional products
- Hygiene products
- And on and on and…
To encourage buyers to increase the total of each transaction, you can use the cross-selling techniques that we explain in this post.
Important note: Did you know that Doofinder has identified that the 3 most common searches in this sector are for certain brands?
While one may think that the most commonly searched terms would be related to an illness itself, they are actually related to brands.
In that case, what can you do if your shop isn’t organized by brand?
Easy! Use a search engine that takes clients directly to what they want. This way, and even if you do have your products organized that way, you offer shoppers all these advantages:
- Customers can immediately find what they want.
- You don’t risk shoppers going to a different shop (users have very little patience when shopping online).
- You improve the user and customer experience.
In fact, have a look at what another client of ours, Farmacias.com, does in terms of searching for products.
Even though they have a huge website architecture, their home page is just a big search engine to make it easier for the clients to find what they’re looking for.
Why don’t you try doing same thing?
Using Doofinder increases the average checkout price by 15% – and you can try it out for free for 30 days.
✅ 5. Keep a blog (health-related questions get lots of hits)
According to a study by Research C, most millennials prefer to check their symptoms online before they go to the doctor.
And if blogs are such a huge source of information for them, why don’t you…
Publish content related to your online pharmacy’s products to attract those readers who, in turn, can then become subscribers and potential customers?
Don’t know where to start? Let’s take it step by step.
- Look for keywords with the help of tools such as Ubersuggest.
- Create your editorial calendar so that you don’t lose focus on your global content strategy.
- Write with Google in mind so that the posts are positioned organically.
Have a look at the number of searches that the words “flu symptoms” get.
And now, imagine that you had a well-positioned post with those words and that the end of that post offered different remedies sold in your shop. Indeed, that means sales. ;)
What’s more, by publishing these types of posts, you reinforce a feeling of security and trust in your readers, something vital for a pharmacy since you’re selling health.
Have a look at how one of our Italian clients, Loreto Gallo, and her pharmacy use a blog to do exactly what we’ve described – get super qualified traffic thanks to its content.
✅ 6. Create videos
There are plenty of options besides blog posts when it comes to creating relevant content for your audience. Actually, on the Internet, video is king since it can increase your website’s organic traffic by 157%.
Of course, just as with written content, those videos need to be related to your pharmacy’s catalog.
You can create videos about:
- How to prepare infusions
- How to bandage an arm
- First aid for kids
- The best way to apply firming cream
- And plenty more
Any piece of information that is useful and related to your product offering can attract those “experts” who search online before going to the doctor. ;)
And you can send them to the corresponding product card (which can be optimized to increase conversion, as we explain in this post about getting better results).
Perhaps you don’t know how to record yourself? Here you have our guide on creating and editing videos for ecommerce the easy way.
👉 Use pharmaceutical marketing to increase your sales
Today’s post tried to hyper-specialize so that you can boost your pharmacy’s sales with these 6 marketing strategies.
Now you just have to follow the treatment we’ve prescribed. ;)