Once you’ve decided to establish an online presence, it’s time to start thinking about what kind of content you’re going to have on your website. You can approach this in lots of different ways, but there are three main approaches

A bare bones approach – just your pharmacy’s name, address, opening hours and contact details.
A more detailed approach, with content about common pharmacy issues.
A full-blown online store, where people can find answers to their questions, and buy products from you, directly from your website.
To decide which approach to take, you need to think about what your customers need, how they engage with you, and which approach will best-help you to help them solve their problems. Here’s how:

What are they searching for?

The main element you need to consider is what your customers are searching for. Your regular customers may search for your pharmacy name. For these customers, a basic one-page “brochure” style website will be sufficient.

But occasional customers and potential customers probably won’t search for your pharmacy name. Think about the way you use the internet. When you have a problem to solve, what do you search for? You probably search for that problem – you don’t search for the name of the person who can solve it, because you don’t know who that person is.

So if someone searches for “arm rash,” or “sore throat,” or “cold medicine,” you want to be on their first page of results. A bare bones website won’t put you on the first page. In fact, you may not show up in searches at all!

Adding some content

Quality content helps to solve this problem. If you can fill your website with useful information that helps people solve their health problems, you’ll be more likely to rank in search results when people start looking for these solutions. That widens your potential customer base, and ultimately increases your sales.

A good way to start is by thinking about the most common questions you get from your customers. Write up your answer, and post it on your website. Now, you’re serving everyone who has that question, but hasn’t yet come into your store!

This means that whenever someone searches for that question, a high-quality, useful article from your pharmacy’s website will appear in the results. And if the solution requires something from your pharmacy, the reader will be much more likely to come to your pharmacy – after all, they’re already on your website! Better yet, why not link them to relevant products and give them the option to buy from you online then and there? That leads us into the next point…

Products, products, products

Content helps you to capture the search results of people who are trying to solve a specific problem. But there’s another segment of customers: people who know what they want, but don’t know where to get it.

Again, these people aren’t going to search for your pharmacy’s name. Rather, they’re going to search for their favourite product. And if your pharmacy isn’t in the results for that search, they’re probably going to buy it from someone who is.

This can be a real missed opportunity – imagine if you have a potential customer who lives around the block from your pharmacy. She searches for the medicine she needs, and you don’t come up in the results, because you don’t have that medicine on your website. But a pharmacy across town does – so she gets in the car and drives out of her way to pick up the medicine she needs.

If your customer had known you were nearby, and stocked what she needed, she would have almost certainly just wandered over rather than going for a ten minute drive. What’s more, you lost a potential sale, so your revenue is just a bit lower this month than it could have been.

To solve this problem, you need to list your available products on your website. This way, people will find you when they search for the products they need to solve their problems.

Of course, on top of this, offering products helps you to sell to the segment of customers we talked about in the last section. If someone visits your website, then reads an article that points them to a particular solution, they’ll have an even better experience if they can immediately buy that solution, straight from your website. This makes them more likely to purchase, and gets money into your bank account faster. Everybody wins!

Which works best?

The approach you take is ultimately up to you, of course. If you have enough regular customers to keep you busy, and you don’t intend on growing, then you may be able to get away with a no-frills website that just reminds people how they can find you. But if you want to grow the business and get more customers, you should give some serious thought to providing useful content and having your products online. It’s a great way to grow your business by helping more people engage with you to solve their health problems.

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