Here’s a common scenario: You decide that building a website is the right move for your pharmacy. You might do it yourself, or (more likely) you might hire someone to do it. It takes longer and costs more than you expected, but eventually, it’s live.

Then . . . nothing. Things tick on essentially the same way they were before. You have a website, but your business is the same. Suddenly, the benefits of being online seem like a bit of a fantasy and you conclude that websites aren’t worth the trouble.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that websites are just another tool for your business. Just like buying a wrench won’t magically fix your toilet, investing in a website won’t magically improve your business. In order to make any tool work, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to do with it. In other words, you need to have a clear objective. Then, you can take steps to make sure your website meets that objective.

In the early stages

Like any business investment, building a website involves lots of decisions, particularly in the early stages. The decisions you make now are sometimes harder to change in the future, so this is a good time to really think them over.

For example, if you build a website to focus on selling products online, then you’re going to have to cater your website specifically to that need. To sell things online, you need to be able to upload products, give people a way to pay, keep track of inventory and revenue and successfully get the product to customers.

By picking this clear objective, you can figure out what the essentials of the website need to be. If you look at any industry, there are a variety of websites available for a different set of customer needs. So, what is it that your pharmacy offers? You need to evaluate what features are available, then work out what features your website needs, and which ones it can do without.

Even if you aren’t looking to sell products online right away, having product information online helps your pharmacy be readily discoverable. Not everything is as black and white as it seems – and remember, strengthening what you offer online is never going to be a detriment to your business.

You do need to effectively evaluate your customers to gain an understanding of what it is that they will value from your website, match it up to your business goals and provide everything they could need from your pharmacy online. This helps your customers and therefore, you, get the most out of your pharmacy website as quickly as possible.

After you launch

The other side of the coin is what you do with your website after you launch it. Remember, your website is just a tool – it’s up to you to put that tool to work.

If you know why you made your website in the first place, it’s a lot easier to make decisions around how you will do this. For example, if you want to show up in local searches for different medical conditions, you may want to spend time writing content for your website – this would help you rank higher in Google searches.

But if you wanted to encourage more of your existing customers to do their shopping online, you might print some cards talking about the benefits of your website, then hand them to customers when they come in for their prescriptions

These are just a couple of examples – you can probably come up with lots of ideas of your own. The key is to know exactly what you’re trying to achieve with your website, and why. Once you have this crystal–clear, it becomes a lot easier to come up with ways to promote your website that help you get the most out of it.

How to set your objective

If you don’t have a clear vision for exactly what you want from your website, don’t worry! You can figure this out by spending a bit of time thinking about it.

First, think about what you want from your business. Do you want more customers? Or do you want to become more efficient when you serve existing customers? Or, do you want existing customers to buy more from you? Or something else entirely?

You probably have a very clear idea of where you want your business to go in the next few years. You can use this idea to develop some ideas for how your website plays into this.

Then, think about your customers. What is it that they currently value from your pharmacy? Are there certain areas which your pharmacy excels in? Are there certain areas you wish your pharmacy was stronger in? Does this match up with your future business objectives?

From here, things should start to flow. Since you know where you want your business to go, it becomes a lot easier to generate ideas that push your website in the right direction. And once you have that sorted, you can create the best possible website to fit your pharmacies goals – then promote it in ways that give it the best chance of succeeding.

So have an objective, write it down and work towards it. It’s a solid way to give your website the best possible shot at success.

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