By April Onufrak, Specialist, Digital and Web Media, AmerisourceBergen
Twenty years ago, finding an independent pharmacy required thumbing through the local Yellow Pages and pulling out a physical map to pinpoint the address. Outside of the pharmacy’s name and address, patients had limited access to additional information – no reviews, outside of word-of-mouth recommendations, no understanding of products available in the front-end and no knowledge of the pharmacy’s staff or operating hours.
Fortunately, those days are long gone. Today, this information is available to patients online – through a desktop or increasingly via a mobile device. With the click of a mouse or swipe of the finger, patients have access to a wealth of information – from reviews to social media posts – that paints a holistic picture of the pharmacy. Collectively, all of these elements form a pharmacy’s digital footprint. When it comes to getting noticed, attracting new customers and maintaining the loyalty of existing patients, the size and quality of a digital footprint is vital.
Here are four actions community pharmacies can take to strengthen their digital footprint:
Prioritize SEO: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing web keywords to increase the visibility of results in search engines, such as Google or Bing. A focus on SEO is critical to help current and potential customers more easily find results related to the pharmacy through a search engine query.
Choose a champion: Web links get broken. Business hours can change. Customers will post questions, compliments or complaints – all of which deserve a response.
Respond to every review: According to the Pew Research Center, almost 40% of U.S. adults have shared their thoughts and experiences about companies or products on social media. This phenomenon is even more prevalent among younger generations, with 55 percent of Americans in the 18 to 29 age range and 50 percent of those in the 30 to 49 age bracket writing reviews online.
Commit to generating content: Everybody wants content. Search engines like Google give businesses higher rankings if they have more content. While this content can take many forms, such as basic business information or reviews, social media content is a critical factor that contributes to higher search engine rankings.