Imagine this – you’re looking for a local restaurant near you to try out for dinner. What’s the first thing you do?
For most people, it’s a quick Google search to look at reviews and store hours. This scenario applies to any local business – hair salons, grocery stores, gyms, and even community pharmacies. An astounding 97% of consumers say they check the internet presence of a company in order to decide whether they will visit that business. 88% of consumers who search for a local business on their smartphone end up visiting or calling that company within 24 hours. This shows the crucial importance of participating in a technique called Local SEO, and independent pharmacies should be taking advantage of this free and easy way to advertise your business.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of optimizing your online presence to attract potential customers that are searching for local businesses such as your own. Almost half of all Google searches are made by people looking for information on a local business. People in your community will be looking online to decide on which pharmacy to use, and you want to be on that list. You want to get in front of these potential customers and give them all the information they need to decide that your pharmacy is the right one for them. This includes information about store hours, your street address, Covid-related store updates, a link to your website, existing patient reviews, and more.
What is ‘Google My Business’ and How Do I Get Started?
Google My Business is a free tool that lets you create a business profile for your pharmacy and control what information is shown when people search your business on Google. It also ensures that your pharmacy shows up on Google Maps when someone searches for “pharmacies near me”. Managing your Google My Business account is a great tool for independent pharmacies. So how do you start editing your profile?
Try searching the name of your pharmacy in Google. You may already see a profile pop-up on the right side of the page. This is normal – sometimes Google will automatically create a profile for your business, so all you have to do is claim yourself as the owner in order to start editing the auto-populated information. If your pharmacy does not have a profile, no problem! You’ll just need to create a new listing for your business.
How to add a new listing or claim an existing listing as your own:
How to edit your listing:
Perfecting Your Pharmacy’s Google Listing
Google My Business is a free tool with an array of information you can provide to potential customers, so why not take advantage of it? You have the capability to provide all of the following information in your Google listing:
- Company Logo
- Company Description: a short summary of your business and what makes you unique
- Photos of Your Store
- Link to Your Pharmacy Website
- Links to Your Social Media Profiles
- Phone Number
- Street Address
- Regular Business Hours
- Holiday Business Hours
- COVID-19 Updates: changes to business hours, information on Covid testing and vaccination, noting whether you offer delivery, curbside or drive-thru services
- Special Offer Posts: create pop-up listings to advertise current promotions and specials at your pharmacy
- Customer Reviews: read and respond to reviews
You want to make sure that everything is accurate and easy to find as soon as someone Googles your pharmacy. It’s important to make sure the information is up-to-date in order to be reliable and maintain your customers’ trust. You don’t want a patient’s first experience with your pharmacy to be negative. For example, if your store hours are not updated and a potential customer shows up only to find your store closed, they likely won’t be pleased. You can avoid these situations by maintaining your business profile and providing updated information. If your Google listing is clean and polished, that will be the first impression someone will have with your pharmacy.
Another tip for RxLocal Pharmacies is to claim your pharmacy on the RxLocal Pharmacy Finder. This is similar to a Google My Business profile, specific to RxLocal pharmacies. The Pharmacy Finder is a platform for patients that are looking for the personalized service of an independent pharmacy. Claim your pharmacy and update your listing information to attract new patients in your area.