The European Union is one of the world’s largest markets, with over 500 million consumers buying their goods and services every year. The EU’s economy is valued at around €19 trillion, and it generates about a quarter of the world’s GDP. It would be foolish to ignore such a massive consumer market, so online pharmacies have recognised this and are actively seeking to establish themselves in the EU. However, due to strict regulations, this may not be an easy task.
Why Online Pharmacies?
If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either an entrepreneur looking to expand your business horizons or a marketing professional who has been tasked with creating a marketing plan for an internet pharmacy. In either case, you’ve come to the right place, because what follows is a detailed guide to marketing an online pharmacy in the European Union.
Why go the extra mile to establish an online pharmacy in the EU vs. other major markets? The simple answer is because the EU is incredibly complex and heavily regulated. According to CV-SCAN, a company that monitors and analyzes US websites for pharmaceutical companies, only 1.9% of drugstores and 1.7% of general stores were located in Europe as of May 2022.
Many businesses fail in their attempt to enter the EU market, and even more close down after they discover the level of red tape and bureaucracy that comes with operating there. The good news is that there are many marketing tactics that can be deployed to successfully launch a drugstore in the European Union. However, a lot of work is required, and you may need to enlist the help of a lawyer to navigate the legalities. With this in mind, let’s get started.
Marketing: The Basics
If you’re looking to enter the global market, it’s essential to understand the basic foundations of market research, target audience identification, and market segmentation. To do this, you’ll need to navigate three primary tools:
- An SEM tool, like Google Ads or Facebook Ads. We’ll get into these later.
- A content creation tool, like HubSpot, Marlin, or Hootsuite.
- An analytics platform, such as Google Analytics, Bitly, or Marketo.
Marketing: Creating a Strategy
To develop a strategy for marketing your online pharmacy, you’ll need to pull data from your website and social media to determine whether or not you’re achieving your business goals. From here, you can evolve a marketing plan or map out an advertising campaign. A good rule of thumb is to develop a campaign for the smallest segment of your user base and then scale it up. This ensures you’re delivering the right message to the right audience, and it allows you to track the results of your efforts.
Marketing: Set Goals And Measure Success
Setting goals and measuring success are an integral part of any business plan. Without them, you’ll never know if you’re heading in the right direction or whether or not your efforts are bearing fruit. The same goes for marketing campaigns. Without specific metrics to gauge your progress, you could unknowingly sabotage your efforts. To avoid this, measure your results against specific, quantifiable goals. For example, if you’re seeking to increase web traffic to your site, set a target of gaining 10 new blog subscribers per week. When you reach this benchmark, you can confidently deem your campaign a success.
Marketing: Determining The Best Online Pharmacy To Market In The EU
As we’ve established, the European Union is a massive marketplace, and it’s one that you can definitely tap into. This being said, not all of its member states offer the same level of market penetration for online pharmacies, so if your aim is to make the most out of your EU marketing efforts, you need to zero in on the best available options.
To begin with, we recommend that you examine the laws that govern medical practice in EU member states to determine whether or not online pharmacies are legal in your chosen location. At the time of writing, we were unable to determine the legality of online pharmacies in the EU, but if you’re seeking to operate a store in an EU member state, you should check the law first.
If you’ve been tasked with developing a social media strategy for an EU-based business, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. First, ensure that your content is relevant and appropriate for your target audience. When you do this, you’ll be able to drive more qualified traffic to your site, which in turn can lead to higher conversion rates and a greater chance of establishing yourself as an online pharmacy providing quality service to EU members.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM, or search engine marketing, is the process of getting traffic to your site from Google or other search engines. One of the best ways of getting organic search engine traffic is through search retargeting. This entails using Google Ads to target users who have previously performed a specific action, like searching for a specific product or going to a specific website (this is also known as a destination page).
By retargeting in this way, you can ensure that your ads appear alongside content that is relevant to what they’re searching for, further boosting your chances of conversion.
If you’re looking to establish an online pharmacy, you’ll need to consider the role that content plays in getting results. While SEO is still relevant and can be effective, content is steadily taking over, and it’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, a study conducted by HubSpot found that 68% of respondents plan on increasing their content marketing budget in the next year.
What is content marketing? Simply put, content marketing is the process of creating and distributing informative, engaging content to attract, retain, and motivate customers – all without having to blatantly sell your product. In other words, content marketing is the practice of marketing through content creation, instead of paid advertisements.
To get started, create a schedule for yourself. This should consist of regularly scheduled content, whether it’s a weekly blog post, a podcast, or an in-house magazine piece. Ensure that this content is of a high quality and that it meets the needs of your target audience. It should also be fun to write, so that you have something to look forward to when creating content. In addition to this, publish the content often, whether it’s a few days or weeks after the fact. Doing this helps establish your content as reliable information, further enhancing your brand’s credibility.
Last but not least, we need to discuss analytics. More and more businesses are realizing the importance of having a clear handle on what’s working and what isn’t, which in turn leads to a more informed marketing strategy. To achieve this, you need to utilize analytics platforms that can give you a clear picture of how your marketing efforts are performing. At the same time, you should be gathering as much information as possible about your target audience, so that you can better serve them with content that is relevant and valuable.
With all of this information, you can evolve a marketing strategy or plan and determine the best course of action for your business.
Creating a business plan doesn’t have to be filled with painful bureaucratic procedures. In fact, there are many helpful organizations that can make the whole process easier. For instance, if you’re seeking to establish an online pharmacy in the EU, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has a database of business opportunities across Europe. If you contact them, they can put you in touch with the right people or provide you with useful information on the process of setting up a pharmacy in the EU.
To our knowledge, it isn’t illegal to operate an online pharmacy in the EU as of now, but you should check the legalities in your chosen location before doing so. In addition, it’s essential that you register your business with the local authorities, obtain a business license, and establish an EU storefront. Finally, ensure that you’re complying with all relevant data privacy regulations, as well as any legal requirements pertaining to the marketing of prescription medicines.
If you’re looking to enter the European market, you’ll need to comply with all relevant laws and regulations. For this reason, it’s essential that you establish a good working relationship with a reputable and experienced lawyer or public relations firm.