Your Go-To Guide for Selling Supplements Online

Your Go-To Guide for Selling Supplements Online

Your go-to guide for selling health supplements online (DTC)

As a health supplement distributor or manufacturer, you’ve got the team and processes  to sell your products via the B2B distribution chain. But what about when you want to begin selling directly to consumers (DTC)? Selling health supplements online DTC is more popular than ever, and the market is growing every day. But don’t be intimidated. Here’s your go-to guide — complete with benefits, guidelines and more — so you can begin successfully selling health supplements online today.

Benefits of selling health supplements online

The future is digital. There’s no denying it. Seemingly everything is going online, especially in a post-COVID world. And when it comes to selling health supplements, it’s no different. The vast majority of health companies choose to sell online for many reasons, including:

  • There’s no need to spend money on a brick and mortar store. This cuts overhead costs tremendously. No rent to pay, no store to clean. Just a website to run.
  • You can be open 24/7. When you run a business online, there are no open and close times. You’re available to your customers any time they need supplements.

Overall, selling health supplements online is simpler and much less expensive for your company than selling in a brick and mortar store. But, it’s not just the “wild west” in the digital space. Selling supplements online comes with its own set of rules and limitations.

Government guidelines

When selling supplements online directly to consumers, there are a lot of government guidelines to consider. The supplement space can be tricky because omitting information or having incorrect information can get retailers in hot water very quickly.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the production and sale of all health supplements. Here’s what they require to be listed on each product:

  • All ingredients
  • The manufacturer
  • The packaging site
  • A product description
  • The word “supplement”

Here’s a link to a page on the FDA website that explains more about these requirements.

In addition, it is illegal to make any claim that a supplement will treat a condition or provide medicinal benefits. You absolutely cannot claim that your product will help people achieve anything at all unless you can back it up with authentic scientific studies. If you do make a claim, it must be accompanied by the following text: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

If supplements are mislabeled in any way, companies will receive a letter from the FDA. Every year, the FDA sends hundreds of letters to various organizations for mislabeling their products. Once a company receives a letter from the FDA, they have 15 days to respond and remedy the situation. If a company fails to do so, the FDA will enforce recalls and/or seizures of products.

Selling health supplements on social media

In today’s day and age, social media is absolutely vital for selling health supplements. It is widely known in the supplement world that using social media effectively is generally the “magic trick” for a successful supplement business. There are a few crucial things to consider as you begin to market your health supplements on social media.

  • Choose the right social platforms. You might think that selling the maximum amount of health supplements means having a big presence on every social media channel. Sometimes it does, but usually it doesn’t. Usually, with each specific supplement, not every social media network will be a good fit. Begin the process of selling on social media by identifying your customers and choosing a social network (or two) that gives you the best and most appropriate opportunity to speak to your target market.  
  • Build your network. You can start this process by searching for relevant keywords or hashtags (such as “health supplements” or #healthsupplements). Once you’ve found some people interested in your space, respond to their questions, comment on their posts, like their content and share their relevant posts. The goal is that they check out your page, like what they see and become a loyal customer. Selling supplements and building an audience on social media can be time consuming and competitive, but interacting with your audience in meaningful ways will help you gain ground.
  • Market differently on each social media platform.  Let’s say your research has taught you that your brand should focus on Instagram. In that case, partnering with an influencer can help you sell much more effectively. However, if your audience is more active on Facebook, Pinterest, eBay, etc., then there are other best practices to use. Keep in mind the best social networks for your specific product and audience, and then market and sell with that in mind. Whatever platforms you end up choosing, you must prioritize monitoring those platforms. Platform users are prone to comment and sometimes in a negative,  sometimes trolling style. Merchants need to be ready and armed with responses to defend claims and diffuse negative comments.

Don’t have a digital presence yet?

If your company isn’t online just yet, don’t worry. There’s no better time to start your health supplement eCommerce site.

Conclusion

Once you’ve created an amazing line of health supplements, it’s time to share them with the world — and what better place to do that than online? After you’ve mastered the government guidelines and learned how to effectively market to your target audience, all that’s left to do is sell.

There are excellent eCommerce platforms available on which to build your webstore. We can help you choose the correct one to meet your needs – and help you create and market your eCommerce presence.

To learn more about how InteractOne can help you sell health supplements online directly to consumers, contact us.

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Smart Email Strategies to Increase Pharmaceutical Sales

Smart Email Strategies to Increase Pharmaceutical Sales

When it comes to selling pharmaceuticals, email is king. In fact, when surveyed, most doctors across the country say that they prefer this type of communication over all other potential marketing channels. So why is email so popular in the pharmaceuticals world—and how can you be sure that your emails are effective? Keep reading to learn all of this and more.

What’s the benefit of email for healthcare professionals?

You might be wondering why so many doctors prefer email over many other routes of communication. It all comes down to time. The benefit of email for healthcare professionals is that it can be done on their own time. Doctors are extraordinarily busy people, and making time to hear from a sales rep, download apps or fetch their snail mail is unlikely to happen very often. However, emails can be opened quickly and easily when it’s convenient for them.

What’s the benefit of email for pharma marketers?

Sending a sales rep or snail mail can be sufficient in some cases, but these modes of communication make it hard to measure results and ROI. With email, however, getting results and measuring ROI is pretty simple and very effective.

When pharmaceutical retailers have a good CRM program in place and use it to send an email, they instantly know who opened the email (or didn’t open it), when they opened it and what actions they took from it. Open rates, click-through rates and bounce rates are readily available, which makes subsequent marketing efforts even easier. After a few emails, pharma marketers can reliably see what information is most important for the recipients and then create more effective emails going forward.

An additional benefit of email is that the vast majority of your recipients will actually receive your message. Emails have a delivery rate of 90% or more, whereas even viral posts on social media typically only reach about 5% of your social audience.

Top email marketing strategies

A lot of research has been done about what’s best to do (and not do) with emails in order to increase pharma sales. Here are a few key takeaways.

Make the emails mobile friendly. A whopping 80% of healthcare professionals say that they mostly read emails on their phones, not their computers. As a result, emails need to be adapted to various devices and screens in a mobile-friendly format.

Make the emails personalized and targeted. Doing this creates a better experience for each recipient. After you discover which person clicks on which content, you can use that information to personalize subsequent email communications. Your recipients will feel heard and thus become more engaged with your company.

Include tips and offers they don’t get elsewhere. Having unique tips in your emails is powerful for your audience. The most successful things to include in pharma emails include tips for remembering to take your medicine on time, as well as exclusive offers they can use when they order in your online store.

Do subject line testing. Subject line testing has been shown to exponentially increase your open rates and customer loyalty. This may sound simple, but it’s vital! If your recipients don’t like or understand the subject line of your email, they won’t open it… and that ends the line of communication. Subject line testing is crucial, but studies show that most email campaigns don’t take advantage of A/B subject line testing. Missing out on this means missing out on a lot of potential engagement. In addition, it’s often a good idea to include a teaser for the tips that are included in the email in the subject line.

Consider the frequency and timing of your emails. In general, it’s best to begin sending emails every other week and then increase it to once a week. Then, you can send them more frequently once someone is opening your emails and engaging with them. However, in terms of timing, things aren’t so cut and dry. The best time to send a pharma email changes based on each doctor’s specialty. For example, a doctor with regular office hours (such as a pediatrician) usually has time to check email once or twice during the day, so email can be sent then. However, a doctor with less reliable hours (such as an emergency room doctor) usually only checks email early in the morning or late at night. Just like it’s important to A/B test subject lines, it’s also important to A/B test the best times to send emails. You’ll learn a lot from this and then be able to increase your open rates as a result.

Tips for pharma-specific emails

There are best practices for emails, and then there are best practices for pharma emails. The pharmaceutical space carries many unique limitations that must be considered when creating and sending emails.

To start, a pharmaceutical email must be completely optimized before the medical / legal approval process can begin. Ignoring this rule limits your ability to make changes that can improve open rates, click-through rates and ROI. In addition, making sure that your emails are optimized before submitting them to the medical / legal team has been shown to get the project done much faster.

Another example of a pharma-specific email tip is to fill the email with pertinent, relevant, pharma-related information. The more specific the information, the more useful it is for the recipient—and the greater the chance that the recipient will engage with your brand. For example, if your company knows when each recipient should refill their prescriptions, you can send a timely email when it’s time to do so. Your recipients will appreciate your attention to detail and dedication to their unique needs.

Conclusion

With email on the rise, creating effective emails has never been more important. And with healthcare professionals relying more and more on email for most of their communications, it’s vital that pharma retailers optimize emails as much as possible. Employing certain strategies can pay off in a big way when it comes to customer loyalty and engagement.

To find out how InteractOne can help with your pharmaceutical email marketing, contact us today.

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