Talk up your site
A. There's no question that you have to market your e-commerce website. There are three groups you need to think about when promoting your site: current patients and their caregivers; referral sources; and potential future customers. Each group has different needs and therefore requires a different approach.
One of the benefits of offering e-commerce on your website is that it enables patients and caregivers who may not be able to visit your physical store to view your products and place orders. For this group, you should think about how you currently reach them. Include a flyer with deliveries. Send a postcard or a mailer. Do you collect e-mail addresses? You should send an e-mail announcing the site and consider sending out monthly e-mail specials that direct people to specific products on your site (this is also a great way to move inventory or sell products that your suppliers have on special).
Your e-commerce site also offers a number of benefits to your referral sources, such as faster ordering on their own schedule and the ability to quickly look up product information. Consequently, your sales staff should reach out to each referral source to set up an in-person demonstration (this is also a great opportunity to check back in with warm leads) but make sure your sales staff has mastered the site first.
Finally, you need to think about reaching a broader audience with your site: those who are not yet customers. Be sure that your website is included in all of your marketing materials. Search engine optimization, banner ads and pay-per-click advertising can make sense if they are very carefully targeted. Focus on products where you have a special expertise and target ads in your geographic area. Finally, set a budget, monitor your results and do not hesitate to stop a campaign if it is not generating a good return on investment.
Jonathan Gordon is president of the Coribus Group. Reach him at 917-538-5665 or firstname.lastname@example.org.