Doctor4U is an online pharmacy that distributes prescription medication to thousands of customers across the UK. Their goal is to support customers who are unable or unwilling to see their doctor by providing them with the ability to purchase prescription drugs in a safe, secure, and convenient way.
Doctor4U came to Castle looking for support in entering the eCommerce market for prescription medication. This involved building an intricately designed and highly effective merchant system that could offer an efficient sales structure for its customers while meeting stringent legal requirements. They also needed support in running pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns in an intensively regulated market that offers extensive legal and ethical barriers to entry.
Doctor4U chose to partner with Castle due to our substantial experience with working with clients in the pharmaceutical industry. This experience meant we were well-placed to help them navigate the complex pitfalls that face marketers in this industry and develop innovative solutions to meet their specific needs.
Our solution for Doctor4U began with a full design and build of a bespoke eCommerce platform designed specifically for prescription medication. Through this approach, we were able to ensure that the site was built from the ground up to tackle the particular difficulties and restriction of selling prospection medication online. This included ensuring customers could fill out an online consultation form for each medication, and designing a checkout procedure that followed the relevant anti-drug abuse regulations.
Once the site was up and running, we turned our attention to designing and implementing a PPC campaign that would drive significant traffic to the site while navigating the complex restrictions around marketing prescription medication. We implemented an innovative campaign structure that allowed us to manoeuvre around Google’s specific restrictions on PPC ads for medication while limiting the cost-per-click for the ads themselves.
Through this combination of web design and PPC, we were able to drive significant revenue to Doctor4U, exceeding their forecast sales by 35%.
4. Bespoke Web Design and Build
Designing and building Doctor4U’s eCommerce website was a fundamental first step to establish them in the online prescription medication market. But it also presented a range of core challenges, given the extensive legal limitations placed on the online sale of such medication.
In order to ensure full compliance with the relevant regulations, our web design team created an individual online consultation form for every medicine available on the site. This form needed to be tailored not only to the specific medicine but also the dosages and permitted quantities for a given drug. Further, the site needed to be built so that purchase could only be completed if the correct answers were provided on the consultation form. Once completed, the form would then be sent to the on-site doctor for validation and stored in an internal database for regulatory compliance.
A further challenge was presented by the need to ensure the checkout system was able to track repeat or duplicate purchases to prevent drug abuse. To tackle this issue, we developed a site plugin that was able to detect IP addresses alongside other duplicate information, such as card details, addresses, and names. The checkout process could also calculate the quantity of medication purchased by a user within a given timeframe, in order to ensure the legal maximum was not exceeded. Given the volume of traffic on the site, this required designing and implementing an automated system able to cross-reference purchases made by the same patient.
5. PPC campaign
In order to drive traffic to Doctor4U’s newly built website, we designed and implemented a PPC campaign targeting those searching for specific medications. However, as with the design of Doctor4U’s website, there were a number of legal and regulatory barriers that needed to be surmounted in order to run a successful PPC campaign. This was particularly the case as, at the time, Google’s own policies over ad campaigns for medication were even more stringent than the UK’s legal restrictions.
Castle took a two-part approach to solving these issues and producing a powerful, cost-effective PPC campaign. Firstly, we built individual landing pages for each advert and linked these pages back to the eCommerce site using “nofollow” links. “Nofollow” links are not crawled by Google’s site mapping bots, and as a result Google treated each landing page in isolation. The pages could thus be designed by our expert team to meet Google’s exact requirement for medication adverts without necessitating any changes on the main web store.
This strategy also made it much easier to maximise the adverts’ Quality Score rating, Google’s metric for evaluating and comparing the quality of ads. The Quality Score influences how much it costs to place an ad on the results page for a particular search. By isolating the particular landing pages for each advert from the webstore, we were able to ensure all adverts received a high Quality Score and thereby reduce the cost across the campaign for placing ads in prominent and competitive positions.
This innovative approach to running a PPC campaign within the pharmaceutical sector bore significant results. Doctor4U achieved a monthly revenue of £6.5million solely from PPC, with a 40% conversion rate from our ads. The return on ad spend (ROAS) was 12:1 – that is, we earned Doctor4U £12 for every £1 spent on PPC ads.