The Beginner’s Guide To Dispensary Marketing

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You can jumpstart your dispensary marketing machine by using these digital marketing methods that will help you bring in local customers and keep them coming back. 

The cannabis industry can be hard for business owners and marketers to navigate with its gray market legal status and all the laws around selling and advertising. 

But there are still plenty of opportunities for you to connect with potential buyers and increase your brand’s awareness.

Local SEO for dispensaries

One of the best ways for dispensaries to market themselves is to take advantage of local SEO.

It’s search engine optimization specifically focused on your local search results. 

46% of Google searches are looking for local information according to GoGulf

SEO Tribunal found that 97% of people learn more about a local company on the internet than anywhere else.

That should tell you that there are a lot of potential customers behind their laptops and mobile phones that are online looking for businesses to spend money with.

Dispensaries are brick and mortar businesses and you need to have a local presence.

  • Set up a Google My Business account and optimize it
  • Target location-based keywords with relevant landing pages
  • Optimize your on-page SEO for your geographic location

If you’re a dispensary or chain with multiple locations, you need a different page on your website for each location as well as a unique Google My Business listing for each individual location.

Targeting the search terms with your city/neighborhood in them on the relevant pages on your website can help you capture interested buyers who are actively searching for a dispensary or certain products.

SMS marketing for dispensaries

SMS marketing or text message marketing is using text messages to market to customers after you’ve collected their phone numbers.

Text message marketing has become a staple in the cannabis industry, especially with dispensaries. 

It’s a great way of staying top of mind with customers, promoting deals, and building brand loyalty. When it’s done right at least.

Make sure you’re not spamming people and are only sharing relevant deals and offers. 

According to MarketingProfs, 75% of people are comfortable receiving text messages from brands as long as they opt-in to messaging.

Just be aware of the laws around text message marketing and follow all rules and regulations and you’ll be fine.

Location-based marketing for dispensaries

Location-based marketing is not to be confused with local SEO. Location-based marketing is simply marketing with the approach of becoming enmeshed in your local area.

  • Participate in local events
  • Network with other local businesses
  • Network with influencers from your city
  • Promoting or networking with local artists (photographers, musicians, artists, etc)

If you can get a shout-out from an influencer, athlete, or musician from your area that’s always beneficial.

Interact with media around local sports teams and sports fans

Another great hack for location-based marketing is to use local sports teams and sports culture and get your brand involved in the conversation or within the community. 

Think about the culture of your city and how you can tap into that. Sport culture is a huge hack for businesses who want to find a way to tap into people in the local area.

Find creative ways to engage with local sports media and you can directly connect with the audience in your local area.

The location-based marketing approach also ties into the section that will be covered on social media. 

Social media marketing for dispensaries

Having a strong social media presence can exponentially increase your brand’s awareness.

Despite some advertising restrictions on social media when it comes to directly marketing cannabis products or running ads, dispensaries can use social media.

Be an active and authentic content creator

Use social media to create different kinds of original content. 

Pictures, videos, text, tweets. 

Share content about your business and don’t be afraid to show a human side. Political updates and legalization news is another good topic to post about on social media.

Be a real brand that people find authentic, not something that’s overly measured or too corporate.

This is the cannabis industry after all. It’s okay to loosen up a bit. 

Incorporate the location-based approach

On social media, you can incorporate the local marketing strategy by engaging with popular brands and influencers in your local area on social media.

You can also network with other brands and professionals within the cannabis industry in your area. 

As mentioned above, sports culture is a big opportunity for brands that rely on local interest.

Sell without being too sales-y

Social media can be a top sales channel but not if you try to force it. Learn to market your brand without constantly pushing for a sale.

Every single post you create on social doesn’t need a CTA. There doesn’t need to be a product being plugged in every single post.

You win on social media by adding value to people’s feeds. 80% of your content should offer some type of value or help with brand-building while 20% can be strictly self-promotion and selling.

Loyalty and referral programs for dispensaries

Membership and referral programs can be great ways to increase customer loyalty and bring in new customers, respectively.

Retention/loyalty programs

Membership programs are designed to help retain customers and maximize lifetime customer value. 

It’s an incentive for people to keep coming back to your dispensary instead of buying from all over town or going to the next hottest thing.

Harvard Business School found a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profit by 25% to 95%. 

Doing something simple like offer freebies or discounts after a certain number of visits/purchases, or offering a tiered membership with certain benefits can increase retention.

Referral programs

Referral programs help you mobilize your current customers to bring their network into your business. 

Social Media Today says that 78% of B2b marketers say referral programs result in good or excellent leads and 60% of marketers say referral problems generate a high volume of leads.

There are different discounts and promos you can offer to both the referrer and the referred if they bring someone new into the dispensary 

Do good business

Don’t forget the fundamentals of doing good business when it comes to building your brand and growing your business.

You can bring in as many new customers as you want but if you can’t retain them you’ll quickly find yourself in some trouble. 

Don’t underestimate the value of word of mouth and giving people a positive experience when they come to your store.

Be on top of things like:

  • Product quality
  • Customer service
  • Establishment cleanliness
  • Wait times and convenience 
  • Customer satisfaction

Dispensary Marketing Best Practices

If you’re a new dispensary or a dispensary with experience that’s looking to make some changes, take a look at some of the strategies in this article.

Make sure you’re taking advantage of all of these methods to market your store.

If you’re already using these strategies, audit how you’re currently executing them and think about what adjustments or improvements you can make.

Don’t forget to take advantage of:

  • Local SEO
  • SMS/Text message marketing
  • Location-based-marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Loyalty and referral programs
  • Simply doing good business

Get in touch with us if you’re a dispensary or cannabis-related business looking to improve your marketing by clicking here.

Shameen is an SEO consultant and content strategy expert with a focus on organic growth marketing. Other interests include independent journalism and fitness.

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