If you own a local retail cannabis store or a mail-order marijuana dispensary and you’re looking for the best marketing tactics to increase traffic to your retail store, here are 4 strategic dispensary marketing ideas to help you do just that.
The Best Cannabis Dispensary Marketing Ideas For Your Business
UPDATE for 2022: Check out a new article with updated information on weed marketing and local SEO ranking factors for all dispensaries – retail or mail order: Top 20 Local Search Ranking Signals For Your Weed Marketing Strategy.
So now that your online dispensary website is live or your retail cannabis store is now open, I’m sure you may be looking for effective dispensary marketing ideas to help increase the online visibility of your website, along with your traffic from organic search, and your online revenue.
Digital advertising for dispensaries is most definitely one of the most popular dispensary marketing ideas for both cannabis retail stores and mail-order marijuana companies, but will require significant monthly investment in media/advertising fees and PPC (pay-per-click).
Just for example, we are able to advertise cannabis dispensaries on Google search and have found that the average cost per click (CPC) for cannabis-related keywords with the intent to purchase weed or to have weed delivered can range from $8-$15+ USD.
Our team is also able to advertise cannabis products on popular mainstream websites using display/banner advertising, which also gives us the ability to retarget/remarket everyone who visits your website from any source, with customized display/banners advertising on websites they visit regularly.
However, our partner DSPs require a minimum monthly advertising spend of $15,000 USD, so this option can be very cost-prohibitive and not always possible for some cannabis businesses, but for some larger dispensaries, this option may be doable.
The good news is that there are plenty of other dispensary marketing tactics that all types of cannabis dispensaries can use in their marketing strategy and that will fit with their budget. This goes for licensed retail cannabis stores as well as legacy mail-order marijuana & weed delivery companies.
Some of these dispensary marketing ideas include a local SEO & keyword strategy, blog content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing (newsletters & automated drip campaigns).
In this article, we’ll outline and discuss 5 effective dispensary marketing tactics that are guaranteed to help your marijuana dispensary get an edge over your competitors and increase brand awareness, website traffic, & online revenue.
1. Dispensary SEO Strategy – Local SEO Focus
The most effective dispensary marketing idea is a comprehensive strategy for dispensary SEO on your website. SEO is a critical dispensary marketing tactic for cannabis websites simply because it directly affects online revenue.
If your product pages aren’t ranking higher than your competitor’s products, you’re losing out on new business.
Potential customers who are searching to buy a certain weed strain or other marijuana product, need to be able to easily find what they need in search results and you need them to see your website, preferably on page 1, and to choose to click on your site website link.
An effective dispensary SEO, keyword, & blog content marketing strategy will help your dispensary marketing by increasing organic search traffic and online visibility in order to help your dispensary website site rank higher in search engines.
A large majority of people who are looking to buy weed in your geographic area will be using Google to research and shop for the products they want to buy, so make sure your dispensary marketing plan includes a website with a local SEO & keyword strategy in terms of keywords and content/copywriting.
Local SEO For Dispensaries
Local SEO is a vital tactic, particularly for retail cannabis dispensaries. Mail order marijuana dispensaries should be focused on a regional or national “regular” SEO & keyword strategy.
The reason is, retail dispensaries are targeting a local audience that includes customers who are living in the same city as the dispensary or a short car drive away.
Mail order dispensaries typically target are larger regional areas with multiple cities, or larger areas like multiple States, Provinces, or even Countries.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a dispensary SEO strategy that helps your local cannabis retail store be more visible in local search results on Google. Any business that has a physical location or serves a geographic area can benefit from local SEO.
If you search Google for any important keywords related to your business and a map with 3 listings appears underneath it (also known as a map pack), then local SEO can help you grow your business.
There are 2 unique online destination’s that really matter for Local SEO:
i. Your Website
ii. Your Google My Business Page
i. Your Dispensary Website For Local SEO
Your website should be optimized with a Local SEO focus including both a cannabis keyword & content strategy as well as a local keyword and content stratgey.
This includes localized content published on your website pages or blog that contains outbound links to local businesses and institutions as well as backlinks to your website from local businesses and institutions. See more on this in the section on “Local Partnerships” below.
A page focusing on the areas your dispensary serves is an excellent example of localized content.
ii. Your Google My Business Page For Local SEO
Your Google My Business (GMB) Page is almost more vital than your dispensary website in terms of local SEO. This is because Google uses each business’s GMB page to show in search results for all users making local search queries.
If your customers search for a restaurant near them or a pizza place with delivery near them, Google will show the map pack and feature 3 businesses that are closest to the user making the search query.
Therefore, we highly recommend optimizing your entire GMB page and profile and strategically use keywords from your SEO strategy in the copy on your GMB page. Be sure to fill out each and every field available in your profile.
You should also upload SEO-optimized images to your GMB page on a regular basis. We’d suggest 3-4 times per week or a minimum of 5x per month.
In order to effectively optimize your GMB images, we recommend embedding NAP info (name, address, phone number) as well as a few targeted keywords in the metadata for all images before you upload them to your GMB page.
Benefits of Local SEO for Dispensary Marketing
1. No restrictions!
2. You’re able to drive “free” traffic from Google search, organically – i.e. without paying high costs of advertising.
3. Your content can rank high on Google for years and continue to bring ongoing regular traffic to your website.
4. A monthly budget for professional dispensary SEO is less than running a Google Ads campaign.
5. Most people will go to Google, before Facebook or Instagram, when they have the intent to purchase weed online or from a dispensary close to them.
2. Incentivize New Customers With Enticing Offers
I think it’s safe to say that potential customers who actually step into your cannabis retail store or visit your online dispensary website are more likely to make a purchase from you than those who are simply searching Google for a local dispensary.
So what types of dispensary marketing ideas can you implement to get potential customers into your cannabis retail store or onto your dispensary website?
The answer is actually a trusted and successful old-school marketing tactic: provide customers with a relatively significant incentive to visit your local business or sign up/register on your website.
Once you have potential customers on your site or in your retail dispensary, you have the opportunity to delight them so they are interested in your products and excited about doing business with you.
The types of offers you’re able to use to generate traffic will vary based on the type of dispensary you own as well as the rules & regulations associated with your business, but the to an effective offer for customers is to always lower the barrier to entry for first-time buyers.
Cannabis users love deals like every other consumer and one of the biggest marketing ideas in recent years has been the concept of “Buy One Get One Free” or BOGO.
BOGO events at your dispensary can come in a variety of offers including buying one type of cannabis product and getting another one for free, or getting a free ounce or a half ounce.
The key to successfully pulling off this dispensary marketing idea is that the perception of the customer must be that they are getting a huge deal that they can’t get from any other cannabis dispensary.
Excellent customer service and a super good deal on weed are ideal incentives to drive first-time customers, and returning customers, to your dispensary website or retail location.
In our experience, we’ve found that the BOGO concept (buy one get one free) always tends to work well for retail marijuana dispensary marketing, and a 20%-25% off promo code can be an effective mail order marijuana dispensary marketing idea.
3. Partner With Other Local Businesses That Are 420 Friendly
Cannabis dispensary marketing works really well if your business is able to partner with other local businesses that are 420 friendly.
While this dispensary marketing idea may be a challenge for your marketing strategy based on the town, any work you put into this will be well worth it.
The idea is to source local businesses that compliment your dispensary business and with whom you could partner with to run contests and giveaways via each other’s social media accounts which will increase traffic to your website and/or retail store.
Each business would provide a prize of equal value and promote the contest on their social media platforms, organically, which requires no advertising and therefore very few restrictions.
Not only does this tactic put your business in front of a warm audience that already loves a specific service that complements yours, but it can also quickly grow your online audience and customer base.
If other dispensaries in your market aren’t creating these types of partnerships in their marketing strategy you should take the lead, but be prepared to face objections and to be super creative with your dispensary marketing with this initiative.
For example, you’ll need to explain to other businesses what’s in it for them, how much time it will take, and what it will cost if anything.
Some examples of potential 420 friendly local businesses that you can partner with as part of your dispensary marketing are:
- Local wineries
- Local craft breweries
- Your local sports bar
- Local smoothie joint
- Local yoga studio
Once you have the above sorted out and a target list of local businesses, you can begin reaching out to these potential partners to let them know how your dispensary marketing idea can be mutually beneficial for each business.
The idea is to position the partnership as a great opportunity for exposure to each of your customer bases.
Like any good dispensary marketing idea, it’s recommended to create a sense of urgency to commit by presenting the opportunity as an exclusive first come, first serve offer.
The next step is to carefully plan how the businesses will participate. It’s highly recommended to clearly outline expectations from the start. This includes:
- Agreeing on a minimum monetary value for the giveaways
- Providing directions on what copy and images to post
- What social platforms to use to share the content giveaway details
You’ll also want to have a clear call to action in place so online audiences know how to participate.
Once you’ve launched your promotion, it’s super important to track each business’s performance and contribution. The more each party participates and engages, the greater the crossover benefits will be.
4. Online Customer Reviews & Recommendations Is Fuel To Your Fire
As a local business owner as well as a local shopper, I’m sure you understand how important online reviews are for your dispensary marketing. A 2018 local consumer review survey from BrightLocal found that:
- 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)
- Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business
- 40% of consumers only take into account reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year
- 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars
- 80% of 18-34 year olds have written online reviews – compared to just 41% of consumers over 55
- 91% of 18-34 year old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews
Word of mouth and personal recommendations are the primary sources of traffic for local businesses as well as the fastest way to get new customers.
So, if you want to increase the foot traffic to your dispensary, you need to create a system to solicit, encourage, amplify and escalate referrals.
Does your dispensary marketing include the desire to create happy customers so that they tell their friends about their awesome experience at your cannabis retail store?
I’m sure you answered yes to this question. So what are you doing to incentivize these happy customers to make those recommendations and referrals? It’s going to have to be something that gets them excited to do this for you.
Here’s a dispensary marketing example you may be able to use in your local reviews strategy:
When a customer makes a referral, recommendation, or even better, leaves an online review on Google, both the customer and one of their friends get a store credit, free gift, or any other bonus item of value.
This is so win-win-win because you get a potential new customer and a potential new online review, while customers get a deal and a unique experience from your dispensary.
If you sell cannabis seeds or vaping products at your dispensary, you can offer things like useful tips for growing weed and/or vaping cannabis and CBD and turn this into a contest for your dispensary marketing on social media.
You’d ask people who purchased seeds to post photos on Instagram of their home grow. You’d ask people who purchased vaping products to post videos and Instagram Stories of them using your vapes blowing vape clouds.
The key is to tell them to tag your dispensary and use a custom promotional hashtag in order to successfully enter the contest.
Your dispensary marketing agency or internal team can easily collect all entries by searching the custom hashtag you created and/or via your Instagram notifications of posts you’ve been tagged in.
When you create your word-of-mouth referral system for your dispensary marketing, be sure to publicize it, be transparent about the benefits, and reward both parties equally.
We Can Help You Execute Your Dispensary Marketing Ideas
It’s challenging to market a dispensary effectively, with the goal of direct sales, because of the strict advertising restrictions that local cannabis retail stores face, which other local businesses do not.
Our dispensary marketing agency offers local SEO for dispensaries as well as digital advertising options for dispensaries to advertise on Google search, banner ads on popular websites, and native ads on 3rd-party native ad platforms like Mantis & Outbrain.
My recommendation would be to focus on SEO, keyword strategy, on-page SEO copywriting, and relevant backlinks as your core dispensary marketing strategy, and use digital advertising seasonally or occasionally based on internal company goals and or inventory.
If you need help executing any of these dispensary marketing ideas for your retail store or online mail order dispensary, we work with cannabis companies in the USA, UK, & Canada, and are happy to work with your dispensary anywhere in the world.
Please contact us for a free consultation or to request a quote.
We’re Ready To Help You Grow!