The use of recreational and medical marijuana is becoming more and more socially acceptable and easy to access. As such, dispensaries are popping up all over the United States!
Whether you’re trying to enter a hot marijuana market – like Los Angeles, Denver, or Seattle – or you’re interested in opening a small dispensary where marijuana was recently legalized, you’ve got your work cut out for you. The competition is rising, and you need the right cannabis marketing strategy to come out on top.
Here are all the things you need to do to put your dispensary on the map.
1. Use Cannabis Marketing to Educate Consumers
Before you get into all the details of marketing, remember – don’t be a stereotype. Many people still have a “stoner” perception of marijuana users. They think this drug makes a person lazy, tired, and checked out.
As a dispensary owner, you owe it to yourself to show your audience that marijuana is so much more than a nice high. It’s an empowering tool that helps many people with mental and physical illnesses take control of their life again. Not to mention, like any substance, it’s all about how you use it.
Use your cannabis market to educate consumers on all the different ways marijuana can be used to enhance their quality of life. Some people may not know it can be consumed as a drink, mixed into lotion, or even concentrated into a piece of gum. It’s your job to tell them!
2. Find Your Niche
As expansive as the marijuana industry is, you can’t take on too many cannabis business ideas at once. You have to find your niche.
Would you rather focus on providing solutions for medical or recreational needs? Do you want to work directly with buds and concentrated oils, or sell edibles and lotions instead?
These are fundamental questions to ask yourself before getting your business up and running. The answers then become the foundation for your marijuana marketing strategy.
3. Brand, Brand, Brand
Whatever you decide to do, you have to make sure people know the products and services you offer are yours. Every single piece of dispensary advertising has to be well-branded.
A brand is everything a user associates with your business. It is tangible as well as emotional. Branding is a mix of the following:
- your dispensary logo design
- the setup/interior design of the dispensary
- the quality of your goods and services
- every digital and print ad you run
- the feeling(s) people get when using your product/interacting with employees
This is not something you can afford to rush or not take seriously. The more you focus on every part of your brand, the stronger your presence in the market as a dispensary will be.
4. Build a Beautiful Website
A website is one of the most important branding tools any business can have. Actually, it’s kind of like giving your brand a place to live online, which begins with your domain name. This is your home to welcome new consumers, interact with old customers, and engage in conversation with your market.
This dialogue is supported by beautiful visuals (graphic design, photo, and video) and compelling copywriting. Together with back-end design and coding, these tools create what digital marketers call the User Experience and User Interface.
UX and UI go hand in hand. They create interactions and commands that feel natural, on a platform that is easy to understand and navigate.
If all of this sounds like gibberish to you, hire someone who knows the ins and outs of web design to build your dispensary site.
5. Invest in SEO Campaigns
It’s not enough to build a good-looking website and leave it alone. What will really make or break your cannabis marketing strategy is how well you can rank on search engines. This is called SEO – search engine optimization.
An SEO campaign focuses on matching businesses to relevant user search queries. It involves a mix of keywords, photo and video optimization, link building, and more. You can run multiple SEO campaigns at a time to focus on different pockets of your market.
For example, maybe you run a standard SEO campaign to build your online store’s presence. From there, you can build a local SEO campaign to help drive foot traffic to your actual dispensary location. You can see more here about how that works.
6. Start a Blog
One of the most powerful SEO tools out there is blogging.
Think about it: if SEO is all about matching content to queries, wouldn’t it make sense to keep producing more new, relevant content for search bots to crawl? That’s what blogging does.
It provides readers with a whole world of information regarding your company and the marijuana industry as a whole. But, as this is happening, Google is able to index all the material being shared.
7. Get on Social Media
Another way to build an SEO presence is with social media. But, this can get a little tricky for cannabis marketing. You can’t run marijuana-related paid ads on big sites like Facebook and Instagram.
But, you can still open an account for your business and use it to create organic interactions with users. This means you build your following from the ground up.
Your social media posts should focus on building a community centered around your products, services, and overall authority as a high-end dispensary.
8. Attend Conventions and Conferences
Sometimes, the best way to expand your presence in the market is to connect with users beyond their tablet and smartphone screens. You have to interact with customers in person.
Marijuana conventions and conferences let you do just that. This is your chance to display your best buds, smoking utensils, and perfectly-made edibles. Whatever your niche is, a convention is the time to pull out all the stops.
Just be careful traveling to and from these locations over different states’ lines!
9. Create a Lead Generation Strategy
No matter if you prefer digital marketing or print advertising, leads have to be at the forefront of your campaign. Otherwise, you’re not going to grow as a dispensary.
In marketing terms, leads are potential new customers who haven’t made a purchase yet. These are marijuana users who drive by your dispensary every day without stopping, or users in your area who don’t even know you’ve opened a dispensary close by!
Leads could also be people who live halfway across the country and end up visiting your local area, or who are interested in ordering your products online.
Whichever way you define these potential sales, the point is to take leads from a possible customer to a loyal user. This begins with a lead generation strategy.
10. Track Competitors
Competitors are the final tool you need to build a strong cannabis advertising strategy. Make sure you know who your immediate competition is, and pay attention to what big, well-known marijuana companies are doing, too.
This way, you can find out about changing trends and new ideas before you get left behind. In fact, you may even become the dispensary competitors start looking towards for such insights.
The more innovative and cutting edge you can be with your cannabis marketing, the better.
Build the Best Marketing Strategy Possible
As you build your marketing strategy, remember there’s no secret to success in the digital advertising or print advertising world. You have to find the right mix of tools and resources that work for you, especially in a niche market like marijuana.
Cannabis marketing comes in many forms. It has a handful of big players in the industry already, as well as plenty newcomers looking to catch a bit of the high of success.
How will you stand out? Consider hiring a professional marketing team to help you define clear goals and supporting strategies. Click here to find such resources near you.