Marketing Tips For Your Cannabis Dispensary
A Pathway To Success
No matter what state you're in, owning or managing a cannabis dispensary can be tough. Faced with stiff competition, tough regulations, and steep taxes, the best way to survive is to make sure that your marketing and branding games are on point. Making matters worse, the tight margins leave many dispensaries without a marketing budget to speak of, leaving them to the mercies of word of mouth and random foot traffic.
Dispensary owners, it's time for you to get serious about your marketing strategy. Whether you are partnering with a professional cannabis branding company or handling the marketing duties yourself, here are the steps you need to follow to make sure that location is getting the attention it deserves.
Before You Jump In, Create A Marketing Plan
Trying to market your dispensary without a carefully thought out strategy is a recipe for disaster. You'll waste time and money and have little to show for it. Before making a bunch of mistakes, come up with specific goals for your company, decide on a budget, and develop a structured approach for how to accomplish those goals. Taking your time at the outset will pay off in the long run.
Figure Out Who Your Target Customers Are
You can't promote yourself to your ideal customers without knowing who they are and how you can reach them. It's no good spending a lot of time advertising on LinkedIn if the best way to connect with the consumers in your neighborhood is via Facebook or Instagram. I know of a few dispensaries whose entire marketing budgets are spent on one or two prominently located billboards and that's all they need. Others don't have that luxury, but whatever your circumstances, you have to identify who your potential customers are before you can market to them.
Build A Professional Website
More and more, people are going online to find the businesses they want to shop in, even if that business is just down the street. Just like you don't want a run down storefront, you have to make sure that your website is attractive and professional. Even if its only purpose is to provide an address and a phone number, a second-rate website will turn people away before they ever step foot in your dispensary.
Develop A Strong Cannabis Brand Identity
Depending on your state, you may be competing with dispensaries on every block. The only way to survive is with strong branding and a clear identity of what customers can expect when shopping with you. Effective branding should give your customers a positive feeling about your store, and make them feel welcome. Whether you want to promote your excellent customer service, your commitment to the best medicinal products, or a particular cultural or ethnic identity of your owners, make it clear who you are and what you stand for in every piece of marketing content you produce.
Fully Explore The Benefits Of Google My Business
Because cannabis dispensaries are very location dependent, you have to market your business in a way that's similar to any storefront. There are several location-based websites and mobile apps you'll need to concentrate on, some of which are cannabis specific. The most prominent is Google My Business, but there's also Yelp, Leafly, and a number of platforms. When setting up your profiles, fill out all the information they ask for, and keep posting regularly. The more engagement you create, the better your impressions will be.
Leverage The (Free) Power Of Social Media
For marketing on a budget, nothing beats social media. But as with everything cannabis-related, social media marketing presents a number of unique hurdles for dispensaries, even in markets that have completely legalized recreational cannabis. Number one, follow the guidelines of the various platforms and never, ever try to sell through your social accounts. I also recommend showing consumption, even if local regulations allow for it. Finally, keep at it. Success on social doesn't happen overnight.
Identify What's Working And Adjust Accordingly
As you set out on your marketing journey, it's important that you keep careful track of what you're doing. Go over the numbers, see what's working and what isn't, and respond accordingly. Over time, your efforts will start to pay off. Remember, the goal of any marketing campaign is for it to pay for itself in increased sales. This won't be the case right away, but over time, with the right plan and diligent execution, it will all be worth it.