Cannabis marketing can be a confusing topic. Not every marketing channel is supportive of cannabis businesses. Though there is nothing wrong with selling cannabis and running a dispensary in many US states, federal law creates some challenges. In this guide, we’ve got some great tips for creating the perfect marketing plan for your dispensary despite some of the challenges you might face.
Create a Business Summary
Whether you are just starting a cannabis business or you have been going for a while, it makes sense to create a summary of your business before you get started with your marketing. Cannabis marketing is much easier if you have a clear and concise message about your brand and selling.
Create Specific Goals
Again, this is about clarity of message. What are the goals for your cannabis marketing campaign? Do you want to get subscribers to a newsletter, or is this all about driving sales? Are you willing to play the long game? Specific goals are essential in putting together your marketing campaign and creating methods that will reach those goals. Otherwise, you’re just taking a scattergun approach, and you’re more likely to fail or to waste money.
Identify your target market.
Who are you trying to sell to? This will inform your strategy, too. For example, your marketing methods will be very different based on whether you are selling to recreational smokers or selling alternative cannabis products like CBD for medicinal use.
A profile of your average customer can be a useful tool to help you establish the best way to get through to them.
Create a Budget
How much are you willing to spend on your campaign? If you’re a relatively small cannabis dispensary, it’s really not worth spending a huge level of cash on building brand awareness. Instead, you will want to spend enough to have a solid return. How much can you afford to gain traction and entice customers?
With some clever strategies, you can also do a good marketing job without having to spend a great deal. For example, some viral or guerilla strategies could see you get huge returns from very little outlay.
Choose your Marketing Channels Wisely
Where is your business going to be marketed? This is a big decision for cannabis dispensaries for a few different reasons.
- You need to make sure you are reaching the target market. For example, if you aim for 25-year-old recreational smokers, don’t go to Mumsnet in search of advertising.
- You may have to consider restrictions on certain marketing networks carefully. For instance, Google Ads heavily restricts what you can advertise, and cannabis dispensaries are currently not allowed to be promoted on their ad platform. You can, however, still be listed on Google, and people can find your site through searches, so it is more of a wise decision to spend on an SEO campaign to rise to the top of organic searches than it is to try and get to the top of Google by paying for ads.
- Consider the price of each channel. For example, you might be able to pay for advertising on a cannabis-friendly network or by directly approaching a cannabis blog or website. This could cost a pretty penny. Ultimately, you need to think about the return, as well as the locality. If you run a dispensary in Oregon, what’s the point in advertising in all other states and paying for the privilege?
Online & Local Marijuana Directories
Why wouldn’t you take advantage of this platform? This is already in existence, and people are searching for cannabis businesses in directories. If you want to market to customers in a local area, make sure you have listed all marijuana-specific directories where people could potentially be looking for a dispensary that can help them.
Some business directories are also happy to accept cannabis listings; just make sure you check before going ahead. You need to know that they will happily work with your business even though you are in a niche that is not universally approved.
Online directories are often free, but some of them have a small listing fee. Consider their traffic to see if it is worth the cost. Directories can also form a big part of your cannabis SEO strategy and create strong links to your website.
Customer Loyalty/Reward Programs
When it comes to cannabis marketing, the return on investment is kept far higher if you can keep your customers. So why go to all that effort for someone to buy from you once? Instead, make sure the customers keep coming back, incentivize them to do so.
Customer loyalty or reward programs can come in the form of apps or communities or even loyalty cards. You can make sure you are providing exceptional service and that customers are happy to keep returning, even if you have to offer them a discount to guarantee this. It’s far better to continually sell to a customer, even if you make slightly less money out of them due to their loyalty discount. Cannabis dispensaries are usually built around repeat business.
Events can be a really great strategy to build your customer base. So why not put on some free events at your dispensary? You could even allow people to try some of your products or share tips and methods for preparing and enjoying cannabis.
If there are existing cannabis events in the area, make sure you get involved in these. Someone else has already put in the hard work to market to people interested in marijuana. By getting yourself this visibility, you can potentially gain more traction for your cannabis business. This can be especially useful for brand new businesses trying to get the word out there and let people know they exist.
Whether you’re attending other peoples’ events or starting your own, it can be a good way to reach out to the local cannabis community.
Rebecca Akers is an enthusiastic and creative writer at THC Design. Her main goal is to spread information about weed strains and their health benefits.