Essentials of Dispensary Marketing: Leveraging Gmail Advertising

What with the many local restrictions on cannabis-related advertising, it can feel like an uphill slog to market your canna-business.

Cannabis dispensary gmail advertising may offer a solution, or at least a partial one. The nation’s most popular email service supports various ads on certain tabs, including video, interactive ads that pop open just like an email message, and other forms.

cannabis dispensary gmail advertising

Given the inherent difficulties of marketing cannabis, these native ads are a resource you should investigate. Here are the nuts and bolts, as well as some idea-starters for how to get the most out of these uniquely personal marketing opportunities.

Cannabis Dispensary Gmail Advertising: A “Side Door” Into Customer Inboxes

If you’ve spent any time studying marketing, you know that persuading a consumer to share their email with you is a big deal. It’s a signal that they’re receptive to your products and services, and willing to align themselves more closely with your brand. And once you’ve gotten their permission (and earned their trust), you can use clever techniques such as remarketing and segmentation to leverage the relationship more subtly and effectively.

But while we hope you’re working hard to build your email list, the fact is that there are many more potential customers not on it than there are. And because Gmail supports email-style ads—and boasts just under a whopping 131 million users here in the US—it’s a great way to reach out to potential customers in a uniquely personal way.

Gmail ads look an awful lot like emails, but they’re not. They appear in the “Social” and “Promotions” tabs to the left of your actual inbox (the “Primary” tab at top left). Available in a number of templates, they can display as a single appeal or offer, a gallery of images, or other custom formats. Actually opening this “pseudo-email” either launches the advertiser’s landing page or expands to the size of a regular email, which can then serve a variety of other uses.

cannabis dispensary gmail advertising
For one thing, customers have the option to “Save to Inbox” for later viewing. Not only does this increase the chances of their actually reading and interacting with the ad again, but now it can be responded to (or better yet, forwarded to other potential customers) just like an email.

Compared with other ad platforms, such as Google’s Display Network, the visual palette is much broader. Not only are the ads themselves physically larger than the standard banner ads you’re used to, but the opportunity to embed video, forms, and other rich content is hard to pass up. And because some 25% of all mobile users use Gmail, the ads are optimized for the small screen as well.

Are there things you can’t say on Gmail ads? Of course. Because Gmail is a service of Google, you can expect the same sort of content restrictions you’d run up against designing any other PPC campaign. Because of the continuing federal scheduling of cannabis as a Type 1 controlled substance, you’ll want to steer clear of language that explicitly names cannabis or marijuana, product or consumption shots, any appeals for recreational use, or any of the other standard prohibitions on ad content.

For more background on Google Ads, read our recent article on the service. And if you’re ready to try Gmail advertising for your dispensary, here’s a step-by-step guide to help get the ball rolling.

How to Get Started

cannabis dispensary gmail advertising
Assuming you’re already familiar with Cannabis Google Ads, getting the process started is a snap. You’ll select a “Display Network only” campaign, and then choose “” when the “Targeting” field comes up and you click “Use a different targeting method.”

Of course, you’ll want to test different bidding strategies, ad designs, and frequency of impressions in order to gather useful data on how your campaign is performing. And because of all the aforementioned restrictions on cannabis content marketing, image selection, design, and quality are paramount here.

If you’re an experienced Google Ads user, these steps will feel familiar and intuitive. And if you’re not, there’s an alternative: Talk with the experts.

We’re a team of marketing specialists with decades of combined experience helping dispensaries leverage the power of digital advertising. We wrote the book on it. Literally. Ready to get the ball rolling? You know how to reach us.