Dispensary Marketing Tips to Boost Your Bottom Line
Identify Your Target Audience
Of course, for any marketing to appeal to your demographic, you have to know who your target audience is. And while this may sound simple—who doesn’t like cannabis?—it can actually be a little difficult for some businesses to get a handle on.
“Everybody” isn’t your target demographic.
If you have a business plan or if you’ve been open for a while, you may already have an understanding of who you’re trying to attract. If not, you need to figure that out so that you can tailor your marketing (and your in-store vibe) to that demographic.
For example, are you a medical dispensary that’s committed to education and patient care? If so, you may benefit by showcasing your compassion and dedication to helping patients better understand medical marijuana in your state. If you’re a rec shop in a tourist area, you may want to appeal to visitors and create specials for individuals visiting the area for a short time.
Plenty of different types of people use cannabis, so you may not have just one target demographic. Your shop may appeal to several different demographics, but to make sure that your marketing is effective, you’ll want to segment your ads so that the right audience receives the right message.
Set Clear Goals
Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you need to focus on what you want them to do.
To ensure your marketing is working, you need goals and a way to measure your actions to determine whether they’re helping you achieve your goals.
Let’s say your goal is to drive additional foot traffic to your Chicago dispensary. You can track the increases in traffic to your location and increases in transactions. If you’re running digital marketing campaigns, you can also determine how many people clicked on your ad, how many used the “get directions” GMB feature, and more.
If you want to increase your online orders, you’ll want to use your menu as your landing page or create strong CTAs to lead customers to navigate to your menu. Some clients we work with offer a discount for online orders since they can be fulfilled effectively. You can then track your impressions, clicks, orders, and time on page to see how your campaign is working.
Showcase Your Brand Voice and Mission
Everything you do—from writing copy for your website to posting on social—should feel cohesive. Your brand voice should shine and your activities should align with your brand values and mission.
For example, if you’re an eco-friendly dispensary, you want to carry that beyond your store layout and product selection. Your messaging should also reflect your love of the planet.
When thinking about your brand voice, consider how you want to communicate. Are you authoritative, friendly, helpful, funny, sarcastic.
This is the tone of voice you’ll be carrying through your content and ads. Pick a few adjectives and then make sure that whatever you create, it adheres to that voice.
Be clear about who you are and ensure consistency across all of your channels.
Use the Customer Journey to Your Advantage
When a consumer realizes they want something, they often turn to Google. Make sure you show up when they search for a dispensary.
Have an SEO-friendly website is crucial for being found. If you aren’t practicing SEO, you’re losing leads to your competitors.
Prioritize High-ROI Activities and Channels
Not all platforms are created equally—and they certainly don’t garner the same amount of attention.
Sure, you could spend time creating content for every social media channel, but it doesn’t make sense to expend the energy if you aren’t going to receive a return. Instead, pick a few platforms that align with your target audience and invest in those and put more resources towards proven digital marketing tactics.
While not a social platform, Google is the predominant search engine and can’t be ignored. SEO and Google Ads are crucial components for driving web traffic.
Meet Consumers Where They Are
More customers are on mobile than any other platform. Unless your dispensary is specifically appealing to seniors and individuals who don’t use phones as much, you need to be creating marketing that looks good on mobile and that works within mobile platforms.
Mobile ads are a great way to attract attention to your website. But implementing a strategy as a cannabis dispensary can be hard. Rather than trying to connect with individual websites and apps, let us do the heavy lifting for you. We’ve built a cannabis-friendly network of sites and apps that cater to adults and which accept dispensary ads.
Optimize User Experience
Ads can be obtrusive, and if they’re unclear or they lead the customer to a page that they didn’t expect to land on, they can be frustrating.
If you optimize for user experience, your ad will be relevant and helpful. It won’t be seen as a nuisance but will serve as a reminder. “Oh yeah, I wanted to check this dispensary out.”
So how can you get to that point?
For starters, make it easy for customers to understand what you do. It should be obvious that you’re a recreational or medical dispensary.
Next, create strong, clear CTAs. After all, you’re trying to sell something. Order now, join our email list, sign up for text alerts—these are all very clear CTAs that can help you encourage a web visitor to take action.
Which leads us to: Make taking action easy. Have an obvious link that goes to an appropriate landing page. If you’re telling a potential customer to order now, send them right to your delivery page or your menu. The fewer clicks they need to take to navigate to where they want to go, the better for you.
Use Your Budget Wisely
No one wants to invest more money in marketing than they have to. Targeting and segmentation can help you create more effective campaigns with a higher ROI, allowing you to get the most for your marketing dollars. Targeting specific areas or demographics can help ensure the right people are seeing your message. Segmenting your emails or texts can help you offer better deals or more appropriate ads to interested customers.
Customize for Location
If you have multiple stores, make sure that your marketing initiatives are segmented to appeal to your customer base from your different locations. What flies in San Francisco, may not work in LA. While both Michigan and Illinois have new rec markets, the consumer base is different, and trying to advertise within that market with the same tools or a blanket technique won’t work.
By customizing your messaging based on location, you can better attract your target audience and build local SEO, which is crucial for showing up in search results and on Google Maps.
Check for Compliance
We all know that the cannabis industry is pretty heavily regulated. In addition to regulations from state and provincial agencies, dispensaries need to make sure they understand the CAN-SPAM Act in the US and other laws that govern communication and data collection.
In some places, you also have to include certain language in any online ads. For example, in California, you must include your license number in any marketing. In Maryland, you need to include wording that states that the ad is for those 18 and over and that medical cannabis use is restricted to qualifying patients.
Regulations vary within states and provinces, but most say that you can’t use confusing or deceptive language. Many also limit the benefits that can be attributed to cannabis. For example, you don’t want to use the word “cure” as there’s no medical research that establishes cannabis as a cure for anything. Even “treatment” can be problematic in some states.
Imagery can also be restricted. Depending on where your stores are located, you may want to refrain from using photos that show someone smoking a joint or actually consuming cannabis.
Just a note: these laws change so make sure you’re getting the latest info from your state’s or province’s regulating agency.
Test Your Ads & Switch Things Up When Necessary
A/B testing is a great way to learn which marketing messages get customer attention. With a tool like Google Ads, MailChimp, and others, you can create a variety of messages and determine which ones are most appealing to your audience. Simply check your KPIs and adjust your campaigns as necessary.
You can also run manual A/B tests by running two ads simultaneously and checking the results. If you have a clear winner—if one ad is leading to more conversions than the other—expand that ad’s range and replace the losing ad.
Easily Expand Your Team with an Agency
Hiring an internal team can be expensive. Easily scale your marketing operations by hiring a digital marketing agency—you’ll get the expertise you need without the added cost of hiring an entire marketing team.
Keep an Eye on Your Reviews
Knowing what others are saying about you is crucial. Be a part of the conversation and actively respond to reviews.
Reviews are a crucial part of the customer journey. More people trust reviews than ever and they check them before visiting a business. Make sure that when a customer searches for you, they see good reviews.
Get More Reviews
Customers want recent, positive reviews. Which means that you want to encourage your loyal customers to leave them.
While giveaways and incentives are generally forbidden, it’s still possible to encourage potential reviewers to give you five stars. One effective method is to do so through SMS. An automatic text with a link to your reviews can make it easy for potential reviewers to leave their comments about your dispensary.
Respond to All Reviews
Whether they’re positive or negative, it’s important to engage with customers who have taken the time to leave you a review. A simple “Thank you, Jane, can’t wait to see you next time!” is easy enough for positive reviews.
For negative reviews, it’s important to show that you want to improve the reviewer’s opinion of you. While you may be able to report a Google review if it’s clearly fake or breaks Google’s rule, you generally can’t just report a review because it’s negative.
So how do you handle it?
First, thank them for leaving you a review. Even if it’s negative, you want to recognize that the review took the time to share their issue with you. “Hey, Joe, I’m sorry that your experience wasn’t up to our standards. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss how your next visit can be better.”
When dealing with a negative review, take the encounter offline. Be compassionate and use the review as a learning experience. If there’s something you can fix, fix it, and ask the review to amend the review if they’re willing.
You don’t have to do this all yourself. To save time, you can subscribe to a reputation management service. At MediaJel, we cover this as part of our SEO service because it can have an impact on how Google ranks your business.
Bonus: Make Your Space Work for You
Don’t forget to market within your dispensary! Share info about your loyalty program and products in a way that’s convenient to your customers. Whether you have iPads in your waiting area, a TV showcasing your products, or simple flyers with an opt-in code for your SMS program, use your space and make sure that it’s engaging for your customers.
We have plenty more great dispensary marketing tips and ideas for getting your business noticed. Let’s talk about how we can help you increase your foot traffic and sales with our targeted digital marketing. Call us at 925-393-0444.