Spread the Word: 6 Ways You Can Market Your Dispensary in California

With a tight web of state and local regulations and restrictions on marketing cannabis, getting the word out about your dispensary can feel like an uphill battle. Fortunately, even if many of the traditional forms of advertising are off-limits, there are actually a host of options for savvy cannabis marketers.

Here are six ways you can—and absolutely should!—market your dispensary in California.

How to Market Your Dispensary in CA: Geo-Ads

We’re big on Geo-Ads, and for good reason: Because many consumers shop for cannabis on the fly, focusing on specific geographic areas maximizes your marketing dollars by targeting them when—and where—they’re most likely to respond.

Also known as Geofencing, it’s a location-based mobile advertising strategy that establishes virtual ‘fences’ around geographic areas in order to deliver specific marketing messages to viewers in those areas. Instead of casting a wide net and hoping for the best, geotargeting allows marketers to spend their budget more carefully by only targeting people in very specific locations.

What locations, you ask? It’s intuitive that you’d begin with your own dispensary’s neighborhood, of course. But you can also geofence competitors’ neighborhoods in the hopes of snaring uncommitted customers. You can read more about the principles of using Geo-Ads effectively here.

How to Market Your Dispensary in CA: Google Ads

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Because Google is the dominant search engine, it’s critical that you know how to employ their powerful ad tools effectively. There are many reasons to jump into Google Ads; here are the top three:

Relevance: Because the results Google serves prioritize relevance overall, the search engine is already doing much of the heavy lifting to filter out meaningless results to consumers. Cleverly and carefully worded ads will only increase your chances of snaring those potential customers.

Prime Placement: Research shows that the first results on any given search page get the lion’s share of clicks. Google Ads take advantage of this fact by in effect selling that prime real estate to advertisers. Even if you can’t outspend your competition, you can take advantage of sophisticated filtering tools to further increase your visibility to consumers searching for your products.

A Golden Opportunity: There’s a pervasive myth that dispensaries are barred from using Google Ads, but you can leverage this to your advantage. If there’s ever been a time to invest, it’s now. Ask us how.

How to Market Your Dispensary in CA: Instagram

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Because it relies on the appeal of punchy, captivating images, Instagram is one of our favorite platforms with which to market. But there’s a downside: Because the platform’s rules for cannabis marketing are frustratingly vague, Instagram retains the right to shut down accounts as it sees fit.

Still, many dispensary owners find marketing here to be well worth the risk, and we’re all for taking advantage of this ubiquitous and popular platform. If you follow a few common-sense business practices, you can minimize the likelihood of having your account squelched. Want to know more? We wrote a must-read guide on that very topic and have a great webinar about it too.

How to Market Your Dispensary in CA: Email Marketing

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Whether you collected it customer-by-customer or purchased it from a third-party source, you’ve invested a lot in your email list: Don’t forget about it now! While email is one of the oldest digital marketing strategies, it’s still among the most effective. According to a recent survey, nearly 60% of marketers reported that email marketing provided the highest ROI.

Wondering where to start? All you have to do is ask: We compiled a guide on building your email list, including best practices and tips as well as notes about staying effective (and compliant). You can find it here.

How to Market Your Dispensary in CA: SMS Marketing

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Right alongside email marketing, you should be relying heavily on your text / SMS efforts. Why? Simple: They’re inexpensive, they’re easy to configure and implement, and most of all: Used well, they can be shockingly effective.

How effective? SMS marketing is now believed to be more effective than email marketing, with SMS open rates reaching as high as 98%, while email open rates can dip below 30%.

Plus, in our view, SMS is uniquely suited to the dispensary industry. As we mentioned before, consumers often search for products on the fly, and often gravitate towards more enticing (or more convenient) deals rather than brand loyalty. Because SMS is lightweight and immediate, you can capitalize on the moment, often garnering instant results with relatively little effort.

How to Market Your Dispensary in CA: Mailers

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Amidst all the cutting-edge marketing techniques we’ve shared today, we wanted to include a distinctly old-school one: Mailers. If the idea of sending out snail mail postcards or flyers sounds a bit, well, quaint, think again: While the ROI isn’t as high as with the digital methods we’ve outlined above, the relatively low investment, coupled with the low market saturation for this technique in the industry as a whole, means that a well-designed campaign can stand out and generate some serious brand awareness. Ask us how.