The Cannabis industry is booming, and with over 11,000 cannabis retail stores open in North America, and thousands more awaiting the green light, understanding cannabis marketing is lucrative to the success of your operation.
Cannabis marketing means the promotion of cannabis and its derivatives to increase awareness and sales. Over the years, industry restrictions and regulations have made this quite the task but today we are going to talk about cannabis marketing specifically for dispensaries, otherwise known as cannabis retail stores.
The world of cannabis marketing is a vast one - but today we are going to focus on how to market a dispensary in particular.
Marketing a dispensary is unique, because you have the ability to leverage the numerous internet and social media platforms. Combining these platforms with effective strategies can help you understand how to reach your audience even in the face of COVID-19 and its after-effects.
You can also leverage the features of cannabis software to manage your marketing. In this guide we are going to share 7 powerful ways you can market your dispensary, helping you stand out from the rest
You will find there are many marketing channels at your disposal. At the same time, marketing a dispensary exposes you to different challenges ranging from the task of brand building and promotion to market restrictions. Some of the major challenges you are most likely to face in dispensary marketing include:
Major social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter place specific bans on ads related to cannabis and dispensary promotions. For instance, Facebook guidelines explicitly state that the platform prohibits the promotion, prescription, or sale of recreational drugs via ads.
Twitter's business policy places a global ban on the promotion of drugs and drug paraphernalia, which includes dispensaries. There are a few exemptions to these social media dispensary prohibitions that dispensaries can leverage for targeted marketing.
As exemplified by the Twitter business policy, places that a dispensary can target for marketing and ads are limited. This is because not many countries and governments approve the sale or use of cannabis and other related drugs. Even when they are permitted, there are usually many terms and conditions that may prove different to adhere to.
Ads for dispensary marketing can cost a lot of money, depending on the target and specifications. Especially with the restrictions, the limited advertising options may create a hike in price. As such, not all dispensaries can sustain a good budget for effective and wide-reaching ads.
Normally, it takes quite a lot of effort to build a business brand. It becomes even more challenging to build a dispensary brand when cannabis and other products they deal in are largely restricted. Due to the limitations in the marketing means and platforms, it may be difficult to extend brand awareness to some audiences.
Failure to adhere to the cannabis marketing laws stipulated by the government and other law enforcement agencies may attract severe penalties for dispensaries. As such, they face the challenge of having to manipulate their marketing strategies to remain in compliance with the stipulated cannabis marketing regulations.
Branding is one of the most powerful marketing strategies for every business. From increasing your business awareness and reach to adding a sense of originality, branding gives you the edge you need in a competitive market.
When you speak of branding, you're talking about everything that pertains to how the dispensary projects its image and reputation to the general public. This includes elements such as its logo, business name, product packaging, pricing, warranty, customer relationship, etc. Each of these elements is very important as they combine to influence how customers perceive your business.
Building and regularly improving your dispensary’s brand builds your customer’s trust. Given the nature of the products offered by a dispensary, people prefer to patronize reputable and trusted sources. Branding will add a touch of authenticity and credibility to your dispensary, allowing you to expand your business in the future with the assurance of a loyal customer base.
For the rapidly growing cannabis industry, there are many questions the media and public desire to ask, and information needed to be learned. Getting media coverage for your dispensary can help you answer these questions and gain the awareness you need.
You can partner your dispensary with reputable media outlets for regular news, articles, and publications that are cannabis-related. Make sure you go for the dispensary-and-cannabis-friendly media or press. Good examples of such media outlets include Forbes, which dedicated a team to the cannabis industry. Other examples are Marijuana Venture and Cannabis Business Times.
In the aspect of marketing and advertisements, the cannabis industry is not considered very liberal on social media. Therefore, you need to keep your business abreast with the current advertising regulations to ensure compliance. Violating these regulations may attract consequences that may be both finance-intensive and reputation-destructive.
Social media is about being social, and connecting with your community - consider this when you use this method to market your dispensary! We know that most platforms have strict laws around selling or marketing the substance directly - however there are ways to get around this by moving from selling, to promoting a brand and building client awareness.
In the world of marketing, brand awareness is the building block to a strong foundation of sales. We give before we ask. This can be a way to get creative, and have fun with your brand - while connecting with potential clients, and like minded cannabis aficionados.
Here are some unique ways you can use social media, legally, to market your dispensary.
Paid ads, or PPC (pay per click) is a powerful way to market a cannabis retail store. It is mainly used to generate inorganic traffic to product websites to boost engagement and sales. Paid ads can be very useful for businesses that don’t have enough online presence and reputation to attract organic visitors as yet.
You can bid for advertising spaces with standard search engines such as Google. When users search keywords related to the products or services you offer, the search engine outputs your sponsored link at the top part of the result page. You pay a certain amount for each click, and how many visitors you convert to purchasing customers then depends on you.
Conduct good research to find out the keywords users search the most about cannabis and dispensaries. Bid for these keywords and optimize your website to ensure a high conversion rate. PPC campaigns may be costly to maintain, but they may prove worthwhile if you employ the right strategies.
Content marketing is defined in the oxford dictionary as “a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” This is a powerful approach to take in the cannabis world, because directly selling your product can be challenging.
When we say, consider content marketing, we mean consider how you can give information to potential buyers, without selling your product directly. A great way to go about this is to create a powerful blog that is shared across platforms - because it provides valuable information to potential clients. Start with a content marketing strategy.
Becoming a helpful resource for people who are looking to jump into, explore, or enjoy the fruits of the cannabis industry makes you a reputable source that people think of when they think - weed.
Email marketing can be a powerful digital marketing tool for dispensary marketing, but can also backfire if not done correctly. People hate spam messages and can regard your emails as spam if you mail too frequently or send irrelevant content.
The aim is not just to gather emails in your mail list, but to reach out to the right audience and with the right message. To maximize this strategy, you can add incentives for joining your email list. Ensure you add strategic CTA (Call-To-Action) links or buttons to prompt users to take the right steps.
The goal of using cannabis marketing to showcase your dispensary is of course, to grow your business - but have you considered where you are spending within your business? A powerful way to grow your business, is to invest more into advertising - but to do this you need to have more to spend.
If you are looking to cut costs, or keep more in your pocket, to invest, having a powerful back end system than can help you run your business smoothly is a must. It is paramount that you consider working with a POS company that will help you stay compliant, but also can help you streamline your operations, and save you thousands of dollars when running payroll, or managing your staff.
“In the labor numbers, we were reporting about a $300 to $400 difference than what we were getting through Push!”
-Tara Hardie, ZZA Hospitality Group, 16 locations