15 Dispensary Marketing Strategies to Get Customers in the Door
The cannabis industry is growing at a rapid pace and this trend will only continue as more states look toward legalization and the potential for federal legalization looms large. Mainstream views are shifting favorably toward the use of cannabis and its products. With legalization comes rapid expansion and dispensaries are popping up left and right.
That means one thing: the race is on to make your dispensary stand out.
Like all brands, cannabis-related businesses need good marketing to get customers through the door. In several states, dispensaries face the added challenge of advertising restrictions limiting their brand design and how they can reach customers. So how do you navigate that marketing challenge and still stand out?
Let’s take a look at 15 ways to do just that.
1. Optimize Your Website Beyond SEO
Several search engines (including Google’s Keyword Planner) don’t provide tracking info on cannabis-related keywords. The problem is that your website is your best resource for telling people who you are and what you do, especially since states vary so much on what is and isn’t legal when it comes to advertising. Optimize beyond SEO by designing your website for the person who passed by your store and is curious to learn more.
2. Get Listed in Business Directories
Put your dispensary on the map — literally. Listing your business in local business directories, as well as industry-specific directories like Leafly and Wiki Leaf, is a super simple way to let people know you exist. A way that doesn’t include running a single ad or rubbing up against any marketing restrictions.
3. Get Reviews
Word of mouth is, has been, and will be the emperor supreme of marketing. Why? Because people trust the opinions of people they know. Online reviews work in the same way. Who hasn’t looked up a restaurant to see what people are saying about the food? Good reviews get people through the door. Bad reviews or a lack of reviews can send potential customers to a competitor. Ask for – and consider incentivizing – good reviews from your most satisfied customers.
4. Create Loyalty Programs
Along with incentivized reviews, loyalty programs encourage customers to return to your dispensary again and again. Use loyalty cards to reward frequent shoppers with early bird discounts, BOGO offers, and more.
5. Email Marketing
Email campaigns can bring in new business while rewarding existing customers with a referral program. What’s not to love? Email referral programs and newsletters are a fantastic avenue for dispensaries facing restrictions from traditional media outlets (billboards, radio, TV, etc.). You can build out your email list through your website, in store, and at festivals and industry events.
6. Be SMS Savvy
While you’re gathering emails, ask for a phone number too. SMS campaigns (also called text message marketing) are easy, effective, and put your message right in the hands of people already interested in what you’ve got to say. Think about it: are customers more likely to interact with a text message or an email? While you don’t want to overload folks with daily messages, the occasional text to keep people up to date about new products, collaborations, or discounts can go a long way.
7. Get Social
While there are restrictions for advertising cannabis on social media platforms, you can still use social media to develop brand recognition and community engagement. Rather than focusing on paid ads and other digital marketing efforts, dispensary owners should focus on developing the brand and showing community involvement, without specifically making a sales pitch. Social media is arguably one of the best places to grow awareness of your brand and connect with your target audience – just make sure you’re well aware of each platform’s rules and restrictions.
8. Make a Statement at Festivals and Conventions
Snag a spot at festivals, conventions, craft fairs, and other industry events. Come prepared with info, merch, and freebies to spread the word about your dispensary. Strong branding and an attention-grabbing booth are a must at these events, so set up shop with a custom canopy tent to stand head and shoulders above the competition.
9. Run Ads, On- and Offline
Take out ad space in physical publications – and on their online platforms. Contact both trade publications and your local newspapers (once you’re well-versed in what you can and can’t say in an ad). Cannabis trade publications already attract people interested in what your dispensary has to offer, and their publishing team has a good understanding of the legal requirements for your ad. Reaching a local audience is just as important — running ads with local publications (physical or digital), puts you in front of the people physically closest to your dispensary.
10. Be a Boss at Billboards
Billboards are an in-your-face way to build awareness of your dispensary, products, brand, and vibe. While every state may not allow billboard advertising, if it’s legal in your state then by all means capitalize on this giant advertising opportunity. Billboards drive both foot and auto traffic right to your front door.
11. Sharing is Caring: Cross-Promote
Cross-promotion with other cannabis brands, products, and even other dispensaries can be as simple as sharing each other’s posts on social media. Make sure to explore the full range of cross-promotion. You might collaborate on products, create advertising campaigns together, or co-host booths at conventions and festivals to name a few. Each of you will cut your marketing costs while doubling your exposure.
12. Collab and Create
Take notes from Widowmaker Brewing and don’t be afraid to approach other local businesses about potential collaborations. Widowmaker collaborated with Rolling Releaf, a cannabis company, to create a terpene-infused IPA. The result was magical. Now that doesn’t mean you have to create new products. You can organize events with local businesses that combine your products in fun and interesting ways. Cannabis café, anyone?
13. Take Orders Online
Make online ordering through your website as easy as possible, with a smooth and seamless purchase process. And don’t forget to put your best foot forward with professional product photos. You need a few high-quality images of each product, and descriptions that answer any questions a customer might ask before they click “Add to Cart.”
14. Create a Vibe
What do people see when they pass by your dispensary? Just like your website and your advertising, your storefront itself needs to be in tune with your brand vibe. Create a welcoming atmosphere that makes people want to come in and stay a while. Do your budtenders greet customers as they enter the building? Is the retail space clean, professional, and well-decorated? If you’re not sure, you can always ask a secret shopper to come in and grade their experience.
15. Never Forget the Power of a Flyer
Social media and other digital marketing tactics are a necessity in today’s market, but that fact doesn’t diminish the power of good old-fashioned posters, flyers, stickers, banner signs, and other physical marketing products. You don’t have to run an expensive digital marketing campaign to spread the word about your dispensary. You just need to put marketing materials where your target audience will see them.
Put Your Dispensary Front and Center with Stomp
Marketing your cannabis dispensary can feel like wading through acres of red tape. Regulations around cannabis-related advertising vary widely between states, but with creativity and persistence, you can spread the word about your dispensary while adhering to every regulation.
You don’t have to do it alone. Promote your dispensary with Stomp’s wide variety of marketing products. From product labels to canopies to cannabis stickers, get your dispensary brand stuck, front and center, with Stomp.
- Tags: Cannabis
- Nashira Edmiston