3 Digital Marketing Strategies Every Cannabis Dispensary Should be Using
Digital marketing is an umbrella term used to group any form of marketing or advertising that leverages digital channels to promote a product or service, including search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, business websites, content marketing, SMS (text messages), and mobile apps.
Since the inception of the web, digital marketing has become more and more important with each passing year. While conventional offline marketing (like radio, print, billboards, etc.) are still important, if you’re a local business or retailer (like a dispensary), you can’t afford to ignore developing a viable digital marketing strategy.
That said, it’s not cost effective or efficient to try to implement every digital marketing strategy under the sun. Rather, you should definitely focus on doing a few very well. To help, we’ve compiled a list of three dispensary marketing strategies that every store should incorporate into their marketing plan.
Online Reputation Management & Reviews
According to Bright Local, the leading local citation building service, a whopping 97 percent of consumers read online reviews before making a buying decision in 2017.
No doubt, your customers or prospective buyers have searched for your dispensary (or your competitors’) at some point. What’s the first thing they’ll see after they search? Your Google My Business listing, typically locating front and center on the right side of the search query. What’s listed directly below your dispensaries name? Your Google Review rating and the number of reviews customers have left for your store.
On Google’s search results page, what will they see? Your cannabis store’s website, followed by your listings on Yelp, Weedmaps, and Leafly, along with the number of stars customers have rated you.
If you have 4.5 stars or more, congrats! But, if you’re at 3 stars or less, you have a problem. Online reviews have become a part of nearly every customer’s journey. If your reputation isn’t where it should be — or you don’t have a high volume of recent reviews — you’re leaving money on the table.
In this day and age, when everyone is doing “local search,” we can’t understate the importance of online reputation management and review management. If you don’t have a review strategy, develop one now. This is often the least expensive, easiest to implement, and one of the highest ROI marketing strategies you absolutely must incorporate into your marketing.
When you’re looking for a local business, what’s the first thing you do? You perform a Google search, right? Let’s say you’re a cannabis consumer, you might enter a search query like “dispensary near me.”
What’s the first thing that comes up? The “top” three dispensaries, as determined by Google. This is called “Google’s Local 3-Pack.” Ideally, your dispensary will show up on the list since buyers are much more likely to visit a dispensary in the Google Local 3-Pack than any other dispensary. Below the 3-Pack, you’ll probably find review sites (like Yelp and Weedmaps) and a few dispensaries.
If you’ve invested in SEO and you’re strategically managing your online reputation and reviews, you could make it to the first page of Google search results. Obviously, this would be huge for your business. However, it takes a lot of work and a serious commitment — and even then you may not earn one of these coveted spots.
So what are you supposed to do? Fortunately, local search queries like “dispensary near me” may be the most common, however, they are far from the only type of search buyers are doing to find a dispensary.
There are all sorts of other terms buyers use in their quest to find the best dispensary. They might search, “where can I buy sour diesel,” or “where can I buy CBD oil?” In fact, there are dozens of search terms that people are using that you can optimize for that will drive cannabis buyers to your website and, ultimately, to your store.
Of course, in order for this strategy to work, you’ll need two things: an SEO strategy and content that can be optimized for search. Which brings us to the third strategy you should be using: content marketing.
Content marketing is a strategy focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to entice and engage a defined audience — and drive profitable customer actions. As opposed to selling your product or service, content marketing allows you to educate your prospects with relevant and useful content to provide value.
For cannabis dispensaries, content marketing continues to be one of the most effective digital marketing strategies you can invest in. Without content, you’re limited in regards to how much SEO you can do to drive traffic. You can try to optimize to be in the Google 3-Pack, but even if you’re the best dispensary in your market, it may take a long time to achieve (or you may never get there at all).
Know that your customers want valuable content. You don’t need to limit yourself to blogs. You can create other types of content that drive buyers to your website (more on that below).
Content marketing focuses on the first two steps of the buying cycle by raising awareness and educating consumers about a product or service. Traditional marketing focuses on the second of those two steps.
Create and share “remarkable” content to stimulate interest in your brand. Make sure the information is relevant, useful, and digestible. You can create blogs, infographics, checklists, and guides; just make sure to use images (original if possible), videos, and other media.
Content Marketing Ideas
- Articles or Blog Posts
- Brand Profiles
- Case Studies
- How-to Lists
- Infographics and Images
- Social Media Posts
Don’t limit yourself to this list. Be creative. Think out of the box. The more unique, the better!
We hope this article was informative and that you’ve learned a bit about how digital marketing can help your cannabis dispensary generate awareness, build your brand, and grow your customer base.
If you’d like to learn more, download our guide, the Beginner’s Guide to Dispensary Marketing. It’s free!