How can I make my dispensary stand out from others?

With the potential to reach $66.3 billion by 2025, the legal cannabis industry is forever changing the medical and social world. Cannabis is taking the world by storm as more and more people discover its potential medicinal and relaxing side effects. More and more states are legalizing cannabis for recreational use, and some think that federal legalization is around the corner — so how can dispensaries market to this seemingly endless pool of potential customers?

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is defined as the use of the Internet, social media, search engines, email, and other methods as a means to reach potential customers. It is an extremely relevant and significant part of a business’s marketing strategy — as more and more people are consuming digital media rather than traditional media. Although traditional forms of marketing will never go away, it is important that your dispensary establish prominent digital and especially mobile campaigns.

phone with notifications

How digital marketing can help your dispensary

Digital marketing is a great way to maintain relationships with existing customers and intrigue and attract new customers. To drive foot traffic into your store, you can show off your brand using social media, search engines, and directories. When a prospective customer goes to your dispensary, it’s up to you to maintain a respectful and satisfactory customer relationship to hopefully keep them as a repeat customer. Here are 5 ways you can grow your dispensary with digital marketing.

1. Have Strong Branding

Your brand defines who you are. For instance — where would Apple be without its iconic logo? Your brand is what makes you unique, and why customers buy from your business and (hopefully) return to you.

It’s important to be authentic when developing your brand. It must come from a place of authenticity — think about what you want your business to represent. Especially in the cannabis industry, having a distinct and unique brand can give you that edge that most customers are looking for. Without this, your business is just another dispensary. What your brand is and what you represent are determined by your business name, logo, signs, and general aesthetic. Your brand will let customers relate to your values on a personal level.

2. Optimize Your Presence Online

As customers become more tech-savvy, there will be increasing expectations as to how your business presents itself online. Customers are looking for websites that have a clean aesthetic, user-friendly interfaces, and appealing graphics.

An important component in optimizing your content for online use is to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Studies have shown that mobile orders have been increasing since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. The influx in curbside pickup and delivery orders

incentivizes dispensaries to create an online format that is easy to use — or else customers will go to competitors. Having a Google Business page, Facebook page, and Instagram account will also help solidify your company’s online presence and help your dispensary stay relevant online.

Realistically, most people will search for a business when they hear of it, so it’s important that your website and social media is up-to-date and has the most relevant information. If they can’t find any information quickly online, they will most likely go to a local dispensary that is more active online.

Marketing cannabis is highly regulated on the internet — meaning that dispensaries must implement a compliant digital marketing strategy without compromising their digital presence. Most major media properties won’t permit any businesses in the cannabis industry to advertise on their websites. Although these strict guidelines are in place because of marijuana’s federal legality status, it’s not impossible to navigate other digital marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization (SEO). Using customer information to implement email marketing and text message marketing can also help your consumer base know what deals you’re offering, current events, or general news as well. This can effectively market your cannabis dispensary via word-of-mouth. This valuable asset can bring more curious people onto your website as well as increase sales, boost clicks, and foster more loyal customers.

3. Customer Reviews

Online reviews are often overlooked, but are a valuable part of how customers choose where to buy from. According to studies, potential customers value businesses or products on the quantity of reviews, not the contents of the review itself.

phone with reviews

When customers leave positive reviews of your business, prospective customers are more comfortable in knowing that many people had a positive experience at your dispensary. You can also incentivize customers by offering discounts or coupons for leaving a review. Utilizing this dispensary marketing strategy can help push your cannabis brand to the next level and help reach your ideal customer. Satisfied customers will feel better coming back to your dispensary rather than other local businesses.

4. Develop an SEO Strategy

Other marketing tactics include optimizing your website for search engines in order to boost your place on their platforms. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is an extremely valuable way for any business to appear organically on search engines such as Google or Bing. Unlike paying for advertisements to make your website appear at a higher rank than others, SEO utilizes relevant terms, keywords, and improves internet content to make your business’s website appear higher on the list of other websites for a particular keyword. Developing a local SEO strategy can be intimidating at first, but following the steps below can help identify where to start and what works best with your cannabis brand.

Ask questions about your brand

Firstly, you want to dig deep into what you want your dispensary to be. Consider who you want to be your target audience, whether that be a specific group of people, an age range, or something else. Defining who your target audience is is especially important when using SEO strategies, as you will have to predict what they will be searching for on search engines.

Predict search terms

Now, you have to think like you are the customer. What would they look up on Goggle or Bing that would lead them to your dispensary website? A popular search term is “dispensaries near me”. By implementing a strong SEO strategy, your dispensary can show up as one of the top results on search engines, making them more likely to be clicked on. Keyword research is an important part of using a digital strategy in order to target customers and help decide where to make a purchasing decision.

Why SEO is important

A study that analyzed organic click through rates (CTR) showed that the #1 position on Google gets 31.7% of all clicks — and the top 3 spots get 75.1% of all clicks! This data suggests that a more notable goal for your business may be to get into the top 3 of search results rather than to get just on the first page.

The data also suggests that moving up a position will increase your relative CTR by an average of 30.8%, but it depends vastly on your position. This can be helpful in establishing short-term goals for your company while also striving to be in the top spots.

Also, writing meta descriptions for every page on your website can help increase CTR by an average of 5.8% compared to pages without any meta description.

Woman checking phone

In summary, using an effective SEO strategy is one of many digital marketing tactics that can organically boost your cannabis business to the top of search results and can broaden the pool for potential customers. SEO is an amazing way to learn about your brand and your target audience, as well as cater to local customers and specific groups of people.

5. Blogging Gives Your Brand Personality

Blogs are starting to become more and more popular online — as it helps with maintaining the image of the brand and keeping your consumer base up to date. Blogs are a way to give your brand a voice and offer the opportunity to write about ideas, technology, feelings, and thoughts. Every dispensary should be writing blogs consistently — but most don’t. Writing blogs will help you be more competitive within your local scene.

Some benefits include:

  • Improve SEO and search results
  • Share ideas with your customers
  • Display your brand as a leader within your community
  • More traffic on your website

Cannabis leaf


Navigating the internet as a means to market your dispensary can seem daunting at first. Evaluating your ideal consumer base and creating a brand are the first steps of this process. Cannabis marketing may require extra marketing efforts to make your business visible on the internet, but learning the basics will put you ahead of many local shops. There are many digital marketing advertising opportunities for businesses in the cannabis industry to utilize. In summary, the first steps to market your dispensary online are:

  • Having strong branding — Having an authentic and unique message is what will initially attract customers to you. If people care about what you stand for and your message, they are more likely to become repeat customers in the future.
  • Optimizing your presence online — Make sure there is a seamless transition between your website, social media, and other platforms. Keep all information as relevant as possible, and make sure your interfaces are mobile-friendly.
  • Customer reviews — Incentivizing customers to leave positive reviews will make prospective customers more likely to visit your dispensary over local businesses. Cannabis consumers feel more comfortable going to businesses where others feel welcome as well.
  • SEO strategies — Implementing an effective SEO strategy is an integral part in driving more people into your business. Organic growth is a significant factor in developing your web presence as well as making your content better for customers. By optimizing your content online, you are able to appear higher up in Google or Bing (or other search engines) for a certain query.
  • Blogging — Blogging is a great way to increase brand awareness among your consumer base. It engages with your customers, is a great way to share brand values, and can be used to boost your local SEO. Advertising your cannabis dispensary through your blogs can also help develop customer loyalty for your shop. Many cannabis dispensaries do not incorporate blogs into their marketing plan, so doing so will keep you competitive.

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