Marketing in the cannabis industry is unlike any other space. Between nearly all of its development occurring in the last decade and the many layers of regulations cannabis businesses are subject to, cannabis marketing requires constant innovation and careful consideration.
While only one piece of cannabis marketing, dispensary marketing is an especially challenging undertaking. With the industry’s fast pace and the ever-increasing amount of competition, developing effective dispensary marketing strategies is crucial to for differentiating your cannabis dispensary and excelling in the market.
In this article, we discuss different ways your dispensary can innovate its marketing strategy. From old-fashioned neighborhood approaches to efficient digital campaigns, read on to discover what very well may be the next piece of your dispensary marketing strategy. Read through or navigate quickly to a section by clicking below:
Before diving into the details of their marketing tactics, dispensaries should reflect on their business. While some may feel inclined to skip this step, they run the risk of investing time and funds inefficiently.
By spending time reflecting before getting to work, dispensaries can isolate the avenues worth putting resources into and avoid those that can be wasteful.
For instance, a dispensary may use spend their budget on an expensive website renovation when, really, a neighborhood ad campaign would have boosted foot traffic and revenue much more efficiently. Had this dispensary done some soul searching beforehand, this could have been avoided.
So what should you consider?
What are you hoping to get out of your next campaign? Your goals must include the following: retaining already-existing customers and attracting new customers. You must grow while cultivating what you already have.
Your dispensary is your brand, and it is most likely to appeal to certain segments of cannabis customers more so than others. When making any marketing decision, dispensaries must define their target audience.
Think about your clientele. Who are your customers? Is there a generational demographic you can point to? Or is it a wide range?
Think about your inventory. What are your best selling cannabis products? Does your dispensary specialize in medical or recreational marijuana (or both)? What can this tell you about who you appeal to?
Once you think about some of these questions, you can develop your marketing ideas. Again, you want to expand brand awareness while continuing to retain your existing customers. What kind of content will maximize your chance of success and which medium is most likely to reach your customers?
In the rest of the article, we talk about the dispensary marketing ideas you can use to realize your vision.
Nearly all marketing strategies can be categorized as either offline or digital. A significant use of each is crucial to a successful dispensary marketing campaign.
Offline marketing includes word-of-mouth, billboards, partnerships with local businesses, and enhancing the brick-and-mortar appearance of your dispensary (among others). Digital marketing includes social media, video production, blog posts, email blasts, SMS text-message marketing, loyalty programs, website development, and online advertising (also among others).
A diverse range of marketing tactics, both digital and offline, will maximize your chances of success and yielding a substantial ROI. In other words, relying exclusively on what approach and neglecting the other is a bad idea. The more you try and get yourself and your brand out there, the more hits you are likely to get. It is worthwhile to have as diverse a strategy as possible. That way, if one avenue fails, you still have others positioned for success.
Social media platforms gives dispensaries unique opportunities for reaching wide audiences of cannabis consumers. With sophisticated targeting software, most social media platforms allow you to easily reach a segmented demographic.
One downside of social media marketing in this industry is complying with platforms’ policies. Each platform has a unique set of restrictions that generally limit how cannabis can be advertised. Typically, dispensaries are prohibited from making sales pitches directly.
For more on leveraging cannabis social media marketing and navigating compliance, check out this blog on cannabis dispensary social media marketing.
Among the various approaches to cannabis content marketing, creating video content may just be the most effective way to reach and interest customers. Internet users are constantly consuming video content, whether across social media platforms, on Youtube, or just browsing the internet.
Video production is also a great marketing idea because of its accessibility. While expensive fancy video production may be a worthwhile investment for some, simply recording and posting daily events at your dispensary is also an option.
Another popular content marketing approach is blogging. While some may think blogging is no longer a viable strategy, it is surprisingly effective. Especially when you integrate a strong dispensary search engine optimization (SEO) strategy into your blogs, it can increase your website’s traffic considerably.
An increase in web traffic is proven to result in an increase in cannabis sales. So don’t overlook what starting a blog can do for you!
Email-based dispensary marketing is extremely lucrative because nearly every prospective and current customer of your dispensary is sure to be active on email. Email is a great medium for distributing content marketing materials (like videos and blogs), distributing a weekly newsletter, or offering customers promotions.
The primary difficulty with email is assembling a full and organized list. Ideally, email addresses can be accompanied with information about the customer, including the frequency of their purchases and their average spent per visit. With more information, your email campaign can segment and target customers more accurately, enhancing your chance of success.
Even more effective than emails, text messaging is uniquely situated for success in dispensary marketing. As all dispensary owners know, regulations in the cannabis industry are a minefield. It turns out that text message marketing is an excellent solution.
Text message marketing has many benefits, including its cost effectiveness and how many clicks it generates (hint: it is significantly more than emails generate). Managing text message CRM also happens to be one of springbig’s specialties.
Learn more about springbig SMS text message marketing and how springbig can manage a fully compliant, easy-to-integrate text message marketing platform for your dispensary. With springbig, you can expect results and ROI in just one day.
Perhaps the most effective way to keep customers returning to your dispensary for their cannabis needs, loyalty programs reward customers for their continued business with exclusive promotions, discounts, and rewards.
Springbig’s marketing suite includes a dynamic loyalty program that uses a point-per-dollar reward system. As opposed to other loyalty programs which operate using a points-per-visit system, springbig’s point-per-dollar system incentivizes increased spending while rewarding your biggest and most loyal customers.
With springbig’s loyalty program, you can expect an increase in customer loyalty and per-visit spending, as well as full control over the rewards you offer customers. You can learn more about springbig’s cannabis loyalty marketing software here.
Your website can provide you a lot more than you may think. First, a visually appealing and easy-to-navigate website is a must for any cannabis dispensary. Without a professional website, potential customers are likely to be less trusting of your brand and move on to your competitors. Investing in strong website development is a good idea.
Your website must include all the information about your dispensary, from your hours and location to your menu and prices. Be sure the information is easy to access but not overwhelmingly cluttered.
Second, your website can be host to valuable marketing data and insights. Through services like Google Analytics, you can learn about which strategies are leading customers to your website. With insights into what is successful and what is falling short, you can adjust your attention and investments accordingly.
Your website can become much more than an information hub.
Paying for online ads is usually a good idea for businesses. In the cannabis industry, however, it can be difficult to do so while remaining compliant. Cannabis advertising is largely prohibited on social media as well as on Google ad networks. Since these two are the most successful paid digital advertising channels, paid online advertising is unlikely to yield a strong ROI for cannabis businesses.
Consider other options, like those on springbig’s marketing suite. Earn strong ROI while remaining compliant.
While online marketing seems to dominate in our competitive retail economy, certain “old-fashioned” approaches can still be extremely valuable for amplifying your brand and increasing foot traffic to your dispensary.
While the methods outlined here are sure to enhance your overall strategy, they are best when they work together with the online strategies discussed above. Use both sets of marketing ideas together to maximize your possibilities.
In an age of data analytics and high-tech software, it may sound like a waste of time to give attention to word-of-mouth exposure. Yet, not only is word-of-mouth marketing as relevant as ever, but it may just be the avenue that takes your dispensary above your competition.
According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth reviews and recommendations more than they trust any other form of advertising. For cannabis related businesses, that means that if a cannabis consumer hears about a dispensary or cannabis product from a friend or family member, they are likely to trust that recommendation more than any other.
But how can a dispensary leverage the power of word-of-mouth into sales?
First, never underestimate the power of your personal network. Especially if you are a local business with roots in the neighborhood, encouraging your friends and family to spread the word and visit your dispensary can have surprising results. Social media can also be used as a tool for word-of-mouth advertising. Do not be shy about asking friends, family, and customers to share your dispensary on their social media accounts!
Second, you can incentivize customers to share with friends. You can offer promotions or discounts in exchange for proof that they shared your dispensary on their social media accounts or if new customers say they were referred. While this method is less organic, in a sense, it can still yield results. If you do opt to offer promotions, however, be careful about staying compliant as certain jurisdictions prohibit particular cannabis promotions.
Historically, billboards are a very effective advertising method for gathering new customers. However, in the cannabis industry, regulations often make billboards difficult to implement while being compliant.
Each state and municipality has a different set of restrictions, so be sure to review your relevant restrictions before going forward with a billboard. Typically, billboards can only be placed where a strong majority of passersby are 21+.
Establishing partnerships with other local businesses is a great idea for both increasing revenue and boosting brand recognition in your community.
Partnerships can take many forms. Identify cannabis or cannabis-friendly businesses in your community and get brainstorming. A strong partnership will result in a win-win, where both parties get results.
A partnership may be as simple as exchanging and displaying flyers or as elaborate as offering discounts when a customer shops in both stores within a certain period of time. For instance, you may strike a partnership with a nearby smoke shop which gives discounted rates when someone makes a purchase at each during the same week.
Be creative! A strong partnership can have wide-reaching and long-term results.
Even as retail continues its transition online and cannabis delivery services emerge, cannabis consumers are going to continue to shop in-store at dispensaries. With the budtender experience difficult to replicate online and regulations easier to manage with a storefront, brick-and-mortar dispensaries are here to stay.
As such, it is important you make the most of your storefront. Your dispensary can be a lucrative marketing strategy itself. Make sure your storefront has clear signage, hours posted and visible, and a clearly marked entrance.
Your storefront should be welcoming, intuitive, and clean. Like a restaurant, if your dispensary is dirty, customers are unlikely to want to purchase consumable cannabis products from you. When customers walk in, it should be clear how to browse, check out, and ask for assistance.
If the in-store experience is complicated or otherwise unpleasant, the customer is unlikely to return and likely to give you negative exposure. Without an inviting storefront, all other marketing efforts are for nothing. It is worth investing in your shop – consider it a part of your marketing budget.
Managing a sophisticated, diverse, and wide-reaching dispensary marketing plan is crucial to your dispensary’s success. In a crowded market, you have to differentiate yourself, approach new customers, and retain your old customers in order to keep those profits up. In this article, a range of ideas are offered to (hopefully) inspire your next move.
While the suggestions offered here are important, another option exists in springbig’s marketing suite. With springbig, you can enjoy the benefits of some of the ideas detailed here – such as SMS text message marketing and a dynamic loyalty program – all managed in one easy-to-use system that mindlessly integrates into your already existing softwares.
With a proven ROI and fully compliant suite of tools and features, integrate springbig into your dispensary marketing campaign to take your dispensary to the next level.
To learn more and request a free demo, click here.