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As the legal cannabis industry grows larger and larger each year, it is important to keep up with opportunities within the industry. Now more than ever, customers are placing value in brand loyalty — there is an increasing need to make a striking first impression. Of course, no business has 100% customer retention, however, you need to be willing to constantly communicate and build new customer relationships. In this post, we’ll go over how to identify your target audience, cultivate your brand, and boost your dispensary sales with loyalty programs and marketing strategies.

Discover your audience: Identify the types of cannabis dispensary customers

Within the legal cannabis world, there are many different “personas” that are interested in various means to consume or smoke marijuana. Here is a list of a few dispensary customers and how you may want to market to them:

Woman and man at counter

  • The Deal-Getters – these customers need an incentive to buy your products and prioritize your dispensary over others. Effective strategies include offering first-time purchase discounts, including rewards-member benefits, and marketing sales often. These strategies are effective win combination with minimum cart totals and additional purchase incentives. For more information, an article analyzing dispensary deal statistics takes a deep dive into how deal-getters influence the market for cannabis.
  • Locals – These individuals live or work near you. It’s important to cater to the needs of these people too, even though they’re already nearby. Early-bird specials, neighborhood discounts, and happy hours are effective ways to get locals to stop by after work, or make a trip for a good deal.
  • New customers – These customers are new to the legal marijuana world and are usually seeking advice and recommendations. Especially in a state where cannabis was recently legalized, a large portion of your customers may fall into this category. For new customers, include informational labels and descriptions of your products to intrigue the customer but also keep them informed.
  • Tourists – Tourists are almost always seeking advice, and are looking to try something new. They may also be new to the cannabis world as well. A lot of tourists are coming from states where cannabis is not recreationally legal yet, so this may be a new, exciting experience for them.
  • Groups – Seniors, veterans, and students are some of the most prevalent groups in the marijuana industry. Setting up special bundles, cart deals, and special discount codes is a great way to attract more people from these groups into your dispensary.

Develop your brand

Your brand is more than just a name and a logo — it’s the way you present yourself to the rest of the industry, your potential customers, and your partners. Think carefully of what you want your brand aesthetic to be like and what kind of environment you want to cultivate in your dispensary.

Think of what values you want to pursue in your business. This can be quality, novelty, innovation, exclusivity, and more. No dispensary can appeal to all qualities someone may be looking for, so it’s best to stick to a few that mean the most to your vision of the company.

Solidify your brand by matching the website, social media, and other accounts to your aesthetic and branding. Wherever the customer goes, they should be able to get accurate, up-to-date information. Having a responsive web design that is compatible with a mobile phone display is important since many people will be browsing your online menus on their smartphones.

Hands holding phones with reviews

An extremely valuable aspect of growing your business that often gets overlooked is online reviews. Studies show that a potential customer values businesses or products on the number of reviews, rather than the contents of the review itself. Encouraging your customers to leave reviews of your cannabis dispensary will make it more appealing to other prospective customers. Reward customers by offering discounts or coupons for leaving a review. This dispensary marketing strategy may help jump-start your cannabis brand and help reach your ideal customer. Satisfied customers will feel more welcome to come back to your dispensary rather than other local businesses. Like businesses in other industries, cannabis consumers value a shop with great brand awareness, notable online reviews, and welcoming service.

Diversify your products

Now that you’ve taken the time to select the products, make sure each one is consistently labeled and named. The descriptions should be easy enough for a newcomer to follow, but also be somewhat descriptive to intrigue experienced cannabis users to try a new product.

Once you start selling more products, keep an eye out for those that are especially popular, and make sure to keep those in stock at all times. Take notes of products customers ask for that you don’t have, and decide if you should add them to your product list. It’s also important to recognize trends in the recreational marijuana market and create a mix of traditional and experimental items to diversify your store. It may be beneficial for your brand to start carrying more niche and unique items to compete in a seemingly competitive area. Diversifying your products will in turn bring in new customers and help further establish your brand aesthetic.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, e-commerce has become a huge part of the cannabis industry. Deemed essential businesses, dispensaries saw a significant uptake in online ordering during the months following the start of the pandemic. More people are buying their cannabis online or making use of cannabis delivery services in their area. Because of the ease of online shopping, setting up an online menu and e-commerce website can help existing customers shop their usual orders and guide new customers to your most popular products.

Offer a variety of promotions

Young people with phones

For a lot of people, choosing the dispensary they go to comes down to who has the better deals. According to some sources, two out of three people are searching Weedmaps or other platforms looking for deals. If you want to attract more customers, you have to appeal to a wide audience. You can offer promotions of specific products (flowers, edibles, pre-rolls, etc.), time of day, or other events. Some of the most popular include:

  • Birthday discounts – Offering a birthday discount is a great way to ensure a customer feels special on their birthday at your dispensary. Although many shops already do this, make sure that your dispensary is offering unique and exclusive promotions in order to foster a positive customer experience.
  • Referral discounts – One great way to get new customers into your shop is to utilize your existing customers. Offering a discount whenever someone brings in a new customer is an effective way to get people talking about your dispensary and allows for many new customers to get familiar with your shop. This word-of-mouth marketing strategy is a great way to incentivize customers while also bringing more foot traffic into your dispensary.
  • Themed-discount days – These days can be anything you like — whether it be “flower friday” or “pre-roll monday”, happy hours or holidays, themed days can attract a wide range of customers while also establishing a “groove” to how your dispensary functions. Such marketing tactics incentivize people to buy more product as well as increase the amount of items in their carts. These discounts paired with a loyalty program can take your cannabis advertising to a new level.

Start a loyalty program

One of the most important aspects of a cannabis business and dispensary marketing techniques is to create a rewards program. Thousands of cannabis retailers nationwide utilize marketing through rewards and loyalty points, social media, and other digital marketing endeavors. For dispensary owners, seeing the same faces in your shop feels rewarding in itself. Rewards programs take cannabis marketing to the next level — repeat customers get deals for being loyal to your brand, and you get to build a network of people who love shopping at your dispensary.

Offering special perks, discounts, and deals through email or text message marketing has shown to increase the overall basket size of an order, maintain customer retention and increase the frequency of visits. These special perks allow you to use targeted marketing strategies — something revolutionary even though the US government has restrictions on marijuana dispensary promotions.

With Springbig, we offer a loyalty program that uses a point-per-dollar reward system. Compared to other loyalty programs which use a points-per-visit system, Springbig’s point-per-dollar system incentivizes cannabis customers to spend more while also rewarding the biggest and most loyal customers. With customer loyalty programs, you can foster long-term relationships with your customers, offer discounts and personal cannabis sales, and transform your dispensary marketing efforts.

When using Springbig’s loyalty program, you can expect an increase in customer retention and per-visit spending, as well as full control marketing strategies you want to send out to your consumer base. You can learn more about springbig’s cannabis loyalty marketing software here (for a Canadian version, click here).

Invest in digital marketing Pays Large Dividends

Although online cannabis marketing may be hard to navigate because of various compliance laws, there are numerous ways to increase your web presence. Some digital dispensary marketing ideas include social media accounts, blog posting, and utilizing email and text messaging marketing campaigns. Online dispensary marketing has been proven to be useful for local businesses — increasing their online presence and appealing to a wider range of people.

  • Social media marketing – social media platforms give dispensaries a unique approach to communicating with customers. Because of laws surrounding what is allowed to be posted online, a cannabis company will go for a more sophisticated appearance on social media.
  • Writing blogs – Although many think blogs are not an effective strategy anymore, this is not the case. Blog posts can be effective when you have strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategies in your blogs. This can lead to you being found more often on search engines such as Google or Bing, as well as increase traffic to your dispensary website.
  • Email/SMS marketing – Email is a great way is distributing weekly newsletters, videos, recent blog posts, or offer promotions. Although, setting up email marketing can be a tedious and difficult process, setting up targeted emails based on the frequency of purchases and the average amount spent will increase your chances of getting more customers. Text messaging marketing is even more effective than emails since most people check this more often. With strict regulations surrounding the cannabis industry, text message marketing is a great solution to marketing your products and legally engaging with your target customers. These are highly cost-efficient given how many clicks each campaign generates. Managing text messaging marketing is also our greatest strength.

Learn more about how you can increase your customer base with SMS marketing campaigns and how Springbig can help you create an easily integrated, fully compliant platform for your dispensary that generates results in just one day.

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