The cannabis industry has experienced record growth in recent years, even as the Covid pandemic seemed to be devastating for other industries. However, even with such tremendous success and growth, competition is as stiff as ever. Dispensary owners must stay on top of their dispensary marketing strategy in order to stay competitive and relevant.
Enjoying the industry’s boom is not as simple as keeping your doors open. The key to enjoying increasing success is to retain existing customers while attracting new customers. In this article, we focus on marketing tactics that are geared toward attracting new customers. We discuss how a strong combination of reflection, outreach, and branding can earn your dispensary serious results and fresh customers.
While retaining and rewarding your old reliable customers is a crucial part of a dynamic dispensary marketing campaign, drawing in new customers is key to beating out competition and enjoying the industry’s growth.
With an increasing number of cannabis consumers – thanks to the spread of legalization as well as the pandemic, many are seeking out dispensaries to regularly traffic. These new consumers are the heart of the industry’s boom. By bringing them into your dispensary, you are seizing a piece of the cannabis industry’s overall growth.
In the world of dispensary marketing, understanding what your dispensary is and is not is crucial to success. You must understand your identity and your goals before investing time and resources into any marketing campaign.
As a cannabis dispensary, you more than likely exist in a certain category. You may be a medical dispensary, a recreational dispensary, or cater to both clientele. You may cater to young hipsters or you may emphasize marijuana as a tool for wellness and holistic health. Or your approach may be entirely different. One way or another, your dispensary is unique, and its character is your brand.
When considering your brand and how to market it, do not try to be or become something you are not. Your brand can evolve, but if you attempt to imitate another dispensary’s approach, you are unlikely to be see a return on your investment. Being true to your brand and your dispensary will actually be key to your growth.
Your dispensary marketing strategy and brand will strike a particular tone that will differentiate your cannabis business from others. When figuring out what this tone will be for your particular dispensary, the first question you must ask yourself is who you are trying to bring into your store.
Cannabis consumers represent a range of identities, ages, demographics, interests, and communities, so being thoughtful about which groups you want to appeal to is worthwhile. Some choose to cast as wide of a net as possible and hope to be universally appealing. Others prefer to specialize.
Depending on the details of your unique circumstances, from your location to the local businesses that already exist, you must make a decision about who you want your customers to be. From there, you can shape your brand.
One way to think about your identity and brand is to think about who already visits your marijuana dispensary. These customers are the basis of your identity and, counterintuitively, the key to attracting new customers.
Yes, believe it or not, one of the best – and often overlooked – assets when trying to attract new customers into any cannabis retail storefront is already loyal customers. Your loyal customers are often the force which bring new faces into your dispensary.
Before we review the methods you can use to draw new customers into your store organically, let’s take a look at how your already existing clientele can help you grow.
It is well-documented that word of mouth marketing is extremely effective. People just believe their friends, family, and verbal recommendations more than they do paid advertisements. And rightfully so.
Nevertheless, word of mouth remains extremely underused in the cannabis industry. With few compliance considerations, it should really be taken advantage of. Also, did we mention, it’s free?
So how can you take advantage of the original marketing strategy? Your existing customer base!
The first step is to have a strong customer base. The key here is to have a dynamic loyalty program which rewards each dollar spent. Fortunately, loyalty is springbig’s specialty, and you can learn more about it here.
With a strong customer base in tow, you have a range of options. The easiest option is to simply encourage your customers, friends, and family to spread the word. Especially for up and coming dispensaries, this can have surprising results.
If you are looking for something a bit more complex, you may want to structure promotions which reward sharing your dispensary. For instance, you may offer a discount if someone can show that they shared word of your dispensary on social media. Note, however, that incentivized sharing can be less effective than word of mouth done for its own sake.
By now, you have hopefully identified those potential customers you wish to draw into your dispensary. The question now becomes how to create an effective marketing campaign that can turn them into regulars.
When trying to attract new customers, the name of the game is outreach. Successful outreach can be done a number of ways, including through advertising, promotions, an online presence, and your storefront. In the next sections, we talk about how you can maximize your efforts with each.
Cannabis advertising is notoriously difficult, but, when done right, can yield tremendous results. Its difficulty often leads cannabis dispensary owners to simply overlook it. This may leave a lot of space for your cannabis dispensary to take advantage.
Advertising your cannabis business can take a number of different channels. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Social media is an unprecedented marketing tool. With millions of users and tons of information about them, never before could a business reach so many segmented people so quickly.
Building a social media presence cannot be overlooked. Posting regular engaging content can lead to amazing results for your bottom line. When people interact with your content and page, the social media algorithms often link their friends and followers into your content. It can be an indispensable method of raising your brand recognition.
However, be aware of each social media platforms policies toward cannabis businesses. These policies tend to be strict and are usually geared toward preventing sales pitches or appealing to children. Review each platform’s policies and brainstorm how to create thoughtful and engaging content while staying compliant.
Another popular marketing method is billboard advertising. With billboards, you can reach a wide audience and be rewarded for creativity. A memorable billboard can lead to a large influx of web traffic and curious new customers.
As with social media, compliance is tricky. Each state and municipality has different rules governing billboards and similar advertising methods, so be sure to review your local regulations.
A final idea that is as lucrative as it is overlooked is advertising through a business partnership. The first step here is to identify local businesses that are likely to have a similar clientele as yours. These local businesses can range from coffee shops to health clinics and anything in between.
These are great opportunities for win-wins. Popular arrangements include exchanging and displaying flyers or offering mutual discounts, where presenting a receipt from one business grants a customer a discount at the other.
Beyond advertising, your marijuana dispensary marketing strategy can incorporate promotions geared specifically to first-time customers. In cannabis retail specifically, this is an extremely viable marketing tactic because of the many new cannabis users and customers in the market.
Some promotions for new customers may feel costly or overly generous. However, you need to see these promotions as long-term investments. It is possible you take a loss on the one visit, but what you are investing in is a long-term regular customer. Returning customers are, ultimately, the bread and butter of any cannabis business, and every returning customer was once a new customer. Your priority must be getting people into your dispensary.
These offers to first time customers can take a number of different forms. Usually, they offer discounts or other exclusive opportunities. Be creative!
You need to also consider how to get the word out about these promos. This is, in a way, a marketing effort within a marketing effort. Use everything from word of mouth to social media to flyers to promote your special offer.
The most effective methods of getting the word out will use visually engaging graphics which emphasize the exclusivity of your. Some mock-up examples are below.
More and more, dispensary marketing is moving online. Consumers are more likely than ever to go online to research dispensaries – from reviews to products – before actually visiting in person. As such, having a strong digital presence is another important piece of locking in potential customers.
Without a strong online presence, a customer is likely to be turned away from your dispensary, even if they are initially drawn to it. There are a few steps you should take in order to ensure customers follow through on visiting your dispensary.
Your website is a representation of your brand. Treat it accordingly. Having a cheap or outdated website is going to turn customers away at a surprising rate. Ensure your website is easy to navigate and fully up to date. A well organized website will go a long way.
In 2021, any business with a storefront – cannabis or otherwise – is at a severe disadvantage if they do not use Google My Business. With an updated Google My Business profile, your dispensary will appear on Google Maps as well as on local searches. In other words, when someone searches for dispensaries near them, Google will only display the dispensaries which are active on Google My Business. For instance, look at the search below:
Here, when someone searches “best dispensaries san francisco,” Google displays what is called a “snippet,” which is Google’s generated results. Those displayed on the snippet are the most likely to see traffic as a result of the search. You can learn more about Google My Business here.
As a rule, web traffic translates into foot traffic, and foot traffic translates into sales. So, a worthwhile dispensary marketing tactic is to invest in gaining traffic to your website. A great way to do this is through content marketing. You can learn all about content marketing in our Guide to Cannabis Content Marketing.
Chances are your dispensary has a significant number of passersby, whether drivers or people on foot. You need to view this population as potential customers.
Now, consider the appearance of your dispensary from the outside. If you were walking by, having never been inside your dispensary before, would you be drawn in?
First impressions matter, and your dispensary should be able to make a strong first impression on any possible customer. Earlier, we spoke about how your target audience might vary based on your goals and identity. This remains true! However, when considering your storefront, you should be welcoming to everyone. Every adult should feel comfortable and welcomed shopping in your store.
Cannabis retail is competitive enough. Make sure your dispensary is thoughtfully designed, especially the outside facing portion of it and the entry, so you can turn those passersby into sales.
Think about your dispensary’s customer experience. Have you become so used to your regular clientele that your dispensary may be difficult to navigate for first time customers? Whenever possible, take a step back and reflect on what your dispensary looks like to new eyes.
In addition to all the dispensary marketing strategies discussed in this article, there is springbig. Springbig is a marketing platform which can be used to enhance all your other cannabis marketing strategies.
Springbig’s marketing suite features a comprehensive approach to both targeting and attracting new customers as well as better retaining your existing clientele. With our SMS text message marketing platform, we can reach first-time customers effectively, with proven results and a guaranteed ROI. Easily market and advertise all your deals and engage a wide network of cannabis consumers.
With our loyalty program, your customers get rewarded on each dollar spent on their purchase. As your community of loyal customers increases, the number of new faces will also increase, as loyalty leads to word-of-mouth press.
Easily integrated in your already existing point of sale (POS) software, springbig is an essential piece of a dynamic dispensary marketing strategy. Fully customizable to meet the specifics of your business needs and entirely compliant regardless of your location, springbig is a must to differentiate yourself in the cannabis industry.
You can request a demo here.