Build it and they will come. It sounds great in theory, but unless you’re opening an In-N-Out Burger (which already has a brand and a cult-like following), thinking you can just open a cool dispensary and expect an onslaught of customers is a pipe dream. In the cannabis industry, you either promote or you perish. It’s that simple!
There are many ways to promote your dispensary. In this article, we’re going to focus on digital marketing, which encompasses a variety of tactics. Not all invest in dispensary digital marketing, but all of the most successful ones do. We’ll discuss what digital marketing is, how it can help your dispensary, and what tactics you can use.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Simply put, digital marketing refers to any form of digital promotion that dispensaries may leverage to drive brand awareness, attract new customers, or sell products.
Examples of the various forms of digital marketing include:
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- SMS (Text) Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Precision Targeting
- Buyer’s Journey Starts Digitally
- Quickly Adaptable
We’ve highlighted the benefits of digital marketing. Now, let’s take a deeper dive into each of the benefits and, specifically, how each can help your dispensaries marketing efforts.
Done strategically, digital marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing. Think about it. You can spend as little or as much as you want on digital. No matter the size of your budget, you can develop and execute a strategy. You can start small, find what methods and tactics yield the highest ROI, and scale up from there.
With traditional marketing, you’ve got to compete with the big boys and costs can run up very quickly. Not only that, but traditional marketing is hard to measure (more on this in a second) and it’s slow. If a campaign isn’t working, you can’t make minor tweaks to improve a campaign.
If you can’t measure it, how can you know what’s working or what you can do to improve your results? With digital, measurement is built-in. In fact, digital marketing is the most measurable form of marketing you can do.
Since you can measure results in real-time, you can quickly make incremental changes to assess the impact of your campaigns and improve them as necessary. You can’t do that with traditional forms of media, which are hard to measure and slower than molasses to tweak.
For example, you can track how many cannabis consumers request directions from your Google My Business profile. Let’s say 1000 customers request directions and your average customer buys $50 worth of cannabis products per visit, that means you can expect $50,000 in revenue from this web traffic source. Try that with billboards!
Digital marketing is the most measurable form of marketing. Full stop!
In offline forms of marketing like billboards or print, your message (to varying degrees) is going to a wide audience. Let’s say you buy space on a billboard. Everyone driving on that highway is going to see your message, but how many of them fit your target market?
Most of the people who will see your ad won’t be prospective customers, but you’re still paying to advertise to them. That, of course, ties back to the cost-effective nature of digital marketing and the inefficiency and high cost of traditional marketing.
The Buyer’s Journey Starts Digitally
Where do you think most of your prospective customers start their “buyer’s journey?” (The “buyer’s journey” is the path buyers follow to become aware of your cannabis dispensary brand and your products until they become customers.)
They start online, either on their computer or mobile device. Most type into Google search queries like “dispensary near me,” “nearest pot shop,” “what are the best dispensaries in San Francisco?” etc. They’ll pull up sites like Google Reviews, Yelp, Leafly, or Weedmaps.
They may visit your website, where you’ll want to make sure that your site is optimized to display properly on a mobile device and that you have a compelling CTA (call-to-action) in which you can capture their email and/or mobile number.
Not to beat a dead horse, but as we’ve shared, traditional marketing is hard to measure, it’s inflexible, you aren’t meeting your customer where their journey to discovering your business begins (online), and if you want to change it up, it’s slow. With digital, since you’re measuring and tracking results online in real-time, you can quickly and easily make incremental changes to adapt to what your data is telling you, and customers find you online; which when done right in an optimized manner, they will convert into calling you, visiting your store or online menu to purchase products.
Let’s say you’re running an SMS (text message) campaign. You can A/B or A/B/C test different messages. With A/B testing, you send out different messages to different lists to see how each performs, and from there, you can eliminate or change underperforming messages.
We hope this article was informative and you 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!