The cannabis industry faces unique marketing challenges.
Because cannabis is legalized for recreational use in some states and regions, legal for medical use in other states, and restricted entirely in yet others. Because of these varied regulations, many social media and advertising platforms impose restrictions on how cannabis products can be marketed.
This means dispensaries must use creative marketing strategies to reach customers and generate business.
The list below looks at some of the most effective tactics and channels for marketing your dispensary and it’s products.
1. Dynamic Web Presence and Online Profiles
When customers come to your website, that is your best opportunity to tell them why they should visit your dispensary. Designing a professional website, that is mobile friendly, easy to navigate, allows them to learn more about your products is crucial to your long-term success.
You should also leverage third-party profiles from cannabis-related sites like Weedmaps and Leafly, and local lead generation sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages also play a critical role. Make sure all the touchpoints of your brand show the professionalism of your brand online.
.2 Customer Loyalty Programs
Dispensaries face some limitations on how they can motivate new customers to become repeat shoppers. Creating systems to engage customers that will bring them back to your retail cannabis store is essential for growth of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
Loyalty programs incentivize customers to become repeat buyers. Some forms of loyalty programs include:
- Giving customers points with each purchase that accumulate towards free or discounted products.
- Discount cards that kick in after so many purchases.
- Membership cards that give customers access to special promotions and sales.
The staff, and especially the cashiers, should be trained to recommend signing up for a card if you institute a customer loyalty program.
3. In-Store Merchandising
The displays and merchandising in your dispensary are part of the overall sales plan for your business. Consider the layout of your dispensary sales floor, and what product displays your customers will walk by. Your customers may want to sniff the aroma of the flower terpenes before they buy.
Customer education is also a big part of making sales. Product displays that have strain information or interactive displays with digital content can help do some of the pre-sales work and prepare customers for their purchases.
4. Online Ordering and/or Delivery Menus
Many customers want the convenience of either getting their orders delivered, or pre-ordering online, and picking up their orders at your dispensary. Depending on local regulations in your area, these options may be available to you. Many dispensaries have their online menu on their website. If customers are able to order online, it saves them time, and allows you to collect their email and phone number for text or email marketing campaigns.
5. Text Message Marketing
If customers opt in for text message marketing, they have access to daily or weekly specials that you advertise directly to their phone. According to a 2016 study by FranchiseHelp, SMS messaging is preferred over phone calls as a means of marketing communication by a 9 to 1 margin. Text messaging customers deals can help elicit more purchases by alerting them to current specials.
6. Local SEO and Google Business Profile
Google Maps shows the listing for most dispensaries (you can add a new place if you are not listed yet). Be sure to claim your Google Maps listing and fill out all the information completely. Your Google Maps listing is the same thing as Google Business Profile. The information here, and on your website, is used to compare data accuracy with all your other third-party listings. Make sure you have the brand name, address, phone number, and business category correct. Add photos of your dispensary, both inside and outside, and add your logo and team photos to this profile. Encourage customers to leave reviews (though keep in mind it is against Google policies to incentivize reviews).
7. Leveraging Online Reviews
Potential customers often read online reviews before shopping at a store or dispensary. Reviews that mention specific keywords, or that other online users find useful may rise to the top in Google Maps or Yelp. By asking customers to leave reviews, it can help your SEO rankings, and tell future customers what the experience is like at your cannabis dispensary.
8. Measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
KPIs are metrics that can indicate future success and are targets that businesses set for their teams to measure overall success. Some examples of KPIs can include: number of Google and Yelp reviews in a quarter, number of new customers in a specific time frame, visits to your website, sales of a specific product, or email signups to a newsletter. KPIs that predict future success are known as leading indicators; lagging indicators are the measure of current success. What gets measured is what gets worked upon. Decide which indicators are most important for your dispensary and work toward a goal.
9. Referral Programs
Your repeat customer base can grow when existing customers tell a friend. A 2012 survey of 28,000 respondents by Nielsen showed that 92% of consumers trust the recommendations of friends and family over all other forms of brand information and messaging. How can you get existing customers to refer new cannabis customers to your dispensary?
One type of referral program gives customers a discount or gift card for referring a new customer. This can help nurture and existing customer relationship and create a new one.
10. Community Involvement
You may not have considered community involvement to build your brand, but it can create a powerful positive sentiment in your city. There are many efforts in your town that need community support, and people won’t forget it was your business that helped sponsor that help.
Canned food or clothing drives, collecting goods for a homeless or battered women’s shelter, hosting a toy drive for needy kids – all these are examples of how businesses can give back to the community. Have your volunteers wear branded T-shirts, get some photos for your social media, and help your city out. You may even offer discounts to customers who volunteer their time. It helps the community and builds good will for your dispensary brand.
11. Local Partnerships
Bars, restaurants, breweries, and local shops are also small businesses within your community. By doing a cross-promotion with them, it can be beneficial for both parties. Be sure to promote your partner businesses as they are promoting yours.
12. Outdoor Billboards
In many cities, dispensaries and cannabis delivery shops are using traditional and digital billboards to build brand awareness. In municipalities with lots of competition, this may be a necessary marketing tactic to keep pace with other local dispensaries.
Leverage Our Experience in Dispensary Retail Displays
For more than 25 years, Bud Bar Displays has been designing award-winning retail displays and store fixtures. Our team of specialists was assembled with one goal in mind – to help cannabis dispensaries display products in a professional manner and increase their overall revenue. Dispensaries around the world have used our line of display cases, store fixtures, and product displays to highlight their cannabis and CBD product lines.
Whether your need displays for a dispensary large or small, we can help you determine exactly how to design a memorable customer experience.
If you need help with choosing the right product displays for your dispensary, contact the team at Bud Bar Displays, or call us at (916) 858-2000.