Dispensaries and other businesses servicing the cannabis industry currently face plenty of regulatory obstacles, as well as increased competition. Dispensary marketing, by state law, requires you to keep your marketing efforts within their state borders. State law also requires that creatives run by dispensaries do not target children. Licensed product manufacturers, extraction companies, and producers are all in the same boat.
Being required to geo-target local markets severely limits your potential reach from the get-go, but it is also a key component to reaching the right audience while adhering to local laws.
So how does a cannabis business attract more customers and drive more awareness at a local level without targeting out-of-state viewers or children? Well, if you’re like most advertisers, your first inclination is probably to go to mainstream ad platforms like Google and Facebook to set up a few geo-targeted ad campaigns specific to your state.
However, because the Feds (frustratingly) continue to classify cannabis as a Schedule I drug (deemed as dangerous as heroin), most major media properties do not allow businesses in our industry to advertise on their sites.
Sure, that presents challenges. But, nothing a little persistence or creativity can’t overcome. Even being in a tightly regulated industry, opportunities overflow! Marketers are fortunate to have a wide array of marketing tools at their disposal.
So… where to start with your dispensary marketing strategy?!
Advertising your dispensary isn’t as easy as it should be—then again, neither are most things about working in the modern cannabis industry.
1. Branding + Website + SEO
Think about it – what is a business without a strong brand and website? Ensuring your dispensary makes it to the right target audience takes strategy-packed design and powerful SEO.
One of the greatest myths out there is that you can design your website in separation from all your other marketing efforts. Unfortunately, it’s a myth that can cost you an arm and a leg. Sure, eye-pleasing design is part of the web design process. But, effective website design is built on so much more: from branding to customer acquisition to SEO, the design of your dispensary website influences virtually every aspect of your online presence. You’ll want to make sure that your website is always up to date including:
- Menu of products
- Contact information
- Email opt-in
- Pixels to retarget users
2. DO Include Direct Mail
You might be wondering, “Isn’t direct mail dead?”
I’ll admit, that’s a fair question. But here’s the truth…
Direct mail is NOT dead.
Direct mail is actually getting MORE response from consumers than any other marketing method — including online ads and email, even though it may seem like an ancient form of marketing.
Here’s what I mean:
People are overwhelmed with digital marketing now more than ever.
Digital marketing studies suggest that consumers may see anywhere from 4,000 to possibly 10,000 ads every day.
Consider these statistics:
- 88.5% of the U.S. population uses the internet
- People spend 50 minutes every day on Facebook
- Over 3 HOURS per day are spent on mobile apps.
Consumers are utterly overwhelmed. There is just so much noise out there. And since we are constantly on some form of the internet, most of that noise comes from digital marketing.
I want you to succeed in your dispensary marketing strategy, so you need to know this:
Direct mail is more powerful now than ever before because it stands apart from the outpouring of online communication that we interact with daily. I found some surprising statistics on marketing (that I’ll share below), and what they lead to is this:
You HAVE to include direct mail in your strategy in addition to digital marketing strategies.
It’s not one OR the other.
You need both direct mail and digital to work together to market your dispensary so that: it’s seen enough… by enough people, and you get a steady stream of leads.
This brings me to my next point.
3. Digital Dispensary Marketing
Advertising your dispensary online isn’t as easy as it should be—but then again, neither are most things about working in the modern cannabis industry. Here’s the good news: There are many cannabis-friendly online channels and platforms. You can easily run ads across hundreds of mainstream websites using programmatic advertising technology.
- Display Ads
- Build your audience and serve them video and banner ads. Retarget your prospects and turn them into customers.
- Serve real people as they pass near your store. Best when coupled with video & banner ads.
- Look-a-like Marketing
- Want to reach more customers like your best shoppers? You can identify similar consumers in your market.
- Shopper Retargeting
- Place a pixel on your landing page and then retarget users as they appear on our network of top sites & apps.
4. Advertise Your Dispensary
Psst! I don’t know if you’ve heard, but advertising regulations in the cannabis industry are – well – let’s say a teensy bit strict. For many, if not most dispensary owners, keeping up with the ever-changing laws governing dispensary marketing and advertising can feel overwhelming. While advertising may seem daunting, there are actually numerous opportunities available.
- Reach your dispensary’s surrounding area with legal, attention-grabbing billboards. Establish your brand and promote your products, location, and hours.
- Podcasts are a growing platform for cannabis brands and dispensaries to connect intimately with consumers. For the cannabis industry to thrive, you need to meet consumers where they are today.
- OTT/CTV ads provide a great way to stand out from your competitors with high-quality commercial video content that reaches your target audience in the comfort of their own homes on their own time.
- Print Collateral
- Print collateral is also known as leave-behind marketing materials. It is used to promote the products and services your dispensary offers. But they can also be used to promote at events and trade shows.
If you are communicating your message consistently to the same audience across multiple channels, your dispensary will NOT be drowned out by your competition, and you’re more likely to be seen and remembered.
We have recognized the need for dispensaries to market across multiple channels, but we also realize that this can get overwhelming, especially with all of the rules and state-by-state advertising regulations.
That’s exactly why we created a marketing agency that strictly focuses on the cannabis industry.
C Media is a full-service advertising agency that provides solutions to help cannabis dispensaries get brand awareness and stay top of mind. Even as the cannabis industry expands, the avenues for dispensary marketing and advertising remain restricted. The team at C Media excels at navigating these restrictions and increasing your brand awareness.