Dispensary Marketing: 6 Strategies to Help You Stand Out

Mack Bush
June 9, 2023

With the demand for cannabis growing more and more, hundreds of dispensaries continue to open across the US and Canada. If you’re a dispensary owner who wants their shop to stand out, you’ll need to find the most effective dispensary marketing strategies to find new customers and keep existing ones.

As of 2020, there were 7,490 cannabis dispensaries in the United States. Plus, there were 3,231 dispensaries in Canada as of June 2022. Your customers can choose between multiple shops in the area when they’re buying cannabis, so making your mark locally is extremely important.

Before you start marketing, you need to have your brand identity in place. You’ll need a logo, color palette, font, and brand mission statement. If you haven’t considered these parts of your business, consider working with a professional to create a great package so you can start out on the right foot.

Cannabis companies are spending about $2 billion per year on advertising. Cannabis advertisments used to be banned on almost all social media platforms, but now Twitter allows them. Billboards and outdoor advertising are also becoming more prevalent. However, there are some free or inexpensive ways to get buzz for your dispensary.

Here are six dispensary marketing techniques to make your cannabis dispensary stand out from the competition.

1. Build & Update a User-Friendly Website

Before you launch your marketing campaign, ensure you have an optimized and easy-to-use website. Once your website is up and running, it can do a lot of the heavy-lifting for you. This is because your website is the main point of connection with your customers. If they want to know any information about your dispensary, they’ll probably go there first. You can even allow customers to make pickup or delivery orders directly from your site.

Your dispensary’s website should be clean with easy navigation. Provide detailed information about your store location, hours, and products. Try to highlight anything that makes your dispensary unique, including sales and promotions.

Your site needs to look great on mobile devices. 55% of web traffic comes from mobile, and Millennials and Gen Z customers are even more likely to access your site from their phones. If it’s difficult to use your site this way, they may get frustrated and go to a different dispensary instead.

You may also consider adding a blog to your site. You can use posts to educate your customers about cannabis and highlight your products. If you optimize these blogs, they may also bring in their own traffic organically. Which brings us to our next marketing strategy: local SEO.

Someone is visiting a dispensary's website on their phone.

2. Optimize for Local SEO

Your dispensary is a local business, so it’s important that you optimize your site for local SEO. You want people in your area to visit your site, not someone in another state or country.

You’ll need to create and optimize a Google My Business Listing as part of your dispensary marketing strategy. The listing lets you control how your cannabis dispensary appears on Google, including your hours, phone number, website, address, and reviews. Keep this information current, especially your hours and contact information.

Use local keywords on your website like your city’s name, “cannabis dispensary in X,” or “buy cannabis in X.” You can include these phrases on your homepage, shop, or blog posts. The more local traffic you can get, the better.

3. Engage with Customers on Social Media

In addition to your website, social media is a powerful way to connect with current and potential customers. You should have profiles on several social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Some dispensaries are also finding luck on TikTok.

Some things you might post about on your feed include:

  • Sales and promotions
  • New products*
  • Events or programs at your dispensary
  • News about your local community
  • Cannabis industry news
  • Staff recommendations*
  • Cross-promotions with other local businesses
  • Tips for using your products*
  • Content relevant to trending topics
  • Commemorating holidays
  • Testimonials

*It is important to consult the rules of your selected social media channels before posting content that could be interpreted as selling cannabis or promoting its consumption. Some channels do not allow this.

When someone engages with your posts or stories, make sure to engage back. Like or respond to comments and answer your direct messages as soon as possible. This shows that you’re passionate about helping your customers and dedicated to ensuring they have the best experience at your dispensary. These personal connections can make all the difference in converting followers into customers.

Someone is holding up a phone and social media icons surround it.

4. Utilize Email Marketing

Creating an email list allows you to send messages directly to your customers. Instead of the customer seeking you out, you’re able to bring your news or promotions directly to them.

Your budtenders may ask for a customer’s email at the counter, or they can fill out a form on your website. Either way, offer something of value for signing up, like a 10% discount code or a free gift on their next visit.

However, it is important to note that you don’t want your audience to feel like you’re spamming them. Each dispensary marketing plan is different, but experts recommend sending an email about 1-3 times per week. Make sure to occasionally include specials that are only for email subscribers to make people feel like they’re getting continued value by being subscribed to your email list.

5. Offer Loyalty Programs & Promotions

It’s not enough to just find new customers. You need to be able to keep the ones you already have, too.

You should offer a loyalty program to your customers. A point system or punch card is always a hit. Customers can earn points for each dollar they spend, which can then be redeemed for a discount or free product. This is a great way to encourage customers to make your dispensary their go-to location. You get steady customers, and they get a freebie here and there. It’s a win-win!

In addition, you might occasionally give customers who haven’t visited in a while a free coupon or product. This may get them in the door again and remind them that your dispensary is the best in town.

A dispensary customer is giving the budtender their loyalty card.

6. Provide Excellent Customer Service

Word of mouth is an important part of any dispensary marketing plan. You want your customers to walk out of your shop feeling happy and excited to try their new products — and eager to return. And this is possible with a team of exceptional budtenders. 

Train your budtenders so they know all about cannabis and your specific products. KayaPush can help you ensure that each staff member is seamlessly onboarded and thoroughly trained, and in the same way, guaranteeing your customers have a great interaction every time.

Your budtenders should work with each customer to find the best products for their needs. Everyone should leave feeling educated about their purchase, not nervous or apprehensive to try something new. If someone hasn’t used cannabis before, make sure your staff spends extra time helping them.

Offering a welcoming environment makes it much more likely that people will return to your cannabis dispensary again and again. They’ll also probably tell their friends, family, and other connections about your dispensary, extending your reach.

Final Thoughts on Dispensary Marketing

Growing your cannabis dispensary is vital for success in this competitive landscape. By leveraging social media, email marketing, loyalty programs, a powerful website, and local SEO, you’ll be able to find new customers and keep them coming back for more.

Need help managing your cannabis dispensary’s people management? KayaPush can help you hire new budtenders, digitally onboard new talent, and even run payroll and scheduling. Book a free demo today!

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