Matt Dell

The Top 6 Tools for Dispensary Local Marketing: A Quick Guide

Local marketing is one of the most important aspects of running a successful cannabis dispensary. But what tools are out there that can help you with this?

How do you know which ones to use and how to use them? We’re sharing five tools for local marketing, explaining their features, and giving you some tips on using them.

Google My Business: The Local SEO Engine

Google My Business (GMB) is a powerful tool that can help you grow your business and establish yourself as the go-to placefor whatever it is you sell.

Getting Your Dispensary on The Local 3-Pack

The main potential of GMB for local marketing that is often not discussed is in SEO. When you search for a business onGoogle, the top 3 search results are called the "local 3-pack."

If your local cannabis business is not on that list of three, it can be challenging to attract new customers. Optimizing your GMB listing improves your chance to get into the local 3-pack.

cannabis dispensary local three pack
A local 3-pack search for dispenaries.

If your dispensary is missing from this list, what could be causing it? How can you get on it? Maybe you have an outdated website, or there's no contact information about your location, hours, or phone number.

Another way is by adding photos and descriptions of products. These help customers who are searching for cannabis know precisely where they need to go.

One way to get more traffic from Google searches is by updating these all details to appear higher up in search engine rankings.

GMB & Generating Online Reviews

Customer reviews are a critical factor in your local search rankings. There are two legit ways to get positive reviews and afew tactics you can use when customers leave negative feedback.

The best way for dispensaries owners and managers to get customers posting reviews is by providing prompt and friendly customer service at every opportunity.

Customer reviews on Harborside's Google My Business profile.

If a consumer commends your or a budtenders’ service, don’t hesitate to ask them for a Google review. It’s the only other option in addition to providing outstanding service.

According to Google, incentivizing online reviews is not allowed– for dispensaries and any other retailers or businesses.

However, when customers leave great reviews on your dispensary’s GMB page, be sure to respond! Your online response signals to Google that you’re attentive and responsive to customers.

If you've ever had a bad customer experience, it probably left you feeling frustrated. Whether it was in person or online, nothing is morefrustrating than an unhappy customer.

And sadly, there are plenty of customer reviews out there that are less than stellar for dispensaries. One question a dispensary owner might ask when they see these negative reviews: what can I do?

The first thing to do is take responsibility for your businessand understand that these reviews come with the territory.

If someone has a complaint--and we all do from time totime--they need an outlet that will make them feel heard and help them solve whatever issue they have without judgment or attitude.

dispensary owners responding to bad online reviews as a part of a local marketing effort
Dispensary owners responding to a customer complaint on Google My Business.

If they make a complaint online, respond publicly with a means of contacting your cannabis business. Remember to keep your response thoughtfuland accountable, as others will see it.

It's not always possible to please every cannabis consumer 100% of the time - no matter how hard we try!

Now you have some tips on how to respond when someone posts anegative review about your dispensary.

Regardless, you'll still need a solid website to complete your GMB profile.

Website: A Must-Have to Rank Your Cannabis Dispensary on Google

A website is every cannabis business's virtual storefront, and it needs to be optimized for your dispensary to rank well on search engines.

The goal of local marketing with SEO and websites is to get your site ranking high enough in Google so that when someone searches for a dispensary near them, they'll find you.

So, your website should include information about the company and products and an easy way for customers to contact you. It should also have directions if you offer delivery services or are open late at night.

To be seen on Google My Business, you will also need to have a website. A website allows customers to find your store easily and quickly with the use of search engines.

Your site should also include information about how to get intouch with you for any inquiries or concerns they may have about your productsor services.

Having blog posts on your site helps improve visibility across search engines and brand appeal. Google algorithms and customers will respond well to helpful tips or advice on cannabis consumption.

Producing local-focused content also helps attract customers inyour area, and it’s something you can recycle across a content marketing strategy.

Make sure Google can crawl every page by using keywords throughout your text content. This will help with rankings in organic searches and allow potential customers who don't know what they're looking for to find you more easily!

Weedmaps: Geo-Target Cannabis Customers

One way that many dispensary owners have found success is by using Weedmaps as their local marketing tool.

Every day, dispensary owners and managers log onto Weedmaps to check their ranking. Their goal is to get as high as possible on the list of dispensaries in your area so that they can attract more customers.

The first step to using Weedmaps for local marketing is verifying your account. It will take some time and be frustrating if you urgently need to get verified quickly.

weedmaps pins for local marketing
Weedmaps pins shown in the Los Angeles area.

Targeting with Weedmaps Pins

Next are the pins. What do we mean exactly? Weedmaps has a pin feature that allows you to place your location on the map soother users can see it.

A pin will show up as green if it's open for business and red when it's closed. But how do you make sure Weedmaps pins will work for your store?

Weedmaps pins strategies
involve coordinating your dispensary's pins on the platform’s map to enhance its local visibility. You have to identify areas with high customer density and then targeting them via the pin.

Of course, please consider the customer acquisition costs of paying for a service like Weedmaps.

However, it can be a challenging part of your local marketing strategy if you can make it work.

Live Events & Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Now that cities across the U.S. are easing pandemic restrictions, dispensaries can consider events as a way to promote their business and brand.

These are fantastic marketing opportunities for retailers looking to increase their visibility and audience. What better way than by hosting an event that's all about the plant?

Of course, throwing cannabis-related events is not as simple ashiring a DJ, promoting social media, and handing out free products. It isn't legal for dispensaries to distribute cannabis-infused products in public. So, let's get creative and figure out your live activation.

Public v.s. In-Store Cannabis Events: The Tradeoffs

If you're considering an event, there are two options you to host: in-public and at your store or location licensed for cannabis consumption.

As previously stated, there are various policy limitations on public cannabis events, which means cannabis companies must promote with little-to-no products from their store.

However, hosting this kind of event offers two opportunities: increasing your target audience and word-of-mouth popularity.

Marijuana events in areas with high foot traffic will inevitably have more eyes on their cannabis brand, meaning there's a greater likelihood toreach potential customers.

Make sure to stock up on merch and prepare otherpermitted forms of legal cannabis advertising that will leave a great impression.

On the other hand, in-store events appeal primarily to existing customers, and a dispensary can leverage high-impact marketing channels topromote it.

Send a text message or email, or invite another brand to help promote. These are just a few marketing strategies to make sure your event performs well!

It's All About Cannabis Education

Education is a valuable asset for cannabis companies looking to convert potential customers or increase brand awareness.

Events are often the perfect location for these presentations because they offer attendees an opportunity to learn more about marijuana andits benefits.

Focusing on education helps stores establish trust within their audience and community.

Empower Your Local Community

Local businesses should always consider the community in their marketing strategy. The people that live in your area are always most likely to become existing customers.

So, why not make an event that's for them? One dispensary in Oakland, New Life CA, hosted showcases that put the spotlight on local artists.

They are an excellent example of turning cannabis businesses into a platform for your local community, something every company should consider apart from or within their marketing plan.

Email & Cannabis Marketing

Email marketing is a tried-and-true way to reach customers. Email campaigns have a 20-30% open rate and generate $42 for every dollar spent on them.

As a dispensary owner, you are always trying to find new ways to reach your customers.

You may not have the budget for a full-time marketing team or advertising campaign yet, but that doesn't mean you can't market your business locally and generate some buzz.

It is one thing to have a beautiful website that looks great on all platforms. However, it is another to communicate with your visitors andcustomers effectively consistently.

Email marketing can help you keep in touch with your potential and existing clients without them having to search for your information orvisit your site every day.

One of the best things about email marketing is that it's relatively inexpensive compared to other advertising mediums like billboards or newspaper ads.

With some careful planning, you should find that sending anemail campaign costs less than $1 per thousand emails sent (compared with $5 per thousand delivered with a TV commercial).

It makes sense why so many businesses are turning towards email marketing as their primary method for promoting their products and services -it's cost-effective!

To get started with emails, you'll want to do some research intowhat type of content your target audience likes before you start sending emails, but most cannabis customers probably want discounts or specials.  

If possible, it’s wise to segment customers that opt-in to email communications according to the products they purchase.

Segmentation will likely guarantee better open and click results because communications become personalized to customer interests.

Dispensary Text Marketing: Retain & Recapture Buyers

Text marketing is the process of sending short messages (usually less than 160 characters) directly to your customers via their mobile phones.

These messages are four times more likely to be read and actedon when compared with email campaigns!

One successful local marketing tactic is sending text campaigns. Here are a few ideas for dispensaries:

Additionally, text marketing is one of the most robust channels for converting foot traffic into new repeat customers.

Customer retention is essential for businesses of all sizes, but especially for dispensaries because their customers are often sought after by other dispensaries looking to poach them.

Dispensaries can use text messages to make sure they're on a customer's mind when they're about ready to call another dispensary or place anorder with someone else.

Similar to email, one of the best methods to retain customers in dispensary text marketing is segmentation. This can be done manually via organizing point-of-sale data or using platforms like Happy Marketers.

Text marketng is also efficient at recapturing lost customers, a substantially valuable demographic to retailers in the cannabis industry.

Using Happy Marketers, dispensaries used text campaigns to gain over $1600 in sales from lost customers in the week that followed the 420 holiday in 2021.

So, if you're for a channel to keep dispensary customers engaged and recapture lost cannabis consumers, text marketing is the way to go! 

It’s Time to Win at Dispensary Marketing

We recapped four main tools for local dispensary marketing, including Google My Business, Weedmaps, your website, and text marketing.

These can be used individually or combined to create an effective digital strategy that will attract new customers in your area.

However, if you’re looking to increase traffic at your location but don’t have the time or expertise necessary to set up these accounts yourself, there’s one platform you can’t miss: Happy Marketers.

Happy Marketers is a machine-learning platform that identifies key opportunities for marketing, gaining revenue, creating loyal customers, and increasing lifetime value.

Schedule a demo today with our team and see how easy it is to get started.