The Ultimate Dispensary Marketing Guide

Build your business’

Dispensary Marketing Strategy.

01. Attract

Market Your Dispensary

Getting Started: Make Sure Your Dispensary Is Market-Ready

You’re no doubt familiar with the adage popularized by “Field of Dreams,” the classic baseball film starring Kevin Costner: “Build it, and they will come.” While that advice may work for building a baseball field, it doesn’t work in the cannabis industry (or any other highly competitive industry). If you’re looking into how to market your cannabis business, you’ll find there’s a bit more to it than that. 

Like all entrepreneurs, dispensary owners need to promote and market. Promote or perish, as they say.

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, there are opportunities abound! Marketers are fortunate to have a wide array of digital marketing tools at their disposal.

What Is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses all web-based or electronic communication between you — the brand — and your audience. Given the prominence of digital channels — particularly the importance search, social media, and mobile — people are consuming more digital media and less traditional media.

While traditional forms of promotion are unlikely to disappear (and many continue to be successful for dispensaries), it’s critical that digital strategies feature prominently in your overall marketing plan.

How Can It Help Your Dispensary?

Digital marketing can help your dispensary by providing channels to attract and capture new customers, as well as engage with existing customers. Attract new customers by using search engines, directories, social media, display advertising, and other marketing tactics to drive foot traffic to your store. When a customer visits your store, it’s your responsibility to deliver satisfactory customer service, and capture them as a repeat customer.


What’s a company without a strong brand?

A commodity. Think about it. What would Apple be without their distinctive brand? Just another electronics manufacturer, right?. Your brand defines your identity. It’s at the heart of what makes you unique, and why customers buy from you and remain loyal.


What makes a great dispensary site? 

One of the biggest myths out there is that you can design your website in isolation from all your other marketing efforts. And, it’s a myth that can cost you dearly. Sure, pleasing aesthetics are part of web design. But, effective design encompasses so much more: from branding to customer acquisition to SEO, the design of your site influences virtually every aspect of your Web presence. You can get started with a great website with the best dispensary website company.

Content Marketing

Use Content Marketing to Share Remarkable Content.

Content marketing is about consistently creating, curating, and distributing valuable, relevant content to entice and engage a defined audience — and drive profitable customer actions. As opposed to selling your products, content marketing allows you to educate your prospects with relevant and useful content to provide value.


Blog to Give Your Brand a Voice.

Blogging, you’ve come a long way baby! In the old days (the late 1990s and early 2000s), individuals used blogging to share their feelings, thoughts, experiences, and ideas. Fast forward to today: blogging is used by brands to share their feelings, thoughts, experiences, and ideas. Blogging gives your brand a voice.

Search Engine Marketing

Drive organic traffic to your website. 

Google is the king of search! Search marketing, defined as the process of gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through unpaid (organic) efforts, allows you to reach customers at the precise moment they’re interested in what you have to offer.

Local Marketing (Digital)

Get connected with your local customers.

Local marketing targets the community around a physical dispensary. One of the most effective local marketing tactics (which boosts local visibility, SEO, and drives traffic to your dispensary) centers around Google My Business and local business listings.


Advertising in the cannabis industry.

Psst! If you haven’t heard, advertising regulations in the cannabis industry are — well — let’s say a wee bit strict. For many — if not most dispensary owners — keeping up on ever-changing laws governing what you can, and can’t do, can feel overwhelming. While advertising may seem daunting, there are actually numerous opportunities available.

Display Advertising

Targeted digital advertising.

Display advertising can be an efficient way to drive more traffic to your website and expose your dispensary to a large audience. You can places ads on cannabis industry publications and regional digital publications (particularly alternative local news sites) — or, consider using ad networks that offer geo-tagging to market to local customers.

Word of Mouth

Marketing’s oldest asset – spoken word.

Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is one of the oldest and most reliable forms of marketing. Take note: WOMM overlaps but is not the same as “word-of-mouth” (the naturally occurring effect of providing superior products and service)

02. Interact

Engage With Your Customers

Customer Service

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
It seems like common sense. And, it is! Communicate with your customers on a regular basis. The more you’re interacting with your consumers, the more they’ll remember who you are, and frequent your store. Use blogs, newsletters, social media, whatever you need to do to communicate on a regular basis with your customers.


Budtenders are your frontline.

Budtenders are your frontline. They interact with customers and patients more than anyone. In fact, they have the power to make or break a sale (and, of course, influence customer reviews). No doubt, it’s vital they are well-trained on the essentials: product knowledge, software, providing exceptional customer service, and asking satisfied customers for online reviews.


Engage socially – and reliably.

Don’t underestimate the importance of social media for your dispensary. Sure, recent crackdowns by some social media channels — here’s looking at you Facebook! — have made social media engagement a little more challenging for cannabis businesses. Nonetheless, there are plenty of social media opportunities you can use.


Surpass the competition with video content.

Not to be “Captain Obvious,” but you’ve probably noticed: audiences have short attention spans — which in our hyperkinetic content-saturated world only seem to get shorter. So, unsurprisingly, we’ve witnessed a surge in the popularity of video since 2016.


Build loyal, repeat customers.

News flash! A successful dispensary relies on building a base of loyal, repeat customers. They keep the lights on, the doors open, and serve as your brand ambassadors. And, let’s not forget: the cost of acquiring new customers is much higher than retaining (and nurturing) existing ones.

Event Marketing

Using exhibits & displays to promote your brand.

Put simply, event marketing refers to the process of using exhibits, presentations, or displays to promote your brand or products. Events can occur online or offline; you can choose to participate, host, or sponsor events. You can promote these events through various inbound (e.g. blogs) and outbound dispensary marketing activities (e.g. email, newsletters and SMS).

03. Nurture

Create Lifelong Customers

E-mail Marketing

Influence consumers directly in their inbox.

Email marketing is a well-choreographed symphony of subject lines, content, automation, and information hierarchy and is still considered to be on the of the most efficient channels for marketers today. 

Mobile Marketing

Promo’s designed for delivery to cell phones.

Mobile marketing is promotional activity designed for delivery to cell phones, smart phones and other handheld devices, usually as a component of a multi-channel campaign.

Deals & Discounts

Creating promotional price structures.

Such a deal! Who doesn’t love a bargain? Uh, let’s see: no one! There’s no way around it: price point and discounts motivate dispensary customers. And, what better way to bring customers back into to the store than deals?

Deals are a great way to engage past clients, attract new ones, and retain and upsell existing customers– not to mention. 

ORM & Reviews

Online Reputation Management & Reviews.

You’ve no doubt you’ve come across some bad reviews of your competitors, or you’ve seen negative comments in forums, social media, or other places about various brands in the space. Your reputation is everything and affects everything from word-of-mouth to search strategies. So it’s important you closely follow your brand’s reputation online by monitoring and responding to reviews, tagged photos, blog posts, and other social media interactions.

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