The green rush is happening and unfolding in front of our eyes. It’s undeniable that the new industry’s slowly emerging to be one of the major industries in the world. And with medical cannabis now legal in 30 states and DC, there’s no doubt of an increasing number of medical marijuana dispensaries nationwide (and worldwide) as well.[Here is statistics on the number of dispensaries in the US per state, as of May 2017, with Colorado having 515 and Arizona 99.]
But with opportunities are challenges
Obviously, a startup or a brand trying to make a dent in the industry has marketing as the major challenge.
Today, let’s figure out the biggest ones that every cannabis business faces in online marketing.[Simply put, you cannot just put up a billboard advertising everywhere to tell your neighbors (or the world) that you have the best cannabis in town. It’s more than just that.]
Cannabis Friendly Online Advertising
Here’s the thing. Right now, there is no option to post your ads with many internet giants, such as Google and Facebook. Even so, you do not have to fret because you can still post ads to cannabis related online advertising agents that specialize in cannabis advertising. What they’d do is to post your advertisements on websites allowing marijuana advertising.
You can also make use of cannabis review websites, such as WeedMaps, the go-to website of many people already interested to cannabis related information. With a positive review on websites like it, you will increase your website traffic and build your brand.
Online Selling Restrictions
E-commerce follow commerce laws. That means you cannot sell cannabis online, but you can sell anything you can sell at a smoke shop, including CBD dabs and pipes. You can also sell equipment used in growing cannabis, such as grow lights.
Simply put, you cannot just sell marijuana online.[If you want to sell your cannabis products in the US, you need a national license, but it does not stop there. You also need to practice due diligence and do your homework. For example, you shouldn’t just accept a doctor’s prescription note, but make sure you’re following federal regulations. Otherwise, you might have to spend jail time. In short, make sure you’re compliant, so check state laws.]
Those trying to carve a name in the young cannabis industry should consider a good dispensary web design. Why do you need it? It can show your business quality and professionalism.
And with complete product descriptions, your website can even make you look more legitimate – and that’s a good technique in online marketing.
The reason: A customer’s first impression matters – and that you can do something about with a good site design. Make sure that you’d leave a positive one to get your dispensary business out there.
Your website is your dispensary tool to bring in business and keep you ahead of your competition. Get it right the first time.
In connection to the above, a strong online presence is another huge challenge for many medical marijuana dispensaries because the web is the most important marketing tool that they must have in their marketing arsenal.
And again, while you cannot advertise your cannabis products on internet giants, you can still establish a strong online presence as a cannabis related business.
For example, cannabis ads are banned on Facebook, but fan pages related to your business are not.
In addition, other websites like Tumblr are tolerant towards marijuana content and allows profile creation of cannabis business owners.
Social Media Marketing
Dispensary websites that just create and then forget their social media accounts don’t get the most out of their marketing effort using this channel.
To prevent the challenge to becoming a long-term obstacle, engage your audience, interact with them and post related, informative and interesting content to get more out of your social media accounts.
Search Engine Optimization
You cannot speak of online marketing for medical marijuana dispensaries all day without tapping on search engine optimization.
For this reason, it is important that you take the time to ensure that website and social media accounts are aligned the best SEO practices.
If you succeed at this, your website, which is fully optimized, is going to rank higher on search engines, making it more visible for your customers that search online using your target keywords.
Tip: Do your homework and look up keywords that you want to target so that you can drive traffic to your website and your product pages.
So aside from a great dispensary web design, you must also consider strategizing on the keywords and making use of related tags on your pages to increase their chances of being found on search engines. You may seek the help of SEO specialists to work on and come up with an optimized website.
Definitely, the growing cannabis industry is taking the world by storm! But where is it taking medical marijuana dispensaries? Will these businesses succeed?
The answer – we’ll see sooner than later, but that is if they would recognize these online marketing challenges right in front of their eyes, do something to overcome the hurdles and succeed at that. Those who do will remain; those who don’t might close up shop soon.
Think about it. What are the major online marketing challenges you’re facing? How are you trying to overcome those obstacles? Tell us in the comment section.