Creating a marketing plan is essential to the success of any business, and it’s especially important in the highly competitive cannabis industry. That’s why building an effective cannabis dispensary marketing plan is vital to achieving the business success that you’re after.
Since getting the word out about cannabis is our specialty at Gentleman Toker, we’ve put together this handy guide to help up-and-coming dispensaries get started—and stay in the green.
Let’s get down to business!
What Is a Cannabis Dispensary Marketing Plan?
A business marketing plan is essentially a set of goals that you want to achieve and the strategies you’ve chosen to reach them. It should be based on thorough research, contain clear timelines, and include specific ways of measuring your business’s performance.
Your dispensary marketing plan should contain both short- and long-term goals. You’ll also want to schedule regular reviews with your marketing team to assess the plan and determine what improvements or alterations should be made based on your progress so far.
How to Outline a Plan
One of the biggest benefits of having a marketing plan is it helps keep all of your staff on the same page. That’s why it's important to gain input from everyone on your marketing team. Plus, the better prepared your cannabis dispensary marketing plan is, the fewer changes you’ll have to make further down the line.
You’ll want to conduct several stages of research when creating your marketing plan. One of the first steps is to make sure you fully understand the laws and regulations governing dispensary advertising in your area.
You’ll also need to conduct extensive research into the customer base in your area. What are the demographics of your market? Is your dispensary in a college town or a rural area? This goes hand-in-hand with your research into other dispensaries. You’ll want to thoroughly scope out the competition to determine their strengths, weaknesses, and product gaps. Then you’ll be able to understand what you should emphasize in your own marketing to stand out from the competition.
Lastly, since the regulations and business strategies around cannabis are consistently shifting, you’ll want to ensure you regularly update your research to ensure your dispensary marketing plan remains relevant.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the hard numbers you’ll use to measure the success of your marketing strategy. There are countless different KPIs to choose from, including sales data and financials, along with digital metrics such as SEO performance and social media engagement. You’ll want to choose KPIs that have the most relevance to your business goals. If you’re trying to get the word out about your new business, social media followers and email subscribers are great metrics. But if you’re focusing on a single product, say a pack of house pre-rolls, you’ll want to have KPIs specific to those pre-rolls.
Lay Out a Timeline
An effective cannabis dispensary marketing plan will have both short-term and long-term goals. Your plan should show how specific marketing strategies and campaigns will contribute to your business’s overall success. A good long-term marketing goal could be to reach a certain amount of social media followers, and a short-term goal could be to post a specific number of promotional videos within a given time frame.
Your timeline should also have regular check-ins and assessments built into the plan. While we know your schedule is already busy, it’s a good idea to combine short meetings that take place weekly or bi-weekly with longer strategy meetings that occur monthly or quarterly.
Craft a Budget
Once you have your goals, strategies, and timelines laid out, you’ll be able to build a budget around your marketing plan. Creating a detailed budget will help you make sure you’ll still have funding for each of your marketing strategies throughout your campaign. But it's also good to have some flexibility in your budget. If your KPIs are showing that certain strategies are having more success than others after a few months, you may want to shift funding around and reinvest to capitalize on your success.
Create a Cannabis Dispensary Digital Marketing Plan
Developing a detailed strategy for digital advertising is essential to a cannabis dispensary marketing plan. Research shows that younger adults both use more recreational cannabis than older adults, and are more receptive to digital advertising. If you want to reach your key customer base, you need to reach them online. While it can be daunting to consider building out digital marketing strategies for each of the following platforms, you can be more efficient by creating content that can be quickly altered and shared in multiple formats.
Conduct SEO Research
The first step in developing your dispensary’s digital marketing plan is—you guessed it—research. If your competition is smart, they’ll also be heavily focused on digital marketing. But this gives you an opportunity to conduct your own content-gap analysis to see what parts of their strategy are lacking and can be improved upon. Then you will be able to create your own search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to create content that is relevant to your customers, ranks high in Google’s search results, and brings traffic to your website.
Create Engaging Content
Building content that is informative and useful to your audience is crucial to getting them engaged. You want your marketing content to have its own unique voice that can tell the story of why your product is the right choice for the reader. As you might have noticed, we’ve worked hard to build our own voice that is tailored to our audience at Gentleman Toker. Building your own voice also helps the customer build a personal connection with your brand. If young people feel that your marketing reflects who they are, they’ll be much more likely to buy your product.
An effective digital cannabis dispensary marketing plan should include written posts, pictures, and videos. You may want to consider additional content such as podcasts or digital radio advertisements as well.
Develop a Social Media Following
Developing a dispensary digital marketing strategy for social media can be challenging due to platform restrictions over how cannabis products can be advertised. So you’ll need to focus on building a following on your own page by producing engaging posts that viewers will want to share. But building brand awareness is just the first step, you’ll need to have a plan for how to convert those followers into customers.
Start an Email Marketing Newsletter
Your dispensary email marketing plan should work in conjunction with your other platforms. While social media posts and blog content will bring readers to your site, an email subscription is what will bring them back. Placing a subscription box on your website will allow you to alert potential customers every time you have a sale or new product.
Post on a Local Directory
Building a brand from scratch is hard, and it will likely take months for most of the strategies listed above to start showing significant results. That’s why it’s extremely beneficial to have your business listed in a local directory. Gentleman Toker has spent years building up a community that trusts our content and is hungry for more great cannabis businesses and products. When your business is listed on our site you’ll have instant access to that community, along with the built-in trust and name recognition that Gentleman Toker brings.
Cannabis Dispensary Marketing from Gentleman Toker
Are you ready to join the Gentleman and his fine friends? Just send us your information and we’ll take a look at your business. If you have the kind of high-quality product our community is looking for, we’d be proud to have you featured in our directory.