Thinking of dispensary marketing ideas is hard, especially when there is a prohibition on marketing cannabis and all its derivatives through Adwords and Facebook Ads.

(Even CBD and hemp ads are considered restricted under current Facebook advertising guidelines.)

Although it is less obvious, there are very powerful ways to reach new customers. Below are 7 actionable dispensary marketing ideas that simply cannot be ignored.

#1: Do Postcard Campaigns with MailChimp

Did you know you can send postcard advertisement through MailChimp? Did you also know that you can schedule and automate the process so you don’t have to worry about it?

It’s true that we live in a digital age. Using a postcard campaign is a way to stand out.

Plus, there are psychological reasons to appreciate tangible coupons. When someone has a coupon, it becomes an asset to them. And anyone who has had the honor of clarifying any misinterpretation of or had to turn down a coupon knows that this is fact.

That is why this list of dispensary marketing ideas starts with postcard campaigns. A postcard coupon is pure, unadulterated right to the discount or value proposition advertised.

In addition, using postcard campaigns allows you track which address helped you make a sale. When the coupon is returned, it will have the address on it. Therefore, you can make lists of customers that have already bought something from you. Just put them in the re-engagement folder.

Who can ask for better re-targeting?

Time needed: 1 day.

How to Run a Cold Postcard Campaign for Your Dispensary Marketing

  1. Task someone to compile a list of addresses within a certain vicinity of your dispensary.

    local marketing seo

  2. Add each of those addresses to a single mailing list on MailChimp and use tags to categorize according to streets or neighborhoods.

    (While you’re building up your direct mail list, you’ll notice that MailChimp needs an email address for each profile. Fabricate them, because, though you need them, they don’t have to be real. )cannabis dispensary marketing ideas

  3. When coupons come in, add the address to a “good” list of addresses, and subtract it from the original list.

    Think of the original list as a prospecting list. dispensary marketing ideas - #1 direct mail

  4. Be consistent with your customer list of addresses and inconsistent with your prospecting list.

    dispensary customers

(Bonus tip: Use minimal marijuana imagery when making your postcard. It’s best not to alarm overprotective parents. Let your logo speak for itself. If they know who you are, good. If they don’t know what it means, they don’t know. Go plain with a logo, big lettering for your value proposition – e.g. “13% off on your entire order this Friday the 13th”).

#2: Fully Optimize Your Google My Business Profile

There is a lot to say about this topic, but it is important to know there is always something to do when it comes to managing and optimizing your GMB profile for your dispensary.

The second on the list is more of a discipline than an actual idea. Learn as much as you can about how you can get better results from your GMB – that’s always good advice. But I want to give you some optimization insights you can put into practice as you’re setting it up.

  • Use keywords in the first 250 characters of your business description. You are allowed 700 characters, but it is only the first 250 that actually show on the Knowledge Panel.
  • Solicit for reviews (and ask reviewers to be specific as possible!). Reviews boost your prominence in both Google’s and your potential customers’ eyes. Getting them helps you demonstrate to Google that you are a prominent business that customers seek out. However, an added bonus is when your customers use keywords that you would want to be found in Search for. Prompt customers to leave a review sending them out the door with instructions to leave a review. Ask questions that prompt specific answers to nudge them into using keywords that will help your cause.
  • Upload images frequently. Images are the most viewed portion of your Knowledge Panel. Uploading images frequently keeps you comparatively more prominent than your competition, and Google likes that. As of right now, there is no prohibition on the images of the sweet sinsemilla.
  • Use Posting frequently. It helps provide another way to broaden your relevancy signals and advertise events, sales, and/or special offers. The more often you use Google Posts, the more likely Google will reward you, as you’re helping searchers find what they want.

#3: Optimize Your Website Using Local Keywords

One of the most successful approaches to doing well with cannabis SEO is going after terms that are not taken by more powerful websites. Here, I mean websites with a lot of domain authority to those privy to SEO, and, for those unfamiliar, by “powerful,” I mean websites that have gained Google’s trust.

Because you do not have the domain authority to compete with the big dogs for the big keywords(i.e. “bongs,” “dabs,” “sinsemilla,” or “marijuana dispensary”), it’s best to go for keywords that are modified with a place-name.

For example:

“Bong shop” + place-name (modifier) = “bong shop san diego

Put another way, if you’re going after “bong shop,” your competition is, for example, SMOKEA and DankGeek. Whereas, if you go after “bong shop san diego,” your competition is Aztec Smoke Shop.

It’s obvious that Aztec Smoke Shop is easier competition than DankGeek.

#4: Use Hashtags Smarter

Number 4 for dispensary marketing ideas is about trying to reaching new customers on social media using a hashtag.

Hashtags are tagging systems that categorize posts by topic and organizes them on a feed dedicated to that hashtag.

There are two things to consider when selecting your hashtags. First, the speed by which your post is pushed into the no-scroll zones of a hashtag feeds. Second, how your hashtags reflect your business goals by which audiences they target.

In order to maximize your reach, it’s best to use a variety of hashtags based on how ephemeral they are and who is seeing them.

Choose a topic and diversify by how many total posts each hashtag has.

Hashtags with larger amounts of total posts tend to suggest activity and engagement; however, this isn’t always the case, so make sure to follow hashtags that you’re interested in using.

Ultimately it is your business goals that should be your compass, but the following hashtag formula evenly distributes your post to feeds that move at different tempos, thus maximizing both reach and time-in-feed.

  • 10,000,000+ (x5)
  • 1,000,000 – 10,000,000 (x5)
  • 500,000 – 1,000,000 (x5)
  • 250,000 – 500,000 (x5)
  • 100,000 – 250,000 (x5)
  • (below) 100,000 (x5)

This is just a formula, so how it actually looks in real life may look very different than this. Don’t worry. The idea is that you’re trying to diversify how long you’re in-feed.

#5: Give Away Branded Gear and Stickers

The rule of 7 in marketing dictates that a brand logo or identity have 7 points of exposure before a person is said to be able to recognize your brand as such (and some people speculate that the number is actually 9).

Giving away gear and stickers that can be placed/worn in public places helps your brand be recognized through people’s use and placement of those items.

Imagine a sticker on ‘Stop’ sign or a half-pipe. Those that notice your logo in places they are familiar with ups the chances that they will recognize you when it matters. The image is tied to their memories, and when they get a better context of the meaning of the logo, it is more likely to stay in their mind.

Try to create the potential for like-exposure to happen to your dispensary’s brand by giving your stuff away to those whom you think would wear/place your logo in public.

#6: Form Affiliations with Influencers in the Cannabis Space

People tend to trust other people – whether it’s for good or bad. They just do.

Statistics confirm this. According to a study performed by BrightLocal, 91% of consumers will consult reviews before making purchases.

What’s more is how much people will trust people they actually know (or feel like they know). And that is why influencers can so useful to your dispensary brand.

If you’ve had little luck with influencer marketing, try these suggestions before calling it quits:

  1. Monetize your relationship. Free things are nice, but they don’t buy dedication from your influencers. You want dedicated influencers! Give each influencer a small portion of each sale and they will put in the work. (For online sales, use custom URLs for tracking. For in-store sales, use code words in the caption area.)
  2. Work with influencers with smaller, more intimate followings. The big influencers are harder to strike deals with, and sometimes their traffic doesn’t make many sales. When you make deals with influencers with more intimate engagement, their followers might give you actual consideration since they feel more connected with the influencer pitching your stuff.
  3. Use influencers as strategic partners in driving sales. Think of influencers as an extension of your brand’s voice. Keeping them on-board helps them make sales for you. So keep them in the loop. Have them do countdowns to releases of a new product. Have them show up at your events. Again, monetize and you will have an influencer whose value will compound with time.
  4. Mandate that your influencers always have a call-to-action. Always be clear to your audience what you want them to do and they will have no excuse not to do it.

(If you’re an influencer, check out our affiliate program.)

#7: Step Up the Frequency of Your Instagram Posting by Automating with Hootsuite

Instagram’s algorithm rewards you for posting more often, so why not stepping up your posting frequency by scheduling in advance your social media post?

This is what you do.

Get a Hootsuite account, free or paid (which you can try out with their 30-day free trial).

Learn how to use Hootsuite.

Post frequently, using both scheduled and non-scheduled posts.

Think of ongoing campaigns and post a single post 2 – 3 times a week, making sure not to have any one post show up back to back. For example, say you have a week-long event. You can make a single post and then schedule that very same post later on in the week.


Thank you for reading. Let us know what you think of our dispensary marketing ideas below, in the comments.