The cannabis industry is heavily regulated, meaning that entrepreneurs must abide by specific rules and conditions to set up their dispensaries. These strict regulations extend to marketing initiatives. Marketing a cannabis dispensary under heavy regulations can be a challenge, but it is still possible. When starting your business, be sure to develop solid marketing strategies that meet the guidelines under the Cannabis Act.
Here’s a closer look at some of the ways you can bring more customers to your dispensary.
Understanding and Abiding by Marketing Regulations
First and foremost, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of the marketing regulations around cannabis dispensaries. The Cannabis Act restricts the promotion of cannabis items and accessories, prohibiting specific actions that include the following:
- The promotion of pricing or distribution—with the exception being at the point of sale, so long as the promotion only indicates price and/or availability
- Appealing to young individuals
- Using testimonials or endorsements
- Depicting a person, character, or animal—both real or fictional
- Associating cannabis or brand elements with a lifestyle that includes “glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring”
While these guidelines restrict many promotional tactics, the law still allows for “informational promotion.” This can occur under specific conditions, where the communication addresses an adult in an environment or method that is inaccessible to younger individuals (in a prescribed place or manner). Following these rules and ensuring your cannabis retail compliance will help you keep your business running smoothly.
Developing an SEO Strategy After Getting Your Cannabis Retail License
Practically everything now has a digital presence online. As a result, your marketing strategy has to reflect this trend, making your dispensary visible to the right customers online. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a valuable marketing strategy that can help make your retail business appear higher in search results.
There are countless elements to consider when improving your SEO performance. These “ranking factors” directly influence where your website appears in search results, and should be optimized for the best results possible. Some factors to begin working on include:
- Strategically incorporating relevant keywords in your website (ones that your target audience will likely research)
- Adding media content, like videos and images, to increase interest
- Using meta tags and meta descriptions on web pages
- Developing responsive, mobile-friendly websites for mobile-heavy users
Developing good SEO performance takes time and skill. It might be a good idea to start familiarizing yourself with the best SEO practices after obtaining your cannabis retailer license. Doing so will set you on the right path, which will place you in a better position once you get your business going.
Aim for Customer Satisfaction by Creating a Positive Experience
Even though it’s tough to market with tight regulations, you can still make the most out of the available promotional strategies to draw in more customers. For example, a reliable way to do this is by providing a positive experience, one that results in customer satisfaction. This can be done through excellent service from trained staff, attractive décor/interior design, and effective use of technology or other solutions that speed up payment processes or better manage foot traffic. Building this kind of environment and creating these experiences are well worth the effort—particularly as it helps with word-of-mouth advertising.
It’s always a good idea to learn as much about the product and industry as possible. Taking cannabis training programs can give you valuable skills and knowledge that will help you succeed in your business.
Do you want to learn more about cannabis retail in Ontario?
Contact AAPS for more information!