How to Market Legal Marijuana

20 / February 2017,

How to Market Legal Marijuana

Each year, new states are passing laws that legalize marijuana. What once existed as a surreptitious industry has gained approval, for medicinal and in several states for recreational use as well. If you are operating a dispensary, you now have legal and regulatory requirements that you need to meet, and which you need to tailor to the laws of the jurisdiction in which you are operating. The structure will depend on the permitted uses, the allowed products and volumes, and other legal hurdles you have to navigate.

While you must follow governmental strictures, you gain the benefit of advertising your store to the public. To compete against other businesses you need to establish a solid strategy of marketing for legal marijuana. And in today’s world, this means online marketing for your business. To bring in customers you need a solid website, optimized for the topics and keywords that matter for your business. You need to ensure that your customers can find you and that they know what to expect when they do. You need to give them content that makes them want to seek you out.

Identify Who You Are

Who you are begins with branding. You need a logo, a market name under which you do business, and a website with colors, fonts, and other design elements that reflect the image you wish to present to the public. A bare-bones website that you create yourself, or a cookie-cutter template with your name thrown in, will never stand out. You need to build out a site that represents you and sets you apart from your competitors. We will work with you to create a site design and user experience that does this well.

Your branding by itself only gets you to the point of reaching people; conversion depends on your core products and services. If you serve legal marijuana products, you may feel some hesitance to provide this information. After all, the time that you needed to hide this kind of information was not all that long ago. And even now, you may need to be cautious. Online advertising for marijuana must adhere carefully to laws that still make possession of drug paraphernalia a federal crime. We will work with you to ensure your online marijuana advertising does not put you at unnecessary risk of prosecution.

Tell Your Story

You cannot separate your brand from your story. Legalized marijuana allows you to connect with your customers, and your website should provide an opportunity to do so. Let people know why you are there, what you stand for, and why they should buy products from you. People make purchasing decisions partly with their head and partly with their heart. Give them a reason to like you and want to work with you.

We can help you with this. We take pride in our personal relationships with our clients; we give one on one attention that ensures we understand who you are and what you want to achieve through your business. We then apply the personal touches that set us apart as a web design and content company, and set you apart as a business for your customers. The clearer a story you can provide, the more likely people will choose you over other businesses in this fledgling industry.

When you operate a legal marijuana dispensary, you do not need to hide. Step out and show yourself through your website and online advertising, and people will take notice. They will feel more comfortable with purchasing products in general, and more comfortable specifically purchasing them from you.

The Right Coordinated Content

You may have a wide variety of potential customers. Your natural temptation will thus be to provide content that goes all over the place, in hopes of catching everyone. But the search engines that rank your website do not work that way. You need to focus on content that fits your brand, your business model, and the reasons you are in business. You can cover different topics, but all need to relate to your company in ways that allow the content to snowball and bring in more customers over time. Otherwise, you may as well be shooting individual fliers from a slingshot in all directions, hoping one reaches someone interested in you.

This is not to say you need to write the same one or two blog posts over and over in different words. There are a number of reasons people will go to a private marijuana dispensary, and all of those can fit within your mission. You will undoubtedly have some customers just looking for a chance to enjoy legal consumption, in the same way people enjoy cigarettes, wine, coffee, or other legal products with mild pharmacological effects. You will have some with prescriptions to purchase products for pain relief, and even some who feel strongly about the political elements associated with legalized marijuana products.

But within this varied group, you need to find the common threads that bring you back to you. Your branding represents you, and the content you post helps you develop that representation to your potential customer base. We will help you develop the language that most effectively delivers the messaging you need to help your website fit your business personality.

The phrase “content is king” has flown out over the internet often enough to feel entirely cliché—but it remains more true now than ever. We do not stuff keywords or attempt other shenanigans to give momentary boosts to your website. The reason for that is twofold. First, the search engines have become adept at rooting out clickbait and other content designed to give short-term boosts, so there is a good chance it would not work in the first instance.

Even if it did, though, getting clicks should never be your goal, whether you are selling marijuana-based products or music. You benefit not from clicks, but from conversions. Content that reflects who you are will gain you more customers per visit to your website. You want to not only grab a fleeting half-second of interest, but pull in your site visitors and make them want more. You want customers, and we help you develop the content that will gain them for you.

Focus on Your Specifics

One critical element to your advertising is to develop messaging that fits the legality of your products where you are. The messaging in California, where marijuana is legal for recreational or medicinal purposes, will necessarily be different from messaging in Arizona, where it is only legal for medicinal purposes. This is where the personalized content and web design efforts we provide come into play. Your site will reflect the specifics of what you provide, and for what purposes. We will not overstate what you can provide, or to whom.

In some cases, this may involve legal disclaimers or other information about what you can and cannot do. Your business operates under federal, state, and local laws that do not always fit together. An essential part of your web design is therefore the acknowledgement that your products may only be legal for particular purposes, and may not be legal at all if someone crosses state lines.

In our current evolving climate, what is legally true today may not be true next year. Thus, not only do we provide monitoring of your website’s performance, but we also stand ready to adjust your messaging if the law changes where you live. This can happen during a ballot referendum or any time along the way; we will maintain communication with you and be ready to adjust course as needed to keep your website up to date with what is happening in your state.

Bring People to Your Location

Of course, interest only gets you so far. You need to ensure your customers can find you when they want to do so. As a legal, legitimate business, you need to make sure your name, address, and contact information are present throughout your web site. We develop your web design using both visible text and metadata that helps your local search rankings. Embedding your local information in your site allows people to find you more easily.

This does not only work through the visible text. Mobile search engines rely more on location data than ever. If someone is traveling and wants to find you, our mobile search design efforts help ensure that your location will trigger higher results for someone nearby. We use text, pictures, neighborhood search information, and other design features to ensure your website connects you to the local community.

To help make this even more effective, we will work to ensure your correct business name, address, and phone number are listed with any of the aggregating websites that would list in your business category. This is critical for marijuana dispensaries as relatively new businesses. Sites may not have listings for you at all, or they may easily have incorrect information that will make it harder for people to find your location. We use the whole internet to help your customers find you.

Carving a Space in the Market

Your website is not window dressing; it is a tool that you will use to grow your customer base. You have the advantage of a new market with relatively little established competition. Accordingly, your approach should be to gather as much attention from people interested in your products as possible, and attracting it in a way that holds their interest. You have an opportunity to create your space in the market before it can flood with enough loud voices to push you out.

We can help you accomplish this. First, we do market research to identify the search terms and concepts people are using to find legal marijuana dispensaries. We then build content that fits those phrases and concepts—not by forcing the issue, but by marrying those high-volume search concepts with content that makes sense for your business. The result is a powerful voice that brings in the people most likely to become your customers.

When you think of customers, you should not think in terms of one-time visitors. Those will always matter, but the more regular customers you develop, the more your business can grow. Regular customers come back, and help you build through their friendships and word of mouth. A growing content library, through blogging and other timely pages for your site, keeps your site elevated in search rankings, and keeps your customers finding you in their searches as a result. We work to keep you on the critical first page of website rankings for the search terms that will matter most for you, and keep your clientele interested well beyond their first stop into your store.

The Right SEO Company for Your Legal Marijuana Business

Not every SEO content or web design company is comfortable working with legal marijuana businesses. Some shy away from the product or the controversy surrounding it. But we are not here to judge you. The legal right to sell your products has come through hard work and determination, through a political and social movement to push off the stigma of a product that more than half of the states in the country now deem legal for at least some uses. Research has revealed some benefits and is examining evidence for many more. You have a right to present your business to a growing base of potential customers.

We can help you do this, and we do it very well. 1st in SEO prides itself on creating individualized web design and online content marketing solutions for businesses in our area and across the country. Our customers count on us to deliver tangible results that help companies grow. If you operate a legal marijuana business and are ready to lift your business to the next level, contact us today. We will work with you to develop an online marketing plan that helps you get to where you want to be.