With the legal status of cannabis in the state of California being so relaxed, dispensaries are popping up everywhere like daisies out of the snow. The simple reality is that the cannabis market in California is growing exponentially, and this means that many new businesses are starting up every single month.
With that being said, if you are a new dispensary starting in California, you might have a bit of trouble getting your name out there. After all, with so much competition, standing out from the competitors can be a real challenge. As far as most people are concerned, they’ve seen one dispensary, they’ve seen them all.
However, as a new and upcoming dispensary, you yourself know that this isn’t the case, because you obviously have the best products and service out of everybody out there. The trick here is of course to market your dispensary in the best possible way, with internet marketing being a proven method to generate more leads, sales, customers, and more.
That said, marketing a dispensary in California online can be somewhat of a challenge, because there are some rules and regulations that you need to know about. California dispensary Internet marketing is subject to many restrictions that you need to be aware of, or else you may land yourself in legal trouble.
This is mainly what we are here to cover today, to provide you with all of the information that you need to know to keep yourself legally compliant when marketing your dispensary in California. However, will then also cover some of the best California dispensary Internet marketing strategies that you could possibly follow. Let’s get to it and help you market your dispensary in a legal and effective manner.
Best Ways to Market a California Dispensary Online
Before we talk about the legal aspect of marketing a California dispensary online, let’s take a quick look at some of the best methods for you to follow. The following methods of online marketing should help provide you with as much traffic as humanly possible.
Marketing a Dispensary with Local SEO
When it comes to marketing a cannabis dispensary in California, one of the best things that you can do is to use local SEO.
For anyone who doesn’t know what this is, SEO stands for search engine optimization, and this is a fantastic way to allow people to find your business online through search engines.
Whenever people search for dispensaries or anything related in California, if your website and business is search engine optimized, you should always be at or near the top of the list of results.
Of course, the higher up in the results lists you are, the better the chances of people clicking on the link and visiting your dispensary website.
As far as local SEO is concerned, one of the first things you should do is to optimize your Google business profile by claiming your business profile online. You need to populate your Google business profile with precise, accurate, and up to date information, as well as quality images, great positive customer reviews, appealing descriptions of products, and more.
To ensure the best possible results, you need to make sure that everything is consistent, including the address, name, and phone number of your dispensary across all social media platforms, online directories, and more.
You also want to submit your dispensary information to all available local directories, cannabis specific platforms, and general business directories. For your website content, incorporating location-based keywords and phrases is also a great idea.
Marketing a California Dispensary with Link Building
One of the best possible ways to increase your online presence is by taking advantage of backlinks. For those of you who don’t know what backlinks are, these are when other reputable websites and sources have links that lead back to your own website.
The more of these you have, the bigger the chances of people coming to your website and making a purchase. There are many different areas where you can build backlinks which will benefit a cannabis dispensary.
For instance, seeing as we are of course talking about cannabis, one of the best places to get backlinks are with industry specific cannabis directories. In other words, when people search for phrases such as best cannabis dispensaries in California, your name should always appear in these directories.
Another thing you can try doing to increase your online presence and to build backlinks is to collaborate with online influencers. The reality is of course that online influencers are becoming more popular, and influencing is becoming a legitimate business. Therefore, if you can get some influencers to feature backlinks back to your cannabis dispensary website, and you’re definitely on the right track.
Another great way to increase your online presence and to get backlinks from other authoritative websites is to engage in guest blogging. This is where you would create guest posts for authoritative publications and cannabis blogs. This is a great way to establish your reputation and your presence as a cannabis dispensary, and it’s a fantastic way to get some backlinks as well.
Marketing a Cannabis Website Using Technical SEO
If you plan on properly marketing your cannabis dispensary online, then there are a variety of high level SEO tactics that you can use to improve the performance of your website.
For instance, one of the best things that you can do is to engage in mobile optimization, which means that you increase the functionality of your website’s mobile users. The simple reality here is that so many people use their tablets and smartphones to surf the web, that it would be a real waste to not engage in mobile optimization.
Something that keeps many people away from various websites is if the page speed is not very quick. Therefore, you should be engaged in code optimization, browser caching, image compression, and more, all of which are designed to decrease load times of websites. People are very impatient, and if they have to wait for your sites to load, chances are they’ll go somewhere else.
Finally, securing your website’s SSL certificate is also a great way to increase your ranking in search engines while also gaining trust from customers. On that note, doing a schema markup overhaul isn’t a bad idea either.
One of the oldest, best, and most proven ways to increase the search engine rankings for your website and to increase organic traffic is by doing blog content writing and content marketing.
There are of course many different types of content that you can put on your website, with one of them being educational. For instance, many people create educational blog content focused on product reviews, cannabis guides, dosage recommendations, industry advancements, and more. This allows you to position your dispensary as an authority on the matter.
Another simple yet very effective way to increase your rankings is by performing thorough keyword research. This helps you identify trending keywords and topics that people often search for online, therefore increasing your chances of being found by people who are looking for specific answers.
Another great way to increase the rankings of your website is to incorporate a lot of video content on your social media platforms and your website. The fact is that video marketing is proven to be an effective way to gain the attention of potential customers. This is also the case for visual content and infographics in general.
You may even want to post some user generated content on your website. In other words, this is content generated by the clients and customers that have already purchased products from you. You could have people write positive reviews about products that they purchase from you.
And Much More!
The fact of the matter is that we really just touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing your California dispensary. There are plenty of other methods for you to follow, with e-mail marketing and social media marketing being two other proven methods that will help you increase your overall website traffic and sales.
Rules and Regulations and Cannabis Marketing in California
As we mentioned previously, marketing a cannabis dispensary in California is subject to many different rules and regulations that you need to know, or else you might land yourself in trouble. The following points are all ones that you need to be aware of if you plan to market your cannabis dispensary online in a legal manner.
Age Restrictions for Cannabis Marketing in California
One of the biggest issues that any marketer in California is faced with in terms of cannabis is ensuring that their marketing is not aimed towards children in any way.
For instance, marketing cannot take the form of anything that children might find attractive, such as cartoons, any likenesses to television characters, images, or phrases, or anything else of the sort.
Packaging and products can also not imitate candy or food items, and any words that are related to food items may also not be used. When doing online marketing, you have to be really careful about who can access your website as well.
You need to have some kind of age gate in place to verify the age of anyone visiting your website. This means that people have to confirm their birth date, and may even need to register. On that note, you need to ensure that nearly 72% of the target audience for any advertisements that you make can be expected to be 21 years of age or older.
Making Health Related Claims in Cannabis Marketing
Another one of the biggest challenges that you’ll be faced with comes in the form of making any types of claims about your cannabis or hemp products.
For instance, in no way are you allowed to make any unsupported or misleading claims about the health benefits of your products, brand, or more. You are not allowed to do so directly or indirectly, particularly in terms of omissions and ambiguity.
Furthermore, if you make any claims or statements about your product, they have to be 100% consistent with the statements made on the labels of the products. Furthermore, unless the cannabis product in question contains proof of origin, do not make any claims about the origins.
There are also a variety of pieces of information that you need to include on the primary panel for all manufactured cannabis products, and these are things that need to be visible online. The name of the licensed manufacturer that created the product, the date that the product was packaged, a statement reading that the product is for medical use only, and a list of ingredients are all required.
Any product being advertised online also needs to include the following statement in bold print: “GOVERNMENT WARNING: THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS CANNABIS, A SCHEDULE I CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND ANIMALS. CANNABIS PRODUCTS MAY ONLY BE POSSESSED OR CONSUMED BY PERSONS 21 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER UNLESS THE PERSON IS A QUALIFIED PATIENT. THE INTOXICATING EFFECTS OF CANNABIS PRODUCTS MAY BE DELAYED UP TO TWO HOURS. CANNABIS USE WHILE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING MAY BE HARMFUL. CONSUMPTION OF CANNABIS PRODUCTS IMPAIRS YOUR ABILITY TO DRIVE AND OPERATE MACHINERY. PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION;”
Promotions and Giveaways in Cannabis Marketing
Although having promotions and giveaways are of course great ways to drum up more business, the simple reality is that this may also land you in some hot water.
The simple reality in the state of California is that you cannot participate in any promotions or giveaways where you give away any amount of cannabis, cannabis accessories, or cannabis products as a part of a commercial activity or business promotion.
You cannot advertise sales such as buy one get one free, get a free product with a donation, and you can at this time not have raffles, sweepstakes, or contests with cannabis as the prizes.
We hope that our guide on California dispensary Internet marketing has been helpful for you. Of course, knowing how to market your business is one thing, but staying legally compliant is another. Before anything else, you need to make sure that any actions you take fall within the purview of the laws as set out by the state of California.
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