In normal times, your dispensary marketing strategy was important. But in today’s uncertain economic climate, your marketing strategy is vital to survival.
The global pandemic has upended how we conduct business around the world. It has even accelerated digital transformation in dispensary marketing, as more users than ever are going online to find products and place orders.
The question is, can potential customers find your dispensary with ease?
How to Turbocharge Your Dispensary Marketing Strategy with SEO
Ever since the global pandemic began, cell phone data usage has spiked by 47 percent at the time of writing. It is estimated that internet usage is up by 70 percent.
To be certain, many people are streaming movies online, watching YouTube videos, and playing video games.
But more people than ever are using the internet to find businesses and products that are important to them — and, yes, this includes cannabis products!
Great dispensary SEO ensures that local customers who are looking for cannabis can find your shop. While the technicalities of SEO algorithms can sound like a lot of mumbo jumbo, it doesn’t have to be confusing.
Here are seven practical tips you can implement immediately to help strengthen your dispensary marketing efforts.
#1: Establish meaningful and strategic keywords
The phrases that users type into Google are known as keywords. Before you can begin any SEO campaign, you need to have a roadmap or framework of what you’re going to accomplish. Deciding which keywords to target is the very first step.
It’s important to know how many people are searching a certain keyword phrase each month, how difficult it is to rank for that keyword, and how relevant that keyword is to your content and your business.
A good SEO strategy will have a mix of short tail and long-tail keywords.
Short tail keywords are search terms that are brief in nature. For example, “dispensary SEO” and “dispensary marketing” are both short tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are lengthier and more specific, such as “dispensaries near me in Seattle WA.”
Because long-tail keywords are more specific, they tend to be easier to rank for — they’re searched less frequently, but the specificity of the term signals that these users have a higher purchasing intent.
#2: Focus on local SEO
In order for local customers to find you, you must first make sure that Google understands where you’re located. By creating a free Google My Business listing, you can add your business’ address and contact information, helping Google to find your business locally as customers search for your services online.
Local SEO can also help search engines distinguish your dispensary from other shops and businesses that might have a similar name. Some key questions to ask yourself in creating a Google My Business listing are:
- If you have multiple locations, are all of your listings consistent?
- Is your Google My Business profile properly optimized with pictures, website links, and contact info?
- Can customers easily find your address, phone number, and hours of operation?
All of these details can help strengthen your local SEO. When your local SEO is firing on all cylinders, your dispensary is more likely to rank in what’s known as the “map pack”. These are the top few businesses that appear on Google Maps in search results. This means new sales, and new customers!
#3: Optimize your website
At the end of the day, Google wants to provide a good experience for all users. If they send searchers to websites that are slow, are outdated, or seem untrustworthy, then user satisfaction with Google decreases. In other words, search engines will prioritize websites that create a positive impression among users.
How can you tell how your website is performing?
Take a look at your analytics, or work with an experienced dispensary marketing agency who knows how to analyze this data. Factors such as a low bounce rate (meaning users are staying on your website), a long session duration, and healthy click-through-rates.
What should you do if these analytics aren’t exactly favorable? First, make sure that the user interface is easy to use. Do first-time visitors know where to click to see your menu or contact information?
Is your website mobile responsive? Does your image generally look trustworthy? It can sometimes be difficult to answer these questions objectively, so instead of asking family and friends, many dispensary owners choose to partner with an outside marketing agency.
#4: Encourage positive reviews
Both local customers as well as tourists utilize reviews to determine which businesses they should visit. It’s no longer enough to have just have a few positive reviews. Customers are now more savvy than ever!
They’re looking for clear and consistent patterns over long periods of time. If one dispensary only has 10 positive reviews that are outdated, but another one has over 100 positive reviews with the most recent one being left the same day of their search, chances are that customers would rather go to the second shop.
Positive reviews help SEO in multiple ways. First, the more reviews you have on your Google My Business Listing, the more likely your listing is to rank in the map pack. Second, higher social credibility can increase your click-through-rates, which Google prioritizes in its algorithm.
#5: Prioritize link signals
Obtaining links back to your website, from other high-quality websites raises your reputation with Google as well. Backlinks are like “kudos” from one website to another, stating that your service and website are reputable enough to be mentioned on other websites. Google seeks these links out in ranking your business online, for both local and organic searches.
The more links you receive from different websites, the higher your Domain Authority (DA) will be. Your DA ranking is a 1-100 score applied to your business online, letting search engines know how “trustworthy” your website is.
When it comes to building backlinks, one of the easiest ways to do this is through creating guest posts on websites with strong Domain Authority. However, reputable websites don’t want to publish spammy content, so it’s important to create a content strategy that actually creates value for users (more on this below!).
However as with all things SEO, it is a very slow process to increase your DA ranking. Therefore, if you haven’t already, it’s critical to focus marketing efforts on backlinks and SEO as soon as possible.
#6: Create a solid content strategy
Content marketing has been a major buzzword in digital marketing for some time now, but it’s especially important when it comes to dispensary SEO. Content marketing is the glue that ties together link building and keyword implementation. This is because both of these aspects of digital marketing require high quality content.
The only way to implement powerful keywords on your website, for example, is through excellent content. Creating a solid content strategy ensures that you provide value to users without “keyword stuffing” (packing too many keywords into your content) which can result in a hefty penalty from Google’s algorithm.
The more relevant and useful content you create, the more opportunities there are to implement high-ranking keywords.
#7: Partner with an experienced dispensary marketing agency.
Could you do all of this in-house? Potentially… The challenge, however, is that dispensary SEO requires so many different specialties (content writing, data analysis, keyword research, strategic planning, etc.). It can also be very time consuming for a dispensary owner.
Also, it’s critical to stay up-to-date on Google’s policy updates, especially in the cannabis space. Since Google is always refining its algorithm, it’s a good idea to partner with a team that is always monitoring the latest trends in SEO.
Changing regulations, especially in a tumultuous political environment, also creates a challenge when it comes to digital marketing. An experienced agency will be able to help you communicate effectively, without overstepping any regulatory issues.
A dispensary marketing agency can also help to implement your efforts strategically. The best part? You can expect constant monitoring of progress as well as detailed reports so that you can rest assured your online presence and SEO is being taken care of.
Green Zen Marketing Has You Covered.
Dispensary SEO experts are focused on refining their strategies, just as you’re focused on growing your business! With so many factors that impact Google’s algorithm in the cannabis industry, it’s critical to work with a team that is dedicated to fully understanding today’s trends, regulatory challenges, and the industry as a whole.
Despite the global pandemic, the cannabis industry will continue to grow. Green Zen Marketing believes in the goals of the industry, and helps dispensaries nationwide to increase their sales by up to 35% through digital marketing.
In using an experienced dispensary marketing agency, you are able to reach many new customers, perpetually. Green Zen Marketing provides cannabis businesses with the tools they need to boost their online rankings and their dispensary marketing strategy as a whole.
Ready to see where your business ranks online? Get in touch with us to schedule your free SEO audit today.