You’ve got great products and a top-notch staff, but how strong is your dispensary’s online presence compared to the strength of your physical location? Advertising can be tricky due to marijuana being illegal at the federal level, and many websites consider cannabis content to go against their terms of service.
You may know a bit about search engine optimization (SEO), but we’re not going to dive into keywords and analytics in this post. Check out this cannabis dispensary SEO guide if you’re looking for tips on how to increase your dispensary’s SEO ranking.
If you want to improve your store’s online footprint, or you’re not quite sure where you’re site’s showing up the Web, we have a few additional tips for boosting your dispensary’s online presence.
Add Your Store and Menu to Online Directories
This might seem obvious, but be sure your store is listed on menu publishing services and price comparison tools like Weedmaps and WikiLeaf. You should also add your store to more “mainstream” sites like Yelp and Citysearch. Simply put, the more places you’re listed, the better chance you have of being crawled by the spiders that do Google’s bidding.
Once you’re listed on Leafly and the like, keep your product menu up to date. If your point of sale (POS) system doesn’t have menu integration, consider investing in a system that does. With POS menu integration, when your budtenders scan an item, your online inventory and menus will update automatically across services.
Automated inventory updates through your POS will allow your budtenders to focus on customers instead of manually updating menus. More importantly, this will ensure that potential customers always have the latest information before they walk into your store.
Optimize Your Website for Mobile
This tip shouldn’t be too big of a surprise. Mobile usage now exceeds desktop usage, and in mid-December, Google confirmed updates to its search engine algorithm. Early testing shows Google giving preference to sites that are optimized for mobile phones. Why could Google be heading in this direction?
According to their own research, roughly 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to conduct local searches, and 88 percent of those searches are done on a smartphone. Consider the following mobile usage statistics from Search Engine Journal:
- 75 percent of smartphone owners use search first to address their immediate needs
- 75 percent of mobile shoppers performing a “near me” search visit a storefront in 24 hours
- 28 percent of those “near me” searchers end up making a purchase
If those statistics aren’t enough reasons to optimize for mobile, don’t forget Generation Z. Generation Z, individuals born beginning around 1995, are hitting the legal age for buying cannabis, and they already have $44 billion in annual purchasing power.
Generation Z-ers expect intuitive, fast browsing experiences across multiple devices. If your site isn’t mobile friendly with up-to-date information, or takes more than two seconds to load, you’ve probably already lost this barely tapped segment of the market.
Take Advantage of Local Search
Location-based, local search results are also increasingly in demand. A recent study by HubSpot found that 64 percent of local customers use online search engines and directories as their main way of finding local business.
When someone performs a local search for “cannabis near me,” you want your store to show up in their search results – with the correct information. You could easily lose potential customers with inaccurate hours, the wrong address or an outdated menu.
Improving Your Local Search Results
- Check your website structure. Title and meta description tags still factor into (and show up in) search results. Current best practices for title and description tags are approximately 50-60 and 160-200 characters, respectively.
- Claim your Google My Business page. Not only can you list vital information like your address, store hours, website and phone number, you can also build trust with customers by answering questions, posting pictures of your shop and responding to reviews.
Sample Local Search Engine Results Box
The more information you can fill out here, the better. If users ask questions, be responsive – engage potential customers online in as timely a manner as you would those in your brick and mortar store.
Listing your store in online directories, optimizing for mobile and taking advantage of local search are just three ways you can improve your store’s online visibility. Do you have any tips or tricks that you’ve used to boost your store’s online presence? Leave them in the comments.