While they effectively aim for the same goal, there is a wealth of differences between standard cannabis marketing in Chicago and online cannabis marketing in Chicago. Yes, they are both trying to acquire new customers and pique the interest of the common consumer, but the tactics taken by these two strategies vary greatly, but for good reason. I’m sure this may all seem quite confusing at this point, but I’m confident some elaboration on the matter will clear things up in no time.
First, let’s consider the scenario of one wanting to properly market their brick-and-mortar dispensary in the great city of Chicago. This is an increasingly competitive market, with hoards of new businesses opening up on a consistent basis. Which is why it’s more important than ever to stand out amongst the crowd as best you can. One of the most sought-after, widely-used methods to accomplish this goal is based in SEO.
SEO, or “search engine optimization,” is pivotal for any company hoping to achieve success, regardless of their industry. When done correctly and efficiently, a high SEO ranking will place your company’s website at the top of the list when certain customers enter in a related search query. Being at the top of a search result ranking is immensely valuable, as the average customer assumes they are there because, well, they’re the best. Which can be true at times, but even mediocre companies are capable of reaching near the top of a search result ranking, it all depends on how well they optimized their company for search engines. Hence the name, SEO.
Now, when you have an actual establishment that you want customers to frequent, that usually means you have an address that they will need to know about. Sure, you can remember to mention this address numerous times throughout your web design and press releases, but unless you register your business with Google My Business, you’ll never show up in their Map results. Which, not for nothing, are often seen as more valuable than regular listed rankings.
Map search results offer up a visually-stimulating, super-accurate array of proximity-induced search results that are customized to fit the desire of the person who searched for them. And, in this case, as the owner of a new dispensary, I want everyone in my local area to know about me. And, I don’t know about you, but whenever I am looking for a new establishment to try (be it a restaurant, car repair shop, you name it…), I always see what’s closest to me first. That is usually how most people make their decisions, especially when it comes to things like cannabis, alcohol, or groceries.
After having registered with Google My Business, for free, you’ll be able to pop up in all the necessary search results for people who are curious about new dispensaries in their area. Thus, more intrigue and interest is created in your business. More people will then click into their website, but at that point in the process, it’s up to your web design and user interface to keep them happy and turn them into a customer.
But, let’s say, you don’t have an actual establishment, and all of your business is done online. In this case, you’ll want to focus on organic SEO or PPC (Pay Per Click) deals with various search engines. Regular dispensaries with an address can also utilize these tactics, but online businesses are reliant on these two methods if they even want to consider a chance at becoming successful in the future.
Organic SEO methods are when a website learns what their audience is interested in, and formulates a series of content/blog posts about that specific subject. In these posts, they will strategically place and organically use search-heavy phrases and trigger words. These words will have been previously researched to be some of the most searched phrases and items that their desired demographic is interested in.
Then, with an SEO-friendly piece of content angled at this specific audience, when they go to Google this very matter, this company’s content will show up amongst the top of the search results. Not only because it deals with this subject specifically, but because it was formatted in such a way that checked all the right boxes of that search engine’s algorithm.
The other aforementioned way that online-only businesses can make a name for themselves, via SEO, is through a PPC (Pay Per Click) deal with a search engine. Using roughly the same mentality of an organic SEO approach, search engines and advertising companies will work with businesses to see which buzzwords and trigger words are used most by their target demographic.
Taking this information and data, they will strike a deal, and anytime that trigger word is searched for, this company will show up with a sponsored link at the top of the search results. If the customer clicks into, either purposefully or accidentally, that click will take them to that company’s website. In turn, the company will have to pay for that click. The price for such a fee varies for each company and each deal, so it really all comes down to whether or not that would be a worthwhile business expense.
You can also use social media to gain a following. As an engaging, conversational social media account, constantly interacting with potential customers and followers, you can quickly rise through the ranks, and become a notable account. But, once you earn their trust, via social media timelines and messages, you have to convert them into return customers through a quality online experience and user interface.
Obviously, becoming successful in the cannabis business is a multi-tiered process that is very dependent on making the right moves that, in turn, make your customers happy and wanting to return in the future. But, as you can plainly see, there is a vast difference between standard cannabis marketing in Chicago and online cannabis marketing in Chicago.