Marketing Dispensaries continues to be a challenge for marketers in the industry and I understand how frustrating it could be to have to resort to antiquated methods like billboards and magazines.

If you place an ad in a magazine how do you know it was seen or if the people who saw it are even anywhere near your dispensary.

Competition is rising and marketing roadblocks are not allowing dispensaries to effectively market. Ad guidelines have created limited avenues and have set restrictions on ad placements to not market to children.

Establishing a dispensary marketing plan can be a challenge but we will provide you with the latest marketing trends that will help you be creative and efficient about your dispensary marketing ideas. Not only will we provide you with best practices but we will toss in some bonus ideas that may just set your dispensary apart from the others. At the end of the day marketing requires creativity in order to captivate your audience and make your dispensary stand out.

We are marketing professionals with the experience in helping businesses grow and thrive. With the right tools, you too can make your dispensary grow and thrive. We have made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.


The best way to learn from mistakes is to not make them and learn from somebody else’s mistakes.

Plus it is a lot more cost effective!

Dispensary Marketing Ideas and Channels

Table of Contents

  • Outdoor advertising
  • SEO
  • Email Marketing
  • Print Advertising
  • etc….

Outdoor Advertising – I see traffic and drivers sitting in their cars!

Clearly there are dispensary marketing plans that are trending and being noticed and billboards are one of them. A lot of dispensaries are benefiting from branding their dispensary on a giant billboard.

The reason billboards have grabbed attention is because Cannabis still carries a bit of taboo and it is something that people are not seeing much of until now. That is why placing a billboard for branding purposes is an effective choice if it is strategically placed.

Along with other outdoor media like bus stops or buses.

Delivery service Eaze made headlines when a bus with their advertising on it hit a traffic officer’s vehicle. This isn’t to say that you should put advertising on a vehicle and drive it into a squad car… I would not recommend that. But it created great exposure for the company and the placement helped drive more brand awareness and the hilarity of it definitely helped.

Another dispensary marketing idea surrounding buses is buying a bus!

If your budget permits… if not you may be able to rent one for a short term and wrap it.

A San Diego Dispensary Unbn Leaf decided to wrap a bus and drive it around town to pick people up and take them to their location. It does not get any more direct than that.

Picking up clients and taking them to your location is a great idea!

Email Marketing For Dispensaries

The best email campaigns are ones that offer true value and create engagement with clients. This ensures that your clients will consistently anticipate emails from you and it will make your email list a valuable tool to continuously drive business.  

Some tools that will facilitate your email marketing efforts are MailChimp, Sendlane, and Constant Contact. Like usual please adhere to advertising guidelines to stay safe and just use it as a tool to drive clients to your business.

Should I Collect Emails?

Emails should be the first priority when establishing your client list. Email marketing has become a great tool for Cannabis brands. The beauty of email marketing is clients are giving you an open door to contact them.

There are a few ways to be creative and collect email addresses.

  1. Rewards program where clients must enter email to join
  2. Free wi-fi, must enter email to access Wifi
  3. Create referral programs and reward current clients for referring a friend
  4. Collect emails at events from interested attendees
  5. QR codes that clients can scan for extra rewards

My rule of thumb is never give anything away for free… giveaways are great, but at the very least you want to receive an email in exchange for a giveaway.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – How can Dispensary SEO help people find me on Google?

One great tool to ensure your business will be found on google is SEO (search engine optimization). Simply put, SEO helps your site become a trusted source for the given search options.

What SEO does it show that your site is a valuable source given the content that appears on the site. A strong dispensary SEO strategy will make your site appear in front of your ideal audience because Google believes you site would provide the best possible answer for their question.

Ex. Someone searches ‘best delivery service in California’. Google will find the page that has the  best content that will answer that question. If you have a delivery service site with strong SEO, your website will be among the top results.

It is a bit more complicated than that but if you could find yourself a strong SEO strategy it will definitely help your brand. Please be advised that this does not mean you are placing ads through Google’s network. All of this content must live on your site in order to drive visitors to your site, where you can convert them to clients.

Online Directories

Where do I Find Online Business Listings/Directory for Dispensaries?

Weedmaps has been the most popular trend for Cannabis brands and Dispensaries. They are a directory style network that aggregates all of the local businesses and brands on their platform and classifies them by geo-location.


This means you can enter a certain location and Weedmaps will give you the nearest location for what you desire. You can see which locations are most popular and trusted.

Another great tool is to list your business on Google Business pages. This will help people find your location when searching for it. It also allows customers to leave reviews. As of now, it seems Google has been ok with Cannabis business listings on their network.

Please be advised that listings are not ads but a valuable way to get your brand out in front of a Cannabis audience.

Print Advertising

Should I use magazine ads?

Magazine ads I believe fall on the same boat as billboards. Magazines can drive awareness in your brand and help create partnerships with trusted publications.

If you are considering placing ads in magazines make sure that you have great creatives that will catch the eye of readers. It may be a good investment to get on the cover of a popular local magazine that locals will see.

It is hard to see the benefit of a national magazine ad for a local dispensary unless your dispensary has multiple locations in multiple states like MedMen.

Social Media

Can I create Social Media accounts for my dispensary?

You should always cover all of your basis when it comes to social media. Create accounts for all mediums; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +. But remember that you must adhere to their content rules. So post content in accordance to their rules in order to not have your account shut down or shadowbanned.

A consistent presence on social media gives your clients the perception of trust. It creates an avenue where your clients can look at what you stand for and a place where they can safely communicate with you.

You will also find that it will be a great avenue to organically connect with new clients. If you are providing quality content, your audience will see value in your page and continue to follow and trust your dispensary.

Can I advertise Cannabis on Facebook or Google?

When considering digital ads most people turn to Google or Facebook but unfortunately, they do not accept Cannabis advertisers. Which means that as a dispensary you sit at the top of that list of advertisers they will not accept.

GREAT MID-LEVEL CTA FOR TRAFFIC ROOTS

Seems unfair that these platforms will not allow Cannabis companies to advertise, which is why we created Traffic Roots. We have created a network outside of Facebook and Google that allows you to place true digital ads without the fear of being shut down and banned.

It is time for your dispensary to make the shift into digital.

The benefit that a digital presence can have for your dispensary is immense. If you are new to digital then think of as placing digital  billboards for a fraction of the price of a real billboard. Not to mention this billboard lets you know who saw it and whether they like it or not.

  • Events / Promos / Sponsorships

As we mentioned before events are a great driver for exposure and leads. If you can get involved with local events it would definitely benefit your dispensary marketing. It allows people to engage with your brand when their guard is down and they are looking to have fun.

Sponsoring events can always benefit if you can’t have someone attend the event. A lot of events have great attendance and the exposure can benefit your brand.

One great idea for event marketing is having a brand ambassador dress up in a costume and give out gifts to attendees. This will make it a memorable experience for attendees and at the same time allow you to engage attendees and collect an email.

  • Tours

Creativity does not lack in the industry and as it continues to grow, so does the curiosity. Which is why the emergence of Cannabis tours has recently grown.

A cannabis tour can be a great opportunity for you to bring in new clients to your dispensary. Once again, make it a memorable experience for attendees and delight them with amazing giveaways (never free though remember). Make sure to collect information from those who attend a tour.

One cool unique way would be to establish a QR code that attendees can scan to immediately be entered into a raffle of some sorts. People are more open to these kinds of promos when they signed up for a tour of these types.

Most importantly would be to create the partnerships with these tour companies to make sure your location is part of the tour.

Make sure that their visit to your location is better than the rest!

  • Professional Organizations

Getting involved with local organizations in your area is also a great idea to place your dispensary in the right position. Establishing strong professional relationships with local businesses and leaders can really help establish your dispensary.

One great way to do that is to attend meetings for organizations that support local businesses and quite possibly get involved with your local chamber of commerce.

Strong relationships can be incredibly valuable for your business!

  • Word of mouth

The best marketing you get will also be the cheapest!

Word of mouth is quite possibly the best marketing you can get for your dispensary. But it also requires you to encompass all of the above to truly create an experience that drives the customer to spread the word.

Customer service is paramount when it comes to word of mouth. Clients must receive the best customer services that you can provide and investing in your employees to give them the tools to provide the best service is where you should start.

You don’t want clients to walk in and not be greeted by a friendly face. A smile is always the most important part of the uniform.

Also knowledge is power!

The more knowledgeable your staff is about your products and how certain products can fulfill your clients needs, the happier your clients will be.

Happy clients spread the word and return for another visit!

  • Discounts, specials, packages

Who doesn’t love a good sale?

Discounts and sales are a great way to grow loyalty to your dispensary.

One great idea is to create sales on specific days where you see a drop in attendance in order to create a buzz around those days. For example, a monday madness sale to get your week started right.

But don’t overlook the busy times!

Use the rush hours to have amazing giveaways that will continue to entice your clients to return.

  • Influencer Marketing and Product Reviews

Although influencer marketing is not a new concept, social media has made it a viable option for smaller businesses to reach out to micro influencers who work within their niche to promote their product.

Influencer has been around for a long time, technically John Wayne smoking cigarettes was influencer marketing, he just didn’t have an Instagram page.

It can be a very valuable avenue for your dispensary marketing plan. Finding the right influencers to promote your location can drive significant foot traffic to your location. However, you must choose wisely and make sure the influencers are pushing a genuine message.

Micro-influencers are probably a better bet for a local dispensary. Find local influencer with a decent following on social media and establish the message you are looking to promote. A good influencer should understand his audience and give you insight as to what will work. If an influencer just takes your creatives and reposts them, I would seriously reconsider working with them.

Another trick you can do is, if the influencer has a significant following you can establish a deal to have them spend some time at your dispensary and promote it to their audience.

A creative choice would be to have the influencer be “Budtender for a day” and have him create content from that, that will be promoted further. This allows you not allow promote your dispensary and showcase the location but actually drive clients in while this is being recorded.

You will find that attendees will be amused and also feel the need to share on their own social media platforms, in turn giving your dispensary more exposure.

How to market your Dispensary online?

Google and Facebook won’t allow you to place ads then how can you drive potential clients to your site effectively? There are other effective outlets besides the mainstream sources. Traffic Roots has established a network of sites that are accessible all through one platform.

This means you can effectively place digital ads on sites with valuable traffic. The platform gives you valuable data for your dispensary marketing plan. You will see where your ads appear from operating systems, devices, and location. Which means as you gather data you can optimize your ads to yield the best results.

Dispensary marketing ideas are leaning towards digital marketing since it is more cost effective and efficient when targeting an ideal audience. Society has moved away from traditional media and digital is thriving.

If you have ever wondered how Amazon has become the behemoth company that it is now, it comes from gathering data and targeting users with relevant ads. We live in the digital age and people are glued to their phones, which means it is the perfect place to target your ideal audience.

Which why programmatic advertising with Traffic Roots can be extremely effective for your dispensary if executed properly.

How can Geo-Targeted Digital Advertising help drive clients to my dispensary?

Reaching the right audience is key when marketing your dispensary and Geo-targeting (also known as Location targeting) can be a great tool to help you localize your ads and reach your immediate local audience. This allows you to place micro targeted ads and hone in to tailor the message that will really resonate with your audience.

This is done by utilizing our technology to localize your ads to specific countries, states, or counties. For dispensaries a valuable strategy would be to target your county along with neighboring counties to cover more ground and brand your location.

You can blanket the entire county with digital ads to drive clients to your location. The first place people go is the internet when looking for a reliable location to shop and with digital ads you can advertise to your clientele while they browse relevant content.

The key to successful campaigns does not just lie on placing ads but making sure after the ad is clicked they are sent to a page that can provide them the information about your location and draw them in effectively.

Traffic Roots is making local advertising for dispensaries simple and affordable.

Start Advertising Today.