Blog : Dispensary Marketing

First Time Visiting A Recreational Dispensary? What You Should Know

First Time Visiting A Recreational Dispensary? What You Should Know

How times have changed…What was once considered taboo and illegal by society has now become recognized as neither by an ever-growing majority in Colorado.  Since Amendment 20 passed in the year 2000, the consumption of cannabis for medical use has been legal in the state.  On November 6th, 2012, recreational use of marijuana become legal with the passing of Colorado Amendment 64 (going into effect in January 2014).

Over four years later, we are able to enter Recreational Dispensaries throughout the region and treat ourselves to a wide variety of products.  Those who visit these establishments for the first time may feel a bit overwhelmed by the experience.  We can empathize, and want to assure you, there is nothing to fear!  As Dispensary Marketing grows, let’s take a closer look at what you might want to know before you enter a Colorado recreational cannabis dispensary for the first time.

 Before You Head Out

At one time, you had to be issued a Medical Marijuana Card, or Red Card, in order to purchase cannabis products.  Since 2014, those of us who are 21-years or older are able to have access and make purchases from recreational dispensaries with just our valid government-issued ID or license. Think of it in the same way you would visiting a liquor store to buy alcohol; no ID, no sales.  Even if you are not purchasing anything, you must be 21 to enter, and your ID must be on hand at all times.

Typically, the friendly staff at the front of the store will check your ID, maybe sign you up for a loyalty program to earn points on your purchases, and ask if you’ve been in before.  Alternately, you could have your ID checked by a third-party security guard.  Don’t worry, they are there for your safety and protection!

Lastly, don’t forget your cash.  While Colorado (and an increasing number of states) have made recreational use of marijuana legal, the Federal government still lags behind the times.  To put it blunt-ly (haha), banks aren’t willing to take the chance of handling transactions through credit or debit cards while cannabis remains illegal on the federal level.  While most establishments have an ATM on site, it is a good idea to bring cash with you, even if just to avoid the ATM fees.

 First Time Users

When it comes to recreational cannabis, two of the most popular methods of consumption are eating and smoking.  There are differences in both, and your budtender will be able to help you decide which to try first, as well as review the types of feelings (head high, body high, energy, couch glue, etc) you can expect to have with different strains and products.

Edibles are attractive due to the fact that they do not smell like you’ve been smoking, their effects can last for hours, and they are more discreet.  Edibles can vary in THC concentration depending upon a variety of factors, including how they were made and what strain was used.  It can take between one and two hours for you to feel the full effects of your dosage, so until you understand how cannabis affects you, flower (smoking) may be the safest route for first-time users.

Smoking marijuana is what most people associate with when they think of consumption.  There are different ways to smoke cannabis including bongs, blunts, joints, pipes, and vaporizers.  As a first time user, you may want to try different strains before investing into a large amount of flower, but luckily, grams and pre-rolls (joints) are inexpensive and offer you variety.  Again, don’t be shy to ask your budtender for their favorites, they are there to help you make the most of your experience!

First time and occasional users need to remember, slow and easy.  Consuming cannabis can increase anxiety and paranoia, as well as cause sleepiness.  When smoking marijuana, take a small puff and wait.  The full effect should be felt after approximately 15 minutes.  If you wish to increase the effects, take another small puff.  The beauty of legal, recreational cannabis is that you can experiment with all kinds of strains to find your perfect match!

 Types of Cannabis

In recent years, marijuana cultivation and education have increased dramatically. Different types of cannabis plants have been identified, along with the effects from their consumption.  A closer look at the three types of strains should help you to decide what you are looking to experience.

Indica: The Indica plant produces a stronger body high.  Feelings will include relaxation and sleepiness.  Uses include relief from anxiety, body pains, headaches, spasms, seizures, and stress. Strains from this plant include Kush and Northern Lights.

Sativa: The high produced from the Sativa plant is characterized as a more intense mental experience, best described as energetic or uplifting in nature.  Feelings may include creativity and energetic bursts.  Uses include relieving depression, increasing creativity, focus, energy, and feelings of at-ease and well-being.  Popular Sativa strains include Maui Wowie and Purple Haze.

Hybrid: Hybrids are another popular type of cannabis, and are a mix of Indica and Sativa strains. Due to the different benefits and effects of hybrids, these strains can be used to target the desired result for medicinal users when treating their illness.  These strains can share characteristics of both strain families evenly, or favor one plant’s benefits over another.  Hybrids will produce less extreme characteristics, but not necessarily less powerful highs for users.  You can ask for a Sativa- or Indica- dominant hybrid if one strain family is better suited for your needs over the other.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical compound found in cannabis that produces the feelings of being “high”.  You’ll notice during your visit to a recreational dispensary in Colorado that each strain has different percentages of THC content.  CBD (Cannabidiol) is another cannabis compound that offers medicinal and relaxing properties, without the feelings of being stoned.  Beginners and low-tolerance users may wish to consider lower THC levels and higher CBD levels while gauging tolerance and finding the perfect strain.  This combination is often found in hybrid strains of cannabis.

 

Here are a few of the most popular strains that you might find when you visit a recreational cannabis dispensary in Colorado:

 

Lower THC/Higher CBD leveled products

 

Indica: Aliens On Moonshine and Pennywise strains

Sativa: Harlequin strain

Hybrid: ACDC, Cannatonic, Dancehall, Harle-Tsu, and Sour Tsunami strains

 

Higher THC leveled products

 

Indica: Plushberry strain

Sativa: Jack Herer and Maui Wowie strains

Hybrid: Blue Dream, Chernobyl, and Permafrost strains

 

The Amount Available for Purchase

When Colorado first legalized recreational cannabis use, residents were limited to 28 grams of product (one-ounce) and non-residents to just seven grams.  As of 2016, non-residents are now able to possess the same amount as residents.  Because of varying levels of THC and different types of product available, the amount you can purchase will vary depending on what you buy.

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in Colorado has determined that 1 oz of Flower = 8 grams of Concentrate (Shatter, Wax, etc) or 800mg of Edibles.  You can mix and match, as long as your total purchase doesn’t exceed the equivalent of 1 ounce of cannabis.

 

Consumption

Once you’ve completed your first successful visit to a Colorado recreational dispensary, you may be eager to rip open your exit bag and start enoying.  But wait!  Cannabis consumption laws in Colorado are strict, and you can get a citation or DUI for driving while high, or for smoking in public.  There are very few places where you can openly and legally consume, but laws are always changing and cannabis lounges are on the horizon.  In the meantime, keep your cannabis products sealed and out of the front seat of your vehicle.  Wait until you get to a private residence to consume, and don’t drive until you are completely sober.  Same as alcohol, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and cannabis citations are a real thing.

 

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a better idea of what to expect and look for, head down to your local recreational cannabis dispensary and shop around with confidence!  Make sure to speak with your budtender in order to find the strains you are looking for.  Find yourself a proper location that is safe to indulge, and set some time aside for yourself.  Most importantly, enjoy this new era of legal recreational cannabis!

How to Grow Your Cannabis Business Using Social Media

How to Grow Your Cannabis Business Using Social Media

Traditional businesses have long used social media as a way to grow their brand, feature their products, and connect with customers.  Social media marketing is one of the lowest-cost ways to gain an audience or build a brand-new business, and has become an absolute necessity in our expanding digital world.  And though traditional businesses sometimes have to jump through hoops to achieve their social media goals, cannabis marketing is an entirely different beast.

You may have heard of (or even experienced yourself) the frustration of your Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram pages being pulled down.  You may have advertising dollars to allocate towards Facebook and Instagram ads, and have been left feeling defeated when your ads don’t get approved.

We understand!  Social media is constantly changing, and so are the rules.  The cannabis industry is new, it’s exciting, and it’s growing quickly.  Social media channels like Facebook simply have not been able to keep up with the change of the tide, and so, pages are punished when trying to feature a product or brand.  You’re at risk every day of being pulled down if someone reports your post!  On top of all that, social media is time-consuming.  You either need to spend the hours yourself to create and maintain an amazing social media presence for your cannabis company, or you need to outsource it to someone who knows what they are doing in the cannabis advertising space.

The question is: How do you create a social media presence that grows your cannabis business AND follows the terms and conditions of the social media channels you NEED to be on?  Read on!

If you’re intending on creating and managing your social media profiles on your own, there are a few things you can implement today that, with consistency and a little bit of elbow grease, will yield results.  These are Content Curation, Image Creation, and Live Video.

Content Curation


As cannabis business owners, a common strategy to get people in the door is to create amazing specials, and then blast them out everywhere possible.  Social media seems like a no-brainer!  Of course, your cannabis products and ongoing specials should be featured, but the point of social media is to BE SOCIAL.  The goal of posting anything on your pages is to make more sales, but you first must engage current and potential customers.  Engagement is the best way to gain loyal brand ambassadors; people who will tell their friends, family, and followers about you and your fabulous cannabis products.  This should be your #1 goal.

So how do you make that happen?  By posting amazing content that encourages engagement.  Engagement is simple: it’s when someone likes, comments, or follows your page or your post.  Engagement helps you to measure the ROI of your social media campaign, along with each post individually.  Repeat what works, and stop doing what doesn’t work.

You’ve probably heard this before: Content Is King.  Great content will yield great engagement.  Go to your cannabis brand’s page and take a peek at your most recent posts.  What was the post about?  Was it about your brand or a sale?  How many likes did your most popular post get?  Did anyone share a post to their followers?  Were your most engaged with posts images, videos, or links?  Content is the likely reason why you’re seeing less-than-amazing engagement on your feeds, but it is easy to correct!

Every cannabis brand is different and unique, so first, create your brand guidelines, and use these as a map for your social media content.  Create segments of social media content, and rotate your content to keep your profiles fresh and interesting.  One segment should be company-oriented, one segment could be community-oriented, and one segment could be something you are passionate about that relates to your brand.  All segments are engagement-oriented, with the goal of getting as many post likes, comments, and shares as possible.  As you go through the year, you can change up your segments to add more variety to reach different demographics while continuing to engage with your loyal followers.

When creating content, think about your customers and your brand values, and then form your social media content around that.  By using this strategy first, and implementing badass images and live videos into the mix, you’ll see your following and engagement rise organically.

Image Creation


Images for your cannabis brand don’t have to be the same-old-same -old that everyone else is posting.  Feature your brand, your staff, and your accomplishments by posting a mix of photos and professionally-created images.  A graphic designer can be your most valuable asset in setting your cannabis dispensary or cannabis brand apart from the rest!  Your goal with any image you post is to have created social media content that people can relate to, and that they’ll ultimately share with their friends, family, and followers.

Our favorite images at Cannabis Marketing Inc are those that have people in them.  And we’re not alone: People engage with and relate to images with people in them more than other types of images (up to 38% more, according to Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs).

Photos that your cannabis company could share could be your budtenders, a team-building event, or behind-the-scenes at your grow.  The more your followers see you and your staff, instead of just a logo, the more they will fall in love with your vision, your brand, your employees, and ultimately, your products.  Show your followers that you are a real-life human being, and they will trust you.  Trust equals sales and lifelong customers.  Who wouldn’t want that?

Live Video


Live video can be scary, but it’s a content piece that cannot be left behind.  Videos are flooding our news feeds, and are only growing in popularity.  People love live video because it is real, authentic, and sometimes messy.  Take advantage of this trend by showing your followers video snippets of behind-the-scenes, of you working, or of a hilarious “something” that is happening inside your business.

Besides being in demand with your followers, Live Video gets seen by far more people due to social media algorithms.  So you have the opportunity to be seen by even more people, and gain even more followers than from a typical post.  Of course, with the ever-changing algorithms, this could change at any time!

The bottom line with video is it allows people to see YOU.  So don’t hesitate to share about yourself and your brand, and film it LIVE!

In Conclusion…

By ensuring your content is on-brand, is engaging in both photos and imagery, and by stepping outside of your comfort zone and filming live, you can grow your social media following within months.  And learning the ins and outs of social media for your cannabis business doesn’t have to be something you go at alone.  The team of experts at Cannabis Marketing Inc is here for you, ready to employ the best strategies for your brand, while sharing our creativity and love of the industry with you and your followers.

 

 

Why Marketing your Dispensary is Vital to Your Business

Why Marketing your Dispensary is Vital to Your Business

Your products sell themselves, but wouldn’t you like to sell more? Marketing your dispensary is vital to ensuring your business thrives throughout the year, and Cannabis Marketing Inc’s team of professionals is here to help.  Whether you are interested in traditional marketing avenues, or high-tech, rapid expansion, having your marketing strategy outlined and analyzed for efficacy and legal compliance is a must.  Marketing your dispensary not only gets you in front of customers more often, but helps to strengthen your brand and mission!

The daily decisions you make as a business owner can ensure your focus and drive your success.  This is why having a clear brand outline is one of the first things to address with your cannabis marketing team.

  • Do your partners in marketing understand why you started your company, the ways you want to influence the industry, and your goals in revenue and growth?
  • Do they know your mission, your colors, your fonts, and your logo variations that convey your brand in a consistent manner that also aligns with your values?
  • Are they able to adapt your strategy as you grow?
  • Do they have enough experience working with others in the cannabis industry to give you tried-and-true guidance?

Your cannabis marketing company should fit you, your personality, and your growth goals to create a lasting partnership that will yield high ROI.

There are many ways to market your business.  The tedious process of sorting through what works while ensuring you are spending your marketing dollars wisely can be overwhelming.  A cannabis marketing agency who feels like a partner with you in business helps ensure your marketing dollars are spent wisely.  An agency can free up your time and make sure your investment is focused on increasing revenues.  We dial in and analyze results to focus on the best marketing mediums for your business at all times.  Cannabis Marketing Inc specializes in these available marketing avenues for your dispensary (subject to change with legislation):

Digital Marketing

You probably see digital marketing all the time and barely realize it.  Your email, website ads, social media feed, and even blogs like this one are considered digital marketing.  Digital marketing is highly effective because people spend more and more time online.  Purchases are made after reading reviews online and seeing social proof, directions to your dispensary are found via Google, and strain information can be found before someone even enters your location.  In addition to the convenience factor, digital marketing allows for detailed analytics.  Measuring impressions, clicks, and conversions shows us exactly what works, and what doesn’t, so we can design every single digital campaign for optimum results.  From SEM to email campaigns, we can address your digital presence and ensure that it is running successfully to beat out your competitors and take the lead digitally.

Website Design and Management

Besides your storefront, your website is your customer’s first impression of your dispensary.  Your website helps to tell your story, share accolades and specials, strengthen your brand image, connect with customers, and even helps you to be found!  Search Engine Optimization is key to your dispensary being found in the sea of cannabis businesses online, and your marketing team at CMI is well-versed in making your website work for you.  Our SEO experts are top-rated professionals who will help ensure you are using the right keywords and metatags to reach your ideal demographic while improving your Google ranking.

 Social Media

Social media is a must-have when marketing your dispensary, with well over 2 billion global users, and an average of 2.25 hours spent on social media EVERY DAY! Social media gives your cannabis business the opportunity to connect with your customers, build your brand, and share your mission.  Social media for cannabis is our expertise.  We can ensure that we employ a social media strategy that will help to increase your business, expand on your message and educate the consumer about your culture.  The team at Cannabis Marketing Inc has your best interests in mind by ensuring a multifaceted cohesive approach across several platforms.  We understand that content is king, frequent engagement works, and messaging is important for your cannabis brand.  By analyzing your most successful posts and campaigns each month, we can prove your return on investment, while continuing to create content that resonates with your fanbase.

Print Marketing

Print marketing is a huge marketing medium for cannabis, as enthusiasts look for great deals, industry updates, and new information about their favorite products.  Publications like newspapers and magazines allow you to reach your ideal demographic, if you have a team who understands the compliance factor.  Because of constant updates in cannabis advertising regulations, traditional marketing does have limits, but may yield the return you are looking for.

 Radio

Radio advertising allows you to reach your key demographic multiple times over the course of a campaign.  With advertising regulations changing constantly for your dispensary, it’s important to be compliant, while running effective campaigns that reach your key demographic.  We work with the largest stations to get you the most reach and frequency at the right price.  We are experienced in writing scripts, working with the right talent, and making your ad stand out.

 Video

Even though television advertising remains difficult for cannabis brands, you still can create memorable, hyper-branded content using video.  Using your social media presence, your YouTube channel, and a quality videographer, you can get your message out to customers while appealing to the millions who mainly watch videos online.  Online video advertising is also more widely-accepted than you’d think, with millennials choosing to watch ads instead of swiping away.  This advertising will only grow, so building up your YouTube presence early is ideal for your brand growth and recognition.  The future for video advertising on television remains to be seen.  We are actively engaged with what the rules and regulations are as they adapt to the various FCC regulations.

These different marketing strategies are not a one-size-fits-all.  Which marketing strategies will you be employing for 2018?  Let us help you create a strategy that works.  Our team at CMI is built for success; from our research to our content to our connections; we are here to steer you right.