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Local SEO for Dispensaries

Search is the main way in which people find dispensaries. Get more potential customers to your website by ranking higher in search engines like Google.

Schema & Google My Business

Using a combo of schema and Google My Business, you can get a billboard ad on Google without paying for placement. 

Dispensary Advertising

Connect with customers where they are. Pay to appear at the top of Google’s search results for your selected keywords. Get the right mix budget and technology to optimize campaign performance.

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Dispensary marketing strategy

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Top dispensary marketing strategies

With the added restrictions from larger platforms, you can position your brand at the top of a potential customer’s search on Google. 

The easiest way is to first make sure your website is properly optimized. That means your website content is relevant and hyper local to your area, and you have a great user experience. 

If you combine that with Google My Business, you can take up more real estate on Google’s search result. This increases your market share, and makes it harder for competitors to rank for your brand. 

Loyalty programs are great ways to get people to become repeat buyers. But to do this right, you’ll want to have your customer’s information in a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM for short). This is basically a database of contact information, purchase history, and other info you can use to make a personal experience for each customer. 

A great way to implement this is to have a tiered system based on “points for dollar.” CVS and Rite Aid have a similar system where once you spend enough, you might get a credit towards your next purchase. 

Combine this with SMS marketing, and you’ll be able to create strong engagement. 

Most people end up giving you their email before their phone number. Email marketing is a great way to remind people of special offers, discounts, or promos you’re running. It’s also a great way to announce new products. 

One favorite strategy we have is to engage first time buyers with a guide to CBD so they can learn as they purchase with you. 

Another fun strategy is to filter your contacts in your CRM by last purchase date. Look for anyone who hasn’t purchased from in 30 days or more. 

Once you do that, you can engage them and remind them of what they bought. Did it work? What was their experience? Get some feedback. And once you start talking to them again, you’ll have a better understanding of what products would work best for them. 

Step 1: Your Target Audience

44% of Americans now have access to legal recreational cannabis. But here’s the thing – they’re not all created equal. Depending on where your dispensary is located, your target customers are going to have different motivations and concerns. 

People in Oregon or Colorado are going to have a much different experience, and expectation, than those who live in Utah for example. 

Your job is to first listen to your customers, and answer the following questions: 

  1. What are they most concerned about? 
  2. What problem are they coming to you to solve? 
  3. What problem do they need help with that they haven’t come to you for? 
  4. How can you help them solve their problems? 


Age, gender, interests, preferences, interests, and lifestyle all play a role. Baby Boomers are going to have different issues they’re trying to solve than Millenials or Gen X. 

Get to know your customers. 

Step 2: Your Value Proposition

Value Proposition is a super fancy way of saying, “here’s how we help our customers.” 

Your UVP tells customers:

  1. What your business does
  2. Why people should become loyal customers
  3. What makes you different from other dispensaries. 


Some examples we love: 

Green Dragon Dispensaries: Premium bud, not premium prices.

The Hook: Affordable cannabis, 100% locally owned & operated.

Santa Cruz Naturals: Affordable. Fresh. Natural. And now fast, too. 

The idea is to get something concise and easy to remember. This is going to be your guiding light when you talk to your customers and when you’re marketing your product. 

Step 3: Channels

Here’s the basic gist with choosing the right marketing channel to use: Follow the attention. 

Where are your customers spending their time? 

What is their state of mind when they’re on that specific app or platform? 

Those two questions will drive 90% of what you say and how you say it. 

Other ad platforms have major restrictions around marketing CBD. And the ones that do, have a large financial barrier to entry. This is where SEO can come in. You can position your brand at the top of a potential customer’s search on Google. This will drive more clicks, web traffic, and phone calls. 

Here’s how we get started: 

  1. Make sure you have Google My Business set up. Include pictures, website, phone number, address, and a fleshed out business description. 
  2.  Do your research to find the keywords customers are using to find you. Google Ads Keyword Planner is a free way to check what people are Googling. Include these terms in your business description (but don’t force it). 
  3. Include those keywords in important parts of your website. Search engines look at specific spots on your website to see what you’re about. When you add these terms to those areas, don’t be spammy or “stuff” a bunch of keywords there. Search Engines hate that and will penalize you. 

    Places to add your keywords: 
    – Title tag
    – Meta description
    – H1 tag
    – H2 tags
    – Anchor text of links
    – Alt text of images
  4. Build local citations. This is basically adding your website, business name, phone number, and address to different online directories like Yellow Pages. You can use BrightLocal or WhiteSpark to automate this. 

Social media can be helpful for driving awareness and sales for dispensary brands organically – meaning without ads.

Cannabis-specific hashtags and imagery can result in account restrictions or deactivation (on Meta properties specifically). 

Limit the imagers of buds and flower. Instead, focus on putting a friendly and welcoming face on your social profiles by highlighting clean and bright shops, high lighting your team, and customer reviews. 

Your contact list is one of the few pieces of digital real estate you genuinely own. You won’t have to worry about algorithm changes from search engines, or risk of being deactivated or restricted on social programs. Here are some ways you can make the most of your contact list: 

Newsletter Subscription: 

  • Offer a newsletter subscription on your website to collect email addresses. Use email marketing software (like MailChimp) to send regular newsletters with updates, promotions, and educational content.

Segmented Email Campaigns: 

  • Segmenting (organizing and splitting) your email list based on customer preferences, purchase history, or location can get your better engagemeent and more sales.
  • This is where having a really good CRM is helpful. Once you segment your contacts, send them targeted emails with personalized recommendations and exclusive offers.

Automated Workflows: 

  • Automated email workflows that get triggered by specific events (think abandoned carts, birthdays, last purchase date) can help your company recover lost sales, and even get repeat customers. 

Customer Surveys: 

  • Get feedback from your customers. This is gold, and helps tailor your marketing strategies and improve the overall customer experience.

SMS marketing is just like email marketing. It’s the other marketing channel you can own. But if you spam a contact, you’ll do major damage to your brand. So tread lightly. Here’s what we suggest dispensaries do when starting an SMS marketing campaign:

  • Limit text message blasts to significant promos, sales, or feedback only. 
  • Don’t text your contacts more than once a week at most. 
  • Keep your texts short and to the point.
  • Make sure you’re compliant with SMS marketing regulations. 

Most ad platforms either disallow CBD ads, or have severe restrictions put on them. Most require you to have a Legit Script certification, which can run you between $600 – $1000 to get. 

Google, Bing, and Meta require a Legit Script certification to run ads on their platforms. 

For Google and Bing, you’ll want to focus on keyword targeting. If you’ve done your keyword research for SEO, this is very similar.

Select relevant keywords and phrases that you will run your ads on so potential customers actively searching for cannabis-related products or dispensaries see your brand. 

Be careful with how you target. Setting your keyword targeting too broad will waste your budget. 

For Meta, you’ll want to focus on intent based targeting. Meta doesn’t use keywords, they use affinities and interest to target people. 

BONUS TIP: Lookalike audiences will be a huge winner for dispensaries. That list of email addresses you have of past and current customers? You can upload that list to Meta and target new people, just like those whose email you have. You’ll get a much better ROI and a more efficient marketing campaign using Lookalike Audiences. 

Step 4: Tracking Success

Now that we’ve gotten everything working, we’ll want to make sure all your marketing efforts are actually producing revenue. There are a few different tools that help with that. But the main metrics you’ll want to look at to determine success are: 

  1. Revenue from marketing 
  2. Traffic to the website 
  3. Foot traffic into your dispensary 
  4. Calls you receive


You’ll notice a certain lack of metrics in here. Specifically, likes and shares of social media posts, impressions, and comments. 

HOT TAKE: Those metrics aren’t important for a dispensary to keep track of. The main reason why: dispensary owners and marketers get distracted by them, and lose sight of the important metrics like money. Who cares what @blazebro2949501 has to say about a picture? Hint: not your dispensary’s bank account. Which is the most important thing when running a business. 

One way to keep track of what marketing campaign brought in what traffic is through *drumroll* tracking. You can use URL Parameters to track number of clicks to a page on your website from paid ads, emails, and even SMS marketing campaigns. 

Some tools we like to use: 

  • Google Analytics 4 – website traffic tracking and sale tracking 
  • Google Search Console – website clicks from Google search results 
  • NextDoor – underrated local advertising platform
  • Google Tag Manager – houses all your tracking pixels from Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. so it’s all in one place
  • Looker Studio – A pretty advanced (but free) tool that puts all your data into one spot so you can visualize it all

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