Everything You Need to Know About Dispensary Advertising

in business insights

Recent recreational marijuana legalization legislation has undoubtedly broadened the audience as it pertains to dispensary advertising. There are more opportunities than ever to reach your demographic. 

We will discuss recent trends in dispensary advertising during this guide and go over some ideas for successful advertising campaigns.


1. Cannabis Advertising: What’s Legal and What’s Not

2. Marijuana Marketing Trends in 2021

3. Storytelling and Brand Identity

4. Education Campaign

5. Events and In-Person Advertising

6. Local Marijuana Advertising

7. Digital Marketing Essentials

Cannabis Advertising: What’s Legal and What’s Not

Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, there are still some legal roadblocks in advertising both medical and recreational cannabis. 

Weed advertising and dispensary marketing can be tricky and requires you to know all the current rules and regulations. First, we’ll go over a few marketing mediums that are allowed under specific circumstances:

  • Paid marijuana advertisements. Paid cannabis advertising, like a billboard, is allowed under certain circumstances. Still, you should keep in mind that local laws and regulations come into play when considering billboard advertising for your dispensary business.

    You will be required to show your license when requesting a billboard slot, and the company usually has a say when it comes to the design and language on the marijuana billboard.

    Some local municipalities require that a particular percentage of the population exposed to the advertisement is over 21 years of age. We recommend checking with your local government to ensure that your advertising is legal and up to the proper standards.

  • TV commercials. Much like billboard advertising, cannabis marketing on TV is prone to local rules and regulations. You are allowed to advertise your dispensary business on TV, depending on the state you live in and the local audiences and ordinances.

    However, you should keep in mind that if you make an error in the process, you could get your license taken away, so consider whether you are willing to take that risk.

  • Print weed advertisements. Print cannabis advertising is also allowed under specific circumstances, usually if the publication has a proven target audience over 21 years old and if you are following all of the state governmental laws.

    There has been an uptick in the print marijuana publications and magazines that offer a space for you to market your dispensary business. Many of these magazines and journals have a vast audience, and you can show your ad to potential customers.

    Keep in mind that not all print is allowed for cannabis, so you should check the local laws and print audiences before running your ad.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of marketing mediums that do not allow you to run a marijuana advertisement:

  • Google ads. Marketing your dispensary through digital advertising is extremely difficult since many websites follow federal law. Google is one of them. Under federal law, you are not allowed to sell, manufacture, or promote cannabis.

    However, while you are not allowed to advertise cannabis and related terms, you can advertise terms associated with hemp on Google.

    We recommend using a keyword planning tool search to see if Google forbids the terms you consider advertising.

    You should also have your Google Ad campaign looked at by a professional to ensure it complies with all legal standards.

  • Social media ads. Social media marketing sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are governed by federal law, meaning that it is pretty much impossible to advertise your dispensary on these sites.

    Facebook will scan your ad for any cannabis or related language, as well as associated images and landing pages. That being said, you can post about cannabis and associated products organically in your social media feed.

    We recommend erring on the side of caution regarding social media ads since it’s not worth losing your social media following.

Marijuana Marketing Trends in 2021

Wondering what the biggest marijuana marketing trends are in 2021? Many companies and dispensaries are shifting to focusing on CBD products since cannabidiol is known for reducing inflammation. Others are using TikTok as a marketing platform since it has begun to replace Instagram as the preferred video-sharing platform.

And still, other companies and dispensaries are using interactive online cannabis events to engage customers and launch new products. These events are a great way to incorporate music for your business from Cloud Cover Music.


Storytelling and Brand Identity

It’s more important than ever to use storytelling to promote your dispensary’s brand identity. Your company is nothing without a strong brand. Your brand is at the heart of what makes your dispensary unique and why customers choose to buy from you. 

Incorporating music into your business is a great way to create a strong brand identity. We also recommend investing your time and resources into creating brand ambassadors, a narrative across various channels, a strong word-of-mouth marketing strategy, and educational content.


Education Campaign

There are so many different brands, products, and regulations out there on the cannabis market. One of the best ways to differentiate your dispensary from other brands and companies is to become a cannabis educator.

We recommend covering educational topics like how cannabis is grown, how to properly roll a joint, and all of the local rules, laws, and regulations in your area or region.

By becoming a trusted advisor or cannabis educator, you can become the brand known for educating your customers, which helps build your brand’s visibility and credibility and makes you the go-to source for new customers and clients just entering the marijuana market.


Events and In-Person Advertising

We recommend hosting personalized events that are customized to your target audience. These can be online events, like webinars or educational podcasts, or in-person events, like intimate parties or larger conferences.

These events can be an excellent opportunity to educate your customers and potential customers on cannabis and help destigmatize it and shift public perception. 

You can also incorporate music for your business at these events to help differentiate your brand from other dispensaries. Interactive online cannabis events are a huge new trend in 2021 to help engage customers and prospects and launch new products.


Local Marijuana Advertising

As we’ve discussed, there are several local rules and regulations out there that make it difficult and sometimes even impossible to advertise your dispensary.

So how can your dispensary business attract more customers and bring awareness at the local level without targeting people that you are not allowed to target, like children and out-of-state viewers?

Luckily, there are ways to run local ad campaigns, but before you spend any of your marketing budgets on a campaign, we recommend asking your ad partner the following questions:

  • How many total unique visitors does your website reach per month in the United States? The answer to this question can help give you a sense of the scope of the seller’s service.

  • How many unique visitors do you reach in the state or local area we’re looking to target? Next, you need to ask for the seller’s unique reach in your actual local target market.

  • What is the average CPC, CPM, vCPM, or eCPM rate for this ad campaign? The answer to this question can help you budget for your ad campaign. Most campaigns are sold based on cost per click (CPC), cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM), or cost per 1,000 viewable impressions (vCPM), but some publications also sell on a fixed monthly schedule.

    The more geo-targeted your campaign is, the higher the rates usually are. Many dispensaries choose to target a whole state rather than a specific ZIP code.
  • How many other advertisers are targeting the same audience? This question is essential for single websites since they are splitting up their local traffic. For example, if the website reaches 1 million people per month and the seller manages ten various advertisers, your dispensary only gets access to 100,000 people per month.
  • How many people will my ad reach in a week or a month? The answer to this question will help you determine if the seller knows what they are talking about.

Digital Marketing Essentials

There are several different ways to use digital marketing to market your dispensary:

  • Content marketing. Content marketing is a great way to share relevant content to engage your audience and entice them to buy your products. You can also use content marketing to educate your audience.

  • Blogging. Blogging is one of the best ways to give your brand a voice and share your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and feelings.

  • Search engine marketing. Search engine marketing is gaining traffic and visibility from search engines through organic or unpaid efforts. This type of marketing can help you reach your customers when they express interest in what you have to offer.

  • Local marketing. Local marketing targets the audience around your physical dispensary.

If you are trying to market your marijuana dispensary, you should look into music for businesses. With multiple plans and an easy-to-control interface, Cloud Cover Music is a great option. We offer a fully licensed and legal streaming service that is ad-free, clean, and even adaptable to your branding needs. 

If you’re interested in music for your business, please reach out to Cloud Cover Music and try out a 14-Day free trial.