Greetings my name is James Meshach, former medical dispensary owner and Microsoft Database engineer. Having experience in running a medical dispensary I know what it takes to grow a recreational or medical marijuana business by bringing customers through the door.
Besides word of mouth, Bill Boards and Magazines the majority of your new customers are going to find you through the internet. The three main choices available to dispensary owners are the following.
The first thing you will want to know is which option will bring in the most customers. The second thing you will want to know is how much of your advertising budget do you want to spend per month on each listing..
The cost of Leafly.com
- Leafy charges dispensaries to advertise by the number or impressions and also is dependent on how large the target market city is. The only way to truly find out how many Leafly charges for your dispensary is to contact their website and get a media package. I know for one of my clients located in the city of Tacoma Washington Leafly charges $3000 a month to be listed number 3 for that market. Tacoma is considered a medium size city so you can expect the prices to be higher for a city like Seattle and probably quadruple for large cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco. By doing searches on the internet I found that one business owner is paying Leafly $10,000 a month for 4 dispensaries for their Bronze package which would list them number 3. This comes out to $2500 a month per location.
- See: https://www.reddit.com/r/weedbiz/comments/70eove/weedmaps_insane_new_pricing_model
The cost of Weedmaps.com
When I first started my medical marijuana dispensary in 2014 Weedmaps.com was charging anywhere from 400 to 1500 a month depending on position and market size. With the legalization of marijuana those prices have skyrocketed. Now we learn that Weedmaps.com is charging up to 30,000 a month for some cities in California and up to 100,000 a month for national vendor brands. Most smaller cities can expect to pay anywhere from $1000 to $3000 per month for the basic packages. Recently I spoke with a Weedmaps representative who confirmed that some dispensaries in Los Angeles are spending 30,000 a month to be number one on there directory. She explained that Weedmaps started in California and therefore has a larger market share and can demand these hire rates. See Reddit Link above for reference.
The cost of Search Engine Optimization.
You can find a lot of different price ranges from different SEO companies with start packages running from $500 a month all the way up to 10,000 a month and above. A lot of it depends on how big the target market is and range of competition for the targeted keyword. SEO companies offer different types of services with different packages. The primary packages run from $1000 to $5000 per month and has the plan of offering the business a opportunity for steady growth as the Google rankings start to raise and provide more clicks to the business. Also expect to pay a premium if you have multiple locations for your business along with multiple sites. See https://www.audiencebloom.com/how-much-does-seo-cost/
Which of these three marketing options provide the most customers?
There are two ways to determine your cost per customer from different internet marketing options.
One way is to ask your new customers how they found you and keep a list and then add up the percentages. The other way is by SEO reports and Google Webmaster click through reports. Every store should at least 1 week per month survey incoming customers and keep track of how they found your store. Some might find you through magazine ads, Billboards, Weedmaps, Leafly, Google, Yahoo or Bing Searches. One of my favorite SEO reports is the referrer page report which shows precise information on how new customers are finding your business.
|Top Referral Traffic|
This is actual real world data of one of our clients Green Collar Cannabis located in Tacoma Washington.
The first number is direct clicks which means customers actually typed in Green Collar Cannabis or some other variation of the brand name to reach the website. The numbers below that are of most interest to management. By far the largest number of traffic is coming from Google at 4366 clicks per month with the rest of referrers dropping off sharply after that. One thing you should notice is that Weedmaps and Leafly don’t even show up in the top 10. Even free website Potguide.com is bringing in more customers than the primary industry leaders. How could that be?
Well lets take a look at a actual search from Google and see what comes up
When we Search Tacoma Pot Shop we see that Google presents its three pack FIRST above all other searches. This use to be a 7 pack but google reduced it last year to force more business to pay for Google Ad words. Next below that we see whats called organic results. These are natural google listings that are not paid ads. This is important because 90 percent of consumers do NOT click on ads. Consumers have been trained to TRUST google listings that come up first because they think hey if Google Trust them so should I. The first website we see is Potguide.com which would make perfect sense because that is the highest ranked site in our referral list besides the major search engines and social media sites.
Leafly.com doesn’t come up until position 8 and Weedmaps isn’t even listed on the first page. From the chart above we can see that the first organic listing on search engines receive 36 percent of all clicks dropping in half for position 2 with positions 3 through 20 following..
Here is a comparison of Search Engine Market share from August 2016 vs. July 2016, with the previous month’s numbers in parentheses:
- Google: 79.88% (79.17%)
- Bing: 9.9% (10%)
- Yahoo!: 8.34% (8.87%)
- AOL: 0.84% (0.88%)
- DuckDuckGo: 0.41% (0.43%)
- Other: 0.62% (0.65%)
As of 2016 Google has 80 percent of the market share for online searches. From my experience the majority of recreational marijuana users will use their smart phone and then Google to find local businesses. Think about it? What do you use to find local businesses? Everybody knows Google. Only a few percentage of consumers are going to use Weedmaps or Leafly directly to find a place to buy marijuana. From this data above we can determine that SEO would be the best way for any small business to invest in finding new customers. Leafly.com and Weedmaps.com almost seem to bring in zero customers which does not cover the cost of marketing for the local cannabis business. Like I said before you should definitely ask new customers if they found you by using Weedmaps or Leafly I think you will be shocked by the results.
Isenselogic.com specializes in Recreational and Medical Marijuana Search Engine Optimization. Our packages for dispensaries start at $750 per month for small cities and max at $4000 for a month for large cities like Los Angeles or Denver. Check out some of our real world results for some of our clients by visiting our home page and call to receive a free SEO audit and competitor report. Whether you use our firm or another company don’t wait to start your SEO program, 40 percent of all customers do not search for a new marijuana dispensary after they find one. So every day you wait is loss market share. Isenselogic.com only does one dispensary per city as not to create a conflict of Interest.
How much does Leafly charge to Advertise? by codecafe