The recreational and medical marijuana business is competitive and cut throat. In order to survive and prosper business owners need to decide the best way to apply their advertising dollars to bring in more customers. No one will have a monopoly on the marijuana business because the strains and growing techniques are available to everyone. The best way to distinguish your business from others is customer service and applying your advertising budget and marketing cost effectively. My name is David and I am a former Microsoft Database Engineer, Medical Marijuana dispensary owner, Medical Marijuana Grower, owner of dispensaryexchange.com and Isenselogic.com We have unique insights into what Cannabis Business Owners are facing and have applied our knowledge in real world situations in the professions of search engine optimization and website design.
That moment you first open your doors you expect a lineup of customers and when that doesn’t happen you immediately start thinking about advertising your new business to the world. If you are selling weed to the general public you know that you have to be on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. You also might have been told you need to be on weedmaps or leafly which are the two most popular marijuana directories.
Weedmaps charges anywhere from $399 to $10,000 a month, whereas Lealfy charges anywhere from $450 to $995 a month. But how do most consumers find local businesses? It is though search engines mostly initiated from a mobile device. The best way to find out how users are searching for your business is to use a specialized SEO tool called a keyword explorer. This tool allows you to type in a search phrase and they will tell you how many people are typing in that keyword per month. For this example we will use MOZ.com’s keyword tool using the keyword (Marijuana Dispensary)
Here are the top 6 result for number of searches nationally per month. ** Note these numbers will be less per city, because Google will use the searches city location when resenting results.
- Dispensary Near Me 70,800
- Marijuana Dispensary 30,800
- Recreational Marijuana 9,300
- Weed Dispensary 6,500
- Pot Shops Near Me 3,300
Here is a heat map that shows where a majority of users click on Google or any other search engine.
You can learn more about Google heat maps here.
If you go to Google and just start typing you will see it autocomplete suggestions for you. The number one auto complete word for a marijuana dispensary is (Dispensary Near Me) That’s why it is critical to do keyword research before you build your website. If your website does not contain the text (dispensary near me) it is will be harder to show up on the first page of Google for that term.
Consumers use Google 90 percent of the time Bing and Yahoo are used 9 percent of the time. The other 1 percent type in the web address directly. Everybody knows Google or Bing. Very few people in the public know about Weedmaps or Leafly. If you go to Google right now type in Dispensaries near me you will see your local results.. Here is a picture of the results from my State of Bellevue Washington.
The top 3 search results are in what Google calls the 3-Pack. It is the first local results based on the city where Google detects from your browser. Below the local 3 pack is called organic searches. The important thing to know here is 97 percent of all users click on the top 3 results that are not ads. In other words 97 percent of your potential customers are going to your competitors if your business is not in the top 3 search results. As you can see Leafly and Weedmaps will normally show up in the lower organic results but as you can see from this heat map, nobody is clicking on these links. According to this information it would be imperative that a local marijuana business owner ensure that their website is optimized for Google and Bing.
9 REASONS WHY YOUR RECREATIONAL OR MEDICAL MARIJUANA BUSINESS NEEDS A RESPONSIVE SITE
1. YOUR CANNABIS BUSINESS WILL GAIN CREDIBILITY.
Whether you are a marijuana dispensary or a cannabis vendor having a website will give your business credibility and allow potential customers and suppliers to find you online. If you do not have a website potential customers will find your competitors instead. If you have a “home-made website having a professional redesigned responsive website will give your business a profession image and more importantly scale to current and future devices. There is little chance that your website will show up on Google’s first page if it is not designed and implanted correctly for SEO.
2. HAVING A WEBSITE FOR YOUR MARIJUANA BUSINESS SAVES YOU MONEY.
A business owner simply can NOT afford to have a website. The cost of designing a professional responsive website is less than you think and once it is up It only cost around $40 dollars a month for hosting service. That is a small price to pay for having an employee working for you 365 days a year 24 hours a day. If you compare the cost of a website versus a newspaper ad you will see that is a very cost effective way to promote your recreational or medical marijuana business.
3. IT WILL ENABLE YOU TO KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS INFORMED
There are many ways a website can help you keep your customers informed. Creating a newsletter and having users register their email is an awesome way to send out new deals or special events to your customers. Your website is your online brochure or catalog. It is much cheaper and efficient to update your website than to print brochures and mail them to your customer. By having a mailing list you can send new product and sales events to 10,000 customers for pennies.
4. IT IS ALWAYS ON 24 HOURS A DAY 365 DAYS A YEAR.
Your cannabis website is available to your customers even when you are asleep or on vacation. It doesn’t care about your schedule or your customers. This makes it a very effective tool of reach current and new customers.
5. RESPONSIVE WEBSITES LOAD FASTER.
People who use the internet, particular those who use mobile devises are often in motion. They like to get their information quickly. The longer a customer has to wait for a website to load the more likely they will go to your competitor’s website.
6. RESPONSIVE WEBSITES ARE READY FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE MOBILE DEVICES.
If you are looking to be in business long term then a responsive website is a great way to be ready for what customers currently use and what will be available in the future. New devices will include watches and glasses. When your website is responsive it will automatically adjust your website. This will save you money by not having to redesign it in the future. According to a study by Google (conducted by independent research firms Sterling Research and SmithGeiger), 74% of those who visited a mobile-friendly site said they were likely to return to the site in the future and 67% said they were more likely to buy a product or service from a mobile-friendly site.
7. WEBSITES THAT ARE NOT MOBILE FRIENDLY CAN GIVE THE BUSINESS A BAD REPUTATION
In the study above, 49 percent of customers expressed disappointment when viewing websites that were not mobile friendly. That same group of customers said they felt like the company didn’t care about their business if their website didn’t function properly. Additionally, 34 per cent felt like their time was wasted and 58 percent said they would likely do business with that company in the future.
8. 80 PERCENT OF LOCAL SEARCHES CONVERT TO SALES
That is not a typo. 80 percent of searches on mobile devices will lead to the customer coming to your business. This is because people who use mobile search are on the go and are ready to make a purchasing decision at that moment. Is local search important for your weed business? A Local Search Study completed by Neustar Localeze shows that four out of five local searches result in a purchase—and 73% of those purchases were done in a brick-and-mortar store.
Websites that are optimized for mobile outrank static sites in SERPS. Because Google is always looking for ways to improve the user experience It’s search algorithms favor mobile sites over static sites due to the improved user experience and faster loading times that mobile-friendly sites provide.
9. BUSINESSES WITH STATIC WEBSITES LOOK OLD.
Having a recreational or medical marijuana website that can’t be easily navigated by mobile customers can make a business look run-down, much like a store front on a brick-or-mortar building that hasn’t been kept up. When you think about it, where would you make a purchase—at the shiny, new store with the latest gadgets or the dumpy, outdated store on the corner with the Commodore 64 set in the front window?
Businesses with static sites risk looking antiquated. And not in the cool Antique Car Show kind of way.
Responsive design can help your business stay ahead of the competition. Responsive design has taken off in the last couple of years, so most businesses have not switched over yet. Get a leg up on your competition by upgrading to a responsive website before they do. One quick way to tell if a site is responsive is to minimize the width of your browser window. If the site automatically adjusts to the new size,then it is mobile ready
In conclusion, the two most important ways to bring customers to your business is to engage in Search Engine Optimization and to have a professional responsive website site for your Cannabis Business. Our SEO plans start for only $179 a month and our responsive mobile ready websites start at only $249 and once you see the results in more foot traffic you will find that it is the most cost effective way to increase sales revenue for your marijuana business.
Click Here to get a Free Keyword Search and SEO Audit of your business today!