The Importance of Internet Marketing for Marijuana Businesses

With over 24 states legalizing the use of medical marijuana, it is more evident than ever that marijuana has gained acceptance for its healing qualities. Legalization is becoming a practical reality with Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana.

Many dispensaries and marijuana businesses mistakenly think they do not need Internet marketing. Here are five reasons to change that way of thinking.

1. There are thousands of searches on Google every month for marijuana businesses. The public is trying to find you. Are you visible? Most marijuana websites have not employed professional optimization techniques.

2. Weed Maps is NOT the only game in town. Just like Expedia for travel, some use Weed Maps to find dispensaries. However, Weed Maps is only one way people find you. Web surfers also find your competition on directories. All directories peak and then decline when people want more specific information that they can find via their own web research.

3. Most people looking for you on smartphones are doing a Google local search. Up to 60-70 percent of all searches for dispensaries are on smart phones! Is your website responsive? Do you have a local marketing directory strategy? Are you encouraging Google reviews?

4. Just because you are busy now does not mean you will be busy forever. Plan ahead and have an ongoing Internet marketing strategy.

5. It is amazing how many marijuana businesses fail to grasp the importance of having a well designed, responsive website. Websites help you get found in Google searches. Yes, that still matters. Websites also tie to local listings and local searches. Finally, Google favors businesses that cultivate new website content regularly.

Digital 303 is the first company in the marijuana industry to offer digital marketing systems and Internet marketing services, specifically tailored to the marijuana industry. Digital marketing (or online marketing) is becoming more advanced every day. As people use the Internet 24/7, and smartphones become more sophisticated, online marketing strategies are more important than ever.

Q. Why do I even need a website? People don’t use it to find me anymore.

A. Incorrect! Your website is still your mother ship. Don’t be fooled. Potential customers use Google to find anything and everything. Whether accessed by a computer or smartphone, your website is still what Google uses to classify and rank your business. Don’t have a homemade looking website. Make sure it is also “responsive,” which means it will display properly on all types of computers, whether a standard computer screen, smartphone or tablet.

Some people think that because they have a Facebook account that they don’t need to concentrate any effort on their website. This is also flawed thinking. For all its hype, Facebook yields a far lower return on investment than having a solid website with basic search engine optimization.

Why You Need Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In the early days of the Internet, no one paid much attention to optimizing websites for consumers who typed in combinations of keywords to find desired products and services. The businesses that did recognize the importance of SEO have had an unfair advantage over businesses that did not.

Did you know that there are hundreds of thousands of searches on Google for marijuana businesses every month? Did you also know that almost no marijuana websites are currently optimized to capture that huge audience? The chart below shows the number of searches each month for some basic marijuana dispensary terms. Most marijuana businesses do not show up for key search terms!

Marijuana businesses with websites that are professionally optimized perform better in search engines, make more money and set themselves up for long-term return on investment success.

Social Media Marketing
It is important to have a social media marketing strategy that compliments your website content. One mistake marijuana businesses make is to think that social media marketing is all that matters when it comes to online marketing. While social media continues to grow in importance, it usually does not yield as much revenue as Google search, website traffic and local search. The goal of social media is brand awareness and engagement. Facebook is still the best social channel for marijuana businesses. It is important to have consistent branding across all your social media channels and focus on engagement (likes, shares and comments) to build your brand.

Local Marketing
Ninety percent of all people consult a local review before selecting a restaurant. People using smartphones to find your marijuana business are not going to use Weed Maps. They are going to find those businesses with the best local directory listings, as in map listings on Google and Apple maps. Having an ongoing local marketing strategy is key to a successful digital marketing strategy for your marijuana business. Make sure you encourage Google Reviews not Weedmap reviews.

Just because your business is booming now does not mean it will be successful forever. Where will you find new customers when competition increases? As the Internet changes, businesses must change too. Marijuana businesses have the rare opportunity to be the first to capitalize on Internet marketing strategies that are proven to work in all industries. Make sure you are not asleep at the wheel. Now is the perfect time to gain an advantage over your competition and claim your rightful place within the search engine money train.

About Digital 303
The founder of Digital 303 is one of the leading experts in the U.S. on website design, usability, search engine optimization, social media marketing and local marketing. Digital 303 is NOT another startup trying to cash in on the green rush. Instead, we are passionate professionals who have been doing Internet marketing for over 15 years! Digital 303 offers digital marketing systems, website design and Internet marketing services exclusively to the marijuana industry. Call the pros at Digital 303 today at 800-420-9694.