Once the proverbial North Star for cannabis enthusiasts seeking their nearest supply, Weedmaps has had an undeniable reign. Yet, as we approach the tail end of 2023, its escalating costs are causing many to question whether its throne in the industry is being threatened. Particularly for fully legalized, brick-and-mortar dispensaries, Weedmaps is beginning to feel more like a relic of the past.
In the days of clandestine operations and trap shops shuffling locations, Weedmaps was the essential connector between dispensaries and consumers. Its real-time updates and dynamic listings were invaluable in an environment where locations might change overnight.
Fast forward to today's legal market, the vast majority of dispensaries are established, stationary entities, with less need for such dynamism. Yet, even in this setting, most consumers stumbled upon Weedmaps simply because it dominated Google's search results. This, in itself, reveals the true battlefield: Google's rankings.
When someone types "dispensary near me" into Google, what's the first thing they should find? In an ideal scenario, it's your dispensary. But for years, due to its dominating SEO, it was Weedmaps.
Here's the game-changer: dispensaries are waking up to the reality that they can take control of this narrative. Through robust SEO strategies, businesses can optimize their websites, creating content that aligns with what potential customers are searching for. Over time, these efforts can organically push a dispensary's website higher up in search results, potentially even surpassing Weedmaps.
And for those eager to dominate the search results immediately, there's Google Ads. By strategically bidding on key terms relevant to their business, dispensaries can secure the coveted top spots in search results, ensuring they're the first thing potential customers see.
One of the most significant shifts in the legalized cannabis retail space is the move to integrated systems. Most legal dispensaries now host their menus on their websites, ensuring customers can browse products in real-time. Furthermore, modern Point-of-Sale (POS) systems offer seamless integrations with these online menus, making inventory management and customer experience smooth and hassle-free.
But why stop at Google? In our smartphone-driven world, SMS marketing is proving to be a potent tool. It allows dispensaries to engage with their clientele directly, sending promotions, updates, and personalized deals straight to their pockets. With impressive open rates, SMS marketing offers an intimacy that's hard to rival.
The key takeaway is clear: in a rapidly evolving market, adaptability is crucial. While Weedmaps served its purpose for a time, modern dispensaries must be forward-thinking, leveraging tools like SEO, Google Ads, and SMS marketing. By taking the reins and prioritizing these strategies, dispensaries can ensure that their digital presence is strong, their customer engagement is high, and their future in the industry is bright.