Cannabis entrepreneurs that depend on Weedmaps, Leafly, or Dutchie for their dispensary website are potentially leaving millions of dollars in revenue on the table. In order to capture more online sales in the cannabis industry, business owners must have a branded website for their retail, cultivation, and production licensed facilities. Vertically integrated companies benefit by having all elements of their business under a single domain.
The Problem With Only Using Weedmaps as a Cannabis Website
Why should a cannabis company pay a premium price in order to sell products directly alongside their competition? How does limiting a company’s branding capabilities and putting them directly in competition with other products maximize sales for a cannabis brand? Brand awareness is one of the benefits of the Weedmaps platform, and it can be great to help customers in a specific state to locate products that they love; however, the average consumer will go to google first. Weedmaps has its place in the cannabis industry and companies can benefit from the platform, but in the long run, traditional digital marketing channels will be more effective at driving sales and growing revenue for your company.
Cannabis Website Design: Target User Experience
Websites should not function like virtual billboards, but should be lead/revenue generating machines. It’s important to remember that no matter how beautiful a website is, it won’t convert a user into a sale unless you consider their experience when interacting with the site/app.
UX/UI design and website performance are the most important elements of a cannabis website. Ensuring that the website is mobile responsive is crucial, especially when over half of web traffic comes from mobile users. Consumers only buy from websites that they trust, so ensuring your site is secure and has a fast loading time can help reduce your bounce rate. Having a clear CTA (call to action) that allows the user to start shopping immediately equates to higher conversion rates. Guide your customers on where you want them to go rather than waste their time by making your website difficult to navigate. Limit one CTA per page to avoid confusion. Be mindful of the fact cannabis website’s have to include an age gate to allow access, in which this is already one interaction the user has to complete to even access the site. Try to limit the number of intrusive elements to your user experience (tons of popups that a user has to close out, loyalty/email signup, ect).
Optimize Cannabis Website Mobile and Desktop Performance
90 percent of users said they have stopped using an app due to poor performance. Low interactivity, low response times, and slow loading speeds will all result in a higher bounce rate. Cannabis websites with high bounce rates have lower conversion rates and less visibility on google. In an age of low attention spans, cannabis marketers and developers must run monthly audits on their website performance to insure that the site is performing well for the user. Use Google’s free tool – Google Lighthouse to check both mobile and desktop backend performance. Cross examining Google Analytics and Google Search Console with the Lighthouse tool can give you a clearer picture of who your audience is and how they interact with your website.
Mobile optimization should take precedence over desktop optimization because of the growing number of mobile users. Users are using their mobile devices to browse their favorite dispensary menu, daily deals, new arrivals, and more. Focus on providing the absolute best mobile experience for your cannabis customers and increased sales will follow. Make the experience both online and at the store an informative positive experience that adds value to your customers.
Here are tips to improve loading and response times on a cannabis website:
- Compress large media files
- Delete useless media
- Limit animation
- Limit carousels and sliders
Tell Your Cannabis Brand’s Story
Websites are still the most powerful form of digital real estate for cannabis companies because of the harsh regulations on social media. Cannabis brands can create unfiltered content on their own domains. Creating a vibe or environment online that fits with the brand in real life is key when trying to connect with customers. Cannabis brands should tell the stories that make them different from their competition. Adding the faces of the brand to the website allows customers to personally connect with the brand. Brands should feature a strong “about” section that establishes the company’s culture.
Sales Funnels That Engage Cannabis Customers
Social media alone will not generate more sales for cannabis businesses. An omni-channel marketing approach allows cannabis brands to connect with the customer from multiple touch points during the customer’s journey. Here are the 3 most important elements that should be included in a cannabis website sales funnel:
Uploading current reviews from Google, Facebook, Weedmaps, or yelp to a cannabis home page can be a game changer. There are tools and plug-in that allow cannabis marketers to embed their live google reviews directly into the website. This saves time so no one has to manage or filter out reviews for the site. The user is also able to leave a read and leave a review directly on the site without leaving the domain. Keeping users glued to the site will help improve conversion rates. Reviews build trust with customers and help them make decisions when in the consideration stage of the customer’s journey.
Cannabis Blog Marketing
The best way to educate and inform cannabis consumers about products, delivery methods, and cannabis innovations is to create a monthly blog. Cannabis brands must engage cannabis customers by answering the burning questions. There is a lot of information to digest in the cannabis space, and because of prohibition there is a good amount of false information that comes from big media outlets. Cannabis brands must establish themselves as the authority on cannabis information. People should go directly to the source for cannabis knowledge, not huge corporations with anti-cannabis interests. Blogging drives sales by increasing the visibility on search engine platforms. Google is the most visited website in the world, so it’s not surprising that it is more effective at converting sales than social media.
Customer Loyalty Programs and Cannabis Email Marketing
Customer retention is extremely important in the cannabis retail industry; however, it is critical for producers and cultivators to take advantage in loyalty programs that incorporate email and SMS text message marketing. All cannabis companies benefit from targeted loyalty campaigns. Generating lists for different demographics and sending them personalized messages helps customers resonate with the brands they buy. Offer special promotion, customized deals, newsletters, and feature cannabis blogs to drive sales from existing business. Alpine QI is a great platform that allows cannabis business owners to stay compliant and manage their campaigns effectively.
Cannabis SEO Optimization
The final element to consider when creating a branded cannabis website is to consider technical and on-page SEO. The name of the game is to make the backend of the website crawlable for google to index. Learn more about Cannabis SEO to further optimize a cannabis website. Google is the most visited website on earth. Having visibility on the biggest digital platform is extremely important.
POS and Ecommerce Integration
Dutchie and Weedmaps are very good tools to use to set up easy e-commerce for cannabis websites. The best experience for customers would be creating a custom coded ecommerce build for the cannabis website; however, this would be very costly and take up a good amount of time. Once the branded cannabis website is complete it is easy to just embed platforms like dutchie into the site in order to allow customers to place orders online for pickup or delivery. The interface of these tools alone are clunky and not focused on user experience, so it is very important to have a branded site as the main landing page.
Dutchie is the most popular online ecommerce setup for cannabis companies because of its metric integration feature. Metric is the seed to sale tracking system that 90% of states that have legal cannabis programs use to track and regulate inventory. Cannabis dispensaries need to be able to update their inventory live on both the consumer menu side and the back end metric tracking system.
Conclusion – Why Cannabis Websites Are Important
All sales online take place on the company’s domain with their branded website. All of the messaging that brands seek to feed to their target audience must be sent from their site. The reality is that cannabis social media marketing is very complex and challenging to navigate, so it should be used as a lead generation platform that drives cannabis customers down the funnel of landing on the cannabis website to receive unfiltered information, signing up for the loyalty program to get direct advertisements from the company, and engaging with content that resonates with them. Sales don’t happen directly on other channels, so websites are the most effective way to sell cannabis products to consumers. Cannabis brands must remember to stay up to date with their state regulations, and make sure that their website is compliant with state laws.
Need a Cannabis Website or a Redesign?
If you’re in need of a website makeover or you need a branded landing page for your dutchie menu Dagga Digital Marketing can help you bring your business to life online. Brand optimization is our thing. We help cannabis brands establish market authority and scale their business by creating additional revenue streams and exclusive partnerships.