Opening the doors to a new cannabis dispensary can be a challenging task, especially in a crowded market with established players. Public relations (PR) is a critical tool to spread awareness, reach new customers, and build trust among local and regional communities and consumers. According to PwC’s 2022 Consumer Intelligence Series Survey on Trust, “Almost nine in 10 (87%) executives think consumers have a high level of trust in their businesses. But only 30% of consumers say they do. Elsewhere, the gap between executives’ estimations of employee trust and the reality is much narrower: 84% of business leaders say employee trust is high, compared to 69% of employees. These gaps between perceptions of the level of trust are important because employees and consumers are business leaders’ two most important stakeholder groups.”
Are you guilty of blindly assuming consumers will trust you right off-the-bat because of a logo, how your dispensary looks when they drive by, or because of a flash sale? Oh, and if you’re banking on your customer experience to build trust (a must!), make sure you have a plan to get them to trust you before so they feel comfortable walking into your dispensary for the first time.
Follow these five strategies to give your new cannabis dispensary an early boost in foot traffic and to position itself for long-term success:
Define your target audience
Identifying your target audience is the first step in any successful PR campaign. This will help you tailor your messages to the right people and reach the right consumers at the right time for the right reasons. Always be clear on who you’re communicating with and why it’s relevant to them.
Build relationships with local media
Building relationships with local media can be a valuable asset for new cannabis dispensaries. Local journalists can help spread the word about your business, and getting featured in local media can help build your credibility and establish you as a trusted business and source of information. The more people see your cannabis dispensary’s name, the building, its staff, etc… the more comfortable they will feel to try it out for the first time.
Use social media effectively
Social media is an excellent resource for spreading awareness about your cannabis dispensary and connecting with its customers. Yes, there are challenges with certain platforms being more restrictive over what cannabis companies can/can not post. Working with someone who is well-versed in the do’s and dont’s of cannabis-related social media marketing is definitely recommended.
Host events and promotions
Hosting events and promotions is a great way to engage with the local community and attract new customers. Whether it's a grand opening celebration or a charity event, events and promotions can help generate buzz and build your brand. It’s one thing to say you stand for something, but doing something that backs it up is another thing. Don’t be shy about getting involved in your local community, partnering with local businesses, and hosting events. This will likely help break any negative stigmas locals have about a “pot shop” coming into town.
Share positive customer reviews and testimonials
Sharing positive customer reviews and testimonials is a powerful way to build trust and credibility. Encouraging customers to share their experiences on social media, publishing them on your website, or capturing them through another mechanism that makes it easy can help attract new customers, spread positive word of mouth, and simultaneously build your reputation.
Establish a strong online presence
Establishing a strong online presence is essential for any new cannabis dispensary. Your website should be professional, informative, easy to navigate, and should utilize SEO best practices to ensure that your new cannabis dispensary is visible in search engine results. A great way of leveraging PR to create a strong online presence is through interviews, writing guest articles and blogs, joining podcasts, and back-linking that coverage to your website. This is an added bonus of a well-thought out PR strategy that will contribute to boosting SEO over time.
PR is an essential tool for new cannabis dispensaries looking to amplify awareness, build trust, establish a new customer base, and drive foot traffic. With these strategies, new cannabis dispensaries can create a competitive advantage for themselves to achieve their grand opening goals and build a long-lasting business that serves their community.
Get in touch with Green Lane Communication today to learn more about how we can help support your cannabis dispensary’s grand opening PR efforts.