So, you’ve set up your own dispensary and is now ready to engage in the booming cannabis retail competition? As you might have already heard, switching that “Open” sign is just the start of the game. The next step is even trickier: marketing your dispensary and attracting as many customers as possible. But how can you do that exactly?
Believe it or not, simply creating a website and social media accounts isn’t enough to drive customers straight into your cannabis business. In fact, when someone is on the lookout for cannabis products, you can’t expect that your business will be the one he or she will automatically search for.
Oftentimes, when a person wants to learn about something, he or she is most likely turn to online search engines, such as Google.
If you’re one among those who are searching for ways to stand out within the hypercompetitive industry of cannabis retail, securing a place on Google Maps and Google reviews should be part of your must-dos.
Here’s why …
The Cannabis Industry in the Time of Google
As you might have already observed, the advent of Google has dramatically changed the commercial landscape. From what to buy, where to buy, to how to buy, the popular search engine has greatly affected consumers’ purchasing decisions.
Sure, while other search engines exist, such as Yahoo! and Bing, the extent of Google’s power and influence remain supreme. In fact, the platform has become so popular that its name has now become synonymous with the internet.
With this, it comes as a no surprise that businesses all over the world are trying their best to maximize Google’s potential to reach out and influence buyers for their own commercial advantage.
In the cannabis industry, especially, Google serves similarly to an all-powerful tool that helps cannabis entrepreneurs break barriers and solidify the sector’s mass base amid the age of progressive cannabis reform. What was once vague, difficult, and dangerous, has now become clearer, easier, and faster, thanks to Google’s technology.
Sure, while the search engine has prohibited cannabis companies from marketing marijuana and other cannabis-related products and services using paid advertising, it still left a space for dispensaries to reach out to a broader and targeted audience through effective digital strategies.
Normally, there are tons of effective digital strategies that enable dispensaries to take advantage of Google’s influence and turn it to their favour. Among which include turning to Google Reviews and Google Maps.
Google Maps and Google Reviews: What are They?
Ever tried looking for a place or a business via Google? If yes, you’ve probably observed the category titled “Maps” just beside the “All” option below the search bar. When you click on it, you’ll be directed to a detailed online map that demonstrates the geographical information of the place you’ve searched for.
This feature is what we call Google Maps.
To simply explain, Google Maps serves as a web mapping service developed by Google to help people easily locate places and businesses, get guides and directions, and discover other geographical details about a place.
More than just a map, the feature serves as an interactive atlas, which lets individuals learn how they can get to a place and what to expect when they go there.
Specifically, it comes with a satellite imagery and a route planner feature, which offers detailed directions for drivers, bikers, walkers, and users of public transportation on how they can get to a specific location. On top of that, there are also available photos of places, which people can rely on to know how a particular place or store looks like in person. They can also take advantage of the platform’s 360° interactive panoramic views of streets to digitally explore their target location.
To date, Google Maps serves as the most used navigation app on the market.
While going through Google Maps, you might have observed how there are rates and reviews available relating to the businesses you’re searching for just below their geographical details. Those testimonials and comments are what we call Google Reviews.
Essentially, Google Reviews serve as an integrated feature within Google Maps, which allow individuals to leave relevant reviews about their experiences with a business and its service and products.
Unlike Google Maps, which was launched on 2005, Google Reviews was only introduced in 2007. At the time, Jonathan Goldman, Software Engineer for Google Maps published a blog post announcing that customers can start sharing their reviews about businesses online.
More than a decade later, Google Reviews now stands as among the fastest-growing review sites on the market.
How Can Google Maps and Google Reviews Benefit Your Dispensary?
As mentioned earlier, Google has banned businesses from promoting marijuana and other related products via paid ads. With this, dispensaries are left with no other choice but to develop local awareness of their businesses via effective digital marketing solutions. Among which include having credible customer reviews and being atop the Google Maps listings.
They improve local search ranking
With the dawn of the internet era, it’s no secret that individuals have now been trained to rely on online search engines, such as Google, to know what they should buy and where they should buy it.
However, on the part of entrepreneurs, this means more heated competition in the market.
Since it is a common practice for people to not go way beyond the first page result of Google, businesses are tasked to make it as their goal to be among the first names to appear on the results when a potential customer searches for topics that are related to what they can offer.
This marketing goal, of course, is applicable to owners of marijuana dispensaries as well. When someone searches for topics related to marijuana online, it’s only wise for cannabis retailers to aim that their businesses will be on the top results of Google.
Now, this is where the roles of Google Maps and Google Reviews come into light.
Generally, when you add your business to Google Maps listing, it helps make your dispensary visible to more potential customers, thereby increasing your chances of appearing in related results.
Normally, Google search engine results pages (SERPs) works by listing maps based on users’ location and the keywords they’ve used on their search. This makes Google Map particularly useful for marijuana businesses that are marketing to a local audience.
Meanwhile, securing customer reviews also help boost your business’ local search ranking as they serve as an SEO ranking factor.
Think of them as similar to word-of-mouth recommendations. When your business offers reviews from past customers, it helps make your business stand out from the crowd, thereby making it more visible.
They build Brand Credibility
Of course, another perk that comes with putting your dispensary on Google Maps and Reviews is that it makes your business appear more credible.
Since the cannabis industry still has its fair share of myths and misconceptions, it’s normal for customers to consult first what they trust the most before making their purchase: Google.
By showing the exact location of your business and offering testimonials from previous clients, it will be easier for your business to gain the trust of potential customers.
More importantly, such act of transparency also means that your business doesn’t have anything to hide and coverup and is ready to assist customers with great service and quality products.
They Tell Customers What to Do
Last but not the least, having your business on Google Maps and securing Google reviews is somewhat similar to telling your potential customers what they should do.
Since almost all the necessary details about your dispensary will be displayed, including your address, hours of operation, product info (through customer reviews), contact details, and driving directions, you can expect that interested customers will already know how they can reach out to you.
In a way, this is a way to giving your potential buyers the utmost convenience, which can serve as a determining factor that will influence them to choose your dispensary over other available businesses.
The Bottom Line
As today’s digital environment continues to push us closer to Google, putting up your business in Google Maps and Google Reviews can help boost its visibility and online presence.
Hopefully, by now, you already have a fair understanding on why Google Maps and Google Reviews hold a vital role in effective digital strategies.
To know more, feel free to reach out to digital marketing agencies today!