Traditional marketing tips don’t always work for the cannabis industry – especially when it comes to medical dispensaries. With compliance regulations, target market, and industry-specific software in mind, we created a list of marketing tactics made just for medical dispensaries.
1. Relationship-Focused Patient Data
Having access to useful patient data is the backbone to a successful marketing strategy. In addition to contact information, you should also collect data that will help you personalize your relationship with that patient. This may include patient communication preferences, ailments and medical conditions, alternative therapies, and even their interests and hobbies.
The best and easiest way to collect and use this data all within one platform is through the Baker CRM. You can collect relationship-focused patient data from your website as well as in person – either in your store or at events. You can then use this information in your communication and marketing campaigns to provide customized communications based on what is relevant to that individual.
2. Offer Online Ordering
Your online menu and e-commerce or product reservation system should be found directly on your website – not a third-party marketplace. It should enable customers to explore and learn about your product, as well as place an order or reservation.
This makes ordering more convenient for all of your customers and guarantees that they’ll get the products they want. It is especially important to those may have a difficult time getting to your dispensary. After all, 25% of consumers won’t come into your store if they’re concerned about product availability. This concern is even greater among patients that have difficulty accessing your dispensary, whether it’s due to location or something else.
For example, you are likely to have patients that are mobily restricted and find it difficult to get around – they may even require a caregiver to pick up their product. Other patients may need to endure dense traffic or travel long distances to access your dispensary. As Scott Machover, a Senior Territory Manager at Baker said, “In some markets, like Connecticut and Massachusetts the landscape is dotted with only a few dispensaries, and patients may need to travel long distances to get a specific product. They will drive far to get ‘Tincture X.’ But if they show up and you’re out of this product, it will be a major inconvenience. If it happens consistently, they may search for a new dispensary – and they certainly won’t be referring you to their friends.”
3. Send Product Notifications
A product notification is sent to inform patients about product availability – especially when it is restocked. As noted, this is especially important to patients if there aren’t many dispensaries in your area, so accessing their medicine is difficult.
As Scott, a medical patient himself says, “Even the regular recreational cannabis consumer who isn’t actually using this for medical purposes is very specific about the strains they like. The medical patients...even more so. So it’s even more important to let them know when something is back in stock.”
A product restock alert isn’t the only use for product notifications. Another helpful notification is when you are running out of a product. For example, you can send a Connect SMS campaign, that says, "We're running low on 'Product X' so if you're running low too, we recommend you go online and reserve it now!"
Many dispensaries still use the traditional ‘pen and paper method’ to run product restock notifications. They write down who wants to know about what product, then call them when it is back in stock. But a more efficient method is to use Baker to simply schedule a customizable text message to everyone that requested information about ‘Product X.’
4. Patient Referral Program
If you’re not already, start a program where you reward your patients for bringing you new business. This is especially effective for residents of a nursing home or community where they are surrounded by others that may be interested in using cannabis as an alternative medicine.
Referral programs are so effective because a single referral from a trusted source (such as a friend, family member or colleague) provides enough social proof to convert a customer – all at little to no additional cost to you.
To run an effective referral program, you will first need to determine an incentive for your patients and how you plan to track referrals. Once you’ve laid the foundation of your program, you can begin promoting it. Promote it in-store through customer facing signage and materials or through in-person communication. You can also send an email or text message to all your patients, reminding them of the program.
5. Educational Content
Providing educational content will help you find new patients, and establish yourself as a trusted source for both current and future patients or practitioners. It can take the form of an email, blog, a resources page on your website or even through an event. On your website, a resources or blog page may include any of the following:
- Reports and studies about using cannabis as a medicine
- Information about product types and usage methods
- Qualifying conditions in your state
- How to become a qualified patient
- How to become a qualified practitioner
An example of a medical dispensary that provides great patient resources on their website is our client, Curaleaf.
Additionally, events can be a great way to provide patient and community education. Patient education days allow you to educate and connect with future and current patients. You can learn more about this in the “Patient Education Events” section of the, “Why Events Are Crucial to Medical Dispensary Marketing” blog.
6. SMS and Email Campaigns
You should have a system in place that allows you to have consistent communication with your customers to build relationships and provide them with useful information – such as product notifications and educational content.
Examples of communications you might send out are:
- Restock notifications
- Newly released studies relating to their ailments
- Event reminders – such as patient education and customer appreciation days
- Newly stocked or released products that may be relevant to the patient
- Hours of operation
Although some of your communications may go out to your entire patient-base, it’s important to use your relationship-focused patient data to filter and personalize these communications. Many medical dispensaries like to customize these based on ailment (eg. arthritis, ptsd etc.). You can also also filter by product preferences such as flower, concentrates, topicals or edibles.
In addition to considering personalization and communication preferences, you should also keep in mind the frequency of your communication. Find more ideas and tips in “Customer Communication Tips for Dispensaries.”
7. Give Back to Your Patients
Establishing some way to give back and show appreciation for your patients is key to patient loyalty. This might be a first-time patient gift bag, hosting a customer appreciation BBQ, or even a loyalty program. At first this may sound unusual. A loyalty program for a medical dispensary? This may not look like your traditional loyalty program. Instead you may offer rewards that are in alignment with patient interests like a yoga mat or healthy eating cooking class.
These programs will incentivize patients to continue shopping with you over your competitors. Additionally, receiving rewards will likely result in your patients creating a positive association with visiting your dispensary.
There you have it -- some of the ways you can attract and keep your patients as a medical dispensary. If you missed it, also be sure to check out our last post about event marketing for medical dispensaries.
To learn more about how the Baker marketing platform can help your medical dispensary, Request a custom demo today!