The Busy Dispensary Owner's Guide to 4/20 Marketing
April 20th (AKA 4/20, AKA 420) is the highest grossing marijuana dispensary sales holiday of the entire first half of the year. By taking the time to plan your marketing strategy, you will be able to maximize your dispensary’s sales during this bud-tastic holiday. Doing so sets your dispensary and its brand up to have a more successful 4/20, and a more profitable year.
Maximizing your marketing opportunities from 4/20 doesn’t just mean having significantly increased revenue on the holiday. It doesn’t even mean having higher sales numbers for the entire month of April.
No, having your dispensary succeed on 4/20 means seeing an increase in sales leading up to April 20th and seeing higher sales throughout the rest of year.
Because your marketing efforts should keep those customers coming back. They shouldn’t just drop in once to get a great sale, never to come back because they didn’t have incentive to go to your dispensary over a closer or cheaper own.
In order for your dispensary to succeed on 4/20, you need to create a solid digital marketing plan. It should be created in a way to help you attract large numbers of new and existing customers, to keep your audience engaged with your dispensary brand, to maximize the revenue of the holiday, and to incentivize your customers to come back after April 20th.
An effective digital marketing plan to help your dispensary succeed on 4/20 starts long before any of your target customers have even made their plans for the stoner holiday.
Creating a successful plan starts now, with these 4/20 marketing tips I compiled to help your dispensary succeed on this stoner-ific holiday.
01 | Attract Customers to Your Dispensary
The first step to maximizing your dispensary’s revenue on 4/20 is to draw customers to your brand and create more opportunities to reach them before the weed-tastic holiday approaches.
Expand your audience now, and you’ll be able to boost the efforts you make after the holiday.
Here are a few tips to get started today:
01. Update Your Leafly Menu
It’s going to be hard to attract customers to your dispensary if they don’t don’t know what you’re carrying, or what 4/20 promotions you have going on.
Be sure to update your Leafly menu to show the products you’re going to have stocked and ready for 4/20, as well as all the killer deals you’ll be offering.
Regularly update your menu throughout the day, and replace any items that run out with another similar item or marijuana strain.
02. Build Your Email List
Back in March, you should have been asking customers to opt into receiving newsletters and other communications from you. This includes reading the killer specials your dispensary is offering for the 4/20 holiday.
For example, an email copy’s main selling point could be something like, “Our dispensary has some BIG things in the works for 4/20, so make sure you don’t miss out!”
This creates a sense of exclusivity, encouragement, and excitement. It makes them want to find out just what those “BIG things in the work for 4/20” are, and what all the anticipation is for.
Some people may not want to join the general list just for the holiday. That’s okay. Just let them know about all the other great promotions, discounts, recommendations, and special offers your brand creates exclusively for email list subscribers.
Some easy ways to leverage your subscriber list when it’s not the 4/20 holiday month include:
- Recommend marijuana strains that are good cross-sell fits and cannabis products that are just outside of their favorites
- Use graphics and images to announce new products, such as new edibles, glass pieces, or marijuana strains
- Put together some in-store or local community events your customers would be interested in
- Link to the latest blog post or other content on your dispensary website (For example: 10 Myths About 420 You’ve Got to Stop Believing)
Train your budtenders to ask customers if they would be interested in signing up. Include a small discount (5% to 10% OFF) for joining your list, and them know about any future rewards they can collect for their dispensary loyalty.
03. Plan Targeted 4/20 Email Campaign
April is finally here, so you want to make sure you are sending out a targeted email campaign dedicated to 4/20 specials, promotions, and discounts.
Put this together as soon as you can. That way, you can start getting the word out and telling everyone you can about your Tacoma dispensary 4/20 promotions and deals.
If your dispensary has a special event planned for the 420 holiday, or you have some new inventory and lit deals you don’t want your customers to miss, highlight those promotions and products in a special 4/20 email marketing campaign.
If you send one this week, follow it up early during the following week as a reminder to your customers. You don’t want to have them miss epic sales because they didn’t know!
04. Create Video Content
Gather some other industry professionals, or talk to your bartenders, and put together a video series on YouTube, dedicated to different cannabis topics your customers would find engaging and interesting.
Check out the video channels of other dispensaries in your area. See what kind of content they create. Leave them comments on their videos, always remaining positive.
02 | Use Multiple Marketing Channels
Build anticipation of your 4/20 deals on multiple social media channels and distribution outlets. Then, follow it up with an email to your dispensary’s list subscribers - - both those you already had and the new subscribers who only recently signed up.
For example: Offer your customers a sneak peek at the 4/20 deals on Snapchat and Instagram, and then disclose the full details of those deals in an email newsletter. That’s three unique brand impressions per list subscriber - - and all before any of them set foot in your dispensary for 4/20!
You can also work on improving your newsletter open rates by using a subject line that’s just far too good to ignore. For example, try a subject line like, “Exclusive 420 deals inside - - for subscriber eyes only”
Enticing and effective, your subscribers won’t be able to resist!
03 | Expand Your Reach
Social proof and word-of-mouth advertising have long held their place as best ways for expanding your reach, increasing brand awareness and gaining new customers. In fact, word-of-mouth advertising is so effective, 92% of buyers trust the recommendations from their friends over random ads they see.
You can leverage this social proof in your own dispensary marketing efforts. Ask and encourage your current dispensary customers to help you spread the word about your dispensary to potential new customers.
Educate your customers on how they can make marijuana more accessible to others around them and within their own digital networks. Show them your blog content, and provide your customers with an overview of your content, so they can show their friends.
A great way to get your customers to become advocates for your dispensary brand is to offer gifts to new customers closer to 4/20.
This could be something like giving all new customers a small gift, such as joints, a discounted grinder, or special discounts.
These small gifts help make cannabis products more accessible to both your targeted audience and the general public. By expanding your reach in this way, it’s easier for new customers to find your dispensary and participate in 4/20, which it’s for the 1st or 10th time.
Expanding your reach in this way makes it easier for your dispensary to increase the sales of new products, have customers tell their friends and social media about your business, and destigmatize the use of cannabis.
01. Get Social
Boost engagement by offering valuable discounts to those who help expand your dispensary brand reach by spreading the word about your dispensary’s 4/20 specials and pot shop as a whole.
Ask your followers for a Retweet, Facebook check-in, or location tag on an Instagram picture for an extra discount or special offer.
These are quick and easy ways for customers to feel part of something, in addition to providing their own unique benefits for your brand awareness. If you can make the discount valid for a date after 4/20, then you’ll have a better chance of converting these new individuals into repeat customers.
Combine branded hashtags with holiday and industry hashtags to broaden your reach. For example, you could create entire social media marketing campaign for the stoner holiday with a hashtag #420city or #brand420sales.
Hashtags allow potential customers to search for, and find, posts related to that keyword. These results may also inspire some additional hashtag ideas you can use to expand your reach.
04 | Plan for the Rest of the Year
Plan for what happens after the smoke from 4/20 has finally settled.
Ask customers what vendors they want to see on sale for the popular stoner holiday. Find out if there are any products they’ve wanted to try, but couldn’t find. Use this feedback to coordinate a vendor sales day with your customers’ favorite cannabis producers.
When they get great deals on products they’ve been interested in, from vendors they love, they’re far more likely to come back and buy more. Asking for this information before the 4/20 holiday will make it easier to coordinate with, and lock in, the vendors your customers like the most.
01. Show Value in the Dispensary Brand
You want to be prepared, and you want to build anticipation and excitement. However, you don’t want to go slamming your customers with a couple weeks’ of poorly-targeted or generally overdone advertising content.
Promoting your products can definitely help your dispensary, but you need to also remember to always provide obvious value.
Create content or share information that grabs reader attention. This could be:
10 Things to Do On 4/20
Top 420 Events in [Your City]
Our Favorite 420 Memes
Light-heartedly funny content tends to do well on social media, including being some of the most frequently shared content.
4/20 is a stoner holiday, after all, so keep your 4/20 marketing educational, entertaining, and casual.
02. Look to Previous Year of 4/20 Sales
Start out by looking through the data for last year’s 4/20 sales. This will show you exactly which products sold the best. You can then use that information to raise the prices on your most popular 4/20 products just before the holiday. This could be something as small as single pre-rolls, 2-pk of prerolls, or single-serving edibles.
Additionally, you can use that data to decide how to stock your inventory and fill in any gaps you may have noticed from last year.
Were half-ounce jars particularly popular? Make sure you’ve got plenty this year.
Did you sell out of certain vape supplies, such as the IndigoPro Vape Pen, earlier than you expected? You may want to order more than you think you will need, just so you have more to sell. You never know when you’ll get an unexpected, large sale.
Make things even easier on yourself next 4/20 by creating a digital file that holds your spreadsheets, data and statistics, and 4/20 marketing ideas for next year. If it’s all in one place, it will be much easier to use that information to plan out your 4/20 sales and marketing campaigns.
05 | Engage Customers as 4/20 Gets Closer
As 4/20 approaches, your dispensary needs to turn up the heat when it comes to marketing your dispensary online.
Here are a couple ways your dispensary can both keep its audience engaged through the stoner holiday and implement product promotions to fuel your dispensary 4/20 marketing.
01. Compel Customers to Stock Up
Not all customers actually want to come into a busy store on the actual holiday. Some of them don’t want to be out and about at all, preferring to just smoke the holiday away like any good stoner.
So, encourage your customers (especially those who are medical marijuana patients) to stock up on their favorite products about a week before 4/20 actually hits.
Not only will this ensure you make even more customers happy, but it also makes it easier to keep your most preferred cannabis products in stock during the rush on the actual 4/20 holiday.
02. Strategize for Long-Term Solutions
Keep in mind, your objective isn’t just to get an additional 300 more people than normal in your doors on 4/20. No, your objective is to expand your dispensary brand reach, engage with current and potential customers, and to build the consumer-brand trust that drives cannabis sales.
Your primary goal is to create and implement a successful dispensary marketing plan for long-term, not just make it rain at the register on 4/20.
06 | Prepare for 4/20 Early
If you plan ahead, the entire week of 4/20 can be your dispensary’s largest sales week of the entire year. If you prepare well, your dispensary brand can use 4/20 to pave the way for an incredibly successful year.
The whole reason for preparing so thoroughly is the growth of your dispensary brand. The key is to prepare beforehand, first by attracting and engaging customers in the week or so before the 4/20 holiday, and then by getting the most out of the holiday itself.
Here are a few ways to make sure your dispensary is prepared and ready to make the most out of its 4/20 marketing opportunities.
01. Prepare the Store
Most dispensaries are likely expecting to at least double their usual sales numbers on 4/20. In order to be prepared, you need to start piling up your inventory a couple of weeks before the holiday.
Your budtenders and other dispensary staff members should know that everyone is needed during 4/20. If you end up being overstaffed, you can always send people home. Just be careful to ensure that you’re not understaffed, as that can lead to impatient and lost customers - - which means lost sales.
On April 19th, take some time to walk around the store and double-check all of the main points. How is your stock of: Pens, receipt paper, change, bags, and the most popular products.
Which brings us to the next point . . .
02. Prepare the Products
This is the very first year (2018) that 4/20 falls on a weekend, and 2019 is going to be on a Saturday, so 4/20 sales and events are expected to be huge.
Last year, marijuana sales exceeded the $45 million that marijuana software company MJ Freeway predicted, a sharp 20% increase compared to 2016.
Smart dispensary owners are capitalizing on this increase by tailoring their promotions and content to highlight new inventory and persuade in-store shoppers to treat themselves to the more expensive products available.
One of the biggest problems dispensaries face with 4/20 marketing is the fact so many of them fail to plan ahead. They either keep putting it off until it’s too late, or they wait patiently until the holiday arrives and the 4/20 activities and excitement begin to grow.
Make sure your dispensary is full prepared for 4/20 by fully stocking up on a wide variety of products. Not only will this help you not have to worry about running out of items, but it also paves the way for upsell opportunities in your dispensary that are more traditional and classic.
For example, you could upsell a single-serving edible or pre-roll to a flower smoker on 4/20 without too much effort. This is especially true when it’s bundled as part of a “package deal” that saves the customer money on a product they really want, just by getting something would use but not normally just purchase by itself.
However, upselling like that means customers go home with new products they would have otherwise never purchased.
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03. Schedule & Prepare Budtenders
One of the problems many dispensaries have is that the budtenders, management, and all staff are not on the same page.
This makes their dispensary come across as they disjointed, and the budtenders may be leaving something out when speaking to customers.
Ensure everyone in your dispensary is well-versed in, and fully prepared for, all promotions. It would be pretty shitty to have everything come to a grinding halt because a budtender had to stop everything to verify a promotion during a sale.
The more you run through promotions and operations with your budtender staff, the smoother the real 4/20 holiday rush will be.
Keep in mind: Having a trained sales staff is only part of what you need to do for successful 4/20 marketing and sales.
The other part involves accounting for, and scheduling effectively, the additional staff members you need to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
Have a lockdown on:
Budtenders opening additional POS podiums
Heightened security due to increased cash and product handling
Additional managers to oversee sales and stop SHRINK
04. Prepare the 4/20 Promotions
Promotions have proven to be a highly effective part of 4/20 marketing. In fact, Headset.io saw that 10% of the sales that took place on 4/20 were not products that were previously huge sale items.
Which means using promotions as part of their 4/20 marketing was directly responsible for that 10% jump in sales. In fact, 20% of the sales were actually discounted items, especially if the discount was 25% or larger.
Your dispensary 4/20 promotions should be distributed a couple of weeks in advance, giving your potential customers plenty of time to figure out which dispensary is the best place to spend their money.
Nudge them in the right direction with promotions and targeted 4/20 marketing that sets your dispensary out from the rest. This is especially true for as long as social media platforms have tight regulations on, and bias again, cannabis businesses and organizations.
As you break out from the pack, remember to keep an eye on your competition. You don’t want to be that dispensary launching a Buy three 8ths, get the fourth 8th for FREE promotion when the dispensary down the street is offering a Buy two 8ths, get the third 8th FREE special.
When it comes down to it, you know your target audience and the most effective means of 4/20 marketing they would respond to best.
And, during April, this is absolutely your time to stand out as a dispensary owner because so many other cannabis businesses will be fighting for customer attention and sales.
05. 4/20 Promotional Ideas
You don’t need to give away the store here, okay? Not everything has to be discounted in order for you to move your dispensary product.
Here are some sure 4/20 promotional ideas that are virtually guaranteed to help you increase sales and provide your customers with the best 4/20 deals around.
Single-Serving Products: This could be anything from pre-rolls to single edibles. These products have higher profit margins for your dispensary, but customers still find them affordable and reasonably priced.
Upsells: Persuade customers to spend more in order to receive discounts. This is especially effective when enticing customers to try more expensive products.
“Spend $42 get x” Promotions: These are either giveaways or significantly discounted products that are hard to move or come in small sizes.
See You Soon Coupon: Offer an exclusive coupon that is only for customers who come in on 4/20. These can be used by customers to get a larger discount at a later date. By doing these coupons, your dispensary significantly increases the chances of those customers returning and growing into loyal customers.
Bundled Products: This is most helpful for those hard-to-sell products that are taking up space. Put together affordable bundles of flower approaching the end of their freshness dates with some concentrates, pre-rolls, or edibles. For instance: $25 for a gram, a grinder, and an edible cookie OR $42 for an eighth, an infused soda, and a 2-pk of prerolls.
420th Customer: When you ring up your 420th customer of the day, offer them a large discount or do a small giveaway just for them. Include a coupon to use at a later date, increasing the chances of them coming back to buy more.
07 | Product Promotions
01. Cross-Promote with Your Vendors
By cross-promoting with vendors for your dispensary 4/20 event, you build stronger relationships with both those vendors and your customers simultaneously.
Focus on the wide variety of cannabis options and take that opportunity to expose your customers to new cannabis types they won’t find elsewhere. Everything from CBD oils to THC edibles - - the cannabis industry is changing, and everything is fair game.
Offer a wide spread of products so your customers can experience 4/20 the way it’s meant to be experienced - - Baked as fuck.
02. Offer Unique 4/20 Specials
Good luck finding someone who doesn’t love getting a great deal on something. Everyone loves a discount.
Yours could very well be the one dangling carrot that entices that customer to come into your dispensary.
Once your customer is in the store, offer unique specials to help you stand apart from the competition.
For instance, you could offer $9 grab bags full of goodies (e.g., a pre-roll, a gram, an edible, and some branded stickers.). Play around with the options, and create something that is both fun and compelling enough to attract more foot traffic.
Be generous with your 4/20 deals, too! After all, it is 4/20. Besides, most sales shoot way up this time of year. So, you’re still going to be benefiting from the jump in traffic, even if you offer far more substantial discounts or promotions than you would usually advertise.
03. Promotions & Discounts
Product promotions are a deeply important aspect of any 4/20 marketing practices.
Dispensaries and pot shops everywhere have to walk a fine line with their promotions, mainly because so many states have strict regulations and laws prohibiting the free distribution of marijuana. So, basically, no free giveaways of weed.
But, some sneaky cannabis business owners have found a way around this hang-up. They bundle their products.
By bundling their products together at highly affordable (super discounted) prices, with the final retail cost covering the price of some of the products and others being essentially free, even though they are included on the receipt as having the same sticker price.
Some 4/20 product bundle promotions include:
Bundle a pre-roll, a gram of top-shelf flower, and an edible with every order of $42 or more.
Sell raffle tickets that give a special “free” product for paying customers with winning ticket numbers. The prize could be something like an IndigoPro Vape Pen. You could hold the raffle at 4:20, on 4/20, and only have 1 winner.
Many dispensaries also use the seasons as themes for product promotions:
Sell ‘Spring baskets’ filled with $150 worth of flower, concentrates, and edibles for only $100.
Put a couple grams of flower and other small products in Easter eggs at $4 each.
Hold a $7 ‘Easter egg hunt’ for paying customers on 4/20. At the register, the customer can reach into a giant bag filled with Easter eggs. Some of them have things like a gram, some extract, a huge coupon, a pre-roll, an edible, and other products you’re trying to move.
04. Pro Tip: Consider Vendor Specials
This is a win-win situation, with a double win going to your dispensary. Essentially, you offer to promote their brand and products all day on 4/20.
You get the vendor to pay for the promotion, saving you money. Plus, customers are more likely to spend their money on other products in your store.
08 | Remain Active on Social Media
Assign one of your staff members to watching and engaging on your social media accounts, both leading up to 4/20 and on the actual holiday itself.
Post often, and following what your analytics state are the best times to post.
Share content related to your store and 4/20, such as spreading the word about a special event you’re planning or sharing a platform-specific special each day between now and 4/20. Keep talking and engaging, keep the tweets and updates coming frequently, and let your followers know your dispensary is the place to be come 4/20.
Respond to all questions and comments, and engage with your followers. This will personalize your brand for them so that you come across as a reliable pot shop they can count on. Showing you’re trustworthy, knowledgeable, and friendly will attract and keep new customers just as much as your hella rad deals will.
01. Instagram Photo of the Day
Instagram is the perfect platform for visually spreading your brand message - - and sharing your 4/20 marketing promotions. Instagram Stories allows you to highlight and share your day in short clips as you go along. It’s a great platform for connecting with other cannabis industry professionals, influencers, and vendors you may have never known about. Make sure to use trending cannabis hashtags and your own branded hashtags to get more views, likes, and comments on your Instagram posts.
02. Leverage Your Loyalty Program
You’ve thought about building your dispensary customer loyalty program, but when was the last time you went over it and refreshed everything?
To celebrate the stoner holiday and conduct effective 4/20 marketing, you need to change your loyalty points magnifier. For instance, increase the multiplier by 50% during the week of 4/20, and then double-earned points on actual 4/20. This way, customers are both rewarded and enticed to sign up for your customer loyalty program.
Additionally, try offering customers coupons for a specific product and double loyalty points on the same day. Bet you you’ll see order sizes shoot right up. That’s because this is a highly effective 4/20 marketing method for getting rid of those really hard-to-move products, or for introducing customers to your dispensary’s more expensive products.
Make sure your staff is all on the same page, just as we talked about, and trained to ask all the customers to sign up as they are buying their items. Ask things like, “Do you have any loyalty points to use today?” or “Do you have a rewards account?” to get your customers to opt-in.
09 | Get Customers to Keep Coming Back
Okay. So, the 4/20 holiday is officially over. Now what the hell are you supposed to do?
Well, it’s time to work on nourishing those leads after you’ve spent such a large amount of time laying the foundation for consumer-brand relationships with your customers.
You got them in the door for the 4/20 holiday, which is great. But, the real magic happens after the smoke has cleared and the holiday is over.
Okay. so, what do you do now? Following these upcoming steps will help you out:
01. Send a Follow-Up Message
Messaging gives you a direct connection with your customers. It’s not filtered, except for spam, so you don’t have to struggle against an algorithm like would with Facebook or Instagram.
Messaging gets your dispensary brand directly in the hands of your customers. And, because they invited your dispensary to engage with them, it’s doubly-effective as a 4/20 marketing strategy.
Give customers a few days to sleep off the 4/20 fun, and then send out a post-4/20 campaign to remind them you’re awesome and entice them to come back. Remind them to purchase their favorite products or try something new and switch it up.
Here are some examples of post-4/20 marketing messages:
“Vape cartridge running low?”
“Did you miss our x 4/20 special?”
“Hey, don’t forget to use your 4/20 coupon. We’ve got some great stuff waiting for you.” (You know that day-of coupon I talked about earlier? Now that the holiday is over, it’s important to push that coupon.)
02. Send Follow-Up Promotions
Now that 4/20 is over, take a close look at your inventory. What sold well? What didn’t sell? What stayed at the norm? Take any leftover inventory that didn’t sell, and keep promoting the hell out of it. After all, why waste money by having it just sitting on your shelves?
Don’t lie to your customers, but sound enticing at the same time. Think about something like, “Oops! We overstocked for 420! Welp, our mistake is your gain, get x% OFF. . . “ or something along those lines.
Make them feel validated in their purchasing decisions by making them feel like they’re getting a good deal. So, offering some incentive for deep discounts can actually draw in more in-store traffic.
Your 4/20 marketing can also include:
Offer discounts to customers who bring in a receipt from 4/20
If your customer has a receipt from 4/20, post-date their loyalty points if they sign up right then for your program
Tease customers with small incentives, like edibles, pre-rolls, a gram, or mystery bags.
Not only do all of these 4/20 promotional strategies boost sales and drive foot traffic, but they also drive actions like referrals, social media likes and shares, or simply making large purchases.
03. Give Them A Reason To Come Back
You know how the rising end of a See-Saw drops the other end?
The influx of 4/20 foot traffic should provide a residual rise in foot traffic to your dispensary throughout the weekend. On April 20th, offer your customers good reasons to return to your dispensary after the holiday ends.
Pass out coupons, raffle tickets, special discounts, or extra deals that can be redeemed from 4/21 to 4/31, so your customers have both time and incentives to come back to your dispensary.
This is a great way to keep the momentum from the 4/20 sales going through the rest of the month. So, get together with your team and brains think of some fun ways to generate a loyal, repeat customer base.
10 | BONUS Strategy
Keep updated on cannabis knowledge. Get some books that explain the ins and outs of the ancient history of humans using the cannabis plant. As we understand it today, the human-cannabis relationship is more than 12,000 years old, and getting stronger every year.
Cannabis is way more than just something to “get high” with. It’s time to celebrate it.
Highlight this educational, appreciative aspect within your digital and non-digital content to invoke emotion and bring in customers after 4/20.
Creating and implementing an effective 4/20 marketing plan for your dispensary may seem really daunting and difficult. However, breaking your 4/20 marketing down into parts that are easier to manage makes it easy to focus on what the primary objective should be at each stage in the sales process.
You should be focusing on: Attracting customers in the month to couple of weeks before 4/20, engaging with customers in the weeks before, preparing staff, products, and promotions, and following up in the days after the 4/20 holiday.
Just like regular retailers spend months getting their stores ready for Black Friday, your dispensary should be prepping for the 4/20 holiday in the weeks leading up to it. Don’t let a lack of research and preparation result in your dispensary losing money.
Looking for some more 4/20 marketing tips to help your cannabusiness succeed? Contact me and I’ll help you!