Cannabis Radio Dispensary Marketing Podcast: How to Attract and Retain Loyal Lifelong Customers

Cannabis Marketing Podcast: An Interview with Cannabis Radio

Foottraffik founder and CEO, Guillermo Bravo, was recently featured on the Cannabis Radio cannabis marketing podcast, 420 Clouds Cannabis Connection, to discuss dispensary marketing. Host Alex talks to Guillermo about Foottraffik’s dispensary success formula: Attract, Engage, and Nurture. Following up on his New West Summit presentation — Marketing and UX: Targeting The Cannabis Consumer — Guillermo shares best practices on how to appeal to diverse consumer populations, drive new business, and create loyal customers.

Cannabis Radio Dispensary Marketing Podcast

As the CEO of the largest and fastest growing dispensary marketing agency in the country, Guillermo is focused on helping dispensaries and select cannabis brands attract, engage, and nurture long-term customer loyalty. Guillermo brings more than a decade of agency experience developing and executing marketing strategies in startup, agency, and dispensary environments. Combining big-picture thinking, innovation, collaboration, and creativity, Guillermo has a passion around working with forward-thinking and innovative cannabis entrepreneurs to spearhead initiatives that expand lead generation, customer acquisition, intuitive strategies, and expanding sales.

Cannabis Radio: A Cannabis Marketing Podcast

Listen to the podcast below:

On the Cannabis Radio, a cannabis marketing podcast for dispensaries, Guillermo shares the Foottraffik methodology, noting that (nearly) all successful business starts with a plan and by asking some fundamental questions:
  • What are your goals?
  • What your challenges
  • What are your future plans? Where do you want to be as a business 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years out?

Without a plan, you don’t know where you’re going — so spending the time to plan strategically is not optional. It’s imperative.

Remember: Marketing done intelligently shouldn’t be an Expense. It’s an Investment in your business.

Below are the components of Foottraffik’s 3-Step Formula that Guillermo discusses:

Step One: Attract

You’ve heard of the “law of attraction?” Well, first you need to get found. Over the course of this cannabis marketing podcast, Guillermo shares strategies on how to attract new customers.

Some of the most effective attraction strategies include inbound and outbound marketing tactics:

Step Two: Engage

You’re attracting new customers. Now what? It’s time to ENGAGE. Interact with your customers with the myriad of channels available to you:

Step Three: Nurture

You’ve attracted new customers. You’re interacting and engaging with them. Now it’s also critical to nurture these customers so that they not only become customers for life, but they become your brand ambassadors.

Cannabis Marketing Podcast Transcript

Listen to the full podcast on Cannabis Radio or read the transcript below:

Speaker 1: proudly presents 420 clouds cannabis connection. Where we can merge the biggest names in entertainment, business, technology, and medicine, and connect them into our growing cannabis community. Connecting and educating the world about cannabis. presents 420 clouds cannabis connection ignited by mCig.

Alex: Thanks for joining us on 420 clouds cannabis connection, welcome to our 420 cloud. Guillermo Bravo is CEO of Foottraffik where he combines big-picture thinking, innovation, collaboration, and creativity to drive marketing campaigns. He recently spoke at the New West Summit on a panel labeled marketing and user experience, or UX, targeting the cannabis consumer, that talked about how brands and retailers are increasingly focusing on marketing and user experience. So let’s bring on Guillermo, thanks for being with us.

Guillermo: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Alex: Alright, so let’s get into it. I wanted to have you talk about great methods for making marketing and advertising stick. With that, what is it that you do to make both of those work together, the marking and advertising?

Guillermo: The way that we merge marketing and advertising together in our campaigns is through our dispensary marketing formula that we’ve developed over the last few years. So we have them into three phases, which is, attract, engage, and nurture.

Attract is more in line with the advertising. So that’s SEO, social media, display advertising. Engage is about interaction, engaging with audience, rewarding them and incentivizing them to join your loyalty program. Where nurture is really reaching out to those customers through social media, email campaigns, through events that you put together that are for subscribers or through special deals. So we’ve broken it up into three sections, those are the three phases of dispensary marketing.

Alex: Oh, great. You get em and you hold onto em, I mean …

Guillermo: Exactly. You can keep those customers around for a long time. We can get into this a little bit more, as far as user experience. You really need to have all those items in place, as you know there’s a lot of trees, in each region. So if you don’t get them on that first chance then good luck getting them back in the store.

Alex: I’m sure, and we’ll go through this a little more in depth, but with there being so many dispensaries I almost take it as … It’s not like going to a liquor store where you just go there, you actually have a relationship. So there’s more to it. I love that part with the nurturing cause I think that’s what brings people back. At least when I hear you right off the bat coming out with that.
I want to start with getting the listeners an idea of some of the things that you work on and then go into more detail. Take us through the process of what you do when it comes to dispensary marketing, where do you start and how do you make it happen?

Guillermo: As far as dispensary marketing we really start with talking to the client. So we want to see what your goals are, what your challenges are, your timeline, your budget, and any plans you have for the future. So we want to find those in the beginning and then we can tailor a campaign or strategy around that. As far as getting to the nitty gritty … The most important thing, I guess the starting point, is branding. We need to ensure that the logo, the color palette, the fonts, the business cards, the website, and everything are the same. It’s the same brand, has the same message and values, same color palette. So that’s the starting point for dispensary marketing, if you don’t have that in place then you really can’t build anything after that. That’s one of the foundational elements that’s necessary. We actually don’t do branding ourselves, so we partnered up with Wick & Mortar, which is the leading branding agency in the cannabis space, based out of Seattle.

We partnered up with them to launch a few of our clients’ websites as well as our own website. So they actually developed our website as well.

Alex: That’s excellent, that’s good. So you work with other experts. So you’re expert in your field and you’re utilizing the expertise of others, that’s good to hear. Well, I guess when people hear the word marketing it’s so generalized. People get the idea that they see something marketed and they’re gonna go buy it, so there’s your sales and marketing. But in all reality it’s not that, it’s much deeper. So what is dispensary marketing? How does that differ from marketing for any other branding cannabis?

Guillermo: When investing in dispensary marketing the most important thing to consider is that this is a brick and mortar store, you have a retail location so you need to focus all your efforts on the local level. That comes into play with everything. So dispensary marketing in a whole, how do you want to drive customers, or foot traffic, to your store? That’s your main goal. Whether that’s through the website, whether that’s through your google my business profile, Leafly, weed maps, social media, whatever it might be, you really need to focus on the local level.

And with that being said, no one is really doing this at the moment but as our agency is a little more forward-thinking, we are leveraging advertising on the local level to do geo-targeting and geofencing. Which are two highly targeted advertising avenues in which you can target a customer within a five to ten-mile radius of your store. So you’re not reaching people who don’t care you’re reaching people who want to buy weed and they’re local, or driving distance. So as far as marketing and dispensary marketing, in general, we want to drive customer actions and from our experience and data, those actions are requesting certain … Calling us or visiting the menu or the deals page, those are the four primary goals that anyone on the website will do to take action.

Alex: It definitely makes a lot of sense what you’re saying, local, I’ve heard you say the word local several times. Business owners should focus on local markets first instead of global strategy, right? Everybody wants to be big, they want to have that global name, but from what you just said it doesn’t sound like being global doesn’t make you money, being local does. Explain that.

Guillermo: Yeah that’s correct. We do work with a variety of clients, it depends if they’re one store or a multi-store business. If you have one store, one location, you only need one website with one google my business profile, pretty much you only need one of everything. When you start to get into a multi-location campaign you have your one website but then you have individual pages for each store. And on those individual pages you need your own listings, you need your own [inaudible 00:08:27] for email or SMS, you need your own gallery for each store, you need your own google 360 view. So it makes it a little more strategic as far as how you set up your website, how you set up managing the campaigns, whether or not you want to have one social media account for each store or if you just want one for the brand.

So there’s a lot of items to consider, and it’s really just dependent on your bandwidth, as a business how do you want to grow? Are you going to have, let’s say for example five stores in Washington and you’re looking to expand to Oregon, California, New York, wherever it might be. It just depends on what the strategy is for your own business and for the growth. I’ll just give an example, for us we don’t take on clients in the same region, for competition regions. So we don’t take on any clients in competing markets, but with that being said whoever hires us, let’s say in San Francisco, they pretty much own all the digital market online just because we have access to a lot of networks that other people don’t. You can always have a presence on google, yelp, leafly, and all these items but a lot of people don’t know where or how to advertise. And when I say advertise instead of marketing I mean display advertising, banner ads, contextual ads, video advertisements, and different items like that. That’s really traditional digital advertising.

Alex: And I think we’ll get into that even more cause that’s the big one right there, from traditional. We want to keep people in a comfort level and understanding.

[Sponsor Break]

Alex: Welcome back we’re here with Guillermo Bravo from Foottraffik. We hear this word, I think it gets some people confused when they hear UX … When we start it off and we’re saying at the presentation that you did over at New West Summit and about user experience. When most people think of user experience they think of iPhones and computers, right? That’s what I think right off the back. But when it comes to cannabis and dispensaries what is user experience, how do you go about that?

Guillermo: Yeah, I guess that it just depends on what you’re talking about. So if it’s a vape pen then [inaudible 00:13:36] does a great job with that, with the air and making it user-friendly. It’s slick, simple, and just easy. When it comes to dispensaries we need to make sure that their whole experience from discovering to researching the products, the checking out is all seamless. So the website needs to be fast, the menu needs to be live, if you have the option you should enable online ordering so people can pre-order before they come in so they don’t have to wait in lines. That’s probably one of the biggest, for dispensaries, is long lines.

That may seem nice for the business, like oh we got long lines we’re busy. But from a customers standpoint, they’re busy, they have places to be, they don’t want to wait 20 minutes to buy a gram, if that’s the case they’ll just have delivery instead and pay an extra fee. So you have to really consider that when, if you’re a store and you’re not delivering a great experience … Here’s the biggest complaints we’ve received, long lines, uneducated bud tenders, that’s probably the biggest one. If your bud tenders are pushing product that doesn’t meet customers needs then that’s a huge issue. When you say marketing you’re really talking about servicing the business and when you talk about user experience it’s the client or the customer. It’s a big difference.
Marketing you want to push sales. User experience you want to push reputation and reviews and happiness for the customers.

Alex: Now that’s a good … Now you brought clarity, that makes a great difference of understanding because now I sit there and think okay user experience it’s just about the service. What kind of service did I get when I went there, were they knowledgeable, did they get me in and out, was it a seamless experience? That’s very cool. You definitely shed a lot of light in there, it seems obvious but then again it’s not so obvious and that’s why the listeners want to know more about that. What are some of the issues or mistakes dispensaries make when it comes to user experience? I know you talked in debate basically saying, long lines, they think they’re busy. But what are some of the other things that you see that’s going on, mistakes or issues?

Guillermo: The first thing is not designing the websites for mobile first in mind.

Alex: That’s true.

Guillermo: Based on our data 70% of all visitors to our dispensary websites are on cell phones so if a customer is not able to find you, browse your website, so it has to be responsive, see your product, which is what they care about, and then visit the store. That’s the funnel for the customer. Discovery, research, which is the products, and then taking action is the third one. So if they don’t have everything as easy as possible in front of them then that’s a big no-no.

The second is, we already mentioned the long lines. Simplicity is something they should really follow. I see this a lot of times at dispensaries where they just have fliers and product everywhere and it’s not organized in an easy fashion. You don’t want to do that, you don’t need to clutter for the sake of having stuff. You want to follow the google or apple methodology, which is less is more, get people to where they want to be. If I come into a dispensary and I’m looking for a concentrate that is CBD based you should easily be able to guide me in that direction instead of hopping around different parts of the store. So that’s something from a design aspect, you should have your tincture section, you should have your sativa section, hybrid, indica, and so on where it’s a natural flow of the store. The same with your menu. It needs to be seamless and yeah I think those are all good talking points.

Alex: Yeah they absolutely are. The question I have for you, let’s say I turn around and I have a dispensary and I don’t have a web guy and I don’t have all these things, I’m an organized guy and I’m a simple guy, a guy who can keep it straight I love all that. But the problem is I don’t have that web presence, and I’m just using somebody else’s program like a Weedmaps, I put my menu out there and that’s it. Do you think that’s enough for somebody? To really make their way or should they have a better way to cross over and show more of that user experience? Cause on the website you can say, hey here’s who I am, that’s what I look like, and that’s what the experience you’re about to have if you come see me. Does that make sense?

Guillermo: Yeah that makes sense. To answer your question in regards to the Weedmaps, here’s the … Weedmaps and Leafly are a double edge sword, they’re valuable as they have their own audience but they hold you hostage if you don’t pay. So, you want to, I highly encourage every dispensary owner to have a few of the basics. And the reason is that these are assets that you own, so the first would be your website. That could be hooked on your own server, you own all that data and you can track [crosstalk 00:20:17], google analytics, etc.

The second is customer database. This is probably your most valuable asset besides your website. Your clients name, phone number, email, if you have that in a loyalty program or email software or SMS software, that’s your bread and butter right there. The third I would say is your google profile so that’s your google my business listing, and the reason I say this one is because that gets you the most exposure, impressions, and customer actions over any other platform. So google obviously gives preference to it’s platforms and if you can show up high and have a few hundred reviews on google and …

Alex: When you say show up high do you mean getting high and show up or show up high on the list? It’s a cannabis show I have to say it.

Guillermo: I mean show up high in search engine ranking, so if someones searching for a dispensary in San Francisco if they type that in then they’ll see your listing there. You just want to really consider that, the reason that I don’t tell people to utilize social media for dispensaries is because you don’t own it and the Facebook and Instagram platforms are public so they will continue to delete your accounts and decline your advertising until it’s no longer criminalized there’s no way around that. So you can invest ten, twenty thousand dollars in building your following and you wake up in the morning with that notification saying your account’s shut down.

Alex: That’s gone yeah.

Guillermo: The main three things, the website, customer database, and your google my business profile. Those are the major ones, what else is there. I think those are the three if you’re looking to only do something just focus on those. Related to your website specifically SCO and search engine optimization, if you can build up the authority of your website, then that’s permanent, so you’re never gonna lose that. If you invest in let’s say over a 12 month period, you can pretty much if you just consistently invent that amount on a monthly basis then you should continue to see those results.

A lot of dispensaries are not investing SCO and that’s why it makes my job a little easier cause I can deliver results for my clients fast because none of the other dispensaries are doing it. And if they are …

Alex: I go back to this, look you’re pretty active blogger so when it comes onto the subject of marketing and you’ve written things like, few people including marketers generally understand user experiences. So I mean I look at everything that you’ve been saying, and it’s really let the expert of each do what they do. You’re giving great tips, the three top things, definitely control your experience on your website. Your customer database, and that’s a great point I think a lot of people miss because I think they get scared with google. They feel intimidated, like oh my gosh it’s not federally legal, so they don’t go build a business profile, so that’s a great point.

It comes back to the simple sake of run your business well and then go and utilize services from other people that do it well for you. It could be cheaper in the long run, better results, coming into market with you.

Time for one more break, we’re coming right back with Guillermo Bravo.

[Sponsor Break]

Alex: We’ve been talking with Foottraffik CEO Guillermo Bravo. Let me ask you a question, do you put any focus on what search engines like google and bing continue to change? How important is it versus the traditional marketing? Cause we’re just talking about how google is liking their own platform, and then we don’t talk about bing and the other ones.

Guillermo: Google is way ahead of the game in search engines. The reason I haven’t mentioned bing is because it’s such a small percentage of traffic, it’s probably less than 5% compared to google, I’m not sure what the exact numbers are. But the thing is you look at voice search, which is becoming widely popular now with Siri and Alexa and all those, google just signed a partnership with apple so that they provide the results over bing. So people are getting fed up because of the terrible user experience with Siri that they’re now going to use google now to provide results. So instead of, if you ask Siri what’s the best dispensary nearby? It’ll show you a few listings but they’re widely inaccurate and usually use bings results and yelp, which are just a little behind the times.

When it comes to google they are consistently expanding on their feature list so if you’re in google business you can now post as if you’re Instagram. So you can post pictures on your google my business profile with your latest, I wouldn’t put your latest deals but customer bios or events coming up, or something that’s time sensitive. You can also enable messaging so people can chat with you through google my business from their phone. And so if they go on your listing they’ll say, “Hey do you have this CBD product in stock?” It’ll send your bud tender a text message in which they can reply to your customer. That’s something that no one else really has.

The menu systems, I recently saw that they’re now offering menu inventory into my business listing.

Alex: Oh that’s incredible.

Guillermo: So this is already live for food companies in restaurants but I did see Urban Farm up here in San Francisco they’re already leveraging that technology too to provide their full inventory list on google. So that’s huge.

Alex: That’s enormous, yeah.

Guillermo: Then in addition to that, if you have the 360 view, if you’re a preferred vendor, people can explore your store without being there. So they can do all the research they need, they find your store, they look at your menu, they check it out, make sure that if it’s a baby boomer or something they might be a little hesitant to go into a dispensary. It depends what state you are, they just tend to be careful. So they have the ability to look around the area.

Alex: And that’s 360 view. Hey, Guillermo we’re running out of time so I’m gonna only be able to get one last question in, and basically this is just something for the listeners. In your New West Summit presentation you offered some of the best practices, how to appeal to a diverse consumer populations, drive new business, and create loyal customers. So if you can sum it up for me and just tell me what were the most important things that people took away from that, the listeners would like that, thank you.

Guillermo: That question is a little complicated, can you rephrase? I guess, what is the real question?

Alex: Okay, so what was the most important thing that people took away from the presentation you did over at New West Summit? When it came to the best practice, or how to build a diverse consumer population? Cause everything you’re saying right now, I’ll tell you, it makes a lot of sense, and that’s what makes good business. But if there’s one thing that took away, the biggest, that you would think for the people what would that be?

Guillermo: If I were to have my own company and marketing my own product, I wouldn’t target stoners. Stoners are ten percent of the whole market is stoners. Alcohol companies don’t market to alcoholics, they don’t call their business …. They don’t put alcohol in their business names. It’s all tied together, one you shouldn’t put weed or cannabis in your business name because you’re not marketing to only stoners. So you want to consider the other parts of the market, which is the baby boomers, soccer moms, the young professionals. If you are only targeting stoners then you’re excluding everyone else.

Alex: That’s an excellent point, I think. We’re gonna be closing on that note but that is definitely a great take away. Don’t just target them, look at the rest of the 90% of the business, for sure.

Guillermo: If you’re trying to, if you really want to stay afloat and reach some large customer bases that’s what Pacs did, they wanted you to be able to travel with this thing. It’s so discrete that you’re not supposed to fly with cannabis but you’re more likely to not get caught if you do that.

Alex: Well alright that’s good. It’s been absolutely a pleasure having you, we look to have you in the future for more insight to our listeners about this kind of marketing. We thank you for joining us Guillermo.

Guillermo: Thank you for having me.

Alex: Thank you for joining us Guillermo.

Guillermo: Thank you for having me. And if I can do a shameless plug, our website is and that is feel free to email us.

Alex: Perfect. Listeners make sure to go to Footraffik with a k .co and visit Guillermo there and send him an email. Alright, thank you very much and take care.

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