Storied retailer Sy Syms declared “An educated consumer is our best consumer” nearly fifty years ago, but even he couldn’t have predicted how essential it would be today.
Back then, the New York-based clothing retailer hit upon an interesting gambit: List an item’s current price, what it would cost in a week or two, and what it would cost a week or two after that. Because his store didn’t restock specific items, customers had to decide how badly they wanted the item (and calculate the chances that someone else would snatch it up before the price dropped any further).
The strategy worked for Syms for over half a century. But these days—when much of marketing has moved into the realm of digital ads, social media platforms, and reputation management—his statement is actually truer than ever before.
Especially in the fast-growing and ever-evolving world of cannabis, every step you take to help your customers understand how cannabis works with our bodies is one that increases your authority, their ability to make conscious and effective decisions, and ultimately their trust in your brand.
In today’s post, we’ll talk about a few of the ways to help build this relationship, including:
- The power of positive experience
- The use of blog posts, education pages, events, and appointments
- Suggested topics for educational articles and promotional materials
The Power of Positive Experience: Why Cannabis Education Matters
The first and most obvious reason to prioritize your customers’ education is so they’ll have a positive experience with your product.
As you know (but many cannabis consumers still don’t), not all cannabis is created equal. That’s why it’s vitally important that you share information with your customers that helps them make educated buying decisions.
The reasons are simple: When customers have experiences with cannabis that don’t meet their expectations, it destroys the trust and goodwill essential to building a lasting relationship.
Whether it’s hard science like explaining the role of cannabinoids and terpenes or simpler educational content—like how to use specific products and accessories—every effort you make towards helping your customers have a positive and expectation-exceeding experience with your products is money in the bank.
Tools of the Trade: Blog Posts, Education Pages, Events & Appointments
Educational content can take many forms. In a very real sense, every interaction you have with your customers is an opportunity to impart cannabis knowledge. But these “teachable moments” come in many different forms. Here are a few of the most effective.
One of the basic building blocks in terms of content, blog posts can be anything you want them to be. But they’re especially effective in transmitting easily digestible chunks of educational information on how cannabis works and how to use it most effectively, safely, and legally.
These specialized pages fulfill a role somewhere between blog posts and the regular pages of your site (Locations, Live Menu, etc.). In a sense, you can think of them as expanded blog pages, because they usually focus on a single topic. But because they’re designed to be standalone “evergreen” pages, they have the potential to reach many more readers.
Dispensary events may have moved into the virtual space in the wake of COVID-19, but that’s not to say you should give up on them!
As we’ve pointed out previously, you can (and should) be staying connected with your customers through virtual events. From putting on cannabis education events (try inviting your favorite growers and producers to share what makes their product special) to hosting communal “distant hangouts” like virtual concerts, wildlife safaris, or sporting events, now is a great time to be connecting in whatever ways we can.
Some states mandate initial consultations or appointments for new customers. And while these visits—whether in-person or virtual—are a legal and procedural requirement, they’re also perfect opportunities for education, coming at the very start of your relationship with a new customer.
That’s why, in addition to checking off all the required boxes in terms of customer eligibility and documentation, you should be treating these initial meetings as a chance to share a little bit about your dispensary’s approach to cannabis healthcare. If you succeed in setting a welcoming and relaxed tone—and let the person we hope will become a lifelong customer know you’re willing and able to answer any and all questions about cannabis—that relationship will already be off to a great start.
Suggested Educational Topics
There’s a great deal to learn when first exploring the world of cannabis. What topics can you safely launch into with your customers (without inducing a glassy-eyed stare as you explain the properties of geranyl pyrophosphate)? Here are a few topics—with published examples—that hit the sweet spot between educational, useful, and entertaining:
- Cannabis Basics: Nature and Nurture
Blog post detailing some of the major differences in indoor vs. outdoor cannabis cultivation (without getting too detailed).
- How to Use Cannabis Products: Portable Potency
Blog post on the benefits of cannabis tinctures, including tips for adventurous homebrewers.
- State-Specific Regulations: High Times in Tacoma?
Short guide for visitors to Tacoma, WA. Details local and state ordinances, as well as tips on how to stay on the right side of the law.
- Becoming a Patient: How to Speak With Your Doctor About Medical Cannabis
Education page on the ins and outs of discussing cannabis with your doctor. Includes tips and conversation-starters for those physicians who may be opposed to medical cannabis.
Of course, you’ll want to put your own spin on anything you write. Though if you want help, we can certainly do your content marketing for you!
Educating Your Customers: In Conclusion
As you can see, there’s no end to potential opportunities to educate your customers. From informative blog posts to live and virtual events and beyond, we urge you to share your knowledge with your customers. After all, you’re only putting the power of choice in their hands. And our experience is that when you do, they’ll be inclined to show their gratitude with loyalty.