Display Advertising

What to Consider When Designing A Dispensary Display Ad

Display advertising is a cost effective form of advertising that is based on serving impressions directly to prospective customers. Display advertising can be very effective for cannabis dispensaries and ecommerce companies that sell CBD products, but only if you have a well designed advertisement and the right segments in place. Here are some of the most important things to consider when putting together a display advertisement.

Make sure the advertisement matches your brand

Display advertisements will be many customers’ first impression of your brand, and it is important to make sure this impression is consistent with your website or in-store appearance. If you plan on running display advertisements for a prolonged period of time, having a consistent brand image with the same logo, colors, and font will help your customers instantly recognize the advertisement as yours, and make them want to engage with the advertisement.

Be specific about what you’re advertising

A generic advertisement that just says “We’re dispensary X” won’t get anyone to click and visit your website. Your advertisement should give people a reason to click. This means including some sort of discount or showing off a product that can only be bought in your dispensary or on your website.

Don’t use coupon codes

We just talked about discounts, but the more steps you put between your customer and them making a purchase, the less likely they are to make a purchase. Our cannabis marketing experts have found that coupon codes are not an effective use of the real-estate on your display ads. The nature of display advertisements is that they move along relatively quickly, and if a person is engaged and clicks on the advertisement to get to your website, they are unlikely to see that advertisement on whatever app or website they were on previously. This means you’re relying on your customer’s memory and ability to remember a coupon code. In our experience, an automatic coupon code that can be redeemed at checkout by simply adding the right items to the cart works infinitely better than having your customers remember a coupon code.

Make the ad engaging

This can be achieved by including moving elements and multiple instances or slides. You can feature a variety of products and deals in one ad, it doesn’t need to just be one product per impression. This means you get to show more of your brand and product offerings, and you’re giving customers more opportunities to see something they like. The different colors and text will also make people more invested in the ad and make them want to click. The most important part of the advertisement by far is the inclusion of a call to action. It might seem trivial, but the inclusion of some kind of text that says “click here” or “buy now” makes all the difference in the click-through-rate for cannabis display advertisements.

Size Matters

The resolution and actual size of the still image or gif file matter. Different publishers have different rules, so make sure you check with your publisher or ask your cannabis marketing company what their size limit is. Along with the file size, you need to keep the dimensions or resolution of the ad in mind. Different publishers will support different sized advertisements, and you’ll want to have different resolutions of the same ad ready to accommodate different apps and different monitor or phone sizes. Any images and text included in the advertisement should be clear and easy to read. The main focus of your display advertisement should be whatever product you’re highlighting, and that should take up most of the space on the design.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Working with a cannabis advertising agency that specializes in cannabis display ads is a great way to make sure your first attempt at cannabis display ads is a success. Cannabis advertising agencies have access to in-house graphic designers and a wider publishing network than you may have access to as an individual cannabis dispensary or CBD retailer.

Geo Targeting Ads Drive Traffic

The Pros And Cons Of Paid Ads for Cannabis Businesses

Dispensary owners and online cannabis and CBD retailers all understand the importance of advertising, but not all of them understand which parts of advertising are the most important. The Coca Cola Company spends close to three billion dollars on advertising each year, just to stay top of mind for consumers.

Most dispensaries don’t have an advertising budget and rely on free forms of advertising like word of mouth and organic engagement on social media. Organic, free advertising is great, but it’s also the most saturated space and method of reaching your customers. Most dispensaries have an Instagram account or some other form of social media, but not every dispensary is running display ads. If you have the budget to incorporate paid advertising into your cannabis marketing mix, you can reach customers and segments that you could never reach with word of mouth.

Understanding the pros and cons of paid ads can help you to determine if it is the right option for your business.

Benefits of Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is self explanatory, it is advertising you pay for. This can include hiring a cannabis marketing agency or some other digital marketing agency to perform specific services like dispensary geo targeting, display advertising, SMS marketing, cannabis SEO, or PPC.

PPC and display advertising both function by serving an impression to a prospective customer. PPC or pay per click advertising is most commonly associated with Google Ads, but social media platforms like Twitter, Tiktok, Instagram, and Facebook also offer some form of PPC advertising. PPC is great for high dollar value products that you know you can convert customers on.

Display advertising functions by purchasing a flat number of impressions instead of purchasing the clicks. This means it is up to you or a cannabis marketing agency to put together an engaging display ad that convinces potential customers to click. Display advertising isn’t comparable at all to word of mouth or social media advertising, the impressions you buy are a guarantee that your company’s name and products will be seen by a certain number of people. It’s essentially a billboard that you can track.

Cons of Paid Advertising

Unfortunately for dispensaries and CBD companies, there are unique restrictions to cannabis and hemp that aren’t present in other industries. Instagram and Facebook are among the most restrictive, not allowing advertising of cannabis and only allowing some forms of advertisements for hemp products. PPC advertising is also heavily regulated and restricted by Google, we’ve heard many stories from our clients about how they attempted to run a PPC campaign only for it to be taken down a few days later. We do have a workaround, but it’s the kind of thing we only share with clients and prospects.

The other con of paid advertising is the cost. If you’re used to the free impressions gained from organic posting, any advertising expense will feel prohibitive. The important thing is setting a budget and having realistic expectations and goals with your advertising. Organic growth is important, but when you’re trying to catch up or beat your competition, you’ll need to invest in your brand and image. The biggest dispensaries and ecommerce companies found success after investing in marketing with a cannabis marketing agency or working diligently with their internal team.

Tips For Improving Your Dispensary SEO Rankings

Modern dispensary owners understand the importance of having a good physical location for their cannabis business, and there is an online equivalent: search engine rankings. By ranking higher for common search terms like “dispensary” or “THC gummies,” you put yourself directly in front of your target audience. But how do you rank for these search terms? The answer is SEO.

The primary principle of search engine optimization (SEO) is making your web pages easier for search crawlers to audit your pages. At their core, the webpages that rank highly on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) are the ones that provide the most value to the real people that read them. This means the best way to boost your search engine rankings is to create engaging webpage content that provides value to the people reading them.

Google uses a complex algorithm that looks at more than just the specific text on your page and the use of keywords. Today, SEO also includes how your website is set up to include meta tags, content, link building, social networking, web design, organic traffic, sitemaps, and even the images and navigation on the website.

As a dispensary, there are legal restrictions surrounding what you can add to a website. However, successful SEO strategies can still make your dispensary stand out and move up the search results rankings.

Local SEO

Local SEO refers to pages optimized for specific cities or locations. Including your address on your website and having a Google Business Profile set up makes it possible for your dispensary to pop up when people search for “dispensary near me” or “cannabis near me” in the search bar.

Google My Business is Now Google Business Profile

Claiming and setting up your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) and Bing Places for Business can help increase local searchability and build credibility with local searchers. If you set your profile up properly, your dispensary will show up on Google Maps. Google does have some unique restrictions on dispensaries and other cannabis-based businesses, so we advise working with a cannabis marketing agency to set up your Google Business Profile.

SEO Strategies Across Social Media

Social media marketing is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy, but it is often overlooked by SEO specialists, and SEO isn’t well understood by many social media marketers. Including some keywords in the form of hashtags or as part of your captions on organic posts can help increase the post’s organic reach in the algorithm. You can also direct traffic from your social media pages to your website, increasing the likelihood of your followers becoming customers.

Setting aside time to optimize your website for search engines properly can take up valuable time you can spend on other aspects of your business or with your family and friends. Working with a cannabis advertising agency for your SEO can save you time and lead to a better ROI and searchability.

How To Find The Right Web Designer For Your Cannabis Business

Your website is the first place potential new customers go to learn more about your busines. Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar dispensary or an online CBD business, you need a functional, good looking website to build credibility with prospective customers. Having an optimized website and online presence makes every other aspect of marketing your business easier.

Your website is a reflection of your company. It’s a platform for you to talk about your business’s mission and philosophy, and also to build trust with prospects and educate them on cannabis and cannabinoids. If you already have a strong brand voice, website designers can help amplify that voice. If you don’t have a strong brand identity, website designers at advertising agencies can help you discover your voice so you can connect with customers.

Traits of a Good Website Designer

Good web designers have an eye for design. Simply put, this means the work they put out will be visually appealing. Pick a designer that has designed websites for cannabis businesses in the past, and look at their portfolio. It isn’t hard to figure out if a website looks good or not, you can look at the websites of other reputable dispensaries or businesses and compare them to the websites in your designers portfolio.

Good website designers are also communicative and willing to take feedback. Make sure whoever you hire includes revisions as part of the website build and is willing to make changes.

For the cannabis industry in particular, website designers need to be up to date on legislation. Make sure your designer knows what state you’re in and is including necessary measures like age verification. If your website designer is also in charge of the on-page content, make sure they avoid making blatant medical claims and are using SEO best practices.

Getting More out of your Website Designer

The best way to get improved results out of your web designer is communication. Be clear about your expectations for the website and what your needs are. The more information you can provide, the better the end product will be. Make sure you keep the website design open enough that you can make changes in the future if you decide to change aspects of your brand.

Benefits Of Hiring A Cannabis Advertising Agency For The Legal Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry has seen rapid growth in recent years as more states move to legalization. As more dispensaries, growers, and manufacturers enter the space, its more important than ever to differentiate your cannabis business from the competition. The key to differentiating your cannabis business is marketing and advertising.

Some services, like display advertising or SEO (search engine optimization), are possible to do on your own but take a long time to maintain. Hiring a cannabis advertising agency to do your marketing for you frees up valuable time you can spend on other aspects of your business. Hiring a cannabis advertising agency to handle your online marketing leads to better ROI than if you were to do it on your own, and also has a range of additional benefits.

Compliance With Advertising Regulations

One thing you may not be familiar with as a business owner are the regulations surrounding cannabis advertising. Legality of your cannabis or CBD products is one thing, but there are entirely different rules and regulations on a state and local level. Account manager and other staff working for cannabis advertising agencies are familiar with the rules and regulations and keep up to date to ensure your advertising efforts are compliant with all regulations.

Market Research

A time consuming but essential part of advertising is market research. If you’re managing a business, you won’t have time to properly segment out your audiences to optimize your marketing strategy. This means your display ads and SEO efforts won’t be as effective as they could be. A cannabis advertising agency can shorten the research time needed since they specialize in understanding the data, consumer trends, and the advertising platforms that are open to cannabis advertising.

Analytics and Reporting

Different agencies have their own custom reporting and trackable metrics to show you the value of your advertising spend. It is possible to set up a dashboard of your own, but it takes time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere. This data and reporting can give you additional insights into your buyers and help you determine where to spend your advertising budget to further maximize profits and enhance your market position.

Specialized cannabis advertising agencies will make a positive impact on your brand and business. Look for companies that offer customized services that are designed based on your products and branding.

5 Ways to Turbocharge Your Cannabis Advertising Strategy

Medical and recreational cannabis is one of the fastest growing sectors of the US economy. Every year, a few more states legalize either recreationally or medically, but there are still federal legislations that make it harder to advertise and promote your cannabis business. Despite these regulations, the market is saturated with a ton of dispensaries and ecommerce businesses fighting for your share of the market. Advertising your business and products is imperative to keep yourself in front of consumers. Here’s how you can market your cannabis or CBD company better:

Use Analytics

Whether you’re a brick and mortar dispensary or an ecommerce CBD brand, you have access to free analytics tools. Google Analytics is a free and powerful tool that you can use to monitor website traffic and Google Search Console can tell you how people are finding your website. You can use this information to put together an SEO strategy to help your business reach first page rankings on google. Brick and mortar stores also have access to data from POS systems and rewards programs.

Know Your Audience

Having a clear customer persona in mind is the first step to developing a successful marketing campaign. Customer personas define who your audience is, including their age, gender, habits, interests, income, and geographic location. You can use analytics to find out the kind of customers you’re attracting naturally and hone in on appealing to them or define new segments you can sell to.

Choose Platforms Wisely

Maximizing your ROI on advertising involves choosing the correct platforms. Cannabis marketing can cost you valuable money and time, so you want to make sure you’re spending both wisely. Knowing whether your cannabis dispensary or CBD business should focus its efforts on an SEO campaign, an email marketing campaign, a PPC campaign, a display campaign, or a social media campaign can be difficult, especially if you don’t have data to analyze. We recommend having 7 different touchpoints your consumers can interact with, and at least two major funnels for driving traffic to your brick and mortar store or to your website. We recommend trying do all kinds of marketing for your business if you have the time and resources to do so, but if we had to pick two for sustainable growth and consistent revenue, the combination of SEO and email marketing will give you the best results.

Look to Successful Campaigns

Studying successful campaigns is the first step to creating a successful cannabis advertising strategy. We recommend looking at a mix of cannabis advertising specific campaigns as well as general trends in the advertising space. We have weekly blogs and emails going over marketing trends in cannabis advertising if you would like to learn more!

Hire Professionals

If you don’t have the time to manage your own marketing campaign, hiring a cannabis marketing company and outsourcing your advertising efforts to professionals might be the solution for you. Hiring a cannabis advertising agency isn’t as expensive as you think it is, and you can use the time you would have spent managing the campaign on other aspects of your business. Cannabis advertising experts do the market and legal research to ensure they are marketing your cannabis or CBD products safely and effectively, leading to better ROI and less risk to your business.

An Interview with our CEO, Steve Knapp.

Our CEO recently got interviewed and we wanted to share the answers with you here!

Q: Who are you?
A: I’m Steve Knapp, CEO and founder of SM Services.

Q: What does your company do?
A: We’re a digital marketing agency that works primarily with cannabis brands to help differentiate themselves and stand above the competition. We work to get the client exactly what they need to help grow their business. We take an omnichannel approach and provide geo-targeted display advertising, email and SMS marketing, and SEO-driven web development solutions. We’re a forward-thinking agency that emphasizes clear communication, meaningful results, and client retention.

Q: How long has SM Services been around?
A: I founded SM Services in 2018

Q: What is your primary role in the cannabis industry?
A: Externally, we operate as marketers and industry leaders, but internally, we see ourselves as advocates for cannabis and our clients. We care about cannabis and generating meaningful ROI for our clients. We work with clients of all sizes throughout the USA. We work with brands like seedleSs clothing and Gelato. We provide creative solutions to client problems. We work with our clients to identify their brand voice, and we amplify that voice until all their prospective customers hear it.

Q: How long have you been in the cannabis industry?
A: I’ve been in the cannabis industry for a little over 20 years now.

Q: What past projects and accomplishments are you most proud of?
A: Building this business is my highest achievement. I started SM services because I felt that the advertising solutions for cannabis brands were lacking. Our combined experience and knowledge of the cannabis industry helps us maintain a very high client retention rate.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: We’re working on improving the effectiveness of Pay Per Click (PPC) as a whole, establishing Twitter paid cannabis advertising as a lucrative platform for businesses, harnessing the power of AI and utilizing these emerging trends to give our clients a competitive edge over their competition. And lastly, we’re building two new divisions in the company by the end of this year.

Q: What parts of the industry are you most excited about?
A: I’m most excited about the normalization of cannabis. With mainstream acceptance and the rapid action of some states, we’re seeing innovation and creation of new products at an astonishing rate. Highly specialized companies are forming around cannabis as a legitimate industry and making strides toward utilizing cannabis as a recreational and medicinal product.
Q: What parts of the industry are you most concerned about?
A: I’m most concerned about policymakers at the state & national level not seeing eye to eye. Cannabis has gained cultural support in the past decade, but policymakers aren’t meeting their constituents where they are. I’m worried that bureaucracy will take priority over local businesses and communities.
Q: How old were you the first time you smoked and who did you get it from?
A: The first time I smoked I was twelve years old, I got it from one of my cousins!

Q: What is your favorite way to medicate?
A: Unfortunately for my lungs, I love smoking. They really need a break.

Q: What is the craziest place you’ve smoked?
A: One time I smoked in my tack coach’s office while he was out on the field.

Q: What are your go-to munchies after you get high?
A: Fruit – it’s the best cottonmouth killer.

Q: If you could smoke with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
A: It’s gotta be Snoop Dogg, man.

The Importance of Google My Business for Cannabis and CBD Dispensaries

In the fast-paced world of cannabis and CBD dispensaries, visibility is king. If you own a physical dispensary, you know how important your store’s location is in terms of driving foot traffic. The digital equivalent to your physical location is your keyword rankings and searchability online. Does your dispensary show up when people google “dispensary near me?” If not, how far do they need to scroll to find you? Something that could help increase your cannabis or CBD store’s SEO and visibility is having a Google My Business (GMB) account properly set up. 


What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your business profile and website on Google Search and Maps. GMB helps you connect with customers, post updates to your business profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google.

Why is GMB Important for Cannabis and CBD Businesses?

GMB is crucial for any business, but it’s doubly important for cannabis and CBD dispensaries due to their unique circumstances. These are the reasons why:

Improved Local Visibility

GMB listings significantly enhance your local search visibility. It ensures your dispensary appears in local search results and on Google Maps when potential customers search for businesses like yours. This gives you an instant leg up over dispensaries in your area that don’t have a GMB listing and also helps improve your website’s SEO. Here are some additional ways a GMB listing helps you:

Higher Search Rankings

A well-optimized GMB profile increases the likelihood of your dispensary appearing in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic search rankings. A business listed on GMB has a higher chance of being considered reputable by Google, which boosts your SEO efforts significantly.

Increased Engagement

GMB gives you ways to interact with locals, including posts, offers, reviews, and a questions and answers section. These features provide multiple touchpoints for customers to interact with your dispensary, which in turn fosters loyalty and return visits.

Insightful Analytics

GMB provides detailed insights about how customers search for your business, what actions they take, and where they’re coming from. This data can help you refine your marketing strategy.


Overcoming the GMB Challenge for Cannabis and CBD Dispensaries

Despite the immense benefits, keeping a GMB listing live can be challenging for cannabis and CBD businesses due to policy complexities. But, it’s worth noting that many successful dispensaries have managed to maintain their GMB listings by following community guidelines and keeping their content compliant with regulations.

Can eCommerce Businesses Have GMB Listings?

Yes! Your Cannabis or CBD eCommerce business can have a GMB listing. When you set your GMB up, you can use your home or office address for your business location and hide this information. You can also set a service area so your business will only appear in areas you can deliver your products to. 

How to Make Sure Your GMB Listing Stays Up

Compliance is Key

Make sure your listing strictly adheres to GMB’s policies. Avoid promoting any restricted products. Instead, focus on the overall experience your dispensary provides, such as its ambiance, customer service, and educational initiatives.

Monitor Your Listing Regularly

Google regularly updates its policies and algorithms. This can affect your listing without you noticing, so it’s important to check back on your GMB listing regularly to make sure it’s still live and to resolve any pending issues! Checking your account regularly also gives you the opportunity to respond to any reviews or questions your customers leave.

Seek Professional Help

Considering the stakes and complexities involved, it might be helpful to engage a digital marketing agency specializing in the cannabis industry. They can help navigate these challenges and keep your GMB listing optimized and compliant.

Google My Business is a potent tool that can significantly improve your dispensary’s visibility and customer engagement while boosting your SEO strategy. With diligence and the right approach, your cannabis or CBD business can harness the full potential of GMB, leading to increased growth and profitability. 

Cannabis Marketing Services

Highly Effective Cannabis Marketing: Unlocking the Power of Programmatic Display Advertising

Running programmatic display ads for a dispensary or e-commerce cannabis company can be an effective way to reach a wider audience and increase brand awareness. Here are some reasons why:

1. Targeted Advertising: With programmatic display ads, you can target specific demographics, interests, and behaviors, allowing you to reach the right audience for your dispensary. This means that your ads are more likely to be seen by people who are interested in cannabis products and are more likely to become customers. Check out this publication by Stanford Business on the growth of programmatic advertising.

2. Increased Visibility: Display ads can increase the visibility of your dispensary’s brand by appearing on websites and apps that your target audience is likely to visit. This can help increase your dispensary’s visibility and brand recognition.

3. Cost-effective: Programmatic display advertising is often more cost effective than traditional advertising methods, such as TV or print ads. You can set a budget and bid on ad placements, ensuring that you’re only paying for the impressions and clicks that your ads receive.

4. Measurable Results: Programmatic advertising allows you to track your ad’s performance in real time, providing valuable data on the number of impressions, clicks, and conversions. This allows you to adjust your advertising strategy accordingly, optimizing your campaigns for better results.

5. Reach the Right Audience at the Right Time: Programmatic display ads can be timed to display during specific times of the day, on specific days of the week, or even during specific events. This means that you can reach potential customers when they are most likely to be interested in your products, increasing the chances of converting them into paying customers.

6. Build Trust and Credibility: By consistently displaying your dispensary’s brand message and products to your target audience, you can build trust and credibility with them. This can lead to increased loyalty and repeat business over time.

7. Adaptable and Flexible: Programmatic display ads allow quick and easy changes to ad copy, visuals, and targeting. This means that you can easily adapt to changes in your dispensary’s marketing strategy or respond to current events, ensuring that your ads remain relevant and effective.

8. Increased Website Traffic: Display ads should include calls to action, encouraging viewers to click through your dispensary’s website. This can lead to increased traffic to your website and, ultimately, more sales.

9. Better Control of Ad Spend: With programmatic display ads, you can set a budget and control how much you spend on each ad placement. This ensures that your advertising efforts are cost-effective and that you don’t overspend on ads that aren’t generating results.

Programmatic display ads can help dispensaries effectively target the right audience, increase brand recognition, build trust and credibility, and drive more sales. With the ability to measure and adjust ad performance in real-time, programmatic advertising is a powerful tool for dispensaries looking to increase their online presence and grow their customer base. If you want to grow your Dispensary or e-commerce cannabis business with programmatic display advertising, click and grow today!



Marijuana: A Journey Through Time and Changing Perceptions

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has a long and fascinating history that spans thousands of years. Its use can be traced back to ancient civilizations in Asia, where it was used for medicinal purposes and spiritual rituals. Over the years, cannabis has been both praised and demonized, but its popularity has never waned.


In the 20th century, cannabis began to attract more attention, especially in Western countries, where it became associated with the counter-culture movement. In the United States, it was classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it was considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

Recent Years 

However, in recent years, attitudes toward cannabis have begun to shift. Medical marijuana has been legalized in many states, and some states have even legalized recreational use. This change in perception has been fueled by a growing body of research that suggests that cannabis may have many potential health benefits.

Read More at Green Therapy NYC here!