Well, it finally happened. After years of back and forth, New Jersey has officially legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 years and older. Voters were given the chance to vote directly on the issue with marijuana legalization being on the ballot this election season. The results are in, and the measure was approved overwhelmingly by state residents. Shops will soon be opening up across the state, and that means your New Jersey Dispensary website needs to be ready to go soon.

As one of Governor Phil Murphy’s signature campaign promises, there is no question that the state will embrace marijuana dispensaries and look to facilitate their growth as the program gets up and running. Quite frankly, it was always more of a matter of when – not if  – marijuana will become legal in New Jersey.

Now that it is legal, New Jersey is in for a bit of a culture shock. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, one thing is for sure – the “Garden State” will never be the same.

Now that marijuana is legal here, New Jersey has joined Massachusetts and Vermont as the only east coast states to have legalized marijuana use. This presents a massive opportunity for the New Jersey Cannabis Industry.

Recreational marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey will likely start opening up in early 2021, and are poised to bring in big-time revenue. Even more so than the states that have already legalized it.

Why?

Because all of New York City’s ~9 million residents will need to come across the Hudson River to purchase legal marijuana.

Furthermore, the Tri-state area in total has a population of about ~30 million. And New Jersey is the only mid-Atlantic state to have legalized the drug.

That means New Jersey dispensaries that are opening up shop in 2021 will have a vast potential market to serve with no established competitors.

Now, how do you capitalize on that?

It starts by recognizing the fact that potential cannabis consumers in NJ will have their first interaction with your brand on your website. Now more than ever, people are shopping online and choosing whether or not to continue shopping based on what they see online. They hear of something interesting, and they Google it.

To capitalize on this opportunity, your New Jersey Dispensary website needs to be on point from day one.

Here are three key factors that will put you way ahead of other New Jersey Marijuana dispensaries if you execute correctly.

A Well Designed Mobile Friendly Website

Many consumers will discover New Jersey dispensaries through apps such as Leafy and WeedMaps. These apps allow people to find dispensaries near them, look up their menu and learn more about the different strains of marijuana.

Now, these apps are very popular in the cannabis community.

So much so, that, people will likely first find out about your dispensary through them and click through to your dispensary website from there.

That means the majority of consumers will likely first view your website on their phones or tablets. That also coincides with another well-known trend in the web design industry: That nearly 2/3rds of internet traffic is via mobile devices.

Most website builds start out by designing the desktop version first. Then, the web designer/developer will have the elements resize and “respond” based on the size of the screen they’re viewed on.

Decrease the width of any browser page open on your desktop right now, and you will see what we are talking about.

This is how most web design builds go. But for New Jersey Dispensary websites, the opposite approach should be taken.

Rather than design for the desktop version first, you will want to have your website designed for mobile phones first and then for desktop.

Why?

It all goes back to the fact that the majority of your dispensary website traffic will come from mobile devices.

And by designing your website mobile-first, you can create a unique experience for people and make a stellar first impression.

A mobile-first website should be lightning fast – almost like an app. Images and copy need to be optimized, and navigation needs to be simple. We also recommend linking to your social media profiles, so people can easily follow you.

While many web designers or marketing agencies take a one size all approach to building websites, that shouldn’t be the case for a New Jersey Marijuana Dispensary website. The industry is simply way too niche to be given a generalized treatment. Further, the fact that so much traffic will be coming through mobile apps necessities the need for a super-fast mobile website.

If you’re in a meeting with a web design agency for your cannabis dispensary and they aren’t mentioning any of this to you, that means they haven’t done their homework. We’d recommend moving on then until you find someone that knows the industry.

Read More: 5 Steps to Hiring a Freelance Web Designer in New Jersey

A Blog Section That Educates New Jersey Residents on Cannabis

Cannabis dispensaries opening up in New Jersey is going to be quite a culture shock to many residents.

We have lived in NJ our whole lives, and we can tell you it doesn’t have the same culture as places we’ve visited where marijuana is legal – like California and Colorado.

Because of this, there isn’t an existing, knowledgeable consumer base. Sure Cannabis in New Jersey is still popular, but mostly amongst millennials. Older consumers, not so much.

However, there is no doubt that the Cannabis industry in New Jersey will thrive. It is estimated that New Jersey could bring in 210 million dollars per year in tax revenue by legalizing marijuana.

But most NJ residents aren’t very familiar with marijuana. And certainly, the experience of visiting a dispensary will be foreign to them. Many will likely be a little nervous about going their first time, and this could end up being a bit of a barrier to entry.

But don’t worry –  that actually presents a huge opportunity for marijuana dispensaries opening up in New Jersey.

The Benefits of Producing Content for Your New Jersey Dispensary Website

By following the principles of inbound marketing and providing helpful, valuable content to potential cannabis consumers in NJ, you can win their trust and establish your authority with them. Before competing dispensaries in your local area and before they even step into your storefront.

A New Jersey dispensary website that can cultivate a strong online following will be well-positioned to take advantage of customer loyalty and first-mover advantage in the nascent NJ Cannabis industry. Producing helpful content will help you turn strangers into paying customers.

What do we mean by valuable and helpful content?

We’re talking about blog posts, videos, podcasts, ebooks or any other form of content that will educate your target audience on cannabis.

Content Marketing Ideas for New Jersey Dispensaries

Here are just a few examples of some blog posts you could write:

  • A Step by Step Guide for Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card in New Jersey
  • 5 Pro Tips for Consuming Marijuana Responsibly
  • Sativa vs Indica: What’s the Difference?
  • How to Talk to Your Family About Marijuana
  • New Jersey Marijuana Dispensaries are Now Open. Here’s What You Need to Know:

All of these blog posts would live on your New Jersey dispensary website. When people in the local area search for terms related to any of the posts you write, your website will show up on Google. From there, they’ll read your post and become more educated on the topic.

We will warn you that SEO is a long term strategy. But it’s one of the smartest digital marketing investments you can make for your Dispensary Website in New Jersey. It will drive free traffic continuously once you get a good chunk of high-quality posts up. Plus, if many other dispensary owners aren’t focusing on their website (which we would suspect is likely, considering the million other things they need to worry about) then you’ve got yourself a golden opportunity.

Not into blogging? Or maybe need a digital marketing strategy that can produce results a bit quicker? No worries.

You could also shoot videos of each strain to give people an overview of what they can expect. We simply use an iPhone to take quick videos for this blog and social media, and it always gets the job fone. You don’t need any fancy equipment – just talk as you normally would in front of the camera and do your best to be as helpful as possible. People love authenticity (especially in NJ), and producing video content is the best way to show people who you are. Over time, it will be like they practically know you. And once that happens, I think we know where they’re going to be headed next time they need some Cannabis.

Not into video? No worries. You could also write up a downloadable ebook that details everything new cannabis users need to know about marijuana in New Jersey.

Simply just ask for an email address if they want to download it. And then enroll them in an email marketing campaign to nurture that lead and turn them from a prospect into a paying customer.

Or you could start a podcast that details how you have started up your New Jersey Dispensary and what the industry is like. Give people a behind the curtains look of what it is really like to run a dispensary in NJ. It could be a big hit with consumers, journalists, and business people.

We could go on all day. There are so many different ways you can create awesome content for this subject. Feel free to have fun with it and show some personality too.

It’s weed, after all.

How This Content Will Help Your Dispensary Thrive

Producing content like this has two major benefits.

First, you will establish trust with potential customers and become an industry authority. This strategy isn’t complicated, you just need to execute it correctly and go through a lot of trial and error. But once you figure out the secret sauce to Cannabis marketing in New Jersey, it’s off to the races from there.

People will be more likely to stop by your New Jersey Dispensary because you have already helped them with your content. Expect local reporters to reach out to you for comments on industry news. They’ll know you know what you’re talking about will trust you.

Establishing trust and expertise in the NJ Cannabis industry is going to be huge. If you can do that, word of mouth will spread and you will have a huge early mover advantage.

We believe this is especially true for the medical marijuana dispensaries that will open up in New Jersey. Getting a medical marijuana card in NJ is a long and confusing process.

If you can help guide people through that and give them all the info they need, where do you think they’ll buy from once they have the card? Of course, before doing that, you need to check if it complies with regulations.

Second, this content will help you build your SEO authority. When potential cannabis consumers in New Jersey Google this type of information, your content will show up.

Building your SEO authority will get your website to show up higher in Google’s search results. This is another opportunity dispensaries should leverage.

With so many people likely Googling “Dispensaries near me” getting to the top of search results will be key.

Lastly, with so few players in the NJ Cannabis industry, you could also likely leverage this trust and authority into multiple PR opportunities.

Newspapers and online outlets will be hungry for quotes from dispensary owners. If you build up your personal brand through content, they will want to talk to you.

Getting this type of media coverage will be very influential for drawing awareness to your NJ dispensary early on.

A Menu Section for SEO Benefits

Last but certainly not least, all New Jersey Cannabis Dispensary websites should include their menu on their website.

We don’t just mean throwing up a picture or PDF onto a page of your site and calling it a day. We mean having robust product pages that make people want to run to your dispensary and make a purchase.

This doesn’t need to be super complicated. We would recommend having one template for your products and then swapping out the pictures and website copy for each different strain.

This will give your website a clean and consistent looking – which is great for establishing a brand identity early in the NJ marijuana game.

But it will also allow you to easily expand your website and add new product pages as new dispensaries. All you will have to do is duplicate the template, and edit the images and text for that particular strain.

You can even go a step further and shoot a video with the budtender giving an overview of each strain. Video is the most effective content online today and will allow you to easily educate your audience and build trust.

With a website builder like WordPress, this can easily be accomplished once you’ve had a web designer or web developer complete your website.

That’s just one of many examples of how WordPress makes business owners’ lives easier.

Consumers will expect your website to have a menu, and most New Jersey Dispensary websites already do.

Note: This article is purely marketing advice and does not and should not be taken as legal advice. Before following any of this advice, please make sure it is in accordance with the regulations outlined in the bill.

Bailey Canning

Bailey Canning

Bailey Canning is a digital marketing consultant & web designer based in Northern New Jersey. Right out of college, he founded Inbound Web Development - a marketing-focused web development firm that helps small businesses generate leads and grow online. Feel free to reach out at bailey@inboundwebdevelopment.com to discuss a project, or be featured as a guest on the podcast Business Talks.

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