If you’re looking for ways to expand your cannabis business and connect with more customers, creating a Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business or GMB) is an essential step. GBP is a powerful resource that is especially important for dispensaries because of how it can significantly improve the visibility of your brand in organic search results. While you won’t be able to take advantage of all of the features GBP offers non-cannabis businesses, it is still valuable.
This article is intended for dispensary owners who want to optimize their GBP but don’t know where to start. I’ve included an optimization checklist to guide you through the most important steps. First, I’ll briefly explain what GBP is and how it works.
Google Business Profile is a free platform created by Google for business owners to create a profile that appears on Google Search and Google Maps. The GBP offers business owners the opportunity to provide information about their business to potential customers, especially locally.
The profile is a great place to list your hours, provide a direct link to your location(s) on google maps, receive reviews, direct people to your menu pages, answer questions, show images of your dispensary both inside and out, inform people about your business and who you are, highlight what sets you apart from the competition, and they’re even listing event links now in this section. It’s also highly visible in local search result map packs for high value search terms such as:
And similar, thus it is very important for you to have one google profile per dispensary location that you have.
To get started, you’ll need a gmail address and to set up a Google Business Profile account. Head to that link, choose manage now, enter your information and follow the instructions.
The more complete your Google Business Profile is, the easier it will be for potential customers to find you. When filling out the information, remember to include the full name of your brand and add the location + dispensary after that. So if your business name is “Puff Cannabis” and the location is in Detroit. You’d enter “Puff Cannabis Detroit Dispensary” (or something close to) as your name.
If you also had a location in Traverse City, you’d create an entirely separate profile and name that one “Puff Cannabis Traverse City Dispensary,” or similar. Some dispensaries like to be more specific and include if they are recreational or medical, that is ok to include as well.
Outside of your name, ensure your address, phone number, and working hours are entered correctly. This is big! Triple check these are correct. If something is off, such as your closing time, you don’t want someone showing up an hour after you’ve closed as that isn’t a good look for any brand.
When you go to enter your website, you’ll want to ensure to add UTM codes to it so you can track the number of clicks coming from your Google Profile, and by which location if you have multiple locations. To create these, use this simple tool, and enter the following:
After these are entered, scroll down a little further and you can copy your URL with included UTM codes. Paste that into your website section. If you are creating multiple profiles for multiple locations, ensure that you change out the information by location. This will allow you to see in your google analytics, how many people are coming to your site overall via Google Profile, as well as which locations they are coming from individually.
For the Business Description section, describe your business using all the characters allowed. Speak to your mission statement, what makes your business unique, and other important items you want to call attention to. This is your opportunity to stick out and sell “why you,” so make sure to put it to good use. In some larger markets people have lots of options, so help them understand why you are the best.
For dispensaries, “cannabis store” is the ideal choice, and only option that makes sense really. If you offer other services such as wholesale of your products, cultivation and similar, you can also add those as separate categories, but make sure the cannabis store is your primary. There aren’t any cannabis cultivator categories, so agriculture options are usually what I use for those.
For the service area section, include all of the various small towns and cities within about a 10-20 mile radius of your location. You can include up to about 20 total. Depending on the location and how populated/rural your location is, you may be able to expand further than that to even include larger counties.
Choose from a list of attributes and fill in for each. These special features may include if you offer delivery or may give information about in-store shopping, curbside pickup, no-contact delivery, etc. You can also select if you are women, minority, or veteran owned as well as other options. Be sure to enter your holiday hours as well and keep those updated for dates you are closed. GBP will prompt you on these dates via email as they approach, but be sure to stay on top of those.
Include photos and videos of your brand to help potential customers get a glimpse into your store front. You won’t likely get away with posting product photos, but should be sure to include images and videos of your store. A 360 video of your store is a great way to show potential customers your store and for some, help them feel more comfortable before they show up. Avoid posting photos or videos of people consuming cannabis on Google as they won’t approve it anyway. They’ll ask for a “logo” photo, so be sure to include a nice high resolution version of your logo here.
Stay on top of questions customers may ask to you here as they can submit questions directly to you. Ensure you have a dedicated person to respond to these questions in as quickly of a manner as possible.
Also, you as the business can enter your own questions here. A great way to answer questions before people even ask them is to “ask” them while you are logged in under your profile, and then submit your own answers. For example, while logged in to your profile, you could ask “What do I need to bring with me” and then while still logged in, respond to your own question with the information they’d need to know about what to bring. Do this for each of your main FAQs as it will help potential customers and limit the number of questions you get so you can focus on your in store customers.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews and ALWAYS respond to both positive and negative reviews. It shows that you care about their opinions. Even if someone leaves a 5 star review but doesn’t say anything else. Thank them for it and let you know you appreciate it.
Remember Bing too! Google isn’t the only search engine with a local business profile. Bing Places is also a great way to capture local searches happening on Bing’s platform. Be sure to set up your Bing Places account and follow all the same instructions listed above from creating UTM codes and more.
Creating a Google Business Profile profile is simple, but often overlooked. As are many various SEO tactics and strategies that will help give your dispensary the advantage in local search results. If you are looking for SEO support for your GBP, to improve rankings in your local market, and create high quality demand driven content, contact Evergreen Digital today for a free consultation.