Show Me What You Got: Directory Services Vs. Having Your Website

marketplace vs ecommerce-01

Show Me What You Got: Directory Services Vs. Having Your Website

Posted by Toker Grace on Oct 29, 2019 9:16:44 AM

Getting into the cannabis industry is tough. When you finally get there though, it only gets tougher. One of the biggest obstacles a cannabis dispensary owner will have to hurdle is turning a profit while marketing and promoting their products. Most of the money people invest in the industry goes towards infrastructure, products, and compliance.

All of those things add up over time, so the only way to stay afloat is to bring in traffic and make sales. To do that, it is essential to have an online presence for your brand. There are two main ways to achieve this: having your website or being a part of a directory service.

Build Your Brand

First impressions are essential – and you never get a second chance to do it. This is why brand building is critical. Customers will be drawn to a brand that has a positive reputation.

A reputable brand creates a popular dispensary. If a customer recognizes your name as a provider that consistently delivers quality experiences, they are going to gravitate towards what you are offering.

Having a good brand separates from your competition. This helps bring traffic to your website, and when it comes to standing out against other dispensaries on a directory service like Weedmaps or Leafly, having a popular brand is invaluable.

It takes more than a directory listing to build a brand, however. You need to invest in great content and excellent customer service to leave your mark.

The Cost Of A Directory

Like a website, a directory service is an online domain that you pay to keep up and running.

Directory services differ from web pages. Instead of showcasing a single business’s information and product, a directory service functions as a hub for all other businesses of the same type as well.

The more popular a directory service, the more the owner can charge people to have their businesses listed there. Prime real estate, you could say, and directories like Weedmaps charge anywhere from $400 to $3000 a month to have a listing on their site.

Standing Out Among The Crowd

As we have seen, the cost of using a directory service to build your brand can be quite high. Accumulating the preliminary cost required to open a listing is half the battle. The other part that matters is separating yourself from the countless others doing the same thing.

This is where cost again becomes a factor. The widely varying rates of some of these directory services reflect a pay-to-win business model. The more popular your dispensary and your brand, the more business you will have. The more business you have, the more money you are making.

And the more money you make, the better the listing you can afford. The dispensaries that are shelling out tens of thousands of dollars a month are showing up first in the listing, funneling all the traffic to them.

This is where it pays to have your own website promoting products and content to your customers. If Weedmaps or Leafly double their prices starting tomorrow, your website’s loyal followers will still be there.

Competitive Pricing: More Harm Than Good?

Competitive pricing is a good thing in most popular markets. Cannabis is a rapidly growing industry, yet competitive pricing on cannabis products can be a fickle thing.

Most dispensaries are opened by small business owners. To get to that point, there is a seemingly endless list of things to take care of to become a legal vendor of cannabis products. At this point, the overhead costs of operation are rather high. With a competitive market, more popular dispensaries will be able to manipulate the prices in a way that will inevitably favor others in the same situation.

Smaller dispensaries will need to focus on growth and resource management, putting them at a disadvantage in the long run. But dispensaries that invest in long-term brand-building through their website and content marketing initiatives will be able to turn the levers of customer acquisition in their favor.

Directory services are a great way to get your product out there and quickly build your brand only if you have the funds to do so. Even so, building and promoting your brand with your own website and great content is the best and surest route to long-term success.

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