How to Find a Dispensary Marketing Agency

The cannabis industry is rapidly growing (despite this year’s pandemic). 

Projections estimate the global legal cannabis market will reach a value of nearly $74B by 2027. The North American legal cannabis market reached $12.9B in 2019, and by the close of 2020, experts expect the number to exceed $15B. We’re on the precipice of federal legalization (fingers crossed), and there’s a deluge of new dispensaries preparing to open. 

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Interior Design Can Be The Difference Between Dispensary Success and Failure

My first Colorado dispensary experience wasn’t positive - or comfortable. Let me explain.

Colorado’s legal recreational cannabis sales started on January 1, 2014. Lines wrapped around buildings state-wide, but Denver’s “Green Mile,” attracted crowds of stoners as far as the eye could see. The Green Mile is a stretch of South Broadway with dispensaries on every corner for those reading who are unfamiliar.

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Your Dispensary Needs a Customer Service Culture From the Start

Cannabis dispensaries consider every detail but too often miss the mark on creating a customer service culture. 

Customer service is everything. 

And customer service isn’t a department or set of rules and regulations (although guidelines are essential).

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The Rules of Content Marketing for Cannabis


Content marketing isn’t new. 

Brands have used content to tell their stories for hundreds of years, and storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication (cave drawings are content).  

But today, the word content isn’t just overused; it’s misused. Marketers aggressively use the phrase, “content is king,” like it’s going out of style. 

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The CRITICAL Reason That Every Cannabis Business NEEDS A Merchandise Line

Branded merchandise is the key to turning budtenders into brand ambassadors.

Regardless of what side of the cannabis industry you’re on, developing branded merchandise is critical. Why? Because in a saturated and competitive marketplace, merch is often the difference between success and failure. And while T-shirts and hats are perfect giveaways that make customers walking billboards, that’s not what makes merchandise critical. Like everything else in cannabis, it comes down to the budtenders. Here’s why:

[ut_custom_heading align="center" effect="none" color="#00bbb4"]Budtenders are the lynchpin of the cannabis industry.


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BEWARE: The OKannapocalypse is coming. Will you be ready?

It’s been said before that nothing is certain except for death and taxes. Well, in the case of the Oklahoma cannabis industry, here is what is certain...Read more

Concerts, weed, and food: 3 ways to make a difference in your community and your business

[ut_header style="pt-style-1" title_linebreak_mobile="on" spacing="custom" spacing_bottom="30" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" font_size="25" line_height="67" title_letter_spacing="0.03" title="that 'i-love-this-song' kinda high..." title_color="#40627c"][/ut_header]
50 free concerts were held at the Levitt Pavilion in Denver this summer, in addition to ticketed shows featuring the Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World.

The community gigs were organized by the Levitt Pavilion Foundation, a non-profit that built the $4.8 million outdoor amphitheater in 2016 with the help of city bonds and charitable donations.Read more


[ut_header style="pt-style-7" align="center" title_linebreak_mobile="on" spacing="custom" spacing_bottom="2" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_accent_font_weight="bold" title="Mike Tyson is a heavy-hitter." lead_accent_color="#151515" effect="fadeIn" css=".vc_custom_1569771988203{margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}"][/ut_header]

The former heavyweight champion revealed in August that he smokes $40,000 of weed every month at his future cannabis resort, Tyson Ranch.

The story came up in an episode of Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson, a podcast where “Iron” Mike sits down for a “performance-enhanced” conversation with celebrities, athletes and luminaries. Details on Tyson’s colossal cannabis consumption scored him a ton of earned media, with multiple news outlets and social media channels covering the story.

So what does this story teach us? 

Mike Tyson smokes a lot of weed. 

But what else?

Mike Tyson is a cannabis influencer at the top of his game.

He generated massive awareness for his resort, and he did it organically. He brought up his monumental weed consumption in conversation, tied it in to his new venture, and let the message spread digitally. Besides production costs, it cost him nothing. 

As an influencer in the weed game, Mike hits hard.


Relax. Despite all the hype, “influencer” is a relatively new word. Before 2016, it lacked a definition on


An influencer is someone who can change the way people think and behave.

Whether they’re writing an impassioned defense of universal basic income on their personal blog, or posting Instagram Stories of their Maldivian overwater villa, influencers create new thoughts, new desires, and new perspectives. 

And they’re persuasive. Influencers develop a unique bond with their followers, sharing regular, engaging content. They’re always on hand. They’re your five minutes at the bus stop. Your after-work wind-down.

Plus, they follow back. While traditional media is mostly limited to one-way conversation, social media allows influencers to communicate directly with their followers, sharing likes, posting comments, and responding to direct messages.

[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-7" align="center" text_transform="uppercase" effect="fadeIn" spacing="padding-bottom:0px"]Sounds groovy. But what makes Mike such a “heavy hitter” in the weed business?[/ut_title_divider_2]

He’s a problem solver.

Federal legislation makes it tough to promote your cannabis business, with social media companies like Twitter and Facebook banning weed advertisements.

By partnering with influencers, you can knock down these obstacles and get your brand off the canvas. Whether you’re sponsoring digital content, developing co-branded merchandise, or offering free bud for a review, influencers like Tyson can connect you to a new, engaged audience.

[ut_parallax_quote revealfx="on" revealfx_color="#ffffff"]ALRIGHT, I’M IN. BUT HOW DO I FIND AN INFLUENCER TO WORK WITH?[/ut_parallax_quote]

Work with an agency, like us

We’ll match you with influencers who are perfectly suited to promoting your business. We’ll manage the partnership and help you build the relationship. And we’ll take care of the paperwork.

Whether you work with an agency or go solo, start by asking yourself: who is my ideal influencer?

[ut_service_box icon="fa fa-handshake-o" headline="VALUES" imageicon="4081" effect="fadeInLeft"]What do you believe in? What’s important to you? Perhaps you’ve installed LED lighting, solar power and water reclamation systems to reduce your carbon footprint. Pick an influencer who shares your commitment to the environment. This is known as brand alignment. [/ut_service_box]
[ut_service_box icon="fa fa-handshake-o" headline="DEMOGRAPHICS" imageicon="4082" effect="fadeInRight"]Who buys your weed? Who orders your lighting systems? Your customers probably have some things in common. Do they tend to be old or young, male or female, professional or self-employed? If you want to hit your target market, you’ll want to find an influencer with an audience that shares key characteristics with your customer base.[/ut_service_box]

Once you’ve established the requirements, it’s time to find the candidate. This is the fun bit. Watch YouTube. Search Google for cannabis bloggers based in Denver. Scan Twitter with relevant hashtags. Make a note of the influencers who stand out and resonate with you and your business. 

Next, delve a little deeper into your influencer shortlist.

  • Is their content entertaining?
  • Could you get on with them?
  • Do they have a large following?
  • Is their audience engaged? Do they have a lot of likes and comments on their posts?
  • Are there any red flags? Could anything they’ve said cause negative controversy?

[ut_parallax_quote revealfx="on" revealfx_color="#ffffff"]OK, I’VE FOUND MY MATCH. NOW HOW DO I REACH OUT?[/ut_parallax_quote]
[ut_simple_time_line animate="true" global_delay_animation="true" events="%5B%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22For%20the%20time%20being%2C%20e-mail%20reigns%20king%2C%20particularly%20if%20you%E2%80%99re%20reaching%20out%20to%20an%20influencer%20with%20a%20large%20following.%20Popular%20influencers%20are%20flooded%20with%20partnership%20requests%20every%20day%2C%20so%20it%E2%80%99s%20easy%20for%20yours%20to%20get%20lost%20in%20the%20pile%20of%20DMs%20and%20comments.%5Cn%22%7D%2C%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22If%20it%E2%80%99s%20a%20popular%20influencer%2C%20chances%20are%20they%E2%80%99ll%20have%20their%20own%20agent%20and%2For%20publicist%20too%2C%20and%20that%E2%80%99s%20who%" time_line_dot_color="#00bbb4" animation_style_left="fadeIn" animation_style_right="fadeIn" global_delay_timer="200" delay_timer="200" delay_timer_marker="100" time_line_dot_inner_color="#00bbb4"]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-7" align="center" text_transform="uppercase" effect="fadeIn" spacing="padding-bottom:0px"]Let me guess. You can help with that too, right?[/ut_title_divider_2]

Indeed we can. We’ll take care of the legalities and make sure your business and your brand are protected.

That means you can focus on the fun part: building fun relationships with people who share your passions, your values, and your audience.

Influencers can connect you to new people and help you overcome bans on cannabis advertising. They promote your products or services by showing how your bud, bong or baked goods fit in with their lifestyle. They help you build your brand and they embody the values your business stands for.

That’s a combo “Iron” Mike would be proud of.

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8 simple steps to a winning giveaway in the cannabis industry

If you’re in the cannabis industry, you can gain a lot by giving stuff away.

People like free stuff, so giveaways earn a ton of organic (free) views and engagement.

Not only does this save you money, it also provides an alternative to paid online advertising, prohibited for cannabis companies by government legislation and social media company bans

And to round out the benefits, contests and sweepstakes allow you to grow your email list, generate leads (potential sales), and build brand or product awareness.

Giveaways are a win-win if you’re in the cannabis industry. Read on for eight simple steps to getting your contest or sweepstake right. 

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 1" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Set Your Goals[/ut_title_divider_2]

Set measurable, attainable targets so you can measure your success. If you’ve done this before, look at the results from your last contest: How much can you grow these numbers?

Set a goal for leads – customers that share their information. This can include their name, e-mail address, postal address, cellphone number and interests. Think about the quality of your leads too – are they qualified? Are they likely to buy your product?

Leads also give insight on how much awareness you’ve generated. Additionally, set targets for engagement – how many likes, shares, retweets or comments are you aiming for?

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 2" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Pick Your Prize[/ut_title_divider_2]

Prizing is tricky in the cannabis industry since regulations limit what you can give away. In Colorado, for instance, retail cannabis stores may not give away cannabis or any cannabis product, or any consumable items including food and drinks..

So what can you give away? What will your customers, new and existing, be most enticed by? What prize connects to your brand and contest? Some ideas include:

      • Experiential: tickets to cannabis events or competitions, concerts in your city
      • Accessories: papers, grinders, glassware
      • Grower equipment: lighting, ventilation, hydration

If you’ve got partnerships, do any of your agreements include contra (free products or services supplied by a partner). For instance, if you’ve sponsored an athlete or sports team, you could ask for comped tickets to give away throughout the season.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 3" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Create Your Giveaway[/ut_title_divider_2]

If you want to maximize your entries, make your giveaway easy to enter.

The easiest kind of giveaway is a sweepstake. It’s based purely on chance: the entrant just has to enter their details and the winner is randomly selected. 

In fact, you don’t even need to ask for details. A share, tag, or follow will suffice if boosting awareness is top of your agenda.

Let’s say you’re launching a product and you want to generate hype. A few days before release, you launch a contest on social media, teasing the product and asking your followers to retweet or share the post to enter a sweepstake to win it. Alternatively, ask your followers to tag a friend in the comment section and, to build sustainable awareness, ask them to follow you as well. Sit back and watch the engagements multiply.

You can also build engagement by creating a cool contest and creating some fun content. You could test your followers’ knowledge with cannabis trivia, challenge them to predict the next Cannabis Cup winner, or encourage them to share something personal, like a photo of their favorite smoke spot. 

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 4" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Spread the Word[/ut_title_divider_2]

Publicize your giveaway through as many different channels as possible. If you’re looking for new leads, you’ll need to look for ways to expand your reach beyond your existing audience.

[ut_service_column size="small" headline="Social Media" icon="fa fa-twitter"]Social media: Post on all the platforms you’re on – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (including Stories), Snapchat and so on. Choose an eye-catching picture or graphic and make sure there’s a word like win, giveaway, sweepstake or contest in the first line of the caption.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Web" icon="fa fa-desktop"]Place an ad on your home page. Build a dedicated landing page and drive traffic to a custom URL.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Influencers" icon="fa fa-user-circle-o"]Team up with an individual that commands a big following online and ask them to help publicize your giveaway. It’s a win for the influencer and their following, too.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Partners" icon="fa fa-handshake-o"]Ask your partners to help publicize your giveaway through social media, e-mail and any other channels.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Print/out-of-home" icon="fa fa-pencil-square-o"]Hand out “Scratch and Win” cards at an event or retail location. Utilize print and public advertising for “text-to-win” contests.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="In-person" icon="fa fa-tablet"]Set up a tablet computer and collect entries at an event or your place of business.[/ut_service_column]

Publicize regularly throughout the contest and, at the end of the giveaway period, communicate urgency with “last chance” messaging.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 5" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Gather the Entries[/ut_title_divider_2]

Whether you’re publicizing your giveaway online or otherwise, collecting your entries digitally will save you a lot of time on data entry.

Use a data management system like Formstack to build an entry form to collect entries automatically:

      • Decide what information you want to collect
      • Build the form and embed it on a dedicated landing page
      • Create a custom URL for the landing page
      • Drive traffic to the URL through your marketing collateral
      • Use custom tracking links to identify which channels or creatives are most successful in driving traffic to the page

If you’re publicizing your contest offline, asking your customers to remember and manually enter a URL can feel cumbersome. “Text-to-win” giveaways use five or six digit “Short Codes” to make entering contests easier. Your contestants to text an opt-in word to the Short Code you’ve created, e.g. “Text WIN to 762200.” Your contestant will automatically receive a reply containing the URL for the contest entry page.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 6" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Make Sure It's Legal[/ut_title_divider_2]

Contesting laws differ from state to state in the US, so make sure your giveaway is legal

Also, you’ll need to draft up a Terms and Conditions for every contest you run. At minimum, this should contain details on:

      • Name of contest
      • Key dates and times (start, end, prize draw)
      • Eligibility
      • How to enter
      • Prize (quantity and description)
      • Prize claim
      • Conditions attached to the prize
      • General conditions
      • Use of personal information

Hyperlink to the Terms and Conditions on the contest entry page. Include a check box for entrants to confirm their agreement. Additionally, include a check mark for entrants to opt out of their personal information being used for marketing purposes.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 7" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Pick a winner. Share the good news.[/ut_title_divider_2]

When you’ve picked the winner of your giveaway, don’t forget to tell your followers – with your winner’s permission. Announcing the winner confirms your contest is real, so your followers will be more likely to enter the next one. Plus, winning is always a good story to tell.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 8" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Review[/ut_title_divider_2]

Look back at the objectives you set at the beginning. Were you successful? Did you collect enough leads and build sufficient awareness? 

What went well, and how could you improve? Record your numbers so you can try to beat them next time.

Contesting is a craft honed through experience. At Hybrid, we can help you get it right the first time. Chat with our team for advice on building the perfect giveaway for your cannabis business. You’ve got nothing to lose, but a lot to gain.

6 Dynamite Techniques to Grow Your Cannabis Business’ Email List

Those of us in the cannabis industry know that the tools and tactics available to us are limited. When, where, and IF you can advertise comes with a variety of restrictions. The instinct of most cannabis businesses is to invest heavily in social media. They get on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other platform you can imagine, and then saturate them with content. We’re not saying not to do that, but use social media with this understanding:

[ut_header style="pt-style-7" title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" font_size="26" title="You do not own your profile on any social media platform."][/ut_header]

For example, imagine you spend enormous amounts of time, effort, and money on your cannabis dispensaries’ Instagram account. You grow a healthy following and use it as a primary driver of traffic to your business. Then disaster strikes. Instagram decides to change their terms of service and determines that you are now in violation. They shut down your account, no warning, no questions asked, no recourse. What impact would that have on your business?

We’re not suggesting you avoid social media. We’re simply suggesting that you have a diversified approach to your marketing channels, with social media being one of at least several.

There is a belief amongst some (usually those outside the marketing department) that email marketing is old-school. While the tool of e-mail might be losing some steam in certain settings (teams adopting Slack for example), it’s still the most widely used tool on the internet, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Why? Because it works. You can use e-mail marketing to promote specials, drive attendance to events, provide news and updates, and keep your loyal customers engaged.

That’s why building your own e-mail list should be at the top of your priorities. YOU own your businesses email list, and it doesn’t run the risk of shutdown by anyone. And in the world of cannabis, your email list is your best friend. So, here’s five tips that will help you build your very own, very valuable email list for use in your own cannabis email marketing.

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When building an e-mail list, pop-ups are going to be your biggest growth engine. They’re often annoying, but they don’t need to be. The blatant in-your-face pop-up as soon as somebody hits your website is off the table. Don’t do it. Instead, consider an exit-intent pop-up. That’s a pop-up that’s triggered when somebody is about to leave your site (typically it’s cursor movement to the top corner of the page that acts as a trigger). They’ve already done everything they need to do, so you’re not interrupting them. Slider pop-ups can also be an effective option. They just slide in to the corner of the screen and are much less obtrusive. Which one will work better for you? Consider A/B testing both.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="2."][/ut_header]


By gated, we mean that a potential lead or customer needs to enter their email to access the content. It’s a trade-off, and to hold up your end of the bargain, the content has to be valuable. Often, this will be long-form content. Examples might be: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Extracts, or The Ultimate Cannabis Grading Workbook, or perhaps some type of checklist.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="3."][/ut_header]


Run a contest based where an email signup is required to be entered. You can promote the contest on social, on your website, and at events. If you want it to be successful you need to offer something significant as a prize. Maybe it’s a gift certificate to your dispensary, free product, or tickets to a cannabis-related event.

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="4."][/ut_header]


Have (and promote) email sign-ups in-store with an offer for something free. It can be small, and definitely should be branded. Consider rolling papers, lighters, grading books, or grinders. Tip: ditch the paper sign-up sheets, and go with a tablet. You can a basic Amazon Fire tablet that will work just fine for around $60.

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Create multiple opportunities on the website to sign up. Don’t rely on the pop-ups by themselves. There should be a small sign-up window somewhere on the front page, and peppered elsewhere throughout the site.

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This goes hand-in-hand with pop-ups and sign-up forms. There’s nothing wrong with attracting sign-ups by letting customers know they’ll get sale info emailed to them. But if you really want to supercharge your sign ups (and you do), consider a one-time use coupon code. It doesn’t have to be much, 10% usually does the trick. Just make sure the coupon code is deliverable to their email address to prevent fake emails being used.

Keep in mind that you’re never done growing your email list. Average attrition for most lists is around 22% or more per year, so it’s not something you set and forget. Need help getting started? That’s what we’re here for. Drop us a message on this form and one of our cannabis marketing specialists will get back to you.