It’s a mad dash to capture customers in cannabis, and canna-lovers are increasingly turning to reviews to learn more before they buy, just like they would any other product. For many consumers, cannabis product reviews are the best way to anticipate what to expect when they’re considering trying something new. And the good news for dispensaries? These reviews are just about the hottest thing you can leverage in your marketing, from SEO to social media to your website and so much more. Here, we examine why you should fold cannabis product reviews into your SEO content strategy and offer up some tips for quality review-writing.

The importance of reviews for marketing, by the numbers

The role of product reviews in your SEO content strategy

 

1. Specific searches indicate a customer is ready to buy

In general, the more specific a query, the further along that searcher is on their buying journey. These keywords have what’s called commercial intent. When searchers use keywords with commercial intent, they’ve moved beyond the awareness stage of a brand or store and into the consideration stage. They’re evaluating options before they take action. By capturing these types of searches, you can help steer soon-to-be customers to your shop as they make their final purchasing decisions. A review can be just the thing that takes this type of customer from “just browsing” to “ready for pickup.”

An SEO strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. Read our article about how long it takes for SEO content to rank on Google to learn more.

2. Product reviews build authority

A content strategy does not exist in a vacuum. Blogs are part of an overall plan to contribute to your website’s relevance in your sector (in this case, cannabis). That relevance is essential to securing good placement on search engines and climbing up the ranks. 

Reviews also demonstrate that you’re an expert in cannabis. Reviews that dive beyond flavors and discuss the why behind their effects signal to customers and search engines alike that you’re a reliable source of information. That pays off in spades for your search engine rankings and your sales.

Adult-use cannabis has been around for more than a decade. In that time, many companies have built brand awareness that’s essential to any successful marketing endeavor. Writing product reviews is a great way to capitalize on the brand awareness those companies built. This drives internet traffic to your website, brings customers into your world, and links your dispensary with the brand. These searches will only get more competitive over time as more customers search for these keywords and more dispensaries attempt to secure this traffic. Creating thorough, helpful product reviews now can help you get ahead of the competition.

Let’s take one of the best-selling gummies in the U.S. as an example of how branded searches are on the rise. Launched in Oregon in 2015, Wyld THC products are currently available in 10 states in multiple flavors and cannabinoid formulations. User search trends about Wyld’s brand and its products make evident how much its popularity has grown over time. Here are some data snippets that give you a sense of how the search trends grew alongside Wyld.

Searches for “wyld gummies” have grown steadily over the years, as you can see in this chart. The keyword is searched an average of 21,000 times per month on Google, with natural fluctuations from month to month.

As the brand’s reach increases, you start to see more specific searches emerge,  specifically those with commercial intent. Searches for “wyld gummies near me” started to rise in early 2020, and currently average 1,000 searches per month on Google in the U.S.

Searches for “wyld review” have been around for quite some time, but they really start to take off in the summer of 2020. The term is searched on Google an estimated average of 700 times a month. Each user searching this term is likely close to buying, so if you can direct them to your website, there’s a higher chance of conversion. They’re ready to become your next customer, but you need the reviews they’re searching for to capture their attention.

4. Customers use social media as a secondary search engine

Google may be the leading search engine, but social media platforms are not far behind. YouTube, owned by Google, is the second-largest search engine in the world. TikTok is rapidly catching up, with Gen Zers turning to the platform for information and first-hand experiences. TikTok may be notoriously anti-cannabis, but it hasn’t stopped WeedTok from flourishing, and it certainly doesn’t stop customers from looking. Product reviews posted to their platforms can help drive more people to shop for a specific item at your dispensary. 

Reviews posted to social media are often accompanied by photos and videos that show customers precisely what they can expect when they buy an item. This insight helps would-be shoppers make the best assessment of their choices, moving them further down the customer acquisition funnel.

What are Google’s guidelines for writing product reviews?

Google Search Central released guidelines for reviews earlier this year, giving us a glimpse into what the search engine considers when assessing and ranking product reviews for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. This key ranking factor is known as E-E-A-T, and it plays a foundational role in assessing your website for relevance and subsequent placement in search results.

According to Google’s guidelines, reviews:

  • Should be original
  • Should prioritize the customer’s point of view
  • Should explain the purpose of a product, with best use case scenarios
  • Should prioritize decision-making factors that a customer might take into account

Example of a top-ranking cannabis product review

For this example, we’ll use Wyld again. We put together a Wyld gummies review for our client, Michigan-based dispensary Iconic Wellness and Provisioning. Wyld is among the more popular gummy brands in Michigan and a hot seller at Iconic. This opened an opportunity to create content aimed at bringing unacquainted, yet motivated customers into their dispensary. 

The plan paid off. Iconic Wellness content appears on Page 1 of search engine results pages (SERPs) when you look up reviews for Wyld. The way Google prioritizes reviews is immediately evident from the metadata, seen below. The search engine automatically parsed out pros and cons from the content and made them easy for customers to assess. Searchers can also navigate directly to a specific flavor mentioned in the review (terms which are gaining search traffic on their own) without having to dig deeper into the website or on other search results.

What other ways can you leverage product reviews in your marketing?

  • Social media. Customers don’t have to take your word for it when it comes to customer reviews. Posts and video clips shared on TikTok, Instagram, Reddit, and many more platforms offer more ways for customers to learn about the products your dispensary sells.
  • Email and text message marketing. Whether you have a big Green Wednesday sale coming up or want to spotlight a brand partner, reviews make for great content for your email marketing. You can even consider repurposing this content in text message marketing if your customer base prefers getting information straight to their phone.
  • Collateral: Testimonials are instrumental to influencing the purchasing journey. Making them part of your case studies, flyers, and other marketing materials gives shoppers confidence and encourages them to move ahead. 

4 tips for cannabis product review writing

1. Give customers a sense of what their experience may be.

Is the product you’re reviewing great for kicking back and relaxing, staying laser-focused on a project due next week, or great for giggling along to your favorite stand-up? Include that information in your review. Be sure to clarify, though, that the reader’s experience may vary. No cannabis experience is guaranteed, and your customers need to know that they need to try something to get a full understanding of how it will affect them.

2. Highlight different flavors and formulations in a blog post.

If a brand has different serving sizes, cannabinoid ratios, terpene profiles, or flavors, try to discuss as many of these factors as possible when writing. This delivers a complete package of information customers can use to make an informed decision about their purchase.

3. Ask your budtenders and customers.

Which edibles are flying off the shelves? What brands are customers constantly asking about? Surveying shoppers and budtenders gives insight into the information people want to read and what influences their decision-making processes. It also validates your review, offering third-party perspectives that back up what you’re saying.

4. Think about how you’re distributing the review.

After your product review is written, think about how that content is going out on social media. Where will it be posted and which form will it take? Who will create that content? Have a plan before you write. 

Turn cannabis reviews into opportunities for your dispensary marketing

The timing couldn’t be more perfect to fold reviews into your marketing plans. SEO-informed reviews are a prime opportunity to take advantage of emerging search traffic and growing brand awareness, leveraging it into a powerful traffic driver for your business. And with the combined power of omnichannel marketing, your reviews go beyond the pages of Google and into thousands of inboxes and social media feeds. That power can’t be underestimated — you have to see it to believe it.