Marketing your Cannabis brand can be challenging and the industry is handcuffed with restrictions at every turn. The good news is legislation is gradually being relaxed, however, marketing your company can still be an uphill battle with over-regulation.
If you have any experience marketing in the cannabis industry, you already know that the tech giants like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter prohibit advertising of cannabis-related products on their platforms. You have to be careful, creative, and really tap into some outside of the box thinking to market your company on these pages. This makes it difficult for you to reach out to new customers and grow your brand.
Lucky for you, there are other methods at your disposal. By using these methods and laying a solid foundation now, you’ll set yourself up for exponential growth when traditional marketing tactics eventually open up to our industry.
Why? Because you will have built something that third party channels can’t “remove” or “ban” your content. You will have a sustainable, self-sufficient marketing strategy that doesn’t need these channels to deliver results.
Ultimately, these are the tried and true, simple methods to market your company. This is not for someone looking for advanced growth tactics and technical marketing techniques to build your cannabis brand. We are placing more emphasis on some of the more organic marketing techniques that are proven to deliver results. So, let’s get down to business.
This should come as no surprise to anyone. Your website is one of the most important parts of marketing your cannabis business. Your website will be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. It is the digital face of your company and will be the main outlet for delivering both leads and sales, especially if you’re in the e-commerce business.
Many websites in the cannabis industry are either outdated, poorly designed, or dysfunctional. It should serve as the top of your funnel and bring a person from the discovery phase of your brand to the customer phase. A poorly built website creates a frustrating experience for the customer, often resulting in a loss of a lead/sale and poor retention rates. Your website should be designed to work for you 24/7.
Four out of every five consumers will use search engines to find local information. This means that the majority of your customers will visit your business online before ever stepping foot in your store. A poorly designed website will ensure they never make it into store.
Before you put time, money and effort into your marketing strategy, it’s important that you review your website and it’s assets to make sure you’ve got a solid foundation to work with.
Start by reviewing the overall design of your website. Questions to ask yourself would be: does the website look attractive? Is it easy to navigate? Is the information digestible and easy to read? Is the site optimized for all devices? and is the site setup in a way that is search engine friendly?
How do you improve SEO or grow your website traffic if you can’t advertise? You have to create multiple entry points so people can find you organically through search engines. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is by writing and publishing blog posts (though it is definitely not the quickest). This will be a fundamental building block of your SEO strategy targeting longtail keywords that are relevant to your location and target market.
Blog writing is the easiest way to get traffic to your site. It’s not only an entry point to your website from search engines, it’s the best tool for building authority and providing value to your audience. Blogging gives you a chance to educate and show customers (oftentimes new to the world of cannabis) how you can best serve them. And more importantly, why you are the best to serve them. Someone reading your blog will immediately become a “warm” lead to sell.
Start by asking yourself: what will my customers or prospects find useful? Use this as a basis to generate your blog topics. Conduct some keyword research to identify areas of opportunity on search engines to help define your angle. We suggest targeting mid or long-tail keywords to rank you’re content and blogs. These will be the easiest to rank for and will also help an audience that is searching with intent and not curiosity.
Once your website is pulling in traffic from the blog posts, it’s time to capture the leads and start building a customer list. You can do this in a variety of ways – but here’s some of the methods we’ve used previously that have been effective in capturing leads.
Notice how on both examples, we’re offering something in return for the visitor to hand over their email address. This is partially why both of these methods of lead capture where immensely successful – because there is a reciprocal exchange of value.
Email marketing is not dead. Far from it.
For every $1 spent in email marketing you can expect a return of $44. This is the most cost-effective way of communicating with your customers, all cannabis brands should be using email marketing, relentlessly. This is where you’ll put your list of emails to good use. Keep your customers up-to-date with the latest news and product offerings by sending out a newsletter, writing product reviews, and sending them special offers from time to time.
Don’t let your website be the only lead generating machine. Ask for sign-ups at your place of business. It is far easier to get someone that is already purchasing from you to sign-up for an email than a cold audience.
ORGANIC SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Most social media platforms won’t allow you to advertise your cannabis-related products, but they will let you post content on your business page and educate your audience.
Discovery social networks such as Twitter and Instagram that have the hashtag feature are a firm favorite for a lot of cannabis brands. This is because they allow you to reach out to potential customers within your niche without having to pay for advertising. Follow people and businesses that align with your brand and constantly engage with others.
Setting up an automated system that allows your page to automatically like posts with a certain hashtag builds your following rapidly and attracts a highly relevant audience to your page.
Beware, social media is not the end all be all. It can be difficult to go viral and grow a large audience. Spend more time on your physical business and let those that want to follow you find you organically. If you’d like a more hands-on approach for your social media pages then you can get in touch with us here.
INFLUENCERs & Referrals
Teaming up with local influencers that align with your brand is a good way of reaching your target audience. Before working with an influencer, be sure to understand their audience. When it comes to followers, size matters – but bigger isn’t always better.
Micro-influencers benefit from a more engaged audience. They also tend to come with a lower price tag. Building an army of micro-influencers that authentically represent and recommend your brand will help you successfully navigate around third party channels that ban cannabis-related products and services.
Referrals from influencers can be successful, but again it depends on the trust they have with their audience. The most important referrals are from friends and family (again smaller networks can be much better). Potential customers are much more likely to visit a cannabis business that has a direct referral from someone they trust. One thing you can do as a business is ask! We’ve teamed up with a platform that makes it easy for businesses to ask, track, and secure referrals from your existing customer base.
Your online presence will lay the foundation for a successful cannabis company. More searches are being conducted and more questions are being asked about the cannabis industry than ever before. You need to have a clean and professional digital footprint for customers to find you and want to do business with you.
More importantly, do not forget about the customers you do have. It’s much more lucrative to keep a previous customer returning than spending money to attain new customers. Use your existing market to help grow your customer base. And when you do have them in person, go all in on the customer experience.
We’ve given you several ideas about how to market your cannabis business online that if implemented effectively will increase your returns month after month! Good luck!