No matter what industry your business is in, your marketing efforts’ effectiveness will play a massive role in your company's success. Not only do your marketing campaigns determine how you will connect and engage with your customers, but it affects your ability to build and maintain long-lasting relationships in your industry too.
Amazingly, the legal cannabis industry is expected to be worth $84 billion by 2028, according to Grandview Research. However, as anybody involved in the industry will tell you, it's becoming increasingly more challenging to get a slice of the action for yourself.
One of the biggest challenges businesses must overcome are the tight constraints placed on the advertisement of cannabis-related products. For starters, no marijuana-derived products are permitted to be promoted via PPC ads on the vast majority of ad networks, including Google.
Secondly, many social media and marketing platforms place outright bans on any form of cannabis advertisements due to federal statutes and regulations. This leaves many business owners and marketers in a tricky spot, not knowing the best way to spread awareness about their company and connect with their audience.
With that said, there are still plenty of ways for you to market your business effectively, and here are six tips to help you do just that:
Know Your Targets
According to a recent study, 88 percent of cannabis users consider themselves part of a new cannabis culture that is sweeping the nation. Long gone is the stereotype of the sluggish, lazy, and ambitionless "stoner." Instead, we now have cannabis consumers who are highly professional individuals, each with different wants and needs.
When it comes to marketing, you need to understand your target market and your buyer personas. Who are the people you are attempting to sell to? What are their needs, and how can you connect with them?
Answering these questions allows you to develop a marketing strategy that will connect with them in the most effective way possible. Whether that's through social media marketing or direct interaction, it all depends on what you are trying to achieve. Here are a few of the standard target markets you need to be aware of in the cannabis industry:
- Medicinal users
- Recreational users
Set Up Great Online Ads
As any professional marketer will tell you, the real key to driving revenue to your business (especially a digital one) is through online ads.
As you might be aware, Google and Facebook are two of the most common online advertising platforms around. However, it is forbidden to post advertisements for recreational drugs on Facebook. Secondly, you cannot view photos of the herb or paraphernalia associated with its use when advertising cannabis goods. However, recent regulatory reforms enable cannabis businesses to post on Facebook, provided their accounts are checked and do not breach any of their terms and conditions.
Google also has similar rules to Facebook, which won't accept ads for items that induce a "high" or any other kind of alteration of the mental state. Violations of these policies will result in a ban or suspension, regardless of whether the substance is sold as medical or recreational.
So how do you work around this? Well, whether or not you can set up ads largely depends on the state you reside in and the type of business you operate. For example, marijuana packaging suppliers may be able to run B2B ads on Facebook, but they won’t be allowed to mention cannabis directly.
A great way to get around this is to focus on alternative advertising methods, such as using display ad networks (webpage ads) and sponsored content. You can also do direct buys on sites like Leafly, High Times, and NW Leaf. This is great as these are the industry publications that many people tend to read.
Keep in mind to analyze the tight constraints placed both in digital and traditional advertising to create a winning campaign for your business.
Other things to keep in mind when setting up your ads:
- Do not commit false advertising
- No unverified health claims
- No advertising to minors
- Do not cross state lines - no national advertising.
Don't Forget Mobile Optimizations
To boost local search engine rankings for your cannabis business and guarantee that your shop appears near the top of Google when people search, you must reach out to local directories to get business name citations and NAP (name, address, and phone number) mentions.
Getting your dispensary's NAP on as many pages as possible will help you boost your SEO scores, so it's definitely a good use of your time to chase up some of the directories.
Build Your Presence on Social Media Platforms
As you might expect, social media platforms will be one of your most essential tools for growing an audience and marketing to them. You want to make sure you are on all of the major social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and maybe even YouTube.
This means you can directly engage with your target market and tell them about new promotions and offers. The great thing about this method is that it is low cost. All it requires is the time and effort needed to build a following and reply to your consumers. Here are some tips for what type of content you can post to develop your presence:
- Educational content about cannabis (top tips, mistakes to watch out for, etc.)
- Talk about your team
- Share your missions and company values
- Make competitions
- Be authentic
- Connect with customers over a live chat
Prioritize High-Quality Images and Videos
Human beings are visual creatures. We are drawn to things that look aesthetically pleasing, and it's as simple as that. When it comes to consumerism and what products we want to buy, many of us are captivated by eye-catching graphics, which companies use to emphasize better the message they are trying to convey.
As for your marketing efforts, you must think of what types of photos, infographics, videos, animations, and other rich media you might use to improve your content's message and ensure that it resonates with consumers.
Focus on high-quality images and videos and try to encapsulate your brand's overall vision and "personality" in each of them. If you can come up with a unique theme or angle, even better,
Don't Forget Mobile Optimizations
Did you know that mobile accounts for nearly half of all web traffic worldwide? Yep, that means 50% of the people who view your marketing ads or visit your website will be doing so on a mobile phone. This means it's massively important that you optimize your web content and ads for mobile users. That way, you can ensure that you're appealing to the broadest audience possible, and you won't; be losing any sales to technical issues.
Users don't have to zoom in and out to search content on a mobile-optimized platform because the pages conform to the phone's size. And here's the thin - many big brands and enterprises are yet to truly adapt their content for mobile devices, which means that you can get a leg up on the competition if you just follow this one step.
Good luck, and thanks for reading!
Big Thanks to our guest Author Benjamin Johnson!
Benjamin is a lifestyle content creator specializing in marketing.
Also Thank you to Campaign Creators for our blog cover photo!