The marijuana industry is in full bloom, with more and more states making it legal to buy and sell weed for medicinal and recreational purposes.
However, just because the trend is moving towards legalization doesn’t mean that marketing your cannabis brand is simple or easy.
One major disadvantage that dispensaries and cannabis brands have compared to traditional business retailers is that they cannot advertise themselves online on the internet’s biggest advertising platforms.
Unfortunately, the legal reach of the internet does not conform well to local laws and regulations, meaning that paid advertising is unavailable to many cannabis brands.
Google Ads and Pay per click (PPC) advertising is a fantastic way to promote any business, but right now weed cannot get in on the action.
Facebook and Instagram are two of the biggest advertising platforms on the planet and – you guessed it – we can’t advertise there either.
So, what can you do?
Fortunately, as long as you are a bit creative with your methods, there is a multitude of other ways that you can market your brand without incurring the wrath of the law or Google and Facebook.
Today we’re going to discuss the seven different ways that you can promote your cannabis brand without using PPC or other similar campaigns.
For most consumers, this is where they will find out the most about your company. As such, it’s imperative that you create a site that is both engaging and informative. This is where you are selling your brand the most, so make it count. Here are some tips to make sure that you are maximizing your results.
- Make it mobile friendly. Most people use smartphones to check on a business, so if it doesn’t load well on a mobile device, you will lose customers.
- Use SEO to your advantage. Direct people to your site with the strategic use of keywords. For example, weed dispensary [brand name] [city].
- Keep it simple. Don’t overload your pages with a bunch of images and graphics. Deliver the important stuff first (location, prices, inventory) and let your audience seek out additional information. They can follow up on social media.
- Video content is king. Keep this in mind for all of your marketing materials. People engage with video more than any other kind of media online.
Since no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore, it’s crucial that you keep your business updated on places like Google Maps and Yelp.
Make sure that your address, phone number, and hours of operation are up to date so that customers don’t have any problems when trying to find you.
Also, use this as an opportunity to see what people are saying about you. Read through the comments and see what kind of ratings you’re getting.
Pay attention to any negative points that come up in multiple reviews as it will show you what you’re doing wrong.
Finally, you want to make sure that your business is consistent across all your profiles. Check to see if any citations or issues need to be resolved, such as store closure or negative reviews.
The more consistent your local listings are, the higher you will rank in searches, and the more trustworthy your business will be in the eyes of your customers.
We’ll get to Facebook and Twitter in a moment, but when it comes to social media, you have plenty of options from which to choose.
Instagram and Snapchat can be a fantastic place to promote your cannabis brand and engage with your customers on a more personal level.
Instagram and Snapchat are the two hottest platforms for cannabis right now.
As we mentioned, video content is the best way to get people to pay attention to you, so use live streaming to your advantage, and stay updated with video sites like YouTube and Vimeo for promotional materials as well. .
Also, make sure that your brand name and usernames are all as identical as possible. This will ensure that people don’t have any problem finding you across platforms.
Finally, direct your audience to your website from each social media profile so that you can increase your conversion rate.
FaceBook & Twitter
For the most part, cannabis brands can set up business pages on Facebook and operate organically without any problems.
However, be aware that sometimes the media giant may ask you to shut down the page for seemingly no particular reasons one day other than “they say so” – so you might have to be strategic about how you present yourself, depending on local laws and regulations.
Twitter doesn’t have as many restrictions, so you should be able to post content without limitations.
Overall, Facebook is fantastic for promoting yourself to a more affluent age group through images and video, and Twitter is perfect for linking to your site and blog and reaching a younger audience.
Also, use Twitter to promote other cannabis content so that you can become more of an authority figure online.
Even with social media taking the world of internet marketing by storm, email is still a viable option for businesses looking to increase their conversion rate.
This method is ideal for bringing local people to your store, so use it as a means of sending out coupons or newsletters about your business.
The best way to build an email list is to have a call to action on your website that asks people to sign up for your email list.
If you can develop some kind of reward for signing up, then you can increase your numbers substantially.
Overall, think of email as a way to engage people who are already familiar with your business. Develop content and material that they won’t find anywhere else, particularly on your website.
If you want your business to rise above the competition, then you have to become an authority in your industry.
A fantastic way to do that is to use forums to your advantage.
You can either find forums that are broad-spectrum (any topic) or niche (marijuana-related). We recommend using both to increase your online profile as much as possible. A local forum or group is great for local traffic while niche-forums establish your brand on a national scale.
You can learn a lot in niche forums as well.
The way to use forums is to provide answers to related questions (what’s the difference between indica and sativa?) and post content that people will look for relating to your business.
The more that you can post, the more likely that people will see you as an authority, which will help strengthen your brand.
Finally, your blog is a primary method of building an audience.
However, you don’t want to just maintain your own blog.
Guest posting on other blogs is an excellent way to develop relationships that can help you in the long run.
For example, if there is a blog that talks about weed in your city or state, guest posting for them means that they are likely to recommend your store to their followers.
Also, remember that it’s a two-way street.
As such, be sure to invite other high-profile bloggers to your site to create guest posts so that you can create a lasting working relationship.
By allowing industry leaders to post on your blog, that means that they will direct their following to you, which can boost your presence and awareness online by a substantial margin.
Finally, guest blogging can open you up to new business opportunities that you may otherwise miss out on. For example, you can search for bakeries that are looking to do edibles and form a collaboration.
Using these seven avenues to promote your cannabis business online is a substantial strategy that will increase your online presence and brand awareness.
Until Google, Facebook & Instagram open up to cannabis advertising there is no easy button. You must be creative and use the tools at hand to build your brand while the federal laws catch up to the peoples movement for cannabis.