*Disclaimer: this Cannabis marketing guide is intended to help brand owners and marketers of cannabis-related products such as seeds, CBD, hemp and paraphernalia products. This guide is not for the marketing of the psychoactive substance itself. We do not endorse the distribution of cannabis*
Navigating the marketing landscape as a Cannabis brand can be challenging at the best of times. The industry is fraught with restrictions and although legislation is gradually being relaxed, marketers still face an uphill struggle with over-regulation.
If you’ve had any experience with marketing in the cannabis industry, you’ll already know that the tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter prohibit advertising of cannabis-related products on their platforms. This has made it difficult for marketers to reach out to new customers.
However, there are other methods at your disposal. And by using these methods to good effect, your future self will thank your past self.
Why? Because you will have built a sustainable, self-sufficient marketing strategy that doesn’t rely on third-party channels to deliver customers.
This is a guide that is dedicated to helping you circumnavigate the uncompromising marketing landscape that is the cannabis industry.
First things first. I want to make it clear that we aren’t reinventing the wheel here. What we are doing is placing more emphasis on some of the more organic marketing techniques that are proven to deliver results. That being said, I’m now going to discuss some of these methods in more detail.
I’m going to start with what I believe to be one of the most important parts of marketing your cannabis business – your website. Your website will be the bedrock of your marketing strategy. It will be the main outlet for delivering both leads and sales, especially if you’ve got an e-commerce website.
Many websites in the cannabis industry are either outdated, poorly designed or dysfunctional. This creates a frustrating experience for the customer, often resulting in a loss of a lead/sale and poor retention rates.
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 optimised for all devices? and is the site setup in a way that is search engine friendly?
This is also known as a website audit, which we offer for free. Click here to claim yours now.
How do you build a steady flow of traffic to your website if you can’t advertise? You have to create entry points to your website so people can find you organically through search engines. An easy way to do this is by writing and publishing blog posts. This will be a fundamental building block of your SEO strategy.
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.
Start by asking yourself: what will my customers or prospects find useful? Use this as a basis to formulate your blog topics. Then, conduct some keyword research to identify areas of opportunity on search engines. Think about whether you’ll use short, mid or long tail keywords to rank for what you’re writing about.
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.
As a cost-effective way of communicating with your customers, all cannabis brands should be using email marketing. 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.
ORGANIC SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Despite the fact that most social media platforms won’t allow you to advertise your cannabis-related products, most of them do allow you to post content on a page.
Discovery social networks such as Twitter and Instagram that have the hashtag feature are a firm favourite 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.
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.
If you’d like to setup this type of automation for your social media page, get in touch with us here.
Another method of driving traffic/sales to your website is through affiliate schemes with third party websites. Often, other sites are already garnering large amounts of traffic with an audience that fits your niche. If you’re not a direct competitor, they may consider directing traffic to your website in return for a commission on the sales you accrue.
Teaming up with influencers that specialise in your niche is a good way of reaching out to your 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.
Sometimes, micro influencers benefit from a more engaged audience. They also tend to come with a lower price tag. Check out our article on influencer marketing if you’re unsure of how to approach this.