Cannabis is a billion dollar, and growing, industry in the US – despite having state-to-state limitations and being federally regulated.
But as big as it has grown, marketing in the cannabis industry still manages to be a massive pain point for operators, MSO’s, and brands alike. Between state-to-state regulations and lack of clear lines when it comes to what is allowed and what is not, many Cannabis marketers are pushed to operate in the gray. This makes traditional growth channels tedious and intimidating to most brands and operators. The plethora of rules and regulations that must be adhered to in this rapidly developing industry are undoubtedly intimidating, but this does not mean your business should be scared to focus on its marketing. In fact, now is the best time to explore how filling in gaps in marketing can help your business differentiate itself from others in the wild west that is this industry.
Here are 3 ways you can market as a cannabis brand or operator:
Like any brand, SEO and Organic is essential for long term growth. Your website is a place where you can control the assets, performance, content, and do so much more. Don’t take that for granted.
Ranking high geographically (and nationally) – depending on your business – can really make or break your organic performance. Using keyword research and content to attract an audience is one best practice you should not miss out on. It’s believed that Google rewards websites who follow E.A.T. (Education, Authority, and Trust), so you should be using your content in a way that is both relevant and educational to your desired audience. Think informational blogs and landing pages.
Website experience is another factor you control on your own site. From live chat to digital experiences, there is no shortage of ways to touch your audience. Due to the consultative nature of Cannabis, consider trying a video commerce solution like Uptok to meet your customers face-to-face on the website. Imagine what a real-time budtender consultation could do for your site experience. A simple conversation with a knowledgeable representative who can offer recommendations can easily provide customers with the education they need to branch out and explore what your business has to offer.
This is another channel that is controlled and owned by you, so you should be taking full advantage! Engaging your audience is more important than ever with the expansion we are seeing in the industry as more and more states legalize. Here are a few focus points for both brands and dispensaries:
Product education and new releases should be a huge center of focus for your social media. As you own your niche and launch more products, it's important to keep your followers engaged and educated. Whether it's educating dispensaries on new lines available, or sparking the interest of loyal customers on your new products – this is the only way you’ll truly be able to self promote within the space for free.
On the other hand, a dispensary’s social media should be doing everything it can to increase loyalty and engagement of existing customers. Dispensaries see consistent issues with customers buying the same products every visit, so the average order value ends up staying low-value due to a lack of education. Using social media to engage, excite, educate, and facilitate more visits is only going to help increase AOV and foot traffic!
Lastly, advertising, both physically and digitally, is going to be just as important in this industry as it is for every other industry, but you will have to deal with more restrictions and regulations. We recommend finding a great cannabis digital marketing agency partner or consultant to help guide you on ad placement and best practices to ensure your ads make it to the intended audience and serve the impact you want!
Overall, marketing in the cannabis industry can be a challenge, but even with restrictions there is a lot you can work with to make an impact. Any opportunities you can take to differentiate your brand are going to be crucial. Brands need to be educating their audience constantly, and dispensaries need to encourage loyalty in order to see their business reach its fullest potential. Prioritize marketing in the cannabis industry to reach more people and keep hold of your clientele, and don’t let regulations scare you from using your marketing budget for growth.