The growing cannabis industry is hard to ignore. With 2020 projections of approximately $20 billion, there’s no wonder businesses in every cannabis-related sector keep popping up. The steady increase in demand means that companies have to find ways to strategize more efficiently. Apart from boosting production, they also need to invest in effective marketing methods. And since now is the best time to solidify marketing efforts in the cannabis industry, doing it right is critical.
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Why does cannabis marketing work differently?
Marketing cannabis products can be tricky. Although the general outlook towards marijuana is pointing to a positive direction – the industry still has many hurdles to overcome. For instance, federal and state regulations dictate what you can and can’t put in your advertising content. Online mainstream platforms like Google also have strict rules when it comes to marketing cannabis products. If you’re looking to boost a cannabis brand online, you need to employ a more creative approach.
Building your brand online
Any limitation imposed on marketing is a significant challenge for any company. While most businesses get to choose any advertising strategy freely – cannabis brands don’t have the same luxury. Also, the ongoing changes in regulations that apply to every country, state, or locality make it all the more difficult. According to marketing experts, it helps when you focus first on the basic principles of marketing before you tackle specific strategies.
In the case of cannabis products, the product features should allow you to find something unique about the brand that will become the main anchor for the campaign. For example, how does your cannabis brand differ from others when it comes to medicinal claims? This concept alone should give you plenty to work with when it comes to helping potential consumers get a glimpse of the experience they can expect after using the product.
Focus on user-generated content
Before we enumerate the dos and don’ts of cannabis marketing, let’s take a closer look first at the importance of user-generated content. We mentioned that one excellent way to market a cannabis brand online is by focusing on what makes the product unique. As such, perhaps the most effective way to disseminate this information is through user-generated content.
The digital era and prominence of social media are undeniably connected to how consumers choose products and share their experiences. Naturally, the aim here is to get people interested and start talking about your product by posting photos, videos, and feedback. What’s excellent about user-generated content is that it’s mostly free, and if you’re able to strategize well, it should result in brand awareness and customer loyalty.
There are many reasons why user-generated content is a perfect fit to market cannabis products online. First, it’s an ideal method to build brand reputation. And the more followers you have on social media, the more likely you are to gain new customers' trust. Eventually, these followers will share more content about the product and increase traffic for your website.
The dos of cannabis marketing
Now that we’ve touched on the importance of user-generated content, here’s a quick overview of how to incorporate it in most of the digital marketing strategies employed to advertise cannabis brands online. Although, digital marketing for cannabis products is heavily restricted, we know that it’s not impossible. Today, with the help of content posted by online users, most companies benefit by gaining inbound traffic that also helps boost product awareness. Here are some additional tactics you can employ if you want to grow an online following.
- Don’t sell; educate. For cannabis-related businesses, the focus of online marketing should be in education, not sales. Disseminating facts and debunking myths about marijuana helps ease the public’s tension over certain preconceived notions.
- Do capitalize on social media. We’ve discussed in detail that social media and user-generateed content has the most impact in marketing cannabis products. But, there are risks. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are excellent avenues to build a network as well as raise awareness about your products and services. However, it would be best if you’re careful in making sure that you adhere to the guidelines imposed by these platforms.
- Join niche websites for cannabis businesses and consumers. One of the most common challenges faced by cannabis companies is getting banned by social media sites and Google. One way to avoid this is by advertising through niche websites. Since you’re part of an exclusive online community, you can focus more on strengthening your network and business reach.
- Marketing products and services through quality content. Marketing through high-quality content will boost SEO efforts, and establish your business reputation. From publishing case studies, blogs, and white papers, you are subtly promoting cannabis, but also educating the public.
Lastly, you can also try to get the attention of reputable media companies. When you’re featured in news and magazine articles, you get access to free and effective marketing.
The don’ts of cannabis marketing
When it comes to the don’ts, there are a few you should keep in mind. For instance, you may be too focused on maintaining a good public image that you overlook the importance of branding.
Another critical mistake you need to avoid is getting lumped into other companies that will ultimately strip your brand of its identity. We’ve emphasized earlier that focusing on what makes your brand unique is the best way to stand out from the competition.
Also, you need to stay up-to-date with regulation changes, especially those that affect your location. There are ongoing dialogues regarding the legality of marijuana which may eventually get resolved and impact your business. For a cannabis brand, staying on top of the latest news is vital.
When it comes to Online marketing, publishing advertisements and posting photos and videos that promote consumption are all prohibited by Google. However, social media companies tend to change their policies on cannabis content quite often. Being aware of these changes can make or break your brand as even the slightest mistake could be detrimental to the reputation you’ve worked hard to build.