Whether you need to promote a cannabis business or an ancillary business that works with the marijuana industry, you should be investing in digital marketing to expand your brand’s reach, attract more prospects, and increase sales, revenue, and profits.
This guide introduces you to many of the digital marketing opportunities that cannabis businesses and cannabis-related businesses can take advantage of. Some digital marketing tactics deliver quick results while others support long-term growth goals, and some can provide a combination of both.
The key to successfully promoting your business in order to build your cannabis brand and increase sales is to:
- Research the investment opportunities available to you
- Create a solid marketing strategy
- Develop a marketing plan to execute that strategy
- Test your tactics
- Track your results
- Tweak your plan as needed to optimize results
Keep reading to learn more about digital marketing for cannabis and cannabis-related businesses, and follow the links provided throughout this guide to dive deeper into each topic.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is one of the most effective tools in your business’ marketing toolbox when you do four things:
- Follow the rules of each social media platform
- Publish relevant content consistently
- Engage often with your audience
- Understand it’s most powerful when you stick with it over time.
Quick wins are possible, but the strength of social media marketing is in the long-game.
Despite the fact that advertising cannabis or cannabis-related businesses, brands, products, or services is still not allowed on Facebook, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the largest social networking platform today. Facebook provides an excellent way for you to gain brand awareness, recognition, and sales organically rather than through direct promotion.
Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, it’s not surprising that marijuana industry-related ads aren’t allowed on the platform, but with a very large user-base, you shouldn’t discount it outright. Instead, do some research and determine if your target audience spends time on Instagram. It’s likely they do, so your brand should be there publishing relevant content as well.
Like Facebook and Instagram, cannabis-related advertising is not allowed on Twitter. However, Pew Research has reported that nearly a quarter of American adults use Twitter and nearly half of adults between the ages of 18 and 24 use Twitter, so it makes sense to build a brand presence on the platform that supports your organic growth strategy.
Content marketing could be considered the most important part of your marketing strategy, and in fact, content is the catalyst for all of the other digital marketing opportunities discussed in this guide. In other words, content is the foundation of everything you do to promote your cannabis or cannabis-related business, so don’t try to go lean in this area! Invest in a great writer and designer and create content that is not only worth it for your audience to consume but also for them to share with others giving your brand powerful word-of-mouth marketing.
The most important part of any content marketing plan is an amazing blog filled with posts that are useful, meaningful, and relevant to your brand’s audience.
Your blog content fuels all of your other digital marketing investments. It builds trust in your brand, and it helps people find your brand when you promote your posts through social media sharing, email marketing, and more.
It also creates more entry points for search engines like Google to find your web pages and display them in search engine results for relevant user queries.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What do you do when you want to find a business, product, or service? Most people go to Google or another search engine and type in a question or keywords to help them find what they want or need. With that said, your business needs to come up in search results when people search for terms related to your products and services. SEO matters a lot!
SEO is a long-term strategy, and it’s essential to businesses in the marijuana industry that can’t invest in other popular digital marketing tactics like social media advertising and Google advertising.
Online Video Marketing
Online video content becomes more popular every day, and researchers have found that more than nine out of 10 marketers (93%) have landed a new customer thanks to an online video that they’ve published. Furthermore, two out of three have generated more qualified leads per year thanks to their online video content.
Bottom-line, you can boost your brand’s prospects and sales by creating and publishing relevant online video content that interests your target audience.
Online influencers who already have the eyes and ears of your target audience and are an appropriate match for your brand promise and personality can help you spread the word about your products and services. They can also help build your brand’s reputation and motivate people to buy.
Since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, businesses operating in and with the industry still face challenges when it comes to advertising. Fortunately, there are some digital advertising opportunities that you can invest in to grow your brand and your sales.
Think creatively to find online properties where your audience spends time and where your messages will be an appropriate fit.
Email marketing offers one of the best ways to get your messages in front of a target audience. The trick to making email marketing work for your business is to:
- Follow best practices
- Write the correct messages
- Write your messages really well
- Make sure your messages are deliverable
- Track your results to boost your ROI
Text Message Marketing
Text message marketing can work for cannabis brands and businesses, but you have to be very careful to follow all of the rules. It’s also important to ensure you’re not flooding people’s phones with text messages or they’ll quickly unsubscribe.
Key Takeaways about Digital Marketing for Cannabis and Cannabis-Related Businesses
Digital marketing can be extremely effective for businesses operating in and with the marijuana industry, but you need to understand all of the rules and laws to avoid getting into what could become expensive trouble. Work with a cannabis industry marketing expert to get the best results and stay out of trouble at the same time!
Susan Gunelius, Lead Analyst for Cannabiz Media and author of Marijuana Licensing Reference Guide: 2017 Edition, is also President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her 25-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. She has been working with clients in the cannabis industry since 2015. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing, and she is a popular marketing and branding keynote speaker. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.