Cannabis is competitive, and cannabis marketing can be very difficult to navigate when it comes to regulations. This means cannabis is unique, and you have to get creative when it comes to your marketing strategies. But, which strategies are the best?
Well, we’re experts when it comes to cannabis marketing, and we’re here to tell you all about the most effective strategies for your business. The best part? You can implement some of these strategies all on your own (Though working with an agency makes all of this a lot easier!).
We’ve done a lot of marketing for cannabis businesses, so we’ve gotten a good feel for what works and what doesn’t. In this post, we’ll give you our 8 best strategies for cannabis marketing, what they are, and why they’re great for cannabis businesses.
1. Cannabis SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the practice of optimizing your website to get better search engine result rankings. You can do this by optimizing your website to be user-friendly, well-structured, and tailored toward certain keywords.
How SEO Works
SEO is done by optimizing your website to cater to certain keywords, or terms users input into search engines to get results. You can use keyword research tools to find which keywords are popular.
From there, you can add content to your website like blogs or new pages to cater to those keywords. This can help you rank for those keywords and get more visibility online.
You should also focus on making sure your website is usable, functional, and healthy. This includes keeping your website up-to-date, user-friendly, easy to use, and accessible for all users. These are just a few factors search engines take into account when deciding which websites rank for different keywords.
An SEO agency can help you navigate this!
Why SEO is Good for Cannabis Marketing
SEO is one of the few ways you can heavily market cannabis without facing strict regulations. There aren’t nearly as many limits to what you can say, what you can talk about, etc.
So long as the content you create doesn’t violate any search engine terms or promote any false information, you shouldn’t face any penalties or legal issues.
With SEO, you have a lot of freedom for what keywords you can target and thus which audiences you can cater to. Done well and with ample time investment, SEO can set you lightyears ahead of your competitors and grow your reach exponentially.
But, make sure your website has an age verification screen upon entry! Without this, you can face legal issues.
2. Outdoor Marketing
Outdoor marketing is essentially anything under the billboard, bush shelter, public bench, or other outdoor space marketing umbrella. Outdoor marketing is popular in a variety of industries, but cannabis companies tend to overlook it or execute it poorly.
But with thousands of potential impressions out there with outdoor marketing, it’s a real winner if you do it right. After all, the average billboard gets 30k-50k daily impressions depending on its location.
How Outdoor Marketing Works
Remember the last time you saw a funny or eye-catching outdoor ad that you just had to tell your friends about? Like when Chick-fil-A put actual cow figures on their billboards, for example?
Outdoor media is old, it’s been around for a very long time, but it’s still alive and well because it works.
Basically, you pay a media company to post your ad on a billboard, public bench, etc. for a certain amount of time. This allows you to rack up thousands of impressions for a relatively low cost by comparison.
Why Outdoor Marketing is Good for Cannabis Businesses
A lot of cannabis companies neglect outdoor media because there are more regulations and legal limitations to what you can say and portray in your ads.
But, anything is possible if you’re creative with your approach. Once you have thoroughly researched the laws of the area your ad will be in, you can start to make ads that comply with regulations.
For example, if you can’t mention actual cannabis, the products, or the verbiage associated with the like, you have to find workarounds. Instead of “Best Cannabis in Aurora, CO” you could say “Your New Best Buds are Right Here in Aurora, CO” with your logo and/or business name and website.
With that approach, you’ve avoided saying anything too cannabis-specific and come up with a more unique message (But this exact example may not work in your location! Do your research!).
Outdoor advertising is great for brand awareness and keeping your cannabis business top-of-mind for consumers.
Event marketing has a lot of facets like event sponsorship, expo booths, swag bags, and more. Whether you’re in a cannabis-specific space or another type of event, this is a great way to get your name in front of a lot of people at once.
How Event Marketing Works
There are a few ways you can go about event marketing.
First: Sponsorships. While sponsoring an event or person can be expensive upfront, it can drive a lot of brand awareness in your area. This gets your name in front of a lot of potential customers at once and allows you to tie your business to something or someone with influence. Plus, as a sponsor, you’ll likely get a lot of promotion from the event because you helped them out.
Second: Expo or event booths. Setting up a booth for your business at a cannabis expo, community event, festival, etc. is a great way to engage with people outside of traditional advertising. You can give away free swag items, offer discounts or coupons, tell people about your brand, find investors… the list goes on.
Keep up with the cannabis industry in your area and local happenings in general. There are always organizations and people looking for businesses to sponsor their events!
Why Event Marketing is Good For Cannabis Businesses
Event marketing can take any brand to the next level. You’re not just marketing to your target audience anymore, you’re showing up for them with something to offer.
You can introduce your brand in a way that’s much more personal, which is super effective for building brand loyalty.
Events require more upfront investment to be successful. Between booth setup, collateral, and manning the booth, it can get expensive. However, this investment can pay off greatly when you put a lot of time and effort into it.
Business listings encompass things like Yelp, Google Business Profiles, Bing Places, and so on. These may seem like a mundane part of your operations, but these are not to be looked over!
How Business Listings Work
Business listings are marketing gold, especially on Google. Approximately 86% of people search for businesses using Google Maps. Showing up when people are looking is imperative.
When people use Google or other search engines and listing websites to look for a business near them, The listings available and the quality of those listings determine who will get those customers.
Why Business Listings are Good for Cannabis Businesses
Good business listings rank better on listing platforms. Listings on the top of results pages will almost always drive the most traffic to your store or website, and 76% of consumers will visit a store because of the info they find online.
Optimizing your listing with good images, plenty of helpful info, and lots of good reviews will help turn your listings into a marketing tool.
Keep your listings updated, frequently check up on them, and encourage your customers to leave good reviews. Just be sure to comply with the rules of each listing platform!
With social media, the possibilities are endless. Between engaging with people in your community, running paid advertising (only on Twitter/X), influencer marketing, and posting promotions, there are a lot of ways you can use social media to your advantage.
How Social Media Marketing Works
Here are a few ways you can use social media to promote your cannabis company:
- Engagement: Follow other cannabis companies in your area, cannabis influencers, your customers, etc. Engage with cannabis content and the content of your target audience through liking, commenting, and sharing.
- Paid Advertising: On Twitter/X, you can run cannabis-related ads so long as they comply with their new policies. This is a huge opportunity in cannabis marketing that hasn’t been seen before.
- Influencer Marketing: Sponsoring or partnering with influencers to promote your products, offer affiliate codes, or just promote your cannabis brand can help you connect with potential customers on a different level.
- Promotional Posting: Use your account to post deals, events, updates, and other types of content to stay engaged with your audience.
Why Social Media is Good for Cannabis Businesses
Social media platforms usually have a lot of rules when it comes to what cannabis companies can post. Outside of Twitter/X, you can’t use any paid marketing at all.
But the effort you put into posting and engaging is always helpful.
You can use your platform to give your customers an inside look into your business, showcase your products and packaging, promote deals and discounts, and more. The trick here is consistency - post good content and post often!
Email marketing and remarketing pertain to things like promotional emails, newsletters, or any email communication you use to promote your business. It is a powerful tool for keeping your customers up-to-date, driving repeat business, and making sales.
How Email Marketing Works
As a cannabis business, you’ll likely need to rely on a cannabis-friendly platform like Alpine IQ or Email Octopus to run your marketing campaigns.
You’ll also likely be limited to email data you can gather from your existing customers, as blast emails to random email databases can be dicey from a legal standpoint because you are a cannabis business.
This makes emails a powerful remarketing tool to get repeat customers and bring people back for deals and promotions.
Why Email Marketing is Good for Cannabis Business.
Promotional emails can seem annoying to a consumer, but they really can convert if you’re promoting something people actually want.
Using email marketing effectively and consistently (without blowing up people’s inboxes) helps keep your brand on people’s minds. Instead of choosing the dispensary closest to them, they might choose you because you emailed them a coupon a few days ago.
And, because email marketing is an opt-in system, you’ll be emailing people more likely to engage and convert. You can also get more people to sign up for your mailing list with incentives like discounts and free gifts.
Cannabis Marketing Strategies: Summary
Marketing a cannabis company can be difficult, but it’s nowhere near impossible. With these 8 strategies, you can take your cannabis brand and get it out there to thousands of new customers and grow your business.
But remember: marketing laws and regulations pertaining to cannabis vary across the country. Always, always, always do your research before launching any sort of campaign or marketing efforts to ensure you are compliant!
If you’re interested in any of these 8 strategies but aren’t sure where to start, give us a shout and tell us about yourself. We’re Frank, and we’ve been in the cannabis marketing game since 2015. We’re your experts when it comes to navigating regulation and growing your business. Learn more about our work and take a look at some of our other blog posts to see what we can do for you.