It wasn’t so long ago that cannabis used to be the second worst “C” word. Now, dozens of states are legalizing hemp and marijuana, and businesses are popping up everywhere. It’s not hard to be lost in a cloud of smoke (so to speak). We’ve compiled a list of marketing tips for those in the cannabis industries so your brand can stand out above your competition.
Let’s Get Social
As most of you in the cannabis industry already know, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising on social media for cannabis is a no-no. This means cannabis companies need to work harder than ever to create a real presence on their social sites by engaging and communicating with their followers. If you’re selling a topical hemp product, you can now advertise on social media without having the Facebook gods smite you, but in general, if you sell cannabis, it’s best to avoid PPC ads until there’s a true thumbs up from Facebook/Instagram. Remember: can and should are not the same thing, especially when there’s something to lose. Focus on “dark social” contacts (loving followers in the privacy of their inboxes/stories), social engagement (follow/comment on potential followers’ posts), influencer marketing, and social media campaigns.
You’ve Got Mail.
If you haven’t started email marketing for your business, you’re missing out on one of the most effective marketing channels for the cannabis world. Email marketing allows you to communicate directly with your customers/subscribers without the restrictions you’d face with social media PPC advertising. Figure out how to incentivize customers to subscribe to your newsletter (maybe even implement a social media campaign or a call-to-action on your website). If you use Mailchimp (a marketing automation platform and email marketing service), for example, you can create tags at the subscriber level that allow your team to create customized email campaigns. If you run a subscriber campaign for your 0% THC product, you can input all those emails with the “0 THC” tag. Then you can run a specified email campaign and target those tags for leads that are already interested in the product you’re trying to promote.
Text Message is King.
While text message (SMS) marketing may be a marketing tactic of the past for most industries, text message marketing is a NO BRAINER when it comes to the cannabis industry (at least, depending on your products or services). Text message marketing allows businesses to directly communicate with customers. Maybe you’re sending customers a “420 special” purchase code or letting them know about their reward points from their latest online purchase from your website; whatever your strategy may be, consumers seem to be more open to cannabis businesses shooting them a text. Not only that, but unlike email marketing (with an open rate of 15-25%), text message marketing actually has a SIGNIFICANTLY HIGH open-rate (around 98%). We especially recommend using texting for a more local approach if you’ve got a dispensary, want to drive folks to your website, or want to implement a customer loyalty program.
While there are a TON of other marketing strategies cannabis businesses can utilize to boost their brands, we recommend finding what works best for you and your target audience. Invest in good branding, messaging, packaging, etc. and then test out these suggestions. Marketing is like that edible your long-haired buddy with the Pink Floyd shirt handed you in college. Sometimes, what puts one person into a couch-locked position laughing in the garage simply chills out another who’s ready to crush their final exam. Every business (and target audience) is unique. Figure out what’s your right “marketing dosage” and keep it simple.